Saturday, September 20, 2003


Since we seem to be getting a lot of "hate mail" from the Jeff Levy faithful lately, I thought it only fair to post DUNEBOYs site: Things Jeff Levy got wrong

Glass houses, Jeffrey, glass houses.

Friday, September 19, 2003


Transterrestrial Musings is reporting another virus attack in disguise as an official Microsoft email. The official-looking email from Microsoft tells you to install the attachment with the latest security updates.

I got the same one this morning. As we all know, Microsoft doesn't send security updates out by email. They are either distributed via "autoupdate" feature of XP or a user needs to go to their site to download an update manually.


Anyone think this is a good idea?

Yikes. With Window's revealing security holes on almost a daily basis, does ANYONE think it's a good idea for Windows to power ATMs?

We've all seen what blaster and sobig.f have done recently to our email. Do we really think that the OS has the capability to be secure enough to protect our bank accounts?

E-R doesn't.


PC Makers are getting sued over the advertised size of their drives

Are the size of hard drives really getting as large as they are advertised? A group suing PC makers doesn't think so. According to ZDNet, a Los Angeles based group is filing a "class action" lawsuit claiming that hard drives don't have the capacity they are advertised as having.

And it's true. An 80 GB hard drive, for example, may only have about 78 gigs of available capacity. The difference is largely due to hard drive capacities being listed in decimal notation, but actually, a PC functions in a binary system. The difference leaves users with less capacity than is advertised.

The lawsuit - filed against Apple, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba - asks for an injunction against the current "unfair" marketing practices, restitution, and attorneys' fees.

But don't cash that check yet. Chances are the attorney's will get the lions share of any settlement with the all plaintiff's getting a small cash refund or "coupon" for a percentage off a future purchase.


NASA considering replacing aging shuttles with Apollo-style space capsules

CNN SPACE is reporting that NASA may replace its fleet of space shuttles with a new generation of Apollo-type space capsules.

"Certainly we have considerable amount of experience flying with capsules," Dr. John Rogacki, director of NASA's space transportation directorate, told Reuters. "One might say on the capsule side it could be that that design experience may lead to a capsule being available sooner than a winged vehicle."

The notion of resurrecting space capsules, which last launched three decades ago, is gaining favor among astronauts, space agency officials and congressional staffers after the shuttle Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts on February 1. Unlike shuttles that land like airplanes, capsules splash down in the ocean and must be recovered by ships.

Now if we could only get Lunar landers to return, maybe we could GO SOMEWHERE.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

EBOLA MONKEYMAN has been having a LOT of fun with the perps of the Nigerian Scam. If you want a good laugh, read his email exchanges with Dr. Albert Fred and others.

It will more than brighten your day!



Try WiFi 411

E-R has stumbled across a cool find. WiFi 411 enables wireless users to search over 10,500 locations worldwide in an effort to find a "HotSpot" near you.

The engine finds both free and pay access points, and can be broken down by provider.

WiFi Cool!


Intel promises heavy cache will add to the experience

GAMESPOT reports that Intel is launching a new chip to enhance the computer gaming experience.

Designed to counter AMD's Athlon 64 - as well as the new Apple G5 chip, the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition clocks in at 3.2GHz, hyper-threading tech, and a whopping 2 MB of level-3 cache (twice the cache of other P4s).

No price point yet.


Self-Policing Added to Spam Bill
The Washington Post is reporting that one of the primary bills in Congress - in typical political fashion - provides an out to spammers who "agree to police themselves." This "pie crust promise" would enable bulk emailers to avoid stiff penalties for bogging down the internet with crappy spam email.

The Bill is sponsored by Reps. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.) and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.).


Telemarketers get taught a lesson

Humorist Dave Barry recently organized a calling campaign to give telemarketers a taste of their own medicine. Barry, in his August 31 column, he listed the phone number of the American Teleservices Association and asked his readers to call in and complain about the tactics of telemarketers.

Barry is no lightweight as he is syndicated in over 500 newspapers around the country.

It seems the message was heard loud and clear as callers now hear a recording which says that due to "overwhelming positive response to recent media events, we are unable to take your call at this time."

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Novelist Orson Scott Card weighs in with a treatise on why the RIAA and the Record Companies are NOT the victims they claim to be.

Check it out here.

He makes some interesting points:

1. Sales may be down because most consumers have already replaced all old vinyl and cassettes with CDs that outlive their owners. So all that windfall money is no longer flowing in.

2. Record companies have made some really lousy decisions as they tried to guess what consumers would want to buy. Additionally, they market to high school and college students -- who are most likely to be sharing MP3s over the internet.

3. The Record Industry is playing a tired old tune as they complained when radio first started broadcasting records instead of live performances, saying the practice was going to hurt sales! Turned out that radio didn't hurt record sales. Radio made record sales, because people wanted to own the records they heard on the radio. Radio let people hear musicians they might never have found otherwise.

Same thing with TV and Video which opened up a lucrative aftermarket that kept movies alive long after they would have stopped earning money. And in the case of video, it forced studios to stopped charging ninety bucks for a videotape - which showed that aftermarket sales are often bigger than the original theatrical release.

Card believes that the internet will be similar as Apple's iTunes Music Store and will prove out.

He also takes the movie and record industries to task because of their "creative accounting" which has cheated artists out of royalties for years - especially in the movie industry where movies NEVER make a profit!

There's also the case that every CDR sold pays the RIAA a royalty. Which begs the question, if the RIAA is profiting from all the mp3s which are then burned to CD, can they sue themselves as accomplises?


The RIAA is going to have a bad week.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) now gets it. He's paying attention to Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) campaign of suing 12 yr-old girls and 71 yr-old grandpas and he doesn't like it ... not one bit.

Joining Senator Norm Coleman (R - Minnesota) in his concern about the RIAAs ability wage a legal war against citizens ignorant of their rights, Senator Brownback introduced legislation Tuesday that would require the RIAA, or anyone else for that matter, to file a "John Doe lawsuit" to obtain any information on suspected file sharers, instead of having blanket subpoena powers via a court clerk's signature.

Designed to provide some sort of regulative oversight, the legislation will give any accussed or suspected file sharer their rights back.

"This will provide immediate privacy protections to Internet subscribers by forcing their accusers to appear publicly in a court of law, where those with illicit intentions will not tread, and provides the accused with due process required to properly defend themselves."

As written, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act permits copyright holders to subpoena an Internet service provider for the name and address of a person they believe is violating a copyright. The one-page subpoena request doesn't even require a judge's signature.

The bill will also require some sort of label identifying media as protected by digital rights management and warning consumers that the product they're buying is protected by certain safeguards which may cause customers trouble playing the purchase on their computers. Plus, music lovers have been unable to convert these music files to MP3s.

Sen. Brownback also chaired a full Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Digital Rights Management today.

“Our first panel will discuss the merits of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s information subpoena, included in section 512(h) of the Act. Recently a federal court has held that copyright owners may use the subpoena to compel Internet service providers to disclose to them the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their subscribers suspected of piracy. This occurs when an ISP’s service acts as a “conduit”, or the transport, over which the subscriber sends and receives data. This subpoena process includes no due process for the accused ISP subscribers.

“I support strong protections of intellectual property, and I will stand on my record in support of property rights against any challenge. But I cannot in good conscience support any tool such as the DMCA information subpoena that can be used by pornographers, and potentially even more distasteful actors, to collect the identifying information of Americans, especially our children."

The legislation and the hearing of the committee, coupled with Senator Coleman's investigation in the RIAAs tactics and his promise of hearings means a very bad fall for the RIAA and reminds E-R of the famous words of Admiral Yamamoto after attacking Pearl Harbour:

"I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve".


WiFi "hot spots" to offer free wireless

Yahoo News/The Washington Post is reporting that September 25th is FREE WI-FI DAY! No doubt taking a clue from Ben & Jerry's and Baskin Robbins that offer a free scoop of icecream to promote their goodies, Intel and a group of tech companies are planning a wireless giveaway next week to promote its Centrino wireless laptop technology and market wireless access in general.

About 5,000 WiFi "hot spots" around the country that normally charge for wireless Internet access will offer it free all day.

No new Internet Taxes

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. House of Representatives today is expected to vote overwhelmingly to extend and expand the four-year-old tax moratorium on Internet use.

The move is hoped to continue to spur interest in broadband access by keeping monthly access fees low, and Rep. Christopher Cox (R-California), lead sponsor of the moratorium bill, is convinced that a permanent solution will continue to make Internet access more affordable for consumers.

"We want to keep Internet access affordable, and in many places the difference between dial-up and broadband is ten bucks a month," Cox said. "If ten dollars a month is already a barrier for people to embrace broadband, adding an increment on top of that is only going to keep the digital divide wide open."

Meanwhile, VNUNet reports that global Broadband use has risen a whopping 72 percent.

The Senate is expected to take up the matter before November.

Now if they would only do that for my cable bill!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Verizon sues RIAA over abuse of subpeona powers

After losing their bid to protect the names of internet subscribers who may be involved in file-sharing, the Washington Post is reporting that Verizon Communications Inc., is counter-suing asking a federal appeals panel to help disarm the music industry and prevent blocking them from using the copyright subpoena powers in the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to track and sue computer users who download songs online.

Instant Messages are for anything BUT work says survey - but there may be a heavier cost

CNN TECH is reporting on a British instant message survey which reveals that the majority of IM users spend more time talking to friends via IM, rather than working.

Though lost productivity is an evitable byproduct of businesses embracing an emerging technology like IMs, the greater cost may be in liability from leaking company secrets, details about business practices, and other items which may leak out because businesses don't currently monitor instant messages.

However, most IMers tend to gossip and flirt, or ... hang on a sec, I gotta talk to Dave about the Cowboy game last night ...

Monday, September 15, 2003

Heliodisplay images promise to end the need for monitors

SciFi movies have been doing it for years ... creating a video image out of thin air. Princess Leia screaming "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" Captain Picard discussing strategy with a holodeck character. Or even Tom Cruise using images in time to predict a crime before it happens.

Now technology seems to be catching up to the fantasy. CNN TECH is reporting that Heliodisplay images - displays actually projected in thin air by a modified video projector - have made breakthroughs in acheiving the ubercool - a display with no monitor.

"The machine modifies the air above a video projector, creating a working, 27-inch screen that can display any kind of video. The image is two-dimensional, can be seen from several angles, and can be manipulated by hand."