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Comments

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Copyright License Fees Drive Pandora Out of Canada

Itninja Re:Slacker (254 comments)

What's a Slacker? Some kind of pants-themed TiVo?

more than 4 years ago
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Is the Web Heading Toward Redirect Hell?

Itninja Re:It's a shame too... (321 comments)

Can you ever know PRECISELY where you are going to land? Any URL can dump wherever it wants. Like when WAMU was bought by Chase. For at least 24 hours before the transition was made public the TLD of wamu.com was dumping me at wamu.chase.com. I thought I was being phished, until the next day when it all made sense. All a domain name can assure you of is that it exists. You can really end up anywhere.

more than 4 years ago
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Is the Web Heading Toward Redirect Hell?

Itninja somes it's neccesary (321 comments)

I obviously cannot speak to all situations. But for my organization this is kind of required simply for ease of maintenance (on our end) and ease of use (on the client end).

When a user logs into one of our sites, they must select a database to connect to. The actual URLs are something like: "https://www2.businessdomain.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wcustomers71/seplog01.w". Each URL is slightly different to allow for different connections. There are hundreds of possible connections. The user then has two choices: memorize that beast URL, or save it as a bookmark. The latter seem to make sense.

But that's where the ease of maintenance comes into play. If a server or database goes down, we steer the traffic to a temp server. When we do, the landing URL changes to reflect the new locations, broker name, and database string. Typically we would have to broadcast the new, temporary URL to the customers' employees (and then broadcast another one when it was available again). So bookmarking the landing URL is not really a good idea for the customers as sometime it will go no where (or worse go to a failing database).

Hence, we have a shorter URL (unique to each customer) redirect to whatever landing URL they should be connected to. It's easy to remember and easy to maintain. Something like: "yourconnection.businessdomain.net".

more than 4 years ago
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iPads On American Campuses? Maybe Next Year

Itninja Ergonomic nightmare (177 comments)

Are these campuses also distributing physical keyboards? The iPad is neat and all; with its lickable beauty and whatnot.

But when 'typing' on one there are only two choices (natively): hold it in one hand while finger typing with the other, or lay it down flat and attempt to type while looking at the screen at a 90 degree angle. Either way, a person will eventually develop pain and/or numbness from such awkward movements or positions.

It would work for quick notes, but trying to write a thesis or take detailed notes during a lecture would be problematic. Perhaps these institutions will also provide a keyboard solution. If not (which would be more likely IMO), I wonder if/when colleges that have compulsory iPad usage policies will start getting RTI injury claims and the inevitable litigation proceedings.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Instant Announced

Itninja Re:Yeah it's crap. (408 comments)

Exploits indeed. NoScript protects me from them...which is kind of the entire point. It not the intended use of JS, is the intended misuse that gets people (like you, I assume) to unknowingly open the door. On some of your particular points:

JavaScript local files access 'interfaces'

Of course there's not. You have to make it happen. It takes about 2 minutes.

HTML

Just because you "...wouldn't be surprised if there has been some exploit.." doesn't mean it's ever happened, or even if it's possible. Find some facts and then make a point.

Images

Really? A 5 y/o issue is the best you can do? The JS exploits I listed earlier were only a month out. What's more, any non-administrator (or non-Windows computer) was not harmed by WMF files (unlike like JS that can be a universal killer).

And I think any fantasy that it was harmless to allow JS (or any script) to auto-run was dispelled yesterday. No clicks required, no particular OS required, no admin rights required. Of course, NoScript users were immune from this.

more than 4 years ago
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Robots Taught to Deceive

Itninja Re:A few things.... (239 comments)

I agree that both human intelligence and AI are excellent at optimization. The difference is improvisation. Any AI that optimizes must be programmed to optimize. A robot could be designed with all the same strength and articulation as a human adult. It could be programmed to walk across a room; even avoiding obstacles to find the most efficient path (optimizing). But you then take the same robot to a moderately steep hill (like a wheelchair ramp) and tell it to climb the hill, it would immediately fail. Not because it lacks the mechanics to do so, but because it has never been specifically programmed to make optimizations that account for such an obstacle.

However one could take a young child who had yet to learn to walk and incite him/her to climb the same hill (with candy or whatever) and it will crawl to the top. Even if the child had never before experienced a similar obstacle. Even newborns have basic, uniform reactions to stimuli that they, of course, have never experienced before. It's the basic want/get, need/get, hurt/avoid type of functionality. No programming, no calculation, just naked, primal, reactionary behavior. The ineffable nature of the human animal. The instincts, that all humans are born with, are something that AI can never have. It can be programmed to imitate them, but it can never grow beyond its programming.

The poor understanding of the brain is not due to it's inaccessibility. One could even say that human brains are easier to examine, in any meaningful way, than an animals. A human can engage in a completely fluid and lucid conversation while their skull is cut open and their brain physically manipulated. Electrodes can be inserted and the patient can tell the examiner what his perceptions are. Does he suddenly smell cookies? Does he hear music? Can he speak French? The same physical procedure can be done on an animal, but feedback would be minimal at best.

The idea of the brain being 'mystical' (as in mysterious) is not that far fetched. But I think a better word could be chosen. Perhaps 'metaphysical' would be more appropriate. The nature of human sapience is currently beyond any definable boundaries. Often experts will attempt to weave common human actions or reactions (e.g. kissing, finding beauty, laughter) into other ideas that are themselves only partially understood. I think that even that action, the overwhelming lust to understand and not merely know a thing, is evidence of the human condition.

I think situations like that are where the instinctual nature of biological beings trumps programmatic nature of mechanical ones.

more than 4 years ago
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Frustrated Reporter Quits After Slow News Day

Itninja Re:Great! Move On. Spend More Time w/ Family (178 comments)

Based on the typical self-destructive lifestyle that is constant companion to most movie stars and famous athletes, I imagine that commiseration with their income is not at all uncommon. For some the only real friend they have is their income.

more than 4 years ago
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25 Years of Super Mario Bros.

Itninja Nowhere near that long (190 comments)

I warped to World 8 and for me it's only been like 5 years.

more than 4 years ago
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Robots Taught to Deceive

Itninja Re:A few things.... (239 comments)

Getting back to the root of this thread, I think that an AI can calculate, perhaps even the seemingly infinate universe. But it could never imagine something beyond its current knowledge base. Something that exceeds the fluidity of its programming. A programmed 'mind' would never understand some of the terms you just used like 'appears to be' or 'pretty sure'. Especially with the current limitations of binary systems. Some can give things like a probability, but those that is just programmed output based and human guesses. Perhaps quantum computing will open new doors, should it ever mature beyond its current state of fanciful experimentation.

In my experience and research, every generation of scientists or mathematicians think they have the 'new best truth' about the definition of various aspects of the universe. Then said truth is discarded and redefined by the next generation. And those changes are not always progressive (i.e. taking the next logical step). Often old truths are found to be laughably incorrect and entirely new concepts of codified; only to have those limits discarded and on and on ad infintum. The current generation is no different.

The human brain is the least understood of all human organs. I think that there is far more about it (and our universe in general) that is beyond human comprehension than can be understood. The programmed brain of a machine also has its limits. However, unlike these machines, the human brain can imagine worlds of truth far beyond the known. There is nothing beyond human imagination.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Instant Announced

Itninja Re:Yeah it's crap. (408 comments)

You do not understand how Javascript works. It's not as if JavaScript has some hard-coded limitations on what it can be used for. If scripts are allowed to run unchecked they can do anything to your PC the coder wants them to do. From reading the entire file system of your system, to launching full-screen video that cannot be terminated without unplugging your box, to more technical things like using the "Function.toString()" or launch those darling (and numerous) Facebook nasties. Unfettered script execution is exactly how so-called 'drive-by downloads' work. It's the scripting language I am afraid of, it what the coder does with it.

It appears you also do not understand HTML, CSS, or web images. There is zero possibility of HTML doing anything to you. It's a markup language, not a coding language. The only way HTML could hurt you was if was launching scripts (or showing a link to a site that did). Same goes for CSS. Nothing be executed with CSS, unless it invokes a script. And images? Are you kidding? The best they do is prompt someone to do something to themselves (like this one does).

Just spend a hour or so strolling through some sites (like those ending with .ru) and see how it goes. Have fun with that.

more than 4 years ago
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Robots Taught to Deceive

Itninja Re:A few things.... (239 comments)

Fair enough. So how would one define the idea of infinity (i.e. how high numbers can go)? Or what if, say, humans could live for an infinite number of years. Would their brains eventually 'fill up', so to speak? Would a human, after perhaps millions of years of life, learn something new and *poof!* permanently lose a previous memory? For that matter, are their definable limits to what one can learn? Even if we limit human existence to Earth, could a person, given enough time, learn every fact, every concept, every nuance about all things?

I don't want to come off as contrarian or argumentative. I am actually enjoying this conversation and I think you are making some excellent points that I have never thought of before. I know very few people that can make rational and reasonable counterpoints about this type of thing.

more than 4 years ago
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Rogue Employees Sell World Cup Fans' Passport Data

Itninja Re:No Primary Key (128 comments)

All I can say to that is....yikes. Not sure what the most common name in England is, but in the US it's usually Michael Smith. In England would it still be that easy if it's a common name?

more than 4 years ago
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Rogue Employees Sell World Cup Fans' Passport Data

Itninja Re:No Primary Key (128 comments)

My rarely get a second look at my signature either. But then again, I am not withdrawing more a hundred bucks or so. Nor am I closing the money out of the account, getting a loan, applying for a new debit card, etc. What's more, all modern banks will scan all signed withdraw slips (and checks) and the computer does a quick probability determination on your signature against the one on file. I have noticed this whenever I am withdrawing large amounts of cash in person (seems like anything over $500) and totally screw up my signature. Only then will the teller will ask to see alternative ID.

more than 4 years ago
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Robots Taught to Deceive

Itninja Re:A few things.... (239 comments)

That is certainly intriguing. But remember that the mathematical and neurological/philosophical definitions of 'abstract' are much, much different. The former is a process leading to naked principle; having no real-world ties whatsoever. And then taking those naked principles and applying them in other heretofore unimagined ways (the book Freakonomics is a very good example of the concept of mathematical abstraction).

But the latter is entirely different. It deals with things like intuition (correctly guessing how 1000's of dice rolls will land with results far beyond the range of random chance)or the natural avoidance of cognitive dissonance (people that, in spite of known facts, mentally manufacture abstract, non-existent realities to balance their want/need conflict).

And regarding the idea that "everything real has boundaries", how would, say, a Möbius Strip or a Klein Bottle fit into that principle? They have no definable boundaries, yet are quite 'real' - theoretically, mathematically, and physically.

more than 4 years ago
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Rogue Employees Sell World Cup Fans' Passport Data

Itninja Re:No Primary Key (128 comments)

...your birth registration, which is public.

How exactly would they get my birth registration? Would they send a request form (and required fee) to every municipality in the my country asking for a copy? Without my birth city, it's really hard to get a copy of that in the US.

With the passport number, it's enough to produce a fake passport...

I don't think so. In addition to my passport number, the forger would also have to know my signature (which is not stored when the RFID is read), and once they knew it, they would need to be able to make a wet-copy recreation on it when demanded by an official. And the forgers would have to be able to, somehow, hack my legitimate RFID chip (which they wouldn't physically have) and be able to recreate its checksum/hash so as to fool any computer verification that might be done. All of this is many thieves choose to steal passports, rather than forge them.

more than 4 years ago
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Rogue Employees Sell World Cup Fans' Passport Data

Itninja Re:No Primary Key (128 comments)

There would also need to be able to copy a signature well enough to fool a bank official; especially if they were withdrawing a lot of cash. And regarding photos, remember these are more than simple JPGs stored on the RFID chip. In order for a fake to be passable as a 'real' passport, it would also have to have the so-called 'ghost photo' on a different page; this photo is only readable under UV light.

more than 4 years ago
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Rogue Employees Sell World Cup Fans' Passport Data

Itninja No Primary Key (128 comments)

What exactly does my passport data reveal about me? Here's what (with US passports anyway):

- My name (for common names, no big deal)
- My birthday (kinda private, but I give i
- My gender
- My birthplace
- Where I got my passport (issuing authority)
- Date validity (when I got it and when it expires)

That's it.

My name is not exactly a secret (I give it to total strangers all the time). Plus, it's a common one in the US, so (obviously) a lot of people have it.
My birthday is kind of personal, but there very little someone could do with it without having more data.
My gender is easily guessable once you know my first name.
My birthplace lists only the country, and not the city. Useless.
My issuing authority is even less specific: 'US Department of State'.
Date validity is also useless.

It's not as if my passport lists my SSN, home address, credit history, or anything else that can be used to steal my money or identity. Perhaps they have a lot more personal info in other countries' passports, but not in mine.

more than 4 years ago
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Gubernatorial Candidate Wants to Sell Speeding Passes for $25

Itninja Re:Cue increase in accidents (825 comments)

That makes no sense. It's like citing a NASCAR race as evidence. They move at very high speed for hundreds of miles at at time, but accidents are minimal compared to miles driven. That would seem to be a great example. But one would fail to take into account the skill level of all the drivers, the nature of the roads traveled, and the very low numbers of cars on the road. Which all come into play in Germany.

more than 4 years ago
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Robots Taught to Deceive

Itninja Re:A few things.... (239 comments)

I agree that my river analogy was kind of hokey. If one had a flowchart with infinite choices ranging from 'do nothing' to 'do everything' (i.e. infinite quantum potentiality), then I suppose that would work. But the current understanding of abstract thought (neurologically speaking) is the absence of mental computation. Abstract thought engages entirely different parts of the brain than computation, either deliberate (like doing math) or subconscious (like catching a ball). Abstract thinking, by definition, has no defined structure. Whereas any kind of 'chart' must have, by definition, structure.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Synthetic life created by scientists

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Itninja (937614) writes "How long before the phrase is seen as prophetic?: Humans are not longer born....they are grown.

From the article: The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used synthesis machines to chemically construct a copy.

"We've now been able to take that synthetic chromosome, transplant it into a recipient cell — a different organism," Dr Venter told BBC News. "As soon as this new software goes into the cell, that cell reads that software and converts the cell into the species specified in that genetic code.""

Link to Original Source
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NYC bomb plot SUV bought on Craigslist for cash

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Itninja (937614) writes "This will no doubt create an anti-craigslist uproar. I imagine that, by the time it hits Fox News, the headline will read something like: "Craisglist Support Terrorist".

From the article: "S...the last registered owner of the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder...told authorities he recently sold the vehicle to a "Middle Eastern" or "Hispanic" looking man for $1,300 cash in $100 bills on Craigslist."

Link to Original Source
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PlayStation 3 units mysteriously failing

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Itninja (937614) writes "From ARS Technica: "Beginning Sunday, many PlayStation 3 owners found the PlayStation Network inaccessible, with the system giving them an error explaining that they wouldn't be able to connect. This by itself isn't a huge deal, as all online systems crumble from time to time. The bigger problem is that this glitch seems to be effecting the ability to play offline, single-player games, with reports that games like Heavy Rain are no longer functional."

At least it's not XBox360 this time."
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Secure Password Management

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Itninja (937614) writes "My organization supports hundreds of large databases. Most of the support requires the Tier I staff to log into dozens of different databases each day via the web. Until recently, all the support staff had used a single god-level account. But management are finally coming to realization (after many years of prodding from IS) that this is a security issue. However asking staff to 'just remember' so many passwords is unrealistic.

We want to avoid another security problem (i.e. users printing out a list of passwords) so are looking for some
kind of device to provide secure password management. I am looking at the IronKey, but want to ask the Slashdot community if there are other solutions they have found for similar dilemmas."
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Twitter Brings The Bros Together

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Itninja writes "The BBC is reporting on a Harvard study showing that Twitter, among other things, gets 90% of its content from only 10% of the users. Perhaps even more interesting is how Twitter is better at bringing two men together. From the article: "...an average man was almost twice as likely to follow another man than a woman, despite the reverse being true on other social networks.""
Link to Original Source
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Starbucks double-charges up to a million people

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Itninja writes "Seattle NBC affiliate is reporting today that Starbucks may have double-charged up to a million customers on May 22nd & 23rd. No plan is reported thus far to reverse the errant changes en masse. From the article: "Starbucks says they've had some customers call in whose accounts were not fixed. They were directed to customer service and asked to work with their bank to make sure the duplicate charge was taken care of."

I guess they just get to keep the rest? Pretty sweet deal for Starbucks..."

Link to Original Source
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HP Breaks the 24 runtime barrier? Well, sort of...

Itninja Itninja writes  |  about 6 years ago

Itninja writes "I got an email from HP this morning with the subject of 'Dude, you Dell dies 5 hours ago'. The email was to espouse HP's new EliteBook 6930p notebook which is claimed to have "24 hours of battery life". However there was a little asterisk nest to "24 hours" that pointed me to the fine print:

"Requires separately purchased HP Ultra Capacity Battery and customer download of the latest Intel graphics driver and HP BIOS. Notebook must be configured with optional Intel 80GB SSD drive and HP Illumi-Lite LED Display (available Fall 2008) and requires XP operating system. Battery life will vary depending on the product model, configuration, loaded applications, features, and power management settings. The maximum capacity of the battery will decrease with time and usage."

So, if you buy a separate battery (not cheap), and buy the optional SSD HD (also, big $$), and run XP (is this even available?), then yeah it's a 24 hour + laptop."
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Jack Thompson to be disbarred

Itninja Itninja writes  |  about 6 years ago

Itninja writes "The word on the street is the disbarment will be permanent. However the article states that it may be only a temporary action. I guess we will see....

From the article "Note that Thompson still has a chance for a retrial, only due to court sanctions the motion must me submitted by a member of the Florida Bar in good standing, and I don't know that anyone wants to touch this one. It's also worth noting that along with disbarment, Thompson has been ordered to reimburse the Florida Bar fees amounting to $43,675.35. Ouch.""

Link to Original Source
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Consumer Reports gets its game on.

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Itninja writes "A few days ago Consumer Reports posted their first report on a specific video game: Wii Fit. From the article: "Our testers ranged in age from 24 to 69 and included 10 women and five men. Users ran the gamut from regular exercisers to mostly sedentary folks.".

Will this be a harbinger of things to come? Will CR be reviewing the next installment of Gran Turismo?"

Link to Original Source
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"Techorate" - The anti-buzzword?

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Itninja writes "Consumer Reports is blogging about a the merits of corporate buzzword creation. Namely, the one LG Electronics has recently 'coined' (trademarked?): "Techorate". The official definition is: "the integration of technology into the overall decorative theme of a home." Contrary to the corporate line however, CR is calling this an anti-buzzword."
Link to Original Source
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Tool shows sophomoric edits to Wikipedia by CIA

Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Itninja writes "The BBC recently published accounts of the CIA (among others) making juvenile edits to various Wikipedia entries. Among them, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and Rush Limbaugh.

From the article: "On the profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the tool indicates that a worker on the CIA network reportedly added the exclamation "Wahhhhhh!" before a section on the leader's plans for his presidency.""

Link to Original Source
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Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Itninja writes "That that I don't see the humor here, but is there anything that keeps this from happening to any of our homes while we're on vacation?

From the article: "A family feud may be behind a fake ad on Craigslist that invited people to take whatever they wanted for free from a Tacoma home, but it appears police aren't ready to haul anyone to jail for it.""
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Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Itninja writes "I just stumbled across an interesting bit of coded propaganda in MS Office. While typing a new email in Outlook 2003, I found that product names like "Playstation 3" and "Wii" are (understandably) flagged as misspellings (did you mean "Placation" and "Wil"?). However, when I type "Xbox360", there is no flag at all. Try it yourself. It must be typed exactly that way. Using a lower-case x or putting a space between the "xbox" and the "360" will trigger a flag. So I guess Xbox360 is now officially part of the English language. The Playstation 3 and Wii can just suck it."
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Itninja Itninja writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Itninja writes "Having used RaC several times in the past (as a buyer) I was shocked at my recent experience. I did a bit of looking around to see if I was the only one having problems. Apparently, I'm not. I found this article on spamspotter.com: "This unfairness of RAC fees motivates the majority of coders to negotiate payment outside the scope of RAC which amounts to you and coder getting a better deal. For example, I have several coders that I fully trust willing to work on projects on a monthly basis because it is easier for him to deal with established clients than to have to bid for projects all the time. It saves me time and trouble because I can work with a person that I trust and he knows what is expected out of them.""
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Itninja Itninja writes  |  about 8 years ago

Itninja writes "I just got this email from Paypal. It says it part:
"As a part of the new checkout, we've designed a new Express Checkout button. It matches the look-and-feel of the new checkout to provide buyers with a consistent shopping experience.

The basic message I got from the complete article: Paypal wants to look more like Google Checkout (which is fine with me btw, I use both). Anyway, the Paypal button appears to look a lot more like the standard Google Checkout button.
See it here"

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