I travel in the kinds of circles where many people use GNU/Linux on their computers -- and not only use it, but actually call it GNU/Linux instead of just "Linux," in the fashion called for by Richard Stallman. Some of these people give me grief over the fact that I use Mac OS X instead of GNU/Linux on my Powerbook, because the MacOS is proprietary.
I've been an Apple user since 1979. I've owned dozens -- probably more than a hundred -- Macintoshes. When I worked in the private sector, I used to write purchase orders for about a quarter-million dollars' worth of Apple hardware every year. I've stuck with the machines over the years because the fit-and-finish of the OS and the generally kick-ass hardware made them the best choice for me. I've converted innumerable people to the Mac (most recently I got my grandmother's octogenarian boyfriend to pick up a Mac Mini, which he loves). Hell, I even bought half a dozen Newtons over the years.
When my free software companions give me grief over this, I tell them that I'm using an OS built on a free flavor of Unix, and that most of the apps I use are likewise free -- such as Firefox, my terminal app, etc.
Here's the important part though: when I use apps that aren't free, like Apple's Mail.app, BBEdit, NetNewsWire, etc, I do so comfortable in the fact that they save their data-files in free formats, open file-formats that can be read by free or proprietary applications. That means that I always retain the power to switch apps when I need to. That means that if the vendor changes their policy in a way that is incongruent with my needs, or if they go out of business, or if they treat me badly, I can always go across the street to another vendor, or to a free software project, and switch. This acts as a check against abusive behavior on the vendors' part and it is, I believe, partly responsible for the quality and pricing of their offerings.
The Trusted Computing people say that they intend on Trusted Computing being used to stop the unauthorized distribution of music, but none of them has ever refuted the Darknet paper, where several of Trusted Computing's inventors explain that Trusted Computing isn't fit to this purpose.
The point of Trusted Computing is to make it hard -- impossible, if you believe the snake-oil salesmen from the Trusted Computing world -- to open a document in a player other than the one that wrote it in the first place, unless the application vendor authorizes it. It's like a blender that will only chop the food that Cuisinart says you're allowed to chop. It's like a car that will only take the brand of gas that Ford will let you fill it with. It's like a web-site that you can only load in the browser that the author intended it to be seen in.
What this means is that "open formats" is no longer meaningful. An application can write documents in "open formats" but use Trusted Computing to prevent competing applications from reading them. Apple may never implement this in their own apps (though I'll be shocked silly if it isn't used in iTunes and the DVD player), but Trusted Computing in the kernel is like a rifle on the mantelpiece: if it's present in act one, it'll go off by act three.
It means that the price of being a Mac user will be eternal vigilance: you'll need to know that your apps not only write to exportable formats, but that they also allow those exported files to be read by competing apps. That they eschew those measures that would lock you in and prevent you from giving your business to someone else. I'm pretty sure that apps like BBEdit and NetNewsWire won't lock me out, as their authors are personally known to me to be wonderful, generous, honorable people. But personally familiarizing yourself with the authors of all the software you use doesn't scale.
So that means that if Apple carries on down this path, I'm going to exercise my market power and switch away, and, for the first time since 1979, I won't use an Apple product as my main computer. I may even have my tattoo removed.
My data is my life, and I won't keep it in a strongbox that someone else has the keys for.
* We've discovered that the Rosetta kernel uses TCPA/TPM DRM. Some parts of the GUI like ATSServer are still not native to x86 - meaning that Rosetta is required by the GUI, which in turn requires TPM. See the forum topic here.Link (via /.)
* After much careful analysis of the files from the new Intel-based Macs, it would appear that SSE3 enabled processors are required to run the GUI. We are still testing this theory, though - nothing has been proven conclusively. Check out this forum thread for evidence and discussion.
* Check out some of our members' earliest work - using Darwin and the "mactel" leak.
Four young amateur radio operators from Ohio were again dubbed world champs of long-distance wireless networking at the annual DefCon WiFi Shootout. These guys more than doubled the 55.1 mile record they set last year. Way to go!
All day Friday and through the night Team PAD braved rain, lightning and winds over 30 mph to setup and test their equipment at their mountaintop base outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. On Saturday July 30 at 11am they successfully made a 125 mile link using 802.11b and ran network applications with their remote team in the mountains West of St. George, Utah.
Mike Outmesguine adds,
This possibly qualifies them for a new Guiness record as well.Link to team photo and a graphic display of estimated link locations.
Frank's company provided the Wi-Fi gear to Team PAD. He tells me they used the VCom 325hp+ PCMCIA cards running at a built-in power of 300 mw on each end of the link. The cards were connected to one 12 foot and one 10 foot diameter satellite dish (see photo) on each side of the link. The computers they used were running Linux. And their link quality was so fantastic that they got 12 ms ping times, ran ssh shell commands, and even used vnc remote desktop.
He also said that Team PAD may use the same gear to attempt smashing our old Bluetooth record of 1.08 miles.
Sean Casey is a storm-chaser and an IMAX cinematographer. He transformed a long-wheelbase 1997 Ford F-450 diesel dually pickup into what he calls "TIV" (Tornado Intercept Vehicle), for driving into tornados. Every inch of detail was planned for the purpose at hand: there's even a turret for the IMAX camera! I've seen art-cars in Black Rock City that looked similar, but all they did was blast trance music while transporting bodypainted hippies from one rave to another. This mod's made for workin'.
Occupants peer out through prison-window Lexan portals. "It’s so ugly! It's just a big mobile tripod for the camera," Casey says.Link (Thanks, Joe)
Link (via growabrain)
Update: Novak is one of several artists who create the stipple art portraits for WSJ. Others include: Thaddeus Chambers, Nancy Januzzi, Hai Knafo, and Rachel Pak. There may be others, as well.
Update: Nolui Novak says: Thank you very much for mentioning my work in your blog.
However, I would also appreciate if you could make some corrections.
I'm not sure how you got an impression that I'm the only person doing the hedcuts at the Journal. It would be pretty impossible for one person to cover such a large volume of art needed on daily basis (it takes on average around 5 hours to do one hedcut).
Full time illustrators are Hai Knafo, Nancy Januzzi, Laura Levy and me. We also use a number of freelance illustrators (4 to be exact) trained in this technique when needed.
Thaddeus and Rachel are both Journal employees, but don't have anything to do with our department.
Is there any truth that if you choke on the candy Peeps, that it hardens in your throat and even with the heimlich maneuver you can't be saved and you die? Let us know.Link (via Making Light)
My younger sis heard: in order for a cologne/perfume/fragrance to be compatible to one's body chemistry, spray a sample and then lick it. If the taste stings the tongue, it is not suitable; no sting – it's a good match. Please advise before I test the handful of colognes I've been using!
HOW CAN I GET THE SUCTION BROKE WHEN THE CONTACT IS STUCK TO EYE
On a related note, Damon Wallace continues to add to his amazing collection of fan illustrations of scenes from my novel, including Alan's tiny thumb, Marci in the family cave, a sketch of Davey and a wicked-creepy Davey attack on Alan. These illos are just gobsmackingly wonderful.
HL: [Audience member] Jarod Godel asks, "A lot of the backstory and universe in Someome Comes To Town was left open; was this done on purpose, trying to encourage fan fiction to fill in those gaps?Beginning of Transcript Link
CD: Not to encourage fan fiction per se, but the human imagination has a lot higher polygon-count than prose could ever have. Leaving most of the world in shadow lets readers fill in very high rez pictures where you don't have the throughput in the printed page. That said, if fan fiction emerged that filled that in, I'd be mightily chuffed.
They’ll have to carry the wireless devices as a way for border guards to access the electronic information stored inside a document about the size of a large index card.Link (Thanks, Anne!)
Visitors to the U.S. will get the card the first time they cross the border and will be required the carry the document on subsequent crossings to and from the States.
Border guards will be able to access the information electronically from 12 metres away to enable those carrying the devices to be processed more quickly.
In one case here, a church's pickup was towed from its own parking lot; in another, a 4-year-old boy was towed away in his mother's car after she went inside her apartment for a few minutes to drop off groceries and a younger child.Link (Previous Boing Boing coverage of criminal tow truck drivers)
And a man who ran alongside a tow truck, pleading to get his vehicle back after it was towed from a fire lane, died when he slipped and was run over by the truck and then his own Chevrolet Suburban.
WIPO -- the World Intellectual Property Organization -- is the UN's most captive agency. WIPO was originally a stand-alone organization, essentially an industry consortium for rightsholders' interests, and they got brought in under the umbrella of the UN thirty or so years ago, with the understanding that they would change their practices to make them consistent with other UN instruments like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights -- humanitarian instruments -- and that it would become a humanitarian agency for development.Link
Which makes sense. Information goods are a critical piece of the development picture. Every successfully developed country made use of free information goods. More accurately, they all went through a stage when they were a pirate nation. America spent a century as a pirate nation, ripping off the intellectual property of every country around it, and in particular, of Britain, because when you're a net importer of intellectual property, signing on to multilateral copyright and patent agreements is signing on to exporting your wealth off-shore. When you're a net exporter of intellectual property, it makes economic sense.
The choice is not simply one of piracy or monopoly. There is a whole rich middle ground of public domain and open information regimes which could give developing world countries the tools they need to serve humanitarian purposes, while protecting the legitimate interests of authors, performers and inventors. WIPO could have created a global knowledge goods regime which protected both the commercial and the humanitarian fairly.
There's a legal-defense fund for Lynn that's gearing up now. Paypal your donations to Abaddon@IO.com. Money that is collected and not used will be donated to EFF. Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, Link, eMule Link (Thanks, Anniqa, Andrew, Brad, Aaron, CiscoLover, Brian, Bruce, David, John, Steve, Marie, David, Gregory, aab3w, Stephen, Foofango, Adam, az, John and others!)
"One the coolest projects I've seen so far at DEFCON was the kegbot, a linux based keg that dispenses beer as long as you have an iButton key. The system keeps track of who you are, how much you're drinking and in team mode- where you rank. the Kegbot crew built and deployed a kegbot on site at DEFCON, we were lucky enough to get there and document the building of it!"More pics and instructions on building your own Kegbot at the Make Magazine web site.
Link (Thanks also, Scott Beale and Sean Bonner!)
I received a message from the brain eating master today: "We're trying to create a self perpetuating Zombie Mob in the streets of San Francisco on Saturday (Saturday, July 30th). A seed group of zombies will start at St. Mary's square, and as we march up Market St. we'll attack Willing bystanders, converting them and giving them ingredients to make more zombies. We'll end up at Union Square, Eat tourists, then eventually hop a train to Colma for a Picnic in the Cemetary. There's a reception afterword at Launchpad with Blood Wrestling and Zombie Olympics, then Movies and Music. See eatbrains.com to get involved."
UPDATE: The event is done, brains were eaten, photos were taken, and all the links you need are here
I thought you might get a kick out of the videos from our mob last weekend- one is an attack on market street, and the other shows 50 of us invading the apple store!Link
Bonnie Burton says, "Here at Lucasfilm, it's well known that if you find a Star Wars collectible, chances are Director of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet already has it in his museum aptly titled, 'Rancho Obi-Wan.' Steve's museum is home to not only endless Star Wars toys, costumes, model kits, action figures and posters, but also classic film artifacts such as speeder bike and snowspeeder models, pieces of the krayt dragon skeleton, Mos Eisley Cantina creature masks (made from the original molds) and a Han Solo stunt pistol, to name just a few. It was an honor to be let in to his amazing toy habitat, and thankfully this time I ventured in with my camera." Link
Thomas Hawk says, "There was a bomb scare that shut down Market Street and the Embarcadero MUNI/BART station in San Francisco yesterday during rush hour from about 4:00pm to 5:00pm. The City remains on high alert and this is the third time in the past few weeks that transit stations have been shut down over suspected bombs. Turns out the suspected bomb was just a trash can. I took photos of the shutdown that include a close up of one of the bomb robots as well as an officer in bomb gear checking out the suspected bomb." Link
John Ulaszek says, "Here is the aftermath of a semi trailer load of squash hitting a overpass in Pennsylvania. I saw this while I was on a road trip two weeks ago." Link
Kurt says, "I saw this Dodge Diplomat low-end DIY car mod on the streets of West Los Angeles yesterday. The spoiler on the back is a wooden board attached to the trunk and painted blue to match the peeling body color. Perhaps it's a prototype." Link 1, Link 2.
The Purple train ran into the back of the red train that sits to the right of the image. They are in a braking zone. The railing on the right of the track is an emergency unloading zone if a train has to stop in a braking area. From what I can tell this is the next to last braking zone before the train enters the station. Trains entering this braking zone would not generally come to a full stop. But they would if there was a train ahead of them waiting to enter the station.Link
...Las Vegas developer Mark Advent's "East Village" retail complex plan, complete with faux Washington Square and an entertainment zone called the "Meat Packing District." But ever since stumbling across this ultimate show of hubris we've been hungering for more. Other than calling it the East Village, what will make the 44-acre commercial playground identifiable as such (CBGB hasn't packed up for there, yet)? Well, if this promotional electronic pamphlet is to be believed, it's a Ray's Pizza, a traffic cop, a hot dog cart and some roadside banners.(via Kottke)
Two American Airlines mechanics didn't like having to toss out $200 drill bits once they got dull. So they rigged up some old machine parts - a vacuum-cleaner belt and a motor from a science project - and built "Thumping Ralph." It's essentially a drill-bit sharpener that allows them to get more use out of each bit. The savings, according to the company: as much as $300,000 a year.Link (via Kottke)
And it was a group of pilots who realized that they could taxi just as safely with one engine as with two. That was instituted as policy has helped cut American's fuel consumption even as prices have continued to rise to record levels.
Last week, someone from Quick Boys tracked Joey down on his work phone. They tried to intimidate him with legal threats into taking down the comment. At the time, the comment was the second result on Google for "Quick Boys Movers." Joey took the comment down temporarily and contacted the poster, a friend of his, who confirmed the story. Then he reinstated the comment and wrote a long entry explaining that Quick Boys is not only unqualified to help you move house, they're also thugs who try to censor their critics.
Joey's an engaging writer and many people are linking to his post, which has now risen to the number one spot for "Quick Boys Movers" on Google. There's a moral in there, somewhere.
Me: And you say that this comment is not true?Link
FV: It is a lie. Let me put my boss on the line.
Gruff Male Voice with Eastern European Accent: Remove that comment. That's all I'm going to say. (click)
Richard Forno had been hosting the Black Hat presentation on Cisco's massive security vulnerabilities that Michael Lynn had to quit his job at ISS to deliver, since his candyass employer, a "security firm," sold him out to Cisco, who would rather bully researchers than fix their errors.
Now Forno has replaced the presentation with a cease-and-desist letter from the aforementioned candyasses at ISS, in which they whinge about the "misappropriation" of their "intellectual property" (that would be the presentation that they tried to suppress). Please send links to mirrors of Lynn's presentation and I'll put 'em up. 204K PDF Link (via Schneier)
A SF Chron article states:
Informally, the astronomers have been calling it "Xena" after the television series about a Greek warrior princess, which was popular when the astronomers began their systematic sweep of the sky in 2000. "Because we always wanted to name something Xena," Brown said...XENA? <sigh>. Aw, c'mon guys! Where's the love? So close, and yet one vowel away.
Aki Zeta-Five says,
It is a statue with a title something like "Family Goes Bowling" and it is a group of 7 foot high family members running at full speed getting ready to bowl. However, in their mad dash to go bowling, the young boy is being left in the dust. The aging dad is being pushed back and looks like he is falling, while his bowling shoes are flying. The mom looks like she partially insane the way she is smiling, running fast and staring into space. And the freakiest one is the little girl who is running ahead of the rest.Link
She has the horrific look of gleeful uncontrolled frenzy on her face as she runs with her cheek romantically pressed against the bowling ball. Her eyes are fixed straight ahead, I assume at the bowling lane she is running towards, but in her eyes there was a sense of almost possessed evil. It was as if nothing could get in her way of going bowling. She pushes her own dad down out of the way, she leaves her little brother behind, nothing matters to her. All that mattered was that she would bowl and she would use violence if anyone tried to get in her way.
Allow me to geek out for a moment.Link (via /.)
Cory's post today on how to disable the Microsoft GA program was the first real slashdotting I believe BB has had since the move to the new server.
The old server could handle 500 simultaneous connections at once, and we only very rarely reached that cap.
I had (somewhat conservatively) set the server to handle 750 connections, and, to date, we'd used about 450 max at any one time.
Before it even left the Subscriber-only status on /., the server was 100% pegged, all 750 slots used. So, I kept raising it until it could meet demand.
It's now running *1500* slots for connections, and the traffic rate is holding steady at about 1200 simultaneous connections at once. This is *three times* what the old server could handle, and guarantees instant page load times on our part (ads notwithstanding, hopefully Indieclick can keep up!).
Anyway, I thought that was mighty impressive, and thought I'd share. :)
Update: The Systems Administrator Song from Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie totally kicks ass. (Thanks, Jesse!)