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Comment Re:Unbelievable. (Score 2) 561

Just because you're buying "hardware" doesn't mean you're getting the privilege of installing whatever the hell you want on the device.


When I buy a Chevy Volt, I am not forced to fill up with only one vendor's gas. I am not forced to charge up with electricity from a particular utility.

When I buy a Sony TV, I am not forced to watch content only from Sony/Columbia/VEVO.

When I buy a Sansa MP3 player, I am not forced to buy and load only music from Sansa's "content partners." Hell, on many of their players, I can kick out their clunky UI and replace it with an entirely different clunky UI :-)

There is no technological reason that a "Surface" tablet can't run Android or generic Linux. The only obstacle standing in the way is entirely gratuitous, malicious, and childish. To the extent SecureBoot improves platform security (it doesn't) or the integrity of the user's data (it doesn't), there is absolutely no reason that the root keys to such a regime be held by Microsoft, especially given their track record. SecureBoot is there solely as a very deliberate and calculated "Fsck you" to competing operating systems. Therefore, it is entirely correct and proper to call Microsoft out on it.

Comment An "Understanding," You Say? (Score 5, Informative) 279

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, [Dodd] said that Hollywood and the technology industry 'need to come to an understanding' about new copyright legislation.

Here's the understanding, Chris: Computers copy data. Period. End of novel; no sequel coming. It is a fact of the landscape that is not going to change.

And that, as far as any clear-thinking technologist is concerned, is the end of the discussion. Business models must be constructed around this reality. (And if your business model is not based on reality, but instead on a la-la fairy land where every computer is under MPAA/RIAA/SPAA control, unsanctioned copies never happen, every view is metered, and directors and actors work for naught but "exposure"... Well, they have anti-psychotics that can help with that now.)

BTW, anyone hoping to debate the merits of copyright policy is REQUIRED to read this speech by Thomas Babington Macaulay -- it will easily be among the most enlightening forty-odd minutes of your life.


Comment Quelle Fscking Surprise (Score 0) 105

How terribly convenient that, in December of last year, Microsoft jammed a new Xbox service "agreement" down everyone's throat where you "agree" to never sue Microsoft, either as an individual or as a member of a class, and instead "agree" to resolve all disputes via "neutral" arbitration.

It seems they saw Sony get its pants yanked down to its ankles, and all the consequent lawsuits, and thought to themselves, "We could apply the stunning engineering talent we've always claimed to have in this company to audit our systems, network architecture, and customer info handling processes to ensure such a thing never happens to us or our users... Or, we could forbid our customers from suing us."


Comment Re:From: (Score 1) 92

Hmm... You could set her up with the moral equivalent of a "Live CD," i.e. the core OS files are read-only, with maybe a UnionFS-type of writeable store overlaid on top. All her data files would be on normal read-write partitions. Thus, if she infects her machine, all that's required is a reboot. Naturally, installing new software would require administrative intervention, but honestly, other than OS updates, how many times does she need to install something?

You could also put her machine in a DMZ on the company's network so her machine doesn't reach out and contaminate others.

...And I imagine you've probably already thought of most of this...


Comment User-Level DKIM Verification (Score 1) 92

About a year ago, when I was trying to figure out why notices from BofA were crashing my Moto RAZR, I did a little reading up on DKIM, and found it rather interesting. What I found even more interesting is that all the DKIM support I could locate operated at the MTA level (sendmail, postfix, etc.). I couldn't find any client-side tools that would verify DKIM signatures.

Has this situation changed (or did I miss something)? Are there any tools I could plug in to, say, 'mutt' to verify DKIM signatures?


Comment Re:And why are those systems unpatched ? (Score 1) 476

...Or it's me, who long ago told WinUpdate to never attempt to "upgrade" IE, for the simple fact that I was never ever going to use IE (except to download FIrefox).

Every time Micros~1 updates IE, they fsck around with the defaults -- incorrectly, of course -- and I have to dive through half a dozen panes of preferences settings to bludgeon the thing back into submission. So, no, Micros~1, leave the damned thing alone.

(I also long ago uninstalled MSIE which, for some inane reason, is distinct from IE.)



Submission + - MythBusters Mishap Sends Cannonball Through House (

ewhac writes: "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the MythBusters accidentally sent a cannon ball hurtling in to Dublin this afternoon, punching through a home, bouncing across a six-lane road, and ultimately coming to a rest inside a now-demolished Toyota minivan. Amazingly, there were no injuries. The ball was fired from a home-made cannon at the Alameda County Sheriff's Department bomb range, and was intended to strike a water target. Instead the ball missed the water, punched through a cinder-block wall, and skipped off the hill behind. Prior to today, the MythBusters had been shooting episodes at the bomb range for over seven years without major incident. It is not clear whether Savage/Hyneman or Belleci/Imahara/Byron were conducting the experiment."

Submission + - xkcd Creator Randall Munroe Nominated for Hugo (

ewhac writes: "Easter Sunday saw the release of the nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards. Among the many distinguished names was Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, nominated for the 2011 award for Best Fan Artist. The 2011 Hugos will be presented at WorldCon 2011 in Reno in August this year. (Be sure to fill out and return your ballot!)"

Comment Re:What I use and problems encountered (Score 1) 356

I have two TIVO boxes, one is high definition, both recording constantly. I have one system with 8TB of storage to sort/organize the incoming TIVO recording...

How are you able to get the hi-def programs off the TiVo and on to external file storage? Our TiVo sniffs derisively at us if we try to do that (depending on the show). Also, that must be achingly slow, since TiVo throttles network transfer rates.

Comment MOD PARENT DOWN (Score 1) 340

I may need to double check, but I'm 98% certain the author is lying. To my knowledge (and I have a fair amount on this subject), Amiga never had an autorun-style feature.

Amiga had a "disk inserted" event, which would often trigger programs looking for the event, such as Workbench, to look at the just-inserted disk to see what was on it. But except for initially booting the system, Amiga would never load and run code off a disk merely because you inserted it.


Comment Re:Flashback to the 80s (Score 1) 340

Autorun was one of the main reasons Amiga was the darling of the virus writers and Windows just carried on the tradition.

It's obvious why you're an AC -- you have no smegging idea what you're talking about.

Amiga had autorun to the same extent DOS did. There was a bootblock that contained a small snippet of binary code to get the machine booted and running. This bootblock was not accessible via the filesystem, and only specialized tools could write there.

In other words, it was exactly analogous to the bootblock/partition table that's on the hard disk you have today.

Yes, virus writers exploited this feature on Amiga, exactly as they exploited it on DOS and Windows.


Comment Interesting... (Score 1) 323

I was given a Barnes&Noble Nook Color for Christmas, an Android-based ebook reader that is trivially rootable. After having done so and briefly browsed the Android Market, it seems evident that there's not a lot of focused development on the platform.

Knowing nothing about iPhone/iOS, I can't say with any certainty why this might be the case. At a guess, I'd say it might be due to the wildly differing platforms out there -- different display sizes, different connectivity (3G vs. 4G vs. WiFi, vs. USB), different available mass storage, different UI elements (buttons vs. soft keys), etc. etc. etc. Writing software that copes with this vast array of capabilities isn't easy.

Another possibility is the childish restrictions carriers place on their various handsets. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you have access to the Apple App store. If you're on an Android, you may have access to the Android Market, or you might instead have access to a walled garden jealously guarded by the carrier. And the version of Android you're running might be laughably out of date (*cough*MOTOBLUR*cough*).

I'm also rather suspicious about their insistence on the use of Java. Google has does yeoman work to make their Java-compatible runtime tolerably quick, but you're never going to get performance-oriented apps out of Java, period. That means no new audio or video codecs unless they arrive from on-high, and games will always lag behind their native counterparts.

I installed Eclipse and the Android 2.1 SDK, and got the "Hello, Android!" app to run, but nothing beyond that yet. Maybe I'll play with it some more.

One thing Google could do immediately is figure out why won't display properly on Android-based browsers. You can't scroll down to view the entire page; you can only see one screen's worth. This is the case on both the built-in browser and on the alpha release of Firefox.


Comment Overly Elaborate (Score 1) 549

I imagine such an elaborate kluge could reduce the number of drunk driving fatalities.

You know what else could reduce drunk fatalities? Manual transmissions.

If your car has a stick, you have a built-in hand-eye coordination and competency test. If you fail, the car doesn't move (at least, not very well).

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