Archive for February, 2007

RIAA vs Limewire

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Article here.

While our government is trying to pass a bill that makes the DCMA look like a future “good old days” story, the RIAA is still trying to support their outdated business model by suing everyone.

Here’s the deal – when you download limewire, you are prompted to make the following decision before your download begins:

1) I might use LimeWire BASIC for copyright infringement.
2) I will not use LimeWire BASIC for copyright infringement.

If you choose ‘I might use LimeWire for copyright infringement’:

Important information about using peer to peer software safely

LimeWire LLC does not distribute LimeWire Basic to people who intend to use it for purposes of copyright infringement.

Thank you for your interest; however, we cannot complete this download.

Case closed.

This is pathetic. But it was bound to happen. I mean, look at the people they have sued:

The RIAA has been criticised in the media after they subpoenaed Gertrude Walton, an 83-year-old grandmother who had died in December of 2004. Mrs. Walton stood accused of swapping rock, pop and rap songs.

The RIAA in 2003 attempted to sue Sarah Seabury Ward, a 66 year-old sculptor residing in Boston, Massachusetts. They alleged that she shared more than 2,000 songs illegally. The RIAA dropped the suit when it was discovered that she was a computer novice. The case was dismissed, but without prejudice.

The RIAA has also been criticised for bringing lawsuits against children, such as 12 year old Brianna LaHara in 2003.

The RIAA also attempted to sue Candy Chan of Michigan, for the alleged actions of her daughter, 13 year old Brittany Chan. The court dismissed Priority Records v. Chan because it was ruled that the mother could not be sued for the alleged infringements of her daughter. When the court ruled in favor of the mother, dismissing the case, the RIAA proceeded to sue her child. However, prosecuting a minor is more difficult, and many previous adult defendants have said that the peer to peer software installation and copyright infringement was done without their knowledge by one of their children.

And on a related note: The RIAA’s recent targeting of students has generated controversy as well. An April 4th story in the MIT campus newspaper The Tech indicates that an RIAA representative stated to Cassi Hunt, an alleged file-sharer, that previously, “the RIAA has been known to suggest that students drop out of college or go to community college in order to be able to afford settlements.”

Is that PATHETIC or what?!

Listen up, pigopolists. LimeWire isn’t responsible. YOU are responsible. Your rampant, unchecked greed is the reason we download music using peer to peer instead of obtaining it directly from you for a nominal fee. LimeWire may be the current conduit, but you are not going to stop peer to peer by stopping LimeWire. In fact, you are making your own lives more difficult by encouraging the peer to peer community to devise and deploy a new music sharing system that has no central controlling entity that you can sue. The more heavy-handed you get with us, the harder we are going to fight back. We are NOT going to succumb to your greed. You made your bed, now you can sleep in it.

Quote of the week: February 26th, 2007

Monday, February 26th, 2007

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

How to install Windows Vista

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

A short video showing tips on how to properly and quickly install Windows Vista.

Quote of the week: February 19th, 2007

Monday, February 19th, 2007

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary — it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.” – Bill Cosby

IT’s “gender gap”

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

This was a two-part article – here is part 1, and here is part 2 – a “solution”.

I think complaining there aren’t emough women in tech is disingenuous and a little condescending towards women. There has been a wide open door for women for years, self-taught, or otherwise. To claim otherwise ignores so many other attempts and programs.

The reason there aren’t more women in tech, self starters or otherwise is because they don’t want to be and aren’t interested! No program, encouragement, coersion or other methods will change that.

A reader writes: “Consider a telcom I worked for… In the mid-80s a memo was circulated admonishing IT for the “underutilized” women. An IT policy was thus implemented picking women from myriad other jobs (call centers, anywhere!). These women were given free training, often at universities and were given 6 weeks and more to be trained. Most of these women were looking at more than a doubling in salary, all they had to do was “participate”…Even with that policy, we could not even approach fifty percent of women in the IT work force.

As an aside, an unexpected (to management) side effect of this monumental effort was a flood of women (those that signed up), only a small fraction of whom had any interest at all in tech, and only a fraction of those hitting stride in any reasonable time join It without even close to the skills necessary to contribute. We burned a lot of money to skew a population and saw productivity tank.”

It is no reflection of women’s abilities. But, as in the male population, many women are incompetent as are men. The difference isn’t in ability, it’s in the proportion choosing a field. For some reason more men choose computers, more women don’t.

Ultimately, if you build it (the program), they will come, but not in droves. Like it or not, there seems to be a difference in wiring between the sexes. And, as in any large population, there will always be exceptions. At least in my experience, IT welcomes women as much as men. In the meantime, these “special programs” only condescend to women who have chose not to enter IT as a career choice. They do have the options today… they’re still not choosing it. Nudging them with these initiatives somehow implies their non-IT choices weren’t valid, or good.

These articles are as silly as wondering why more police officers don’t enter the tech fields or why more men aren’t choosing to be day care providers. They didn’t/don’t because they like being police officers better or aren’t insterested in being day care providers.

Proprietary OS vs. Open Source OS

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

My sister, once again, has trashed her system due to her surfing habits and ignoring me when I suggest things like using Firefox (after I installed it for her) instead of Internet Explorer, using Ad-Aware on a regular basis, and stop visiting those shady pr0n sites. She then had a “friend” install Windows XP on her machine instead of allowing me to install Linux on her machine. That’ll make things better, right? She’s not very familiar with Windows and all she really uses the computer for is to surf the ‘net and check her email every so often, so there’s no real, valid reason for her to continue using Windows…especially with the problems she creates for herself.

Those who insist on using proprietary operating systems get to pay for them. Yes, even when that means they pay with their time. If your copy of Windows won’t validate, gets killed by a virus, or keeps crashing, that’s between you and Microsoft.

1) If you were using Open Source Software, you wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.
2) As much as I pity you, I can’t help you. No, I’m not going to Google for an MS Keygen for you.
3) No, you can’t “borrow” a Windows key from me. I don’t have one.
4) No, I really can’t help you. If your OS doesn’t validate through “Windows Genuine Advantage”, there’s nothing I can do. It’s not just a matter of won’t, but I can’t.
5) If you think commercial software is so great, follow the commercial model of paying someone for support.

Quote of the week: February 12th, 2007

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

“Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.” – Robin Williams

Linux – changing the default vncserver port

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

To change the default port for vncserver on Linux from 5900 (+display number), you must first open the file /usr/bin/vncserver as root (or sudo) with your favorite text editor. If you scroll down to around 25% mark in the file, you’ll see the line:

$vncPort = 5900 + $displayNumber;

Change 5900 to whatever port you would like, save the file, stop and restart the vnc service.

Java (port 5800 + display number) doesn’t seem to change, so how do we change it? This is a little easier. When starting up your vnc server, just add the option “-httpport “. For example:

vncserver -display 800x600 -depth 16 -httpport 5000

Non-returnable software and EULAs – what are they really preventing?

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

A few years ago I had bought a copy of Unreal Tournament 2003 and tried to install it on my machine. I found that the second disk would cause errors and the install would abort. I quickly found out more about EULA logic:

1) Retail stores are not required to (and usually do not) accept open-box software returns
2) In order to actually read the EULA, you must open the software box
3) You must accept the EULA to use the software
4) If you do not agree to the EULA, you are instructed to promptly return the software to the store
5) See 1

So what I did was take the game back to the store and got another. Unfortunately, the same thing happened. I did this four times before figuring out that the whole batch at Best Buy was bad as others were returning the game for the same problems. I guess it’s a good thing that I had kept all four CD keys to get my money’s worth. I then proceeded to download Unreal Tournament 2003 via usenet since my legit (but broken) copy wasn’t working and Best Buy couldn’t give me any kind of answer on when they would get another shipment of Unreal Tournament 2003 games.

The overall point is that while I understand they don’t want people to pirate their software, software manufacturers better make sure that what they’re putting out isn’t flawed since we can’t get a cash refund if we’re completely dissatisfied with the product. They sort of have us over a barrel so to speak. So if you ever run in to a piece of software that you’re completely dissatisfied with, or the software is broken out of the box, one could continue to return it until they’ve cleared the store’s shelves of that particular piece of software. Exchange the boxed software for a new one explaining the defect, take it out to the parking lot, unwrap the software, and take it right back in to the store for another exchange. I bet software manufacturers that require keys for activation never thought about this workaround…you know, if one should happen to write down each CD key before they return the package. Think of it as a peaceful protest as you should be able to return the software if it is defective and the software manufacturers should not automatically assume that everyone are pirates. Especially since you could just run home and burn multiple copies of the software for your friends anyways. What is this non-returnable software mentality really preventing?

Yet another reason to stick with open source products whenever possible.

Quote of the week: February 5th, 2007

Monday, February 5th, 2007

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” — Albert Einstein