Saturday, September 13, 2003


The Register  

The Register: "Grand Theft Auto in the dock over US road killing
By gamesindustry.biz
Posted: 11/09/2003 at 07:33 GMT

Videogames are on trial yet again in the US, as the family of a man killed by teenagers who shot at passing cars on a freeway file a lawsuit against Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two.

The two teenagers - William and Joshua Buckner, 16 and 14 years old, respectively - opened fire on vehicles on the Interstate 40 highway in Tennessee with a .22 calibre rifle, killing one person and injuring another severely.

They told the police who arrested them that they were bored, and decided to mimick their favourite videogame, Grand Theft Auto. The family of the victim, 45-year-old nurse Aaron Hamel, have now filed suit against Take-Two Interactive, claiming that the company should take responsibility for his death. "

Let's see... What's next? Why, it's only a matter of time until Fiskar's is sued for making the scissors used in a fatal case of spousal rage. This nonsense has to stop somewhere and this is as good a place as any!

Overseers Missed Big Picture as Failures Led to Blackout  

Overseers Missed Big Picture as Failures Led to Blackout: "Overseers Missed Big Picture as Failures Led to Blackout

This article was reported and written by Eric Lipton, Richard Pérez-Peña and Matthew L. Wald.
Twenty-two minutes before North America's biggest blackout, officials at two agencies charged with ensuring the safe and steady flow of power across the Midwest conferred by telephone about what they thought were troubling but still routine electrical line problems in Ohio."

"In the end, then, it was not just a circuit breaker tripping or a transmission line sagging into a tree that caused the system to fail. Documents and interviews make clear that the blackout may well have resulted, just as surely, from the fact that the people whose job it was to respond to those failures lacked much of the information about what was happening."

Well, it's obvious that something needs to be done. This article is an extensive one and shows just how big a mess we're all in. The main problem is that there is no national power grid monitoring agency with any authority to order action by anyone. Couple this with a lack of the ability to see 'the big picture' and you have a recipe for disaster. And it won't get better until someone in Washington acts. That, in itself, is why we'd ALL better get ready for it to happen again. Let's hope it's not in the middle of a 'Hundred Year' blizzard, hmm?

Thursday, September 11, 2003


Senate Democrats Block New Rules on Overtime  

Senate Democrats Block New Rules on Overtime: "Senate Democrats Block New Rules on Overtime

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 — President Bush's plan to change the definition of who is eligible for overtime pay ran into a serious roadblock on Capitol Hill today, as the Senate, in a rare Democratic victory, voted to block the White House from issuing the new rules.
Six Republicans joined with 48 Democrats to oppose the White House plan, which critics say would strip as many as eight million workers of their right to overtime. The 54-to-45 vote was a rebuke to the administration, which contends that the rules, strongly supported by the business community, would update an outmoded labor law and make more people eligible for overtime.
The matter is far from settled. The measure the Senate passed was an amendment to a much larger spending bill that covers programs for health, labor and education, including money for student loans and medical research. When the House considered the same bill in July, it voted, by a narrow margin, to clear the way for the new overtime rules."

Yay Democrats! Go! Go! Go!

RFID Privacy Happenings  

RFID Privacy Happenings: "September 10, 2003
Big Brother in your holster

Two pro-gun-rights websites recently had postings on RFID and thoughts of using it to either tag guns or ammunition. On packing.org, a group of web posters ask whether or not the chips could be used to tag ammunition, while on the website Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc., (I am not making this up), there is an interesting article called Big Brother In Your Holster, which quotes Katherine Albrecht's comments about the launch of the EPC, then goes on to say: RFID and Firearms: Every Bullet Will Have Your Name on It!
Posted by simsong at 06:58 AM

September 09, 2003
Malaysia buys a stake in RFID
ZDNet brings us this report:
The Malaysian government has bought the rights to tiny chips that can embed IDs into currency notes, bullets, passports and even inside human bodies, reported Malaysian daily The Star.
Posted by holtzman at 09:55 PM "

The first item sounds like a good idea to me, EXCEPT that if a crook steals your ammo and uses it to commit a crime, then guess who gets hauled into the slammer? RFID used in this way obviously needs more work. Some element of ID decay needs doing.

The second item raises the spectre of the Nazis branding people at the death camps.

Slashdot | Wind River To Stop Selling BSD/OS  

Slashdot | Wind River To Stop Selling BSD/OS: "Wind River To Stop Selling BSD/OS

Posted by simoniker on Wednesday September 10, @07:49PM
from the difficult-to-predict-comments-response dept.
David writes 'According to an article on Bsdnewsletter.com, OS company Wind River has said it will be stopping sales of BSD/OS on this December 31st, and product support exactly one year thereafter. Only 15 more weeks to grab the final 5.1 update before this piece of history might be gone forever...' "

Interesting. Has Apple sliced the core out of BSD?

Blogger bucks premium-services trend | CNET News.com  

Blogger bucks premium-services trend | CNET News.com: "Blogger bucks premium-services trend

By Paul Festa
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
September 10, 2003, 10:44 AM PT

Google-owned Web log-creation site Blogger is eliminating its paid version and folding premium functions into its free service, bucking a trend toward making people pay for Web site extras.
The creation of Blogger Pro, which cost subscribers a yearly fee of $35, came about as a result of financial necessity, Blogger co-founder Evan Williams wrote in an e-mail to subscribers. Now that Google owns the service, that need has passed.
'Pro subscribers helped keep us going as a struggling start-up, when servers and bandwidth were at an extreme premium,' Williams wrote. 'We wanted to keep basic Blogger free, but we needed to start charging in order to keep the lights on…Today, as you may know, Blogger's situation is much different. For one thing, we're part of Google. Google has lots of computers and bandwidth. And Google believes blogs are important and good for the Web.'

Google said it would give Blogger Pro subscribers either a $24 Blogger sweatshirt or a prorated cash refund. That offer is good through Oct. 1.
A Google representative said the formerly paid services will be rolled out in the free version in the next few days, but that syndication and posting by e-mail will take longer to offer. "

Amazing! Google just keeps doing things right! How in the world can one outfit keep avoiding the usual stupidity of large companies? I don't know, but I sure hope they keep it up.

RIAA Sprains Elbow Patting Itself on the Back  

In an apparent effort to help its members sleep better at night, comes the following item reported in a Wired article by Katie Dean-

"On Wednesday, the RIAA released a study by Peter D. Hart Research Associates that showed that 52 percent of music consumers are supportive of the industry’s legal action against file sharers. The researchers surveyed 803 consumers ages 10 and over on Sept. 4-6, just before the lawsuits were announced."

Right. And I've done a survey that 52% of the people in the U.S. and elsewhere read my blog first thing in the morning, before breakfast. This is like releasing a study that says that 52% of antelopes in Africa don't mind being eaten to help lions survive.

Microsoft TechNet  

Microsoft TechNet

Well, here's the newest of many. Another open door for the bad guys. This one is tagged 'Critical', so don't waste any time. It addresses another hole that allows crackers to take over your system. This is seldom done on a system-by-system basis and is usually engineered into Trojans to allow them to use your system like a robot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


Bandwidth Speedtest Broadband Connection Speed Test Internet  

Bandwidth Speedtest Broadband Connection Speed Test Internet: "Bandwidth Speed Test Broadband Internet Connection Speedtest
Eric A. Arnold - 10/27/00
Test the internet connection speed, by analyzing the efficiency of an online connection during a large file download. What you're testing is not just the speed into the computer, but the speed of the slowest link between you and the networked test server. "

This is a super testing page, with over a hundred speed testing URL's. I can't think of anyplace else I'd want to use. The best practice is to pick about a dozen and take anaverage of the results. Don't try ANY test around 5 p.m., since the traffic on the net is going to drop your results by a bunch!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


About Us - RIAA Members  

About Us - RIAA Members

Well, here are your targets for The Great Music Boycott of 2003. Never let it be said that people who enjoy music were powerless to stop the madness...

261 Lawsuits Filed on Internet Music Sharing  

261 Lawsuits Filed on Internet Music Sharing: "261 Lawsuits Filed on Internet Music Sharing

he recording industry filed 261 lawsuits yesterday against people who share copyrighted music over the Internet, charging them with copyright infringement in the first broad legal action aimed at ordinary users of file-sharing networks."

Well, the war has begun. Typically, for a war, it started with a blodbath. One has to wonder what the artists feel about the situation. The liklihood that artists will find this of any benefit is highly improbable. Of course it's also highly unlikely that the artists have any say in the matter. They're much more hte victims than any record company.

On the RIAA side, they have to feel that they're losing money hand over fist. That, to me, seems like the MOST improbable situation to begin with. They take their profits and whatever may be left over will be given to the artists (or at least a percentage of it). They have to feel like it's the last alternative, because they face the possibility of major retaliation by their customer base. A boycott of the companies who form the RIAA would leave them as little more than corpses.

Bottom line is that the RIAA is desparate, which seldom makes people do sensible things. They'll suffer much more than consumers. If only they had tried other things. Like maybe lowering the price of CD's to around $8.98 a piece? I'm sure that people are willing to pay a resonable price for a CD, just not the monopoly prices that the greedy RIAA has demanded for years.

It's payback time...

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