Sunday, March 26, 2006

Oklahoma city threatens to call FBI over 'renegade' Linux maker

Watch out for the "City Manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma."

+digg for being so funny. This was kinda like a dark version of "who's on first" from the 3 stooges.

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Get XP Updates No Matter What

If your windows installation has issues, or for some other unmentionable reason is unable to get updates from the windows server, this is what you need to do.

@phpirate I have owned Micro$oft software for years, in fact I currently own an Action Pack subscription so I never have to worry about my own personal copies ever again. Yes, it costs some yearly fee, but I am covered. Said that, I have had a few problems with licensing with Microsoft. Calling into the tech support, Bangalore support center, does resolve those issues. They are prompt to give keys, and replacement serial numbers. When I needed to call the US Action Pack line, they were happy enough to send me out another CD good for another 10 computer installations. I am not saying Micro$oft is perfect and all that, but my experience with the help desk has been better than average.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Net Neutrality Nonsense

For the past few weeks, my partner in crime, Preston Gralla, has bombarded you poor folk with his diatribe on Net Neutrality. He's referred to AT&T and other carriers as running a " Soprano-like business model". He's warned you how FCC chief Kevin Martin's interpretation of Net Neutrality was "far too narrow."

This is a very well written article, and will make you think about the issues at hand. I agree in principal to what this guy is talking about. QOS should have some premium, but not ripping off the consumer. The flip side to this, is that we do not want to degrade service to anyone, because we have built in qos in the mix. Even Whitacre said he will not degrade service to anyone. I believe the telcos mean they will be increasing the bandwidth again, in order to provide better qos to those who pay for it. Therefore, if you make a VOIP call and a gamer is down the street, BOTH of you will have the bandwidth you need. This article is going to really make me re-think my views on NN. I also believe the Telcos have ripped us off, and misled the government over the past 6 years by stealing money and not delivering fiber to our door. We should never forget that the big Telcos only care about profit, and will use their lobby capability to achieve that end at any cost.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fined For Using Someone Else's WiFi

involves a guy in Illinois who was fined $250 for "theft of services" after a police officer spotted him sitting in a car, using the open WiFi of a non-profit agency

OK, wait a minute. He was on public property in a park? The article doesn't really explain what was involved here, or what the person was doing on the Wifi connection. It seems to me, the user would say, "I was in this public park, booted up my computer to see if there was public Internet access. It turns out I found one, and figured it was a service of the park, city, or other entity allowing public free access the Internet. Are you telling me this Wifi connection belongs to a private party, I didn't realize that. Allow me to get off the connection, and I will leave."

The Town of Windsor has a park called the Windsor Town Green. It has Wifi service supplied from the City. What makes it a crime to access public Internet access? The BIGGEST question here, is how am I supposed to determine what is a public Wifi hotspot, and what is private? As a user there is SO MUCH talk about the nation that there are all kinds of public hotspots where you can just drive up and get access. Am I supposed to know these .vs. the ones I am not supposed to get access to?

It seems to me the police are making a big deal of something which they HAVE NO right making a judgement on. If the non-profit agency in this case complained to the police about this intrusion, then I would assume the police would respond. Otherwise, how was the user supposed to know.

I still believe that unless an entity takes precautions, or otherwise puts access controls in place making the Wifi not accessible, then I should be able to walk up and use the service without any problems or fear I will get prosecuted.

We are going backwards here folks. We are making a crime out of something where no crime exists. Remember that ANY technology can be exploited for nefarious reasons. That does not make the very act of accessing that technology a crime. It also puts the whole industry of open wifi spots in jeapordy because people are going to shy away from using them.

Wow, there is a LOT more to say here people. Suffice it to say, this is WRONG.

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You Tube Craze Making Industry Uneasy

Music labels, film studios and television bosses are now cracking down on the site, and others like it, amid fears they are becoming a virtual breeding ground for pirated material.

+digg for this comment. YouTube and others are only making people MORE interested in this content. I have people cc:ing me on Youtube stuff all the time, and I want to see more of it (the interesting stuff). Why would that be a bad thing for these media companies? Why, because they want 100% control over the market, even on the hobbyist, or casual user. This is ultimately a sign of demise for the industry, in its current form. When you remove the ability or interest of someones freedom, even in entertainment, you remove desire. Entertainment is purely an aspect of freedom, otherwise we would be computers, never interested in entertainment. On the current path, or society is going down the road into boredom, which breeds crime, which in turn breeds paranoia, which means the government takes more control, which means...(oh crap, hasn't this happened already?)

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ajaxWrite: A Web Based MS Word Compatible Word Processor

The look, feel, and functionality of Microsoft Word, in a completely web-based AJAX platform. Try ajaxWrite today, and experience first-hand how AJAX applications are changing the way the web works, and redefining the software industry.

+digg for easy editing of online data. l I will be taking a serious look here soon.

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Network Sniffing Screensaver: PacketFountain, Now that's Cool!!

This guy managed to create a Screensaver that sniffs out your network using VB6 and WinPcap and then displays packets realtime on your Screensaver. Geek way to see what's goin' on at your Lan.

+digg for freaking cool.

Check this program out! This is the way to go, and it can be expanded for many types of applications and OS'es.

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Nanoelectronics roadmap aims to speed commercialization

"The effort is designed to move nanoelectronics innovations from laboratory to the marketplace for applications ranging from communications, information technology, consumer products and optoelectronics."

I agree that patents are pretty crazy now. What really needs to happen is a patent can ONLY be upheld if the patent owner can show they have made significant progress on the patent contents. When going to court a judge should look at the case, and if the patent holder is just a patent troll the case should be thrown out of court. Only those companies which actually make progress or at least attempt progress should be allowed to continue with the patent.

I could even see a market for selling patents if a patent holder cannot make any forward moving progress on the thing they thought up. For instance, I come up with a great idea and patent it. However another company can actually make something out of my invention. That company should be allowed to purchase the patent instead of licensing the rights, otherwise I would lose my patent because I cannot make progress on it. Snooze you lose type of thing.

Sure, I don't have all the answers here, but something has to be done.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

This Essay Breaks the Law: Michael Crichton pleads for patent reform

It means that if a real estate agent lists a house for sale, he can be sued because an existing patent for selling houses includes item No. 7, "List the house." It means nobody can write a dinosaur story because my patent includes 257 items covering all aspects of behavior, like item No. 13, "Dinosaurs attack humans and other dinosaurs."


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RIAA p2p file share defeat

The RIAA licks its wounds after losing a bid for unfettered access to the hard drive of an Oregon mother it's victimizing in a p2p file sharing case.

Alright, I had to blog this. This is the most totally crazy thing going on here. "Someone is gonna have to pay", is what the RIAA lawyer said. RICO is about all it comes down to. These people are common street thugs trying to rip people off. They need to go to jail.

Read all the associated links also.

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MPAA/RIAA/BSA: No breaking DRM, even if it's killing you (literally!)

RIAA Says Future DRM Might "Threaten Critical Infrastructure and Potentially Endanger Lives"

This is pretty screwed up. How can the RIAA or any DRM agency expect to know how everyone uses thier computer. There are just too many companies, people, agencies, and tasks with which a computer is used.

Unless you know how your software is being used, you had better make it pretty compatible and universal for use.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Breaking into the FBI

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS ago today, a group of anonymous activists broke into the small, two-man office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Media, Pa., and stole more than 1,000 FBI documents that revealed years of systematic wiretapping, infiltration and media manipulation designed to suppress dissent.

This is a good article. Just exactly who will read it, and will remember? Keep in mind that media distraction is out there. They want to keep us from the real truth. Although some facts may be right, others are grey, but a whole bunch is just fabricated on lies perpetrated by others. The media only reports what they are told, and see. However, both of those realities can be manufactured as the truth.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Imagining the Maximum Net and The Government Is Not An ISP

Contributed by Joe@techdirt - An interesting Doc Searls column on net neutraliy argues rightly that the internet shouldn't just be measured in terms of real costs and profits, but also on the opportunity costs of not developing the web to its full potential. Instead of seeing the internet as a business does, in terms of profit-blocking regulations, it should be seen more like the interstate highway system or the national parks, as a public good of incalculable benefit.

Joes brief article, and the Doc Searls collumn are very insightful. Thanks for sharing with us! Corporate abuse is rampant everywhere, and we need to dig in and reverse this evil trend.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006


It seems that at least one HR department at a large company has been sent a letter from the DOD asking to identify the number of national guard personnel in said company. The question I have is, doesn't the DOD know this information? They should even know the general location of the country they are in too. Here is the general idea of the e-mail from the DOD.

The company got a letter from the Office of the Secretary of Defense requesting the number of Guard or Reserve employees in our organization. Each employee does not have to provide this information. If they would like to voluntarily identify themselves as either a member of the National Guard or Reserve, please advise us via e-mail at your earliest convenience (if possible by Friday, March 17). Please note that names will not be provided to the government, only the total number of employees who identify themselves. This information will not be kept in any personnel file and will be used for no purpose other than responding to the above-mentioned request.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Techdirt gets a new interface is sporting a new interface. The css templates, and new layout look pretty cool. It looks to have been done on March 10th. Check it out!

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You Can Click, But You Can't Hide!

What happens when a site is shut down by the MPAA?

You know, I am really sorry guys. The act of downloading something just isn't illegal. If I own a legit copy of something, and I want a digital version of it, or perhaps the copy which I am downloading I already own the rights to view that download. I have a vast collection of movies and music. I just don't feel like always burning copies for myself, so I find music on the net, and even movie media which is already converted to something like xvid or whatever. It makes easy storing on a dvd for like several movies. I can use them to travel, etc.

How is it that the MPAA knows how everyone uses this technology and downloading? They DONT. They need to find other ways to shut down full on piracy of movies. It isn't the downloading, it is the direct distribution which you get busted for. Download all you want, there isn't anything illegal about this as long as you don't break in somewhere to do it. Public files are public files, plain and simple.

If they said something like "Host a download site, and you can't hide" might have more merit. Otherwise they are just blowing smoke up our butts, and trying to intimidate us. How on earth do they expect any respect for this? Why do I want to buy movies anymore?

Dang, I just keep my meager Blockbuster subscription and screw the MPAA. They don't see but a few cents from that subscription, because Blockbuster already bought the movies at a premium. Netflix the same thing. I haven't bought a movie in a while, and certainly would only buy something like a Star Wars or other huge blockbuster movie. Anything of a smaller release, or maybe marginal content, I will only use my subscription for this.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

This Day in Apple History March 6, 1984: Gates Predicts Mac Dominance

"If Macintosh isn't a success then the market is left to the PC. But we're super enthusiastic. If Apple can meet its production goals, we expect half of Microsoft's retail sales to be Macintosh related in 1984."
Bill Gates's super quote was published this month in Popular Science in 1984.

@johnnyshuteye2 so true, it reminds me of the ill-fated dr-dos licensing mistake with IBM. It really comes down to who had the vision, and who would take the bait. Bill Gates was in the exact perfect spot when all this was going down. If any other combination of events took place, Bill would still today have Microsoft at the forefront of software, but not leading the O/S race. Regardless of what you say about Bill Gates and Microsoft, they just make the decisions which others neglect. They also buy those important businesses which will make Microsoft have even more domain knowledge.

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Microsoft says Open 10 years behind!

According to Microsoft, there are very good reasons for people to pay $500 or more for Microsoft Office as opposed to paying nothing for a copy of Open Office 2.0.

There is a lot of comments here, please read them. My personal views are that Open Office is a good concept, and should continue making pressure on Microsoft Office. For the moment, MS Office is still better. The Excel is better, Word has more features, and the other software included does offer value, including Frontpage.

Some of the links included are media kits only. Any legit fully licensed copy of pro is going to be around $275-$350 US dollars, never too much less. I think I saw one for $221, but that's it. Other than that, you can get used, but make sure the license comes with it. I bought the Micro$oft Action Pack which gives me 10 copies of most everything Microsoft has, and a couple copies of different servers (including lifetime updates), for a perpetual update fee of $299/yr. Action Pack is like a mini Enterprise agreement, and you don't spend a crud load of money up front, or when updates come out. They ship them to you automatically every quarter.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hey, telecom execs... hands off my internet!

Some of you already know that companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are trying to privatize the internet. However, word is not being spread fast enough to start an effective grassroots effort against the telco giants. Join VGRC and Common Cause and spread the word, before it's too late!

Here is the whole Edward Whitacre article in Business week.

"How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google (GOOG ), MSN, Vonage, and others?
How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?

The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! (YHOO ) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts! "

Business Week Article

Ed is completely off his rocker. Doesn't he understand that EVERYONE already pays for the Internet? I have a Comcast and SBC connection, which in turn peers with many locations. Google has huge Internet pipes they pay for, and also peer with many places, possibly even SBC, Verizon, and more.

I don't understand how they can sit back and complain that people are using "pipes" for free. SBC and others have chosen to peer with other carriers to make sure the whole Internet is reachable everywhere. If all of a sudden I couldn't get to Google or other sites because SBC refuses to peer with others in the community, then I would switch to an ISP who would peer.

Does Ed even understand the Internet? Does Ed even understand his own business? I think not. From my past employment with SBC I clearly understood that the main business of SBC was for hard circuits and fiber. Connecting business, and Internet related services are the last thing they care about. Anything which cuts into the copper and fiber circuits going to homes and businesses will cause a pain point for SBC and other carriers. Therefore, more people use VOIP it will hurt a little.

BUT, everyone has to get broadband. It is the only player out there worth anything. I have fiber to my house, others have DSL or cable. We all need that fast connection, but we ALL pay for it already.

Ed, consider paying more attention to HOW your business is actually run, .vs. the money you keep raking in. Maybe it would open your eyes a bit, and you could actually turn some of that hot air into useful propellant, and give us the service we requested 10 friken years ago.

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The First Web Browser

Screenshot of the first web browser ever made!

+digg because it reminds me of all the patents relating around the www. I bet tb-l has some hot things to say about all that. Come on, inventing the web, and then having people yank it into an unusable commercial space? Cheers to tb-l for creating the web and making the world a better place!

I remember the early days of the CERN browser. It was so exciting running Chameleon tcp/ip on DOS and testing out these "great new" software packages. These very technological advancements are what kept me interested in computers.

My hats off to all those involved with CERN, Netscape, Prodigy/IBM, Telenet, NETcom, and even AOL for making the Internet manageable. All these companies (even AOL initially) made it possible for people to get online.

I have to mention Silicon Valley Public Access Link as well. which could have been the greatest access medium here in the Bay Area. We were at the fore-front of getting Internet access to people when access was just text based.

Cheers to all those techs and geeks, and visionaries who made the Internet a reality.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Middle School Suspends 20 for looking at offensive MySpace AT HOME

Some parents questioned whether the school overstepped its bounds by disciplining students for actions that occurred on personal computers, at home and after school hours.

Another example of our public dollars at work. Where were the parents here? It seems to me this boy who wrote the comments is pretty whacked. He needs discipline in a lot of areas, but probably not computers. I think myspace should be applauded for bringing out this boys real trouble. If it was not this forum, maybe something drastic would have happened.

Schools should NEVER be allowed to intrude into the private lives of our children. At best they can send letters, and have parent teacher conferences. When at school, our kids are theirs, at home they are ours. Lets never give that up, fight, fight, fight until that is made perfectly clear. If this was my boy, I would have fought the school to then end on privacy, but get counseling for my child.

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Paying Credit Card Triggers Homeland Security

Another example of your lost rights under the guise of homeland security. Homeland Security has to be notified if you try to pay too much on your Credit Card. Sick.

Yeah, but here is the really stupid thing...They should have let the amount be paid off, because it tipped the user that something was wrong. If in fact we as a country want to be secure, then you cannot tip off the people you are spying on. Realize that I am coming from a security background, not common sense here.

That said, I think this is a little over the top. Maybe a phone call to your good customer to ask why. If they were recent customers, then maybe an alert. It sounds like this family were long-standing customers, which means they have a credit history. There should be no cause for alarm in this case.

The people who are making the decisions about how banks and other entities should be run, has better do a better job. What would happen if this was an actual case of someone paying off their cards prior to bombing some place? Then they would have known they were under investigation and re-planned what they were going to do, and go under cover or something.

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Telescopes 'worthless' by 2050

Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.

I would most definately say that we need to consider some more directed efforts in air corridors. It seems to me that if we have a concentration of observation towers, and big ELT devices, we need to make sure they work flawlessly.

I am not saying it will be easy, but we should seriously consider different international directives for air corridors, and land based viewing needs. The same principles can be applied for any world-wide effort. If we don't get together and make up some better rules, we will all suffer for it.

Lets make several areas around the world permanent no-fly zones protected by the military, and have our telecopes there. Of course, if we built more space stations, or hubble-like telescopes that could be alleviated as well.

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Microsoft uses sex to sell!

There was a day when Microsoft ads were a bit more entertaining than the current "dinosaur head" offerings which have of late been baffling adults and scaring small children world-wide.

very cool, nuff said.

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Professor assigns hacking homework to students

Apparently the university considers it ok to mandate students to perform the scans on other internet servers, just not their own.

OK, this is total crud. This professor is way off board, and should be held accountable for this (or at least the school). If you are going to condone the use of security tools, please offer a solution on campus, or using the classroom equipment. There seems to be double-standard here.

If this is nmap or other standard tools, then who cares where you are gathering your intel from? Who doesn't run a scan from time to time, in order to gather information about a server? There are countless reasons why you would do this. Maybe attacks were coming from it, maybe you wanted to know what software was running on it. Maybe you wanted to ping it for latency tests, maybe you wanted a list of open ports to test.

Doing recon on the Internet is little less than noise at best. Barring people from doing recon is like saying you cannot knock on my door. You cannot make rules out of your butt because they sound good. If somebody wants to ping or nmap a college web server there is no harm there. Just don't DDOS it.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Schools banning Myspace because its "everybody's nightmare"

Schools say Myspace has become a "everybody's nightmare" Is it a virtual hangout for millions of American teenagers, like a sprawling electronic shopping plaza, or a magnet for sexual predators and pornographers?

Why does everyone, especially the media need to over inflate the problem. Myspace and any other situation you child is associated with needs to be understood. As a parent always know what they are doing, who they are with, and create an open forum for feedback. Yes, in reality teenagers are defiant, come on we were all there once, but you are still a parent, so just work through it.

Some websites needs to be blocked, and kids are all different. Maybe some kids abuse certain privileges more than others. Some kids are more mature sooner, and some later. It is all about knowing your child and what is best for them. I have looked at myspace, and there are certainly a lot of people posting nasty things there. I may block the site based on that alone. As for social networking, there are lots of ways to let your kids meet others online safely. During these formative years, they should be meeting local friends in real life anyway. Online is to keep in touch, not to replace relationships.

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