Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:"what if" game (Score 1) 212

Unfortunately, the link you supplied is broken, due to the referrer being outside's domain. Perhaps if you linked to the movie the image belongs to, instead, you would have at least gotten a "funny" mod, instead of being largely ignored because you didn't check your links in the preview pane.

Just saying.

Comment Re:"what if" game (Score 1) 212

... as spoken by someone who obviously didn't read the article.

Your entire premise is flawed, in that had Babbage been able to fund the production of his machine, then he would have created "an actual machine to do it quickly, reliably, and cheaply." His Analytical Engine was a precursor to modern digital machines, and the article expresses how we might have been exactly where we are now, except 100 years earlier... and with a different power source.

It even postulates that something approximating the internet might have emerged, using the telegraph instead of the telephone - and we wouldn't have had to convert from digital to analog and back again, because the dots and dashes are digital to start with.

Babbage's Analytical Engine worked, he just never actually built it.

Comment Re:We'd be all programming in Ada right now (Score 2) 212

But the Germans *did* have long range targeting, and weapons capable of using that data (indeed, the "Paris Gun" was the reason for discovering how the Coriolis Effect affected their targeting - at ranges of roughly 75 miles (120km), the rotation of the earth was enough to affect the projected 3-minute trajectory of the weapon's explosive projectiles).

In other words, your conclusion is based on a false premise. More information is always a good thing, when asking questions about possibilities.

Comment Re:Alternative DNS (Score 1) 159

In addition to propagation delays the normal DNS infrastructure can't work as the ISP themselves can block lookups to a given domain name by putting entries in their own servers...

No, they can't. Or rather, that only works if you're using their servers. If you send a dns query packet to a specific IP address, you should only receive a response from the IP address you requested one from. Any firewall worth calling a firewall will block most spoofing attacks by default.

...which is why I was thinking alternate DNS with only a relatively short list of 'sensitive' name resolution entries allowing very few servers to serve the entire net, eliminating the propagation delay.

If you are sending DNS queries to a specific server, then your propagation delay is only as long as it takes for that server to update. In other words, if you're using a "darknet" DNS server, then as soon as the admin (or whatever automated process exists) updates the DNS records, that server begins sharing the new DNS records; without propagation, there can be no propagation delay.

I agree with you about the potential blocking of the alternate servers so perhaps a new mechanism is needed where the alternative DNS is tunneled in http(s) and thus can use any proxy to avoid being blocked. Should work anywhere a local proxy isn't forced I would think, and even then it would be easy enough to set up many mirrors to avoid local proxy blocking.

For a secure(ish) proxy, look into TOR (The Onion Router) - it can be configured to send DNS queries through the secure tunnel, although it does not do it by default (if I recall correctly - always double-check information you receive from random strangers on the internet). Of course, you may want to be aware that by running TOR, you are also volunteering to be an endpoint for lots of other people's traffic, so the cost may outweight the benefit in the final analysis.

Alternatively, there are literally thousands of websites out there that will perform a DNS lookup for you in your web browser - try "DNS lookup" as your search terms in your search engine of choice. That query on google gave me back "About 5,030,000 results (0.14 seconds)" - all of the ones on the first page of results looked relevant, at a glance.

To be completely honest, I think you're making this process out to be much more complicated than it actually is.

Comment Re:dns poisoning (Score 1) 159

Well they have stated on the record that they don't really hope to block all file sharing - they just want to make it as hard, impractical, frustrating, and inefficient as possible.
So poisoning downloads, breaking dns, domains, uploading fakes, scaring, suing, intimidating, etc, is their chosen strategy. War of attrition?

To be honest, I absolutely love what the media industry has done in their "war of attrition". The mass media's exposure of all the underhanded tactics they have employed has turned what might have been a quiet war of attrition into a public spectacle. The rootkits on audio CDs; the suing of dead grandmothers, children with single-digit-ages, and single moms for millions of dollars in "damages"; the "MAFIAA" tactics of knocking on people's doors and threatening them; all of this has contributed to the more rapid demise of the outdated, outmoded, and frankly outclassed business practices employed by the media control industry for decades. "DRM" has come to mean "Digital Restrictions Management", rather than "Digital Rights Management" in the public eye, and has mostly been destroyed as an effective means of restricting the distribution of licensed content.

The Streisand effect has made the ability to "steal" media ubiquitous, and there is practically no way to pull the plug on it, without destroying or crippling the greatest communications tool ever invented (the internet).

The general public is becoming more aware that the "pirates" are able to access the restricted content freely, in ways that are not possible for mere "paying consumers", and the backlash has been a sight to behold. The new "downloadable digital copy" is a good example of the media industry's lackluster response, as it only works if you have a Windows-based PC to download and view it on. Sorry, Linux and Mac, you guys need to pay the Microsoft tax or you don't get to (legally) transfer your (legally-purchased) digital media to your digital playback device.

My response to the previous paragraph's tactic is to simply rip the movie anyway - Fair Use laws guarantee me the right to make a backup copy, and I see no issue with having my original disc be my backup, with the digital version being the "in-use" copy on my media server. Theoretically, a pressed disc will last for decades, if not centuries, assuming you keep it in a vibration-less, cool, and dark place - the shelves and cabinets in my half-finished (and furnished) "shed" mostly qualify as exactly that. The peace of mind I enjoy because I don't have to worry about one of my friends' kids smashing, scratching, or otherwise injuring a plastic disc is well worth the effort of spending an hour with my newly purchased (from the $5 bin at the bigbox store, or even cheaper from the local pawn shop) media in a linux machine's optical drive.

Intellectual Property law is on the verge of being reformed in one way or another, and as far as practical implications, those laws may as well not even be on the books. I don't personally "steal" music and movies (unless you consider my "format shifted backup" of my legally-purchased media to be "theft"), but I know many people who do, and they do it with practical impunity. There is such a huge non-profit black market for movies now that (I am told) there is typically a BluRay rip available the same day the movie releases in the theaters (I'm assuming it's generated from a screener, or somehow lifted from the production-room floor, so to speak).

I understand the frustration and panic displayed by the media industry - they didn't pay enough attention to the rapid rise of technology, and their business model is now obsolete. They're still arranging the deck chairs and bailing with cocktail glasses, but the ship is most assuredly sinking. Unlike many proponents of "piracy", I don't think this is a completely good thing... Once "Big Money" loses interest in the media industry because it's not profitable enough to deal with anymore, I am concerned about what level of entertainment quality will rise from the ashes. On the other hand, the media industry has been ripping off the artists for as long as anyone can remember, so maybe they've just "had it coming" for long enough that no one will miss them. I am aware of many "professional" artists who have set aside the traditional media sales methods, and moved to "pay what you think it's worth" for direct downloads, etc, so maybe there is enough momentum that the artists will once again be in control of their own careers once the industry has "died".

I'm not against IP laws in toto, by the way - I simply disagree with their current implementation. Music recorded before I was born won't be in the public domain until after I am dead, and so I understand some (most?) people's disinclination to wait for the desired information to reach the point where they can have it for free. As an example, the copyright on "Happy Birthday" won't expire for nearly another 20 years... is there anyone in the US that hasn't at least heard, if not "publicly performed" that particular work?

From the Snopes article:

The Chicago-based music publisher Clayton F. Summy Company, working with Jessica Hill, published and copyrighted "Happy Birthday" in 1935. Under the laws in effect at the time, the Hills' copyright would have expired after one 28-year term and a renewal of similar length, falling into public domain by 1991. However, the Copyright Act of 1976 extended the term of copyright protection to 75 years from date of publication, and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 added another 20 years, so under current law the copyright protection of "Happy Birthday" will remain intact until at least 2030.

The original implementation of patent/copyright legislation, which wasn't nationwide until 1790, specified a maximum term of 28 years. This is still a bit long, considering the current level of technology, but is much more reasonable than our current period of 95 years from date of publication or 70 years from the author's death. As an example of the ridiculousness of current copyright legislation, consider Disney's "Mickey Mouse" character - is there anyone, anywhere, that both has electricity available to them and does not recognize that character? "Mickey Mouse" was created in 1928 - which makes him 83 years old. "Mickey Mouse" will not become public domain until at least 2023. Admittedly, even then he will still be trademarked, but my point is that this "Intellectual Property" has been protected (vigilantly and zealously) for nearly a century, despite the ubiquity of the name and likeness in homes across the globe.

Intellectual Property deserves to be protected for a short period of time, so that the original creator can profit from their own blood, sweat, and tears. On the other hand, that "short period of time" should be closer to 10 years than 100. Otherwise, the works in question will likely be irrelevant by the time they are released into the public domain, and thus them actually reaching public domain is a futile and wasted effort. As an example, Windows 9x will be copyrighted until at least 2090, given current legislation - there is practically no chance that the computing devices in use at that time will have enough resemblance to the x86 architecture for anyone to learn anything of more than historical value from that source code (assuming the source code ever makes it to the public eye). The company that produced the software product in 1995, with another version in 1998, hasn't supported any product using that kernel since 2006 - why isn't the source for that product in the public domain right now?

As an example of the detrimental effects we are currently experiencing as a result of the previous paragraph's example, try opening an MS Office95 Word document with MSWord2007 - watch the error message appear, and wonder why "backwards compatibility" should even be an issue for a text document.

Nothing has entered public domain in the United States since 1923. Absolutely nothing. We have managed to legislate ourselves into a self-enforced "dark ages". Patents and copyrights have turned a once-flourishing home-brew programming sector into paranoid corporate sweat shops, with IP lawyers raking in record profits as the companies attempt to exert control over one another instead of innovating. Not only is this detrimental to society in general, but it is in direct contravention to the original stated goals of the legislation introducing intellectual property protections - The current United States IP laws are unconstitutional in practice, if not in intent. Is it any wonder the American populace is ignoring the law, with some even actively seeking to subvert or destroy it? The world has the same issue, and thus we have places like "The Pirate Bay", dedicated to staying just legal enough to continue operating. If it weren't for the current IP legislation issues, "The Pirate Bay" wouldn't exist - we'd all be using google, bing, or yahoo for the purpose of finding new media (and quite possibly purchasing the media from legitimate channels, instead of adding ".torrent" to the search terms).

Samsung was banned from selling their Android tablets in Australia. Apple has been banned from selling iPhones and iPads in Germany. Companies are spending millions suing each other for "infringing 'look and feel'" instead of spending that money developing new products. In the 15th century, humans had the Catholic Church with its Inquisitions and Crusades causing fear and tyranny, with the accompanying persecution of scholars and scientists (for example, the Catholic Church only publicly accepted that the world revolves around the sun in 1992). In the early 21st century, humans are having to deal with persecution by a new religious order, similarly motivated by profit, greed, and self-importance: the media (control) industry.

In short, IP laws need to be fixed, and the "war of attrition" practiced by the media industry has been more of a factor in their declining sales than "piracy" ever had a chance to be. Here's to their war.


Comment Re:Alternative DNS (Score 1) 159

Not fast enough. My point is to have something that could be updated in, say, five minutes if the previous result IP had been blocked by the ISP or government.

The DNS spec isn't fast enough, then. When I used to update my DNS entries via a third-party DNS server, instead of running my own, I would be told that global propagation could take up to 72 hours. Admittedly, this was years ago, but I wouldn't imagine it to have changed all that much in the intervening time - updates only happen so fast, and that's just the way it is. If you want a more speedy DNS propagation, then I guess you'll need to either run a DNS server yourself, or find some darknet DNS server somewhere that already has this functionality.

The downside of this would be that if the "evil authority" in your story discovers the IP of the "rogue" DNS server, then you're hosed - and tracking the destinations of a specific IP's packets directed at a specific port isn't rocket surgery - this is one of the reasons why TOR is less bullet-proof than it could be (by default).

Comment Re:dns poisoning (Score 2) 159

When will these copyright groups learn that DNS Poisoning as this pretty much is don't stop anything. They may claim it will stop most people, But are most people really that dumb to not know how to use google or bing to search out easy way around the blocks.

I have known 11-year-olds who knew how to get at the anime they wanted to watch, in sequential order, with or without subtitles and/or overdubbed language (as desired). I have known 30-somethings who got confused if the text they searched for didn't bring up "that thing I saw yesterday" as the first result.

So, I guess the answer to your query is "...Maybe?"

Comment Re:Alternative DNS (Score 3, Informative) 159

This may already exist but if not, how possible would it be to add an additional DNS that has rapidly updated IPs for politically (or otherwise) blocked servers? So long as the user could add this DNS to the ISP provided DNS server list it would be able to more rapidly react to such blocking based on DNS names.

The ISPs would of course block the alternate DNS unless it provided primarily non-pirate related alternative DNS services.

For instance, google's dns servers, at and

Google told China to back down, and got away with it. I doubt they're afraid of Belgium.

Comment Re:Apple Plays Chess (Score 1) 349

Has anyone considered the fact that Steve Jobs was a quite capable, intelligent visionary who seemed to know what he wanted and what he needed to do to get there?

Fixed that for you. Since you seem to have missed the news, Mr. Jobs is dead. It was all over the TV, printed newsmedia, and the internet. I'm assuming you live under a rock, and only come out to charge your iPod.

Comment Re:FRAND Patent War (Score 1) 349

Can't wait until Microsoft starts leveraging FRAND patents against Google.

"Oh, sure, we offered to license it to them for a 'Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory' price - all we wanted in return was some accurate standards for all versions of MS Office documents..."

Sorry for butting in with this, but it still sickens me that older MS Office documents are not able to be opened by default with newer MS Office products.

Slashdot Top Deals

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson