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Dialogue With USA, Bad Idea… For Iran

by @ 5:42 pm
Filed under: politics — Tags: ,

The latest on the nuclear stale-mate with Iran is a report suggesting that Iran's imminent and reform-minded administration may be interested in direct talks with the US. I am no fan of the Iranian regime but a much lesser fan of the American foreign policy. America has proven time and time again that it can not be trusted. It may fight its enemies but it stabs its friends in the back. Here are some notable figures who trusted America and paid a heavy price for it.

  • In 1953 Mohammad Mosaddegh having established a fledgling democracy in Iran was overthrown by a CIA-backed coup that brought the Shah (Pahlavi dynasty) back to power and re-established western control (exploitation) of the Iranian oil. Mosaddegh eventually died under house arrest.
  • In 1978 America abandoned the same Shah (whom had been called a close ally) allowing the cleric-inspired revolution to establish a new regime in Iran. While on the run or his life from the revolutionaries this close friend was allowed in the US for only a short period and was subsequently forced out of the country. The Shah eventually died in Egypt where a true friend (Sadat) became his host.
  • Manuel Noriega of Panama, a CIA collaborator for many years, was captured after the US invasion of Panama and was imprisoned in Florida. He was eventually returned to Panama and is serving what is tantamount to a life sentence there.
  • Saddam Hussein of Iraq was once a strong ally of the US. He was visited by many American politicians such as Donald Rumsfeld and was financially and militarily aided by the US during the Iran-Iraq war. A few years later the US invaded Iraq, killed his sons, and captured him. He was subsequently hanged.
  • Muammar Qaddafi of Libya was once an enemy of the US. He eventually made peace with the US destroying his arsenal of chemical weapons as a peaceful gesture. His high hopes were dashed however when American planes began to bomb Libya and the American-backed Libyan rebels captured and killed him during the Libyan civil war.
  • Hosni Mubarak, a staunch US ally was deposed by the Egyptian revolutionaries in 2011. America turned its back on its ally by remaining silent even when Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison.

Going by history, it seems safer to be an American enemy than to be its friend. Khomeini of Iran, Kim of North Korea, Chavez of Venezuela, and Castro of Cuba were only removed from power by the forces of nature, proving that keeping the US at a safe distance can extend one's life. Iran should consider its options with the US very carefully. It is after-all a perilous path with proven disastrous results for those who may be tempted to trust the US.

Hot Humid Running

by @ 5:04 pm
Filed under: running-hiking

A dome of heat and humidity has covered the northeast for some time now and doesn't seem ready to move on. Running in such condition isn't fun, but some of us endorphin junkies don’t have a choice. Conditions be damned, the run must go on.

Read an interesting and humorous article on this and some of the points make perfect sense to me, in particular, the dislike of waking up at dawn to beat the heat, and the dread of going to the gym.

Eventually the cold and short days will be here forcing me back into the gym on weekdays. For now, I just wipe, wring out, and shake off the sweat, happy to have avoided the gym for one more day.

Network Solutions, More Like Network Problems

by @ 10:16 pm
Filed under: hacking,internet — Tags: ,

Network Solutions (netsol), the company behind domain names had a rough day today and it dragged its customers down with it. Apparently a DDoS attack knocked out their network making hosted web sites and DNS servers inaccessible. This site, while not hosted on netsol, does have its name servers hosted with them and so it had several outages while netsol was combating the attack.

I don't understand how a company like netsol could fall prey to such attacks. Netsol has been around for decades, they are the original Internic, the only domain provider back when domains were free. I'm sure they have deep pockets and lots of experts working for them. Surely they have fat enough pipes to absorb such attacks and leave plenty of capacity for their users. And to make matters worse, the company's social outlets like Facebook and Twitter were silent for hours during the outage.

Things seem to be back to normal now, but if these guys can't get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Older Chrome Extensions to Go Away

by @ 1:33 pm
Filed under: google — Tags:

I have two free Chrome extensions published a few years ago on the Chrome Web Store. NOREF is an extension that attempts to alter links on web pages so no referer info is sent to servers. JunkFill is the other extension that lets users fill out web page forms with random or pre-determined data with one click.

Recently I received an email from Chrome Web Store that they are ending support for manifest version 1 in favor of version 2. V1 extensions will no longer be indexed in the store as of June and they will no longer run in Chrome by the end of this year. I think this is a good idea as many of the older or abandoned extensions will be swept away making room for newer ones.

There are some significant differences between the two manifest versions. So if you have any older extensions, published or not, it's a good time to get busy and make the updates to stay current with version 2. Mine are updated already.

AdSense, 10 Years Old and My 72-Hour Warning

by @ 3:04 pm
Filed under: business,google,web — Tags:

AdSense, Google's affiliate advertising product for publishers is 10 years old and I just received a warning from them that one of my sites, padfly.com, does not conform to their policies and I have 3 "working" days to clean it up or else they would block their ads on that site forever. Should I cheer or jeer?

For some time AdSense has stated that web pages on sex, violence, gambling, racial matters and other such topics are off limits for their product. padfly.com is not inherently notorious, but because people can create public pages and save any text data to them, some of the pages will inevitably have objectionable content. Policing that site is just not practical.

I have been with Adsense almost since its inception and would certainly not want to raise the ire of Google. It pays enough to cover the cost of running this site. I can also understand why Google would not want to taint its product with pages and sites that are not family friendly. At least they gave a warning instead of abruptly killing my account.

So dear AdSense folks, happy 10th and to comply with your rules I pulled Adsense from padfly.com completely. Fair enough?

Food on Google

by @ 10:27 am
Filed under: google,health — Tags: ,

I'm not a health nut but I do run regularly and enjoy eating healthy food. I don't know a vegetable or fruit that I don't like, a trait inherited from my late father. Sometimes I like to look up the nutrition info on a banana or broccoli just for fun and now Google has made it easier by producing nutrition results on the first search page.

I use Google for a lot more than just search. It's a great calculator, has references on a variety of topics such as space, chemistry, health, drug facts, geography, and historical names or events. Now Google also comes with quick facts on food, be it broccoli, banana, or just water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice 🙂

Goggles Can't Read QR Code

by @ 3:08 pm
Filed under: google — Tags: ,

Not sure if it's the latest version of Goggles app or if it's Jelly Bean, but since upgrading my Samsung Galaxy S2 to Android Jelly Bean, Goggles can't read the majority of QR codes it encounters. I had a friend try Goggles on his Jelly Bean HTC and it was the same situation.

Another friend with an iPhone barcode app didn't have any issues. I even tried Goggles with Google  Charts' QR code generator (long deprecated but still generating) and still had no luck.

For now it seems like users must find other apps to scan QR codes. In my case I switched to the built-in AT&T barcode scanner in my smartphone and it is working just fine.

PRISM, Spies, and Leaks

by @ 12:22 pm
Filed under: hacking,law — Tags: , ,

While the US and much of the world is embroiled in the so-called scandal of US government spying on its citizens, I am left wondering why this is news at all?

The Patriot Act enacted after September 11, 2001 was designed to do exactly that, spy on voice and data communications in the US. Yes there are some subtleties in the act to supposedly protect the constitutional rights of the Americans, but really, who would believe any of that?

I fail to see the uproar on the so-called leak because it's just absurd. What do people think organizations such as the NSA or CIA do all day? They listen to conversations, intercept emails, mine data, and decipher intelligence based on events. That's what they were set up to do.

When I make a phone call to my mother in Iran, the whole time there are pops, hisses, clicks, and various tones. Some may be line issues, but I bet most are a bunch of people or recording devices eavesdropping on the phone call in Iran and the US. Of course in this case, it's a bunch of boring news about family members and who got married or divorced or had a child or passed away.

So Guardian pays some low-level NSA employee in Hong Kong a bunch of money to reveal secrets about the US government spying on its people. Who knows, maybe the Chinese want to divert attention from their own hacking, or perhaps it's just a sham by the US government to serve its own end in some manner.

Whatever the case those secrets were not much of a secret at all. What's next, Iranian government spying on its people? I had no idea, that is shockingly outrageous.

The End of Cheap Domains

by @ 4:30 pm
Filed under: internet — Tags:

Got an email from 1&1, the German domain and hosting company, that their domain pricing is being raised.

In order to stay competitive and continue to offer you excellent services, we need to adjust our pricing structure. The following new domain rates will be changed to $14.99/year, dependent on your individual renewal date, at earliest on 07/01/2013.

Hate it when companies sugar coat their message to justify the price gouging. Just tell us you're raising the price and STFU with the rest of the stuff. What kind of an idiot would ever believe that you're doing this for your customers?

I'd like to say that I remember the days when domains were going for $4.95/year and 1&1 was one proponent of cheap pricing. The truth however is that I remember the days when domains were given away for free by Internic, the predecessor of today's Network Solutions.

The good old days when good domain names were free and plentiful. I was too lazy and conceited to grab few names then, like it was beneath me to take 2 minutes to register a few. How time changes one's perspective.

So Long Orumieh (Rezaiyeh) Lake

by @ 3:01 pm
Filed under: environment — Tags: ,

When I was growing up in Iran, one of the places I always wanted to visit the Orumieh (Urmia) lake in the north-western part of the country. The lake was known as Rezaieh lake prior to the Islamic revolution in the country.

People had amazing stories of biodiversity and beauty in and around the lake. The lake, the biggest in Middle East, was apparently so salty that one couldn't even sink in it.

Unfortunately I never got the chance to visit this beautiful part of Iran and the Orumieh lake and apparently I will never have that opportunity. As it turns out the lake seems to be drying up and disappearing forever, thanks to mismanagement, excessive development, and environmental factors.

It takes humanity to destroy such beauty. Shame 🙁

Picture courtesy of TIME's Timelapse project, powered by Google.

 

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