Monday, October 31, 2005

The penalties for copyright infringement vs. shoplifting

This is a straight copy/paste from slashdot:
"awesomeO4001" wrote in to mention a post to Karl Wagenfuehr's blog where he compares and contrasts the penalties for copyright infringement vs. shoplifting. From the post: "...from what I can tell, the penalties laid out for downloading one season of a TV show with BitTorrent are much harsher than if you actually stole a DVD set of the same show from a government store...For stealing the DVD you could face no more than up to 1 year imprisonment and up to a $100,000 fine; for downloading the same material you could face statutory damages of up to $3,300,000, costs and attorney's fees"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wussy Dems

I am torn, sink to the obnoxiously boisterous level of some of the right (not all of them) and hop up and down and demand the fall of the Bush dynasty or do what they (the Democrats) are doing now... nothing. There is some trouble in the Republican party (or trouble for some rather large players in that party) and it looks like the Democrats are just blankly looking at each other and saying, "hey, I guess its our time now (No one else is in line)" I will admit that I am sickened when I hear politicians standing on their soap boxes making lofty/insulting demands but I wonder if much of the republican party didn't get where it is using Jesse Helms smear type soap boxing (the Bush campaign questioning McCain's sanity after being an POW is an embarrassingly obvious example, against one of their own). it MUST be said that the Democrats are where they are in part due to Clinton's fall from grace, he gave the right just the fodder they needed to push "morality" (while Clinton is an amoral husband i do not think it affected his politics). Oh well. I think all these Republican legal fiascos could so easily be used to the lefts advantage but #1 They are dragging their feet #2 It might not even matter if they didn't drag their feet, the American people's ability to forget (things like Iran contra affairs, chubby intern affairs, and inevitably exposing CIA operatives) is uncanny.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"Too bad" & "I wonder how high up this goes?"

Good G*d! What'da week. Well, now there are even more from the right under scrutiny (thats putting it mildly in the case of Delay and Libby); it amazes me that a person that surrounds himself (bush) with people like that is still trusted so much (at least by the right, though at sub 40% approval ratings he is hurt'n). I wonder if the seeming smear campaign stops at the "libby level" or goes higher up?

Anyway, one thing i was kinda cheering him on for was Harriet Miers; but his "base" ended up chasing her away even before she got to the hearings. Not like i thought that she was the best out there (far from it) but it was more a case of "It could be worse", but with a ~40% approval ratings i am not so sure he should even care about the far right, yes they are incredibly loud (read: Rush Limbaugh/Howard stern loud) and just try to appease all those who are brining his rating down. In truth my one real regret is that these events didn't come out before the election.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Equating dissent with disloyalty

I can think I can truthfully say that today (as opposed to the last 5 years) the title is not as true as it used to be. As I think I have mentioned before I was not in the US when 911 hit so I had the interesting perspective of watching the US from the outside, and I was appalled. The country blindly followed the current administration because for some reason we seemed to think that if you question the administration you were "unpatriotic". I was reading about George Clooney's new movie, in it he talks about how Murrow stood up against Mcarthy and pointed out to the country how crazy it all was. I never really noticed how far journalism has fallen since then (not that know about "then" first hand) until the Reagan years, he was charismatic and the country seemed to love him. At the time I was too young to appreciate charisma but I could understand trees being chopped down and animals homes being destroyed, something Regan did wholesale (Yet, I don't remember seeing that on TV). Then I see Clinton, a pretty lousy husband by all accounts, but the world could not get enough of his sexual faux pas, and it was politicized like I never thought something could be (I saw that all over the TV). Now for Bush Jr. (Sr. was not my fav pres but with his son for comparison he was fine) he has dominated/abused the political scene and done so with impunity. He has hardly had to answer to the fact about the WMDs and maintains this "great guy" character even after getting caught on tape calling a reporter an "A Hole", having a DUI record, smoking week (and later jabbing Gore for admitting to it)frowning like a spoiled brat during the debate, or the birdie he flips on camera (1,2), the press seems to glaze over all of that... amazing.

Fortunately some of this (a tiny bit) *seems* to be coming back to him (or to his advisors). Anyway, about the whole freedom (a word Bush mangles daily) thing, I think this bit from newsweek is something people should really think about.

"Knowing the outcome doesn't diminish the tension a bit, and Clooney and Grant Heslov's fine-chiseled script resonates with contemporary relevance. 'We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home,' Murrow said in his 1954 McCarthy broadcast. The senator used fear to undermine traditional American freedoms and equate dissent with disloyalty. Any resemblance to the current administration's exploitation of 9/11 is no accident."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Uber Clothing

This will be short. I have a bunch of gadgets, too many at times (but then again, can one *really* have too many gadgets?) and it gets to be a pain some times, especially the airport.

I have seen reviews of SeV (SCOTTEVEST) many times but for some reason didn't pay much attention to them, maybe until i was watching TWiT episode 26 and they (briefly) showed the SeV Leather jacket. It had almost all the amenities of the other SeV products but this looked sweet! Its the leather (I blame it on Europe), it looks nice and is functional instead of looking like some extreme sports wannabe (which I am) I gain feign fashion sense. Nice!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

AnandTech News: Suit filed over Nano scratches

This makes me wonder, I mean to sue over scratches is kinda silly (to me) but even more silly is that Apple doesn't make their iPods more scratch resistant. Why not use the stuff that DVDs like TDK's Armor. I had read one article where a reporter was actually using steel wool on one of the disks and barely managed to scuff these disks. Oh well.

The VoIP Backlash

I can't belive this. Telecoms all over the place are starting to block VoIP calls, and its legal (even in the US, ok, the US can't *block* it but they can legally degrade VoIP signals); thats just plain ludicrous! Doing international work i can rack up some pretty insane bills and VoIP has really really helped me but this just makes me feel sick. For some very insightful (for the most part) commentary refer to the slashdot responses (which is where i got wind of this in the first place)

Death Of Palm...

This is (or has been) pretty obvious, and depressing (for me) but Palm is dying. I actually fell for "Palm" when I got a Handspring Visor, I loved the springboard option (though I was most interested in getting the vibrating springboard for when I had my headphone on). I was wowed by all the quality applications out there and the millions of things they could do. But then came M$, they seemed nifty at first but bloated, and expensive as hell. Fast forward about 5 years, Palm has not been keeping up. I think it is a failure on both sides (hardware and software), the software isn't going to support hardware if it doesn't exist and hardware isn't going to come about unless software supports it. Of course thats not true (or only in theory) because the hardware did come about, though it was for the M$ platform. Now the M$ PDAs are close to PDA nirvana, kind of. They are still kinda pricey for me (but have come down alot) but my final two gripes with the M$ solutions are #1 I don't like having M$ dominating another area of the tech market #2 The M$ products are about as good as Windows (maybe worse). I was talking to a friend of mine who has some sort of Toshiba (maybe HP, but I don't think so) PocketPC and he was showing it off. It had bluetooth, wifi, 640x480 screen, etc it was enough to make me start to salivate. While he was showing it it froze up, he didn't blink an eye, he just whipped out a pin and reset it. I asked how often it happened, he said "oh anywhere from daily to weekly"; while that shouldn't surprise me (considering the OS) but it did. I have a (antiquated) Treo90 and I can't remember the last time it froze (at the very least it was 6 months ago) and I use it daily. Now I admit I am seriously wanting at least some wifi but other things too and I am sure each new feature adds more opportunities for glitches but still, weekly?! Will I switch over to the dark side? In a New York second, but not happily. I am sure there are some out there saying "if you hate M$ and instability so much why not spring for one of the Linux based PDAs/Smartphones" I have been temped, very (Sharp has some sweet hardware), but one main thing stops me software. I am no programmer and can't whip up some application when I can't find it on the net. PocketPC's offerings are almost at the point where Palm was 3 years ago. It seems unfair but then again thats life. R.I.P. Palm.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bush Abandonment Watch, Part 2 - A former State Department bigwig unloads. By Timothy Noah

Former State Department bigwig Lawrence Wilkerson unloads. Its amusing, I didn't think anyone in the whitehouse was anything less than the death-before-disloyalty type, Mr. Wilkerson prooves me wrong, and in a pretty scathing way.

Opera 9.0 Preview 1 is now available for download

Well the Opera (my love) 9.0 preview 1 is out. I tried it out and first two things that come to mind are "Damn thats fast" and "thank god for the opera:config" (you type "opera:config" in the address bar and it gives you a very comprehensive configurations menu). But then I thought about another love/utility, There is a slim chance that this will be added but I really doubt it. I swear by, and have coveted the extension that Firefox has and the pre-built in support for it in Flock; I feel a bit betrayed. This is a feature I have been praying for before "tagging" was ever (to my knowledge) talked about (Back then I preached about it like a database and "crossreferencing"... Sigh.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Flock Browser

I am making this post using the "flock" web browser. So far i am pretty impressed. It is based on Mozilla so has all (most) of the mozilla goodies (like extensions) plus a killer interface/integration with things like and a blogging interface. Its slow as hell and i get the feeling it is going to crash on me at any moment *but* is still in dev phase so that is to be expected.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Incredible! Splogging...

This is just an observation, but i just thought i would give an example of how bad splogging is. I just posted about Cheap computers and clicked to view my post to see the (inevitable) mistakes, and i saw a comment so i take a look at it, spam; damn, it must have been 10 seconds between the time i posted and looked at the post. I have seen many posts about how google/blogger has dropped the ball (or has been victimized) on this splogging so i won't beat a dead horse any more.

Lenovo PCs Bespeak Its Goals (RED HERRING)

Lenovo catering to developing countries, its about time, for manufactures in general. I think i posted before about how I initially (going into the Peace Corps) didn't think people in developing countries needed computers, now I don't think that is the case. The world needs computers but not for the same reasons, in most countries the people progress at different rates (Ironicly the US is a prime example) thus they have varying amounts of access to technology. Many of these developing countreis are falling further and further behind, computers give them a way to at least not fall further behind. Having seen kids with computers, kids that have never used a computer before in their lives, use one for a day and by the next day be able to do mroe than my mother was able to learn in a year... Give a kid a computer and they will learn it and retain those skills... Anyway, computers are insanely expensive for most peopel in developing countries so I am glad to see companies like Lenovo (whose home country of China has plenty of poor people that need exposure to compouters) offering cheaper computers and places like MIT designing super cheap portable computers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Celebrity devotion

I do not really have a celebrity that I am particularly devoted to; I am more or less indifferent. The exceptions (of sorts) are Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Actually, I despised Johnny Depp’s very existence back in the day of "21 Jump Street" (which I got the impression that more women watched than guys). Since then for a reason I don't know I think he has done a really good job, perhaps its just the roles he has taken on like Edward Scissorhands, or Sleepy Hollow, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And yes, many of the fav roles Depp has played have been in one of Burton's movies. I guess they just make a good pair, what got me to think about this? "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". The original I was not wild about so I had high hopes with this new one but damn; it was a bit disappointing. I suppose my having high hopes was part of the problem, one should never go into a movie expecting to be wholly satisfied, if you go to watch a movie (nothing more) then many times you come out of it more satisfied (and if not then it truly was a bad movie). Anyway, Johnny Depp i suppose did a good job of portraying the character he wanted to portray but i really think that the character was not the right one. Oh well, it could have been worse... but it could have been better too.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record

Well vacationing Bush is poised to set a record. I will give him this, he never ceases to amaze me; and this was *before* the Katrina fiasco (which people are *finally* starting to realize his ineptitude; the results are which are starting to show up in the latest polls). Up until now it has been a bit of a vacation for him, he has gotten almost everything he has asked for thanks to both houses being republican (and mostly loyal), and an insane amount of vacation time. I suppose the argument could be made that if you have to work that hard you need that much vacation but he has had a relatively easy time of it but still takes huge vacations, I think I would be hard pressed to find an employer willing to let me off that much, I guess it helps when you are your own boss but getting paid out of others pockets (not that he needs the money).

MediaCitizen: Media No Longer Taking Flak?

"Mainstream media don't inform the public based upon the objective merits of a story, but merely tailor their reporting to respond to the flux and flow of popular opinion." That is MediaCitizen's response to the Bush's scripting/propaganda fiasco. Nevermind how biased his little show was (Other presidents have done this too, but I get the impression that it has not been to the extent that this Administration has) but it truely amazes me that people have not seen through this; how easy the press has been on him for whatever reason; only when his approval ratings fall (not even the choke hold of the Bush spin machine has been able to make up for his recent blunders) does the press become critical. God help us.

MTV Overdrive

Ok, I remember the days (yeah, waxing nosgalgic) of the Mtv Astronaut, Adam Curry, and Kurt Loader with Mtv News. Now (i am sure its been out for a bit) they have MTV Overdrive. When I first found it I thought "This Rox!" but after using it bit (in IE, it seems to hate Opera, first problem) I got tired of all the DRM *crap*. Every news report, or video, etc I wanted to see I had to endure a pop-up DRM license thing, select "yes" (or whatever it was to let me see the content) *then* watch the video... what a PITA! Sorry Mtv, you guys have not hooked this viewer, I want it to be as easy as watching TV, not cracking a safe.

Power Companies Enter the High-Speed Internet Market - New York Times

#1 This is a test using the "blogthis" bookmarklet, I have heard about it before but never bothered but with my recent blogging slump I figured I needed incentive (gives me less excuse not to post) and I found it here. Its nice, but the spell check is pathetic, or maybe its quirks are attributable to its not liking Opera, either way, pathetic. How can they have such a crappy spell check for blogger when they have such a phenomenal spellcheck in gmail? (hurry up with the tricked out dhtml/RoR/AJAX bookmarklet!)

#2 The article that I thought was neat enough to blog? BPL, that is Broadband over Power Lines. I read about this years ago (about 4 years ago, literally) and thought "Sweet!, but I won't see it in my lifetime); Glad I was wrong. I had heard that Europe was using it (figures) and that it is being used in areas around Chicago and (somewhere) VA (not to mention Google just poured a ton of dough into one of these companies). It also seems to be fast (faster than the discount DSL that some ISPs are ofering) and is cheaper than most DSL and Cable offers I have seen... its about time guys.

Monday, October 10, 2005

When Gals get curious about what its like to be a guy...

Pretty interesting actually. No, its not some weird cross-dressing/sex change fantasy; its a log of this girl who wanted to see what affects testosterone would have on her. She took testosterone for a few weeks and kinda documented the changes (more mood changes than anything else). Unfortunately she has locked the page so the public can no longer read it (I assume she has stopped since she started this back in February) but thanks to good ole' Cory Doctorow and Boing Boing for having put up a few lines of her online diary (before she locked it up).

This is a test…

This is a test using Blogger’s “Blogger for MS Word”.  Nope, not a MS Word fan but it’s the best that I have found.  I was a die hard WordPerfect fan (since the days of v5.1 for DOS) but alas it been surpassed…  I am hoping that Open Office catches up but until then, I stay chained to MS.