- The CRIA is the Canadian equivalent of the US RIAA. This
article summarizes the findings of the CRIA with regard to the
effect of P2P music downloads on music sales. No surprises there. The
study concludes that P2P downloads don't harm music sales, which I and
many others have been saying all along. Still, it's nice to have this
confirmed by an organization that one would expect to parrot the RIAA
Once again, a convicted child rapist has been released and gone
on to rape again. This slimeball was convicted in 1991 of raping a
12 year old girl, but was released after only nine years in prison.
Now--if the news reports are true, and I see no reason to believe they
aren't--he's abducted two 17 year old girls, imprisoned them in an
underground dungeon, and raped them.
The judge who released him after the first rape says he had no choice.
State law required that he be released unless the prosecutors could
establish that it was likely he would rape again. It seems to me that
South Carolina needs to change its law to put the burden on the rapist,
who should have to prove that there is no chance he could ever harm
another person. Better yet, they should have hanged the SOB in the
Actually, I'm surprised the guy survived nine years in prison. Other
prisoners have daughters, too, and they don't like slimeballs who rape
12 year old girls any more than the rest of us do.
As anyone who is conversant with the phenomenon will tell you, violent
sexual predators cannot be rehabilitated, period. Their recidivism rate
is 100.000%. If you release one, he'll rape, torture, or kill again. If
you point to one and tell me he's reformed, I'll tell you he simply
hasn't been caught again or hasn't yet had the opportunity. But one
thing is as sure as tomorrow's sunrise. If you let him walk around
loose, he's going to do it again.
- I suppose I'm going to have to get used to using Firefox. I
much prefer the browser in the original Mozilla "Seamonkey"
suite. I thought it was a big mistake when the Mozilla Foundation
announced that it was deprecating the full suite in favor of Firefox
and Thunderbird, both of which are steps backward in functionality
relative to the applications they replace. (Yes, I know about the
Seamonkey project, but it's not a mainstream effort.)
When I built the most recent den system, I installed Xandros Open
Circulation Edition on it, mainly because OCE is already fully updated
with the patches that require SP2 for other Xandros 3 versions. I'd
been burned several times installing SP2, so I decided to take the easy
way out and just install OCE. The problem with that is that OCE bundled
Firefox and Thunderbird rather than the Mozilla Suite. I decided I
could live with that.
What I can't live with is that the Firefox bundled with Xandros is
unusable, and I say that advisedly. When I finished installing Xandros
OCE, I did what I always do first. I installed Adblock, or I should say I
attempted to install Adblock. As it turns out, something that Xandros
did to customize Firefox for their OS breaks compatibility with
Adblock. When I clicked on the "Install" link, an installation dialog
popped up. I told it to install, and it just went away.
To make a long story short, I ended up uninstalling the Firefox
supplied with Xandros, downloading the current Firefox, and installing
it. It looks a bit different than the bundled version, not as pretty,
but I can live with that. The important thing is that Adblock installs
perfectly with the stock Firefox. I displayed the latest Filterset.G
blocking list, right-clicked on it, told Firefox to autoimport the
list, and was off to the races.
Which brings up something I've said before. Why does Firefox not
include and enable Adblock by default? Everyone I know who uses Firefox
installs Adblock first thing, so why not make Adblock part of the
distribution package? A fresh installation of Firefox should
automatically be configured to block all ads with Adblock and
Filterset.G. Well, perhaps not Filterset.G, because the author of that
list has the rather odd idea that his list is protectable by copyright
and license. Mozilla should develop a similar list and include it with
an Adblock-enabled Firefox distribution.
As things stand, only knowledgeable folks benefit from ad blocking in
Firefox. Naive users who download and install the basic package don't
know what they're missing. I've converted many people from IE to
Mozilla with a simple demonstration. Call up cnn.com (or whatever) with
IE and then with Mozilla with Adblock installed. Everyone who sees the
difference immediately chooses Mozilla.
If Mozilla bundled Adblock and a decent set of filters with Firefox,
they'd soon have 50%+ of the market instead of 10%. And they'd go a
long way toward eliminating the adware/spyware problem, not to mention
the plague of Internet advertising. That would also be the impetus that
would force development of a usable micro-payments system, because
advertising would no longer be a viable way to pay the costs of
maintaining web sites.
Which is the real reason why Mozilla doesn't implement ad-blocking by
- If you have your taxes done for you by a preparer like H
& R Block or a CPA, you might want to reconsider. Or at least look very carefully at anything the
preparer asks you to sign. The Philadelphia
Inquirer reports, incredibly, that the IRS is about to change
the rules to allow paid tax preparers to sell your information,
including your entire tax return, to marketers and data brokers. They
have to get your signature before they're permitted to sell your
information, but how hard is that when they put a stack of papers in
front of you for you to sign?
- Shockingly, Microsoft has again delayed Vista, AKA Longhorn,
AKA Shorthorn, AKA Nohorn. They now say that Vista will ship in January
Of course, a year ago, they were saying that Vista would ship
in about a year. Now they're saying Vista will ship in ...
about a year. Hmmm. My guess is they may actually ship something
they call Vista in January 2007, but it really wouldn't surprise me if
that slipped to mid-2007 or later.
Not that it matters. Vista long ago lost any claim to being a new
version of Windows. Microsoft took a meat-axe to the proposed features
list, and ended up chopping out everything that mattered. Vista's
current feature set defines it as no more than a service pack for
Windows XP, albeit one that Microsoft expects people to pay for.
In the meantime, Mac OS X and Linux just keep chugging along, improving
with each release. Both are much better than Windows in terms of
features, stability, security, and everything else that matters except
application support. And that gap is closing fast, too. Every time I
install Windows XP, I'm struck by how primitive it appears compared to
modern operating systems. At best, Vista will be playing catch-up, but
in the end it will still be in last place.
I have many technically-competent friends and acquaintances. Ten years
ago, even five, many of them ran Windows by choice. That's no longer
true. Today, almost none of them run Windows by choice. All of them use
Linux or OS X as their primary operating systems, and use Windows only
when there is no other option. That complete loss of mind-share doesn't
bode well for Microsoft long-term.
The same is true for the other half of Microsoft's cash cow, Office.
Among the technically ept, Office is considered a legacy office suite.
No one uses it by choice, instead opting for the OpenOffice.org or
StarOffice suites. And Microsoft has really shot itself in the foot
with the new version of Office. It will actually be easier for people
to migrate from older versions of office to OpenOffice.org or
StarOffice than it will be for them to migrate to the new MS Office.
Tastes rotten, more filling.
Ars Technica posted an interesting
article about security and legal liability for those who choose to
operate wide-open Wi-Fi APs. They conclude that there's no real
security risk to doing so, nor any significant risk of legal liability.
I don't agree.
In terms of security, there probably isn't much real risk in running an
open AP, as long as you're on the secure side of your firewall/router
and the AP is on the public side. But legal liability is another issue
entirely. It's not likely to happen to you, but neither was it likely
that lightning would strike any of the people that it killed last year.
Being sued by the RIAA or MPAA because someone used your open AP to
download music or movies is one thing. Worst case, it may cost you a
few thousand dollars in attorneys' fees and/or extortion payments to
the RIAA/MPAA. As bad as that is, you would survive it. But if someone
uses your open AP to download child pornography, your life could easily
be ruined. Even if you're not guilty of anything more than providing an
open Internet connection, you could find yourself in deep trouble with
There may well be people in prison now, convicted of child pornography
charges, whose only crime was not securing their networks. We'll never
know for sure if someone whose computer was found to contain child
pornography files actually downloaded those files himself, or if
someone else had remote control of that computer and used it to store
those files where they couldn't be traced to him. The possibility of
being prosecuted on child pornography charges should itself be
sufficient reason for anyone to avoid running an open AP.
Still, there's a happy medium. Instead of running a wide-open AP, you
can run a NAN (neighborhood area network). Secure it with WPA, and
allow only designated neighbors whose equipment is WPA-compatible to
use your connection (and vice-versa). Even if one of your neighbors has
a secret hobby, he's unlikely to use your connection to pursue it,
because he'll be fully aware that he's likely to get caught in the
fall-out if the authorities come knocking on your door.
I sent out a message to subscribers
last night about a great deal on Verbatim DVD+R discs. NewEgg had a
one-day special offer of a spindle of 100 Verbatim 8X DVD+R discs for
$21 after rebate. If you didn't get in on it, I'm sorry. The deal ran
out at midnight Pacific time last night.
Shortly after I sent the message, I was checking my mail on the den
system, where I use web mail. I noticed a bounce message that listed
several subscriber email addresses that are no longer valid.
Ordinarily, I don't see these bounce messages because my mail filters
kill them. This time, I saw the message. Here are some of the
subscriber email addresses that had problems. I'll post them because
they're no longer valid, so posting them won't cause spam problems:
<firstname.lastname@example.org>: host mx1.swcp.com[188.8.131.52] said: 550
I also got a ton of bounces from people whose mailboxes were over
quota. I won't post those because that problem should be self-limiting
and because the email addresses are still valid.
<email@example.com>: Recipient address rejected: 5.1.1
<firstname.lastname@example.org>... User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)
<email@example.com>: host mx4.earthlink.net[184.108.40.206] said: 550
firstname.lastname@example.org...User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)
<email@example.com>: host mx12.mindspring.com[220.127.116.11]
said: 550 firstname.lastname@example.org...User unknown (in reply to RCPT
<email@example.com>: host relay.verizon.net[18.104.22.168] said: 550 5.1.1
unknown or illegal alias: firstname.lastname@example.org (in reply to RCPT TO command)
<email@example.com>: host mx1.mvn.net[22.214.171.124] said: 550 <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
Recipient address rejected: unknown user <email@example.com> (in reply to
RCPT TO command)
<firstname.lastname@example.org>: host sbcmx3.prodigy.net[126.96.36.199] said: 553 5.3.0
<email@example.com>... Addressee unknown, relay=[188.8.131.52] (in
reply to RCPT TO command)
<firstname.lastname@example.org>: host mx.east.cox.net[184.108.40.206] said: 550
<email@example.com> recipient rejected (in reply to RCPT TO command)
<firstname.lastname@example.org>: host ns-mx1.physio-control.com[220.127.116.11]
said: 553 SORRY, THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS IS NO LONGER VALID - CONTACT THE
RECIPIENT BY ANOTHER MEANS AND OBTAIN A CORRECT E-MAIL ADDRESS (#5.7.1) (in
reply to RCPT TO command)
- Not unexpectedly, heads are rolling in Redmond over the latest
delay. Pro-Microsoft commentators are now saying that Vista is two
years late. That's very generous, considering that the
of Vista was originally promised for 1995, under the Cairo code-name.
That turned out to be vaporware, of course.
In 1999 or 2000, Microsoft promised us their new full-featured OS with
WinFS and so on for 2002, which soon slipped to 2003, which soon
slipped to 2004. In 2004, Microsoft gutted Vista entirely in order to
make a promised 2005 ship date, which soon slipped again to 2006. Now
Vista is promised for January 2007, and I see no reason to believe
that's likely to happen. According to Jim Allchin, Vista still has lots
of problems with minor things like "performance, drivers, testing, and
security." In other words, the fundamental characteristics of an
Meanwhile, significant OS X and Linux updates are released every year
or so. That makes Microsoft look not just bad, but ridiculous. The real
problem, as I've said before, is that the Microsoft code-base is
ancient. It dates back to the first release of Windows NT back in the
early 1990's, before the Internet was even a tiny cloud on Microsoft's
horizon. All Microsoft has done since then is patch, hack, and edit the
original code base, turning it into a gigantic pile of spaghetti.
Apple saw the light several years ago. They discarded their
then-current operating system, which was in its ninth iteration, and
started from scratch without worrying about backward compatibility.
Microsoft should have done the same thing for Windows 2000, but they
didn't. They should have re-written Windows XP from scratch, but they
didn't. They should have re-written Vista from scratch, but they didn't.
So, my prediction is that, after years and years of struggling,
Microsoft is going to deliver ... a gigantic turd.
Apple Declares War
on France. My sources tell me that France is expected to surrender
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 by Robert Bruce