Then sometime during hour # 13, while mindlessly flipping channels, I found this:
Don't you hate it when you're stuck on a plan and don't know which way it is to Mecca?
Grand Theft Auto IV
Only shame of it is that this doesn't get released until October (Insha'Allah). So then what do they expect us to do here for entertainment whilst avoiding the 45+ C summer heat?
The Graffiti Research Lab has developed a "laser-tag" system to project images onto buildings and other public surfaces.
Last night @ 2200 hours, the GRL laser-tag system went online and fully operational. The laser tag system status is GO and we are calling all writers in the Netherlands to please report to Rotterdam most riki-tik for training and deployment. The GRL will be turning over control of the system to writers, protesters, artists and the citizens of Rotterdam from the 7th to the 10th, starting each night around 1600 hours at the KPN building in Rotterdam. If you've ever wanted to catch a 20-story high tag with a laser beam, WE WANT YOU!
Graffiti Research Labs - Tagging in action
With the removal of these cultural shackles, it's only a matter of time until the hit single "Stars are Blind" will finally achieve its rightful place in Dubai Eye Radio's Top Ten.
Or we could just find a way to get around this damn internet filter .... which is exactly what I've done
I don't want to start posting urls for fear that they (or this blog for that matter) get blocked, but in a nutshell what I did after a few unsuccessful attempts using popular web proxies was to actually write my own HTTPS proxy page. Trust me, it's nothing fancy, it's just a page on a server located outside of the UAE where you can enter a url and click a submit button. The page then loads all of the text/images from the web page you want to view and re-displays them itself, thus acting as a simple proxy around the firewall. Links on the page are re-written to point back to the proxy server, so any pages you browse to from the first page will also go through the same process. Additionally, since the page is HTTPS, big brother will have a harder time seeing what you're actually up to.
Unfortunately, getting images to display was another matter. Since my server is Java-based that's what I used to write the proxy, and the plain and simple truth is that to actually get a servlet to load an image from a url and then properly output it to the HTTP response is neither plain nor simple. Although Java is perfectly capable of doing this seemingly simple task, there wasn't much in the way of documentation anywhere online. So pardon me for geeking out here for a moment, but I want to spell this out so nobody else has to go through the pain of figuring this out from scratch.
How to load an image from a url and redisplay it in a Java Servlet:
- create a url object
- calculate the image's dimensions
- create a java.awt Image object
- convert this into a BufferedImage
- render the awt Image into a BufferedImage so it may be output in the appropriate form
- output the BufferedImage to the Servlet Response
URL url = new URL("www.mysite.com/someimage.jpg"); ImageIcon ii = new ImageIcon(url); int w = ii.getIconWidth(); int h = ii.getIconHeight(); java.awt.Image image = ii.getImage(); BufferedImage bufferedImage = new BufferedImage(w, h, BufferedImage.TYPE_INT_RGB); Graphics2D g2d = bufferedImage.createGraphics(); g2d.drawImage(image, 0, 0, null); g2d.dispose(); response.setContentType("image/jpeg"); ImageIO.write(bufferedImage,"jpeg",response.getOutputStream()); response.flushBuffer();
(If you know a better way of doing this in Java, perhaps one where you don't have to jump through so many hoops, please let me know).
At any rate, this web proxy got me up and running so I could surf to the useful (and previously blocked) websites and finally locate an excellent project run by a University that offers a network of high-performance proxy servers which miraculously are not yet blocked. For further information about web proxies or to get a copy of the full source code of my HTTPS web proxy, drop me a line and I'd be happy to email them to you.
"There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches"
A huge imagery update has been made to Google Maps and Google Earth and you can now see all of Dubai in high-res, including the Palm islands and the Burj Al Arab (7 star hotel). I briefly entertained the notion of throwing a google sightseeing map together, but then I came to by senses and instead will be off shortly to watch England trounce Portugal.
A few quick links:
WILLIAM SAFIRE, The New York Times, writes:
Weiss worked down the hall from me in the Nixon administration. In early 1974, he wrote a report on Soviet advances in technology through purchasing and copying that led the beleaguered president - detente notwithstanding - to place restrictions on the export of computers and software to the U.S.S.R.
Seven years later, we learned how the K.G.B. responded. I was writing a series of hard-line columns denouncing the financial backing being given Moscow by Germany and Britain for a major natural gas pipeline from Siberia to Europe. That project would give control of European energy supplies to the Communists, as well as generate $8 billion a year to support Soviet computer and satellite research.
President Franois Mitterrand of France also opposed the gas pipeline. He took President Reagan aside at a conference in Ottawa on July 19, 1981, to reveal that France had recruited a key K.G.B. officer in Moscow Center.
Col. Vladimir Vetrov provided what French intelligence called the Farewell dossier. It contained documents from the K.G.B. Technology Directorate showing how the Soviets were systematically stealing or secretly buying through third parties the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep the Russians nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength through the 70's. In effect, the U.S. was in an arms race with itself.
Reagan passed this on to William J. Casey, his director of central intelligence, now remembered only for the Iran-contra fiasco. Casey called in Weiss, then working with Thomas C. Reed on the staff of the National Security Council. After studying the list of hundreds of Soviet agents and purchasers (including one cosmonaut) assigned to this penetration in the U.S. and Japan, Weiss counseled against deportation.
Instead, according to Reed a former Air Force secretary whose fascinating cold war book, "At the Abyss," will be published by Random House next month Weiss said: "Why not help the Soviets with their shopping? Now that we know what they want, we can help them get it." The catch: computer chips would be designed to pass Soviet quality tests and then to fail in operation.
In our complex disinformation scheme, deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense sent Russian scientists down paths that wasted time and money.
The technology topping the Soviets' wish list was for computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the K.G.B. sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by Farewell, we added what geeks call a "Trojan Horse" to the pirated product.
"The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," writes Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."
Our Norad monitors feared a nuclear detonation, but satellites that would have picked up its electromagnetic pulse were silent. That mystified many in the White House, but "Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry. It took him another twenty years to tell me why."
Farewell stayed secret because the blast in June 1982, estimated at three kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known. Nor was the red-faced K.G.B. about to complain publicly about being tricked by bogus technology. But all the software it had stolen for years was suddenly suspect, which stopped or delayed the work of thousands of worried Russian technicians and scientists.
Vetrov was caught and executed in 1983. A year later, Bill Casey ordered the K.G.B. collection network rolled up, closing the Farewell dossier. Gus Weiss died from a fall a few months ago. Now is a time to remember that sometimes our spooks get it right in a big way.