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Ask Slashdot: Is There a War Against Small Mail Servers?

W3bbo Your ISPs 'smart host' (459 comments)

Usually when ISPs block port 25 (ostensibly because of all the botnets sending spam, a wise precaution that I advocate) they will provide a mail relay for their customers to connect to. They might not advertise it as that, but if your ISP (still?) provides a POP3 mail service, then they're going to give you an SMTP one too. Failing that, why not put a relay on any server you have in a datacenter or colocated? Configure it so only your computers can relay though it and it'll be fine.

more than 3 years ago

Tech Specs Leaked For French Spyware

W3bbo Deplyoment? (212 comments)

Forgive my ignorance (hey, I'm not French), but can someone explain how this works? If it's client-side monitoring software then it means users have to install it themselves, the government cannot force people to use this. Is it just a utility program that companies can deploy on to their own computers as a means of auditing their own computers? If so, that's perfectly fine and no different to software from the BSA and others that audits product keys. We need more information.

more than 4 years ago

Senators Tell Facebook To Quit Sharing Users' Info

W3bbo Re:Free economy, regulate fraud (256 comments)

It's erroneous to believe that regulated business directly leads to stagnation. I give you a counter-example: health and safety regulations and regulations that established minimum salaries lead to the removal of manual workers from production lines to be replaced with by robots. That's an innovation caused by regulation.

Also, "freedoms" that can easily be taken advantage of by corporate entities rarely works out in your personal interests. What the Senators are discussing limits Facebook's "freedom" to abuse your information. I feel you're only opposed to this in order to be consistently libertarian. You need a new philosophy.

more than 4 years ago

IEEE Introduces Mario Level-Generation Competition

W3bbo Re:Random Levels (114 comments)

A few games from the mid to late 1990s had various "Instant Action" modes that created simple levels to play on, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries had one, for example, that took a selected environment and dumped some structures and nav-points on it according to the mission parameters. It was crude, but provided for hours of amusement for pre-teens such as myself.

more than 4 years ago

No More Firefox For Windows Mobile

W3bbo Re:Shame on me, RTFA. (226 comments)

XNA is sandboxed on the Xbox 360 (in fact, XNA on the Xbox 360 runs on top of a variant of the Compact Framework and not the full desktop/server Framework distribution).

C-to-CIL compilers already exist, Microsoft includes one as part of VC.

Anyway, Silverlight actually disables unsafe code, so C# is gimped in this regard on Windows Phone 7 ( ).

more than 4 years ago

Flaw In Emergency Response System May Have Killed Hundreds

W3bbo Re:More like a flaw in statistics (437 comments)

You may remember the case of Craig Philips from the first run of Big Brother, he donated his £70,000 prize money to go towards getting a Downs Syndrome-suffering friend of his a heart+lung transplant performed in the USA, total cost: £250,000 (then tack on the trouble of finding a good heart+lung match).

I remember him giving an interview on TV where he described how the NHS didn't consider her case a priority because she had a bad prognosis (indeed, she died in April 2008, meaning she got about 7 years). By a strict definition this is "rationing" (but please don't throw around the word "socialist" as though it's some derogative, you should know better than name-calling) but I ask how any (seemingly) amoral US-based health insurance company would possibly fund the same operation: fact it they probably wouldn't on account of the "pre-existing" Downs Syndrome so he would have had to shell out at least £250,000 (at least $450,000 in today's money) for the operation.

But in any event: isolated incidents like these do not provide an accurate representation of the system. The NHS saved my life, and countless others, and I'm not bankrupt because of it.

more than 4 years ago

25 Years of the .com gTLD

W3bbo Re:No .. (104 comments)

Not quite so true, I'm afraid.

Whilst Microsoft was late to the party (we're talking early-1990s) they never had the impression they could supplant the Internet with something proprietary.

The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet and all included access to the World Wide Web.

So basically MSN (the original one) was Microsoft's competitor to AOL and not "The Internet".

Microsoft didn't include TCP/IP in early versions of Windows because there just wasn't any demand, and third-parties were already making their own add-ons that provided this. Much the same reason IPv6 wasn't added to Windows until Vista even though IPv6's specifications were stable enough by the release of XP SP2 in 2005. I'm sure they had better things at the time for their developers to work on.

more than 4 years ago

Filter Vendor Agrees Aussie Censorship Can't Work As Promised

W3bbo Re:Keep up the pressure (143 comments)

The problem with blocking "illegal material" is the definition of "illegal material". For example, at what point is a medical textbook photo of a paediatric condition considered "indecent"? From this you can get into debates about intent, and if there's titillating intent is that a "thought crime"?

Another example is text relating to the formulation of explosive materials: should that be considered "illegal information" too? From this we return to the concept of illegal numbers, then it all starts getting ridiculous.

I believe it's easier to hold the position that no information or data is inherently illegal, neither should possession (which becomes a strict-liability offence, a can of worms) than to get stuck in the debate of what is and isn't illegal. Besides, if you're really after a piece of information or data then you're eventually going to be able get it.

more than 4 years ago
top Settles Lawsuit Over Phony Friends

W3bbo Re:Similar experience (127 comments)

Was it GenesReunited? I can't say I've had the same problems you described (but then, I never really put in any information about myself).

more than 4 years ago

Jeff Jaffe Named CEO of W3C

W3bbo Re:W3C dead already, WHATWG is the way to go (145 comments)

You've been asleep for the past couple of years: The WHATWG was formed in response to the W3C's slow pace on HTML standards development. After a few months of prodding the W3C took the point and subsumed the WHATWG's work on HTML5 (formerly Web Applications 1.0). The W3C has been making fine progress on HTML5 and CSS3 of late; whilst the WHATWG does still exist, it's only working on a handful of less-important specifications that won't impact the majority of web designers and developers.

As for the W3C, it's far from dead. If anything it's the WHATWG that's dying: none of their other projects have anywhere near the same community following HTML5 did.

more than 4 years ago

Losing Google Would Hit Chinese Science Hard

W3bbo Re:Google Scholar (161 comments)

Microsoft Research has their own Academic Search site, which is pretty useful to me (I hardly ever use Google Scholar). It's more focused on academic research papers and the links between authors than the broader net GScholar casts (there's no Patent search, for example) but it is a free alternative.

more than 4 years ago

Chrome Apes IE8, Adds Clickjacking, XSS Defenses

W3bbo Re:Ads (90 comments)

Some 'adblocker detection' services may flag your client if they see you've downloaded the page, but not the associated ad content, so they know your browser isn't displaying the ad, but if the client does download it they have no way of knowing if it's being rendered or not, short of using a DOM-inspection script. With the exception of Flash video adverts, I've never had any bandwidth problems with banners, except for those off-site advert scripts that delay the page loading.

more than 4 years ago

ISP Mistakenly Emails Customer Database To Thousands

W3bbo Re:Anyone else with horror stories with Demon? (259 comments)

I quite them over the 'Virgin Killers' debacle of 2008 (this wasn't the first time I had issues with their IWF implementation either), and like so many other customers I have issues with their customer support department. I wrote it up here:

It's a shame, because their network is actually alright, I didn't get that much downtime and had no limits or caps for what I felt was a reasonable monthly fee (I was on their HomeOffice 8000 plan, the one with the static IP address).

more than 4 years ago

Pogo-Style Robot Legs Allow 9-Foot Bounces

W3bbo Re:Make A Great Xmas Gift (42 comments)

Their full name is "Powerbocking Stilts" actually, and they use a bow-spring as well, they've been around since 2004. I think CMU needs to move with the times. The claims about 9-foot jumps seems about right, the world record for a bock-assisted jump is just over 7 feet. I was at a bocking event in London last weekend, actually. (Photos: )

about 5 years ago

How Heavy Is a Petabyte?

W3bbo Re:library of congress (495 comments)

In my head I equated orbit length to "width of the year" since I was thinking of a timeline, and a timeline has width (from 1st Jan to Dec 31st) and at each point on the timeline the earth is at a certain point on its orbit which corresponds to a distance from its initial position.

more than 5 years ago

How Heavy Is a Petabyte?

W3bbo Re:library of congress (495 comments)

No, that's diameter of the earth's orbit around the sun. A year would be the circumference which is 940 million kilometers.

more than 5 years ago

Data Center Power Failures Mount

W3bbo Re:Be Redundant! (100 comments)

The DNS RFCs advise that zone nameservers should be in separate subnets. Specifically RFC 2182 recomends that secondary DNS services be spread around geographically.

more than 5 years ago

Virtualbox 3.0 Announces OpenGL/Direct3D Support

W3bbo No Aero Glass yet... (161 comments)

Having just installed the x64 3.0 binaries for Windows and given Windows 7 and Windows Vista a spin in VirtualBox I can say that both OSes fail to recognise the 3D capabilities since the driver isn't WDDM-compatible. So Media Center, Aero Glass, and the new games in Vista/Win7 all fail to show in their fully accelerated glory. Interestingly, VirtualPC 7 in Windows 7 does support Aero Glass when you have Vista as a guest.

more than 5 years ago

Bill Gates Chews Out Microsoft

W3bbo Re:100% fake (836 comments)

The way the email was written (a bunch of short paragraphs) makes me think it's a kind of running commentary of the process he was following to download the software to begin with. I occasionally make similar notes as well, which often don't resemble my writing style at all.

As for not knowing there's a download center, I think he's acting in the character of a typical user who just wants to download the software, not something many software developers tend to do these days whilst they shovel in useless gimmicks in websites that distract from the main purpose.

more than 6 years ago


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