Friday, June 27, 2008


By now everyone who reads this blog knows what a huge fan I am of the New York Football Giants. What you may not know is where I go for my daily dose of breaking Giants news. Of course I check BBI on a daily basis, but that site is only updated daily, so for breaking news and discussion, I head for the Giants newsgroup on Usenet (for the truly geeky, it's There, I can find out what other Giants fans are reading, watching, and thinking, and occasionally I even participate in the discussion.

But all that just got a lot harder. In an egregious example of overstepping the authority of one's office, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has strongarmed several major internet service providers into dropping most or all access to Usenet newsgroups. The reason? 88 out of over 100,000 of them--that's around .08%--contained some form of child porn. Does this sound like overkill to you? Why not ban digital cameras? Or analog cameras and scanners? That would ensure that no one ever trades child porn again ever. Or extend it into other areas of life. Want to reduce highway fatalities? Ban automobiles--everyone takes the train! But wait, once in a while, people get hit by trains (either accidentally or as a means of suicide). So it looks like we're back to the ol' Foot 'n' Leather Express.

The Founding Fathers thought that the right to free and open speech and expression was so important that they made it the very first piece of the Bill of Rights. But Cuomo doesn't seem to care, extorting ISPs with the threat of bad publicity, since, as the CNet article stresses, using the law to accomplish this has already been ruled unconstitutional. Hopefully, the ACLU (who, in their defense, was involved in overturning Pennsylvania's attempt to legislate Internet censorship) will take a break from defending terrorists and rapists and put the pressure on New York and the ISPs to bring back our newsgroups. My Giants offseason depends on it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tech Tip: Clean Your System

One of our staff introduced me to a great little utility last week to clean up (and speed up) Windows-based systems. It's called CrapCleaner, or CCleaner for short. There's not much to it--just download it (it's freeware), install it, and run it until it says there's nothing left to clean. It doesn't take too long to run, and most of the default settings work just fine. My only caveat is to think twice before letting it clean up your Internet Explorer/Firefox stuff. Chances are if you've got saved passwords/browser histories/recently typed URLs, you've got them for a reason, and deleting them won't give you much of a speed boost. Other than that, this is a great little utility for computers that haven't been formatted in a while.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Memoriam: Tim Russert 1950-2008

I was asked over the weekend if I would be taking down the farting video that I posted a couple of weeks ago in light of Tim Russert's passing on Friday. The answer is no, I won't, but I will take a moment to pay respect to a good newsman. Russert did a better job than most at attempting to put his personal views aside and present a balanced viewpoint, always asking the tough questions regardless of the subject's political affiliations. Russert's voice will be missed among the mainstream media elite.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


With the start of the NFL's training camp season right around the corner, one of my all-time favorite Giants, Michael Strahan, announced his retirement yesterday. I'm a little surprised that he'd walk away from a guaranteed $4 million (with bonuses rumored to kick in at the almost-surely-reachable level of 6 sacks), especially to rebuild his war chest after his shrew of an ex-wife cleaned him out, but I can respect his desire to go out with his health more or less intact and as a Super Bowl champion. He has the single season sack record, and he's still nearly 60 sacks behind the career record, so that one is likely forever out of his reach. It would have been nice of him to have let his team, his coach, or at least his front office staff know of his decision before announcing it to the press, but for the most part, his departure was fittingly dignified. Let's just hope he's learned a thing or two from Tiki Barber and leaves behind any petty grudges he may have had in the locker room as he searches for a job in the broadcast booth. Thanks for fifteen great years, captain.