Archive for November, 2005

The RedWest 360

Posted: November 23, 2005 in Uncategorized
Fall is the most beautiful time at RedWest, and I always mean to take some pics with my camera but am always in too much of a hurry. This year has been mostly the standard-gray Seattle skies, so I haven’t been "inspired" to take pics. But the XBox dudes dropped some neon-green dye into the pool to announce the release of the 360, and it’s quite a sight…plus, the sun was just right for the day, so I took some shots.
 
The great State of Texas…of which I was borne…has filed suit against Sony for the infamous Rootkit spyware. Just 49 states to go…
 
The Sober worm is back, and with great ferocity, so beware of your email inbox…again. <Heavy sigh>. The email looks like it came from the FBI, or is a promise of new Paris Hilton photos, or is about the FBI investigating new photos of Paris Hilton…whatever.
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Seahawks: Sold out!

Posted: November 22, 2005 in Uncategorized
The final three home games are already sold out, and we no longer have to wait until a few days before the game to find out whether or not a home game will be televised. YaY! The team’s value took a huge hit Sunday when they allowed the woeful 49ers to almost win the game, but the NFC West has essentially been won, and a win against the Giants next week will give us home field advantage thru the play-offs, with another five games remaining. Jeez, it’s almost like a dream…everybody expected this all to happen LAST year. Still, a number of sports writers are still looking for them to fall apart like they usually do at this time of year, but there is this under-current buzz that this year’s team is different.

Now it’s a little worse…

Posted: November 19, 2005 in Uncategorized
The story about Sony/BMG mixing open-source code in their notorious rootkit spyware is now hitting the mainstream news sites like eWeek. Turns out it’s a bit worse…the rootkit apparently also includes open-source code from FAAC and mpg123, as well as LAME. The bad news is that mpg123 was discontinued last year and has security problems. And the most damning accusation comes from Slashdot claiming they may also have code for circumventing Apple’s DRM written by the entire movie industry’s arch enemy, DVD Jon.
 
Is there any open-source code that wasn’t ripped off for the infamous Sony Rootkit?
 
Ah, the anticipation is just killing me…

Sony/BMG is pwn3d!

Posted: November 16, 2005 in Uncategorized
Copyright protection requires theft! Oh, yes. Lemme explain…the rootkit spyware that several Sony albums forcibly installed on peoples’ computers…designed to prevent unauthorized trade of their albums, but which very soon allowed viruses and trojans to mask themselves on your hard drive and ended in what is believed to be the music industry’s first recall (hey, it ain’t a car!)…is partially comprised of stolen intellectual property of one of the very enemy the entire music industry is fighting: the LAME encoder.
 
History: ripping an album is only the first task to "trade" music on the Internet. Ripping is the process of taking the music from the CD and putting it on the hard drive. One of the best rippers available is Exact Audio Copy. But EAC (like other rippers), in and of itself, does not compress and encode the ripped album into files small enough to "trade" in MP3 format. For encoding those songs into MP3 format you need an encoder like LAME, which is widely considered to be the very best free encoder, and even vastly superior to many "pay-fer" encoders. Yes, superior to even the iTunes encoder. LAME was used for oh-so-many MP3s you downloaded back when the Internet was the Wild-Wild-West…and even today (assuming you still download…shame!)
 
But LAME is under a GNU license: it’s free to all, which means you cannot use it for financial gain, or redistribute without proper credit.
 
Sony violated that GNU. In every way. They literally stole it.
 
Oh, the irony. A big-name "we gotta protect our intellectual property" music company literally steals someone else’s intellectual property to protect their own property! It’s like me using a raw steak to lure my neighbor’s pitbull into my yard and letting him protect my property from the very neighbor who owns the dog. Except a pitbull ain’t gonna let somebody else drop a trojan on my hard drive…
 
This ain’t over, folks. The music industry will continue on their quest to ignore the inevitable…which has already happened. They will continue to ignore their own spreadsheets from 2000. They will continue to reject taking advantage of an incredible opportunity. They will continue to believe they are in control. But in the meantime, while we’re all waiting for more Sony entertainment, do you all remember what happened to Microsoft when a few lines of Stacker was found in MS-DOS 6.0?
 
The fall-out from this blind robbery combined with semi-intentional consumer harm should be very entertaining to watch. Stay tuned.
 
[written while listening to ripped…but not encoded…StainD’s Break The Cycle album]

PR can’t save Bush Deux

Posted: November 15, 2005 in Uncategorized
GW, otherwise known as Junior, has reached an all-time low 37% approval rating with the average U.S. citizen. Despite his recent highly-publicized troop visits, his paradoxical Medal of Freedom award last week to somebody who dodged the draft and was sentenced to jail (see the Greatest of All Time), and his slam against democrats cuz he claims they ALL thought Saddam was a bit loopy and are just playing politics now (ummm…what are politicians SUPPOSED to play…?), his ratings continue to drop.
 
In other words, John Doe ain’t buying his snake oil any more. Even some of the red John Does.
 
The White House reaction? Quote: "…it doesn’t pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy." Thank you, Mister Obvious. Like we couldn’t figure that out for ourselves. Why the hell do you think that idiot’s numbers keep going down, anyway?

First Ralph, now Jesse…idiots

Posted: November 13, 2005 in Uncategorized
Ralph Nader sent a letter to the NFL commissioner and Eagles CEO earlier this week insisting the Eagles either put T.O. back on the field, or release him immediately. Now that blowhard Jesse Jackson is making even more noise about it.
 
Both of these guys think T.O. was suspended only because of what he said on TV. Both are insisting T.O. was excercising freedom of speech, and that his coments shouldn’t have led to his suspension.
 
Translation: forget about him popping off to the offensive coordinator. Forget about him getting into the head coach’s face. Forget about him being involved in locker room brawls. Forget about him walking away when he was supposed to participate in fan relations. Of course, also forget about all the other nasty things he has said in the past about the team, organization and quarterback…of BOTH teams he played for. Forget about the statement released by the Eagles that the suspension came due to the accumulation of everything T.O. has done, not just that one interview. Sheesh…
 
As usual, Jesse has less of a grasp on the situation than Ralph. Quote: "This does not warrant a one-year ban from the game."  First, it’s not for a year Jesse, it’s just a half-season. Second, it’s not a ban, T.O. is getting paid for the final five games…a ban must come from the NFL commissioner’s office, not the team, and the player banned doesn’t make a dime for remaining games on the schedule. Quote: "His future in the National Football League is uncertain, thus potentially ending his career at its heights."  Every football player’s future is uncertain…primarily cuz NFL teams aren’t required to honor contracts. But I digress, his career is far from over…there are at least a few idiots who own football teams who would love to sign him during the off-season as a free agent, so stop being so pissy about it.

Baby’s first computer…?

Posted: November 13, 2005 in Uncategorized
Let it be known, Newsweek is officially smoking crack. "Baby’s First Desktop"…? Yeah, skip the Brady Bunch reruns, and get that kid into mouse-induced carpal tunnel before the little tyke can reach the Quake IV frag limit. The first suggestion these brainiacs have? Don’t start them too young. Right, kinda kills the whole baby thang for your story idea right there, doesn’t it?
 
The second suggestion: Go with a desktop. There really aren’t too many other options besides a laptop, so it’s kinda hard to argue this without looking stupid. But the reasoning is that a desktop is cheaper and easier to upgrade. However, they then suggest Gateway and Dell systems as "two good options". Hell-OOOH Newsweek, you can’t upgrade Gateway and Dell computers! Sheesh…
 
The third suggestion: ignore those morons at Consumer Reports magazine, and splurge on the extended warranty. Hey, consider this…your baby might live more than three years, so why not go for it! Ignore the fact that the system will be obsolete by the time they’re five years old.
 
Of course, the best results come if you match the school’s computer. Seriously, they used a singularity. Like a school has just one. OK, I jest, they mean Mac vs PC. But c’mon, you have no idea which computer OS the pre-school is using, do you? And you’re on a waiting list for a different pre-elementary prep school that your kid still has a shot at being accepted to, so you don’t want to poison their chances with learning the wrong OS type, right?
 
Last, and thank God least, their suggestion is to protect your data. Hey, it’s the kid’s frickin’ computer! If your data is on it, you DESERVE to lose it to some suckling techno-neophyte!
 
In other words, get to liking that stupid purple dinosaur, cuz you kid is gonna grow up a lot more normal with Barney than he/she will if you thrust a mouse into their hands.