QRcodes, Cats and Cameras

QR codeQR barcodes are rather old news, since they were invented by Denso-Wave back in 1994. The code is a two dimensional bar code, as unlike the ubiquitous UPC and EAN codes, the encoded information is stored in two directions. The result is a lot more information can be crammed into the same space. One of the QR's primary design goals was to be easy to read, and the "QR" stands for Quick Response. The codes have significant error correction capability built in making for fault tolerant scanning.

OK, so compared to the clunky 3 of 9 codes that we had to work with back in the 1980's, these are a powerful symbology. So, why am I blogging about them now?
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Chrysler's Trips to the Public Well

I really don't like "Big Business." I question this bias often, thinking that there is some unfounded prejudice that I have built over the years, perhaps some left over from the "Down with the Man" attitude of the 60's and 70's. But when I read articles like this one, I realize that this is a very objectively formed and very defensible opinion. I don't like thieves and con artists. I'm not very fond of stupid people, especially those who are arrogantly stupid and assume I am, too. Chrysler, as a prime example of big business, qualifies on both categories.

There was an old Chinese proverb that translated to the effect, "Don't dirty the well, because some day you may need to drink from it." If you consider taxpayer subsidies a public well, you will see that Chrysler has made a habit of both drinking from and dirtying the well.
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This is the Second Notice ...

The phone rings and you answer. A recorded voice launches into a message to the effect, "this is the second notice that the factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire." If you are lucky enough to not have gotten one of these calls, you either don't have a phone, never answer it, or are just truly blessed. These calls come to cell phones, land lines, VoIP lines, listed, unlisted, even classified government lines. They come to numbers registered on the "Do Not Call" list. They come to people who don't even have a bicycle, much less a car.

So what is going on, and why can't it be stopped?
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Surgical Masks, Supply Chains and Pandemics

The media has been filled with images from Mexico showing people in the streets wearing surgical masks in response to the Swine Flu outbreak. If you live in the US though, you apparently don't have to worry about that scene repeating here. We wouldn't have enough masks to go around.

This article on CNN reveals an ugly truth about our preparedness. We have exactly one domestic surgical mask producer. The vast majority of our routine demand is supplied by producers in China and Mexico. Yes, that is the same Mexico where masks are already in short supply.
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Adobe Reader Vulnerability

There is a security issue with Adobe Reader. You can read about it here: http://www.securityfocus.com/bid/34740/info and here: http://blogs.adobe.com/psirt/2009/04/. It is potentially quite serious, depending only on enticing people to open a malicious PDF file, either by making it irresistible, or using other techniques to replace legitimate PDF's with altered copies. (Imagine for a moment how many people used PDF tax forms within the last month.) But, the warning of the vulnerability is not at all the point of this post.

Does anyone else find it rather silly that Adobe Acrobat Reader has a vulnerability in a Javascript function called spell.customDictionaryOpen() ????
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