Please note: the viewport design is copied from Steve Den Beste's excellent blog, USS Clueless. Used with permission.

Saturday, August 27, 2005  

via ? Hosted By SPEAKEASY.NET

Dark Iron: War Report

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005

Starting the PvP guild on the Dark Iron server has helped me become a World of Warcraft power-gamer. I'm not playing any more or less than I was on previous servers, it's just that now I understand how the game works better than I ever have before.

It feels like it's easier to play on the horde side than the alliance side. I'm not sure if that's real or perceived. A huge stumbling block for me has always been when you reach the level where soloing your character is no longer an option. On Dark Iron, there are always at least 50 people online to give a helping hand. Most of them have the same quests you're trying to complete, and all have something about the game they can teach me.

PvP is fun, but sometimes it seems really pointless. The battle over the Hillsbrad foothills is an exercise in futility. As is any conflict over Ashenvale. Really intelligent players turn into retarded monkeys once they enter a raid group. How hard is it to understand that chasing the enemy into their own town is a really bad idea? And yet...they can't help themselves. Like mosquitoes heading towards a bug-zapper they are compelled to run headstrong into a group of Southshore guards who quickly dispatch them. BZZT! BZZZT! Can I get a rez???? BZZT! BZZZT! I'm guilty of it myself. On more than one occasion I have woken up inside enemy lines like a drunk nursing a hangover. How did I get here? Who did I just sleep with?

I look forward to the more goal-oriented battlegrounds. Until that time comes, I'll have to remain content commanding my 'Hillsbrad Special Olympics Team' in our goal to almost-not-quite-kinda-not-really-almost beat the forces of the Alliance. Again.

Oh well. At least I look fly doing it.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:44 PM | link |

via New York Times (registration required)

Apple, Digital Music's Angel, Earns Record Industry's Scorn

Published: August 27, 2005

Two and a half years after the music business lined up behind the chief executive of Apple, Steven P. Jobs, and hailed him and his iTunes music service for breathing life into music sales, the industry's allegiance to Mr. Jobs has eroded sharply.
Skip to next paragraph
Forum: Technology and the Internet

Mr. Jobs is now girding for a showdown with at least two of the four major record companies over the price of songs on the iTunes service.

If he loses, the one-price model that iTunes has adopted - 99 cents to download any song - could be replaced with a more complex structure that prices songs by popularity. A hot new single, for example, could sell for $1.49, while a golden oldie could go for substantially less than 99 cents.

Music executives who support Mr. Jobs say the higher prices could backfire, sending iTunes' customers in search of songs on free, unauthorized file-swapping networks.

Signs of conflict over pricing issues are increasingly apparent. This month, Apple started its iTunes service in Japan without songs from the two major companies - Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group - leaving artists like Avril Lavigne, Beyonc?and Rob Thomas out of the catalog because the companies refused to license their music to iTunes, executives involved in the talks said.

That gap in the Japanese music market, the world's second biggest, is considered a harbinger of what may await American consumers as the contracts that record companies have with Apple in the United States come up for renewal early next year.

Mr. Jobs in the past has cast himself as an innovator battling established media giants like Disney and Microsoft. But these days, allies and adversaries both agree, he has more power online than Wal-Mart has in the bricks-and-mortar world.

Apple commands an estimated 75 percent of digital music sales, and roughly 80 percent of sales of MP3 players, with its market-leading iPod. While many still admire Mr. Jobs's touch - iTunes quickly established a market for paid downloads after the industry wasted years on misfires - he also inspires enmity or jealousy from others in the industry, which is back in a slump after a modest rebound last year.

Mr. Jobs' vision of simple, uniform pricing for songs and a policy of limiting Apple's music to Apple's devices are increasingly under attack.

'He'd like to continue to define the rules of the game,' said Paul Vidich, a special adviser to America Online and former executive vice president of the Warner Music Group. Mr. Vidich said the digital music market, while growing, was still a fraction of the music business, but added, 'I just think the music companies are now at a point where there's too much money on the table not to insist' that Apple accept variable prices.

'The question is,' Mr. Vidich said, 'what do they want the profile of the business to look like going forward?'

A sore point for some music executives is the fact that Apple generates much more money selling iPod players than it does as a digital music retailer, leading to complaints that Mr. Jobs is profiting mornere from tracks downloaded to fill the 21 million iPods sold so far than are the labels that produced the recordings.

Andrew Lack, the chief executive of Sony BMG, discussed the state of the overall digital market at a media and technology conference three months ago and said that Mr. Jobs 'has got two revenue streams: one from our music and one from the sale of his iPods.'

'I've got one revenue stream,' Mr. Lack said, joking that it would require a medical professional to locate. 'It's not pretty.'

posted by Gary Williams at 9:59 AM | link |

Thursday, August 25, 2005  

[Politech] Sign-on letter tells Bush admin to back off in .xxxfight [fs]

From Declan McCullagh's Politech

[Politech] Sign-on letter tells Bush admin to back off in .xxxfight [fs]

Previous Politech messages:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Governments and Internet DNS
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 17:09:55 -0400
From: Milton Mueller

Should Governments Censor the Domain Name
System? Should the US Government Have
Unilateral Authority Over ICANN?

On August 11, the U.S. Commerce Department
responded to a campaign by conservative relligious
groups favoring online content controls by telling
ICANN to reconsider its agreement to create a new top-level domain for sexual content.
ICANN complied by delaying its process.

The US Commerce Dept's intervention raises
profound issues about how the Internet is governed.
This occurs at a time when the World Summit on the
Information Society and many other national
governments are focusing on ICANN. According to the
Internet Governance Project (IGP), the letter "calls
into question the neutrality of the U.S. government's
special authority over ICANN," and is the first open
exercise of the USG's unilateral authority over the
ICANN regime.

The IGP has prepared a "Statement
Opposing Political Intervention in the Internet's
Core Technical Administrative Functions."
The statement carefully analyzes the implications of
this action for ICANN and for Internet governance
generally. You can read the statement here:

If you agree with it, you can sign on as an endorser
by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

You can also download the statement itself here:

Sign on or not, IGP urges everyone not to let the
advocates of content regulation be the only voices
heard by the Commerce Department.

Dr. Milton Mueller
Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Politech mailing list
Archived at
Moderated by Declan McCullagh (

posted by Gary Williams at 10:08 PM | link |

via View from Satellite

View from Satellite

To view the Earth as currently seen from a satellite in Earth orbit, choose the satellite from the list below and press the 'View Earth from Satellite' button. The satellite database is updated regularly but may not reflect the current position of satellites, such as the U.S. Space Shuttle, which maneuver frequently after reaching orbit.

At right is an image (screencapture) of the view from Echostar 9...To pick your own view, click here...

posted by Gary Williams at 8:29 PM | link |

via Penny Arcade!

Resetting Nintendogs

This can be accomplished by starting the game, and immediately holding down A, B, X, Y, R, and L. I'm pretty sure.


posted by Gary Williams at 11:24 AM | link |

Wednesday, August 24, 2005  


Open Letter To The Kansas School Board

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:47 AM | link |

Tuesday, August 23, 2005  

via -- Astronotes

NASA: Deorbit Module Unneeded for Hubble, James Webb Telescope Costs Soar

The idea of hooking a special deorbit module to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has apparently been scuttled by NASA.

“It does not look like a propulsion module will be necessary for a shuttle servicing mission,” said Chris Shank, special assistant to NASA chief, Michael Griffin, at the 8th International Mars Society Convention, held August 11-14 at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Meanwhile, the HST is very unlikely to fall back to Earth prior to 2020, although if the Sun is much more active than expected next cycle, reentry might occur a little earlier…perhaps a few years, said Nicholas Johnson, NASA Orbital Debris Program Manager and Chief Scientist for Orbital Debris at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Johnson emphasized that this is considered very unlikely. “If another servicing mission is undertaken, HST would probably be given another small boost in altitude at its conclusion. This would further delay a natural reentry of HST,” he told via email.

Shank noted at the Mars Society meeting that HST’s follow-on space scope -- the James Webb Space Telescope -- is over-budget big-time. “There’s a $1 billion cost overrun that we’re looking at,” he said.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:27 PM | link |

Monday, August 22, 2005  

via The Register

Exploit for unpatched IE vuln fuels hacker fears

By John Leyden
Published Friday 19th August 2005 11:04 GMT
Get breaking Security news straight to your desktop - click here to find out how

Microsoft is investigating an IE security bug amid fears that a hacker attack based on the vulnerability is imminent. A flaw in Microsoft DDS Library Shape Control COM object (msdds.dll) is at the centre of the security flap.

Security researchers warn that msdss.dll might be called from a webpage loaded by Internet Explorer and crash in such a way that allows hackers to inject potentially hostile code into vulnerable systems. That's because IE attempts to load COM objects found on a web page as ActiveX controls, as is the case with msdds.dll. A programming object is not supposed to be used in this way. So hackers might be able to take control of systems by tricking users into visiting a maliciously constructed web site. US-CERT warns that exploit code to do this is already available but Microsoft said it's not aware of any attacks.

No patch is available but Microsoft has posted a bulletin detailing possible workarounds. These include disabling ActiveX controls, setting the kill bit for msdds.dll and unregistering msdds.dll. Use of an alternative browser (such as Firefox, Opera) is also an option.

posted by Gary Williams at 7:11 PM | link |


I was downloading the files from my server's home directory to recover the files I'd stored there and found this: coolsig.htm. I don't know where it came from, but it's clearly cool lines from people's sig files:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx

Question Athority. They usually know where the bathroom is." - MTV's Daria

Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fishburger and I realize, Oh my God. I could be eating a slow learner. - Lynda Montgomery

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. - Wayne Gretzky

You can observe a lot by just watching. - Yogi Berra

Si hoc legere scis numium eruditionis habes.
    If you can read this, you're overeducated.
Semper Ubi Sub Ubi
    Always wear Underwear.
Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
    I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
    When all else fails, play dead.

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis ad capul tuum saxum immane mittam.
    (Translation: I have a catapult. Give me all the money or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.)

We live in a society where pizza gets to your house before the police.

Managing programmers is like herding cats.

"There is an old saying that if a million monkeys typed on a million keyboards for a million years, eventually all the works of Shakespeare would be produced. Now, thanks to Usenet, we know this is not true."

Carpe Aptenodytes!
    (Seize the Penguins!)


Just found this too:

"nougatelevisionipplexplosionematodelephant" -- Kibo

The "Jar Jar Binks Monster Mouth Candy Tongue"

lollipop patent: 1. A holder and enclosure for an elongated object which comprises a cylindrical main housing having a smooth inner surface along a length thereof, a secondary cylindrical housing having smooth inner and outer surfaces along a length thereof, said secondary housing having one end that fits into a bottom end of said main housing and said one end supports said elongated object, a split cap secured to and enclosing an upper end of said main housing, said split cap being biased in a closing direction by a biasing spring means, and said main housing having a stop cap (12) on a bottom end thereof and said secondary housing having an end cap (40) on a bottom end thereof. -- Kibo

" still reeks of forced angst and bitter Twinkies." -- The Avocado Avenger

Too bad I can't get alt.religion.kibology any more...

posted by Gary Williams at 1:42 AM | link |

Sunday, August 21, 2005  

via New York Times (registration required)

Keeping Your Computer and Its Contents Safe

Published: August 21, 2005

IT'S hard not to experience anxiety when you're traveling with a laptop. A computer can certainly make life easier for travelers keeping an online travel journal, serial e-mailers and those who want to keep up with their jobs. But there are, as every laptop-toting traveler knows, numerous risks: accidental drops during security screenings, theft from a hotel room, loss in a taxi or restaurant or hardware failure from too many jolts.
Skip to next paragraph
Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

Jeff Dean uses his laptop at Logan International Airport in Boston.

'Laptops are great because you can take your entire office with you wherever you go, but you need to recognize that your entire office might be lost, stolen or damaged beyond use,' said Ann Westerheim, president of Ekaru, a technology services company.

Perhaps the most important safety measure, Ms. Westerheim said, is protecting the information on your computer, so that if it is damaged, lost or stolen, the data remain safe. Travelers now have many backup devices to choose from.

Beside storing your files and data on a removable CD or DVD disk, there is a variety of other portable storage devices. Particularly convenient are flash drives: small key-chain-size plastic devices that weigh only an ounce or so and plug into a computer's U.S.B. port (the port typically used for connecting printers and other peripherals). You can copy your e-mail files, documents, pictures or data files to the U.S.B. flash drive and can then keep the files with you or keep them in the hotel safe.

Lexar makes a U.S.B. memory device, JumpDrive Secure, with one gigabyte of storage, large enough for lots of documents, photos and e-mail ($75.99 at, that includes software that allows only users with a password to download data.

For additional security, there are flash drives with biometric capabilities, like a fingerprint reader that allows access only with a matching fingerprint. For example, ACP makes a U.S.B. memory drive (Security Key Fingerprint Mini Flash Drive, $200.99 at with one gigabyte of storage. Other U.S.B. flash drives, like the Relay 512MB ($49.98 from Staples) simply provide portable storage without any additional security capabilities.

Alternatively, you might even want to consider storing or backing up your data files on the memory cards that slip into comparably equipped digital cameras or cellular phones. For example, my Nokia 6230 phone from Cingular accepts standard MultiMedia Cards (SanDisk 256MB MC Card, $39.99 at that I can remove from the phone and slide into a computer to copy and store files, while my digital camera accepts Memory Stick styles of memory cards. This solution is good for travelers who simply want backup.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:31 AM | link |

[Imc-sc] IMC Newsreal - September Deadline

Greetings from Indymedia Newsreal!

We're writing to encourage your video submissions for this month's Indymedia

In case you're not familiar with the project, the NewsReal is a 30-minute news
program assembled by independent journalists worldwide and broadcast monthly on
Free Speech TV satellite. We welcome submissions from organizations and
individuals that report on people taking action to achieve progressive social,
environmental and economic justice around the globe.

The program is also screened at local IMCs and other community centers across the
country. We accept 5-minute news segment submissions, and FSTV pays $50 per
segment that is aired.

You can learn more at the NewsReal website:

The deadline for submitting to the September Newsreal is Monday, August 15, so
please send your segments soon. Late arrivals will be included as part of next
month's submissions.

Send your 5-minute NewsReal segment submissions to:

Free Speech TV
Attn: NewsReal
PO Box 6060
Boulder, CO 80306 USA

If you plan on using FedEx they will not deliver to a P.O. Box, so use this
address instead:

attn Newsreal
2945 Center Green Ct South, Suite G
Boulder, CO 80301

And please include the following information with your submissions:

Segment Title:
Total Running Time:
Preferred Program Month to Run:
Producer Website URL:
Producer Contact Name:
Producer Contact Email:
Producer Phone Number:
Producer Contact Mailing Address:
Segment Synopsis:

Subscriptions of our program are available in 6 or 12 month subscriptions and VHS
tapes are sent via mail ($36 for 6 months and $72 for a one year subscription. If
you'd like more info about subscription, please email: Digitized video can be found online through our
website with FSTV.

Subscription Requests can be mailed to,
ATTN: Newsreal Dubbers
PepperSpray Productions
PO Box 20626
Seattle, Washington 98102

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. Thank you!

Questions? Comments?
Contact Ethan Crawford
Program Coordinator
Indymedia Newsreal

posted by Gary Williams at 4:08 AM | link |

[BAD SIGNAL]It's Gone Black, No Wonder My Kidneys Hurt

bad signal

I tell you, the worst thing about
being sick is laying in bed and
finishing your book and thinking,
let's put the TV on. The old portable
isn't hooked into the cable, so it's
the standard four channels everyone
else gets (Channel 5 is spotty in
my area). UK TV is worse than
it's ever been. For every piece of
evil brilliance like ABSOLUTE POWER
(which I don't think I've told you
non-Brits about before), there's
five things like WIFE SWAP. The one
I saw had an obvious sub, whose
husband had entrained her to dress
in a hip-slit cheongsam and black
stockings for dinner, swapped into
a family where the man of the
house was a monosyllabic chav whose
head would have had a Victorian
anthropologist proclaim a whole
new species of subhuman. I'm not
entirely sure how Channel 4 hasn't
lost its license.

The best entertainment last night
was watching England being
humiliated 4-1 by Denmark. Even
the Danes were looking at each
other in delighted disbelief after
scoring the third. If they'd been
miked up, the live translation would
have been something like, "Why are
these crazy English not kicking the
ball? Did no-one tell them there was
a football match on?" After the
match, England manager and
Scandinavian expat Sven-Goran
Eriksson was bent over a keg of
Carlsberg and repeatedly violated
with a large cured fish by the Danish

In my medicated fever last night,
I decided to write a graphic novel
called CNUT. Which is, of course,
pronounced "Canute." But still.
CNUT. In big black letters.

Mind you, it's only in recent years
that American writers have stopped
using the word WANK as a sound

ABSOLUTE POWER, by the way, is
about a London PR firm, and it's
marvellous. Started out as a radio
show. In the most recent episode
I've seen, the firm is hired by a
foreign billionaire called Reza who
wants their help to buy British
Airways. His surname is Bin Laden.
And at no time does it play out the
way you'd expect.

The joy of ABSOLUTE POWER is its
utter, gleeful amorality. The firm
is run by characters played by
Stephen Fry and John Bird: Fry's
character is just gloriously
unbalanced, and Bird's exists in a
constant adrenaline rush of elevated
terror, and both are driven by lust
for the Game. And, frankly,
there's always something wonderful
about hearing Stephen Fry utter
a crisp "Fuck off." Brits need to
check the BBC listings for airings
of ABSOLUTE POWER, and those
outside could put the term "digital
distractions" through google until
they find a bit torrent site, maybe.

The BBC do get snotty about bit
torrents, but they're also clearly
gaming bit torrent -- an episode of
EXTRAS has been "leaked" on to
torrent, which is awfully convenient,
since EXTRAS is on a ratings slide --
and are also suspected of gaming
Wikipedia. Not everyone was
convinced by their story about the
DOCTOR WHO BT file, either.
Anyway, check to see if it's being
aired in your area before doing
anything naughty. BT downloads
aren't the same as ratings and will
not save a show.

As you can tell, I'm feeling a little
better. But nowhere near 100%.
Thinking a lot about the next phase
of work. There's a card in Eno's
Oblique Strategies that comes up
again and again when I run them:
"Don't be afraid of something just
because it's easy." I need to throw
that one away.


posted by Gary Williams at 12:28 AM | link |

Support Bloggers' Rights!
Support Bloggers' Rights!


Free JavaScripts provided by
The JavaScript Source

Free Guestmap from Free Guestmap from

The WeatherPixie

Search WWW TFS Reluctant


Who What Where When
homepage, email
and store
Defunct Blogs
News, science
and stuff
Politics, government
and stuff
Web and
Webhack stuff