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+ - American Bankers Association Claims Copyright On Bank Routing Numbers 1

Submitted by 192_kbps
192_kbps (601500) writes "Greg Thatcher's website publishes bank routing numbers, the nine-digit numbers appearing at the bottom of US checks identifying the issuing bank. The American Bankers Association's lawyers issued a takedown notice, on follow-up claiming "These advances in the ABA Routing Number were the result of significant effort and creativity by the ABA." Techdirt has an analysis, and a change.org petition supporting Thatcher has been created."

Comment: Nepal: Notes from 16 hour+ rolling blackouts (Score 1) 328

by MrZaius (#35250446) Attached to: In case of a blackout, batteries etc. will give me ...

As nice as it is to have an solar panels to power your inverters, the main solution to this sort of problem is axing consumption. The main source of power to an inverter, without going nuts and spending ridiculous amounts of money on the initial outlay for solar panels, essentially has to be the mains. Going off one or two inexpensive panels, you'll still be draining your batteries - Just more slowly.

Given a reliably powered ISP, the secret to dealing with this sort of event on a regular basis is maintaining power to your router and/or modem. Reliable power to your ISP link and USB-chargeable portable devices that can be powered separately by dirt-cheap batteries & solar units intended solely for the purpose of providing USB power are enough to make anything bearable. Don't power anything you don't need. Run phones and tablets and netbooks on batteries in succession, and you can make it through 8-10 hours without power, until you can recharge your inverter & portable devices off the mains again.

A DS or a PSP's nice to have, too, for when the ISP goes down or your batteries for your router die.

Different problem from a prolonged outage, but it's a fun problem. Good excuse for a nap if you screw up. Good luck with cooking & food storage, though.

Comment: Re:Since you brought it up... You're liable (Score 2, Interesting) 1006

by MrZaius (#30094390) Attached to: Software Piracy At the Workplace?

You're liable, but you could fix it.

Would recommend the asker take three tacts simultaneously:

1: Call a lawyer to verify that the below oughta work.
2: Move everything you can away from proprietary platforms, but be realistic - You'll just end up canned if you start replacing desktops and office suites without serious buy-in from all levels of the company, but they'd have to be braindead not to let you at least get the servers legal for free. Likewise, 7zip over Winzip, etc. Thorough implementation of step 2 can, hopefully, greatly lessen the cost of step 3.
3: Don't call the BSA - Call the nearest Microsoft sales rep and ask him to come in and give you a price on a site license to get you legal. Let them decide if they care about what's going on if management tells them where they can put it, but I'd be surprised if they did. Right now they're just hearing from some lowly service provider. Get the vendor on site, and they're staring at a multi-billion dollar behemoth that's capable of pursuing legal action against them but all but certainly won't if you play ball

Whistleblowers deserve some protection, but when there's means available to get a company caught up on their licenses without bringing in the imminent risk of major lawsuits/in a way that's beneficial all 'round and you still call in the trade-group-police, you're doing your employer a grave disservice. Again, go to the vendor first. There's no way to be 100% sure this will work and allow you to keep your job, but it's worth trying before you jump ship.

Comment: Re:How does this *free* Mac users? (Score 1) 276

by MrZaius (#29329335) Attached to: A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support

However, it does nothing to actually free users from Microsoft.

It does something: For any user with no administration responsibilities, this makes it possible to completely avoid directly running or ,in the case of organizations that allow personally-owned equipment on their network, purchasing any Microsoft product. Freedom is relative, but this is change is certainly a noticeable one.

Comment: Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (Score 1) 76

by MrZaius (#28324373) Attached to: Dell Makes $3 Million From Twitter Sales

Wow. Overreact much? You made three points I disagreed with and wrote about, and completely misunderstood what I said. I was writing about vendors responding to reviews on those sites, not the sites themselves. Very public responses to individual customer complaints on neutral ground/away from their own sites obviously yields some value.

Reading-challenged pot, meet kettle.

Comment: Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (Score 1) 76

by MrZaius (#28324063) Attached to: Dell Makes $3 Million From Twitter Sales

Business value isnt about the individual complaint; its about problems and tweaks that affect large groups of users.

I call BS. If the parent poster can spare time to do this, it's a great thing. When I see this sort of proactive and aggressive outreach from customer service and developers at a firm that makes a product I'm looking at, I am much, much more likely to do business with them. Seems like common sense, and a fairly straightforward extension of the trend in the same direction long seen on myriad reviewer & feedback engines (ala Newegg, eBay, Amazon, etc) and other high-visibility forums as well. At least a couple of them maintain a similar character limit, to boot.

On a related note, the customer has every right to be lazy enough to not want to create yet-another-account on yet-another-bugzilla-install just because some lazy developer doesn't feel like hooking into an open authentication network ala OpenID.

Comment: Re:Wifi should be 100% free in airports. (Score 1) 247

by MrZaius (#28090401) Attached to: Survey Finds Airport Wi-Fi More Important Than Food

The incentive isn't the airport's, although one could argue that they could make the same money by charging it from resident carriers.

The strong incentive to cut and axe the prices lies with the carriers. You already see free but restricted service in most business class lounges. If they just came to their senses and did the same throughout a terminal, perhaps tied to an eTicket number, they'd quickly win fans enough to warrant the expense.

Comment: Context (Score 2, Insightful) 530

by MrZaius (#27089119) Attached to: State of Colorado Calls Firefox Insecure, IE6 Safe

Given that their site is down at the moment, rendering their explanation unavailable, I'd like to point out that there is a rational argument to be made for the notion that using preinstalled and patched IE installs instead of a third party browser can increase security. I disagree with it (based on a number of factors expressed elsewhere in this thread), but it's a good argument:

You increase the number of potential security holes on a workstation by increasing the number of installed applications. Your sysadmin is responsible for both maintaining and securing IE and Firefox, and is unable to uninstall the former. This, thank God, goes away in Windows 7. In the meantime, however, you can still disable and cripple IE in a way that limits its exposure - It's just more work than most Windows-heavy, Microsoft-ceritified admins are willing to do as doing so often strips them of their preferred choice, and the tools that they've been heavily trained in locking down and adapting to their local networks. If understaffed and underfunded, forcing IE usage may actually be the right call for some agencies and offices.

Still no excuse for any IE6 or earlier builds being used in the wild.

Comment: Re:DRM for text is a really ridiculous idea (Score 2, Insightful) 370

by MrZaius (#27022719) Attached to: Amazon Caves On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech

You're right at the current price point. When the publishers and Amazon are raking in $10-20 for an ebook with no physical substance, sometimes 50-100% more than the cost of a paperback, it certainly does seem worth breaking.

Only by loosening the bounds that hold 'em and substantially dropping the price will they ever be able to effectively compete with the printed word, piracy, and free content without completely stripping out the DRM. Tightening up the DRM and raising the price (by forcing duplicate purchases in some cases) seems like a ridiculously ill-thought out move.

Comment: Re:Wait (Score 3, Informative) 466

by MrZaius (#26971169) Attached to: Which Distro For an Eee PC?

It's like the event logs suddenly became human readable, the shell started to suck less, and a KDE-like start menu started letting me just type in what I want without navigating the typical Windows Start Menu hell. It's harder than you might think to go back to XP after a substantial period of time on an optimized Vista install.

Not that there's any way at all that I'll defend its astoundingly slow file transfers and deletion speeds, after a service-pack and years of patches. Still, it works well enough in-game and does have some strong points from an administrator's perspective, given modern hardware and well-written drivers. (Albeit not well enough to get me to use it more than 20% of the time.)

Comment: Re:Culture of Knowledge Management (Score 1) 401

by MrZaius (#26919381) Attached to: How Do You Document Technical Procedures?

Find a way to encourage those who posess the knowledge to document it (even informally)

Have someone responsible to assemble, massage, and manage all the documented knowledge

Use something that can be migrated - anything that can't be output to text or html might result in lost data when you upgrade to new software

Work to develop a culture that uses this knowledge and generates more - it's hard to encourage people to document when management places no value on it (vs. getting work done)

There's an important one that you missed, that ties deeply into the first three:

Use an open, collaborative approach to all but the most important (and no, not everything is important) documentation. There's nothing like having a newb fill up a wiki with the procedures that he had to learn on the fly to get up to speed. Perspective is everything, and is frequently worth more than expertise or real official authority. It's important, as you say, to manage it and have an authoritative and openminded manager responsible for the project (and truly dedicated to it), but it's more important to get everyone involved.

Also, to hammer home the point that both you and I made in passing, informal documentation is potentially far more useful than formal documentation. Unless you've got some old fashioned boss that's willing to plunk several grand down on having a team of writers exhaustively document your projects, it is far, far more important to maintain speed and flexibility of documentation than the "officialness" of the thrown together stuff you get from swamped project leaders and ivory tower developers.

Comment: Great - Throw 'em around during a firefight (Score 1) 379

by MrZaius (#26854005) Attached to: IBM Files Patent For Bullet-Dodging Bionic Armor

While this seems like a great way to protect an unarmed VIP (as seems to be the intent), it seems like it'd be a little bit problematic when installed in the armor of a soldier in the field. This seems like it could be more dangerous than beneficial in such circumstances, unless you also apply a number of safety precautions. What if the wearer is already firing or moving? Will it be smart enough to detect preexisting movement? Will it be smart enough to disable the wearer's firearm, in the event that he is already firing at another target?

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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