Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Predator Open-Feed

Someone finally came up this week...with the Air Force's Predator recon bird...and admitted in public that the data feed was totally open and could be reviewed by anyone with a copy of a $30 piece of software. The neat thing that the Army learned from captured laptops in Iraq and Afghanistan...was that the bad guys...had a copy of the software...and had been watching the same Predator feeds for several years apparently.

Now, alot of political figures are naturally upset.

It is a funny thing. I sat in our vault back in 1999/2000 timeframe and we had a simple satellite dish set up and had the data feed from the Balkins coming across a TV screen there. It was interesting to watch minute by minute video feed of some truck traveling down a mountain road. I had no idea of the significance...but whoever was the controller...did know the significance. You never got the background chat of the controller or the people working on the display target.

I stood there....looking at the fantastic imagery across the screen, and then asked the kid who set the apparatus up....how this was so clear. I expected encryption to disrupt a quarter of the image and it should have been a little bit fuzzy. The kid said...."oh, this isn't encrypted...why bother? It's all happening right now."

I sat there....no encryption box on this entire suite...just a high-end workstation. I looked at the pieces....all stuff you could buy at some satellite shop. Even the software was commercial...which you could buy.

Something wasn't right. About once a day...I'd stop by the room for ten minutes...and watch a data-feed. Eventually....a couple of the airman and I came to the conclusion that if we could buy our own Predator and fly it over Beverly Hills all day long...we could sell this data-feed online....for $50 a month....and guys would just sit there...watching this instead of football.

The Tiger

The Tiger story has become a woeful tale of sorts. Over a three week period...almost every secret has spilled out. The thirteen-odd women, the general attitude while on tour, the excessive drinking, etc, etc.

Fox News reports that Tiger is simply sitting there....at the house...in seclusion. He eats cereal and watches cartoons....while at night hitting golf balls to chill out.

The wife and kids are pretty much in 5th gear to leave. As Christmas day comes and this final moment with the kids in Florida occurs...you can pretty much see an end point to this story.

The wife intends to take him to the cleaners. Her lawyers think they can break the marriage contract and take lots of extra money.

The various contracts with NIKE and others? Well...I would suspect by early January....the majority have found a legal reason to cancel and move on.

You aren't going to see Tiger for several months....maybe even for the whole of 2010. He'll sit at the house and simply consider all of the issues. None of the thirteen-odd women are the type you'd want to settle down with or marry. For him to get involved with anyone else makes no sense because there'd just be a repeat somewhere else down the road.

Maybe it's time to take the yacht out and just live off the remaining $100 million that he will have....and just live around the Caribbean for a couple of years.

The Marginal Speech

The British paper...The Guardian....who I generally respect as a top-ten newspaper in the world...is regarded as a tad to the left. They don't make it obvious and they often spell out an entire story....rather than the act that you see in most American papers with just one side of a story.

From yesterday...the Copenhagen climate conference...they pretty much spelled out an enormous issue with President Obama's attendance and speech. Frankly, it was not a 5-star moment that some had wished for.

He was there for a speech and little else. His recommendation? "act boldly and decisively". That was pretty much it.

Maybe if this had been delivered at the very beginning...it might have been more valuable....but here at the end....with so many tired attendees and so many upset folks....it was barely worth listening to.

In essence....he offered up no additional commitments on reducing emissions or additional cash for poor countries. Hillary's $100 billion deal....from a couple of days ago was the final bit that could be put on the table. Even that.....if you really examine the wording....it's over nine years....so it's barely $800 million yearly that the US would have to contribute to....from amongst the rich countries.

Most of the hard-line environmental players had pretty negative chat over the President's words and actions. They had expected alot.

Even the grade for the speech....was less than you would have expected. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela even went on to describe the speech as "ridiculous". It's bad when far left-wing political figures even give you such low marks.

So was the trip worth making? I don't think any major points for the president were lost....but there are absolutely zero gains. The interesting thing is that some folks are now stuck without George Bush to blame....which they haven't had this opportunity for eight years. It's a funny feeling for them and likely to be painful.