November 2005


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Archive for November, 2005


Posted in Politics on November 7th, 2005

So, what’s new in the world?

French youths are rioting on a racial discrimination platform, to the tune of more than 2000 cars being torched in the past two days all over the country. The French government at this point appears powerless to stop it. From what I can gather, the police have no idea how to handle a situation like this. They are making arrests (more than 600 so far) but it does not appear to be stemming the tide.

At the Vatican, officials have lately stated that Darwin was not a complete idiot or a heretic, and further that the Fundamentalist Christians really need to go back and have another read through Genesis. They agree that Evolution is a proven theory, and that the Intelligent Design pundits have taken things too literally.

Boiling it down, the Vatican is saying “God created the Universe, but after that, Evolution took over. God did not sit down and design every little thing one by one.” So, God may have written the original software, but left it up to the adaptive code to see what would happen later. Sit back, pour yourself a mimosa and watch the fun, eh?

Now if we could only get the Vatican to put the stomp down on the fundies.


Posted in Geekery on November 6th, 2005

When do you leave good enough alone? Apparently, just before you try to add slick new themes to KDE.

I added Baghira to get a slick brushed-metal look to the top of all my windows, which somehow managed to disable about half of my widgets. A couple tries at re-installing Qt didn’t work. Then I noticed there was an update available for KDE. “That should fix that Qt problem…”

Next boot gave me really long KDE start-times followed by a complete lack of fonts.


So, do I try to remove then re-install KDE, or build it from scratch again?

Me? A glutton for punishment? Never!

Failure and mastery

Posted in Geekery on November 5th, 2005

Tried to re-configure Earthlink dial-up on a G4 Mac today, and couldn’t get the damn thing to sync up to the server – it kept timing out before the connection was made, but would then continue connecting. Once connected, it wouldn’t let me try again until I had disconnected.

It’s been a long time since I have been that mad at a computer. I think I hate Macs. Sure they look pretty, but for someone like me who has spent years mastering Windoze, there are simply too many things in the wrong place. Then there is the really stupid shit: the CD eject button is on the keyboard, not the tower. (And of course the client had changed keyboards, and the new one did not have the media keys.)

I have mad KDE skillz. Kubunutu 5.10 had it’s chance, but it just wasn’t up to the task of running Rodimus Prime (my desktop, otherwise known as Hot Rod when it runs Windoze.)

So SuSE 10.0 went back in tonight, and I hamered it into the shape I wanted in short order. Tagline randomizer: check. Emails configured: check. Spam Assassin configured: check. Addressbook imported: check. Firefox extensions, themes and bookmarks: check. Multimedia fix: check. 3D acceleration: check. Audio: check.

At one point I had 7 windows open, with one of those being six tabs of Firefox. And it never slowed down. Yay Linux!

Microsoft now Pro-Privacy?

Posted in Geekery on November 3rd, 2005

Brian Krebs of Security Fix writes to let us know that Microsoft has been prodding lawmakers to enact a Federal-level privacy law to pre-empt all the states who have been doing so locally. Makes plenty of sense to me.

First, M$ is a huge bloody company, selling its products globally. I’d bet that a sizable portion of their expenses can be found under the heading “legal fees”. If every state enacts it’s own privacy laws, then M$ has to pay a lawyer to decipher each one, and then make sure they are abiding by all of them. It gets expensive. A little money now spent urging Congress to act unilaterally will pay for itself later on down the road. Smart move.

Secondly, it’s good PR. M$ has been taking it without lube or a kiss lately over the general insecurity of their products, and this might help swing public opinion a little. Also a good move.

Here’s where we get to the part I don’t like. M$ is big enough to buy some serious sway, and that means they could have a big hand in writing the law. Him that writes the law will often make himself a loophole to get out of it.

Still, the devil will be in the details, (Chris) Hoofnagle cautioned, noting that Microsoft’s statement of principles says the company supports “consumer opt-in” — the consumer’s advance permission would be required — for sharing of sensitive (e.g., financial or medical) data but supports “opt-out” — data can be shared unless the consumer explicitly says “no” — for every other kind of information.

Personally, I am of the firm belief that any company I do business with needs to ask permission in writing before disclosing any of my personal information. This should be a completely seperate form, not wrapped up in another block of legaleze. It should have only the one option, so therefore it would be quite short, so you can use a nice easy-to-read font.

Here’s an example: “I agree to let XYZ Company share my personal information with that company’s business partners for the purpose listed here.” Followed of course, by said purpose. One purpose per page, each page requiring a signature.

SuSE 10.0 and Kubuntu 5.10 Reviews

Posted in Geekery on November 2nd, 2005

Some of you may have heard this particular story before – feel free to skip along as you see fit. For those that haven’t, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…

Way back in the never-never of 2000, I was living in apartment A of a 4-unit building. B:TNG lived in unit C, with TS and the Physicist living in the stacked apartments between us. We all decided life would be much better if we could network all of our computers together to share out B’s DSL connection and get all of us out of dial-up hell. Me being the cable guy, I spent a few hours crawling around under the building and got the whole thing working without much fuss – with one exception.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s that buzzing noise?

Posted in Geekery, Humor on November 2nd, 2005

Girls: fancy an SMS-fired Bluetooth vibrator? | The Register

Our female readers are invited to imagine the folllowing scenario: It’s Monday, you’re at work, you’re bored, you’re thinking “how could I possibly spice up this trawl of the 2,000 weekend emails in my inbox?” when it occurs to you that if someone were to invent an SMS-triggered Bluetooth vibrator then your partner could bring you to an earth-shattering climax simply by texting a few sweet words of lurv, leaving you totally satisfied as a woman and fit to face the most daunting online task…

The Toy is worn internally, linked to a mobile phone and controlled by sms text messages sent to the phone. Once read, the message is transported automatically to The Toy, which turns it into vibrations – with a huge range of movements, depending on what you have written.

That’s right folks, a vibe triggered by a text message. Puts that ‘unlimited’ messaging plan in a new light, doesn’t it?