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Slashback: Wireless, Radio, Ralsky 252

Posted by timothy
from the driving-north-toward-snow dept.
Slashback with more on GNU Radio; BeUnited's ongoing bid for Gobe Productive's source code; AOL, IM and the USPTO; the consequences one observer faced for watching spammer Alan Ralsky and more. Read on for the details.

Don't Post While Sleepy: Hi, Chrisd here apologizing about that false post on Sony/Nintendo Playstation Trademark Settlement. Oops. Doh. No excuse. Mea Culpa. I'll be more careful next time.

Is "Rubber stamping everything" a patentable business practice? Brian Dear writes "With all the news these days about the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issuing a patent to AOL/ICQ/Mirabilis for Instant Messaging, I thought the Slashdot community would be interested in reading about TERM-talk on PLATO, which was announced on the PLATO network on this day in 1973. Here is the URL with a screen shot of the actual announcement."

Turing, Marconi and Rosen: pick any two. squiggleslash writes "Salon is running an informative and sympathetic story about GNU radio. The article discusses how the project could end up pre-empting the Hollywood producers and other content cartel's attempts to destroy modifiable consumer hardware by creating a blatently legitimate space where programmable hardware is a requirement, as well as opening up radio to groups outside of the current cabals. Good stuff."

We've mentioned quite a bit about GNU Radio before (see also Eric Blossom's interview questions and answers; this article delves into the fight that the GNU Radio folks are gearing up for over broadcast flags.

Suiteness and light. To follow up on our mention of the effort to buy from Gobe (and release as Free software) the sourcecode of Gobe Productive, Simon Gauvin of beunited.org writes "beunited.org has been pledged over $10,000.00 by the public and corporate community for the release of Gobe Productive for BeOS. Linux users have also pledged, and we encourage more members of the Linux community to participate for the release of the Linux version. Call all your friends and send them over to beunited.org to help raise awareness!"

Here's the relevant discussion thread if you'd like to learn more about this effort; I wish the site had a bar chart of some sort showing how much money was currently raised, and an obvious PayPal link or similar. Note that for now, beunited's first goal is to open the source for the BeOS version of Productive.

Ralsky, Ralsky, Ralsky ... IsoRashi writes "Over at the Register they have this short article about a guy who took some photos of spammer Alan Ralsky's home. After taking the photographs, the man was chased by someone in a black jaguar and he began receiving threatening phone calls the next day. Here is a direct link to the site the photographer set up."

Read your TOS carefully before you start downloading ... Sergeant Beavis writes "Nate Carlson was kind enough to create a HOWTO for connecting your Linux box to Sprint's Vision network via a Sanyo SCP-4900 phone. However Sanyo's store shows the cable to be out of stock. Now comes FutureDial to the rescue with both the USB cable and SnapDialer software for connecting to the Vision network with Windows instead of Linux. Oh, the cable only cost $19.99 at your local Radio Shack. Enjoy!"

And let this be a lesson (of sorts) to you! gh0ul writes "Looks like Uzi Nissan (for those of you who don't recall owns nissan.com) has lost his fight with Nissan Motors to keep his nissan.com (last name by birthright/company) domain. The site now reads "In compliance with a ruling issued by the United States District Court in Los Angeles on November 14, 2002, in the lawsuit of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. v. Nissan Computer Corporation, this web site has been converted to non-commercial use." Are we ever going to have any protection against these kind of things?"

The Eye was never there. You never saw it. It was not creepy. Finally, Rob writes "The creepy all-seeing eye logo from John Poindexter and the Total Information Awareness project is suddenly missing from the TIA web site. Old site ; Current site Perhaps TIA is seeking suggestions for a new logo?"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Wireless, Radio, Ralsky

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  • by sys$manager (25156) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:04PM (#4926928)
    I assume that PHONE on VMS has been around a lot longer than any of the current IM systems, but not as long as TERM-talk. It has basically the same functionality as described on the TERM-talk site.
    • There is also of course the Unix 'write', and later 'talk'.

      write of course didn't have the char-by-char display that TERM-talk and PHONE had, but neither do today's IM systems.

      Buddy list? who, or even who | grep friendsloginname if there were lots of people online.
    • It's been around since before PC's were invented.
  • Nissan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by intermodal (534361) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#4926939) Homepage Journal
    That's ridiculous. Nissan is his last name, and his company's name. There needs to be some sort of public outcry one of these days.
    • Re:Nissan (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is, it's here. And that's it. Sorry.
    • I am sick of hearing that "the law still affects the internet" and all that shit!

      The fact of that matter is that the internet(more specifically the web) is treated harsher by the law, and not just to "send a message!!!"

      If it was a billboard, a newspaper, or a shop, the man would have been able to keep it! But no, because it was on the net; he lost it.
    • Re:Nissan (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thebigmacd (545973)
      I hate to argue on principle, but I forgot about this whole thing and when I went looking for the official Nissan 350Z page three days ago, I typed in nissan.com. Upon which I remembered and tried nissan-motors.com, which also does not belong to Nissan Motors. Finally, I found nissanmotors.com. I know, I could have used Google, but my habit is typing in URLS if they are familiar. Case in point...it does sort of hijack Nissan's name.
      • Re:Nissan (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BJH (11355) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:59PM (#4927124)
        So, you're saying that just the fact that one company is larger than another immediately gives the larger one first rights to the best domain names.

        Hmmm...
      • Re:Nissan (Score:2, Funny)

        by Linuxthess (529239)
        Yes, your absolutely right. They're hijacking his URL as well as his last name for their company.

        ---------

      • Come on, it would take two seconds to use google. Nissan's domain is nissan-usa.com, They have it all their advertizements.

        This guy has had that domain while Nissan was still called 'datsun'.
        • I definitely don't agree with Nissan Motors' actions, but in the interests of accuracy, Datsun was the name used by a company (Kaishinsha Motors) which then was transferred to another company (Japan Motors) which changed its name to Nissan in 1934. Datsun was thereafter used as a brand name for Nissan-made cars.
      • I hate to argue on principle, but I forgot about this whole thing and when I went looking for the official Nissan 350Z page three days ago, I typed in nissan.com. Upon which I remembered and tried nissan- motors.com, which also does not belong to Nissan Motors. Finally, I found nissanmotors.com. I know, I could have used Google, but my habit is typing in URLS if they are familiar.

        Your principle being that domain names should be given to the party having the greatest public name recognition?

        Case in point...it does sort of hijack Nissan's name.

        Yes, it hijacks Mr Nissan's name.

    • Re:Nissan (Score:3, Funny)

      by warpath (19103)
      There needs to be some sort of public outcry one of these days.
      Well, we all whined about it a lot the last time it was posted on Slashdot.

      Does that count?

  • TIA logo (Score:1, Funny)

    by Bodhidharma (22913)
    The creepy all-seeing eye logo from John Poindexter and the Total Information Awareness project is suddenly missing from the TIA web site.

    How about a pentagram with a goat's head?

    • Here is the new Logo (Score:3, Informative)

      by goombah99 (560566)
      actually they already have a new logo. its just not on the front page yet. see http://www.darpa.mil/iao/TIASystems.htm.

      also if you check out the program power point slides you will see they have scrubbed the blatantly skin crawling ones. It used to show that they were going to collect data about your dogs veternary records, your mortgage payments, magazine subscriptions and known associates. Now this is gone. Also they have heftier looking compartmentalization of the records keeping shown, suggesting they are thinking of protecting you. (ha!).

      finally poindexter's resume has been cleaned up.

  • Don't you mean "Sleeping"?
  • Mea Culpa (Score:5, Funny)

    by unicorn (8060) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:08PM (#4926953)
    Dear god. Does this mean that the editors are actually going to edit? Next thing you know they'll start reading posts to make sure they aren't dupes.
    • by Random Data (538955) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:14PM (#4926981)
      Dear god. Does this mean that the editors are actually going to edit? Next thing you know they'll start reading posts to make sure they aren't dupes.

      Dear god. Does this mean that the editors are actually going to edit? Next thing you know they'll start reading posts to make sure they aren't dupes.

  • by hng_rval (631871) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:12PM (#4926970)
    Operator: Hello, Mr Johnson?
    Jon: Mr Jameson actually.
    Operator: Did you take pictures of my house?
    Jon: Yes, so what??
    Operator: Perhaps you'd be interested in our new line of digital cameras?
    Jon: What? No, god no...

    (Here comes the threatening part..)
    Operator: But my camera now bitch or you'll get a call like this every hour for the new 15 years.

    Jon: Noooooooooooooooooooo (dies in horrible spam anguish)
    • I've almost got a voice command interface for Zork working. Changing it from MS Agent to SAPI for the telephone shouldn't be a biggy.

      Hi, I'd like to sell you a camera...
      You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door.
      There is a small mailbox here.

      Although the word recognition sucks for a program like Eliza, the results could still be gratifying. "Would it make you happy if you could sell me a digital kangaroo?"

      • I've almost got a voice command interface for Zork working. Changing it from MS Agent to SAPI for the telephone shouldn't be a biggy. Hi, I'd like to sell you a camera... You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here. Although the word recognition sucks for a program like Eliza, the results could still be gratifying. "Would it make you happy if you could sell me a digital kangaroo?"
        So what if your AI system actually does order something, like phone service, where they just "confirm" your info and don't actually request it? Is the agent acting as an authorized agent for you and therefore you've bought something? (I'm actually really curious as to what the IANALs or even IAALs if any care to comment...it seems like a piece of technology accidentally ordering something, such as a buggy version of IE accidentally buying an extra copy of Office from bestbuy.com, would be a non-contract/non-purchase if you pursued a reversal, but that technology you set up specifically to deal with people selling stuff might be a different case, if you set it up knowing that it might say something to the effect of "Yes, would I like to buy that?" that could be reasonably interpreted as an agreement).
    • I'll bet it was more like this: (give it some Monty Python voices when you read it...)

      Operator: Perhaps you'd be interested in our new line of digital cameras?

      Jon: What? No, god no...

      (Here comes the threatening part..)
      Operator: But my camera now bitch or you'll get a call like this every hour for the new 15 years.

      Jon: What? What do you mean "but your camera"?

      Operator: Huh?

      Jon: You said "but my camera".

      Operator: No I didn't. Oh, right. Sorry. I meant "buy".

      Jon: And you'll call me for the "new" what?

      Operator: Sorry?

      Jon: You said you would call me for the "new 15 years". What does that mean?

      Operator: I did?

      Jon: Yes, you did. Are you mad?

      Operator: No, sorry, my fault again. I meant to say the "next" 15 years.

      Jon: Do you really think digital cameras will be selling in 15 years?

      Operator: Well, I don't know. I suppose so.

      Jon: And would you really call me every 15 minutes?

      Operator: Would that be an inconvenience?

      Jon: Yes, quite.

      Operator: So sorry. I won't call then.

      Jon: Thanks, I appreciate that.

      Operator: So, are you happy with your penis size?

      Jon: Pardon?

  • Anti-spam nuts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    These anti-spam nuts are beginning to act a lot like the anti-abortion nuts. Posting personal information about spammers online, making threats against them. Very similar to the so-called "wanted posters" that anti-abortionists post on their sites.

    So this guy goes and plays with fire and he gets burnt. Not too wise.
    • Re:Anti-spam nuts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @09:09PM (#4927170) Journal
      These anti-spam nuts are beginning to act a lot like the anti-abortion nuts. Posting personal information about spammers online, making threats against them. Very similar to the so-called "wanted posters" that anti-abortionists post on their sites.

      Taking pictures of someone's house, from the street, does not break the law (though you could argue it borders on stalking). Accessing public records to find things like addresses and phone numbers does not break the law. By Ralsky's own public statements, signing people up against their will for "exciting commercial opportunities" does not break the law.

      Making threatening phone calls to a random person *does* break the law. Parking outside their house with the deliberate intent of scaring the hell out of them *does* break the law. Sending spam to people after they have opted out *does* break the law (in many states).

      See the pattern? As much as I usually don't believe in such extremes, this really does look look like a case of "good guys vs bad guy".
    • Re:Anti-spam nuts (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)


      These anti-spam nuts are beginning to act a lot like the anti-abortion nuts. Posting personal information about spammers online, making threats against them. Very similar to the so-called "wanted posters" that anti-abortionists post on their sites.


      This would make a much better comparison if clinic workers were grabbing thousands of random people off the streets and performing operations on them. It would be a better point if anti-spam sites listed the home addresses of spammers with violent speach, blood-dripping graphics, and X-ed off the portraits of those who had been murdered.

      It does make one good point - physical threats against spammers do no good. But then, the focus of this story thread has not been threatening the spammer in question. It has been uncovering his operation. And repaying the "service" this individual has performed for so many others.



      So this guy goes and plays with fire and he gets burnt. Not too wise.


      Perhapse it wasn't wise. But it does underscore that those behind these large scale spamming operations play rather fast and loose with morality and legal action. Those who decide to oppose spammers should keep this in mind and be prepared for this kind of behavior.
    • These anti-spam nuts are beginning to act a lot like the anti-abortion nuts. Posting personal information about spammers online, making threats against them.

      Obviously this could go too far. But part of the anger people feel against spammers is because of the feeling that your personal space and privacy is violated by spammers dumping stupid and offensive messages in your personal email. It seems appropriate to fight back by giving the spammers a taste of having their privacy and communications violated. (Of course this isn't at all an argument that would fly in court.)

  • As I understand it, material produced by the federal government is NOT copyrightable. Was the logo produced by the federal government, and therefore available to be passed around by the public?...

  • by ChangeOnInstall (589099) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:39PM (#4927021)
    Some facts regarding the harassing phone calls:

    It's fairly easy to turn a license plate number into a name. I figured out how to do it last week trying to reregister my truck. While making the appointment with the DMV, they asked for my plate number, which I gave, and they said my name back to me. I had provided no information other than the plate number. While I'm not absolutely certain, I believe there are a fair number of other ways through which to obtain this someone's name from their plate, e.g. if you have friends in the police or DMV.

    The rest of the information used can easily be obtained from semi-public records using services such as Lexis-Nexis. This includes info such as your driver's license number, address, previous addresses, telephone, vehicle registrations, creditors, etc. If you have a state and a name, you can obtain a tremendous amount of info about a person fairly easily. Lawyers and private investigators have accounts with these services.

    Overall, Ralsky's tactic is not very impressive. This man really needs to hire some higher quality goons.
    • by helix400 (558178) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @09:04PM (#4927150) Journal
      This man really needs to hire some higher quality goons.

      Homer: [answering the door] Who is it?
      Voice: Goons.
      Homer: Who?
      Voice: Hired goons.
      Homer: Hired goons? [opens the door]
      Goons: [take Homer roughly away]

      (Aaah yes...The Simpsons Archive [snpp.com]. Best site ever!)

    • >I believe there are a fair number of other ways through which to obtain this someone's name from their plate, e.g. if you have friends in the police or DMV.

      Hell, just goto the local Jiffy Lube. Name, address, phone, license, etc all get put into the computer and get this, they're using wifi. From now on I'm John Smithe, 666 Mockingbird Lane.
  • I did a decent photoshop recreation [paperlined.org] of the eye recently, except blown up to 960x960. It's currently set as my background at work so I can discuss it when people ask what it is.
  • by deek (22697) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:46PM (#4927049) Homepage Journal
    As far as I'm concerned, anything that ends with .com _should_ indicate that the domain is a company! I feel that it's just plain wrong for personal websites to be setup in the .com TLD.

    Having said that, though, Uzi Nissan does have a business in that name. He is most definitely entitled to keep the domain name. I really wish there was a transcript of the conclusion that the Judge came to. I'd really like to know the reason why Nissan Motors won the case.

    DeeK
    • Nissan motors has a lot of money.

      Uzi Nissan does not.

      It was simply a matter of the judge finding a diplomatic way to say this.
    • I don't really know how it works out legally, but if Nissan Motors had the Nissan trademark before Uzi started using Nissan in his business name, then it might be possible for Nissan Motors to win.
      • Under the domain name dispute rules ICANN adopted, it doesn't matter if you register a domain name that includes a trademark. What does matter if one of the following is true:

        1. You bought the domain name specifically for the purpose of selling it to the trademark owner.

        2. You have a past history of registering domains with trademarks specifically for the purpose of using them improperly.

        3. You registered the domain specifically to disrupt the business of another company.

        4. You intentionally registered the domain for the purpose of attracting people away from a legitimate company (note the inclusion of the word intentional).

        Those are the rules under ICANN. Unfortunately, judges rarely follow these rules, instead using ancient laws concerning trademarks to turn over domain names to companies who sue specifically because they know ICANN won't give them the domain name. It's a pity, really.
    • As far as I'm concerned, anything that ends with .com _should_ indicate that the domain is a company! I feel that it's just plain wrong for personal websites to be setup in the .com TLD.

      Unfortuantely, there isn't yet a "personal website" TLD. ORG and NET are just as inappropriate. And a person may well have commercial sections on his personal page, or it may evolve into that and it would be inconvenient to have to change the URL.

    • Well, in my case, I used to have a company that I associated with the domain name. I packed it in but think it would be rather silly to have to change my e-mail address and personal website address when so many people already use the one I have.

      I realize you did not call for regulation here, but I feel compelled to say that this is precisely why such things that sound like they make sense should not be made into inviolable rules.

  • by WillRobinson (159226) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:49PM (#4927071) Journal
    Either we poked a stick in it. Or they realized, it could only see half the world.
  • by Fizgig (16368) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:53PM (#4927091)
    According to this article [officialspin.com], Uzi Nissan was told to stop using his site to show car ads. That is a case of trademark dilution. If the guy's just selling computers, then I'm all for him keeping the domain. If he's trying to branch out into the auto business, then he's clearly abusing Nissan-the-car-company's trademark. So he gets to keep the domain, but not show car ads. Sounds like everything's good, right?
    • So what if you were from some family named Ford and you could trace that name back to the days when Jesus had not yet been perforated? Could you not have a car dealer called ford motors just because there already was one? Now if he were MAKING cars and selling them under the name "nissan" I would agree with you.
      • Could you not have a car dealer called ford motors just because there already was one?


        That is correct. Being born with a name does not automatically entitle you to a trademark. If you wanted to make, say, a company that manufactured lawnmower motors, and call it "Ford Motors," you might be able to do that, it would be up to a judge to decide if that's confusingly similar or not.

      • So what if you were from some family named Ford and you could trace that name back to the days when Jesus had not yet been perforated? Could you not have a car dealer called ford motors just because there already was one?

        No. You couldn't.

        And for the same reason, Mr. Nissan may not run a self-named business that promotes automobile sales.

        Pretty simple isn't it?
    • If he's trying to branch out into the auto business, then he's clearly abusing Nissan-the-car-company's trademark.

      Screw that. So what if he's showing car ads, has last name is nissan. He should be able to have a website at nissan.com. He could even start a car company and build cars. He just couldn't call his company nissan motors. He should be able to call it widget motors and have all the info about it on his site. Trademark dillution would be saying something was a nissan (car) when it wasn't. All this is, is using his last name to point to a website.
      I have a very common last name, like smith. Does that mean if I had smith.com I could never post any info and anything that a company whose name includes smith is involved in? That's retarded. What names likes smith, jones, etc, that would basically mean you can't post anything, because there are going to be thousands or companies with that name.
      • have a very common last name, like smith. Does that mean if I had smith.com I could never post any info and anything that a company whose name includes smith is involved in

        No, it means that if you have a name such as smith, you can register mrssmith.com. If you use mrssmith to advertise your pie company, you may have problems. Even if you only sell pumpkin pies.
  • Evil spammers. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @08:55PM (#4927106) Journal
    How really strange. I found one particular part of the call transcripts rather interesting...

    "You don't know who the hell you were fucking with yesterday, man, you got the wrong guy, you don't even have the guy that you think you have"

    Anyone else see a strong possibility of Ralsky having a deep dark secret that someone believed poor Rich had accidentally caught on film? Like meeting with someone to put a hit on Ralsky's detractors, or using the supposedly lucrative spam biz to launder mob money, or the like?

    Yeah, slam me for baseless speculation, but the guy doesn't exactly have the cleanest legal record, and that quote just strikes me as so *REALLY* bizarre. Don't have the right guy? What does *that* mean?
    • The Mob was my first thought, too. I'm a sucker for conspiracy theory 8).
    • I don't think Ralsky's denials about kiddy porn are believed here. Particularly since IIRC, references to complaints about kiddy porn spam on the abuse newsgroups apparently originating from Ralsky's House of Spam were referenced during the discussion.

      People making serious money off a seriously illegal product get very touchy about their activities being inquired into. Perhaps there are other things than kiddy porn illegal in the USA that Ralsky is helping sell.

      Remember, the business associates of a spammer aren't going to be nice people. At minimum, the guy in the Jaguar had reason to fear discovery of his association with Ralsky.

      Hopefully, the person discovering this has gotten the image to some people with serious expertise in image enhancement, forensic or intelligence in the hopes of getting the Jaguar's license number.

      • Hopefully, the person discovering this has gotten the image to some people with serious expertise in image enhancement, forensic or intelligence in the hopes of getting the Jaguar's license number.
        I did send the negative of the rear-end of the Jag off to a photographic professional to attempt to resolve the license plate. Here's [penguinhosting.net] a scan of what he was able to accomplish.

        According to the gentleman who performed the hi-res scan of the negative, the details are muzzled up by camera movement, slow shutter speed and lack of quality of the film. Remember, this was a cheapo disposable Kodak camera, available at any CVS pharmacy around the US. Rich
  • Did anyone notice that the teleco dmarc piont is just offset from the end of Ralsky's driveway?

    Check out some of the last photos (just before the one w/ the Jag). It is near the street with no pole to protect it, should someone ram it with their car.

    Cheers,
    -- RLJ

  • by puto (533470) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @09:07PM (#4927161) Homepage
    I do not condone spam and I hate it. I think it is one of the worst things ever invented. Eats up time and bandwidth.

    We joked the guy good too. Loads of crap delivered to his house. Threatening phone calls. And god knows what else. Fine, he is getting his medicine in spades.

    However, if I come home and strange cars are parked in front of my house and people are taking photos. I am gonna be suspicious. Could be crooks, murderers, you name it. So while I might be the ultimate asshole in the unviverse, I am gonna do something. And If I am not an asshole but a regular joe, I am gonna so something.

    Take pics of my house(I am a nice guy) while i am pulling up. I am gonna chase you down, get your plate, call a buddy in the dmv. And call you and ask you why the fuck you taking pics of my crib. I will even call the police.

    He might be invading our mailboxes but he aint standing on our lawns with an instamatic. That is taking it a step way to far.

    He spammed, we junk mailed em. Pretty much quid pro quo. He got the message. But what kinda loser decides to drive by the house and then take pics and then gets pissy when the guy tracks him down? And then whines about it on the net when the guy catches him. Both are assholes in my book.

    As for the nintendo thing well penny-arcade had it sorted out a day before the slash dot post.

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2002- 12 -16

    Puto
    • It's a public street. If he does not want pictures of his home taken from a public street he should plant a lot of huge shrubs.

    • Did you even read the article, listen to Rawlsky on the NPR interview, or read that guy's accounts of what happened? He's not being a whiny bastard, he just wanted to report what happened because it was rather odd. He reported it to the police because someone made threats on his life, if you think that's being a wuss then you have problems. I hope you get taken out whenever someone makes a threat on your life because you thought it would be wussy to report it to the police. And in case you didn't realize, Rawlsky is not stopping his spamming - ie he did NOT "He got the message." - he has no fvcking clue what the message even is. When someone is messing with so many people's lives this way (ie not everyone just uses their email to send out the latest pr0n pics to their buds *cough* - some actually use it to conduct real business and make business deals, like me) then there are no limits short of physically harming the guy. It seems like you have no idea what it's like losing contracts or sales because some emails were discarded with the hundreds of spams received every week. Filtering software only goes so far, in the end you have to wade through this shit by hand.
    • He spammed, we junk mailed em. Pretty much quid pro quo. He got the message. But what kinda loser decides to drive by the house and then take pics and then gets pissy when the guy tracks him down?
      He's an infamous celebrity. People want pictures. He can deal with it. At least he doesn't live in Hollywood where there aren't tour buses full of people driving by and taking pictures. Yet.
    • However, if I come home and strange cars are parked in front of my house and people are taking photos. I am gonna be suspicious. Could be crooks, murderers, you name it.

      Take pics of my house(I am a nice guy) while i am pulling up. I am gonna chase you down, get your plate, call a buddy in the dmv. And call you and ask you why the fuck you taking pics of my crib. I will even call the police.

      As a general rule, if I'm concerned that someone is considering commiting a crime against me, I'll just tell the police and provide them with whatever information I can. Calling up my possible assailant seems a bit strange. "Hi, this is Bob the Mangler." "Hi Bob, I happened to notice you scoping out my place. I was just wondering, were you planning on killing me?"

      Like it or not, people are pretty much free to stop on the street near your home and take pictures. It's totally different if they're trespassing on your property, but while creepy, it's legal. (And there are potentially good reasons for society to allow this. A private detective investigating a cheating spouse might want photos of the spouses car in their lover's driveway. A nieghborhood association might want evidence of someone violating local planning codes. Someone selling their house across the street might want photos of the view to show prospective buyers. A newspaper reporter writing a piece might want to show the home as a good example of the extravagence that a slimy spammer or politician enjoys.)

    • If someone is on your lawn, taking pictures... Chase them away, call the cops... Great! Now, tracking them down, going to their home, that is stepping well over the line.

      Besides that... Of course you would do that if someone was strangely interested in you. But when you are a well-known public person, you have to expect it will happen. You think politicians or major CEOs track down every reporter that took a picture of their house?

      Any way you look at it, privately tracking them to their home, and threatening them, is crossing way over the line.
    • In the US, there are no laws against someone standing on public property and taking a picture. It's hypocritical to suggest that committing fraud (pretending to be someone else to sign them up for junk mail) is somehow legally and morally superior to standing in a street taking pictures.

      Was this "covert" mission poorly planned and executed? Yes. Was it a bad idea? Yes. Illegal? No.

      Calling someone up and threatening them ... now that's illegal. If you listen to the recordings, they are as amateur and ill advised as this poor fellow's attempts at spying.

      Note to future 007's: Shut off the flash.

    • Settle down there, kid.

      If there's someone suspicious lurking in front of your home, you call the police. Period. Anything else amounts to vigilante justice, and makes you a criminal.

  • Can we sue USPTO for registering patents that don't meet patentibility requirements?
  • Chrisd's mea culpa... Ol' Dumb Lott's mea culpa... Chrisd's mea culpa... Shithead Lott's mea culpa...

    Somehow, I see a wide ethical spectrum between the two. :)

  • Rawlsky (Score:3, Informative)

    by bleckywelcky (518520) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @09:39PM (#4927312)

    Probably a million people will sound the same on the phone, but if you listen to the phone call threats and Rawlsky's interview on NPR, they sound very similar. Although, I would think that Rawlsky wouldn't risk making threats at some guy just taking pictures, considering he gets death threats, etc. I find it funny too when NPR asks Rawlsky about blind relays and he responds with "no comment". If he wasn't using them he would condemn them as pollution and a problem in the email world, right? Because anyone can see the problem with leaving a blind relay completely open. Yet, he says "no comment" - pretty obvious he uses them (unless he has no idea what they are, which I find hard to believe). I don't feel sorry for this guy receiving death threats or being harassed every day. He does it to millions of people every day, and I doubt that when you want to be removed that he takes you off his list - what's his incentive? As far as I can tell, there are no "Do Not Email List" laws in the US, although some laws restricting the sending of some types of spam. The only miniscule incentive that exists is that it would give him some legitimacy as a marketer rather than some ass just sending bulk email - although, I think he has proably lost any chances at legitimacy already. I don't wish this guy any physical harm, but by all means, harass him to the end of time. (PS - You think he could afford a little more property rather than shoving his million dollar house right between two other houses with a couple feet on each side, sheesh!)
  • After taking the photographs, the man was chased by someone in a black jaguar and he began receiving threatening phone calls the next day.

    I knew it! Spammers drive Jaguars!
    All style and no substance...
    They probably mispronounce the name, too.
  • Heh. Take a look [darpa.mil].

  • Plato might not constitute prior art from a legal point of view because it probably involved multiple users logged into a single mainframe. AOL's patent applies to networks of computers. Personally, I find such distinctions unwarranted, but that's how patent lawyers think.

    However, there is plenty of other prior art. Many IRC clients have had buddy lists, alerts, ignores, private chats, and other features for a long time. And the MIT Zephyr messaging platform is almost completely equivalent to modern IM systems in capabilities and functionality.

  • the consequences one observer faced for watching spammer Alan Ralsky

    He was turned to stone?

  • by trelaneopn (563678) <trelane@magenet.com> on Thursday December 19, 2002 @10:59PM (#4927607) Homepage Journal
    just for kicks, 2mbit.com is hosted on my cablemodem. (the link which shows the mirrors hosting the pictures of ralsky's house). I'd like to thank the committee and everyone who made the slashdotting of my cablemodem possible. I hope they don't can my account, but if they do it's been nice knowing you.
  • by Sarin (112173)
    The logo is indeed frightning, why is the eye watching at Europe for instance instead of the USA?

    One more thing the eye in the background and the pyramid is the Illuminati logo.

    For those who have never heard of The Illuminati, or are brand new to the study, and who might ask, "In a nutshell, what the heck is the Illuminati?" I'll give you here the basic assertion in a very brief capsule:

    A man named Adam Weishaupt founded a secret society in Bavaria in 1776, that had as it's goal, to rule the world. The methods they would use would be assassinations, bribery, blackmail, revolutions, and espionage. Their model of organization was similar to the Jesuit Order and the steps and degrees of Freemasonry. They intended to control and manipulate banks and bankers, money-lending powers, the world's financiers. They intended to cause economic collapses, wars, bloody uprisings and revolutions around the world, with each upheaval calculated to re-structure the status quo leaving the Illuminati in greater positions of influence, and poised for their next step. The main enemies or "targets" of The Illuminati in the 1700s were the kings and queens, the monarchies of Europe, and, the Church. The two most-remembered Illuminati-caused revolutions in history, were, the French Revolution and Reign of Terror (1788-1799), and the Russian Revolution of 1917 that first made Communism a world power. The Illuminati and it's diabolical conspiracy was very real. These things actually happened and are a matter of world history. The Illuminati Conspiracy got exposed. The authorities made raids and seized Illuminati documents. In its day this was all public headline news, not some obscure, rare, or arcane knowledge. There you have the basic gist of it. That is the starting point. That is what people usually mean by "The Illuminati."

    I guess they don't want to be associated with them or perhaps they want to hide this fact if you're more conspiracy-theory minded
    • The french revolutions major causes were the rising power of the middle class (which economically opposed the power of the old aristocracy), national debts caused by wars after wars (many instigated by Louis 14th in order to demostrate his power), the tax system which had fallen into complete disarray and desperately needed reform, and a slew of terrible kings(but pretty good regents). Beneath these there are at least a dozen more minor causes. If the Illuminati had any influence on this event at all, it was insignificant.
      As for why the Illuminati are now obscured, I would assume because the so called "Illuminati conspiracy" has been written off as mostly baseless. There were other so-called conspiracies at the time as well: the communist conspiracy, the anrachist conspiracy, and the democratic conspiracy. Throughout the 1800's there were dozen of revolutions and wars all over Europe(mostly in france) and everyone was paranoid. The upper nobility feared democracy and had claimes of democratic conspiracies, the middle class factory owners feared the communists and hence clamed they had a conspiracy. Dozens if not hundreds of 'conspiracies' were exposed. Saying the Illumanti conspiracy started those events and that there was a big bad conspiracy going on in the 1800's is like saying that a secret government agency in contact with Alien lifeforms were really running the world in the 1900's. If you believe that:
      1)you're out of touch with reality
      2)you're scapegoating your own problems by claiming they arent really your fault, there such and such's fault

      As for the eye, it's easier to borrow an existing symbol than to come up with one of your own. Some desginer probably said 'hey, everyone knows the eye, its on the back of $1's so ppl are familiar with it as a symbol, lets use in this context. As for the eye looking at Europe it is probably looking in the general direction of the middle-east and not so much at Europe. What they were probably trying to do was to blend a nationally recognized symbol (that since its on $1's holds a realtion to the feds) with the old Pinkerton detective agency logo(which was an all-seeing eye). The person who designed probably never even knew what the $1 bill symbol was, he/she probably jsut saw it - thought it was cool - and decided to use it.
    • The logo is indeed frightning, why is the eye watching at Europe for instance instead of the USA?

      I think the logo is VERY telling. The globe is turned so that the Middle East region faces the viewer...while the All Seeing Eye is focussed on the Eastern US and Western Europe, i.e. the alleged "Free World".

      It's as though they were blatantly saying "while you, the viewer, have your attention on the Middle East, we'll have our attention on YOU..."

      (No, this is NOT a lead-in to one of those stupid "in soviet russia" jokes, I'm serious...)

  • Are you bored with your life of reasonable, rational thought? Do you long for the simplicity and excitement of paranoia [markfiore.com]?
  • by platopeople (608414) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @11:59PM (#4927708)
    What I am curious about is whether or not any of the four ICQ/Mirabilis gentlemen, or the investor father of one of them (Vardi), had any exposure to the PLATO system -- specifically, exposure to TERM-talk -- prior to developing ICQ.

    I wonder this because Control Data Israel had a PLATO system installed in Israel in the 1980s and it was used extensively by the Israeli Defence Force, and it is known that at least some of ICQ's founders served in the IDF before the founded ICQ.

    I've contacted the ICQ folks but none of responded to me.

    - Brian (brian@platopeople.com)
  • $740,000 for THAT? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr. Mu (603661) on Friday December 20, 2002 @12:07AM (#4927743)
    The sad thing about Mr. Ralsky's house is its proximity to his neighbors. In these parts, when someone pays three-quarter mil, they get some acreage to spread out in. Hell, he's crammed cheek-to-jowl with his neighbors like poor people! And where are the trees? Tsk. Such taste.
  • Doesn't he realize what slashdot can do to him? Was the two tons of junk mail a day not indication enough? I wish he had the license plate number, I could trace it to a name, and more importantly I WOULD trace it and post it. Perhaps someone should post his home phone # so AC's can make vague threats to him.
  • TIA Creepy Logo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gareman (618650)
    Was replaced a few minutes ago by a more friendly red pyramid logo: http://www.darpa.mil/iao/images/TIALogo_black_tran sparentSm.gif

    After hearing Prof. David Cole from Georgetown Law talk about the TIA program yesterday on NPR (available at npr.org, search for TIA), I'm beginning to wonder if the whole thing is a lightning rod, or litmus test for the publics tolerance of civil liberty erosion.

    Think about it: Let's put a guy convicted of lying to congress and overstepping his authority in charge of a military program to gather information about every US citizen. We'll announce it publicly and we'll set up a web site with a creepy (best description for it) logo with the "all seeing eye" that will immediately attract the attention of conspiracy theorists. While the public screams about the mind bogglingly sinister program, the REAL stuff will be going on, which is way more subtle than a $250 million boondoggle sci-fi technology program. The whole scam might be a project from that new government office of misinformation (that still appears to exist, despite the public outcry).

    Man, I'm spending too much time on this stuff. Back to the EFF web site.

    --g

  • He never filed for any kind of trademark to protect the name for his product type, but that's not all...

    He used to run an auto parts store before he got into computers. "Nissan Auto Parts". Handy, huh? Having the name "Nissan" and selling parts for import cars? His original complaints claimed that he was using the name before the Japanese corporation, but that was a lie.

    Despite my dislike for multinational corporations in general, I think that the Nissan corporation has a legitimate case against this guy. He has a provable history of riding on the coattails of their name.

    It does raise the issue though, that there's a descrepancy between Trademark law and the Domain Naming System. I think that if a company wants to claim "ownership" of a trademark, then they should reflect the Trademark's artificial namespace in their DNS name. Nissan Motors should get "nissan-automotive.com" or something like that and Mr. Nissan should get "nissan-computers.com". Then maybe Nissan Motors could make a case against Mr. Nissan based on the likelihood of which "Nissan" people all over the world would be looking for if they just typed in "nissan.com".

    Guess who'd win?

    -Rick

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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