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User Journal

Journal Journal: Looking for a linux laptop

I'd like at least a 15" screen so I can watch movies when I'm in other countries. I'd also like to use Skype so a web cam would be good. Any ideas? It's hard to find laptops with linux installed hard to find. I could roll my own, but I'd rather not have to deal with getting everything to work correctly.


Journal Journal: DMCA vs Me 2: Electric Boogalo

I basically sent pair Networks another WTF message and they responded again with telling me to piss up a rope:

Dear Dave,

I apologize for your confusion and I also appreciate your conviction.
However, pair Networks is a web hosting provider, not a law firm. Our job
is not to interpret the DMCA or the law in general, but to follow it.
Lawyers are very expensive, and the bottom line is that our Service Contract
states that we can terminate all or any part of an account for any reason
without notice. In this case, we are giving you fair warning that to keep
your site online, the best thing for you to do is remove the contested
material. While we appreciate your business, We also have to look out for
our best interest. While I understand that it
causes a moral dilemma for you, the bottom line is that, if we receive a
restraining order, we are not going to fight it; we are going to follow our
lawyer's advice and disable the site as a whole. If you want to proactively
avoid this situation, then you may want to look into moving your site to
another provider. We are not trying to push you away with this statement;
you always have the option of simply removing the content in question.


Gary H.
pair Networks, Inc.


Journal Journal: DMCA, Univ of Minnesota, pair Networks vs Me 3

My ISP, pair Networks, tells me they'll remove my entire site if they get another DMCA request about my posting 17 out of 600 questions from the MMPI. It's the same issue that slashdot has posted before. My problem is, the same attorney, Carl W. Covert, Jr. from NCS Pearson, Inc., has sent my ISP two DMCAs about the same page, two months apart, and pair hasn't had a customer who sent in a non-compliance response.

With my first DMCA, I went to Chilling Effects and used a boilerplate response. I had a copyright attorney check it before sending it. The DMCA says they have 14 days to sue. I asked pair if it was settled after 14 days went by and only received the "we received your response and will respond". I figured if they ignored that, then the issue was settled. After two months, I got another DMCA.

pair removed my page for 14 days and sent an email saying that if they get another DMCA they will remove my entire site. My site covers a Star Trek band, Sacramento punk rock history, and a blog about riding a crappy old motorcycle round the world. Now I'm in Korea, trying not to fight with an ISP that I was happy with, over 17 questions. I know the easy thing is to edit the single page, and I let most things slide, but issues like this are one my windmills. Any suggestions? Is what pair is doing to me even legal?

User Journal

Journal Journal: How I Learned Philosophy

From the "Paying People to Argue With You" thread.

How I Learned Philosophy (Score:5, Insightful)
by severoon (536737)

Actually, it's not the attempt to mathify that I find problematic--I find that encouraging. It is, though, the results.

My (awesome) university philosophy professor had us do a very interesting exercise that was, though more logical than mathematical in nature, similar to what the author of TFA was going for. It goes like this...

Write down a belief that you have. For people new to this process (the entire class), this should be a strongly held belief...doesn't matter how controversial. Let's say, for example: I think abortion should be a woman's choice. (For you controversy-hounds out there, please don't mistake this for my actual belief--I'm intentionally not going to define my actual belief on this topic here.) Don't worry about getting the wording just right--you're free to revisit your initial statement as many times as you like throughout and revise it to more concisely represent your intent.

Now write down the set of "sub-beliefs" that you have which form the basis of your belief. For our example: 1. Life begins at conception. 2. Every life is equally valuable. 3. A life has no quantifiable value, but is inherently precious and ought to be protected if at all possible. Etc. Next we iterate, applying the same process to each belief listed. Obviously, you will very quickly diverge into an explosion of statements that resist corralling at every effort. Do not fret--I haven't told you about the thrust of the exercise yet.

(I should mention here that we did an entire section on identifying context-free statements, and we were asked to make our best effort to ensure that each statement was context-free, or as free of context as possible. "Context-free" means that the statement is true of our beliefs regardless of the circumstances in which the statement is tested. If that's not possible--and it's not often possible--we'd go for "generally" true, where "common sense"--whatever that is--dictates obvious exceptions.)

You will find it unnecessary to list each and every belief supporting your initial statement, which would quite likely fill several thick volumes if you did so exhaustively. Luckily, you don't have to do this to satisfy the point of the exercise, which is: where necessary, skip down to "lowest level" beliefs...that is, at some point you will mentally reach a point where you have identified a belief for which you have no further basis beliefs. When you reach this point, you have identified an axiomatic belief--that is, something you accept essentially on faith, on gut feeling, because you think it is correct. If possible, identify the key beliefs that go from your initial statement to the set of axiomatic beliefs identified.

The next step is to look at your beliefs, both axiomatic and intermediate, for consistency. In every case in carrying out this exercise, one will invariably find a whole host of contradictory statements. Then we did an iteration that attempts to resolve these conflicts by tweaking our initial statement, etc...provided we were tuning up the language to indicate real intent and not moving the statements further away from our actual beliefs, great. The ultimate idea is to identify our beliefs in all their gory, inconsistent, warty detail.

Then, we make up a list of so-called axiomatic beliefs and they are given to 5 random classmates (all double-blind, of course). You then are tasked with taking home those 5 lists of axiomatic beliefs and attempt to drill down further. If they are truly axiomatic, you won't be able to do this--the idea here is that you ultimately get back 5 people's analysis of your list and given another chance to continue the process--most of the time, it turns out you realize your axiomatic beliefs weren't axiomatic for you after all, and that you can actually drill down even more.

Anyway, it goes on like this, the ultimate point being that you arrive at some network of beliefs which you apparently do accept as axiomatic. The focus here is not on the logic that leads you down the path from the initial statement to the final list...the point is to show that your beliefs are not rigorously logical, even after you've done your level best to identify all the logical flaws, ultimately you wind up with a list of axiomatic beliefs that either directly or indirectly contradict each other to some extent. What these beliefs are, where the conflicts are, and how you resolve these conflicts all roughly correspond to your worldview.

As an entertaining add-on at the end of the course, the prof provided us with some very mild statistical metrics that told us how self-contradictory our beliefs were when pegged against our classmates, previous years, different types of statements (it was generally true that the more strongly held / the more controversial the statement, such as the abortion example above, the less self-consistent the foundational beliefs identified).

For a couple of years after doing this exercise, I found it very difficult to make strong statements of opinion about controversial topics. My mind would involuntarily start this process, identifying all the biggest logical hurdles and inconsistencies built into the statements I was about to make. This reflex also made me annoying to others with strongly held beliefs. :-)

User Journal

Journal Journal: ah, the joy of never using emoticons

You'd figure people would read a comment and react to what you wrote. But no, it's far easier to skim the comment, read it as the complete opposite of what you wrote and then go with it.

I make a comment about how nukes should be sold to everyone. It's quit obvious that's meant to be taken very seriously.

Doc Ruby takes it as I'm so super-duper pro-gun that he starts rambling nonsense in a crazy rant.

I'm not sure exactly what he meant to be saying, but I do enjoy him calling me a gun fetishist. He was modded up to 5 insightful for something that he took completely wrong. Reading over Doc's journal, I noticed that he has a special friend who says when they have mod points, they look for his posts to mark him down. I wonder if he skims and reacts to people often. It reminds me of Bill O'Reilly only he's doing it from the Left Wing point of view. I'm quite a leftist myself but the O'Reillys of the world, right wing or left wing, are all kooks.

It's great how I've been modded to oblivion as a troll, but someone who agrees with what I wrote, only not saying it so sarcastically has been modded up.


Journal Journal: Google's crappy domain registration

I decided to give a friend of mine a domain name for Xmas. Instead of using my normal server provider (, I decided to try out Google. What a mistake.

Google uses GoDaddy. I don't have a problem with GoDaddy. I simply wanted to forward the domain to her Blogspot blog. Blogspot is owned by Google. Google won't let me forward the domain. I talked to GoDaddy for an hour and 15 minutes (using up my cell phone minutes) while they tried their work arounds. Only, it's a Google owned domain. They pointed that out. It's not a domain that belongs to me -- it's Googles. And they weren't allowed to touch it. Of course, I had to talk to 4 different people for that. At least GoDaddy has great hold music.

They told me to talk to Google. Only, I can't get an answer from Google. Nothing but automated answers. I can't even cancel the domain through Google.

Eventually, I'll get this figured out, but it's been a pain in the ass. I think it's just been shifted over the those that are in charge of Orkut or one of the other failed Google ideas.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Southeast America

I've put up a blog about the crap job in New Orleans up on my site. Take a peak and let me know what you think.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Kiwis!

There's a lot of people in New Zealand who are visiting from Holland. It's because there's a place in Holland called Zeeland and that's what New Zealand is named after.

Kiwi girls are way cuter than Aussies. Speaking of broken things, the bottom end of my bike went to the land of Wind and Ghosts. Luckily, I've found a way of hiding the White Light from the bike and bringing it back to the present.

Japan in a month and I need to find a dirt cheap car in Christchurch to take me to Auckland.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Australia is long gone, and New Zealand is the new black

Finished a lap round Australia. No big deal. Piece of piss, they'd say in Aussie.

I heard Men at Work and "Please help me, a dingo has stolen my baby". Neither were sarcastic. I was hoping to hear, "throw another shrimp on the barbie" to complete the trifecta, but when I heard that, it was sarcasm.

Little Creatures outside of Perth sells great beer. Now to see what NZ has to offer me.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Australia almost done

I've got a 2 hour ride and I'll have completed my lap round Australia on a '65 Ducati 250cc motorcycle. My ass is sore. I almost met another slashdotter in Perth who offered me a place but never ended up catching up with him.

My bike gets shipped to New Zealand Feb. 2 and I show up in Christchurch on Feb. 18.

Head for Japan late March or early April.

User Journal

Journal Journal: No Kill I show on the 10th

We're playing (and recording) for free at the Press Club on Sunday afternoon. Oct 10th at 3pm. It's at 21st & P St. in midtown Sacramento. Yup.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Go Away Party - Oct 9

The Crest Theater show got cancelled, so you've got a reprieve if you haven't seen No Kill I play.

My Go Away party is Oct. 9th at Alex's house. Milhouse, the Bananas, the Nightmares, Lyme Regis, and the Royal Pains (from Seattle) are playing. That'll start at 5pm so hopefully the cops won't show up. email me for directions. There will be a raffle of sorts. My junk that no one in their right mind would like.

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.