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The Courts

Journal: Educating judges: Can Ray do it?

Journal by UncleTogie

NewYorkCountryLawyer has been asked to provide a legal analysis of the RIAA tactics to a judicial magazine. From his blog:

I of course accepted the invitation, and submitted an article, entitled "Large Recording Companies vs. The Defenseless : Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigations". In it I describe the RIAA litigation process and the challenge it represents to our adversarial system of justice, and make 15 hopefully constructive suggestions as to how the Courts can help to level the playing field in these cases.

Link to the blog can be found here...

Networking

Journal: Support Net Neutrality, get laid??? 1

Journal by UncleTogie

The page [with NSFW pic, depending on where you work...] starts with a line guaranteed to catch a geek's attention:

I will make love with every virgin who defends the Internet.

Yep, she's got our attention, especially with that image and the next few lines...

Certain ISP's are planning to limit internet access in a way that infringes upon internet freedom or 'net neutrality'.

I'm using sex in a positive way to spread awareness. The reason why only virgins can apply is because I don't want to make this promise to such a large amount of people that I'll have to turn some down.

While this is an arguably new approach to changing the minds of people on the subject of NN, would it actually be effective?

Privacy

Journal: Potential parallels drawn to '1984' as HR 1955 passes House

Journal by UncleTogie

Recently, the US House of Representatives passed HR 1955, the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007."

From the bill:

(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

One of the main problems here seems that the wording is so vague that simply resisting arrest {an offense that, in the US, is generally considered to be using force} could be deemed prosecutable under the current draft. Some "thought crimes" also appear to be included.

Is this a valid concern? Should it be reworded? Dropped in the Senate? All copies buried in peat moss for three months and recycled as firelighters? {Insert CowboyNeal choice here...}?

User Journal

Journal: POST? What's that?

Journal by UncleTogie
And now, another Tale From The Shop....

A client comes in, carrying his SFF PC back in. He'd been earlier, insisting the PC had a problem. At that time, we tested it in front of him; everything tested fine and he left happy.

Flash forward to this afternoon. He'd called in, saying the PC wouldn't make it past POST. He was quick to tell us he'd worked in PC shops before, mainly on Macs. He felt he had his problem pegged. We brought it back to the bench, and after doing a quickie internal check [another tech had handled it this morning] we booted it.

What do I see? MemtestX86.

I ask him if the tech had checked the CD drive before he'd left earlier. Nope. I asked if he'd checked the drive SINCE he'd left the shop. Nope. When I popped our test cd out and rebooted, the PC booted normally.

My gripe? If you're going to present yourself as a tech, PLEASE make sure you've checked the obvious first. Find out where POST starts and ends, and RTFM....

I gotta admit, though, the look on his face was priceless.
User Journal

Journal: Hey, now YOU can pirate music anonymously for $8....not. 2

Journal by UncleTogie
And now, another Tale From The Shop....

Oh, for the love of Pete....
Why, oh why, is the basic RTFM mantra no longer preached?

I just had a client in asking for an "X-drive". When queried for specifics, he said this: "Yeah, my friend said there's an $8 cable called an 'X-Drive' that can keep people from telling if you pirate music." I'm not expecting people to list off the standard IRQs and I/O addys for the first four serial ports... I just wish people would at least get the basics down before they show up with these questions.
User Journal

Journal: How low can you go?

Journal by UncleTogie

Holy hertz, Batman! Is THIS the subwoofer we've been waiting for?

While checking links back through a Slashdot story, I came across a post calling this "The Ultimate Subwoofer" or somesuch. I've really get sick of hearing "Ultimate" attached to products that're anything but, so I decided to check the link:

http://www.rotarywoofer.com/

If I'm reading these specs right, THIS is what I've been thinking of all these years. Bein' 70% deaf, I tend to notice bass better, and current subwoofers just don't seem to bring the punch I'm used to feeling around the actual event [Helicopters, explosions, etc...] that make me *feel* immersed. Has anyone else seen good bass response below 10Hz? Is the rotary sub just a scam? Do any of you have one?

User Journal

Journal: Would you take the Red pill or the Blue...?

Journal by UncleTogie
Aside from being fairly useless, This also struck me as having the potential for some Big-Brotherish nonsense. What does the Horde think?

From the story:
http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=companyNews&storyID=2006-12-15T154308Z_01_N15295031_RTRIDST_0_IBM-PHARMACEUTICALS.XML

"IBM said on Friday it has developed technology to help drug distributors, manufacturers and retailers prevent counterfeit drugs from making their way into the market. The product works using an existing technology: radio frequency identification devices (RFID) that each have a unique ID transmitted via tiny radio antennas incorporated into a drug's packaging."

Anyone else think this will really help, or will the RFID tags just be cloned on the fake pharmaceuticals?

User Journal

Journal: Please Buy My Furniture

Journal by CristalShandaLear

(Last updated 12/14/2005. Still for sale!)

We are in the Greater Cincinnati Area (North College Hill to be exact).

WE CANNOT DELIVER THE FURNITURE. YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSPORT!

The furniture can be viewed here:
http://www.photobucket.com/albums/a77/Furniture4Web/Furniture4Sale

You can view my Craig's List posting here:
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/fur/112697500.html

If you are interested, please call my cell, 513.884.7726. All prices negotiable as we MUST SELL ASAP! It is a mark of my desperation that I'm willing to put my cell phone number in my Slashdot Journal (which no one ever reads anyway I guess).

Craig's List - Furniture Post
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/fur/112697500.html

Craig's List - Car Postings

'97 Mercury Tracer
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/car/112700101.html

'93 Chevy Lumina
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/car/112699302.html

Why We Are Moving - The Saga

I lost my job in June. We managed to stay in our rented house as I akreay had a second part time job but a major part of our income was lost. In August I had to have surgery due to an ectopic pregancy further straining our income with medical bills and lost time off the job.

While I was still recovering at my mother's home, our electricity was cut off because our landlords never completed certain electrical repairs to the house. We could not make the repairs because we do not own the house and our renter's insurance does not cover liability for the work that needs to be done.

Even if we could have found a way to get around the legalities of spending money we didn't have to make repairs to a house we don't own, we were stopped in our tracks when we recieved service papers stating that the house is being forclosed on anyway. Despite the fact that their mortgage was $500 and we've been paying them $795, the landlords have still managed not to pay for at least as long as it takes to be brought into forclosure status (I'm told six months).

So, we're moving in with my mom. We'll hang in at her place through the holidays and build a new place together in the spring. Meantime, it's been two months and I don't know how much time I have to get the furniture out of the house. It's great stuff, I just don't have any place to put it.

User Journal

Journal: Random Oddities

Journal by CristalShandaLear

In the very recent past, quite a few people had the experience of watching their plane experience technical trouble and the possibility of their crash landing on television as it was actually happening. All's well that ends well and all the passengers lived through the experience but the comments of two of the passengers have stuck with me this far.

Some guy: I kept switching the channel back and forth between the plane crash and Comedy Central.

Some girl: This was a very post, post modern experience.

At least the girl was taking some time to put things in persepective. But the guy who thought that the possibility of his demise was not as interesting as channel surfing is either an indication that things were not that serious or that people can really get addicted to the remote.

So today I'm surfing Wikipedia and I left the page up because I planned to return to the article I was viewing after Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. Once these two shows go off, I start channel surfing and I come across a C-Span Q&A segment with the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales.

Will the revolution be televised?

Yes, and people will be watching it on a Pod-cast as it happens.

User Journal

Journal: Fighting My Way Back

Journal by CristalShandaLear

The couch won.

I've been horribly depressed. Well, after months of faking this hideous cheerfulness, I broke down.

My breakdowns usually involve messiness of unusual and alarming levels. What this translates to is that you can instantly tell my state of mind by the state of my house.

So, what has my house been like lately, you ask. Well, the public or most used areas are passable but ragged around the edges. Books and papers are scattered but in recognizable and kind of neat but not quite piles. There are a few corners that are burgeoning with unused stuff but are holding on to them nicely.

My side of the bed is neat.

My own home office space is hideous. No one is allowed in, not even family it's so bad. Piles of clothes half as tall as I am; dishes and utensils desperate with dust, some with mold; Old newspapers, a long dead and dried Easter Lily, boxes that were once neatly catalogued now tossed about from desperate searches.

It took me an hour to beat a path to the computer. And when I finally got to this point, I decided to stop here for a bit of news and honesty.

Hubby's home and he expected dinner but I had to stop and preserve my sanity. Lot's of things have gone wrong lately. We can always dine out but the tenuous check I've got on grief and anxiety must be nurtured.

I'm fighting my way back.

User Journal

Journal: Sometimes it Snows In April

Journal by CristalShandaLear

Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish life was never ending,
and all good things, they say, never last

-Prince

Ain't it the truth?

I used to think that this was just a really cool, if not obvious, title of a Prince song but now I know it's true.

After an entire week and two days we buried my father today. The weather this week was off an on rainy but yesterday was thunderstorms and hail. Today was steady to pouring rain all day with intermitent snow.

It's hideous to wait this long for a funeral after a death but there was another death in the family and he died first so he got to have his funeral first. Sounds like kids fighting over who gets shotgun on the heaven express but in reality it's just every day planning and practicalities. First out (of life) first in (the grave) and on to Glory.

Or at least that's what they said today at the funeral. Guess I'll find out eventually.

Anyway.

After three months of hospice and the final hospital stay complete with social workers assuring us my dad would probably be around for another year or so (which means, lace your shoes quick because a year in hospice language means a week tops) and then the 9 day drag to the funeral, I was all grieved out.

I went to the funeral today in a sort of detachment that was odd. Everyone else was crying and sobbing or shouting (cuz that's what black folks do in chuch for a "homegoing celebration"). And I'm like, it's been a week and two days already. HOW much longer am I supposed to be grief stricken?

Don't get me wrong. I love my Dad and I will truly miss him. But you can only grieve for so long before the couch becomes your best friend and gaming seems like a permanent occupation.

So, I'm getting back into life starting tomorrow.

I hope it's not to soon, but I've got to get off the couch. With my luck, even though it's April, I'll probably have to get up to shovel snow.

User Journal

Journal: Darn, that's the end

Journal by CristalShandaLear

I used to watch School House Rock a lot and I really used to get into the one about interjections. I really used to like the little girl at the end illustrating the point of the whole educational vid by saying "Darn, that's the end."

My father died today. And now that I have called everyone I need to call and talked to everyone I needed to talk to and now that I need to find a way to sum up how I feel about this, that's all I could come up with.

Darn, that's the end.

My dad taught me the things Dad's teach their kids and did the things that Dad's do for their kids. Even long after they can't really be called kids anymore.

He taught me to ride a bike and play the piano. He taught my daughter too. He paid my rent when I couldn't, and took me to buy my first car and waved at me when I drove away. He drove me home from the hospital when I had my daughter and took her first baby pictures. He could really dance and sing but as a classical pianist, his playing always blew me away.

He mended fences between me and my mom more than once. He's the main reason we're still so close to this day. Even better, he never gave up on me no matter all the stupid stuff I did and I will always be grateful to him for that. He never told me what I was doing wrong, only helped me do better, only helped me to get through the bad times and live to see better times.

I'm glad he got to see the better times. He got to see all his children from oldest to me the youngest, settled with good spouses and children and even great grandchildren.

He did his best, he gave his all, he loved us hard and well. He gave me a lot and I will miss him greatly.

But darn. That's the end.

And it hurts.

User Journal

Journal: The Wrong Impression

Journal by CristalShandaLear

Wanted, computer help.

Make one joke about prostitution and suddenly everyone thinks you're soliciting. Well not everyone. Just two people.

My last post was basically asking for computer help, not a relationship or offering oral sex. Apparently my joke was taken a tad out of context. But I guess fems who want to learn more about their PC's and also make sex jokes are probably scarce around these here parts. Or anyone's parts for that matter.

So, the blowjob, prostigeek part of the last post WAS A JOKE! I do not now or ever intend to prostitute myself for computer help. It was my way of asking the completely rhetorical question, "Who do I have to screw to get some help around here." For details please look up the word "rhetorical".

Thank you to altruistic guy who gave me the push I needed to keep on plugging. Your advice and words of wisdom are exactly what I needed to hear.

What I've done since my last post:

Gotten rid of Outlook Express and switched to Thunderbird. Don't know why, but everyone keeps screaming about this too, so we'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

User Journal

Journal: SingleFemGeek poser seeks Geek Male for Trek reruns & spice 3

Journal by CristalShandaLear

I just deleted half my journal entries because they all appeared so jejune, even to my untrained self that I couldn't stand them anymore.

I now know exactly how much it is that I do not know.

Which is amazing because when I started posting here I thought I knew how much I didn't know and I was all set out to start on this lovely, trippy end user level journey of finding out. I think I even said that. That my Slashdot Journal would log my pedestrian, end user level struggles to learn more about my pc.

But what happened was, I started pretending I knew more than I did and being all hip and savvy (groovy baby) which led me exactly to the trite, Jill Six Pack type of thinking I was trying to get out of. I just posted in the comments where I kind of sorta maybe had a clue and left the (to me) more technical ones alone.

I have learned some, but not half as much as I started out thinking I would.

What I have learned is how much I don't know. What's worse, I now despair of ever learning.

I once wrote a mildly amusing anecdote in response to a comment explaining how I came to Slashdot in the first place that went like this:

Part of the original comment
This site has nothing to offer but a bunch of think-they-are-smart geeks whining about Microsoft and whoring themselves for Apple.

My response:
I don't know about the "whoring themselves for Apple" part, but the Microsoft hatred is very strong.

One day, back when I was still using windows and word, word crashed one time too many because I moved a text box from point A to point B. I cried out to the tech gods, "There must be an easier way" and of course I turned to google to find another way. (All hail Linux).

This story is too long at this point, and the post doesn't really matter anyway, but I'll speed things along here. In a moment of extreme frustration I typed into the google search bar "Microsft SUX". The very first search result was a post here at slashdot. I joined up and have been here at least once a day ever since. (Penguins are sexy wise beasts, Amen).

This comment got modded as "2, Funny". I still like the comment about the penguins to this day, but the first sentence is a lie. The story itself is true, except I never did switch to Linux or any other OS or Office type programs. I'm still using Windows and MS Office. In fact, until about a month ago, two months tops, I was still using Internet Explorer. I just thought the joke worked a little better if I said I'd switched. And maybe I was embarassed to admit that I'm still using the system that was tormenting me so badly in the first place. The only thing that's changed since I posted that comment is that after reading a thousand not-so-subtle suggestions here and on Fark, and dying to find out what "tabbed browsing" was all about, I finally downloaded Firefox and use it daily. I even deleted the IE icon in my quick launch bar because I wanted to make a change and make it for good.

See, there I go again. Patting myself on the back for doing nothing that didn't make sense in the first place.

Here's what I'd like. I'd like to talk to someone. An intelligent, kind, patient someone. Who can give me an honest evaluation of the following:

1. What I have to work with now.
2. The kind of things I'd like to do with my pc
3. What I should or should not get to do the things I want to do
4. My chances of learning to do this myself without taking a class
5. My chances of learning to do this myself with very little cash

Maybe I could be a prostigeek? Trade blowjobs for tech knowledge? Maybe I should change my sig to: Will whore for malware cleanup and complete registry edit. Extra fun for clean warez.

Just joking. But that's a small indication of how badly I want to learn more about WHAT my friggin pc is doing behind my back. Or even in front of my face.

Maybe this is my last lifeline. Maybe I'm doing now what I should have done all along. Just ask.

So I'm asking.

Please help.

User Journal

Journal: Nicer than Nice

Journal by CristalShandaLear

Dude.

Some people are just nice.

I know it's said that nice guys finish last and all that, but what about nice girls?

Yeah, probably us too. That still doesn't stop me from being infinitely greatful for all the nice things people have done for me lately.

Like the lady who barely knows me at work, but covered my shift TWO DAYS in a row, because I needed to be with my daughter.

Or my mom who shared her car with me for over a week, because I wouldn't have the money to get my own fixed and she wouldn't hurt my pride by offering the money. She gave me what I asked for, the loan of a ride, instead of the loan of money, which I know is what she would have preferred to do. (She said so after I got the car back and we had a good laugh about it, but she loved me enough not to kick me when I was down).

My godmother who died at the age of 100 this past January. But she sent me quarters for laundry when I was in college, gave me great advice about boys all through high school, took me to see Santa every winter I can remember until I got "too old" and then we just baked cookies and hung out.

Or any woman at my church who's ever given me a nod, or hug, or encouragement. And all the women who now look after child when I'm not around simply because she's my kid.

Or the lady next door who is totally anal about her grass and lawn, but never says anything to me about mine. She knows I'm working 80 hours a week and I'll do it as soon as I'm not at sleep or at work (or posting on Slashdot).

This post doesn't fit into anything here. No techie stuff, no diatriabes about the pains of being a newbie or jill end user in an increasingly tech world.

Just a moment of being greatful for my real life people who are nicer to me than I probably deserve.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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