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Comment Re:Kill!!! (Score 1) 855

Perhaps Microsoft could embed a replacement for Clippy the Paperclip--say, Stabby the Sabre? "I see you are trying to stab someone in the face. Would you like help? I'll grab the bastard from behind."

Submission + - Digital content in conservative countries

Builder writes: "I'm going to be travelling in some interesting parts of Africa for the next 6 months (Niger, CAR, Gabon, etc.) Having read some of the 'What gadgets to take on my travels?' Ask Slashdot stories, I believe that a number of readers are very familiar with wandering around the world, so I'm throwing myself on your not so tender mercies and asking for the wisdom of your miles.

I'm ok with the 'what to take' bit, and I've limited the technology down to just what I need to do my job. I'm not carrying any creature comfort devices and I've minimised what I need for work. But I am taking a laptop. I need it to do my job, so I figure I may as well get some personal use out of it too.

So here comes my question... Some of the countries I'm visiting have large Muslim populations and are not entirely secular. Should I avoid taking ripped copies of some of my DVDs and TV shows with me? The content I'm worried about includes things like the Soprano's TV show (and please, don't post spoilers here — the final series hasn't aired in the UK yet! :)), Die Hard movies, etc. While acceptable for most western TV stations to show, I'm concerned that some of the nudity or language in these shows might be suitably offensive to my host country and I could find myself in a difficult position.

There's not a lot of clarity to be found on Google about taking digital content for personal use into these countries, but with some stricter countries banning Christian bibles and so on, I'd rather seek advice.

I can't just setup a Truecopy partition because I'm using OS X, and Apple's home directory encryption doesn't give me plausible deniability in any form."

Submission + - Vonage spams customers, burns biggest fans (

Andy Sernovitz writes: "Vonage is harvesting names from their refer-a-friend program for spam. This is happening to thousands of subscribers. This doozy combines spam, theft of customer data, and an incredibly stupid way to turn your loyal fans into enemies. Details here: tml

I am a Vonage customer. In December, 2004 I entered 18 friends' email addresses in their refer-a-friend program. This was clearly intended to be a one-time referral, on an opt-in basis, from me to my friends. 30 months later ....

Vonage crossed all lines of good taste, privacy, and ethics. They send a mass email to my friends — USING MY NAME — in a shameless promotion. In fact, my name was used in the email 3 times, as if I had endorsed the message and gave permission to use my friends' names.
  • Vonage is harvesting names from their refer-a-friend program to send spam promotions.
  • Vonage is violating their customers privacy by using data from customer accounts for a marketing campaign.
  • Vonage has used their customers names for testimonials without permission of the customers.

Wow. Vonage is so evil on so many levels. And stupid.

What they did ...
  • creates massive, insane anger
  • is illegal — violates both CAN-SPAM and privacy statutes
  • perverts the trust of their best customers, those who were willing to recommend them to their friends
  • turns influentials into enemies

(The saddest thing is that Vonage could have been a truly great company. Google great, great. All they had to do was not be the phone company — a very low bar. But they are so much more horrible that even the phone companies ever were. Worse service, worse support, and a crappy attitude. What a shame.)"


Submission + - Teach high school kids all they need in 4 hours

mshuflin writes: I am going to be volunteering in a couple of weeks to teach computer classes for a program with works with students doing community service and/or restitution. They want me to teach 4 sessions of 1 hour each, and they want me to choose things which will be helpful skills for school or a job. Given this limited time, and considering that the students vary in age from 13 to 18, as well as skill level with technology, What should I focus on?

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