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The Web We Lost

ISurfTooMuch Re:Uh...it's still there, you know (255 comments)

True, but, back in the day, the expectation was that just about everyone was going to be a content producer running a Web server out of their house. That never happened.

about 2 years ago
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The Web We Lost

ISurfTooMuch Re:Uh...it's still there, you know (255 comments)

I have to agree. I've been around long enough to remember when people built their own Web sites. First, they built crappy sites on the space their ISP gave them, than, when sites like Geocities and Tripod came along, many of them moved there. Facebook isn't really that much different. Well, it is in that you can't actually build a page/site to look the way you want, but many people couldn't do that anyway, which is why those site-builder tools at Geocities and Tripod were so appealing. And what did they do with the sites they built? Often, they posted pictures of their babies, dogs, cats, etc.; you know, the same thing they're doing on Facebook now.

But OK, we have lost something if you look at it from the perspective of people getting out there, building sites, sharing all sorts of useful info, or whatever it was that we thought people were going to do on the Internet. That never really happened, but is that so surprising? We've tended to misunderstand how every new technology will be used, so why should the Internet be any different? And besides, creating content takes time, and creating quality content takes lots of time. Most folks are tired when they come home from work. They want to read others' content, not create their own. And yet, we still manage to see content posted online. Look at all the forums out there. In fact, I had to do some research on seizures yesterday, and I found the info that I needed in some of these forums.

And if, after reading this, someone is still lamenting what we've lost, then they can get out there and try to get it back. It's going to be hard to change user behavior, but there's nothing stopping them from trying.

about 2 years ago
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McAfee Was Not Captured

ISurfTooMuch Re:What countries don't extradite to Belize? (150 comments)

I'm betting it's a pretty small list, at least in the region, given that Belize is a Commonwealth nation and also a member of CARICOM.

about 2 years ago
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McAfee Was Not Captured

ISurfTooMuch What an idiot (150 comments)

This guy is completely delusional. OK, suppose he's actually out of Belize. Now what? At some point, he'll surface, and Belize will issue an international arrest warrant via INTERPOL, and whatever country he's in will likely pick him up and begin the extradition process. What's he going to argue in response? That the police there are out to get him? Based on what? And it certainly won't help his case that, instead of hiring a lawyer, he chose to run, and, not only that, he started a blog chronicling his little adventure. And, despite his claims, Belize isn't some corrupt hell-hole where people are made to disappear. Yes, it has its problems, but, if I were going to be arrested in any country in that region, Belize would be my choice.

In short, he's going to be caught, he'll almost certainly be extradited, and this whole thrill ride won't look good if he ends up going to trial.

about 2 years ago
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Antivirus Pioneer John McAfee Arrested In Belize

ISurfTooMuch Re:Udopeian Paradise (367 comments)

No, Belize is in no way a police state. There is plenty of petty political bickering there, but it's actually one of the most stable democracies in Latin America. If he really thinks he was set up, he ought to go tell his story to Amandala, which is one of the leading newspapers there. And it's strongly anti-UDP. They'll take that story and run it over and over and over.

more than 2 years ago
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Hulu To Require Viewers To Have Cable Subscriptions

ISurfTooMuch They get it...and yet, they don't (648 comments)

Don't think for a moment that these guys don't understand why people are using Hulu. This action today shows that they understand quite well. The cable companies are scared shitless that people will cancel and use Hulu instead, and that's why they're doing this.

And yet, they don't get it. They seem to think that this scheme is going to stop people from dropping cable. In fact, all it's going to do is flush Hulu down the toilet. People will still drop cable, but they'll find alternatives to Hulu, both legal and illegal.

You really have to hand it to the entertainment industry. These guys aren't afraid to walk up to their customers, spit in their faces, piss all over them, and then hand them a bill for the privilege. And I'd be willing to bet that the ONLY reason they don't hire Guido, Vinny, and Rocco to handle collections is because the lawyers told them that doing do is a liability issue.

If I worked at Hulu, I'd be updating my resume about now.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Forges Ahead With New Home-Automation OS

ISurfTooMuch This calls for a classic (196 comments)

This article calls for a classic post, and I'm actually surprised no one else has done this already.

From the LA Times, way back in 1993...

The Day You Discover That Your House Is Smarter Than You Are
INNOVATION / MICHAEL SCHRAGE
November 25, 1993|MICHAEL SCHRAGE | Michael Schrage is a writer, consultant and research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He writes this column independently for The Times. He can be reached by electronic mail at schrage@latimes.com on the Internet

Tele-Communications Inc., the nation's largest cable television company, is in talks to launch a pilot project in conjunction with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp. to design a "smart home." The home automation industry is expected to triple in size from $1.7 billion this year to more than $5.1 billion by the year 2000.

Nov. 28, 1995:

Moved in at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything's networked. The cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my personal computer, which is connected to the power lines, all the appliances and the security system. Everything runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I've ever used. Programming is a snap. I'm, like, totally wired.

Nov. 30:

Hot stuff! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely tweaked the oven a few degrees for my pizza. Everything nice & cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should get the universal remote surgically attached.

Dec. 3:

Yesterday, the kitchen crashed. Freak event. As I opened the refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything else electrical shut down--lights, microwave, coffee maker--everything. Carefully unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing.

Call the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone). They refer me to the utility. The utility insists that the problem is in the software. So the software company runs some remote telediagnostics via my house processor. Their expert system claims it has to be the utility's fault. I don't care, I just want my kitchen back. More phone calls; more remote diagnostics.

Turns out the problem was "unanticipated failure mode": The network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory confirmed that there hadn't actually been a power surge, the kitchen's logic sequence was confused and it couldn't do a standard restart. The utility guy swears this was the first time this has ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.

Dec. 7:

The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help. We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security sensors are actuated, and the police computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure.

Another glitch: Whenever the basement is in self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won't let me change the channels on my TV. That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the channels by hand . The software and the utility people say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade--SmartHouse 2.1. But it's not ready yet.

Dec. 12:

This is a nightmare. There's a virus in the house. My personal computer caught it while browsing on the public access network. I come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down and the TV is stuck on the home shopping channel. Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode from the strain. Broken glass is everywhere. Or course, the security sensors detect nothing.

I look at a message slowly throbbing on my personal computer screen: Welcome to HomeWrecker!!! Now the Fun Begins . . . (Be it ever so humble, there's no virus like HomeWrecker . . . )

I get out of the house. Fast.

Dec. 18:

They think they've digitally disinfected the house, but the place is a shambles. Pipes have burst and we're not completely sure we've got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, the Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT members like to call themselves) are confident the worst is over. "HomeWrecker is pretty bad," one tells me, "but consider yourself lucky you didn't get PolterGeist. That one is really evil."

Dec. 19:

Apparently, our house isn't insured for viruses. "Fires and mudslides, yes," says the claims adjuster. "Viruses, no." My agreement with the SmartHouse people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with a non-certified on-line service. Everybody's very, very sorry, but they can't be expected to anticipate every virus that might be created.

We call our lawyer. He laughs. He's excited.

Dec. 21:

I get a call from a SmartHouse sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company's new SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade. He says I'll be able to meet the programmers personally. "Sure," I tell him.

more than 2 years ago
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Warner Bros: New Program To Digitize Your DVDs

ISurfTooMuch Re:Wonderous (371 comments)

You make excellent points, and your solution would make the studios lots of money. Unfortunately, they believe that their way will make them even more money, and they really don't give a damn whether or not they piss off people in the process.

That's the problem with most big companies these days: they have no desire of building good will among their customers. It used to be--and still is for many small businesses--that you treat your customers with respect. Some businesses do this because the owners think it's the right thing to do, but even those who don't care so much about morality might still do it because happy customers tend to be repeat customers, and, even if these businesses get less money per transaction, they will make it up in the long run. However, many large companies don't give two shits whether their customers like them. Their goal is to get as much money as they can per transaction. Will the customer be happy and come back? Fuck that! We'll find a way to make them come back, no matter what it takes. You'd think these companies would have figured out that a good deal of piracy is a direct reaction to that, and, honestly, I do think they've figured it out. It's just that they've decided that they're going to fight fire with fire and attempt to beat the dirty pirates into submission. It's turned into an arms race, and no one is willing to back down, since backing down in our society is seen as a sign of weakness.

more than 2 years ago
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Warner Bros: New Program To Digitize Your DVDs

ISurfTooMuch Fuck you, Warner Bros.! (371 comments)

Yeah, I know this post really adds nothing new to this discussion, but I just have to say it. Fuck you, Warner Bros.! I'll rip my DVD's--you know, the ones I paid for--on my own computer, in the comfort of my own home, on my schedule, and I'll watch them anywhere I please. And you know what, if I take a notion, I'll even set up a media server and stream them all over my house. And you won't see one extra penny from any of this.

Oh, and I'll show others how to do the same thing.

You guys had a golden opportunity here. You could have offered digital copies of the movies people already bought for a reasonable price, maybe as a streaming option, but no, you not only decided to charge them, but you went out of your way to make it more inconvenient than it would be if they simply do it themselves. You really are a bunch of geniuses. Please tell us where you got your MBA's so we can all go there and develop the acute business acumen that you obviously possess.

more than 2 years ago
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The eBook Backlash

ISurfTooMuch Re:Newsflash! (418 comments)

I wouldn't say that. How much would anyone be distracted if they were constantly interrupted by a phone ringing, a doorbell ringing, or someone tapping them on the shoulder?

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

ISurfTooMuch Re:Just browse porn on the company laptop. (671 comments)

I'd love to see where you work, because I've never encountered an IT department like yours. Most IT people are so overworked that they don't give two shits about what someone is doing online, with one big exception. They will most certainly care if you do something that causes problems that they then have to fix, especially if you were explicitly told not to do it. They may also care if they've been explicitly told to block certain activities by management, and you try to get around those blocks, but, again, you're doing something that's creating problems for them. If you think that they're the only people who can be dicks, then go fuck with accounting, HR, or legal, and you'll get the same reaction.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

ISurfTooMuch Re:Is it really their "right"? (671 comments)

First of all, have you asked if you are permitted to do these things while you're on the clock? Maybe your job is structured so that you can, but not everyone's job is. But, at any rate, while I don't think a company that allows you to telecommute is going to care if you go in the kitchen and make a sandwich, going to the gym is really pushing it, don't you think?

But, at any rate, using a company laptop to browse the occasional personal Web site is a damn far cry from intentionally altering it to prevent the company from knowing what you've been doing. That's like the difference between using the company car to stop at the store to grab some milk as opposed to using it to take a weekend vacation and then rolling back the odometer so no one will know. I know someone who does use her company car for taking personal trips, and the company pays for the gas, but the difference is that she has been told that she can do these things. It's one of her job perks, and she and her boss are on the same page about it. That's a far cry from what this guy wants to do.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

ISurfTooMuch Here's exactly what to do (671 comments)

I'm going to tell you exactly what you need to do, and it's extremely simple.

1. Reimage that bad boy to your heart's content and install whatever you want.
2. Reply to this post with your position and company name. That way, anyone reading this thread will be able to watch your company's job site to see when your job comes open after they can you.

If you think I'm kidding, go ahead and put your plan into action. You think you'll have time to return your laptop in pristine condition, but what's your plan when your boss stops by your house on a weekend because his laptop died two hours before he's scheduled to fly out for a meeting, and, since he went by the office and didn't see yours in your office, he knew you must have it at home? How are you going to stall him, and, even if you can reimage it while you pretend to take a very long dump, how are you going to explain that it doesn't have that mission-critical application that IT pushed out last month and asked everyone to install when they were prompted to? And what will you do if the laptop gets lost and IT can't contact it to do a remote wipe? If that happens, you'd better pray the thing isn't found and returned, because it likely won't come directly back to you, and IT is going to be pissed when they see what you did to it. And these things do get returned on occasion. My department just had one that was returned after going missing 14 YEARS ago.

Is saving a few hundred bucks by not buying a netbook or tablet worth possibly losing your job?

more than 2 years ago
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The Science of Human-Robot Love

ISurfTooMuch Re:Kissinger?! (88 comments)

Not until I read your post. Now that horrible image is burned into my brain. Eww! Thanks a lot, dude!

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure

ISurfTooMuch Re:Stockholders (247 comments)

Unfortunately, it won't happen because many stockholders aren't interested in the long-term health of the companies they invest in. All they want to see is an increase in the price of the stocks they're holding only for as long as they're holding them. That's why you see companies so reluctant to invest in capital expenditures. Sure, those expenditures are good for the long-term competitiveness of the company, since they're often investments in updated infrastructure, but they cause a short-term decrease in profits. If profits fall, stock prices almost always fall, and that can lead to company management and even board members getting sacked. And, since no one wants to lose their job, they're going to do whatever is necessary to keep the stock price up. Sure, the company may sink in a few years, but that'll be someone else's problem.

A perfect example of the current investor mindset is when Carl Icahn bought a huge chunk of Yahoo a few years ago. The only reason he did it was because rumors were circulating that Microsoft was interested in buying the company. Icahn bought up a bunch of stock and then immediately started pushing hard for a buyout, and he just about went ballistic when the Yahoo board refused to go along and sell. Icahn wasn't interested in the long-term health of Yahoo. Hell, he wasn't even interested in the short-term health of Yahoo. He was (and is) just a big parasite hoping to buy in, get the company sold, and make a tidy profit, never mind the fact that most employees would have lost their jobs and a competitor would have been removed from the market.

Short-term greed is, unfortunately, the name of the game these days. Get in, get a quick stock price appreciation, and get the hell out.

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure

ISurfTooMuch Re:Take the phone? (247 comments)

No, their GSM voice services and GPRS/EDGE data services use the same bands. 3G does not. For 3G, AT&T uses 850 and 1900, while T-Mobile uses 1700.

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure

ISurfTooMuch Re:Take the phone? (247 comments)

Although the Vibrant only officially supports 3G on 1700, it's been said that it can also support it on 1900. That's probably what you were seeing. However, my understanding is that the Captivate will not do 1700.

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Threatening To Raise Rates After Merger Failure

ISurfTooMuch They would have done it anyway (247 comments)

Is anyone really surprised here? AT&T was going to raise prices anyway, no matter how this deal went. The only difference is, had they gotten T-Mobile, they would have probably raised rates even more, since there would have been one less competitor in the market for people to go to. All they're doing is trying to justify this increase in light of the deal falling apart. If the deal had happened, they'd have said that the rate increase was coming anyway, but it would have been larger had they not gotten T-Mobile.

And, in case anyone still thinks this had anything to do with the T-Mobile buyout not happening, consider this: big companies rarely change their prices on a whim. Before they do it, there's going to be market research to determine what they can change and how much, there will be discussions in upper management, and there's got to be time to change billing systems, point of sale systems, and advertising. This isn't something they cooked up overnight. There simply wouldn't have been time.

In short, AT&T was planning this price increase all along. Any rationalization for it is pure spin.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Anniston, AL to censor employees' Facebook pages

ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "Id you're a city employee in Anniston, AL, you'd better watch what you say on Facebook. Under a proposal being considered by the City Council, employees would be banned from posting anything "negative" or "embarrassing" about the city. Note that they aren't talking about official city pages here, but employees' personal pages. Anyone care to educate these clowns on the existence of the First Amendment?"
Link to Original Source
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A Grass-Roots Drive to Secure Computers?

ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  about 6 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "The recent stories about the McColo spam/botnet hub and Microsoft preparing to give away AV software has gotten me thinking about something I've kicked around for a while now: a concerted push by geeks to get their non-geek brethren's computers secured. The fact of the matter is that we aren't going to make any real headway against botnets until we clean up and secure the computers of those who don't realize they're infected and/or don't know a thing about PC security. So my idea, which I'd like to hear feedback on, is for a week-long period where tech-savvy users are encouraged to reach out to friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. to ensure that their machines are patched and running current antivirus software. Call it the Great Computer Cleanup and have it in the first week of February, since it's far enough out to give people time to spread the word and for AV software vendors to decide on any special deals they'd like to offer on their products. Of course, with the free products available, there's really no reason to buy anything, but some folks will be more comfortable with retail software, and if that's what gets them on board, more power to them.

So, what does the Slashdot community think? If a real grass-roots movement could be organized around such an effort, could it have an appreciable effect on spam output? IMHO, I think it could. We saw the reduction in spam that accompanied the McColo shutdown, so wouldn't it be a good idea to see if we can significantly reduce the number of bots out there? In my view, this is the only viable long-term solution, since, as we've seen, if all you do is go after C&C, the bot herders will just move to other providers."
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MobiTV to HoFo: Posting a URL constitutes hacking

ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "Someone has discovered that MobiTV employs virtually no security in protecting its video feeds. Anyone who knows the correct URL can simply enter it into their browser and have full access to its collection of TV channels. This fact was posted on the popular mobile phone discussion site HowardForums. Instead of fixing the problem, MobiTV is threatening to have HoFo taken offline if discussion of this subject isn't removed. According to MobiTV's attorney, posting a URL that points to its Web site constitutes hacking and is therefore illegal. He has contacted HoFo's Web host demanding that they take action against the site. Howard Chui, who runs the site, is trying to get this incident publicized before his site goes offline."
Link to Original Source
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Memory card adds wi-fi to digital cameras

ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  about 7 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "Gizmodo has a story on the Eye-Fi, an SD memory card that doubles as a wi0fi card. Plug the card into your digital camera, and it connects to a wireless router and automatically uploads any photos you take to your choice of 20 sites or your local computer. You can use it to automatically send your family photos to your PC, or, for the activists among us, you could use it to take pictures of protests and get them out on the Internet before someone can try to take your camera."
Link to Original Source
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Scholastic invokes DMCA for reporting Potter leak

ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "Looks like DMCA abuse has just been taken to a new extreme. TechCrunch is reporting that it has received a takedown notice for simply reporting that the latest Harry Potter book is available on Bittorrent. The post also says that USA Today is reporting that Scholastic is contacting any sites that have written stories on the leaked copy, demanding that the information be taken down. Note that these sites aren't hosting copies of the book; they're being sent notices simply for reporting that it is available. What's next, sites receiving takedown notices for discussing the fact that piracy is occurring on the Internet?"
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ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn't a good solution be for them to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels' music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA's affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. You can read all about it over at Daily Kos, including excerpts from the SoundExchange Web site. It's amazing how the RIAA looks more and more like the Mafia each day."
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ISurfTooMuch ISurfTooMuch writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) writes "This Jackson Free Press article reports that the city of Jackson, Mississippi has contracted with a private organization to operate a surveillance helicopter outfitted with advanced surveillance devices, including an infrared camera, which is being used to look inside people's homes, something police cannot legally do. Since the helicopter is technically not operated by the city, it is not bound by the legal restrictions police would have to abide by, and this worries privacy and civil-liberties advocates. Wired also is running a blog story about it."

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