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Hong Kong – Macau Bridge gets funding boost

China, Macau and Hong Kong have come to some agreements on the proposed Hong Kong – Macau Bridge. The HK Standard is writing that the final agreements on who is going to pay what bit of the approximately $3 billion in costs has been hammered out recently.

Guangdong and the central government will put 7 billion yuan (HK$8 billion) toward the 37.45 billion yuan bill, Hong Kong 6.75 billion yuan and Macau 1.98 billion yuan, according to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen, who unveiled financing details during the 11th Hong Kong- Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference with provincial governor Huang Huahua.

The remaining 21.72 billion yuan for the project will come from loans.

However, neither Tsang nor Huang revealed further details of the loan plan. Tsang said work will start no later than 2010.

Kind of a bummer because I really liked taking the hydrofoils from Hong Kong over to the gambling dens of inequity, but maybe they’ll still run for those who want to enter Macau from the sea.

Your laptop will be seized at the border if we like it

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed to the Washington Post what many people have mentioned in recent months: DHS border guards are seizing laptops, Blackberries and other electronic items at the border with little or no probable cause of wrongdoing.

Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies theDepartment of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop’s contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The full policy is here. Interesting that they don’t actually cite any law as authority for the seizures, though the 9th Circuit of California (i.e. the ‘Whacky Circuit) has upheld the searches.

Typical ’security guard turned cop’ mentality going on here. My friends in the intelligence community really get tired of law enforcement stuff like this as the giant ‘hoovering’ effect of pulling in more and more intelligence yields very little nuggets but encourages the bad guys to find systems of communicating ‘off the grid’ which they simply cannot penetrate.

I suspect this policy will be changed soon.

Apple gives everyone free month due to MobileMe problems

Just got an email from Apple apologizing for all the screw ups in Mobile Me’s launch. As a result I’m getting an extra month free. Not bad, considering I haven’t even begun to use the service just yet.

MobileMe services are now available.
We have recently completed the transition from .Mac to MobileMe. Unfortunately, it was a lot rockier than we had hoped.
Although core services such as Mail, iDisk, Sync, Back to My Mac, and Gallery went relatively smoothly, the new MobileMe web applications had lots of problems initially. Fortunately we have worked through those problems and the web apps are now up and running.
Another snag we have run into is our use of the word “push” in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella. While all email, contact or calendar changes on the iPhone and the web apps are immediately synced to and from the MobileMe “cloud,” changes made on a PC or Mac take up to 15 minutes to sync with the cloud and your other devices. So even though things are indeed instantly pushed to and from your iPhone and the web apps today, we are going to stop using the word “push” until it is near-instant on PCs and Macs, too.
We want to apologize to our loyal customers and express our appreciation for their patience by giving all current subscribers an automatic 30-day extension to their MobileMe subscription free of charge. Your extension will be reflected in your account settings within the next few weeks.
We hope you enjoy your new suite of web applications at me.com, in addition to keeping your iPhone and iPod touch wirelessly in sync with these new web applications and your Mac or PC.
Thank you,

My iPhone Apps

My iPhone screen is getting filled up pretty quickly with all the cool new applications. At the moment I have:

  • Tuner (my favorite radio app but still lacking a few features)
  • VisuaRadio/Allradio (no search makes it difficult to use)
  • AOL Radio (best radio interface)
  • Last.fm (need to add more content to my last.fm profile)
  • Virgin Radio (just one station but quick access to it)
  • Mandarin Phrase Book
  • AIM
  • Remote Control
  • Currency convertor
  • Twitteriffic
  • NY Times
  • WeatherBug (gives you radar snapshots)
  • Imaze (game)
  • Cube Runner (game)

Sudan promises to do what it is accused of doing if people persist in saying they have done it already.

Sudan reacted with anger today to the International Criminal Court’s indictment for war crimes in the Dafur region. Sudan promised to turn Darfur “into a graveyard” after President al-Bashir was accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In addition, the UN also withdrew nonessential staff, and international peacekeepers were put on high alert, in anticipation of reprisals from government-run militias.

“Man developed in Africa. He has not continued to do so there.”–PJ O’Rourke.

DC’s new gun rules announced for handgun owners

The Post is reporting on the new gun control regulations in the District of Columbia following the Supreme Court decision invalidating the District’s handgun ban. There will be a limit to 1 gun per person for the first 90 days while they sort through the process.

Gun owners will have to

pass vision test

pass written tests,

provide a photo with their application to register a gun, and

submit their weapon for ballistics testing.

Guns will also still require trigger locks.

DC’s gun ban was basically ineffective. Drug crimes and easy access to weapons in Virginia and Maryland (literally only a mile away) resulted in 1000s of guns in DC and a horrible murder rate back in the 90s. While it has mellowed somewhat, the District still have a very high violent crime rate. Many police actually tell victims in DC ‘you should buy a gun’ eventhough it was illegal.

Are iPhone launches the new Woodstocks, Burning Man?

One of the odder things that’s been occurring with iPhone launches (and to a lesser extent, new versions of OSX) is the almost ’social’ aspects of the event where techies and even some non-techies show up and make a day (and a night) of the wait. If you read stories on blogs and in the newspapers you’ll find dozens of examples of people showing up who don’t even want to buy one, but just want to be part of the experience.

Reminds me of the time I bought the original OSX operating system from the Apple store in Soho, New York. The line stretch around the block in two directions, and for hours we had fashion models and ‘beautiful people’ heading to clubs and parties that would come up to us and ask questions. “What club are you in line for? What restaurant has this wait?” They were quite fearful that they were missing out on the new new thing. Their fears were alleviated when we had to reply ‘we’re waiting in line for new computer software.’ They all sort of smirked and went on their way.

One guy said ‘you should wait in line for Microsoft because I have stock in them.’ At the time, APPL was trading for about $20. Split adjusted it is now well over $400. Guess he should have noticed and listened to the mob.

So is it Apple’s problem or Akamai?

Just sniffing packets from my phone…Looks like the iTunes connection program runs through Akamai not apple. And…wait a minute?

UPDATE! Phone just connected to the store and did some of the process. Now my phone is syncing!!!

Just random out of the blue! Woohoo!

Best iPhone app?

There are hundreds of new applications in the wild today for the iPhone, and I’ve just started to use a few. It’s hard to say which is the best just yet, but I like a lot of the radio plugins and the AOL instant messenger functionality which is finally coming to the iPhone. The remote control will be exciting to test today with my Mac Mini on the widescreen tv.

One thing that is lacking is a lot of server utilities, enabling you to control or monitor a server from afar. This would be a big boon to sysadmins around the world. We’ll see what comes up in the next few days.

Will update this later as the apps get downloaded.

UPDATE: AOL IM is quite nice. I’m also having fun with a couple of the radio applications. The Tuner application has search, which puts it a bit ahead of the other radio application visuaRadio. Both seem to have access to Shoutcast, but I recognized a few Live365 feeds on visuaRadio. I expect to see a few more radio applications working shortly. Virgin (free) does not download for some reason, but AOL Radio is downloading properly and gives you 100s of CBS and AOL stations.

Internet radio is about to explode. Sell your XM and Sirrus stock.