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Container Ship Breaks In Two, Sinks

AEton Should've just paid the ransom (361 comments)

I guess the Da Vinci virus wasn't playing around. Bummer.

about a year and a half ago

Algorithm Glitch Voids Outcome of US Green Card Lottery

AEton Could be worse (131 comments)

Picking 90% of the winners from the first two days of applicants is not great, yes.

Give them credit for owning up to their mistakes, at least. It could be worse -- it's widely believed that the 1969 draft lottery was so un-random that people born in later months were dramatically more likely to be picked for an early draft!

more than 3 years ago

Zediva Fights Back Against MPAA

AEton Everything old is new again :) (112 comments)

Hey, guys, for a good time, have a look at On Command Video Corp. v. Columbia Pictures Industries, 777 F. Supp. 787 (N.D. Cal. 1991).

On Command was doing literally this exact thing, but 20 years ago and (1) with VCRs instead of DVD players; (2) with the VCRs at the hotel front desk and you in your hotel room, instead of with the DVD players in California and you anywhere on the Internet.

Things did not work out well for On Command. However, the legal landscape has changed somewhat in more recent years -- a more relevant ruling might be the 2008 Cablevision DVR case (see discussion e.g. at http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2008/08/cablevision-wins-on-appeal-remote-dvr-lawful-after-all.ars.

more than 3 years ago

DOJ Seizes Online Poker Site Domains

AEton Re:Does anyone have a link to the indictment itsel (379 comments)

OK, I did some digging in PACER, where it looks like the documents have probably been filed but are probably still sealed.

The relevant case is in the Southern District of New York (https://ecf.nysd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl - anyone can sign up for a PACER account, they're free but you pay 8 cents per page, and if you charge less than $10 in a quarter it's free).

They're using an existing case, 1:10-cr-00336-LAK, which is all about the arrest and indictment of a gambling payment processor dude a year ago in April 2010.

See http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/arrests-follow-internet-high-flyers-release/story-e6frg6nf-1226039942478 for more on the dude.

So the timeline is:
1) Gambling dude is arrested in 2010 and charged with some gambling-related crimes. See his indictment at http://tech.mit.edu/~mherdeg/10-cr-00336-lak-1.pdf
2) Some time recently, he is (according to an Australian newspaper) secretly released from prison and prosecutors have not said whether he's still being charged
3) These 11 people are all being charged with 9 new crimes (documents not yet available, but apparently they'll be stored in this place / as part of this case number)

There have been a bunch of sealed documents added to the case recently; maybe they include the complaint and indictment that the press release talks about. You can see the history I got from PACER at http://tech.mit.edu/~mherdeg/10-cr-00336-entries.txt.

more than 3 years ago

DOJ Seizes Online Poker Site Domains

AEton Does anyone have a link to the indictment itself? (379 comments)

The Slashdot article links to a press release about the indictment (http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April11/scheinbergetalindictmentpr.pdf), not the indictment itself.

In understanding legal issues, I am all about "reading the source code". Has anyone found a copy of the actual indictment itself that lists all the details about what these folks are being charged with?

Even better would be a link to the criminal complaint which I assume preceded the indictment. Those things are usually dozens of pages long, full of fascinating, juicy facts, and end up being filtered by the news media into reports that sometimes skip some of the cool details you can see yourself if you "read the source code" of the complaint. I'd be eager to see this, but so far none of the news sources reporting on the issue have disclosed it.

more than 3 years ago

Apple's Game Center Shares Your Real Name

AEton Re:First Impression (182 comments)

And if the contract is in Dutch but you're not in Flanders, it's null and void, right? :)

more than 4 years ago

UC Berkeley Asking Incoming Students For DNA

AEton How quickly we forget: "posture photos" (468 comments)

From the 1940s to the 1970s, Ivy League colleges took naked pictures of every incoming freshman, supposedly for use in scientific studies of the students' posture.

I am not making this up. See, e.g., this Times coverage from 1995.

I'm not going to make any kind of normative statement about whether people should say Yes to Cal's offer, here, but just wanted to point out that weird-ass instrusions into student privacy are nothing new.

more than 4 years ago

1st International Longest Tweet Results

AEton Re:Looking at that entry (44 comments)

The contest is to figure out a way to make more bits available.

It is not obvious that Twitter messages are always guaranteed to carry 4339 bits of information (which is why the original post announcing the contest offers only 4200 bits).

Any attempt to use "compression" as we usually understand it would be pointless because you can't always fit x bits of arbitrary data in an x-1 bit channel.

If it makes you feel any better, a lot of commenters didn't get it, either.

more than 4 years ago

What To Do With Old USB Keys, Low-Capacity Hard Drives?

AEton Store small, high-value secrets (546 comments)

Type up your passwords and encryption keys and put the device in a safe somewhere.

It seems like a 1 kilobyte file is more likely to last on a hard drive if you store 50 million copies of it. (And if you store 500,000 copies of the file on a CD, you're less likely to be screwed by a scratch.) Is there an easy way to automate this duplication? Some weird "very small, very-high-repetition on same volume" file system, or just a perl script?

more than 5 years ago

New iMac, Mac Mini Benchmarks Show Changes Are Slight

AEton Re:Memory?...keep their cool?? Huh??? (200 comments)

Not sure what you mean by keeping their cool, but you can't be referring to heat since they both run cooler than any PC.

We use six previous-generation Mac Minis in our office (1.83GHz Core 2 Duo).

We tried stacking four of them on top of each other, but saw frequent system instability related to overheating issues. No surprise there, really.

One of the other two occasionally fails -- the system freezes completely with no response to keyboard or mouse input. This pretty much only happens when we run it out in the sun during the day, though; so we just close the blinds and hard-reboot the machine.

more than 5 years ago

Obama's Election Means a Return of Vampire Flicks

AEton Re:This makes more sense than I expected (97 comments)

I know you're skeptical that the kinds of movies we like reflect the kind of culture we live in year-to-year, but consider John Carpenter's masterpiece They Live. Of course it was about politics in the Ronald Reagan era!

more than 6 years ago

Jobs Rumor Debacle Besmirches Citizen Journalism

AEton Trust but verify (286 comments)

Guys, this is not new.

Some people on /b/ spent an hour early Friday morning discussing how they could make up a rumor that people were likely to believe, just for the lulz. Eventually, and basically by accident, someone decided that a Steve Jobs rumor would work just fine. He posted a fake but almost plausible story on iReport and digg ("I just saw paramedics take Steve Jobs away, he had a heart attack!") and got hundreds or thousands of /b/ users to Digg it.

I saw this conversation happening live. It's pretty cool that tens of thousands of random anonymous people can change world markets, huh?

The story was obviously fake, and any careful reader of Digg would've immediately noticed the 4chan references in the comments. Naturally there were no careful readers; blogs which have never been very good about checking their sources reported the joke as a real rumor, and small parts of the "real media" started to pick up the story.

The beleaguered stock hit its 52-week low on Friday, although it regained some value after Apple issued an official denial. The SEC has demanded (and received) docs from CNN on the /b/tard who submitted the iReport story.

There's nothing new here, guys. Real media have always known that you need to trust your sources, and if the free market and the "new media" blogs can't figure that out, they're dumber than we give them credit for.

more than 6 years ago


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