Jul 242008
 

Well, PZ of Pharyngula just gone and done it! There was a lot of criticism from expected sources on the whole Eucharist thing but there was also some criticism from PZ’s peers. With this latest article PZ responds to all and makes a point. Is the harassment of PZ going to continue or is this the end? I think it’s going to run and run! That dude sure does have a pair of cojones on him, that’s for sure!

Copyright © 2008 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Jul 232008
 

For a while now I’ve been using a work-supplied Windows Mobile 6 PDA (an O2 xda Orbit). Nice device.

Well, recently our company migrated to BlackBerry devices, and although I’ve managed to get most of the functionality that my xda Orbit had (in terms of software applications), I’ve missed having something equivalent to Illium’s eWallet digital wallet with desktop and PDA synchronisation. I did have an option of buying something like FlexWallet but I wanted to wait until “eWallet for BlackBerry” was released (which is actually a conversion of FlexWallet!).

“eWallet for BlackBerry” was announced months ago and the release date was originally April 2008 and now it’s end of July 2008. I’ve waited and waited but I couldn’t wait anymore as I’m about to go abroad and needed to take my encrypted data with me on my BlackBerry. But I found the perfect solution yesterday and am now all up and running. What was the solution? Simple, really…“KeePass Password Safe” and “KeePass for BlackBerry”.

With the Windows version of “KeePass Password Safe” and using an import plugin, I was able to import eWallet into “KeePass Password Safe”. And for the BlackBerry, I downloaded “KeePass for BlackBerry”.

I’ve now got my Windows-based “KeePass Password Safe” and “KeePass for BlackBerry” synchronised with each other. The encryptions offered are AES (Rijndael) and TwoFish for the database and an SHA-256 password hash. There are a bunch of other features built-in and a number of plugins available that really make KeePass stand out from the crowd.

The best thing about this solution? It’s FREE!

Highly recommended.

(Running Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit SP1, and BlackBerry OS v4.2.2.181)

Copyright © 2008 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Jul 132008
 

I recently received some comments from a reader regarding my articles on homeopathy and my criticism of this pseudoscience. The reader asked if I had ever met anyone who had been treated using homeopathy and that I also should temper my vehemence; the implication being that homeopathy provided a valuable service which delivered positive results and comforted patients. My immediate reaction was that any perceived vehemence was misplaced especially in comparison to someone like PZ Myers! But the questions being raised on the value of homeopathy deserved debate.

After much consideration, I can only reinforce my opposition to the pseudoscience that is homeopathy and my exasperation at the idiocy of homeopathy’s support. Despite the claims made by the practitioners of homeopathy, there is no evidence that there is anything but a placebo at work. As a placebo, homeopathy will provide improvements for some patients within a very narrow band of illnesses. Simplistically, the benefits of positive thought. It certainly wouldn’t be able to successfully treat illnesses such as malaria for example.

The statements made by homeopaths explaining the mechanisms of how homeopathy is allegedly claimed to work have been shown to be incorrect. Yet homeopaths are unable to accept this. They have abandoned critical thinking and have deluded themselves into accepting the extraordinary when all credible evidence shows that their claims are without foundation.

So why should I care? Why should we all care? After all, the placebo effect certainly provides some benefits to some people. I’ll tell you why.

By accepting homeopathy we make it difficult to demonstrate to society the benefits of critical thinking. Without critical thinking we are saying that it’s OK to accept extraordinary claims without evidence; that it’s OK to accept pseudoscience, to accept astrology, to accept perpetual-motion machines. In short, that it’s OK to be bamboozled.

Our enlightenment, our knowledge, striving to seek the truth; this is what advances us. And critical thinking is the most powerful tool to achieve that. Without it we will be burdened by superstition and witch doctors.

Copyright © 2008 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved

Jul 122008
 

I own an Apple iPod touch (32GB). Now that the 3G version of the iPhone is out, the latest software firmware (version 2.0) for the iPod touch has also been released. The cheek of it is that Apple are trying to charge me £5.99 to obtain this firmware!iPod touch 2.0 Software Update scam

Are Apple really trying to make me regret purchasing the iPod touch?

Apple, Apple, Apple. You continue to disappoint! It’s just such greed from Apple that encourages people to modify the iPod firmware…this modified firmware allows the customer the freedom to install other software on the iPod and to break out of the restrictions imposed by Apple. “Think different”? Sure…

Copyright © 2008 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved