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User Journal

Journal Journal: ZOMG IPODS ON A PLANE

Dwight sent me this, its crazy. And possibly true too, the guy had like 5 links to news sources that confirm the story...

  This ... is going to be a long one. And believe it or not, it's a 100% true story. Its relation to World of Warcraft will not be immediately apparent. Anyway, the gist of what happened is here: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=6a11bd67-f717-4aa3-80a9-840c07949730&k=28503

It all started when I got out of my seat to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom, washed my hands, and returned to my seat. A little while later the two stewardesses on the flight crossed each other in the aisle. They had a quick conversation that I was in earshot of.

"I locked off the front lav. There's something in the toilet that's preventing it from flushing. Run some water and see if you can clear it." My face immediately turned red. The seat cover! I thought. It must have been too big to flush! I should have thrown it out!

I was so embarrassed. I tried to act normal ... I took a sudden interest in the contents of the seat pocket in front of me, acted nonchalant and all. I watched as the stewardess got on her hands and knees in the lavatory and did unfathomable dirty work.

Sometime later, I decided it would be best if I forgot the whole thing happened, so I went to put on my headphones and drown myself in iPod music. But ... no iPod. I panicked, checked my other pockets. Where was it? Not under the seat, not in the pockets, not ... anywhere. I looked up to the stewardesses. One of them had run past me in a decent clip. She was carrying a green handbook. She brought it to the other stewardess. They flipped through the handbook, read a page, then made a call. The other stewardess had retrieved a blue metal box and was removing some equipment from it.

I put two and two together. I knew what had happened.

So I walked up to the stewardesses, both clamoring over the handbook, and tapped one on the shoulder.

"So, I had an iPod before I went to the bathroom, and now I don't. I think I know what's in the toilet."

We had a quick conversation. I told them, "You don't have to call the TSA or anything, it's just my iPod." They said, "Oh, but we already did."

So now I'm starting to realize that this is turning into a big problem. They offer their condolences, tell me that it's unfortunate, and I take a seat. Okay. So far, not so bad. I return to my seat and spend the rest of the flight trying to act normal.

That is, right up until the pilot comes over the intercom.

"Folks, this is the captain. I don't want to alarm you, but we've found a suspicious device in the front lavatory. Now, we think it's probably nothing, but in this day and age ... you can never be too careful. We'll be landing at Ottawa, where we will await further instructions."

The cabin erupted with commotion. At that very moment, my face fell into my hands. What have I done?

We landed at Ottawa, and we were taxiing to the gate. Without warning, the airplane then lurched to a sudden halt.

"Folks, this is the captain. We've been ordered to make an immediate stop. Buses are coming to evacuate the aircraft." We were to leave all of our belongings on the aircraft; we would be shuttled by bus to the terminal, where we would receive our carryon items.

My face fell deeper into my hands. Next came the waiting. Waiting and listening to more worry and commotion. A lot of us wondered if we could bring cell phones, wallets, passports, or customs forms with us. The stewardesses didn't have any answers; they had never been through this before.

On the one hand, if I brought a cell phone, wallet, etc. etc., and they confiscated it, I would have to hunt and peck for it separately from my carryon luggage. But if I stuck all of that stuff in my carryon luggage, I would only have to find one bag when we clamored for our stuff in the future. I decided the smart thing to do was to stick everything in my carryon. But, I kept my wallet, because I knew I was in big trouble at this point.

It took them 45 minutes to round up not just a bus and air-stairs, but an army of police and customs vehicles. One of the stewardesses took me aside and whispered to me. "Get off the plane last, and talk to the constable."

So I did. I exited the plane last, and spoke to the Ottawa police officer waiting at the air-stairs. I told him that the device was my iPod, and he took down my license number.

I continued to the bus. After a brief wait, it did NOT take us to the terminal. It took us to some industrial facility, where they housed utility vehicles. There, in the open garage, we were instructed to sit and wait. And wait we did ... another 30 minutes or so.

This was possibly the worst part ... While we were waiting I got to overhear the passengers talking about me. Well, they didn't know it was me, but they knew someone had dropped an iPod in the toilet, and they made aaallll sorts of assumptions about this person.

"Why didn't he have it on a clip? He could have clipped it to his damn pants." Or, "Why didn't he tell the stewardesses? Why is he hiding it from them and making us go through this?"

I could have corrected them. I could have told them that it WAS on a clip and I DID tell the stewardesses. In fact, it was a lot of self-restraint to just keep my mouth shut and not make things worse.

By this time the sense of guilt had left me. This wasn't my fault. Anyone could have dropped his stupid iPod in the toilet. It's really the government here. I mean, at this point the building contained six customs officials, an army of policemen, people from various security agencies, a bomb squad, and a couple of detectives. No one was doing anything. No one was taking charge. *I* didn't create this mess.

The whole time, the officers were watching me. They had told me to keep in sight of them at all times.

Finally, five or six customs officers set up a table and made an announcement. "We will be interviewing each of you one by one. Please form a line. Before we have our chat, make sure you have your ID, passport, and customs information with you."

One person asked, "What if that stuff is still on the plane?" The customs official responded, "Then we will have a more formal chat."

I got in line with the rest of the people, but shortly thereafter two police officers took me out of line. "Come with us."

They took me to a discreet corner. They brought out a tape recorder. I was told to put my hands up on the wall and spread my legs, and I was frisked from head to toe. They removed my wallet, disassembled it completely, and placed each of its contents in its own plastic evidence bag.

"Now Tim, for the sake of the tape recorder, I want you to state your full name and address." I did. "Now, each of us will state our name and position into the tape recorder." There were two detectives from the police department, a detective from Customs, and two members of the bomb squad.

Then started the questions. They were easy at first. They asked me where I lived. What do I do for a living? Why am I unemployed? How come it's taken me 4 months to find a job?

They asked me why I was visiting Canada. I was to visit a friend I met on World of Warcraft, Cara. They took down her name and what I could remember of her address. They asked me how we met.

"In an online game."
"What online game?"
"Umm ... World of Warcraft," I responded meekly.
"What kind of game is this?"
"It's a fantasy game ... it takes place online."
"Fantasy ... like it's got wizards and warlocks?"
"Well, it's got warlocks." (And they need to be nerfed.)

They asked me to describe my relation to Cara. I told them that people meet up in the game and go on adventures together, and that Cara and I were in a guild together that I was the leader of. They confused the concept of a guild with the game, however, and I had them believing that I was the Lord and Leader of all of WoW until I was able to correct them, and explain to them what a guild was.

So, when they put the pieces together; namely, that I was visiting a female person that I had met over a computer game, their next line of questioning went down an obvious path.

"So you and Cara are friends?"
"How long have you known her?"
"About 5 months I think? Maybe less."
"Do you have a romantic relationship with Cara?"
"Do you want a romantic relationship with Cara?"
"OK, so ... if you and Cara were drunk together, and she turned to you and said, 'Tim, let's go--'"

I interrupted him. "Excuse me ... what's the point of these questions?" The detective hardened. "Let me make things clear. I ask questions. You answer them. Do we have an understanding?"

"Yes." I paused. "I just don't see how this is relevant."

He spoke right in my face. "I've got 5 good men going into that airplane right now. Five of my best bomb squad guys. If there is any reason that I should be concerned for their life, then I need to know now. So just answer the questions, and do as I say."

Now the questions became really pointed. What do you think about 9/11? What are your views on the Iran issue? Do you think government is too big, too powerful? Would you ever "make a point?"

He asked me if I knew how to make a bomb. "I have a degree in physics, and I'm not an idiot." Of course I knew how to make a bomb -- what kind of question is that?? The better question is, WOULD I make a bomb? The answer is no.

They tried to trap me with some of their questions. I noticed they would try to get me to contradict myself. Like, I had earlier mentioned that I had never met Cara in real life, so they would later nonchalantly ask me when I had last seen Cara. Stuff like that.

He told me there was a similar bomb scare in LA today. He asked me if I was connected with it. He asked me if I was connected to the "liquid" thing from Britain.
  Finally, he was done. He and the two bomb squad guys left. The customs lady followed up with more prying personal questions. She asked me more about Cara, how I got to know her, how we interact, etc.

The interviewers would periodically withdraw to talk about me in French, then return with followup questions. I was picked apart by these questions. They wanted to know how I could pay for my ticket, being unemployed, and what my motivations for visiting Cara were. They had me on the defensive the whole time.

She had finished her interview and I was then returned to the garage where they were questioning everyone else on the plane, one by one. I waited for another hour or so as the bomb squad did their thing (I assume). Eventually, they loaded everyone up on the bus to take them to retrieve their stuff. Except me -- I and two others were to be inspected by Customs.

They took my photo, asked me to wait in the cold for 30 minutes, and then escorted me to a red van. Along the way I passed the detective who had first interviewed me. He was carrying a green paper bag. He called me over.

"I just got it back from the bomb squad. It's an iPod. Do you want it back?"
"It's been in the toilet."
"Yeah, it's messy." Then he walked right up to my ear. "Tim, you're not in any trouble anymore. Nothing you say now is going to be on record. I want you to answer a question honestly, just for me, not for my agency."
He whispered into my ear. "Did you ... did you take a dump, and then drop your iPod in the toilet on accident?"

"No!" I yelled a little too loudly. "Like I said ... I didn't notice it was missing until after!"

"OK, OK. I believe you. You did great, Tim."

I got my wallet back and was escorted by police to the van. I waited some more on this van, and finally it took me to a harmless immigration office. I waited some more there, the whole time being watched and followed by police officers. Finally, they escorted me to the baggage claim to fetch my stuff, and took me to a very private room with some bomb-screening equipment and tinted mirrors for windows.

It was me and a gruff, humorless customs official. He unpacked my luggage entirely, ran the contents of my wallet through a bomb sweep, and carefully examined all of my belongings. He then asked me to turn on my laptop. I did, and he began using it. I saw him open Spotlight and begin searching.

"Do you connect to the Internet on this laptop?"
"Have you downloaded and images?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Do you have any pornography?"

I waited in total silence for about 10 minutes as he kept searching and searching, until I finally asked him, "What are you looking for?"

"Contraband," he said without looking up at me.
"Such as?"
"Child pornography, hate propaganda."
"Child porn I can understand, that's illegal. But hate propaganda is protected speech."
Now he looked up. "What country do you think you're in?"
"Oh, it's illegal in Canada?"
"I honestly don't know. But that doesn't matter. I get to decide what goes in this country. Do you have a problem with that?"
I paused for a long time while I thought about what I should say to this. "Yes."
"Yes, you do have a problem?"
"Yes, I do. If it's illegal in Canada I'll understand, but saying 'I don't want it in my country' isn't good enough when you're a government official."

Now he was pissed. "Don't fool around with me. I'm sure you want this to end as much as I do. So I will ask you questions, and you will answer. Do you understand?"

Another long pause while I thought. "Yes, I do."

He continued his exhaustive audit of my computer's contents, then returned it to me. We waited for a Customs escort, who showed me out of the room and back to the terminal. There they left me without saying a word, and I was free to go.

I found Cara and Andy, and my vacation in Canada began.

(The first three people that post "TLDR" get negative haikus written about their character names.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Life without internet: day 4

Today marks the fourth consecutive day without internet access at the apartment. Verizon comes to install the phone line tomorrow, and then speakeasy can get started with things on their end, but it could take up to two weeks from that point. By then, it may be too late. Things are hard, I will not mince words. As usual, you do not know how much you love something until it is gone. I am overwhelmed with grief that I cannot "get my packets from here to there" as Tycho so succinctly put it once.

How many times throughout the day do I wonder about something, (a question about anything really, from movie times, to product releases, to random factoids) and sit down at the computer for a quick answer? I think that is what I miss it for most, besides the surfing, and chatting, and...other stuff. I also started to get sick after the second day as well, though I am not completely certain that the two events are related. Please see this for referece, mere mortals.


Journal Journal: YAY PHP 2

Today I am goin over to Tom and Dwights to do some programming for castersguild. Even though my main function for them is project management (blah) they are committed to teaching me how to program and we are starting with PHP since they do so much db stuff. (I also have been learing a lot of Postgres which is awesome too). So far I like PHP, its pretty simple really and the syntax is straightforward. I like that you can just code all in the html file and it seems to me more or less a programming extension of html.

The thing that scares me about programming I think is the whole "you are doing it wrong" attitude that most programmers I have met seem to have (except for castersguild I mean). It is hard to get shot down for your work when you are just starting out, even though you ackowldge that you may not be doing it the right way to start. I have found major kinds of tech people: those who understand and try to help you, and those who just assume you are an idiot because you dont inherently know Java. I spose some people are born knowing it?


Journal Journal: Quit Slashdot, Discussed

I need to write about this.

Summary: This is a guy who is telling everyone to stop reading slashdot. Some of the points he made are valid, though most are completely subjective and his own opinion, and he does not do a great job at actually convincing anyone of anything, which I figure is his angle in this page. I feel bad for people who read this and actually "quit" slashdot since that would mean they are pretty gulliable. People should make their OWN decisions based on available info, not because some dude in washington said so.

I am mostly just going to talk about his 9 reasons to quit:

#9. Slashdot is a plot by Microsoft to destroy the productivity of Linux users.
OK, so aside from the very obvious sounding "conspiracy theory" tone of this remark, he provides absolutely no proof, not even a reasonable inkling (Microsoft sued slashdot so that we wouldnt talk about their own lawsuit? As I recalled there were lots of posts about BOTH, thanks). Here he hits on one of his major issues: that slashdot takes time away from coding. Just like TV, and other websites, and the weather, and your best friend who doesnt code. Get over it - life is full of distractions and you are resposible for determining your priorities. You have a choice, which is what all this is about. Quitting slashdot will NOT make you code more, because if you just dont want to code you will find something else to do, and if you DID want to code you would.

#8. Screaming 14-year-old boys attempting to prove to each other that they are more 3133t than j00.

I agree with this - but that is why browse at 4-5 for one thing. Another method is that you wait until there are a good amount of comments on the post, that way many of the trolls will be moved out of the conversation. On the other hand, this is the internet and everyone has a voice. Some people use that voice to spread goatse, and as an american I protect that right. ;) I know folks who just dont read comments as well and this works pretty well. Is this any worse than IRC???

#7. Technical opinions refereed by popular vote means lousy technical opinions.

Again, read the comments at your own discretion. I take all comments with a grain of salt, and it is true that most modded up does NOT mean most valuable information. If you need a howto, go to www.tldp.org, not slashdot for crying out loud.

#6. Community myth that Linux is technically superior to any other operating system in the known universe.

I see many comments which refute this. Quite often comments posing a dissenting but intellegent point of view get modded up. Everyone is aware here that there is a lot of MS Hate at the site. Frankly how much is your own opinion, and again only read comments if you want to.

#5. Butt-ugly visual design.

I agree, but this is complete opinion, not a reason to convince people to quit. It is not like the site is unusable, this is only a matter of taste. The links to the left which he mentions are indeed cryptic, but I have found them to be mostly unnecessary anyway. Did he try to give the site creators feedback? He did not mention but I think that if he did he would have mentioned that here. I guess it was just easier to quit...

#4. Gullible editorial staff continues to post links to any and all articles that vaguely criticize Linux in any way.

Mostly true, but you are a smart reader, take what is valuable and leave what is not. I only find about 40-50% of all posts useful or interesting to me. Opinions are like belly buttons. (everyone has got one) What interests me may not interest you and so on.

#3. Gullible editorial staff continues to post links to bogus pseudoscience articles by crackpots.

Frankly I think that the articles in this vain are interesting and still hold value. Even if some of the scientific data is flawed (and this is ALWAYS open to debate, even for those that the author does not decry as "crackpot") they can stimulate thinking, and get ideas that may not see the light of day into a forum where people can discuss. Slashdot does not maintain, nor are they responsible for, the content of the sites they link to - they merely provide a service saying "hey this might be interesting to you". Not "hey check this out, its FACT!!!!"

#2. Editorial/comment system pretends to be democratic but in reality most content remains firmly in the iron clasp of the editors.

Yes it is true, they run the site you know. Ultimatley I think it is ok for a small body (who created the site mind you) to control what articles get posted, otherwise it would be just too darn messy, and the value would go down. Sounds like this guy is upset because Hemos didnt post some stories for him...

#1. Two words: Jon Katz.
I agree that Jon Katz is a pretty crappy tech writer. I think the book he wrote "Geeks" was good for the time period (dot.bomb era) but have been put off by most of his articles, and I think most people agree. That is why he hasnt had a post in well over a year. So this #1 reason is completely bogus.

Alternatives to Slashdot
Thanks for the links buddy, I'll keep them in mind. Can never have too many resources for a topic you love.

Again, use your own judgement in sites you visit. If you don't like slashdot, certainly dont go there. If you do, then go for it. I do not think that the reasons that the author mentions are nearly good enough for a "boycott". I would take that statement back if Slashdot was killing babies or kidnapping programmers and making them read slashdot, ala Clockwork Orange. I have no reason to believe they are currently involved in either of those, or equally nasty things.

This post represents just my own personal belly-button.

I should also note that I came across this in another user journal, and she actually quit ./ after reading it. I find it hard to believe that these folks would "drink the koolaid" but you know, thats how it goes.

Standard Disclaimer:
YMMV, IANAL, etc etc etc....

Wireless Networking

Journal Journal: Lappy Top

Hey hey hey! I am typing this wirelessly from my brand new laptop! I got it open box from Circuit City, woo! It is a Toshiba Satellite and I am enjoying it so far. I got linux up and running ala VM Ware and it is running XP pro as the main OS (I know I know, but linux just isnt a great OS for multimedia on a lapotp without too much hair pulling and people killing). The speakers on this thing are pretty impressive, in that they are actually worth using...they kind of stick up under the screen and are kinda big. I justified this purchase since I will be doing programming regularly with the castersguild guys. It is nice to have a mobile desktop!!


Journal Journal: Postcard from reality

Dear Slashdot Journal,

I know I havent been around lately, and for that I am really sorry. I have been having a pretty good time here in the real world lately, but I will write again soon. Tell google how much I miss him and will be home before long.



Journal Journal: Linux Journal Entry #1 1

Linux: LOD, A New Beginning

This will be my attempt at logging my experience with Linux on the Desktop, or "LOD" (NOT to be confused with the Legion of Doom ;). Such posts will be marked with the penguin to the right (isnt he cute).

A little background:
For the past long amount of time, I have been using Windows on the desktop, with intermittent splurges of linux, usually ending in frustration for many reasons. While I have been successful at using Linux for my server needs for the past few years, LOD has been an unachievable aim for many reasons, including but not limited to: ease of use, ease of installation, compatability with various programs, ability to play games, etc. Now I will again forray into the wild west of desktops, and attempt LOD. Stay tuned for more details on how this journey goes and what I find during my adventures.

Some Scope:
1. Create a dual boot machine with WindowsXP / Linux
2. Decide on a Linux distro and version
3. Use Linux as primary OS, only switch to XP for gaming purposes (i.e. XP becomes a game console)or a really really good reason (I cant think of many others)
4. Get all my peripherals working in Linux. Includes: HP Printer, UMAX Scanner, CD Writer (generic, IDE), Rio 600 mp3 player.

Other things will probably emerge too, but those are the big ones for now. I have to keep XP for things like WarCraft 3, Neverwinter Nights, etc.

Next post:
Back Up and Installation, or "There and back again".


Journal Journal: Ode de Enlightenment

From the Enlightenment website:
Enlightenment is a completely themeable, highly configurable Window Manager for the X Window System, traditionally used in Unix environments.
Let me preface this by saying I love E (short for Enlightenment, duh). Its good stuff, and runs really fast! VROOOOOOM!
To celebrate this excellent WM, I have written a small poem. Donations acceptable via paypal. Wait, we hate paypal, dont we? OK, amazon one click(TM).
Ode de Enlightenment
Let me count your themes.
1. 2. 3.
I stop, for they are too many.

Take a look behind the scenes.
Ohh- ahh!
You run so fast!

Lets read the FAQ!
"What platforms does E run on?"

Linux mostly, and BSD too,
IRIX and HP,
Solaris, we wont forget you!
Also AIX, but who cares?

We eagerly await with baited breath and will
remain where we are with E16 instilled.


OK so the poem sucks, but hey you get the point.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: mmmmm pie.

OK, so you gotta check this out:

Weebl and Bob.

Later on it gets a bit dull and repetitive, but the first few are right on!


User Journal

Journal Journal: to geek or not to geek 7

On thing I have noticied about being a geek is that like everything else in life it grows and shrhinks in intensity as time goes on. Usually I will be hardcore geek for a couple weeks (doing coding and web dev stuff and being really active on ./ and buying stuff from thinkgeek) and then wont really be on the computer that much, instead hanging out with friends and family etc. Being more active, working out, watching more movies, and maybe even hitting on girls more (I am usually pretty shy when it comes to that).

So right now I am kind of in the latter mode, but thought I would post anyway just because I havent in a while, and after all, its in my sig.

Other geeks: do you see yourself coming and going through these phases?

It is probably a healthy way to be since I dont really see it as a Good Thing to simply code all the time, or just to watch movies, or just to work on the website. It is good to be social and get out there and be healthy too. I think. Anywhoo, just ramblings from an on again, off again geek. Maybe this means I'm not hard core, but if harcore means never getting married because I'd rather code and not meet women, then no thanks! (I have enough of a hard time meeting them as it is without simply giving up!)


Journal Journal: Linux Blues 3

Linux and I sometimes have a love/hate relationship. I always love it, sometimes it hates me. See, it always runs great on my server, but anytime I build a new box it turns into a lot of finger crossing an praying to the linux gods that the latest version of RedHat supports my *card and or USB device. Right now I am playing with VMWARE which I borrowed from a friend so that I can run linux simultaneously with Windows - first it hated my mouse, which I fixed by taking a look at the knowledgebase. No big deal, it is also a little slow which is kinda not cool since I am running it on a pretty decent computer (AMD Athlon 1.53Mhz 512 DDR RAM) so even though I am running 2 OSs at the same time, I dont want the mouse to lag. I tried setting the local priority for the machine up, but that didnt help. So I went to go install Enlightenment since it is less baggage than the current Gnome which comes default in RedHat 8. I kept getting RPM segfaults....just NOT encouraging. I think I might just reinstall 7.3 and hope for the best. Redhat 7.3 is running GREAT on my laptop and now I use it for most of my java and psql stuff. Here is a screenshot:

User Journal

Journal Journal: This subject moved

OK so I am moving tommorw. Can't wait! Woo! My new apartment is real nice and should house my new computers nicely. What, you all dont get an apartment soley based on your computer(s) needs? And you call yourself a geek?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Journal Envy

OK so basically I have three journals now. Hmm. I have a hard time posting in even one-yet- for some reason I feel that as a geek i MUST keep a blog of some sort. Even if I dont have anything interesting to say. Hmm. Perhaps I should just concentrate more on being interesting.

So the three that I have are
and this one, the one you are reading now.

So, which to post in? Threemoons is overrun right now with too many posters, cypherecho needs lots of work (you'll notice the pretty apache error if you click on it that I have not had any time to address since I started moving) so that leaves this one.

At least there is a slight chance of other geeks reading this though and seeing how geeky I am too, and how we should try to be friends. And live in a small happy digital world that is ruled with an iron fist by the moderators. eep!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sorry... 2

Dear slashdot journal. Hi, can we be friends? I know that I got mad at you the other day, but I dont think it was entirely your fault, and I am sorry I called you a worthless journal not even worthy of blogger. Do you forgive me?

User Journal

Journal Journal: this sucks

I think I hate slashdot journal. I have lost so many attempts at posting its ridiculous. Bye for now crappy slashdot journal.

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