Well, good news on the wireless front. After several posts to the ports-sparc mailing list for netbsd, and almost a full week of trying new kernel options (building a kernel on the Classic takes a good couple of hours), I do have the 200mW card working in the Sparc Classic and I'm going through testing it. The bad news, unfortunately, is that NetBSD's wireless driver and config utilities do not yet support host AP mode (ie acting as an access point). So I'm working on getting it tested and waiting to see if some improvements to the driver for the sparc "nell" sbus->pcmcia are ready soon, apparently since NetBSD 1.6 a number of improvements to the 802.11 drivers including hostAP support have been rolled in, so I will probably set myself up to use nightly kernel builds soon. Should be interesting to say the least. [ 10/05/2002 05:06:30 PM ] [  ]
The first cut of Waking Santa Cruz looks good, even though we have only shot 1/2 of it, and I was up at 2 last night re-scoring some of it. Bleh. Sometime in the next few weeks we have to finish shooting wsc and 2 other demo/videos. Lotta fun, oh yeah. Might be able to push out a few DVDs of them in a month or so, and wsc should have full 5.1 sound and a live track option, which will be cool. [ 10/03/2002 04:27:37 PM ] [  ]
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Why is Iraq a threat? Prior to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities were considered by western intelligence agencies to be in their infancy. Iraq had used chemical weapons both in the [Iran-Iraq war] and against [Iraqi Kurds] in Iraq's north during the 1980s, but the regime's other programs were thought to have not advanced beyond paper studies.
The aftermath of the Desert Storm air campaign told a very different story. Laser guided bombs had torn away Iraq's veil and revealed a number of ongoing and advanced WMD related programs. Iraqi engineers, often with assistance from western companies, were developing both weapons and delivery systems indigenously.
An excellent example of this is [Project Babylon], aka [The Supergun]. The Supergun was a project to build one of the world's largest artillery pieces, so large that it could not actually be aimed - it was to be built pointing one way and one way only, in a crater or into the side of a mountain. With a range of around 600 mile, a payload of apprroximately 1000 pounds, and a firing rate of perhaps one shot a day (if you were lucky), it would seem to be militarily useless. But like any gun, it's not a threat unless it's loaded and pointing at something. The supergun was not of significant military value - and it's development certainly detracted from other programs - but it had great political value for Saddam. If the supergun had been developed, Saddam would be able to boast that he was the Arab leader with literally a gun to Israel's head. With a payload of only 1000 pounds, and able to fire only a round or two a day, Saddam could only arm the supergun with a WMD round. He already had chemical weapons, which are comparatively easy to develop and deploy, and we now know that even then Iraq had an extensive supply of anthrax and other biological weapons. Iraq would have gained considerable standing with it's peers in the Arab and Moslem world, and undoubtedly would have gained greater control of OPEC pricing. A second gun pointed eastward would have kept Iraq's other mortal enemy in check, and that would have been all Saddam would have needed- the supergun was Iraq's own first-strike capability, a sword of damocles hanging over the two extremes of the middle east.
That is only one example of an Iraqi WMD program, and one that the west knew very little about before coalition forces and the UN were walking through the Iraqi desert or examining post-strike photos from aircraft.
Iraq's nuclear weapons program was far, far more sinister. [ 10/01/2002 11:45:13 PM ] [  ]
Monday, September 30, 2002
['I Yelled at Them to Stop' ] Before last September, various Special Warfare units were often called overstaffed and underused, or redundant. On September 12th, it turned out we didn't have enough. Delta operators were being deployed all over the world, as well as at home, and every other special warfare unit in the United States was preparing to go war.
Now the effort in Afghanistan is stuck in the mud. Why? Quite a few reasons. Because of the secrecy surround some specwar units and their capabilities, military leadership is often out of touch with what they can offer. Until very recently, specwar units have been tasked primarily with supporting regional commanders directly, rather than operating on their own. A good example is from the Gulf War- General Schwartzkopf was openly hostile to the use of Special Forces troops on the ground in Kuwait and Iraq. Probably because of some of his experiences in Vietnam, he didn't trust SF to not scrrew up his operations and embarass him. During Desert Storm SF troops ended up doing everything from hunting scuds, running deep recon missions inside Iraq, to using their language skills to liason and train Arabic speaking troops that were part of the coalition. After the war Schwartzkopf praised SF, saying they "kept Israel out of the war".
So now in Afghanistan, which is of more immediate strategic value to the United States than Iraq, Iran, or Georgia, we have line-army people calling the shots. They've told SF soldiers to [shave their beards], grown to fit in with the locals (Afghan cultural norms dictate men have beards). They're basically being told not to do their jobs anymore, and that the Army doesn't care much about succeeding. Human intelligence sources in Afghanistan are drying up because actions like these, and the regular army's disrespect for Afghan customs, have destroyed the trust in the US that SF soldiers have built in Afghanistan. Special Forces soldiers were so well liked and respected that in one community, [locals tried to get an SF soldier elected as a tribal leader.]
During the 1990s, after such adventures as Operation Restore Hope and other "peacekeeping" missions, the US military bled it's career Non Commissioned Officers - the people who actually get things done. In any workplace, you'll find that most people just get in the way, or are just punching their ticket before moving on to a higher position - but there are always those few people who care about their jobs, provide leadership, guidance, and experience. Those people left the military during the 1990s, many of them after serving their country for 10 years or more. Now we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan, patrolling the skies of Iraq, almost all of whom have never served in combat before. That lack of experience could easily sabotage an effort to effect a "regime change" in Iraq, and is defintely a factor in the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. [ 9/30/2002 02:38:13 PM ] [  ]
"We want to hit fans with the message that downloading music illegally is, as Britney Spears explains, the same as going into a CD store and stealing the CD," said Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA).
Now, do you really think, Hillary, that the people downloading music are going to listen to the wisdom of Britney Spears? [ 9/30/2002 01:56:05 PM ] [  ]