anidiot writes: The Russian police arrested a hacker who replaced billboard ads with hard porn. The man, Igor Blinnikov of Novorossiisk, a Black Sea port city in Russia, hacked the outdoor video ad screens via a server in Grozny, Chechnya. For 18 minutes dumbfounded drivers on the main highway circling Moscow could see a couple doing sex instead of ads, with some shooting it on mobile phones (the original article in Russian). When caught, the man turned out to be a 40 year old former sysadmin, moonlighting as a taxi driver due to lack of work. "What else could I do with my time?" — he offered by way of explanation, — "I was bored and just wanted to share some porn from my collection with the people."
anidiot writes: "In my international consulting, I've had to quickly sign and return a PDF document. I've finally broken down and got Acrobat Professional which allows to electronically sign, and created a signature as a combination of the graphical image I drew in Photoshop and an identity Acrobat created. It looks good and surely beats a faxed or scanned image. The question is, automatic crypto-verification of these signatures works only when they are certified by a trusted server. Now Adobe points to its Certified Document Services providers. Among the four listed there, only one, GlobalSign, has prices listed on the site — starting at $395 a year with up to 500 signatures. It includes a USB token. Others simply invite to "Call Us," indicating what prices could be. All this is sprinkled with "enterprise solutions" speak.
Is there an Open Source way to PDF document signing? PDFs can be created and read with Open Source tools. Yet maintaining a trusted authority requires an investment. Making hardware USB keys takes money. Is Open Source capable of supporting such a system? Notice that we need specifically a solution which would work with Acrobat, just GPGing the whole file doesn't cut it."
anidiot writes: "Recently I got MoneyWell to budget my finances and TimeSlice to track my time. I'm trying to implement GTD in OmniFocus and iCal, and I have a hosted Zimbra account to which I try to sync all of it. I've spent more time fixing syncing issues, such as CalDAV supported in Zimbra 5, than doing either the planning or the work. My Outlook-bound friends spend lots of time organizing hierarchical folders reflecting their stressful Microsoft lives, spreading emails from bosses across them, bucketing and rebucketing them, linking with todo items and calendars. My Amazon friends survive hundreds of emails a day coloring those from the bosses, creating Outlook rules, etc. Do you find software for organizing events, todo items, and planning generally helpful, — or taking more time and complicating things? Is it ultimately a way to stay glued to the screen or sip coffee with a MacBook "planning" instead of just doing it — calling, running errands, cleaning the garage, programming, etc.? Does software like OmniFocus or TimeSlice or MoneyWell actually improve your quality of life?"
anidiot writes: "A colleague at Amazon once asked on a list, "is there a tool to turn off Google News"? And a wise elder answered, "Yes: it's called the will power." We're prone to distraction and information overflow. PDA users spend more time on syncing issues than on entering data, and prioritization techniques take more time than sorting out the actual priorities. Tools like MindMaps and OmniFocus exist, but probably provide more eye candy than actual improvement.
How do you, as an IT professional, cope with organizing actionable information such as todo lists? How do you balance exploration versus exploitation — e.g., learning Erlang or OCaml instead of programming in C++ and then doing the job faster and having more fun doing (and less hassle maintaining) it, as a positive sidetrack, or spending weeks on hacking Mephisto instead of blogging in boring WordPress, as a negative distraction? How can you increase the feeling of accomplishment by the end of the day, thanks to — or despite, or regardless of — the tools you use, and not feel guilty about learning Lisp or Haskell instead of hacking.Net?
A researcher at Dartmouth College would like to generalize the techniques which actually work in the real world of computer technology, calling the methods of saving yourself from braindamage Mind Economy. What other insights can you share for making your mind work and feel better when dealing with information flows?"