In an open letter sent to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer today, EFF outlines five steps Microsoft must take to make things right for MSN Music customers -- including a issuing a public apology, providing refunds or replacement music files, and launching a substantial publicity campaign to make sure all customers know their options.Link (Thanks, Rebecca!)
"MSN Music customers trusted Microsoft when it said that this was a safe way to buy music, and that trust has been betrayed," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "If Microsoft is prepared to treat MSN Music customers like this, is there any reason to suppose that future customers won't get the same treatment?"
7-year-old boy removed from father and placed in state custody over mistaken order of hard lemondade
The 47-year-old academic says he wasn't even aware alcoholic lemonade existed when he and Leo stopped at a concession stand on the way to their seats in Section 114.Link
"I'd never drunk it, never purchased it, never heard of it," Ratte of Ann Arbor told me sheepishly last week. "And it's certainly not what I expected when I ordered a lemonade for my 7-year-old."
But it wasn't until the top of the ninth inning that a Comerica Park security guard noticed the bottle in young Leo's hand.
"You know this is an alcoholic beverage?" the guard asked the professor.
"You've got to be kidding," Ratte replied. He asked for the bottle, but the security guard snatched it before Ratte could examine the label.
... it would be two days before the state of Michigan allowed Ratte's wife, U-M architecture professor Claire Zimmerman, to take their son home, and nearly a week before Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house.
Police arrested Duff, 45, at 3:45 a.m. Monday inside a portable toilet in Sycamore Township’s Bechtold Park – the same place they found him on April 22, snoring so loudly he caught the attention of a bike cop. When that officer swung open the toilet door, he found Duff on the john with his pants up, an open beer by his side.Link (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
Engineers have demonstrated how to make microscale origami-like containers that could be used as drug delivery devices in the body. The hinged structures were created in polysilicon and are only 30 micrometers on a side. (One inch is 25,400 micrometers.) The team from the USC Information Sciences Institute published their "recipe" in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. Link
Terrified residents in Bicester, Oxford, called police with a description and an armed response unit and the force helicopter were scrambled in minutes.Link (via Fortean Times)
"I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild." -- Albert Hofmann (1906-2008)
Link to Wikipedia article, Link to Hoffman.org (Thanks, Wayne de Geere III!)
UPDATE: News of Hofmann's death may have been greatly exaggerated. But boy, that's sure a great quote and we're happy Dr. Hofmann still seems to be riding his mental bike around Switzerland.
UPDATE: Over at The Stranger's blog, Dominic Holden says that the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has confirmed Hofmann's death. Link (Thanks, NaFun!)
UPDATE: The fine folks at Erowid have also confirmed. Apparently, Hofmann died this morning of a heart attack. Link
UPDATE: And an obituary from The Telegraph. Link
The gem sweater bedazzlements and lyrical besnazzlements of "internet ceWEBrity" Leslie Hall have graced Boing Boing tv before -- but in today's episode, Ms. Hall submits an exclusive tour diary for BBtv viewers, a veritable world exclusive. "With these shoulderpads I have the strength to destroy, villages, homes, and crops," she warns. Her ladyfire is mighty, as all ye who gaze upon this video shall witness.
Ms. Hall was among the internet personalities who participated in the recent ROFLcon gathering in Cambridge, Mass. Her presence there among fellow internet memesters is documented in this Wired gallery, and in a photo set from Scott Beale of Laughing Squid. See also his short video of the Tron Guy talking about geek women. Which brings us back to the 26-year-old Ms. Hall, straight outta Iowa, believed by her many followers to be the fiercest gold-lame-wrapped geek woman on the planet.
Link to Boing Boing tv post with discussion and downloadable video.
Related Boing Boing tv items:
* Leslie Hall: ceWEBrity, gem sweater diva, jammer of jams.
* Leslie Hall iPhone snaps, "Blame the Booty" remix - Boing Boing
My next novel, Little Brother, officially goes on sale today! In addition to the US print edition, there's a DRM-free audio edition (there're also forthcoming editions in the UK, Greece, Russia, France and Norway, with others pending) from Random House Audio. My deal with Random House is that they're absolutely not allowed to sell the book with DRM on it, which, sadly, means that Audible (the largest audiobook store in the world) won't carry it -- they insist on selling books with DRM, even when authors and publishers don't want it.
Instead, you can buy the audiobook from Zipidee, a retailer that Random House uses -- they have the spiffy embeddable Flash sales-object you see above (feel free to paste it into your own blog or whatnot), and there's also this static URL for those of you who can't use Flash.
The audiobook comes with my own sampling license: once you own it, you're free to take up to 30 minutes' worth of material from it and remix and then redistribute it as much as you like, provided that you do so on a noncommercial basis, make sure that it's clear that this is a remix and not the original, and make sure that you tell people where to find the original. This is in addition to all the fair use remixing that you're allowed to do without my permission (of course!).
I'll also be releasing (as always!) a free, Creative Commons-licensed version of the text of Little Brother, just as soon as I get back to London (I'm presently in Toronto, visiting my family with my newborn daughter). It'll likely be Monday or so -- there's a bunch of little clean-uppy things I need to do with the Little Brother distribution site that I need to be in my office with uninterrupted time to accomplish. Link to audiobook, Link to buy Little Brother
Symantec security researcher Liam OMurchu has details on this latest development. The help section of the latest version of the Zeus malware states that the client has no right to distribute Zeus in any business or commercial purpose not connected to the initial sale, cannot examine the source code of the product, has no right to use the product to control other botnets, and cannot send the product to anti-virus companies. The client does agree to "give the seller a fee for any update to the product that is not connected with errors in the work, as well as for adding additional functionality." Modern license agreements take a great deal of (deserved) fire for being absurdly draconian, but even the likes of Adobe and Microsoft don't claim that purchasing a version of their respective products locks the user into buying future editions.Link (via /.)
It's obviously difficult for the manufacturers of an illegal product to threaten legal sanctions against an infringer, but the Zeus authors give it their best shot. According to the EULA, "In cases of violations of the agreement and being detected, the client loses any technical support. Moreover, the binary code of your bot will be immediately sent to antivirus companies." Frankly, "We'll blow your kneecaps off and feed them to you," might be a bit more effective as a threat, but I suppose it's a bit hard to carry out that threat over the Internet.
The Sheriff also asked environmentalists to look out for anyone "a little bit radical" who might be a terrorist provocateur hoping to exploit the trusting, gentle hippies to turn them into deep green Unabombers.
"You may think a guy is just shooting pictures, but if you report it to us, we'll send it on to the FBI and they may have four or five other reports of the same thing," said Richard Pillsbury with the Tennessee Fusion Center, a collaboration between the Department of Safety and the Department of Homeland Security.Link (via Schneier)
Shelby County sergeant Larry Allen warned attendees at the meeting to look for people who appear to be doing surveillance outside public buildings, such as shopping malls.
"One of the things discussed in the al-Qaeda manual is conducting surveillance of your target," added Eric Jackson with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. "That could mean looking at a building to see how security is established."
Link (via Kottke)
The Mended Spiderweb series came about during a six-week period in June and July in 1998 which I spent on Pörtö. In the forest and around the house where I was living, I searched for broken spiderwebs which I repaired using red sewing thread. All of the patches were made by inserting segments one at a time directly into the web. Sometimes the thread was starched, which made it stiffer and easier to work with. The short threads were held in place by the stickiness of the spider web itself; longer threads were reinforced by dipping the tips into white glue. I fixed the holes in the web until it was fully repaired, or until it could no longer bear the weight of the thread. In the process, I often caused further damage when the tweezers got tangled in the web or when my hands brushed up against it by accident.
This week, it's HOWTO start a flashmob:
Timing is everything
This refers back to the whole participation thing. If your event is spontaneous in nature and just requires people to show up at the same time and do something goofy(say, gather at a subway stop and follow the first bearded person you see as if they were Jesus), they won't need much time to prepare. The ideal time for this sort of event is at the end of the workday (between 5 and 6PM) during the week as a) the streets are more crowded and b)participants are more available. For whatever reason, Thursdays seem to be most effective.
If you are planning something more elaborate, like a Costumed Rampage, you want to give people at least a week to prepare, and preferably two. These events are most effective in heavily populated shopping and tourist areas, so Saturday afternoons work best. Note: these often turn into drunkfests.
With the recent release of the $350,000 Opus 8 and the de Grisogono Meccanico dG with their mechanically mimicked LED digits, I wanted to also share this video and photos from the collection of UK LED collector, Lloyd "Theledwatch". He was recently featured on Antiques Roadshow (see video above) where he shared some of the best examples of early 1970s digital light emitting diode watches like the Pulsar Hamilton P1, Girard Perregaux Casquette, Omega Time Computer and my one-of-a-kind favorites by the Royal designer Andrew Grima.