Sep 05, 2001

Personal Commentary
I'm watch ''Lost'' with my reality-TV addicted wife. So far, the players have completely failed to impress me.

Bear in mind I'm not an outdoors person by any means. This is what I would study if I was expected to compete.

None of the six players seems to have taken the time to study the stars. By the first night, they should have known at a minimum which hemisphere they were in, for both North/South and East/West hemispheres. With a bit of work, you should be able to do significantly better. (Conceivably, the contestents could have narrowed down what country they were in to only three possibilities, which I won't share since people on the West Coast haven't seen the show yet :-) ) I suppose it would have ruined the suspense of stage one if somebody nailed the country on day one.Also note that in both hemispheres, the stars give you true north (Polaris) or south (Southern Cross). Compare that with true Magnetic North, and you can place yourself within +/- 5 degrees longitude without much work in much of the world. For instance, in much of South America, true and magnetic north pretty much match.

The other thing that failed to impress me is that while trying to talk to the natives and figure out where they are, nobody thought of drawing a map of the world in the sand. Of course, given the state of American understanding of the world, perhaps none of the contestents could have drawn an adequate map of the world...


Sep 04, 2001

Big Brother To Watch Judges?
Lots of good linkage on the Judge's workplace monitoring on Slashdot. Looks like the issue's heating up.


Sep 03, 2001

No free speech for animal rights Web sites
'On Thursday, EnviroLink Network, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Internet service provider, took offline two Web sites belonging to the animal-rights activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. The action came in response to a letter sent to the ISP earlier in the week by Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British medical research firm. Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Huntingdon accused the activists of violating its copyright. Although no charges have yet been filed, under the terms of the DMCA, Envirolink was forced to remove the sites to avoid potential legal liability...'

'Bill Strazza, an attorney in Union City, N.J., representing Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, sees the use of the DMCA to preemptively shut down the sites as an infringement on free speech: "On simple notification they're (the ISP) compelled to take a site down or risk liability. It puts hosts in a very difficult position which could ultimately have a chilling effect on free speech."'


Aug 30, 2001

Personal Commentary
My wife has learned of the perils of living with a computer nutcase. In her particular case, the perils manifest themselves as a periodic cleansing of her e-mail archives. Oops.

I was trying to move the contents of one laptop drive to another laptop drive, and could only hook up one at a time. Of course I tell my wife that this won't affect her e-mail, since that's on the computer's permenent drive, and I'll only be affecting the two laptop drives. Of course she snorts and looks disbelieving. She's heard this before.

Of course I toast the e-mail. And my e-mail. And, in fact, my entire operating system and everything on the 20 GB drive.

Burn, baby, burn!

I've been rebuilding the last few days, and between that, school starting, and working furiously on TextResponder in my traditional last-couple-of-days-before-school development spasm, I haven't posted much stuff here.

Not that I've seen much to post, other then the government post below. Skylarov was indicted... technically news, but rather uninteresting. We knew it was coming. Skylarov not being indicted would be news.

Later today I may have another writing. It's been kicking around in my head the last couple of days, and I better get it out while I've still got it. But first, I need to re-build the laptop, 'cause while the transfer was mostly successful, I ended up accidentally toasting it later, too.

Oh, did I neglect to mention that? One thing about being a Linux user, you learn to bring your system up from nothing to full capability in a matter of a couple of hours... either that or you learn to stop fooling with the drive devices directly... (but how else will I learn?)


Aug 30, 2001

US Copyright Office Releases DMCA Advisory Report
From Slashdot:

snogwozzle writes: "The US Copyright Office's congressionally-mandated advisory report on the effect of the DMCA is in, and at first glance it doesn't look too good. They're against undoing the definition of temporary RAM buffer copies as possibly infringing (which Jessica Litman in Digital Copyright pegged as perhaps the central dirty trick in the DMCA as it opens the door to technical access control by publishers) is turned down, so is a first sale doctrine for digitally distributed works, and the DMCA's effect on fair use is called out of scope for the report. On the other hand, they think everyone should have a backup right for media bought in digital form, like we have for software." Keep in mind that this is only looking at the DMCA's effect on the "first sale doctrine" (once a work is sold to you, the copyright holder can't stop you from re-selling it) and on the legal right to make backup copies ofa computer program.


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