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Slashback: Padulation, Lightenment, Amends 56

This episode of Slashback brings a quartet of deja-vu inducing tidbits for your continuing edification and amusement: SuSE, not just Red Hat, will run on all those fancy schmancy new machines from IBM; DialPad sends a nearly bewildering apology to be-spammed e-mail recipients (bewildering because not enough other companies have done the same); laptops of the non-Transmeta variety; and some more information on optical switching, etc. Brush up on randomness, read at your own risk.

You can put that in your lap and smoke it! (Three from the webpad front) Kazin writes "[G]o and check out - they've got a tablet-style laptop thing. A bit pricey ($2900 US), and runs windows, but we can certainly fix the second part."

Strangely, a name that you might recognize from The Soul of a New Machine but might not expect to be selling computers now seems to want some of the webpad action, too. Matthew Peretz writes:

"'Home heating and cooling control giant Honeywell (NYSE:HON) has released a Net appliance based on National Semiconductor's WebPAD reference design.

The $995 device weighs less than three pounds, has a 10-inch LCD touch screen panel and connects to the Internet via a base station that uses a cable or DSL connection. The device can be used with any Internet service provider. It will use a battery that can hold its charge for as long as five hours, the company said.'

You can check out the story and actually see a photo of the thing at:"

EdotOrg writes "National Semiconductor is slated to 'release' the Geode WebPAD, come Q4 2000, based on the QNX embedded operating system. It has a web browser (including Macromedia Flash, RealPlayer 7.0), PDF support, an IBM-optimized Java layer, full text anti-aliasing, support for USB, 11 Mb/s wireless, and PCMCIA support. Screensize is 9.5x11.75 inches (800x600), with a touch screen and software keyboard."

When oh when will someone make a webpad with LED backlighting instead of flourescent, though? That would help make a

Shedding light on the subject. ksan writes "I've seen this article on Slashdot and remembered that there is an not old article at EDN Online describing how engineers can switch over 200 THz of a light bandwith using laser tunable diode. It's worth a read to know more about optical communications." Great link.

To err is corporate, to apologize uncommon. FeeDBaCK writes "I recently recieved a newsletter from Dialpad even though I had selected not to recieve mail from them or any of their partners. I just deleted it, as I tend to do with mails that I get which were unsolicited. When I opened my mail this evening I recieved the following e-mail from Linda Crockett, the manager of customer care for Dialpad.

Subject: Apology from the Dialpad Team

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your interest in We want to extend our sincerest apology for sending you our newsletter without permission. When you signed up for our service, you indicated that you wish not to receive promotional email from Dialpad or any of its partners. We sent our new company newsletter to all of our users thinking it was more of an informative piece on our services rather than a promotional advertisement from a third party. We now understand this was not in the best interest of all of our users.

Again, we apologize for this inconvenience and will make sure you no longer receive any emails from Dialpad. We encourage you to visit our site and sample the many new products we have recently launched. We hope you continue to use Dialpad to make long distance calls from anywhere in the world to the United States.


Linda Crockett

Manager, Customer Care

I applaud Dialpad for showing that they truly care about their users. More companies need to follow Dialpad's example. I know we are all tired of recieving e-mails from various companies and web sites without asking for it. Thumbs up to Dialpad."

Funny, isn't it, that the companies which send me unsoliticed "newsletters" and "company updates" don't get a lot of my business? Sounds like DialPad is exhibiting some of that elusive quality known as enlightened self-interest. And since they have a cool product, it sure would be nice, to to mention smart, for them to release a version for Linux. Sooner or even sooner, telephony will be normal instead of novel.

A Big Blue rising tide floats multiple penguins, or something. An unnamed correspondent points out that in addition to Red Hat, IBM's eServer line and S/390 machines will run other distributions as well, including SuSE. "Here's the link. Goes on to tell you about the eServer's and S/390. Wish I could be posting game company news, too, to show inroads onto the desktop. Guess that will happen with time :-)."

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Slashback: Padulation

Comments Filter:
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    A company apologizes for Spam. What a concept!

    I wish Microsoft would apologize to me, at the least for the spam they send me occasionally about their "Freedom to Innovate" crud.

    Also, I want to see more of these web pads! I could care less about laptops, but I think surfing the web remotely on a slim little pad would be *the* killer app. (and it would definitely be a better use of a Crusoe processor, too :)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Hey... Honeywell Home Controller Gateway... who wants to make an interface for the Game Boy?
  • But isn't that apology letter still just an advertisement/ ploy to get your trust and use their site?
    Sure I love comporate america apologizing to me, but they still sent more mail out, more mail I did request!
  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @03:10PM (#713550)
    When oh when are the Slashdot editors going to start previewing before posting. It sure would help reduce the
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
  • Extreme KUDOS to dialpad for their "new" concept in e-customer relations! Although I also am a dialpad user, I didn't receive the email in question. Alas, I probably supplied a bogus email address when creating my account.

    Now, if they could support linux ;)

  • A colleage actually recieved 4 copies of the apology letter from Dialpad... talk about being apologetic, of course then the apology becomes spam...
  • by Anne Marie ( 239347 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @03:14PM (#713553)
    When oh when will someone make a webpad with LED backlighting instead of flourescent, though?

    When oh when will someone make a webpad with LED blacklighting instead of fluorescent, though? I'm not having a true laptop experience unless my shirt is glowing purple and some dorks are passed out in the corner clutching a bong and themselves.
  • ERRR.. more mail I didn't request! I guess I better scrap this whole internet thing and go back to my typewriter!
  • Dialpad's apology is not only unique because they apologized, but also because they offer the option of not receiving their newsletters in your e-mail. I know many account-based website, (i.e.: Amazon, Live365) will send me just about enough junk from them alone from all of the other spam combined, without even asking. Atleast they offer a point to be unsubscribed, but Dialpad finally goes the extra mile of asking you when you first signup. A little sincerity (especially from corporations) can go a far way.
  • I got the apology, even though I didn't actually get the spam they were apologizing for!
  • It's better than the ones that put on the bottom of their spam, "we apologize if this is won't happen again." Yeah, right until they do the next round of SPAM.

    It's as good as the phone message, "your call is important to us, please wait on hold."

  • I will just send out letters apologizing for (non-existent) spam, and telling them that it was a technical error... and, at the end of the letter, I will include the spam, just so they'll recognize it when they see it.

    I see a new business model here! Can I patent it?

  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @03:29PM (#713559)
    In a similar vein to the DialPad story ...

    Over a year ago, I signed up for the "Investors Forecast" web site and promptly fogot about it. I had my preferences set to "don't send me any mail", and they didn't, so it was no big deal.

    Recently, the "Investors Forecast" web site was bought by another company (don't have the name in front of me right now). I started getting spam. I got 6 messages within 4 days of the buyout. I was pissed.

    After checking to make sure that my preferences were still set to "don't send me any mail", I wrote them a nasty letter telling them they better delete my account information pronto or I would take them to court (don't ask me on what grounds, I didn't really have anything in mind, I just wanted to sound serious). The CEO of the company phoned me personally to apologize and assure me that my info had been deleted from their machines, so I wouldn't be getting any more spam from them.

    Wow. If only every company showed that much class.

  • by Cire LePueh ( 26571 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @03:40PM (#713560)
    S3's new division Frontpath [] has got specs and information up for a new webpad aimed initially at verticle markets called ProGear []. Quick list of specs...

    400Mhz Transmeta TM3200

    Linux (2.4 kernel)

    Netscape 4.74 w/plugins for PDF, RealPlayer & Macromedia

    X11 Server with support of screen rotation, Motorola Handwriting Recognition, Touch screen virtual keyboard

    10.4" 800x600 or 1024x768 TFT Touchscreen LCD

    64 or 128 MB

    64 MB flash memory or Optional 6.2GB drive ????

    One CardBus/PCMCIA Type 2 Slot

    One USB port, IR port,MIC & speaker(built in & jacks)

    3 or 6 hour LI-ON battery

    9x11" 3.2lb
    Cost: $1,500

    Initial plans are for verticle markets (medical, education etc)

  • No. It needs to be green, so you can look cool like the 1337 haX0rs in the movies.

  • by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @03:45PM (#713562) Homepage Journal
    The EDN article referenced refers to switching a light signal at a frequency of 200THZ, not a bandwidth of 200THZ. BIG DIFFERENCE>
  • This web pad would rock as an e-book reader


  • by Anonymous Coward
    As an cool alternative to ebooks, try real books (made from paper, baby).
    Not only are they cheaper, lighter, smaller and more ergonomic - they are less likely to be stolen and allow other people to see the cover and know what you are reading.
    This encourages conversation (social interaction, baby - yeah!), maybe even with chicks (groovy!).
    With luck you might get lucky. (yeah!)
    With an ebook, people _know_ it's gonna be porn - bad for karma, and bad for mojo.
  • or the bugeyed kid on the cover of Time's journoporn issue....

  • Including the well-written apology, Dialpad delivered not one but *two* unsolicited emails and yet still managed to get the recipient to tell a bunch of slashdot users how really swell they are. Not bad. I want to hire this Linda Crockett person!

    I wouldn't begin to suggest that Dialpad set this up from the beginning, but the post did remind me a little of a story I heard recently:

    The other day my friend and his wife noticed that their brand new barbeque was missing from their backyard. The went to bed angry after deciding not to bother calling the police.

    A couple days later they were surprised to see it back in its usual place. On closer inspection they found a note:

    Our son thought it funny to steal your BBQ. We deeply apologize for the incovenience and hope you will accept the enclosed tickets to the opening night of the symphony.

    With their faith in humanity restored, the happy couple went off to the symphony and returned later only to find all the contents of their house gone. Everything. The theives even stole the light fixures and the fireplace mantel.

    ....beware of Geeks bearing gifts....
  • This is horribly offtopic, and I hope it won't be moderated *too* far down, but EFNet is on sale [] over at eBay.

    It gave me a chuckle and I wanted to share. :)

  • by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @04:17PM (#713568) Journal
    No joke. I used to have some joker spam me from Singapore(sp) trying to sell me CD's full of warez. When I asked him to stop sending me email he mailed me back, "Fuck you, it's not illegal to spam or sell warez in my country so fuck off" or something remarkably similar to that. My solution was to write a quick little perl script that mailed him a message:

    This is a polite little message asking you to please take me off your list.
    This is message number [number] asking you to do so.
    Thanks in advance!

    where [number] is a number between 1 and 1000. ;^)
  • Yeah, real books may be cheaper, but once you buy 200 e-books, the pad's paid for itself! :)


  • Quoted from index page:

    DialPad sends a nearly bewildering apology to be-spammed e-mail recipients

    Oh, thank God! I was so afraid that they'd leaked my e-mail address through a misconfigured webserver or something... now, if only I could get their damn app to run full-duplex through my Linux firewall...

    (Yes, it is a full-duplex sound card.)

  • Why doesn't it work on Linux? I thought Java applets were supposed to be cross-platform. What is it about their applet that is windows specific? Are they using something micro$oft added to the Java runtime engine, or what?
  • Here : It's a quality Ars review all around. []

    I won't spoil it, so go read it.



  • Yes offtopic but this annoyed me too. What you have to do is enable portforwarding in your kernel and then route port 51200 on youir Linux box's external-Internet IP to whatever internal-net IP you're using... on my Slack7 setup here the syntax is something like (IPs changed to protect the innocent):

    ipmasqadm portfw -a -P tcp -L 51200 -R 51200
    ipmasqadm portfw -a -P udp -L 51200 -R 51200

    No, I don't know if it needs both UDP and TCP, I was too lazy to test it ;) And all these instructions are just generalizations with emphasis on Slackware syntax; as always YMMV but if you're stuck I'd check your local copy of the IP Masquerade HOWTO [] and/or the Net HOWTO []. Happy hacking!
  • AFAIK (I'm guessing here - not a java coder - so bear with me) it's probably something related to how the app handles the soundcard access, linux implementations of java might not have the same multimedia controls that the Windowsified ones do...? Of course if I'm way off somebody please correct me =]

  • IBM's s/390 will run other distributions..
    It's only some kernel mods that are needed to get it working.
  • All they did was rename them, they still have the same actual machine type. The Z series e-server is an S/390. The p680(7017) is an S80(7017) well really an S85, but you can have an S80 with the same configuration as the p680. and so on...
    IBM's E-Server Marketing Smeg []

  • ...a name that you might recognize from The Soul of a New Machine but might not expect to be selling computers...

    It was before my time, but if I remember correctly, Honeywell was once very much in the computer market as a direct competiter of IBM and DEC.

    Of course, those systems were a few orders of magnitude larger (and a few orders less powerful) than a web appliance.
  • lets not forget , they also make alar syatems, lightweight torpedos, and aftn message switches..
  • I love it. I have hours long conversations with family and friends all over the country. It takes about three clicks and you're good to go. The QoS is ok, I think I'm at about 90% no problems. There is a constant delay of about 1/2 sec. but it just takes a few minutes to adjust. Again, you simply can't beat the price.

    I really don't think it will be too long until ICQ, etc, have voice capability. Finally some real competition in the long distance market. If only, if only, somehow, this could lead to the death of "1-800"REMEMBER commercials pounding in my head. That alone would be worth all the other spam I receive.
  • They better delete my account information pronto or I would take them to court (don't ask me on what grounds, I didn't really have anything in mind, I just wanted to sound serious)

    In that same vein, did any of that anti-spam legislation pass? I know there were a few bills pending federally.
  • ...or just another promo for Dialpad? After all, the last half of the letter is just another push for their product. Maybe we'll see a rush of companies sending "apologies" with attached adverts!
  • A complete moron?
    Mr. Moron graduated manga cum laude from Princeton in 1955, and is a former editor of the Harvard law review. What are crackhead George's credentials? That "there should be limits to freedom" quote when he was talking about Zack Exley of The body count he's racked up as Texas governor? Stop posting AC, grow some balls, and (most importantly) get some facts if you want to properly bash a candidate... any candidate.
    In 1965, after he published Unsafe At Any Speed, General Motors tried to discredit him to save their hides. Their president ended up standing before the senate admitting wrongdoing, including invasion of privacy while tracking Mr. Nader. What makes you think you'll succeed where they failed... in a slashdot post?

    well, there goes my karma, but politics is a touchy subject with me.
  • Yeah, but I've had more people interested in my reading a book on a Palm than reading a paper book. "Is that a game-boy?" "No, it's a book." "Wow." Hmmm.... well, I am a geek, so social interaction is not a forte. BTW, I recommend all slashdot readers to buy business at the speed of thought, cross out all of billg's words, write in something open-source (DeCSS, anyone?), and then demand your money back.
  • IIRC The Soul of New Machine was about Data General, not Honeywell.

    I would look this up, but my copy seems to have decided that being spineless is rather interesting, if you're a book.

  • I believe that the Honeywell computer operation, which had previously absorbed GE's computer operation, was sold to Bull. Honeywell is also composed of parts of the Bendix company, which used to make computers. The Bendix computer division was sold to CDC back in the 1960s. Reading the history of some of these companies is like looking at the geneaology of Europe's royal families, everyone is somebody else's cousin.
  • Actually they got to send their spam and get away with it. Note that even in the apology they're promoting their services.

    You may think I'm being overly cynical, but we had a case where a client said something like "You know all those people who said they didn't want to receive mail from us? Well how would it be if we made a 'mistake' then apologised?".

  • Real books are more likely to be stollen. I could carry everything in my backpack if it were in CD format. As it is I needs must leave books at my desk. Every year the book thieves come through to steal and "sell back" textbooks. Lower division texts are self-contained. Upper division starts using materials across texts. At the Grad level I find I need a ref. lib available. E-book format would work. I could have my whole library with me all the time. I can't physically carry all the books I need.
  • Many people have posted that they feel Dialpad has done an injustice by sending out unsolicited e-mail twice. I was unaware that other people were getting this apology. When I had recieved the newsletter, I sent one of my usual "I do not appreciate spam, remove me from any lists you have and do not contact me again" e-mails off to Dialpad. A week later, I got this as a response. I was under the impression that I was special... guess I was wrong.

    /me goes off to kill himself
  • So DialPad spams timothy and then e-mails him again, with an apology, followed by an advertisment to visit their site. Gee, Tim, sounds like you got spammed twice. Call me a cynic, but it's quite possible that DialPad intended to spam everyone and then "apologize" to keep everyone from not getting angry (also reaching many eyeballs that would otherwise automatically toss spam), in effect spamming them again, and achieve the same results while probably not angering the recipients of the spam as much.

    Now maybe it was an honest mistake, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "enlightened self-interest", but rather trying to recover after a bonehead manuever. Oh well. Viva la spam!


  • Somebody at S3 has been reading /. and decided to see if all those loud, opinionated geeks were willing to pay $1500 for what they said they wanted?

    Now, if only I had something to DO with that kind of toy (that wouldn't get me killed by my Wif for spending $1500 on that instead of an anniversary present for her)....

  • back b4 U 1337 h4x0rs were pissing in your diapers, honeywell used to build computers (well, what passed for computers then). big old, clunky, midrange ('70s midrange, not today's midrange) and up machines...
  • You're right, TSNM was about DG, but the story did say Honeywell was a name you might recognize from the book...maybe the book mentioned about Honeywell? Given the timeframe I think it covered, I can't think of why it'd talk about Honeywell though...Pr1me, Digital, IBM, yes; but Honeywell? Maybe it talked about Multics or something.

  • I was pissed and not thinking clearly. I apologize.
  • Not anymore. It seems that eBay either killed it or it was pulled. Probably a hoax that got caught. But, I never saw it.
  • > I bet you haven't even read the Green Party's
    > platform.

    Nor is there much reason to. Ralph's already
    publicly repudiated it.

    Chris Mattern

  • I think they mean "Bic lighting"--for the bong. Then your laptop will glow purple for free!

  • > All these dyno-mite subject lines are also a little forced.

    The dyno-mite subject line was on a story about a Nobel prize winner. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and eventually used the profits to start the Nobel prize competition. So if you know your scientific history, it makes perfect sense (though it is a really bad joke). Sure this is tremendously OT, but I thought that could use explanation.

  • I watched the entire debate, and that G.W. Bush quote was taken way out of context. He was simply making a statement about our social situation. He was not implying that the Internet turns childrens' hearts dark, but that something in our culture, somewhere, whatever it might be, turned some kids' hearts dark and caused them to kill.

    Also, I would like to comment on the irrational knee-jerk defense of violent video games displayed by all too many slashdot readers, game lovers, and the techies/geeks. The writer of the article appears to believe that violent games make children "calm and peaceful". I don't think that that any sane person could honestly believe this, and I'm not saying the author is insane. Instead, the author is most likely protecting his own copy of Doom 3 or whatever. Seeing violence desensitizes children to violence. I know that's what all the politicians and talking-head types day, but it's true. As an adult, I have experienced this "desensitizing" myself. Try it some time. Don't watch or play anything violent for an extended period of time, and then go watch/play something violent. At first it's abhorrent, but it gets a little less shocking each time you watch/play. Now magnify that because you are a young child, and now violence doesn't bother you or trouble you the way it used to. Desensitization.

  • With their faith in humanity restored, the happy couple went off to the symphony and returned later only to find all the contents of their house gone.
    A classic urban legend, that one. See The Ticket Taker [] at
  • WARNING: Reading this entire post will warm your heart

    (Slashback threads are generally boring, so I don't mind being this off-topic)

    So, aside from the actual off-topic at hand, assertions like "Well, he graduated <Greek phrase> from <university>, so obviously he's pretty smart!" are breath-takingly worthless.

    I'm not implying that I have the first clue about Mr. Nader's cluefulness, merely casting doubt on the value of any statement that somehow relates one's education or position at a legal journal (gee, a well-respected lawyer -- can you say "dime a dozen?") to that indistinguishable level of intelligence that very few people actually possess (and that far fewer can consistently recognize).

    Intermediary conclusion: I have pent up aggression that I felt like venting on the first mildly ignorant statement I read on Slashdot. The sad truth is that you might very well be right, but for all the wrong (purveyed) reasons.

    Sidenote: I took a look at the Green Party's "Ten Key Values" in the interest of not being entirely ignorant. The following excerpt struck me as being the most vaguely dumb thing I've ever read:
    Future Focus and Sustainability

    "Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals . . . Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that are truly worth living."
    Wow, if ever there was a time when "lol" was appropriate (and I doubt there is), this would be it.

    Based on this marvelously common-sensical statement, I propose that we organize Slashdot's political platform. Yes, here's my suggestion (not that I'm trying to be ridiculously agreeable and appeal to every self-aware mammal):
    Invariably Ultraistic Happiness

    Secure inter-hemispherical beatitude
    And let me tell you something, I believe that if we can converge on this platform that we will be able to . . . well, as the Green Party so eloquently puts it (this is hilariously classic): "Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature." (I do apologize to those of you who read this far into the comment not realizing that you were going to be moved to tears by these strikingly original thoughts).

    Conclusion: George W. Bush is dumb, so Ralph Nader is smart!

  • I'm sorry. I've made a mistake; may I?

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?