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Slashback: Playstation, CueCat, Games 306

Posted by timothy
from the traffic-court-and-cockroaches dept.
This edition of Slashback has updates and clarifications on the official release of Sony's PS2 Linux, relative security among various operating systems, dirty output on power-boosted Linksys wireless access points, and more, flying hardware you might have figured was no more, and more.

Maybe a bad day at the factory? An anonymous reader submits: "I'm not sure where the other fellow got his WAP11, but mine don't show the dirty output his does." See this diagram for a much more desireable outcome, if you care to play with (a little bit of) fire.

First application should be a GPL'd AIBO obedience school. gonz writes: "An update to the previous reported linux on ps2 kit has been submitted by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to the people previously registering interest on their technology sites. The update consist of that it will be released in May on both SCEA (us) and SCEE (pal areas, including Europe and Australia) territories. A website has been set up at this place. On a side note, registering for notification when pre-ordering can apparently be done too: 'Finally, although sales haven't yet started, if you send an e-mail with the message "subscribe" to ps2linux-request@technology.scee.net we'll let you know when pre-ordering starts.'"

Lessons in obviousness. John Kozubik writes: "I have written an article describing, in a manner I have not yet seen, why the court decision by the U.S. appeals court in SF that claimed in-line linking was not fair use was inherently flawed. It is a short piece written for both the technical and the non-technical, and I think it raises a strong point concerning the arbitrary nature of browser behavior."

If they'd launch some pigs, perhaps global phones would be affordable. Guppy06 writes: "Many of you may be surprised to learn that Iridium (famous for trying to compete with cell phones and failing miserably) is still throwing up satellites (I sure was). The article on CNN tells of the technical woes of getting this particular Delta II off the pad in Vandenberg as Iridium tries to put five more spares into orbit."

Couldn't they have spayed or neutered them instead? Speaking of old hardware, Anonymous Radio Shack Employee writes: "RadioShack has sent a notice to all of its employees to destroy all CueCats (preferably with a hammer). Apparently the CueCat is among a couple of dozen items that RadioShack has given up on, and wants destroyed. The memo says that store employee's can not benefit from the items on the list. Which sucks because my store has over a hundred of these things just sitting in the back room." This week's Linux Weekly News has a great, detailed followup to the recent flap over relative OS security sparked by a post in Windows Informant.

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Slashback: Playstation, CueCat, Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:07PM (#2991024)
    fair use was HREF="http://www.kozubik.com/published/decisions.t xt">http://www.kozubik.com/published/decisions. txt">inherently flawed.
    oh, the irony.
  • cuecat (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IanA (260196)
    why not just give them away, or throw away?

    *destroy* seems like overkill, explain please
    • Re:cuecat (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spt (557979) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:11PM (#2991062)
      They probably don't want to have to support the customers that would get one - "my cue:cat doesn't understand the barcode on my baked beans .. whine whine whine"

      They may well want to sever their relationship with the digital:convergence to, and smashing the things to bits is a great way to send that message.
    • Re:cuecat (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pythas (75383)
      The last non tech job I had was working in a warehouse for a retailer. We got orders popping out from time to time that instructed us to destroy items. Probably not an uncommon thing.

      Maybe it's for some kind of wacky accounting purposes??? I don't know.
      • by clump (60191)
        Talk to anyone that works in a bagel or donut shop and they will tell you that they throw away hundreds/thousands of units a week. Basically what isn't purchased is discarded. Surely we can think to give the units to the homeless/hungry/needy-cause, but there is apparently a legal reason not to do so. Perhaps fear of a lawsuit or maybe fear of propagating freeloading?
        • Surely we can think to give the units to the homeless/hungry/needy-cause, but there is apparently a legal reason not to do so.

          I used to work at Publix and asked them the exact same question. Stores can't give out food because if a homeless man gets sick, the stores could be sued. Of course, Im sure homeless people would sign a release in a second for some free fried chicken...

        • by ncc74656 (45571) <scott@alfter.us> on Monday February 11, 2002 @10:43PM (#2991946) Homepage Journal
          Talk to anyone that works in a bagel or donut shop and they will tell you that they throw away hundreds/thousands of units a week. Basically what isn't purchased is discarded. Surely we can think to give the units to the homeless/hungry/needy-cause, but there is apparently a legal reason not to do so.

          My first job ever was at a franchise of a certain somewhat large fast-food chain [mcdonalds.com], and it wasn't long before I asked why the food that was "QC'd" was pitched instead of held and shipped off to one of the local shelters. Liability was the primary reason...if some bum got sick off of a freebie burger, he could've contacted any of the hundreds of ambulance chasers [switchboard.com] in this town and sued the store into oblivion. It was hella wasteful...about the only thing you could do is keep an eye on production to minimize the waste, but it was nearly impossible to eliminate it completely.

        • It's an idiotic situation that could be easily remedied through legislation; New York City has an organization called City Harvest [cityharvest.org] that collects food from restaurants and stores, which aren't liable for any problems arising from the food.
        • In the US, food doesn't *have* to be tossed. There's a national organization, Second Harvest [secondharvest.org], that arranges for surplus food donations. I think their programs vary depending on location, but in Atlanta, they have trucks that come to restaurants and grocery stores to pick up, and regular drop off points. The food goes from the restaurants to soup kitchens and food assistance pantries, where it is used or handed out in an organized fashion. They also do larger scale projects like getting surpus produce from one region in the country to another.

          As far as I'm aware, in some places restauranteurs are misinformed about local rules for food donation. Second Harvest and similar organizations work to provide correct information as well as the go-betweens to organize and monitor such donations.

          A quick survey on the net for "surpus food" or "food rescue" (a common term for this) turned up several meta-lists of organizations, including this one [pcma.org] which has listings for the US and Canada. It seems like there's more a misperception of legal reason that actual restrictions.
    • Re:cuecat (Score:2, Informative)

      by gleam_mn (226101)
      I used to work for a University electronics shop and we would often have to destroy equipment for two reasons:

      1) The university didn't want people dumpster diving

      2) Any equipment that was donated to the university from companies like Fluke had to be destroyed prior to disposal because the agreement with Fluke stated that you weren't allowed to make a profit from donated equipment... so, no salvage (because the U still makes a profit from salvage auctions) which is how most U items go out. Also, I think to adhere to the strict letter of the agreement they didn't want that equipment getting out into peoples hands via point 1)

      Not sure what the exact agreement was with the makers of the CueCat but I imagine it may well boil down to "if we don't profit from 'em, nobody should! damnit!"

    • Don't forget (Score:3, Insightful)

      that every product is a liability forever. This was/is a big problem for small aircraft manufacturers...their planes easily last 50 years or more. 60 years later, the 8th owner crashes it because the fuel filter got clogged, and guess who get's sued?

      And did you ever see the Simpsons episode where Homer bought the trampoline?

      No lawyer would ever advise a company to give away overstock when they could be destroyed instead.
      • Re:Don't forget (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CityZen (464761)
        I wonder how things would be if we didn't have such "infinite" room in our landfills.

        America, where stuff is so plentiful we have to throw away a lot of it before it ever gets used.
      • that every product is a liability forever. This was/is a big problem for small aircraft manufacturers...their planes easily last 50 years or more. 60 years later, the 8th owner crashes it because the fuel filter got clogged, and guess who get's sued?

        Hmmm... I don't get it? Does the law distinguish between large and small manufacturers? When was the last time Boeing or Airbus got sued for a plane that came down? All I ever hear is the airlines shelling out big money and the manufacturer pre-emptively sending experts to find out what went wrong and how it could have been prevented.

        So basically, I think the liability is stuck to the people who do the mandatory inspections and overhauls on the machine. A clogged fuel filter is very certainly a part subject to wear and therefore something to be checked repeatedly and changed if needed. Would someone get through with suing Dodge or Ford because he rear-ended into a truck with nearly no brake pads left on his car? I doubt it.
    • Re:cuecat (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MADCOWbeserk (515545)
      I worked a consulting job that sent me to a big toy company's offices in NYC. We once spent the day destroying a room full of toy centipedes, hammer to plastic. They just didn't want them resold through unofficial outlets. Evidently the government holds them responsible for them even if they get thrown out. Ie. if someone chokes on a piece of a toy they picked out the garbage, they are can still be sued. Destroying them saves them that liability.

      By and by a fun gig, they had an unlimited IT budget, so they had things like $12,000 plasma video screens thoughtout the office, and IBM Intellistations as office computers.

      The coolest thing was building Half Pipe, full size, to do a presentation on the X-games toys.
      • Re:cuecat (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sigwinch (115375) on Monday February 11, 2002 @10:56PM (#2991993) Homepage
        Evidently the government holds them responsible for them even if they get thrown out. Ie. if someone chokes on a piece of a toy they picked out the garbage, they are can still be sued.
        No, there is no warranty for garbage. The real issue is that the toy had probably already been sold in stores. How do you distinguish a toy with a warranty from a toy picked out of the garbage? It's very hard, and the attempt might cause bad publicity. Destroying the toys protects against confusion, which can easily cost more than simple liability.
    • At a Yamaha Music warehouse.

      When stuff is imported via cargo ship from Japan, a certain number of damaged units are expected, and so they ship extra ones in order to make up for this. On paper, it all works out in the insurance, and so everybody is happy.

      However, when a shipment arrives with no damage, these 'extra' items must now be paid for by the receiver. Since some of these items are sometimes worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, when you suddenly have to pay for more than you bargained for, it hurts the balance sheet.

      A friend of mine described how a government tax agent and several company officers had to witness the destruction of a perfectly working, hand-crafted, grand piano. Warehouse workers raised and dropped the two ton monster fifteen times from a forklift before it was destroyed to the point where the tax agent would allow it to be written off.

      Spend a month hand crafting a top of the line musical instrument, ship it overseas, and then have it destroyed. All just to satisfy the red tape. This is so Muggle/Douglas Adams, it makes my head spin!

      I almost look forward to the day when society is decimated by a comet!


      -Fantastic Lad

      • A friend of mine described how a government tax agent and several company officers had to witness the destruction of a perfectly working, hand-crafted, grand piano. Warehouse workers raised and dropped the two ton monster fifteen times from a forklift before it was destroyed to the point where the tax agent would allow it to be written off.

        This makes me sick. I kinda wish I never read your comment because now I'm damn angry! The people who would do such a thing deserve to be shot (preferably with frozen shit) and then pissed on!
      • A friend of mine described how a government tax agent and several company officers had to witness the destruction of a perfectly working, hand-crafted, grand piano. Warehouse workers raised and dropped the two ton monster fifteen times from a forklift before it was destroyed to the point where the tax agent would allow it to be written off.

        THIS is legal? I mean a tax inspector actually watches the destruction of an item before he allows it to written off?

        This planet never ceases to surprise me.
  • by doooras (543177) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:08PM (#2991027)
    i will have the first webserver running on a cue cat.
  • by Inspired Chaos (19991) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:08PM (#2991030)
    Alright! I'm deffinately ready for the "101 ways to destroy a Cuecat" video craze. :)
  • by Pituritus Ani (247728) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:09PM (#2991039) Homepage
    . . . can only mean that they will become more scarce. Then, decades from now, when I'm old and grey, I'll retire on the income from selling the ones I collected from every Radio Shack in the four state area when Digital Convergence broke out the jackboots.

    I dance a jig on their grave. See where empty-headed threats and intellectual property rhetoric lead?

    • Ah, see, and people laughed at the CueCat Collectors Club [techsynthesis.com]! Buwahahahaaaaa!

    • by Tom7 (102298)
      Mine is still providing a nice warm red night-light via the PS/2 power... I'm not selling!

      Anyway, though I'd like to believe it, I don't think it's the IP tactics that did them in. The simple fact was that they had an absolutely retarded business plan. Nobody wants to scan barcodes from a magazine. It wasn't even fun for the novelty value.
      • Re:Nah.. (Score:2, Funny)

        by TokyoJimu (21045)
        > It wasn't even fun for the novelty value.

        Reminds me of the early '90s in Japan when business cards started sporting barcodes, encoded with the phone and fax numbers printed on the card.

        I could never quite grasp why anyone would want to use a scanner to scan the number, which would then output the touch-tones to the phone, instead of just punching eight buttons.

        I admit I'm not totally immune to technology for technology's sake, but...what were these people thinking!
  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tadrith (557354) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:09PM (#2991041) Homepage
    Somebody call the humane society!

    Oh... they're not *real*?
  • Or better yet, how? Where did all the cash for those birds come from? Was it a pre-payed deal? Did the NSA decide they REALLY wanted them up there, or are they part of our new Missle Defense prog? (J/k!)
  • Sigh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Will_Malverson (105796) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:11PM (#2991049) Journal
    Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs! Don't forget the http://!
    • I though he did that because of the linkung issue.
      I guess I forgot the old adage "never chock up to lame humor, anything that can be attributeed to stupidity"
  • CueCat Accessories? (Score:2, Informative)

    by VertigoAce (257771)
    Why did RadioShack continue supporting CueCats for so long? I was there fairly recently and saw that they were selling things like CueCat holders for your desk... I don't know about other places, but Dallas stopped putting CueCat barcodes in the newspaper quite a while ago.
  • by UsonianAutomatic (236235) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:11PM (#2991056) Homepage
    Cue::Cats are only to be destroyed with the special Cue::Hammer.

    The Cue::Hammer, when connected to your computer's serial port, will digitally scan any object it is used upon and automatically take you to a website featuring...

    oh, never mind.
  • Radio Scrap (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hydro-X (549998) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:11PM (#2991063)
    Wow! Something from Radio Scrap that actually needs help in falling apart! :]
    • Actually, anything that is to be thrown out at a Radio Shack store MUST be smashed to bits before putting in the dumpster.. It's their lame policy.
      • Re:Radio Scrap (Score:3, Insightful)

        by McSpew (316871)

        Hey, the policy's not lame. It's a blast. I once replaced a VCR that was deemed "uneconomical to repair." We pitched the dead one off the roof of the building my store was in. It was a hoot.

        And trust me, after you've just finished dealing with an infuriating customer who took all the anger of his entire life out on you, taking his returned, worthless answering machine out behind the store and beating the crap out of it with something big and heavy is a very satisfying release.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:12PM (#2991068)
    Having to post this anonymously (as a Former Radio Shack Employee Who Does Not Wish To Cause Trouble Even Though His Boss Has No Idea What Slashdot Is) - I was working for RS when the memo came out that all Cats were to be given away IMMEDAITELY. Our boss made us push them on every customer, showing us the memo that said that each store would be charged $0.05 for each Cat remaining in the store past X date. I don't know who submitted the article, but perhaps his boss doesn't read his memos. Anyway, we dumped our stock shortly thereafter in a matter of a few days. Also, the bit about "employees not benefitting from these items" or whatever is somewhat bogus - it's not like RS corporate makes you send them pictures of numbered piles of destroyed Cats. If his/her boss has half a heart he'd let his employees take home whatever.
    • The employees not benefitting part is very believeable. Retail stores of every kind dump old product, and if you happen to take it home instead of throwing it away, you are stealing from the company apparently. Even if you're lucky enough to work for almighty 7-11, you can't just give the $300.00 or so in nowhere near spoiled food that the company writes off everyday to the homeless shelter across the street. No, that would be stealing. When you work for a bookstore, you'd think that all unsold paperback books were recycled. No, just thrown away. What? our schools need books? No, that would be stealing. God I wish I were kidding.
      • Unsold books and food are both special cases.

        As for the food, it's spoiled; safe or not, I'm sure that no business wants to expose itself to the lawsuit that might ensue if someone got sick after eating their abandoned food.

        The books are an intellectual property issue. I'm sure every Slashdot readers knows about the difference between buying a copy and licensing a work. When a bookstore destroys a book, they get a refund from the publisher, because although the paper was wasted, the content (which is much more valuable) can be sold again somewhere else. If they simply gave away the books, someone would have to pay royalties to the author and everyone else involved. A little hard to swallow, perhaps, but it makes sense.

        Of course, none of this applies to the CueCat, as far as I can tell.
        • Exactly; thus the little blurbs you often see in paperbacks that say something like "If you purchased this book without a cover, it is stolen property. It was reported to the publisher as destroyed and neither the publisher nor the author has received any payment for this copy of the book." Apparently, in the book trade, tearing the cover off a book and throwing it in the dumpster counts as destroyed.
          • on coverless books (Score:3, Informative)

            by ghostlibrary (450718)
            "Apparently, in the book trade, tearing the cover off a book and throwing it in the dumpster counts as destroyed."

            Actually, it's: the bookstore gets refunded for all returned books, but postage to return them would be ridiculous, so the torn covers are sent instead as proof of non-sale.

            Many a publisher has gone under due to returnable policies. Publisher pays for print run in advance, 1 year later gets a bunch o' torn covers plus a refund request for 60% cover price for each. No books and no pay = big loss for publisher.
  • Radio Shack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpacePunk (17960) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:12PM (#2991073) Homepage
    Well, I won't be using Radio Shack ever again. I don't see any reason to patronize a business that would rather destroy an item it no longer wants or can sell, especially something they were just handing out for free in the first place... rather than give the items away to those who need/want them. It's a waste of resources that could have been better used instead of destroyed. It's this sort of action that defines what the deepest, darkest depths that greed and ignorance can reach.
    • Re:Radio Shack (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vsync64 (155958)
      I work at Office Depot, and we do the same thing. Anything a customer comes back with saying "it's broken" gets put in the D&D pile, which is later smashed, shredded and hit with red spray paint. We generally don't check if it is broken, either. Yes, it sucks, but what to do? Our entire economic system is based on enforcing artificial scarcity.
    • Re:Radio Shack (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yorrike (322502) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:39PM (#2991232) Homepage Journal
      Nothing compared to the lengths banks go to.

      There's a bank I worked for a little while ago which recieved 40 17" monitors that it had since decided it didn't want.

      Since the supplier wouldn't take them back and the bank had a stupid "destroy all obsolete computer equipment" policy, the brand, spanking new monitors, still in their unopened boxes, where taken to the landfill where a large hole was dug, the monitors dumped into and run over with a bulldozer.

      In the words of one of my university going friends: "The university computer department would have killed for those"

      I would have taken those monitors off their hands, for free. A 40 monitor wall display would have been cool.

      • by imac.usr (58845)
        The mere posting of this story is a hate crime against computer geeks everywhere. You should be ashamed...

        • by Yorrike (322502)
          Not ashamed, more relieved that the truth is finally out there. It's a weight off my chest.

          Trust me, when I heard of this occurance, I shed a tear for those poor, defenseless CRTs, being dumped in an umarked, undignified grave when there where thousands who would have given them the love they needed.

          I often wake screaming with guilt (or it could be caffine induced insanity, same diff I suppose).

      • Re:Radio Shack (Score:3, Informative)

        by t (8386)
        You should report the incident to the EPA since it is illegal to dispose of monitors in that manner due to the amount of lead in the CRT. Here in cali I think you have to pay $15/crt to dispose of it. That should teach the bank.

        t.

    • Re:Radio Shack (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      ther are actually accounting and inventory reason for doing this.
      Its the same with book stores. If they have a title they don't want/need. They rip off the front cover to send back, then toss the rest of the book. Every major boodstore will fire you if you try to take home the book, even without the cover.
      Basically, its cheaper to do this.
    • Re:Radio Shack (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dyolf Knip (165446)
      Apparently this is common practice at many stores, in many industries. Oddly enough though, we never had much of a problem with this at the Papa Johns I used to work at. The freezer shelf life of the stuff was always much greater than the time it would go unused; dough sometimes got hard to work with, but we'd never have to throw away more than a few trays out of a hundred, and dough was by far the cheapest part of the thing anyway. Any mistakes were either used in someone else's order, eaten by the staff, or given to one of the bums outside.

      But it really is apalling that it is cheaper to destroy extremely valuable stuff, especially computer equipment, rather than give it away to some charity or other needy organiztion. Anyone have ideas on solving it that doesn't involve new legislation?

  • I walked into Radio Shack a couple of months ago to pick up some thin wire for a project. Not to be found. Then I noticed the cuecats and those nice, looooooooong serial cable tails.

    I took a few home and SNIP!

    Guess I'll do something with the cuecat guts sooner or later.

    - James
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:20PM (#2991123)
    Has anyone been able to get their Cue:Cat to scan something they've printed with a bar code font? My cat will scan every UPC bar code I've found, but if I try to make my own, it almost never works.
    • by delta407 (518868)
      I've gotten my cats (the earlier PS/2 ones, at least) to read Codabar, Code 128, and UPC-As... pretty much everything I've told it to. Barcodes are the most "legible" when printed on a laser printer; I had to enlarge the codes a wee bit to play nicely on my Lexmark 5700.

      So, yes, these little annoying plastic things can read home-made barcodes.
    • Don't know about a barcode font, but I print barcodes with gnu-barcode and it reads those OK. (Of course not as good as a $250 Symbol reader, but not bad.)

      I use weather-proof Avery labels which are kind of slick (smooth), which probably helps for multiple reads.
    • Here's a quick 3 of 9 primer...
      Most TTF fonts I have seen for barcodes support 3 of 9 encoding as it does not have any interleaving or require a checksum. It does require a start and stop code however. (usualy a *) As a font the spacebar will place on unreadable gap in the barcode. To print the code that represents a space to the reader, an alternate translation charactor must be typed. (in my font it's an exclimation point!) 3 of 9 barcodes support the following 0-9, A-Z (uppercase only), and hyphen, period, Dollar, slash, plus, percent, and space. (yes you can barcode /.) To get lowercase and other ASCII, you must use extended 3 of 9. The Cue Cat reader does not support extended 3 of 9 and will provide only the pairs used to represent the extended caracters. Extended characters are a pair of characters that represent another single character. As an example a lower case A is coded +A and prints as a. A plus in front of a number prints as a +. Eg. +125 prints +125. Armed with this information my John Henry would be preped for a barcode font as follows.
      *JOHN!HENRY*
      A search of HP's website will get you the full extended 3 of 9 information. Another tidbit.. If you hack the Cat, all 3 of 9 is output in lower case instead of uppercase by the Cue Cat.
  • you know Rat-shack has ALWAYS done stupid things like this. I remember seeing some Tandy 100's destroyed because noone would buy them at $150.00 each.. and the store manager was too stupid to understand that lowering the price further was a better idea. (a rat-shack manager... wow what a glorius position eh?)

    It's moronic moves like this instead of just throwing them away or how about dumping them on a electronic junk wherehouse for a few cents?

    Most places like EIO will pay for shipping.
    • Its not Radio Shack per-se. All major chains destroy product. Its cheaper then other alternatives.
      Personally, I'd love it if they at least called a local not for profit orginization that specializes in used hardware and say "hey, we got these if you want them you have 2 days to pick them up."
      On a side note, I've been to radio shack several times and have yet to even see one.
    • Thank the tax system - it punishes you for not doign this kind of thing. Nor alas is it just a US problem.

      Whats sad is the tax system ought to encourage radio shack to take the box down the local school or college and throw them into the "fun stuff for electronics lessons" bucket
    • It made sense to destroy the Tandy 100s rather than sell them below wholesale. Someone who bought one of those Tandy 100s might have otherwise bought something at a regular price thereby "cheating" the store of the sale of a profitable item.

      Even the "electronic junk warehouse" doesn't make a lot of sense for a manager who gets paid the same in any case. Dealing with the warehouse would require all kinds of extra effort to get the stuff packaged, shipped and actually paid for. The company obviously has the necessary paperwork for when inventory is destroyed but they probably don't for when inventory is resold. That's probably not a decision they want to leave in the hands of a mere store manager. "Now that there are P4s out, we'll never sell these PIIIs, I guess I'll make room by unloading them at the junk warehouse for 75% cost."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:25PM (#2991158)
    "Many of you may be surprised to learn that Iridium (famous for trying to compete with cell phones and failing miserably) is still throwing up satellites (I sure was). The article on CNN tells of the technical woes of getting this particular Delta II off the pad in Vandenberg as Iridium tries to put five more spares into orbit."

    Iridium was bought by a company no one had ever heard of, for a bargain price -- after "securing" a long term contract from the US Government that basically pays for their operating costs. Any additional commercial subscribers is just gravy.

    Common speculation is that this company is really a front for one or more of the many three-letter agencies in Washington that saw an opportunity to establish a secure means of global communication.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    From a local RadioShack guy, "If your Cue:Cat begins to foam at the mouth, smash it with a hammer. Your kids will understand. If possible, get another before they notice..."
  • Digital Convergence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by felipeal (177452) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:31PM (#2991192) Homepage
    What is even more interesting is the fact that Digital Convergence is still alive [crq.com]!
    It looks like they changed their business plan (of course) and are now *selling* the CueCat reader [crq.com] and books [crq.com] (this last one is a ROFL site. Look at the titles: Online Weight Loss Assistant, WAR ON TERROR (PHASE ONE: AFGHANISTAN & USAMA BIN LADIN), and so on...)
    • It gets even funnier when you look under the picture of the cuecat and it says "available now for windows operating systems".

      i bet thats what they thought the first time.
  • Headline (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mwongozi (176765) <(gro.revolgdivad) (ta) (eerhthsals)> on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:33PM (#2991202) Homepage
    For some reason I missed the word "Slashback" on this headline and thought it was a story about interfacing your cuecat with your PS2 and using it to play games.

    Now that would be cool.

  • by Cato the Elder (520133) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:57PM (#2991350) Homepage
    I would say this article is worth the read [kozubik.com], but I have to disagree with its conclusion.

    I fully agree that any material placed on publically accessible web servers should be referencable under the "fair use" doctrine. However, I think the court's descision is correct in light of this. Mr. Kozubik's main complaint seems to be that the behavior of browsers as regards linking are entirely arbitrary. He is correct. However, fair use is by its very nature a doctrine which will be interpreted on a case by case basis, respecting precedent.

    Rather than fearing, as he does, that the court will constantly have to "revise" the decision as technology changes, I think courts will be able to read the intent and wisely apply it to many other decisions. After all, a court decision is not a law, defined by the precise wordings, but rather a carefully considered opinion on the burden of evidence. Future courts should be able to apply the same fundamental distinction--linking that is designed to automatically reproduce the work vs linking that is designed only to show the location of the work--irregardless of the precise technology involved.

  • nastiness (Score:3, Funny)

    by jaavaaguru (261551) on Monday February 11, 2002 @08:59PM (#2991357) Homepage
    The picture of the modulated signal from the WAP11 on the HP8565a should be rated PG due to explicit content :-)
    I mean, what does the 1st one look like to you?
  • by Herak (557381) on Monday February 11, 2002 @09:03PM (#2991384)
    ...and probably other places as well.

    My friend works at blockbuster, and he says that periodically they'll be told to destroy videos or games that are no longer being sold.

    It's worth mentioning that not one thing is ever *actually* destroyed-- that's one of the few perks of a minimum wage behind-the-counter job.

    My guess on why this happens is that the original distributer (who sold the videos to Blockbuster or CueCat's to Radio Shack) made Blockbuster or Radio Shack sign a contract saying explicitly that they couldn't give extras of these items to their employees. If Radio Shack is in effect giving away CueCats to all their employees, then none of the employees are going to go out and buy new CueCats. The decision isn't in the hands of Radio Shack's management at all, but in the contract with Radio Shack's distributor.

    In other words, Radio Shack doesn't care if they're destroyed or not, but they tell the employees to destroy them in order to avoid legal trouble.

    Hope that helps

  • by Pedahzur (125926) on Monday February 11, 2002 @09:14PM (#2991450) Homepage
    I think everyone needs to check their numbers. While many of these updates are being labeled Linux vulnerablities, most of them are vulnerabilites in software that comes with Linux.

    Take a look at the LWN article again. It includes mailman (a mailing list manager), openssh (secure access to the box), proftpd (an ftp server), (l|m)icq, sendmail (a mail server), and an IMAP/POP server, just to name a few. When is the last time you saw Windows (including NT) come with utilities like those?

    Let's reduce this down to a common denominator: if you only include the packages that would be required to "duplicate" windows functionality, we have:
    1) the kernel
    2) KDE (for "network transparent" FTP browsing, etc [FYI no bias against gnome, just picking examples])
    3) XWindows for the GUI
    4)Apache (if we are talking NT with IIS, or 9x with PWS, which has security issues of its own
    5) a dhcp client, most likely
    6) Maybe a few others

    Now how many vulnerabilities do you have? Granted, Linux servers run other things, like POP/IMAP, FTP, etc, but if we're going to compare apples to apples, then let's include the security problems in POP/IMAP servers on Windows, and FTP, and DNS, and, and, and. The comparison is not fair in the least, as Linux is taking a hit for all the problems generated by auxillury packeges. On the other hand, Microsoft is only having to update (and only getting hit) for problems in Windows proper, and not for all the extra programs that you need to make Windows a fully functioning server!
  • I placed an order for a USB cue cat on IBM's eCommerce site, quite some time ago, and never got it!

    Grr... I wanted to use it with ReaderWare! I mean how cool is that software?

  • Destroying Stock (Score:2, Informative)

    by Credne (228909)
    It is common in most large businesses to destroy extra stock. I used to work summers doing a parts inventory at a few auto dealerships and they destroyed all kinds of hardware then reported the numbers back to the manufacturer for credit.
  • In curiosity I ran a quick search on google for the cuecat, and came up with a site [blort.org] that has info on a surprising amount of software that acts as an interface for the kitty. It makes me regret not picking up a few while they were availiable. I know I'd take a free (and useable) barcode scanner any day.

    If only I had known!

    Ah well, I'll just look in the dumpster behind one of the radio shacks near me. I hope the employees at it are too lazy or don't have enough aggression to smash them.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @01:33AM (#2992574) Homepage
    Since policy states that something no longer useful, serviceable or sellable should be destroyed...

    Uh... what does it say in their fine print about a 'retirement plan' again???
  • by HiredMan (5546) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @01:48AM (#2992625) Journal
    I put my Schroedinger's CueCat in a box and tossed in a single hammer.

    It may be destroyed or it may not. I can't be sure.

    ;)

    =tkk

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson

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