The Gizmo Project

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 10 Oct 2005 12:00:00 GMT
# John Bergstrom's Attack Cartoons have returned. Yay!
The girlfriend left, lost my job, broke my back in a motorcycle accident. Things stopped being funny for a while. Am slowly rebuilding the site. Much thanks to the new webmonster. Hope to have new cartoons up every week. Will have the archives-links-portfolio sections sorted out soon.

Keep your eyes peeled - Attack Cartoons is back!

# Sharon Humphreys at Weekly World News - SECONDHAND FAT KILLS! . . . It's more deadly than smoke - satire, I think, but who can tell any more. Hilarious, though. And almost as ridiculous as secondhand smoke. [root]

# L. Neil Smith at The Libertarian Enterprise - Anybody But George? Anybody But Hillary? - the Republicans have done such a bad job of it that's it's pretty certain we'll have a Democrat in the White House come 2009. Neil reminds those who may have forgotten that the two major parties aren't really very different. He has some questions for Hillary Clinton to prove it. [tle]

# L. Neil Smith at The Libertarian Entperise - The Family Gunsmith - Neil proposes a series of home gunsmithing articles, to be hosted by web subscribing web sites. [tle]

I will show you how to make and install a brightly-colored plastic insert in the front sight of your revolver.

I will show you how to fit a "bird's head" grip frame on your single-action sixgun.

I will show you where to get a cartridge cylinder for your cap and ball revolver, and how to install it.

I will take you with me as I experiment to see how well muzzle compensators work, and whether they're safe and worthwhile for street use.

I'll also upgrade a Clinton-era semiautomatic pistol so it becomes completely serviceable.

I will share a simple secret with you about improving Pachmayr's rubber grips, and how to find the perfect models even though they aren't made any more.

I will also show you how to alter a factory holster so that it fits your handgun perfectly, or how to alter factory knife sheath (they're almost always badly designed) so that it's ten times handier and more useful.

I'll show you how to design and make a simple holster for yourself.

# The Gizmo Project is a Skype competitor in the voice over IP (VOIP) domain. The user interface looks a lot like Skype, and it has lots of Skype's features. One big difference I noticed is that calling out to the plain old telephone system (POTS) is full duplex with Gizmo (both people can talk at the same time, just like a regular phone), but only half duplex with Skype (only one person can talk at a time). It sounds more frequency limited than Skype, but it also has fewer pops and clicks and dropouts. I talked with my mother on the POTS and to a friend in Germany Gizmo-to-Gizmo. Worked well. They have call-in numbers in a number of American cities from which people can call in to your Gizmo "SIP" number. The caller pays for the call to the city. You pay nothing to receive. You can also get a direct dial-in number in a number of US and UK cities for $5/month. Voice mail is free and is emailed to you. You can make free conferences with other Gizmo users or with POTS and VOIP users. You can record a call in progress. A female voice announces when the recording begins and ends. The recording is saved on your disk as a ".wav" file. It supports instant messaging to other Gizmo users or to Jabber users (if "gizmoid" is your Gizmo login, then your Jabber address is, but appears to support only one-on-one in that mode. Clients are available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux, though the Linux client is still in alpha. Google plans to make their Google Talk VOIP interoperate with Gizmo. There's a short Gizmo Project Wikipedia page. My Gizmo ID is "billstclair".

# Scott Granneman - Skype security and privacy concerns - Mr. Granneman agrees with me that eBay's purchase of Skype bodes ill for Skype's security. I'd wager they'll put a back-door in their encryption real soon.

That's bad enough, but now Skype is going to be owned by eBay. I know that lots of people just loooove eBay. I use them myself, most recently to enhance my Li'l Abner comics collection, but I'm careful about the information I give them. Why? Well, it seems that there are three kinds of companies: those that fight for customers' privacy in the face of the demands of law enforcement; those that require some sort of official, constitutionally-mandated documents - like, oh, say, a warrant or subpoena - before handing over customer info to the cops; and eBay.

Think I'm being a little harsh on eBay? At the CyberCrime 2003 conference, Joseph E. Sullivan, Director of Compliance and Law Enforcement Relations for eBay, had this to say to a group of law enforcement officials:

"I know from investigating eBay fraud cases that eBay has probably the most generous policy of any internet company when it comes to sharing information. We do not require a subpoena except for very limited circumstances. We require a subpoena when we need the financial information from the site, credit card info or sometimes IP information. ... So, that really opens the door for us. That means that what our policy is that if you are law enforcement agency you can fax us on your letterhead to request information: who is that beyond the seller ID, who is beyond this user ID. We give you their name, their address, their e-mail address and we can give you their sales history without a subpoena. ... We will probably tell you too that you might want to get a subpoena because we are looking for credit card info and you ask that. ... We also do other things to facilitate your investigation by looking and doing some searches around on our own, typically to see if there are some other user ID's associated with that thing. ... We are doing a lot of work with law enforcement agencies."

# Alan W. Bock at The Orange County Register via - Decontaminating the university - commentary on Donald Alexander Downs' new book, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus. It is possible to eliminate politically correct censorship, but it takes work. [lew]

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