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User Journal

Journal: I'm giving up... 2

Journal by shepd

Since slashdot has banned me for one or two downmods again, I'll be turning this account over to the trolls. I'm now registered at www.anti-slash.org, and I'll see what I can do to help the GNAA.

Malda, if this is how you treat your 4k+ users, I will be so happy to see slashdot crash and burn. All I can say is: go to hell.

User Journal

Journal: Nicolas Gill, Flag Bearer and Separatist 2

Journal by shepd

Someone took a deeper look into the history of Canada's flag bearer for the 2004 Athens Olympic games. It seems that while all is well for his selection for flag bearer in the physical department, the patriotistic department is, well, lacking. The article has a certain... "Je Me Souviens" attitude to it.

Seems Canada's flag bearer doesn't like Canada. How sad.

And people wonder why I, someone from Ontario, wanted to vote for the Bloc Quebecois (Separatist party to remove Quebec from Canada). I say get it over with. Get them out. It's disgraceful to see someone who holds such resentment for his team's country representing it. Hypocrites have no useful purpose in the Olympic games.

Announcements

Journal: Telefraud "Merchant Retail Supplies" back in business

Journal by shepd

Well, guess what sort of call I got yesterday at work?

The old "Hello, we have an item we are shipping you that includes an invoice for (insert item and price with 10x markup here) because you've ordered it" scam.

Yes, everybody, Merchant Retail Supplies is back in business after a long respite! As usual, they'll use a fake company name on the phone, but unusually, they're too dumb to hide their caller ID.

DO NOT ACCEPT ANY CALLS FROM (866) 409-6344. THE CALLERS ARE TRYING TO STEAL YOUR MONEY. WATCH MATCHSTICK MEN IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO!

They'll call, try to weasel their way to a sucker, and then if they aren't successful at getting a "yes", they'll tell you they need to make "one last sale". Of course, for anyone watching out for scams, that's all you need to hear to know what to say.

While they're pleading for you to take the package, let them know if they send it you'll gladly accept the gift, but won't pay invoices for items you never ordered. In my case it was a counterfeit detector that they tried to pawn off at over $200. They even had the gall to suggest the Government of Canada said that they were necessary.

If you're feeling vindictive, the police suggest you try to get their Employee Name / Number, the company's real name and address, and their real phone number.

After you get tired of playing with them, let them know that you know they're a bunch of scamming assholes. I know it sure felt good. Then let them know never to call you back, ever, and to take you off any and all their known and future calling lists. Then you can shout "Goodbye" if you're nice, or something else if you're not and hang up.

After that, you should drop RECOL.ca or the FBI (or whoever is local for you) a line about how they tried to scam you. MRS losers work worldwide, BTW.

If you're really ticked off, like me, call their number back, and let the person know you need to be taken off their list (they'll try to trick you by saying "Can we also get your nametocallyouback", just tell them "No, you may not call me back and my name is [name]".) Then let them know you phoned the RCMP/FBI about their scam and hang up. Let them drop bricks for a while. It's more fun that way. Perhaps they'll help get any numbers associated with your name off their lists too...

If you *HAVE* been a scam victim, this appears to be their address info (from whois):

Domain name: MERCHANTRETAILSUPPLIES.COM

  Administrative Contact:
        Department, IT dragan@merchantretailsupplies.com
        6875 Decarie Boul.
        Montreal, QC H3W 3E5
        CA
        (514) 906-3977 Fax: 514-906-3978

I'm going to do some emailing, to double check if I have the right company (I wouldn't want to hurt someone who has accidentally selected a well-known scummy business name). If it is them, I'll try to post some data about the company owner's home address, just so you can do personal product returns (I sure do hope they sell toilet paper). You know, in case their "support lines" don't cut it. >:-D

Hardware

Journal: IBM P70 Monitor For RS/6000 Server

Journal by shepd

Just a note:

If you're using an IBM P70 Monitor from an RS/6000 Server, it's multisync, and you can use IBM PowerPC 13W3 pinouts if you want to convert it to VGA (there's a hidden VGA knockout under the steel backplate). The monitor defaults to multisync, separate sync.

I spent a good long time *NOT* finding good answers as to how that monitor was pinned out (There's many 13W3 "standards"). Just thought I'd let you all know how to do it yourselves!

(This is the pinout, BTW)
(Yes, I tested it by hacking it up for VGA)

User Journal

Journal: Stupid Ontario Retail Facts! 2

Journal by shepd

As many of you may happen to have figured out, I now run a retail business in Ontario, Canada.

Well, as all the christmas hype, etc, have passed, I find myself bored and reading the Retail Business Holidays Act; the law that governs when a shop can and can't open in Ontario.

Did you know that most retail businesses in Ontario must:

  • Close for the following Christian/Catholic holidays, without regard to the proprietor's religion (or lack thereof):
    • Good Friday
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Christmas Day
    • Easter Sunday
  • Despite popular opinion, any anti-Sunday Shopping shopping laws have NOT been repealed. Instead they have been replaced with a law requiring one to close one day a week depending on the owner's religion. No mention is made for what an aetheist must do (We comprise Ontario's third largest "religious" segment).
  • Non-unionized shops are required to respect labour day.
  • All stores may open on Boxing Day.
  • Fines of $500 to $50,000 may be levied against companies opening on the preceeding Christian/Catholic holidays.
  • No fine is mentioned for opening seven days a week in an area with Sunday Shopping laws.

Of course, many of these rules are broken anyways, but they're still remnants of Ontario's past battles with Protestants (Can you believe that in Canada? No? Check it all out right here, and remember when voting nationally, vote for a PM willing to amend a conflicting constitution [Yes, Canada does reject the notion that religion is an acceptable reason to create a law, ever since 1982 at least].)

Before someone mentions it, NO, I'm not referring to section 2 of our charter! It has nothing to do with the conflict. The conflict is between section 15 (equal rights for all without regard to religion). It is currently illegal to select to pay one's taxes towards the separate school system in Ontario if you aren't Catholic. A nitpick, but a true fact!

Just something for Canadians (and others!) to chew on.

Censorship

Journal: Chilling Censorship

Journal by shepd

The other day my ad was censored in the newspaper. I'll let you know what led to this with a minute by minute count of that day:

December 3, 2003

11:00 am - Our advertising agent at the Pennysaver (local advertising flyer), explained to us in person at our shop that they cannot accept ads advertising free to air satellite service, and that all satellite services they advertise must be authorized. I explained how it is completely legal to sell such systems in Canada, and provided her with information to take to her superiors. She accepted such information, and asked me to phone the Manager after 2:00 (he was away at this time).

12:02 pm - I receive a call at the shop from a member of a religious group that runs its own Free to Air satellite station. I tell him about what happened earlier, and asked him to draft a letter explaining their position on their satellite signal. He agrees, and says that for certain he would have no problems with us selling equipment to view such signals, and that he would support and authorize it.

2:05 - I phoned the pennysaver, and asked to speak to the Manager. He was unavailble.

2:35 - The Manager at the pennysaver called and asked to speak with me. I chatted with him about this problem, and he says that the official position is not his, but he is required to support it as it came from "8 levels up". I asked him to explain the position. He did explain it as:

  - The word "Free" must not be associated with satellite services
  - Quebecor (owners of the Pennysaver and VideoTron Cable, which has a clear bias against satellite television) feels they are not denying any right to religious advertising.
  - All satellite services must be authorized.

I said I understood and that our ad would be fixed to meet these guidelines.

3:00 - I spoke to the member of the religious group again, asking him more urgently for the letter. He said he would do this for tomorrow, and that he was surprised by the pennysaver's attitude.

4:00 - I was asked to submit a new ad. I explained that I would submit it within half an hour.

4:30 - I submit the new ad on disk to the pennysaver, with "FTA Satellite" replaced by "Ethnic and Religious Satellte", along with a letter to the Manager telling him we have authorization to sell such systems, and that we are following their guidelines, also accompanied by a printout of our ad.

4:38 - I am told the new ad is denied, despite the changes. I was asked if I would mind them removing "Ethnic and Religious Satellite" from the ad. I said this would be acceptable, although we would much prefer advertising our satellite services.

Presently I've drafted a letter to send to the presidents of Quebecor asking them to clarify exactly what their company's position is, so that I might inform the various religious television stations of it.

Technology

Journal: Rogers Cable Investigating Satellite Stores? 3

Journal by shepd

A most unusual thing happened today. My business partner tells me today we received a visit from someone who purports to represent Rogers Cable of Canada.

Rogers Cable is one of Ontario's (if not Canada's) largest cable television services.

For a laugh, you can see a satisfied Rogers customer's site right here.

Rogers main competitor, Shaw, owns Cancom, who run the StarChoice brand of satellite systems in Canada (I bet they have a good laugh at customers who threaten to switch to StarChoice!)

That out of the way, the Rogers Representative, I'm told, purchased a copy of Norton AntiVirus. After this he explained to us he just helped shut down the pirate satellite shop on Courland Ave. (the only one left that I knew of in this town). He then proceeded to explain he's investigating our store, and wanted to know about what we had for sale. Being that we sell no illicit items, my business partner was happy to oblige.

I figure he's been here before -- otherwise why bother mentioning he's investigating? Seems a little bit like defeating the purpose.

It's amazing the amount of money the Canadian government wastes investigating legitimate satellite dealers; and now Canadian cable users are paying twice for the privelege. More than that, the amount lost by Canadians to "pirated" but paid for subscriptions is even worse (conservative estimates put it at over $100,000,000). There are numbers that show 1 in 10 Canadians receive "pirated" programming.

For those that are a little confused about what "pirated" means, in Canada "pirating" a satellite signal involves paying DirecTV for the signal, and watching it. While it can involve circumventing their control measures, you needent do that to break the law here -- you can still do it while paying for the service! Yes, in Canada you may only watch government authorized television stations. Thanks everyone who voted for Jean Chretien for making this happen (you know who you are)! Oh wait... that's not a good thing.

Seems, as I (sadly) expected, he was confused about the idea of Free To Air satellite receivers. Perhaps being from such a large corporation he is surprised that anybody actually gives away their programming (the majority of programming on major satellites, such as Telstar 5, is actually unencrypted and intended for free private viewing).

He picked up one of our flyers and explained that he'd take it with him and let us know if Free to Air is something we're allowed to sell (I suppose, since we do sell Rogers Wireless products, we'll have to take some interest in what he says).

When he gets the "OK" from head office, which, unless they're particularly clueless, he will, I think I'll ask for it in writing. Nothing beats a framed plaque to prove you're legit. :-)

But this is an unusual occurrence.

For your reference, the Radiocommunications Act (specifically section 9.(1)(c)) outlaws the viewing of unauthorized encrypted programming; and the CRTC (when their site works), in general, gets to do the authorizing. However, obviously no law prevents the viewing of unencrypted programming.

User Journal

Journal: Should I sue? Should I DMCA? Your opinions please. 20

Journal by shepd

Hello. You'll see a heated, and particularly useless discussion (from both sides, I think), starting somewhere around here.

Unfortunately, the other party has decided to "get me in trouble" with, in my opinion, a bogus epithet.

Ahhh, I see, so you're a bit of a pirate? Let's see if I can get you in trouble with a few phone calls and some research then.

As per email discussions, he seems very serious on this matter, as am I. He's also CCd my copyrighted and specifically private emails to other addresses, from what appears to be his work address.

I want to ask the slashdot community this. Should I sue? Should I DMCA his employer? Should I just get a lawyer in Santa Cruz and be done with it that way? Know of any cheap/decent ones? Perhaps a simple Cease and Desist letter will do. How does one go about these matters in the US?

Please, let me know.

PlayStation (Games)

Journal: Bryan Dennison is an ebay scammer 2

Journal by shepd

Bryan Dennison (aka Fern Dennison) is an ebay scammer.

Early today (August 18, 2003) I won two ebay auctions with no reserve for Playstation 2s.

Auction 1
Auction 2

As you can see on his user page, I have left him two feedbacks on the items. Here's a copy:

Complaint : Item won (no reserve) but user won't sell because "price was too low".

I received this email from him shortly after asking if I could pick them up and pay in person (I am wary about 0 feedback sellers, for good reason it seems).

Return-Path:
Delivered-To: [guessit]@beamon.ca
Received: (qmail 4798 invoked from network); 18 Aug 2003 16:15:03 -0000
Received: from tomts11.bellnexxia.net (HELO tomts11-srv.bellnexxia.net) (209.226.175.55)
    by server.beamon.ca with SMTP; 18 Aug 2003 16:15:03 -0000
Received: from h9z3j2 ([64.228.130.8]) by tomts11-srv.bellnexxia.net
                    (InterMail vM.5.01.05.32 201-253-122-126-132-20030307) with SMTP
                    id <20030818161330.EUMP12481.tomts11-srv.bellnexxia.net@h9z3j2>
                    for <[censored]@beamon.ca>; Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:13:30 -0400
Message-ID: <000501c365a4$58c73cc0$a29efea9@h9z3j2>
From: "fern dennison" <crazyfern@sympatico.ca>
To: "David Shepherd" <[tryharder]@beamon.ca>
References: <Pine.LNX.4.53.0308180221530.3948@server.beamon.ca>
Subject: Re: eBay Item Won! PS2 + 100 Games (Item #3041320831)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:18:23 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
                charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1106

        [ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
        [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]
        [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

sorry since the price was too low they are not for sale

Seems he's making a lot of auctions (there were at least 20 systems for sale, bids of mine on them were cancelled just prior to my winning them) just to take the highest bid, and screwing everyone else over.

Well, Bryan Dennison, you've messed with the wrong 'net citizen. I'll be finding out where you live so the world knows not to buy from you.

My guesses: Essex, Ontario, Canada. Or perhaps: Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

If I have my way, you won't be doing business on ebay any more.

Here's the other items he sold. I've emailed all those users to let them know of my situation. I'll let you know what their replies are.

Auction 1
Auction 2
Auction 3
Auction 4
Auction 5

----------- Update! ------------

More feedback from Mr. Dennison:

Return-Path: <crazyfern@sympatico.ca>
Delivered-To: @beamon.ca
Received: (qmail 4986 invoked from network); 18 Aug 2003 18:04:05 -0000
Received: from tomts6.bellnexxia.net (HELO tomts6-srv.bellnexxia.net) (209.226.175.26)
    by server.beamon.ca with SMTP; 18 Aug 2003 18:04:05 -0000
Received: from h9z3j2 ([64.228.129.96]) by tomts6-srv.bellnexxia.net
                    (InterMail vM.5.01.05.32 201-253-122-126-132-20030307) with SMTP
                    id <20030818180232.VVUE27545.tomts6-srv.bellnexxia.net@h9z3j2>
                    for <@beamon.ca>; Mon, 18 Aug 2003 14:02:32 -0400
Message-ID: <000701c365b3$93db9ae0$a29efea9@h9z3j2>
From: "fern dennison" <crazyfern@sympatico.ca>
To: "David Shepherd" <@beamon.ca>
References: <Pine.LNX.4.53.0308181233040.4816@server.beamon.ca>
Subject: Re: eBay Item Won! PS2 + 100 Games (Item #3041320831) (fwd)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 14:07:24 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
                charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1106
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1106

        [ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
        [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]
        [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

i care

Yes, you will. Trust me. You will.

-------- More Updates! ---------

Some traceroute output:

shepd@gateway:~$ traceroute 64.228.129.96
traceroute to 64.228.129.96 (64.228.129.96), 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
  1 ip121-183.tor.istop.com (66.11.183.121) 7.975 ms 8.345 ms 8.132 ms
  2 66.7.129.217 (66.7.129.217) 21.442 ms 20.044 ms 20.481 ms
  3 nycmny2wcx1-pos4-2.wcg.net (64.200.86.209) 20.941 ms 19.115 ms 20.447 ms
  4 nycmny1wce1-pos5-0.wcg.net (65.77.98.29) 20.727 ms 19.940 ms 20.491 ms
  5 nycmny2wcx3-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.87.78) 115.993 ms 151.559 ms 223.998 ms
  6 chcgil1wcx3-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.240.37) 166.052 ms 134.309 ms 203.293 ms
  7 chcgil1wcx3-pos5-0.wcg.net (64.200.236.29) 45.850 ms 44.809 ms 45.166 ms
  8 chcgil1wcx1-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.103.70) 44.395 ms 45.195 ms 43.711 ms
  9 bx2-chicago23-pos1-1.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.108.169) 68.649 ms 69.697
ms 69.042 ms
10 core2-chicago23-pos10-3.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.121) 69.235 ms 68.9
88 ms 68.511 ms
11 core3-toronto63-pos6-3.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.113) 69.694 ms 69.71
6 ms 68.985 ms
12 core1-toronto63-pos0-1.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.242.94) 70.468 ms 70.922
ms 69.018 ms
13 core2-windsor12-pos0-3.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.235.118) 74.432 ms 75.158
  ms 74.461 ms
14 dis5-windsor12-Vlan12.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.235.102) 74.883 ms 74.402
ms 73.956 ms
15 HSE-Sherbrooke-ppp98103.qc.sympatico.ca (64.230.220.4) 75.163 ms 74.268 ms
    73.945 ms
16 HSE-London-ppp207209.sympatico.ca (64.228.129.96) 86.744 ms 86.924 ms 87.
256 ms

And a little more:

shepd@gateway:~$ traceroute 64.228.130.8
traceroute to 64.228.130.8 (64.228.130.8), 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
  1 ip121-183.tor.istop.com (66.11.183.121) 8.318 ms 8.686 ms 8.415 ms
  2 66.7.129.217 (66.7.129.217) 24.573 ms 21.185 ms 19.517 ms
  3 nycmny2wcx1-pos4-2.wcg.net (64.200.86.209) 21.152 ms 19.986 ms 19.981 ms
  4 nycmny1wce1-pos5-0.wcg.net (65.77.98.29) 21.176 ms 22.557 ms 20.518 ms
  5 nycmny2wcx3-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.87.74) 45.466 ms 44.462 ms 44.882 ms
  6 chcgil1wcx3-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.240.37) 44.362 ms 44.571 ms 43.907 ms
  7 chcgil1wcx3-pos5-0.wcg.net (64.200.236.29) 45.302 ms 45.084 ms 44.620 ms
  8 chcgil1wcx1-oc48.wcg.net (64.200.103.70) 44.881 ms 43.914 ms 45.119 ms
  9 bx2-chicago23-pos1-1.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.108.169) 68.506 ms 68.268
ms 69.728 ms
10 core2-chicago23-pos10-3.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.121) 70.210 ms 70.5
62 ms 69.422 ms
11 core3-toronto12-pos6-3.in.bellnexxia.net (206.108.103.117) 69.771 ms 68.62
2 ms 69.744 ms
12 core1-toronto12-pos0-2.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.242.193) 69.698 ms 69.252
  ms 69.550 ms
13 core1-windsor12-pos0-3.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.235.114) 74.851 ms 75.865
  ms 75.444 ms
14 dis5-windsor12-Vlan11.in.bellnexxia.net (64.230.235.94) 74.650 ms 75.706 m
s 77.834 ms
15 HSE-Sherbrooke-ppp98103.qc.sympatico.ca (64.230.220.4) 75.404 ms 74.884 ms
    75.205 ms
16 HSE-London-ppp207375.sympatico.ca (64.228.130.8) 124.166 ms 128.486 ms 12
3.213 ms

My guess: He's in London, Ontario.

--------------------------> BIG UPDATE!

Bryan Dennison has his ebay account cancelled!

From notification@eBay.com Tue Aug 19 14:56:34 2003
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:21:15 PDT
From: notification@eBay.com
To: shepd@gto.net
Subject: Important Message from eBay Loss Prevention Department

        [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
        [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]
        [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

We are writing to inform you that we recently ended all listings for seller bryan1166 on eBay. The seller^Òs privileges to trade on eBay have been temporarily suspended while we investigate this matter further. (The current account status can be viewed next to the user ID of the seller on the eBay site.).

Our records indicate that you were a participating bidder or buyer in this seller^Òs listing. You will need to use your own personal judgment in deciding whether to complete this transaction.

As described in our User Agreement, eBay is only a venue, and we cannot guarantee that sellers will complete transactions nor can we guarantee the delivery or quality of bought items. As a basic principle, a buyer should know with whom he or she is dealing before sending a payment to a seller.

Depending on the circumstances, you might decide to delay payment to a seller until completely confident that the transaction will be completed safely. If you decide to delay payment but already paid by personal cheque, you may wish to contact your bank to discuss whether it would be possible to stop payment on the cheque. If you paid with a credit card, you may wish to contact your credit card company^Òs security department to discuss this payment ^Ö many companies provide protection in certain circumstances. If you paid by money order, you may want to contact that money order company for information on how to stop payment.

Please note that the ending of the listings for this seller is a precautionary measure. The grounds for this suspension may be the result of a mistake or misunderstanding.

Customer Support (Trust and Safety Department)

Technology

Journal: Possible infringing SCO code 2

Journal by shepd

So, I came across this story in LWN today. In it is a link to SCO's reasoning for their pricing (and the actual pricing, which is $699).

Amazingly, SCO explains where the infringing code is to be found!

Since the license is needed only by commercial users of a Linux 2.4 kernel and later version, does that imply that non-commercial users and earlier versions of the Linux kernels are non-infringing?
Major portions of UNIX® System V and derivative works began appearing in version 2.4 of the kernel. Prior versions of the kernel are largely unaffected. All distributions of Linux 2.4 and later versions of the kernel contain major infringments, regardless of whether Linux is being used in a commercial or non-commercial environment. At this time, SCO is focusing on the commercial uses only.

Versions prior to 2.4 are clean, they say.

Let's see what the impact really is then:

shepd@server:~/SCOre$ diff -r linux-2.3.99-pre9 linux-2.4.0-test1 | grep -e '^>'' | wc -l

    3951

3,951 lines *maximum* of possibly infringing code. That's all. This means that SCO believes programmers make $0.18 per line of code. In other, by SCO's words simply rebooting DOS is worth 36 cents.

Does even the military spend that much on the software that runs their hammer-making machines?

Bug

Journal: Samba wackyness... 1

Journal by shepd

Well, I decided to mount my windows box the other day. For some reason, I couldn't edit an mpeg with GOPchop. Something about being out of memory or something.

Strange... until I did a directory listing...

shepd@crashy:/store/uploads/tnn$ ls /dvb/ -l
total 2146117183
-rwxr--r-- 1 root root 10853696 Jun 26 01:12 blah1.mpg*
-rwxr--r-- 1 root root 18446744072299416690 Jun 27 00:05 blah2.mpg*
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 May 3 04:50 Music\ Videos/
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 Jun 27 00:58 gary\ the\ rat/
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 Jun 27 03:11 ren\ and\ stimpy\ -\ new/
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 Jun 27 00:58 ren\ and\ stimpy\ -\ old/
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 4096 Jun 27 00:58 stripperella/

If only I had 16 EB of space!

User Journal

Journal: Idiotic GPRS charges... 2

Journal by shepd

Get this...

GPRS internet service here costs $10 per MB (for the best priced plan), yet regular GSM phone service costs only 20 cents per minute.

GSM has a data rate of 22.8 kbps, meaning that 20 cents buys you 171 kb. That makes the per megabyte cost $1.16.

I'd try an acoustic coupler, but it looks like because of the encoding GSM uses, those are out of the question.

Any ideas apart from being wallet raped?

(I suppose this would make an interesting ask slashdot)

Movies

Journal: The Matrix Reloaded Sucks 1

Journal by shepd

[I'll avoid plot spoilers as much as possible]

Honestly, I really tried to enjoy this movie.

In the first movie, the Wachowski brothers did a good job of molding the film around Keanu's wooden, single expression, acting, just like the producers did for Bill & Ted's excellent adventure (his only other worthwhile movie).

But this time they didn't support Keanu with clues from other actors as to what he's feeling.

In the end, this movie felt like watching superman, except with a boring protaganist that never seems at all interested in his job. Ever. Not even when he swears at "The Architect" does Keanu seem honest. Not to mention the fact that Superman had his kryptonite. With Keanu's new moves, he's basically untouchable, which means there's positively no tension during _any_ fight scenes at all. In fact, the only ones that caught my interest _didn't_ involve him.

That and the rest of the newly introduced characters are left _totally_ undeveloped, to the point where I didn't even catch the names of some of them.

And the anti-climax ending, good lord, what a botch job. If the movie needs to be 5 hours long (which, in this case this half could be about 1 hour long, so it doesn't) then just wait until November to release it as an "epic" rather than hacking it in half this way. Hell, if you have to do it, at LEAST wait for a cut scene. Even a 2 year old could have found a better place to edit than at that point.

I'm so disappointed in this movie, I'm really without words to describe it properly. I was expecting a movie that would have a decent plot, with a decent amount of mystery in it, like the first Matrix. This movie delivers like a lead balloon.

If I wanted an action flick devoid of plot, I'd watch an Arnold schwarzenegger film -- maybe "The Last Action Hero" or something.

How they could have improved this movie: Kill off Neo. It's the only way, now. His character is ruined now that he's turned into some sort of totally invulnerable man.

I think I'll wait until the next part is availble as a DVD rental rather than watch it in the theater, unless I'm told it's any different (I highly doubt it). It seems obvious now that the Wachowski brothers are a one-trick pony. They can take any idea, and do a good job of it ONCE. Just don't let them do a sequel.

SPOILER ALERT!

I'm going to give you the entire plot, not really missing an important beat (and dumbed down on purpose -- remember, they didn't bothered with any character development, so I figured I'd do my own):

Some people are threatened by bad things wanting to hurt them. Bad things will be there in 72 hours. Superman tries to get help (vis-a-vis superman *). He is told he needs to find a keymaker (Ghostbusters). So he gathers up his crew (Egon, Spengler, Venkman). They get keymaker from nasty man (Stay-puft). Keymaker tells them special things to help them, and gives them a secret key (hmmm... wow... this is somewhat original). Superman uses the key to save people. Superman is given cliche choice because the bad plot demands it (Gozer). Superman does the cliche thing, and movie ends without letting us know if the cliche choice worked or not.

God, what a suck-ass movie. I take that back. What a suck-ass HALF movie. At least ghostbusters knew it was supposed to be lame, and they made sure it was a funny movie instead of a really bad 50's sci-fi flick.

I think I'll dub this from TV whenever it is on if I decide to add it to my collection of crappy B-grade sci-fi movies. Perhaps they'll cut out the pointless scenes to make the movie shorter (and much better).

"The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl." -- Dave Barry

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