Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The one and only Scientific American

OK, we give up.

There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it. Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Payola news media, the logical conclusion

The recent case of a Florida television newscaster who was running a PR agency on the side is but one more example of the current plague of crony journalism. The newscaster was collecting a salary from the local station for reporting stories and money from his clients for placing stories. Nice work if you can get it. The station manager is quoted as saying he was unaware of his correspondent’s side business.

How long will it be before station managers decide they don’t have to pay any salary, that TV correspondents/PR practitioners will work for free? How long before station managers start charging PR practitioners for airtime to broadcast our video news releases? How long before there is some eBay system for auctioning time so that assorted PR agencies could bid on whose story will run which evening? This may sound ludicrous as you read this. But we won’t be laughing long, if we do not do something to restore integrity to our news media.

Crony Journalism goes nationwide

Crony journalism, the Nevada edition

Crony journalism

What are they saying in Poland?


Monday, March 28, 2005

Catching Drug Dealers: GJXDM To The Rescue

The Rockley Bulliten

A real world example: In the war against crystal methamphetamines, one of the problems is that crystal labs pop up easily and frequently move around (also very easily). Law enforcement officials need to be able to define and track the distribution system even when it crosses city lines. In order for law enforcement to track the history of individuals and places -- as well as connections between people -- the police need to be able to exchange information since the labs and dealers just change jurisdictions to escape detection and arrest," Wormeli says.

"The whole idea of the GJXDM is to make it very easy to share information between law enforcement agencies," Wormeli continues, "but also to expedite judicial processing by sending incident and arrest data easily to prosecutors and courts in near real time so that the prosecution and judicial proceedings are expedited. Information sharing in the dynamic and highly mobile world of crystal meth is a big key to law enforcement success through collaboration in cases involving multiple people, locations, and tactics, irrespective of city boundaries. The more they share, the greater the likelihood of successful case clearance and effective prosecution.

"As states implement prescription drug monitoring programs and develop the system for exchanging information across state lines," Wormeli says, "drug dealers specializing in the illicit traffic of controlled substances will have a hard time hiding from law enforcement agencies.

This is just part of the work my client, Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute is doing to help law enforcement do their job.

GJXDM Users Conference Call for Participation

JUNE 8-10 2005

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION - deadline April 15, 2005

The Global Justice XML Data Model Training and Technical Assistance Committee (GTTAC) invites proposals for presentations, panel sessions and tutorials on topics related to the implementation or use of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) at the 1st Annual GJXDM Users Conference, scheduled June 8-10, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia.

This conference will cover the application of XML technologies, specifically utilizing the GJXDM, to enable and facilitate all aspects of justice information sharing, the delivery of justice, public safety and incident management, and the securing of our homeland.

Because the GJXDM Users Conference is expected to attract a diverse audience of policy makers, management and operational staff, and technologists from all levels and branches of government, we are seeking presentations that address the specific needs of these audiences from a technical, organizational, and professional development and training approach.

Financial fraud can run, but can’t hide from P2P encryption busting

Secret Service's Distributed Computing Project Aimed at Decoding Encrypted Evidence

Taking a cue from scientists searching for signs of extraterrestrial life and mathematicians trying to identify very large prime numbers, the agency best known for protecting presidents and other high officials is tying together its employees' desktop computers in a network designed to crack passwords that alleged criminals have used to scramble evidence of their crimes -- everything from lists of stolen credit card numbers and Social Security numbers to records of bank transfers and e-mail communications with victims and accomplices.

To date, the Secret Service has linked 4,000 of its employees' computers into the "Distributed Networking Attack" program. The effort started nearly three years ago to battle a surge in the number of cases in which savvy computer criminals have used commercial or free encryption software to safeguard stolen financial information, according to DNA program manager Al Lewis.

"We're seeing more and more cases coming in where we have to break encryption," Lewis said. "What we're finding is that criminals who use encryption usually are higher profile and higher value targets for us because it means from an evidentiary standpoint they have more to hide."

Each computer in the DNA network contributes a sliver of its processing power to the effort, allowing the entire system to continuously hammer away at numerous encryption keys at a rate of more than a million password combinations per second.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bloggers have rights too

John Conyers

The FEC is currently considering bloggers' role as journalists as it intersects with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or BCRA. Late last year, the District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the FEC's blanket exemption of the Internet from campaign finance law.

The FEC must therefore decide whether to characterize Web reporters as members of the press warranting a BCRA exemption similar to that of the print and broadcast media. I recently wrote a letter along with 13 of my colleagues urging the FEC to apply the press exemption to the Internet, and Sen. Harry Reid has introduced legislation to this effect.

Happy Easter



Easter egg

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Building privacy into software

Scott's Rules of Reuse for Java

Scott's Rule of Reuse # 1:


NOTE: There is only one exception to this rule: final static variables (aka class constants). Otherwise, there are to be no exceptions to Scott's rule #1. Ever.

The reason for this is that a class must be in total control of its state. If someone makes a change, the class must have a chance to know about it. If we leave variables non-private, some other class can change our state w/o us knowing.

The only way variables are to be changed is via methods defined in the class, preferably a setXXX() method. Initially the set method is simply changing the value. However, later on, we can add code to the set method to

- add validation to ensure the value is acceptable
- fire events to tell others that the value has changed
- update other state when the value changes
- log that the value has changed

If the variable is non-private, the set method might not be called when it changes, so we cannot guarantee to be able to fire a property change, validate, etc.

All Data Must Be Private!

I could go on and on about this forever, but I'll try to keep it brief: All data defined in a class must be private!

I may sound a bit like an "OO-purist" when I say this, but I view this from a practical standpoint, having been burned by not doing it...

Making data (by data I mean class and instance variables) non-private allows another class to change their values without the owner of that data knowing about the change. If the owner doesn't know about the change:

- the owner has no control over the value; it could be outside the intended range of the data
- the owner cannot know the value has change, and cannot respond if needed
- the owner cannot tell others that the value has changed
- the owner cannot allow others to veto the change

On top of these problems, if you ever decide to change your code to allow other classes to listen for changes, or restrict bounds on a variable, you would need to find every reference to the data and change it. This can be very painful if the class were a public library that many people had used in their own code.

Even worse, you cannot change the implementation of the data without changing the users of that data. For example, suppose you had an integer instance variable to keep track of some ID for a list node. Perhaps you had done some research and decided that the memory cost of keeping that ID was more expensive than recomputing it the few times it was needed. If ID were only available via an accessor, all you would need to do to affect the change is to remove the instance variable and change the getID accessor to compute the ID and return it. Far simpler than creating the getID accessor and going back and changing every reference to

Privacy is the key to true encapsulation. All manipulation of an object's state must be done by the object itself!

Once you use accessors to read/write class/instance data, that data is instantly available as a JavaBean property!

Would someone please send the Federal Election Commission a copy of the first amendment?

FEC Signals Light Hand On Internet Campaigning

The Federal Election Commission revealed yesterday that it plans to take what one of its commissioners termed a "relatively nonintrusive" approach to regulating political campaigns on the Internet.

The agency, which is beginning to consider how and whether to restrict blogs, e-mail and other online activities, released a document describing the legal issues it plans to tackle over the next several months.

Its "notice of proposed rulemaking," as it is known, indicates that the FEC is focusing much of its attention on whether to apply federal contribution limits on online political advertising campaigns. It also indicates that the six-member panel has not decided to impose, but is leaning against imposing, restrictions on independent bloggers or bloggers who work for political campaigns.

I think Elizabeth Edwards is right, it would be like trying to regulate conversation.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

See earlier discussion.

Federal Election Commission

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Abuse of libel laws

Rachel Ehrenfeld vs. Sheik bin Mahfouz, a Saudi sheik who successfully sued the American writer for defamation -- in England.

(March 21, 2005) -- When Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of the book "Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It," opened her apartment door just before 10 p.m. on March 3, she believed she was simply receiving some legal papers from London. But this was no ordinary messenger. According to Ehrenfeld, the visitor carried a warning as well: “You had better respond. Sheik bin Mahfouz is a very important person, and you really ought to take very good care of yourself.” ...

Sheik Khalid Salim a bin Mahfouz has allegedly endowed and arranged financing for a number of Islamic charity organizations that have been accused of funding terrorism. Ehrenfeld asserts, “There are currently over 10 lawsuits outstanding by numerous plaintiffs in the United States claiming billions of dollars in damages from Mahfouz's alleged involvement in financing the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center."

On his Web site, Mahfouz says he is "increasingly angered" over accusations such as Ehrenfeld's. "There is no truth to these reports," reads the statement. "We condemn terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations."

Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed -- and How to Stop It

Attention fellow flacks

Second Annual PR Opinions Survey Launched

For my computer programmer readers

The 18th International Obfuscated C Code Contest

Astronomers See Light from Extrasolar Planets

Scientific American

For the first time, astronomers have directly detected light coming from planets outside our solar system. Two separate research teams announced their findings yesterday.

Check out the photo, really exciting stuff.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The 5th Enterprise Architecture Conference, Call for Papers

Septermber 19-21, 2005
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Deadline for Abstract Submission is Tuesday, April 26, 2005.

The FCW Media Group, producer of FCW Events, E-Gov Institute conferences and publisher of Federal Computer Week, is pleased to announce a Call for Participation for the fifth Enterprise Architecture Conference, to be held September 19-21, 2005 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. This announcement is your opportunity to participate in the Enterprise Architecture 2005 Conference as a member of the faculty.

This conference brings together public and private sector professionals focused on transforming government operations by using flexible, manageable, results-driven enterprise architectures.

They Won’t Go Away, But They are Easier – Taxes for the Future

NCC-AIIM Monthly Meeting
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Susan Smoter, Director of Internet Development Services,
Internal Revenue Service

George Coffin, Chief of the Public Portal Branch,
Internal Revenue Service

Taxes are unavoidable, but the Internal Revenue Service has taken great strides to package web content and provide online tools to make it easier for taxpayers to fulfill their filing obligations. Susan Smoter, Director of Internet Development Services and George Coffin, Chief of the Public Portal Branch will share with us their efforts to ensure the quality, integrity, availability, and usability of IRS electronic information, services and products.

During the peak tax season, the IRS public web site ( had 75 to 100 million hits per day with a peak of 127.5 million hits on April 15, 2004. The total hits for the calendar year 2004 were more than 5.7 billion. Total pages views exceeded 954 million and visits exceeded 152 million for calendar year 2004. The site was recently recognized as a finalist in the awards and cited as the “Most Reliable Government Web Site” by Keynote Systems. Join us to learn what has made IRS.GOV such an overwhelming success.

In addition, Ms. Smoter and Mr. Coffin will talk about the IRS e-File and Free File programs, which have experienced substantial growth so far this tax filing season. They will also preview some new customer-centric design work underway for the IRS.GOV site of the future!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

The current state of .NET

Richard Grimes on .NET

It is now almost three years since I started writing this newsletter and now I've decided to finish. I thought I would provide a concluding article to give my view on the current state of .NET.

I started using .NET when it was in technical preview at the beginning of 2000; at that time it was called COM+2 and the main language was something called Cool. The framework briefly became Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) before some marketing wonk came up with a term that really would confuse Internet search engines: .NET. How many times have you been asked what .NET means and what relationship it has to .COM and .ORG? Of course, Cool faired no better. Some bright spark decided to call it C#, which initially confused search engines and users alike. The search engines did not like the # character and the users did not know how to pronounce it (C-pound? Or for those of us on the eastern side of the Atlantic, C-hash?).

I had always assumed that it was referred to as C-sharp. Apparently there are no musicians in Mircrosoft’s marketing department.

More seriously this is a good overview of .NET for those of us who are only vaguely familiar with the technical issues of programming languages.

Some different perspectives-
Robert McLaws: FunWithCoding.NET

Rebuttal to Dr Richard Grimes article on .Net

Three cheers for Jason Pontin

More Stories Retracted, This Time at 'Technology Review'

”Technology Review, Inc. cannot vouch for the accuracy of ‘Carly's Way,’ by Michelle Delio, published online on March 4, 2005. Nor can we stand by ‘Carly's Gone. HP Celebrates,’ also by Delio, published online on February 10, 2005. We regret publishing the stories.”

It was signed on Friday by Jason Pontin, the editor-in-chief. The two stories have been scrubbed from the magazine's Web site ( Clicking on a link to the stories brings a visitor to the retraction.

The two stories, of course, had to do with the recent departure of Carly Fiorina as CEO of Hewlett Packard. They relied on anonymous sources inside HP.

It has got to be humiliating to run a retraction like that; but it is a guarantee to readers that MIT Technology Review is serious about maintaining editorial quality.

New to blog roll

Inside Sarbanes Oxley

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pharming fraud, when do we start throwing cyber crooks in jail?

Monitrotran points to Pharming - a new technique for Internet fraud:

Basically, pharming involves interfering with the name resolution process on the Internet. When a user enters an address (such as this needs to be converted into a numeric IP address as This is known as name resolution, and the task is performed by DNS (Domain Name System) servers. These servers store tables with the IP address of each domain name. On a smaller scale, in each computer connected to the Internet there is a file that stores a table with the names of servers and IP addresses so that it is not necessary to access the DNS servers for certain server names.

Pharming consists in the name resolution system modification, so that when a user thinks he or she is accessing to bank's web page, he or she is actually accessing the IP of a spoofed site.
Phishing owed its success to social engineering techniques, despite that not all users take the phishing bait, and so this success was limited. Also, each phishing attack was aimed at one specific type of banking service, further reducing the chances of success. Pharming on the other hand, can affect a far greater number of online banking users.

By failing to prosecute spammers when the practice first emerged (and almost all spam is attempted fraud, so there was no need for new legislation) we encouraged the spread of these practices.

Kazakhstan, the next IT hot spot?

List of large IT-consulting companies of Kazakhstan

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Thinking about a employee monitoring program?

Shel Holtz doesn’t think it’s a good idea:

Tech Republic offers up an article on issues to consider when launching an employee monitoring program. The article starts out with a list of reasons to monitor, including ensuring employees aren’t abusing communication systems, limiting employer liability for employee misconduct, and assessing productivity. Most of the article is a guide to sidestepping issues that might arise in the development of such a program.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if one of these articles—and there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them—also included reasons for not implementing employee monitoring programs in the first place?

Word to the wise, I used to work for a labor union. They had a saying, the union doesn’t organize the workers, the company does. An employee monitoring program is what union organizers call a dignity issue, the kind of issue that moves workers to action.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Coming soon,

Process for identifying emerging technology

The ET process will make it easy for users to identify and, in turn, to discover proposed emerging technology (ET) components of potential interest to them, via a Web-based interface. It will also assist the co-chairs of the ET Subcommittee in determining priorities for technical assessments by the Subcommittee, based upon the levels of interest and commitment documented in the process.

I had the pleasure of participating in a usability test for Anyone, vendors, federal agencies, municipalities, stardards bodies, will be able to go to and propose a component. As I understand it, component is loosely defined, it could be a standard like the Global Justice XML Data Model or a hardware component such as an antenna. The user will be given a schema that they can put on their web site and their information will be entered into a federal data base. The federal development team has done a good job of developing an intuitive web interface, just a little bit of tweaking and it will be a hit with the public. is great news for small vendors, such as kind Presto Vivace represents; because it will offer an economical way for them present their product to the federal market.

Component Organization and Registration Environment, Overview and Status

Community of Practice XML

Federal Computer Week: CIO Council to help with architecture changes

Government Computer News: An XML registry is key to sharing data

Thursday, March 17, 2005

On St. Patrick's Day

Irish Eyes

US Immigration bans blogger from entry, feel any safer?

Via Neville Hopson, Jeremy Wright:

I don’t know if any of what I experienced is even allowed by DHS (Department of Homeland Security). And I don’t even hold anything against DHS, Americans, etc. At the end of the day it’s this guy’s job to protect the border from, as he said, “ingrates and other seedy characters".

There are quotes that stick out in my mind, like the “blogging ain’t a job” qoute that everyone’s bandying about. And there were threats. And there was lots of talk and many humiliating moments. There were also jaw-dropping ones like:

Him: Why would you visit someone in the states you’d never met (I mentioned I was planning to visit several people whilst down there)
Me: Well, I have met most of them, but I’ve talked to them dozens or hundreds of times online.
Him: Do you have any of their phone numbers?
Me: No, but I talk
Him: You can’t talk to someone without a phone number. Stop lying to me.
Me: No, really, I can talk from my computer to theirs
Him: Don’t be a smartass. If you don’t have their phone number, and you’ve never met them, how can you have ever talked to them.
Me: … (at this point I’ve learned that sarcasm doesn’t help, nor does answering questions he doesn’t want to hear the answer to)
Him: So, you’re trying to tell me that you’re going to visit someone who you’ve never met, never talked to and who knows nothing about you? And I’m supposed to believe this?
Me: … (This was two hours in, and minutes before I demanded to be released)

Decompiling Programmer-Speak

A Venture Capitalist points to this hilarious list of programmer expressions and what they really mean.

Naturally, programmers speak in code. You may hear them but that doesn’t mean you know what they said. I was a programmer long before I was a CEO. Then I was a manager of programmers. When I started Solutions, Inc. in 1969, I was all three since I was the only employee.

Computers have changed; programming languages have changed; but programmer-speak has remained remarkably constant. Programmers I managed at Microsoft and AT&T spoke the same language (whether they spoke English or not). ITXC programmers, as great as they were at their jobs, still spoke programmer-speak.

Very funny, very true.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The R Project

The R Project for Statistical Computing

R is a free software environment for for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS.

Who knew that statistics had its own programming language? Thanks to Peter Bruce of for this intelligence.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Crony Journalism goes nationwide

Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News

An examination of government-produced news reports offers a look inside a world where the traditional lines between public relations and journalism have become tangled, where local anchors introduce prepackaged segments with "suggested" lead-ins written by public relations experts. It is a world where government-produced reports disappear into a maze of satellite transmissions, Web portals, syndicated news programs and network feeds, only to emerge cleansed on the other side as "independent" journalism.

It is also a world where all participants benefit. Local affiliates are spared the expense of digging up original material. Public relations firms secure government contracts worth millions of dollars. The major networks, which help distribute the releases, collect fees from the government agencies that produce segments and the affiliates that show them. The administration, meanwhile, gets out an unfiltered message, delivered in the guise of traditional reporting. ...

Last month, in its most recent finding, the G.A.O. said federal agencies may not produce prepackaged news reports "that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials."

It is not certain, though, whether the office's pronouncements will have much practical effect. Although a few federal agencies have stopped making television news segments, others continue. And on Friday, the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memorandum instructing all executive branch agencies to ignore the G.A.O. findings. The memorandum said the G.A.O. failed to distinguish between covert propaganda and "purely informational" news segments made by the government. Such informational segments are legal, the memorandum said, whether or not an agency's role in producing them is disclosed to viewers.

This is not an image problem for the public relations industry. It is a moral problem for American society.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Best PR advice you will ever get

Customer Service IS Corporate Messaging

How many corporations know how its customer service (CS) department and personnel are interacting with the public? As customer service is usually the first human interaction that your customers have - particularly if you are an Internet-based business - shouldn't you know what your people are saying?

If you are in a public relations department, here's a suggestion: work down in customer service for a day. Answer the phones, answer the emails. Do you really know what your customers are saying, or are you too insulated in the PR department? You want to know the real issues for your company, spend a day in the trenches of customer service. Then, work with the head of CS to ensure that messaging is consistent across the board. Should the two departments be connected? Of course not, that's close to impossible. But, they should work together.

In a world of email discussion groups and blogs, good customer service was never more important.

Friday, March 11, 2005

PR blogosphere’s achievement

The Number of New-to-Me PR Blogs Is, Well, Scary

In fact, it may be fair to say that the Flacksters have surpassed the Blawgers for category leadership in career weblogs. Which can only mean one thing--PR people can out-talk lawyers.


Madrid: Terrorism, the Internet and Democracy

Dan Gillmor’s group came up with some excellent guidelines. This one especially caught my eye:

II. Decentralized systems -- the power of many -- can combat decentralized foes.

1. Terrorist networks are highly decentralized and distributed. A centralized effort by itself cannot effectively fight terrorism.

2. Terrorism is everyone's issue. The internet connects everyone. A connected citizenry is the best defense against terrorist propaganda.

3. As we saw in the aftermath of the March 11 bombing, response was spontaneous and rapid because the citizens were able to use the Internet to organize themselves.

4. As we are seeing in the distributed world of weblogs and other kinds of citizen media, truth emerges best in open conversation among people with divergent views.

International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism, and Security

Global Voices Wiki

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam

Crony journalism, the Nevada edition

Nev. Lawmaker Seeks Opinion on TV Contract

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - When state Sen. Barbara Cegavske reports for work each morning in the Nevada capital, she's collecting two paychecks - one as lawmaker, the other as consultant to a Las Vegas television station.

Cegavske draws $3,000 a month to give advice to NBC affiliate KVBC on education and legislative matters, something she sees nothing wrong with.

``I have done everything to the letter of the law,'' Cegavske said Tuesday. ``I have complied and done everything I'm supposed to do. It's unfortunate it's turned into what it's turned into.''

Unfortunate indeed.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

H.R. 581, The Anonymice Protection Act

Free Flow of Information Act of 2005

To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

This is the proposed federal shield law for journalists. May it go down in flames.

The practice of anonymous sources has done our society incalculable harm. It was anonymous sources who falsely accused Richard Jewell in the Atlanta bombing and gave Eric Rudolph time to cover his tracks and go on to murder others. It was the anonymice who falsely accused Wan Ho Lee and launched a witch hunt at the Los Alamos laboratory.

Our national security and physical safety are endangered by the anonymice who betrayed Valerie Plame, sabotaging our ability to monitor the spread of weapons of mass destruction. If this bill passes, it is unlikely the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. Our country will be unable to recruit future agents and no allied intelligence agency will cooperate with us.

I could write a long post about how the anonymice are the chief vectors of character assassination. I could write about why the anonymice are a threat to your clients’ reputation. However, the situation is too serious for that. Our nation’s ability to defend itself is at risk . We must end the evil practice of anonymous sources as if our lives depended on it.

A blog is electronic paper on a network

Jeremy Wright has written a curious piece on how bloggers are not journalists. He posits that there is some contradiction between objectivity and credibility on the one hand and authenticity and honesty on the other.


Let me go back to the beginning, a blog is electronic paper on a network. It is whatever the writer makes of it. Perhaps it would be clearer to examine another medium, paper. The Washington Post is journalism, Marvel Comics is fantasy. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is news, The Daily Show is fake news, and The West Wing is drama.

Blogs are whatever their authors create. Silicon Valley Watcher, Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism and Ed Cone are all news blogs. Presto Vivace Blog is the corporate blog for Presto Vivace, Inc, and Realiticomm is a humor blog.

People do not become journalists because some editor “ordains” them. People become journalists by reporting. Justification by credibility as Luther might have said.

Jeremy Wright offers clarification:


The post wasn't examining why bloggers are or aren't journalists. The post was meant to examine the ethical differences between bloggers and journalists (or between non-journalist bloggers and journalist-bloggers or between non-journalist bloggers and journalists period)...

Several people have tried to characterize it as something else, I'm guessing, because in order to frame the ethics issue I had to frame the "who is what" issue. But, ultimately, that wasn't the point of the piece.

The point was that bloggers (ie: opinion-driven content, if you will) has a different ethical standard than journalists (or reporting-driven content).

I don't want to touch the "who is a blogger and who is a journalist" issue with a 10 foot pole, because it's a moving target depending on who you're talking to.

The ethics issue, though, is an important one that needs to be talked about.

Hope that helps clarify :) (feel free to blog this response if you want)

Jeremy C. Wright

Monday, March 07, 2005

DHS, Justice launch federal data model

My client, Integrated Justice Information Systems Institue has some nice quotes in this week’s Government Computer News:

The joint DHS-Justice effort could form the basis for a federal XML dictionary. Hitch said all federal agencies could use NIEM as a basis for their XML efforts. Yet he and others at the workshop acknowledged that participation from a larger number of agencies would be needed to prompt such adoption.

The idea is to “take the core data elements of JXDM that are neutral and use them in other disciplines,” said Paul Wormeli, executive director of the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, a Justice-funded nonprofit that assists law enforcement agencies in implementing the JXDM. “Now that all this work is done, why redo it?” ...

The Justice-sponsored Global Justice Information-Sharing Initiative’s Infrastructure and Standards Working Group created JXDM to better share data between state law enforcement agencies and Justice.

“The basic problem [JXDM addressed] was the need to share information, to create a standard vocabulary,” Wormeli said. Although different law enforcement agencies, courts and other organizations could set up point-to-point systems, it was becoming clear that they needed to organize the material so it could be shared without the need for setting up individual connections, which can be costly to establish and maintain.

Although the first finished version of the standard was published early last year, the JXDM model is already used by more than 50 law enforcement agencies at the state, local and tribal levels, as well as by other federal agencies, Wormeli said.

Related sites:
Federal XML Work Group
Government XML Community of Practice

E-voting vendors look to 2006

Michael Hardy, Federal Computer Week

Following the noisy debates over voting technology during the 2004 election, companies that make electronic voting machines are trying to plan a strategy for the future.

New federal rules will take effect before the 2006 mid-term elections. But an uncertain regulatory structure and an array of standards that differ from state to state are complicating companies' efforts.

Federal legislation that would require voting machines to generate a paper record, which never made it past a House committee last year, is again on the table, as are several other bills. Some states require the paper trail, but many do not.

Related sites:
Verified Voting
Avi Rubin’s E-voting page

Friday, March 04, 2005

The quality of the transmission is more important than the reach of the microphone

Ben Silverman has an interesting interview with a television producer about what they want from guests. Most of it is good advice, but beware of this comment:

- What about guests who fight back when the host is confrontational? "We love those us!" the producer said. "As long as the host and guest don't get personal, we love some intelligent, but excited banter. What we love most is when two guests get into it with each other."

Lets you and him fight is a favorite game of too many news organizations. Don’t be part of it. Given the choice of granting an interview to an obscure blogger who covers your industry and a food-fight cable news show, go with the blogger. You don’t want to wind up on The Daily Show’s great moments in punditry, as read by children.

New Industry Helping Banks Fight Back

Sleuths Hit Online Identity Thieves With 'Takedowns,' 'Poisoning'

But the fledgling industry as a whole has adopted divergent approaches to combating the problem, and there are signs that federal regulators could soon step in and mandate specific technologies. As a result, many banks have put off adopting the new services until the market matures. In the meantime, some security experts say, a few banks are resorting to hacker-like tactics in their own defense.

Only a fraction of the roughly 9,000 financial institutions nationwide have been targeted by phishers, but that ratio is changing for the worse each day. To date, online con artists have impersonated more than 150 banks, yet only about a third of those targets have deployed commercial protective technologies, said David Jevans, chair of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a coalition of banks and technology companies.

The anti-phishing market is so young that there is little public analyst information about how much banks are spending on the new technologies. The annual sales for each of the companies contacted for this story varied widely, ranging from less than $1 million to $20 million. But several companies only began selling their services in mid-2004, and nearly all said they expected business to double in 2005 as attackers begin targeting other industries.

Presto Vivace is guessing that this is an under reported crime.

Phishing for trouble

Presto Vivace received the following email:

From Thu Mar 3 10:35:53 2005
Received: from ([])
by (mtiwmxc14) with ESMTP
id <2005030314405301400sfedde>; Thu, 3 Mar 2005 14:40:53 +0000
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by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with SMTP id j23EelD26550
for ; Thu, 3 Mar 2005 08:40:49 -0600
Message-Id: <>
From: Charter One Banking Services
Subject: Your Charter One Bank Account
Date: Thu, 03 Mar 2005 16:40:46 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related; boundary="663523b6-25c8-4c6e-b520-68d12e8773b3"

This is a multi-part message in MIME format
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

title Charter One Bank /title
meta name=3D"keywords"
content=3D"finance,financial,online banking,personal finance,financial =
services,electronic banking,online checking,home equity loan,personal =
loan,cds,savings,wireless banking,online loans,money market,commercial =
services,business banking,business checking,lender,lender services,small =
business lending,insurance agency,life insurance,homeowners =
insurance,disability insurance">
meta name=3D"description"
content=3D"Charter One Banking Services provide our customers with banking =
services specific to them. We offer financial services, online checking and =
a variety of loans and insurance services to meet individual needs.">
link href=3D""
rel=3D"stylesheet" type=3D"text/css"
script language=3D"JavaScript"
src=3D"" /script
script language=3D"JavaScript"
src=3D"" script
body topmargin=3D"0" leftmargin=3D"0" onload=3D"globalInit()"
style=3D"background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" marginheight=3D"0"
table border=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" cellspacing=3D"10" width=3D"757"
td valign=3D"top"
table border=3D"0" cellpadding=3D"0" cellspacing=3D"0" height=3D"71"
td rowspan=3D"2" height=3D"71" valign=3D"top" width=3D"157" a
href=3D"/home/" img
alt=3D"Charter One Bank Home Page" border=3D"0" height=3D"71" hspace=3D"0"
vspace=3D"0" width=3D"157" a /td
p Dear Charter One Bank customer, br
We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your Charter One
Bank Internet Banking accountmay have been

accessed by an unauthorized third party.

Protecting the security of your account and of the Charter One Bank
network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a

preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive
account features.

To restore your account access, please take the following steps to
ensure that your account has not been compromised:

1. Login to your Charter One Bank Internet Banking account. In case you
are not enrolled for Internet Banking, you will

have to fill in all the required information, including your name and
you account number.

2. Review your recent account history for any unauthorized withdrawals
or deposits, and check you account profile to

make sure not changes have been made. If any unauthorized activity has
taken place on your account, report this to

Charter One Bank staff immediately.

To get started, please click the link below:


We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and appreciate your
assistance in helping us maintain the integrity of

the entire Charter One Bank
system. Thank you for attention to this matter.


Charter One Bank Team

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be
answered. For assistance, log in to your

Charter One Bank account and choose the "Help" link in the header of
any page.

--663523b6-25c8-4c6e-b520-68d12e8773b3-- is registered to Citizens Bank of Providence RI

Registrant: Make this info private
Citizens Bank (X24492-OR)
1 Citizens Plaza
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 1-401-734-6459


Administrative Contact , Technical Contact :
Pearson, Jill
100 Sockanosset Crossroad
RDC 850
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: 401-734-2771

Record expires on 21-Jul-2005
Record created on 22-Jul-1995
Database last updated on 01-Oct-2004

Domain servers in listed order: Manage DNS


Domain servers for Citizen’s bank are:
Domain servers in listed order: Manage DNS

DNSAUTH3.SYS.GTEI.NET is registered to:

Status: EXIST
Registrar: Co.
Registrar-no: 156
Registrant-no: 1159018
Domaine-no: 1159018
Renewal-Date: 2006/03/02
Date-Approved: 2005/03/02
Date-Modified: 2005/03/03
Organization: Tim Morrison
Admin-Name: Tim Morrison
Admin-Postal: Tim Morrison
NEw York NY 10001 United States
Admin-Phone: 665-432-7687
Tech-Name: Tim Morrison
Tech-Postal: Tim Morrison
NEw York NY 10001 United States
Tech-Phone: 665-432-7687
NS2-Hostname: is registered to:

FortuneCity.Com Inc
500 7th Ave 15th Fl
New York, NY 10018


Administrative Contact:
Admin, DNS
500 7th Ave 15th Fl
New York, NY 10018
212-706-3000 Fax: 212-706-3100

Technical Contact:
Ampira, Ampira
500 7th Avenue
15th Floor
New York, NY 10018
212-706-3000 Fax: 212-706-3100

Registration Service Provider:
Ampira (Fortune City),
This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,
DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 18-Nov-2003.
Record expires on 23-Feb-2010.
Record created on 24-Feb-1998.

Domain servers in listed order:

Information on from the Registry of Known Spam Operators:

Brian Kos / BK Ventures / Internet Promos

Another long time spammer. Normally spams for hire using free websites or "fake free websites" that either he, or a spamming partner run. Normally spams porn and illegal stock hyping schemes.

AKA: Kos, Bryan (BK5110) bryankos@HOTMAIL.COM
BK Ventures, Inc.
850 Bidwell St. #1004
Vancouver, BC V6G2J8 CA


Thursday, March 03, 2005

FEC proposes regulations for blogs

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Ed Cone points to this very troubling story in CNET:

Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

Fellow bloggers, I hope you will join me in shooting down this trial balloon before it gets anywhere.

The Iron Mouth adds some perspective.

John Aravosis provides some historical context.

Trudy Schuett says not quite.

Armando monitors developments.

Electrolite provides additional insight.

Mark Schmitt comments.

Additional background from the Iron Mouth.

The Online Coalition

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

samil jul

The Samil (March First) Independence Movement, Korea

The only bad publicity is no publicity?

Paris Hilton’s hacked Sidekick means higher sales for T-Mobile

Swampy weed suggests whole state order recover open trust

Tom Braman:

Has your government considered machine translation of its Web site? Or worse, are you actually doing it? My advice: Don't go there, or you could end up with a headline in the paper the way the Washington's Secretary of State did today, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times:

(Section 203 Voting Rights Coalition member) Debbie Hsu says something was lost in translation when Washington residents who speak Chinese tried to view the Secretary of State's Web site in their native language. The Web site lets visitors view the site in different languages, but the Chinese translation was apparently way off. For example, a statement about Secretary of State Sam Reed proposing "statewide mandates to restore public trust" was translated as "Swampy weed suggests whole state order recover open trust," according to Hsu and others in the Section 203 Voting Rights Coalition. ... The office pays a California company, Systran, about $6,000 a year for use of translation software that takes the English version and currently allows people to view it in Russian, Japanese, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Machine translation, as you're probably aware, is where computers do all the work, and is estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 75 percent correct. Where I work, we considered using Systran, which apparently holds a corner on the machine-translation market (AltaVista's Babelfish and others lean heavily on Systran). The debate among internal staff was between giving residents a rough translation of everything on the Web site using machine translation, or instead providing residents with accurate translations (edited/reviewed by experts) of only a smattering of critical Web pages. During out test of Systrans' software, we encountered the many, many instances of "swampy weeds," and we were worried: What if a resident made a costly--or worse, deadly--decision based on mistranslated information? The possibilities were too numerous (even with a disclaimer), and instead we chose to use language experts to translate only specific parts of our Web site (into at least Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese). The City of Bellevue went through a similar process, and identified the top 200 or so pages on its Web site and translated them the same way, into Spanish.

Another weakness of the Systran solution was its lack of languages critical in our region, including Vietnamese, Tagalog, Mon-Khmer, Ukrainian, and Somali, all of which represent larger communities than Italian speakers.

The Secretary of State's Office, which is fooling itself if it thinks the problem is restricted to Chinese and Korean, should take the step that Denver did -- once a Systran customer. Two years ago, when its new Spanish-speaking Chief Information Officer took over, the city called Systran and ended the deal, and stopped using the machine-translation service.

In the end, we made a decision on machine translation that maps to Debra Hsu's take on the Secretary of State's site:

She said, "having no translation is better than having very bad translation."

Observations from a government communicator

Why I'm proud to be a flack

When pr pros from the national capital chapter of PRSA gather at the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Hotel on March 10 to induct two new members into their hall of fame, they will hold a panel session entitled, "I'm Not a Flack." (Read the news release.)

Personally, I love the term flack, just in case you hadn't noticed. It's a fun nickname that I find it in no way pejorative. I enjoy the in-your-face honesty of calling myself a flack. By adopting the term, I intend to send a signal to others that I have fun doing what I do for a living, and I'm comfortable in my own skin.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

AIIM Content Solutions Seminar, March 16

It's all about how you MANAGE your business DOCUMENTS.

The Challenge:
Faxes, invoices, reports, forms, case notes, emails, images, spreadsheets, web pages, presentations, contracts, customer records...

Whether your organization is large or small, chances are you're inundated with information in the form of content, documents, and records. And it doesn't have to be in hard copy to create problems with storage and retrieval. Information drives our core business capabilities and yet it's an asset we frequently neglect.

The Solution:
Taking steps to manage your paper and electronic content can dramatically improve business performance, reduce costs and risk, streamline processes, and improve efficiencies, no matter what industry you are in, or what size your organization.

At the AIIM Content Management Solutions Seminar we'll show how to do just that. This FREE educational forum is designed for anyone using information management processes and systems. Spend a little time with AIIM, and gain a huge amount of information and knowledge from industry experts and your peers.

Washington, DC
March 16, 2005
Renaissance Washington
999 Ninth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Hotel Telephone: 202-898-9000

Previewing the Tech and IP Agendas in the 109th Congress

INDUCE Act Blog offers a preview. Senator Ted Stevens, chair of the Commerce Committee, will be looking into the 1996 Telecommunications law, asking:

What can we do to remove barriers to entry for new technologies?

What can we do to provide certainty and promote capital investment in new technology?

How can we enable the Internet to improve lives and keep America competitive in the global marketplace?

Are our anti-spam laws working, or is there more we could do and should do?

Should states be permitted to tax phone service that is provided over the Internet, or should we make the tax moratorium that the last Congress approved permanent?

When it comes to spyware, how can we satisfy Americans’ need for privacy with the need for innovation and growth in the e-business community?

Should Voice-Over IP be free of regulation, or should it pay into the Universal Service Fund?

In this age of global terrorism, how can we best address law enforcement’s needs in the new VOIP environment?

Should telephone companies be required to acquire a cable franchise if they provide video movies and shows that compete with cable?

Should we protect movie producers, musicians, and other artists from piracy, or should we allow all material to be exchanged freely over the Internet even if some of it was stolen?

Dan Gillmor doesn't think much of Senator Stevens' proposals.

Blogging Planet Officially Launches

Enter the Conversation

A few months ago, a group of bloggers and communications professionals met for lunch in Paris. We gathered to explore an idea: forming a partnership to bring our expertise in new communications tools to organizations in Europe and the US.

Today represents a culmination of months of hard work and an exciting beginning: Blogging Planet is live!

Our approach is differentiated by our philosophy: it is the medium -- the network you build -- that matters, not the message -- the content. We believe that this focus on content is preventing people from seeing the more important issue: the value derived through the creation, maintenance and use of a powerful network of ongoing conversations amongst the widest possible audience, all leading in one form or another back to your organization.

From Elizabeth Albrycht, Christophe Ducamp, Guillaume du Gardier, and Neville Hobson. Not just in the ordinary way.