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It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

FeatherBoa Can't help plugging Atwood (410 comments)

She denies it, but she's a Sci-Fi writer. I really liked the Oryx+Crake series -- it portrays a dystopian future that you can see developing before your eyes.

about 4 months ago

Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

FeatherBoa VM/CMS DASD mounts (231 comments)

When I was first in school -- and by school I mean graduate school -- the school had a IBM running VM/CMS for general computing. Everyone had an account. In those days you could set up virtual disks to be shared and there was a mount command in exec 2 that let you mount a shared volume given the password. A lot of people would put the mount command and password in an executable script that would run at login. When a professor or admin gave you credentials to a volume, it might have a script in it with credentials for another volume.

I wrote an exec2 program to sift through the files in a volume looking for shared volume mount commands, then recursively mount and search any found volumes. It seemed to work pretty well.

At that point I showed the script to a random undergrad and forgot about it. He was later expelled and arrested.

about 5 months ago

NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

FeatherBoa What do you suppose "US persons" means? (134 comments)

The critical issue here is that we don't know exactly what "US Person" means. Canada is in the throes of the same issue, with the US demanding access to banking records for any US Persons, and the scope of this is troubling.

US Persons includes US citizens, of course. But it includes folks who might be entitled to citizenship through birth or parentage, whether or not they are actual citizens. It would include anyone who has ever resided in the US. And the definition can be manipulated to mean whatever the US decides it to mean, down the road. It could eventually mean anyone who has visited the US or anyone who has a dollar-denominated bank account or basically anyone who they are interested in.

There is no burden of proof on the IRS to show that they are entitled to specific records. They can ask for anyone's records and claim "US Person" interest. Do you suppose they will not simply vacuum up everything?

And if there is any avenue for information to come to the US government, you know that the NSA will have it. And the DEA and all the rest.

about a year ago

Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

FeatherBoa Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X (627 comments)

Not sure about all these crazy newfangled choices. I'm still running Yggdrasil on my 386SX.

about a year and a half ago

Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case

FeatherBoa Re:The patent must run out soon... (579 comments)

"We introduced our second-generation Roundup Ready soybean technology in 2009"

So all the seeds in normal circulation now are "Genuity RoundUp Ready 2". Unless there are stocks of viable 2008 seeds around, there may not be so easy to get original patent-expired breeding stock. Whatever the new trait in "genuity" is, Monsanto just has to prove that it is in your glyphosate-resistant crop to come after you. And it most likely will be, because of cross-pollination contamination from fields with the new stuff in them.

about a year and a half ago

The FreeBSD Foundation Is Soliciting Project Proposals

FeatherBoa Java (58 comments)

I would like to see improved Java support. What we have now is all either hacks based on running the Linux JVM as a compatible ABI, or you have to build a JVM from source due to licensing. I would like to see a commercial JVM run natively. Ideally IBM's.

That's not something FreeBSD can do though, I don't expect.

about 2 years ago

How Many Text Messages Do You Send a Day?

FeatherBoa Automated status reports (217 comments)

Does it count if I send SMS status reports from systems that I set up and maintain? I mean, technically I think I'm texting myself. Sort of.

about 2 years ago

"Superomniphobic" Nanoscale Coating Repels Almost Any Liquid

FeatherBoa I repel most liquids too (104 comments)

I repel most liquids too, although beer and coffee keep slipping though my formidable defences.

about 2 years ago

How I treat my books:

FeatherBoa I collect first editions (171 comments)

My first printing of _The Art of Computer Programming_ vol 1, 2 and 3 are kept behind glass. On the other hand I have a _Perl in a Nutshell_ that rolls around in the trunk with my workboots and a jug of windshield fluid.

more than 2 years ago

RIM CEO On What Went Wrong

FeatherBoa the cost of bandwidth changed (299 comments)

Blackberry, like all the phones that came before iPhone, was designed with the needs of the carrier first. The carriers need handsets to have a small data footprint so that lots of subscribers can be handled on a network at low cost to the carrier. Blackberries and their apps are still caught in the requirement to do something useful using microscopically small, closely controlled amounts of bandwidth.

What Apple did was totally break the bandwidth blockade by going to the carriers and saying "here is this shiny sleek gewgaw and you can only sell it if you also have data plans that are much cheaper than what you have now". And the miraculous thing was that the carriers caved.

Opening the bandwidth spigots meant that any idiot could make cool apps do things that the RIM guys had spent years optimizing to run with almost none. A BB can do usable email with 200 BPS, but who needs that when I have 250 KBits and can just do IMAP on my regular email provider?

That's when everything changed.

more than 2 years ago

Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal

FeatherBoa Appalling cost to NZ taxpayers (316 comments)

I wonder, when the dust settles, as I suppose it one day must, will anyone add up the appalling costs to the NZ taxpayers to play out this farce? The Crown is likely going to have to fold their entire case and may face liability for wrongful conduct. It's all well to say that the Americans have achieved their goals just by putting the fear of god into all the offshore quasi-ethical file-share outfits and screwing up Mega's business. But NZ taxpayers will face millions in court costs and lost police and prosecutor time sorting this out. If the costs are large, the embarrassment significant and the gains are negligible or non-existent, how many more times will NZ or other small powers accommodate American expeditions of this type so willingly?

I think there's an onus on New Zealanders to complain to their parties about the policies that let this happen, use access to information to ferret out the complicit officials into the light of day. Make the costs and embarrassment of following though on this farce a political issue for the government.

more than 2 years ago

Give me a solder gun, and I can produce ...

FeatherBoa Soldering gun? (321 comments)

Soldering gun? Nobody can make a decent joint with one of those. At least not in anything less than AWG 12 conductors. I use a temperature regulated station, thank you very much. And I do really clean work with it.

more than 2 years ago

The bicycle I most often ride is ...

FeatherBoa Unicycle, baby! (356 comments)

Bike? Gimme half that -- I ride a unicycle.
And Cowboy Neal rides the other wheel!

more than 2 years ago

Posting Photos of Olympics Could Land You In Court

FeatherBoa The IOC is a troll (394 comments)

The IOC and the Olympics has been nothing more than a deeply corrupt, out-of-control marketing engine and ruthless trademark troll for 30 years. I think the Los Angeles games was the turning point.

They took a paint company on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington to court because they had retail stores in Vancouver in 2010. They lost of course, but it was still a monumental hassle.

There's a good writeup of how crazy the mess was from Vancouver 2010 here: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1777/125/

I'm sure a summer olympics is 100 times worse.

more than 2 years ago

TVShack Creator's US Extradition Approved

FeatherBoa I predict he will be extradited (253 comments)

He will be charged with everything they can think of. Made up stuff, real stuff from jaywalking to treason.

He will be facing 300 years possible sentence if convicted of even half of it.

He will be facing a 5 years incarceration just waiting for a trial.

They will offer a plea deal: plead to being a bad boy and you can go home tomorrow, wear a radio on your ankle for a year and that's it.

He will do the deal.

The US will get a conviction, which they will trumpet from the rooftops. They will have a precedent that they covet, and anyone running any similar operation will pretty well have to stop it, lest they meet with a much worse fate.

The American's, no doubt, believe they are doing this fella a favour, since their first instinct was to scoop him up into a black helicopter, or even just nuke him remotely while he rides his bike to school.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

FeatherBoa T. J. Bass (1244 comments)

T. J. Bass
_Half Past Human_ (1971)
_The Godwhale_ (1974)

Unlike anything else I've read. Definitely two, maybe three reads.

more than 2 years ago

The correct number of shoes to own:

FeatherBoa Re:It's easy for men (502 comments)

I'm not Imelda Marcos, but I think I lost count at 12..

How about snowboard and ski boots?
Ice Skates?
Water shoes?

I live where we get weather, so boots means a pair of very warm boots for winter/snow, plus a pair or rubber boots. I happen to own hip-waders too.

Then I have everyday shoes, and an old pair that I wear in the workshop.

Work boots -- with steel toe and all that. Hiking boots since the work boots are a bit too heavy for long walks.

And dress shoes.

At the moment I also happen to have a walking cast, since I broke my foot. But that's not a pair.

more than 2 years ago



online pharmacy pioneer arrested in Florida

FeatherBoa FeatherBoa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FeatherBoa (469218) writes "A Manitoba man who was one of the first entrepreneurs in the cross-border online pharmacy industry, has been arrested in Florida and is facing charges related to the sale of foreign and counterfeit medicines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claimed many of the drugs promoted as Canadian actually came from other countries. An FDA spokesperson commented " Many of these websites are operating outside of the United States. However, the internet's broad reach allows these websites to reach U.S. consumers.""
Link to Original Source

Michael Hart, inventor of the e-book, dead at 64

FeatherBoa FeatherBoa writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FeatherBoa (469218) writes "Michael Hart, the founder and long time driving force behind Project Gutenberg and 1971 inventor of the electronic book has died at his home in Urbana Ill, on Sept. 6th 2011. Project Gutenberg is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects, has spawned sister projects in Australia, Canada, Germany and other locations to transcribe public domain literature and make it available via the Internet."
Link to Original Source

Net neutrality bill tabled in Canadian parliament

FeatherBoa FeatherBoa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

FeatherBoa (469218) writes "A Canadian opposition party has followed through with its promise to introduce legislation that seeks to keep the internet democratic, open and free from control by service providers. This bill is about fairness to consumers. It seeks to amend the Telecommunications Act and prohibit network operators from engaging in network management practices that favour, degrade or prioritize any content, application or service transmitted over a broadband network based on its source, ownership or destination."
Link to Original Source


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