zen.org Communal Weblog

December 13, 2004

Big Brother Creep

Filed under: — brendan @ 03:47 IST

When VCRs hit the world, they gave you the ability to save your copy of MacGyver or Whiz Kids or Airwolf seemingly forever. You could take a break from cleaning your living room to watch that dusty tape with the General Hospital episode where Luke and Laura were married. TV executives didn’t seem too bothered by the idea.

With the aggressive eroding of privacy in all facets of our lives, the pull for power by some seems unstoppable. There are reports that at least one Time Warner exec wants to introduce a new rule: Transitional Fair Use. You may have recorded last night’s episode of Gilmore Girls on your MythTV box, but watch out: if this plan actually takes form, they’d effectively put a timer on the show. You’d have less than a week to watch what you recorded—when the next episode airs, you lose the right to watch the previous week’s recording. They wouldn’t make your box burst into flame or raid your home with a S.W.A.T. team, but they could still claim that you broke the rules.

You pirate, you.

There are folks who are noticing the effort and conversations abound. Hopefully this “possibility” won’t turn into a law buried in a bill about proper care of public grasslands or a quiet regulation from the FCC.

If we’re not careful the needs of the money may be fed by the needs of the few. Or the one.

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December 11, 2004

Zoe Type

Filed under: — Sven @ 19:58 IST

余艾蕾 and I put together what we like to call Zoe Type, a glut/GL program that I was seeking for my Junior Hacker, Zoë. Well, something like it. I put the source up.

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December 10, 2004

The funny result of calling from Ireland -> a US 800 # to identify the caller

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:58 IST

Phone companies often offer customers the (barely documented) ability to identify the number you’re using. By calling an ANAC (Automatic Number Announcement Circuit), you can have the system tell you the phone number that is the origin of your call. I was reading stuff in the Blacklisted! 411 online forum and saw a post about one such ANAC that you can use all over the US: +1-800-444-4444. That number also appears with many others in The Tech FAQ‘s own explanation of ANACs.

If you use the “default” monopoly phone provider in Ireland, you have to pay a lot for calls to America. But there are alternatives, including one company called TeleStunt that charges the normal national call rate in Ireland for international calls to the US. (All calls in Ireland are charged by the minute—we don’t have any “local calls” like the US does.)

Through Telestunt I called the 800 number above, and was told by MCI that I was calling from “719 555 1212”; look it up, and you find that it’s directory assistance in Colorado. For kicks, I dialed the 800 number directly, and was told that I was calling from 212 918 0000; the prefix of 212-918-xxxx is in New York City. Call it, and you get a busy signal. A Google search of the number just finds a PDF with a weird phone bill.

Wonder why Telestunt shows me in Colorado, and via our regular phone company we’re in New York City?

Does that imply that a harassing or threatening call from here to the US wouldn’t be (easily) traceable?

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Finally lowly geeks and traveling executives are equal

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:37 IST

A recent InformationWeek article titled “Don’t Take The Name ‘Laptop’ Literally” is best described by reading the tag for the story:

Years after laptops became a required tool of business, we learn the heat they generate can make men infertile if they put them on their laps.

Now if companies like Transmeta start to market their low-power low-heat processor chips using this sort of information, they’ll definitely be able to tap an untouched (heh…) market.

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Nobel Day

Filed under: — Sven @ 09:36 IST

Today is nobel day, so remember to fly the Swedish flag. Also, Wangari Maathai offically becomes a Nobel Laureat today, the Norwegian Nobel Committee says so.

Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment. Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular. She thinks globally and acts locally.

Said Professor Ole Danbolt Mjøs, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. I love environmentalists.

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December 9, 2004

ahh, a little more hacking

Filed under: — brendan @ 15:35 IST

This evening I was finally able to sit down and hack a little more on jPodder, Christophe Bouhier’s cool Java podcast client, now at version 0.7.2. With little tweaks it’s able to run under Linux enough so I can try fiddling with things and see where bugs appear. And most of the wrinkles are smoothed out to compile the .java files down to Java bytecodes without platform dependencies (sounds weird, doesn’t it?). Cool!

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December 8, 2004

Cool podcast: The Bitterest Pill

Filed under: — brendan @ 16:17 IST

Today I discovered The Bitterest Pill, a really fun podcast by a stay-at-home/”shut-in” dad. His topics aren’t all about parenting (politics, music, women in business suits, you name it) and the end result is a great mix of tales and tidbits in a really easy-to-listen style. One of my favorite shows included a brief discussion comparing Sesame Street and Blues Clues. No mention of Dora’s helpful use of Spanish, but that could be for another show—that and another topic: why on Max and Ruby do you never see an adult taking care of Max? It’s always Ruby, the slightly-older sister, tasked with what their parent(s) should be doing…

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The Accidental Cook for December 7 2004

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:49 IST

Elana and I put together a new edition of our podcast The Accidental Cook. Over about 23 minutes we talk about lots of things including breakfasts and how to make the best cinnamon rolls ever, Jamie Oliver’s stew, and the start of the holidays.

The level of exhaustion I felt (our son was up at 5:30am) comes through really well in my babble. Elana makes sure to give shout-outs to some friends and has a unique way to innocently say “hi” to Dawn’s boyfriend Adam Curry.

Production notes are available in two formats: OPML and HTML.

[XML]

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Motley Crue reunites

Filed under: — brendan @ 08:38 IST

According to Google News, and in particular a cool article in Rolling Stone, Motley Crue is doing a reunion tour next year. Going from Florida up the East coast in February, then working their way out West in March.

Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Smokin’ in the Boys Room r00lz. Word to the 31337 Crue!

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December 7, 2004

As if spoken to a Jedi

Filed under: — brendan @ 08:35 IST

Dan Gillmor has a really funny quote from someone during a past visit to Microsoft.

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