On May 20, Duke will shut down its Usenet server, which provides access to a worldwide electronic discussion network of newsgroups started in 1979 by two Duke graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.
Given the size and scope of Usenet, this is more of a footnote, but the article at Duke Today online has all sorts of interesting trivia, pictures, and an homage to this vibrant but ailing medium, including a brief trivia quiz about the Usenet." Link to Original Source
Torodung (31985) writes "In his InfoWorld 'Gripelog,' Ed Foster tells an interesting story about medical privacy. A colonoscopy patient is given a form with fine print that implies a contractual agreement, which Foster compares to click-agreement EULA's. 'The [patient] decided not to submit the form.'
'The more the reader thought about the form (along with all the worries and stresses of prepping for a colonosocpy) (sic), the less he liked it. "Why would they need my Social Security number?" he wondered. "Is this a genuine request for medical information or some kind of marketing thing or even an identity theft scam? To have my SSN, date of birth and all this other information on a form that will be passed from hand to hand around a hospital and who knows what other organizations is VERY questionable."
To summarize: The only reason the patient knew there was a privacy concern at all was because the HIPAA act required boilerplate text stating that he was entering an agreement, but the terms of his agreement, and indeed that it was not mandatory, was left ambiguous." top
Comcast takes high road - proposes self regulation
Torodung (31985) writes "In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil:
Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops." top
A final security note: If you are running Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, they are subject to cross-site scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable of running arbitrary code in the context of the locally logged-on user. This article outlines some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets. Check out Inspect Your Gadget for some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets.
In summary, badly coded Gadgets are a potential spyware/malware vector in the Windows operating system, as ActiveX and BHO's were previously, and Gadget input needs to be scrubbed for the same URI problems that Firefox recently fixed in v184.108.40.206, amongst other pitfalls. If you use Vista, you need to keep a careful eye on your Gadgets, and if you code a Gadget, the linked article gives some "best practices" to avoid becoming part of the problem." top
Crewmen 3 Sheets To the Wind Before Entering Orbit
Torodung (31985) writes "The BBC (and many others) reports that, on at least two separate occasions, astronauts were cleared for shuttle launch while "so intoxicated... that flight surgeons and-or fellow astronauts raised concerns... regarding flight safety." Not good.
In other news, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton's applications to NASA were flatly rebuffed. Sorry, it's a cheap joke, but NASA coverage is starting to look less like the science page and more like the entertainment page these days." top
Earlier this month, Apple updated iTunes to Version 7.1.1 to patch several Vista-related problems, but left others — including the Safely Remove Hardware bug — unfixed. At the time, Apple said it was "actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues." It had also recommended that users select the Eject iPod option on the iTunes Controls menu to remove an iPod from a Vista PC's USB port.
(Be the first to tag this "defectivebydesign" and win a free lollipop!)" top
Torodung writes "*NOT FOR PUBLICATION* 6:26GMT 11/08/06
IE Tab extension is suddenly running very slowly on my computer for no apparent reason on every site. I downloaded an update as a result (v1.20.20061106). Same issue. When I use the function to launch IE in its own browser from Firefox, it is quick as ever. It only happens when I launch it in embedded in Firefox 220.127.116.11. Embedded IE works *fine* elsewhere, in my Weatherbug window, for instance.
I suspect Microsoft is at the heart of this (in fact, I was wondering when they'd get around to it) and am wondering if anyone else has reported this issue, or if someone has a link to an article about it.
Didn't know how to get in touch with you guys otherwise, but it's definitely a scoop if my suspicions are correct. I'm sorry I don't have a link or anything substantive to add. Consider this a "tip" instead of an article.
If there's a good email addy I can use to get in touch with the community to report such things, rather than the story submission channel, please accept my apologies for being a moron and direct my tired eyes to the appropriate place.
Thanks. — Toro"
IANAL, but I know a lot about copyright law, because I am an avid PC gamer. I'm no expert, but it's more than I want to know. Perhaps I'm too inquiring, but it seems to me that it's impossible to be a computer gamer these days, whilst remaining a thinking, independent American (I'm a citizen), without running up against this aspect of law every day.
The problem is, it isn't U.S. law that's reflected on my machine. It is virtual law, and the legislation comes in the form of whatever arbitrary certification and copy control software publishers and software makers choose to saddle me with. I don't have a choice, nor representation (unless I buy their stock), and it doesn't conform to consumer law in the real world in the slightest.
What does Torodung mean? Ostensibly, it means "bullshit." It was a joke god I had invented for Dungeons and Dragons, but I never sent it off to Dragon magazine.
Torodung was the god of bullshit, and his clerics could cast great boons like "Check shit out," "Pinch Loaves and Water," "Crap, 10' radius," "Brownstorm," "Hit the fan" or the ominous "Powerful shit." They were all Chaotic Neutral, and behaving like you were bonkers was a requirement of the Cult of Torodung. It was low brow humor to be sure, and more quirky than funny.
I took the name, because I was creating a sample account, but somehow wound up actually using it. The avatar I choose when I am Torodung is the nether half of a cow.
I am a technologist and an operator, a person who couldn't stand the idea of poring over pages of code just to find the semi-colon that was out of place. I decided to work on making computer software work , even though I was a promising coder. I just couldn't deal with debugging. Too much fine print.
I am an amateur linguist, and describe myself politically as a "liberal conservative." If you consider that an oxymoron, you should consider looking at a dictionary, because the two are not mutually exclusive. For most intents and purposes, the simpler description is that I am a libertarian, with no particular party affiliation, though I loathe the Republicans more than I loathe the Democrats. That is faint but damning praise. I don't think either party represents anything but their own interests any more.
Oh, and yes, I'm an arrogant American who didn't think of mentioning that until this point. I reside in the Chicagoland area (Illinois).