Archive for August, 2008

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VOTING MACHINES SHOULD NEVER, EVER, NEED ANTI-VIRUS!!!!!

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Last January I said that ‘No rational person can have any confidence in unauditable game console voting machines‘.

Today I find out that these horrible voting machines are even worse than I thought. Calling them ‘game consoles’ gives them too much credit.

I find it staggering that these voting machines are running Windows, and predictably, have problems with their antivirus software!

Every politician involved in buying these devices is an idiot. Period. You with the tinfoil hat, don’t tell me that this is the result of some kind of diabolical conspiracy to change the outcome of elections. These devices are too unreliable to be used by even the most dim-witted evil mastermind.

A better word for these devices would be ‘election randomizer’.

Let me say that since 1994 I have made my living writing programs that run on Windows. Windows is a great operating system for a general purpose computer. If you want one computer for word processing, internet surfing, networking, graphics, games, etc then you can’t beat windows.

The problem is that Windows must make many compromises to ensure that it can support all these different type of applications. Windows is pretty much a monolith. Unlike most other computer operating systems end users of Windows cannot remove many of the parts of it not required for their applications. Windows is pretty much a take it or leave it OS. The monolithic property of Windows is the result of a sensible design decision by Microsoft that every flavor of Windows will run just about every application ever written for Windows, and that one Windows machine can run many different types of applications. Microsoft did a great job writing this multi-purpose OS. It is the software equivalent of a Leatherman Tool. It can do lots of things decently, but almost nothing as well as a tool designed for a single purpose.

You don’t do brain surgery with a Leatherman!

Using any flavor of Windows for a single purpose application like voting is totally insane!!!!! Making a single purpose console like a voting machine run windows is like using a locomotive to push a shopping cart!

The ‘designers’ (I use the word laughingly) of this ‘Premier Election Solutions’ outfit would have been far better off using an X-Box, Wii, or Playstation for their voting device. These game consoles have strong security to prevent the running of unauthorized software. Compared to Windows, they have cleaner and much simpler operating systems.

Of course a sensible, responsible software engine would never use Windows for a single purpose dedicated console type application requiring high security.

Again, I’m a 14 year windows application developer. I like Windows a lot. But Windows is not suitable for this kind of single purpose device!!! Words cannot describe the horror of these types of voting machines. It takes an artist:

XKCD

The next time you vote, see if you are using a ‘Premier’ or ‘Diebold’ device. If so, then accept that your vote is meaningless.

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Is the Bear coming out of the woods?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

This business between Russia and Georgia has me very worried. You’d have to be blind not to see the parallels with the start of World War II.

Where are the human shields? Where are the million Moms now that we need them? When will Dennis Kucinich start impeachment proceedings against Putin?

There seems to be nothing to do but stand by and watch our friends get kicked in the teeth. Oh, I did hear on the radio today that we hope to persuade the U.N. to issue a strong denunciation. I’m sure Putin is quivering with fear of the U.N.

This week will go down in the history books I’m sure of it. We can enjoy the Olympics and try not to think about this. But the bear looks to be on a rampage and there’s nothing the West can do. There isn’t a Western nation left with the will to oppose Russia. Or Iran for that matter.

You know the crazies in charge of Iran are watching with interest. It’s just one more data point showing them that they can do any damn thing they want and nobody will oppose them. They are holding the other shoe, and I expect it to drop soon.

At a minimum we in the United States must vote for McCain. Obama just got the 3am phone call, and he’s afraid to pick up the phone. Can you imagine Obama trying to stand up to Putin? It is to laugh.

It’s time for McCain to dust off the famous ‘Bear in the Woods’ ad. It’s more relevant today than when it first ran in 1984:

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Random thoughts for beginning riders

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Here’s a video containing some stream-of-consciousness thoughts for beginning motorcycle riders.

I promise some non-motorcycle content real soon now.

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I’m about to upgrade WordPress

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I hope my blog survives this process.

Comments still broken. What’s this ‘security code’ thing?

update: Comments might be working. Maybe.