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User Journal

Journal Journal: Could IBM's Watson fact-check our writing?

"Word processors and other text-based have had spelling and grammar checking for years, but could IBM's Watson technology go a step further and provide a familiar squiggly underline for sentences that have no supporting evidence to back them up, while automatically link to the most authoritative source for sentences that are based in on fact? How might such an evolution in communication affect our consumption of news, topics of debate, science, and so on?"

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ubuntu monitor support

I've been a big fan of Ubuntu for several years but until recently never had a problem with monitor support.

Apparently someone has removed the ability to hand-tweak monitor settings, therefore relying solely on Ubuntu's monitor detection abilities for determining available screen resolutions, refresh rate, etc. Unfortunately, when it can't detect a monitor, the user is left with no reasonable recourse but to move on to another operating system! That is what I have been forced to do on two systems now. So it looks like I will be returning to Fedora Linux which supports my monitors nicely.

I hope Ubuntu fixes this problem - looking at the forums there is no shortage of public outcry.

User Journal

Journal Journal: CD/DVD media

There was a discussion recently about what types of CD and DVD media were good for long term archival.

For the record, I've copied 6+ years old CDR media from TDK and Sony and have not had any problems.
One media I stay away from is Memorex. I've been unable to recover many CDRs of that brand. Once bitten twice shy baby.

User Journal

Journal Journal: LimeWire countersues recording industry

LimeWire countersues recording industry


"The proprietors of the P2P file-sharing program LimeWire, who were sued last August by a coalition of the major names in the recording industry, has filed a countersuit in the U.S. District Court in New York, claiming that the RIAA is using its copyrights over recorded works as a weapon to disable competition from anyone in the Internet distribution business."

User Journal

Journal Journal: SCO vs. IBM

The court case between SCO and IBM is an interesting one. SCO reminds me of certain kinds of people. You just know they are full of it, yet they piss you off and you sometimes just lack something to say in defense until later when you're steaming and like "man, I shoulda said blah..."

I hope someone writes a details book about this court case. I'd be interested to read how IBM defended themselves and about some of the psychology of the case plus the author's own insight.

United States

Journal Journal: Al Gore speaks about Bush's lawlessness

What is really going on in the United States with President Bush at the wheel? Definitely read this PDF on a speech given by Al Gore entitled "Institutionalized Dishonesty in the Bush Administration". It's really worth taking the time to read!


Some hilights (typos are mine):

The kinds of unnatural, undemocratic activities in which this administration has engaged in order to aggrandize power have included censorship of scientific reports, manipulation of budgetary statistics, the silencing of dissent, the ignoring of intelligence. And although there have been other efforts by other presidents to encroach upon the legitimate prerogatives of Congress and the courts, there has never been this kind of persistent, systematic abuse of the truth and the institutionalization of dishonesty as a routine part of the policy process.


Moreover, in contrast, in sharp contrast to the courageous 93rd Congress that helped to save our country from Richard Nixon's sinister abuses, the current Congress, controlled by the president's party, has virtually abdicated its constitutional role to serve as an independent and coequal branch of government. Instead, this Republican-led Congress is content, for the most part, to take orders from the president on what to vote for and what to vote against. The Republican leaders of the House and Senate have even started blocking Democrats from attending conference committee meetings, where legislation takes its final form; and instead, they let the president's staff come to the meetings and write key parts of the laws for them.


First of all, more than 6,000 documents have been removed by the Bush administrations from governmental websites...
To muddy the clear concensus of the scientific community on global warming, the White House directed major changes and deletions to an EPA report -- changes that were so egregious that the agency said it was too embarassed to use the language insisted upon by the political employees at the White House.


And another example. When mass layoffs became too embarassing, this administration simply stopped publishing the regular layoff report that economists and others have been receiving for decades.


He [President Bush] will be seen as justified in acting to selectively suspend civil liberties, again on his personal discretion. He will continue to intimidate the press, and thereby distort the political reality experienced by the American people during his bid for reelection.


What we have now, however, is the result of decisions taken by a president and an administration for whom the best law is no law, so long as law threatens to constrain their political will. And when the constraints of law cannot be prevented or eliminated, then they maneuver it to be weakened by evasion, by delay, by hair-splitting, by obstruction and by failure to enforce on the part of those sworn to uphold the law.

User Journal

Journal Journal: GMail service agreement

As of June 23, 2004
Gmail Agreement

In order to use Gmail you must read, understand and agree to Gmail Agreement. This agreement contains important terms and conditions that may affect your legal rights and responsibilities. Please read the current version of this agreement included below.

Gmail Terms of Use

Welcome to Gmail! Before your register for your Gmail account, you must read and agree to these Gmail Terms of Use and the following terms and conditions and policies, including any future amendments (collectively, the "Agreement"):

Google Terms of Service - Our general terms and conditions
Gmail Privacy Policy - How we maintain and protect your personal information in Gmail
Gmail Program Policies - Guidelines for using Gmail
Gmail FAQs - Details about Gmail

  Although we may attempt to notify you via your Gmail address when major changes are made, you should visit this page periodically to review the terms. Google may, in its sole discretion, modify or revise these terms and conditions and policies at any time, and you agree to be bound by such modifications or revisions. If you do not accept and abide by this Agreement, you may not use the Gmail service. In the event of an inconsistency between the Gmail Terms of Use and either Google's general Terms of Service (available at http://www.google.com/terms_of_service.html) or the Gmail Privacy Policy (available at http://www.google.com/gmail/help/privacy.html), the Gmail Terms of Use shall control. Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed to confer any third party rights or benefits.

      1. Description of Service. Gmail is a free, search-based email application from Google (the "Service"). You understand and agree that the Service may include content-targeted ads or other related information, as further described below and in the Gmail Privacy Policy. In addition, you understand and agree that the Service is provided on an AS IS and AS AVAILABLE basis. Google disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Service. Google also reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue the Service with or without notice at any time and without any liability to you.

      2. Personal Use. The Service is made available to you for your personal use only. Due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (which is available at http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm), you must be at least thirteen (13) years of age to use this Service. You must provide current, accurate identification, contact, and other information that may be required as part of the registration process and/or continued use of the Service. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your Service password and account, and are responsible for all activities that occur thereunder. Google reserves the right to refuse service to anyone at any time without notice for any reason.

      3. Proper Use. You agree that you are responsible for your own communications and for any consequences thereof. Your use of the Service is subject to your acceptance of and compliance with the Agreement, including the Gmail Program Policies ("Program Policies"), located at http://www.google.com/gmail/help/program_policies.html, or such other URL as Google may provide from time to time. You agree that you will use the Service in compliance with all applicable local, state, national, and international laws, rules and regulations, including any laws regarding the transmission of technical data exported from your country of residence. You shall not, shall not agree to, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) use the Service to upload, transmit or otherwise distribute any content that is unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable as reasonably determined by Google; (ii) upload, transmit or otherwise distribute content that infringes upon another party's intellectual property rights or other proprietary, contractual or fiduciary rights or obligations; (iii) prevent others from using the Service; (iv) use the Service for any fraudulent or inappropriate purpose; or (v) act in any way that violates the Program Policies, as may be revised from time to time. Violation of any of the foregoing may result in immediate termination of this Agreement, and may subject you to state and federal penalties and other legal consequences. Google reserves the right, but shall have no obligation, to investigate your use of the Service in order to determine whether a violation of the Agreement has occurred or to comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request.

      4. Content of the Service. Google takes no responsibility for third party content (including, without limitation, any viruses or other disabling features), nor does Google have any obligation to monitor such third party content. Google reserves the right at all times to remove or refuse to distribute any content on the Service, such as content which violates the terms of this Agreement. Google also reserves the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as it reasonably believes is necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of potential violations hereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues (including, without limitation, the filtering of spam), (d) respond to user support requests, or (e) protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users and the public. Google will not be responsible or liable for the exercise or non-exercise of its rights under this Agreement.

      5. Intellectual Property Rights. Google's Intellectual Property Rights. You acknowledge that Google owns all right, title and interest in and to the Service, including without limitation all intellectual property rights (the " Google Rights"), and such Google Rights are protected by U.S. and international intellectual property laws. Accordingly, you agree that you will not copy, reproduce, alter, modify, or create derivative works from the Service. You also agree that you will not use any robot, spider, other automated device, or manual process to monitor, or copy any content from the Service. The Google Rights include rights to (i) the Service developed and provided by Google; and (ii) all software associated with the Service. The Google Rights do not include third-party content used as part of Service, including the content of communications appearing on the Service.

            Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload, transmit or store in your Gmail account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service.

      6. Representations and Warranties. You represent and warrant that (a) all of the information provided by you to Google to participate in the Services is correct and current; and (b) you have all necessary right, power and authority to enter into this Agreement and to perform the acts required of you hereunder.

      7. Privacy. As a condition to using the Service, you agree to the terms of the Gmail Privacy Policy as it may be updated from time to time. Google understands that privacy is important to you. You do, however, agree that Google may monitor, edit or disclose your personal information, including the content of your emails, if required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process or governmental request (such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order), or as otherwise provided in these Terms of Use and the Gmail Privacy Policy. Personal information collected by Google may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which Google Inc. or its agents maintain facilities. By using Gmail, you consent to any such transfer of information outside of your country.

      8. Advertisements. As consideration for using the Service, you agree and understand that Google will display ads and other information adjacent to and related to the content of your email. Gmail serves relevant ads using a completely automated process that enables Google to effectively target dynamically changing content, such as email. No human will read the content of your email in order to target such advertisements or other information without your consent, and no email content or other personally identifiable information will be provided to advertisers as part of the Service.

      9. Account Inactivity. After a period of inactivity, Google reserves the right to disable or terminate a user's account. If an account has been deactivated for inactivity, the email address associated with that account may be given to another user without notice to you or such other party. For more information on how Google deals with account inactivity, please consult the Program Policies.

    10. Publicity. Any use of Google's trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features ("Brand Features") must be in compliance with this Agreement and in compliance with Google's then current Brand Feature use guidelines, and any content contained or reference therein, which may be found at the following URL: http://www.google.com/permissions/guidelines.html (or such other URL Google may provide from time to time).

    11. Termination; Cancellation. You may cancel your use of the Services and/or terminate this Agreement with or without cause at any time by providing notice to Google at http://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount; provided, however, that a terminated account may continue to exist for up to two business days before such cancellation takes effect. Google may at any time and for any reason terminate the Services, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account. In the event of termination, your account will be disabled and you may not be granted access to your account or any files or other content contained in your account although residual copies of information may remain in our system. Except as set forth above or unless Google has previously canceled or terminated your use of the Services (in which case subsequent notice by Google shall not be required), if you have provided an alternate email address, Google will notify you via email of any such termination or cancellation, which shall be effective immediately upon Google's delivery of such notice. Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, and 11 - 13 of the Agreement, along with applicable provisions of the general Terms of Service (including the section regarding limitation of liability), shall survive expiration or termination.

    12. Indemnification. You agree to hold harmless and indemnify Google, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, and employees from and against any third party claim arising from or in any way related to your use of the Service, including any liability or expense arising from all claims, losses, damages (actual and consequential), suits, judgments, litigation costs and attorneys' fees, of every kind and nature. In such a case, Google will provide you with written notice of such claim, suit or action.

    13. Choice of Law; Jurisdiction. These Terms of Use will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, without giving effect to its conflict of laws provisions or your actual state or country of residence. Any claims, legal proceeding or litigation arising in connection with the Service will be brought solely in Santa Clara County, California, and you consent to the jurisdiction of such courts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Partial Birth Abortion

I don't agree with everything that Jerry Falwell says, but this letter struck a chord with me. I am passionately against partial birth abortion. I agree that a woman should have a right to abort within the first trimester (3 months) of pregnancy. After that, however, I fail to see the reasoning for late term abortion. It is unhuman, grisley, and is cold blooded murder in my books. That the law disagrees in the USA is mind blowing.

As Falwell says, more and more babies are being aborted because of simple defects like malformed feet, a cleft lip, etc. WTF? Talk about people being desensitized.

Do yourself a favour. If you don't yet know what partial birth abortion is, read up on it from the side opposed to it and I almost guarantee you will also be against it. Don't be fooled by proponent's using euphamisms to cover up the grusome nature of the procedure.

Falwell Confidential

Date: June 4, 2004
From: Jerry Falwell


It is apparent that the culture of death is intensifying its
stranglehold on
the culture.

This week, a federal judge ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
(PABA), which was signed into law by President Bush last November, is
unconstitutional. President Bush's signing of this important law came
Congress overwhelmingly passed the legislation. But since its signing,
PABA has been the target of hysterical abortion-rights groups that want
absolutely no limitations on that disingenuous catchphrase - "a woman's
right to choose."

Furthermore, a British study has revealed that growing numbers of women
becoming so calloused in terms of abortion that they are choosing to
their unborn children simply because they are discovered to have
problems such as Down's syndrome, malformed feet, and even cleft
lips/palates. The culture of abortion has brought about a sense of
fashion in terms of unborn babies; if the baby doesn't fit the parent's
desires, it is cast off like an out-of-style suit.


This week, Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton predictably fell in line with
radical abortion-rights community when she ruled that the PABA
an "undue burden" on women seeking abortion. The Clinton appointee
said the
PABA is "unconstitutionally vague" because it does not include a health
exception for women seeking a partial-birth abortion. Her ruling
for now 900 Planned Parenthood clinics which carry out such abortions.

Abortion-rights supporters want women to have the unregulated ability
determine that they need an abortion. A health exception in terms of
partial-birth abortion allows doctors to formulate any number of
trumped up
reasons to call for abortion for a patient wanting one. A so-called
exemption would essentially render powerless the partial-birth abortion

Following Judge Hamilton's PABA ruling, Wendy Wright, senior policy
for Concerned Women for America said the judge was "pre-disposed" to
such a
ruling. She also noted that the American Medical Association has said
especially barbaric type of abortion procedure is never medically

She said, "Judge Hamilton did not allow key, relevant testimony such as
pain felt by unborn babies and records that would prove that
abortions are never medically necessary."

Roberta Combs, president of Christian Coalition, added that "judicial
tyranny" was responsible for the ruling. Identifying the leftist
agenda of
this judge, she highlighted the fact that Judge Hamilton "is the same
who (last year) allowed a San Francisco-area school district to force
children into 'becoming Muslims' for two weeks as part of their world
history unit on Islam."

Radical judicial activists like Judge Hamilton are imposing their own
of America on the nation. It is apparent that their perspectives on
and liberty are far different than most Americans, and certainly poles
from our Founders' beliefs.

Witnessing these types of irrational rulings makes clear the importance
electing a pro-life president who will place responsible judges on our
federal courts. I believe that a vote for a presidential candidate who
favors abortion rights is an outright betrayal of the unborn.


According to 2002 statistics recently released by the Office for
Statistics in England and Wales, handicapped children in the womb are
the increasing risk of abortion. The organization found that abortion
Down's syndrome babies elevated 17 percent, from 690 in 2002 over 591
2001. In fact, the study found that more Down's babies were actually
aborted in 2002 than those that were born with the disease.

Nuala Scarisbrick of the British pro-life group LIFE said these
increases in
abortion statistics are troubling, especially to people who are living
fulfilled lives despite their disabilities.

"The message is being sent out to disabled people that they should not
been born," Ms. Scarisbrick said in a statement published on The Drudge

Learning of this report caused me to recall the book "Another Season,"
renowned football coach Gene Stallings who recounted the unexpected
blessings that came into his life through the life of his son Johnny,
has Down's syndrome. In addition, as a minister of a large church, I
frankly report that I am aware of countless parents who say they would
change a thing about their children born with disabilities.

The permissive culture of death has made it acceptable to simply kill
off an
unborn baby that requires additional attention. What a tragically
perspective on life this is.


The most important thing that can be done is for pro-life Americans to
off of their couches and out of their church pews in order to become
proactive in terms of speaking out for the unborn.

Volunteer in a local home for unborn mothers, start a church-based
organization, bring pro-life speakers into area schools, call your
to encourage them to vote for pro-life legislation. And most
vote only for legislators and national leaders who revere life for the
unborn. Let's join together to take the momentum away from those who
contempt for the unborn!

This list is owned and operated by http://falwell.com.
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User Journal

Journal Journal: New look of user page

Eeek! I don't like the new look of the user page at all. Especially how the moderation and # of comments is displayed. Hope Taco changes it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Where does the time go... on /.

On the vein of New Years Resolutions, I've been thinking about how productive my time on Slashdot is. Is it a complete waste of time? I think not, and here's why.

For one thing, spending time here has taught me to be more patient with rude people. I am now a little better at handling frustrating situations where sometimes people are trying to 'get my goat', or sometimes that is just the way they talk.

Second, it keeps me up to date with what's happening in a relatively short period of time, assuming I don't let myself get sucked in to the discussions too much. I don't usually listen to the news on television because it's almost always the same sad shit, plus zillions of commercials and slanting the news and rehashing the same few details. Slashdot and Google news are my prime sources. I let word of mouth be my source of other major news pieces.

Third, writing discussion items helps me to think more about my position on issues. I know some people are going to jump on what I say if I can't back it up or there are holes in my logic, so I think it through some more. That has helped me be a bit more articulate.

Fourth and finally, writing is something people get better at with practice. This is a great outlet for me to write and keep up my vocabulary and expressiveness. The art of language is fascinating because it is the single best way for us to communicate our thoughts. Without it, what would we do? That's why, to me, it is very important to be able to get my point across as clearly as possible. I'm still working on it, and practice makes perfect as they say.

So, I guess you can see that I'll be here in 2004! The one thing I watch is letting trolls get the best of me and wasting my time, and I also watch not to hit "reload" too often on the front page. :) Happy New Years!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Mod points

Has anyone else noticed there seems to be a lack of mod points given out on Slashdot in the last 2, 3 weeks? Maybe they're tweaking the algorithm.

I think they should make the number of mod points given out a function of the number of messages posted on the system. It has never seemed that that is the way it is geared.

User Journal

Journal Journal: ABC dot Com

Has anyone else ever created at login at ABC.com? I created one using a temp. account which had never received spams in probably a year, and all of a sudden I login and I have 18 spam emails! Be wary - good thing I didn't use one of my main accounts.

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"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe