|Friday, 31 October 2003, 2:10 pm
Tags: News, Technology
I’m taking the day off to work on some projects at home, but the news must go on.
Happy Halloween. I’m already in costume, as you can see above. Where’s yours?
Pumpkins and power tools – now there’s a match made in Hell.
Toyota USA was created on this day in 1957. First American models were the Toyopet Crown and Land Cruiser.
- The RIAA is back in court with 80 new lawsuits. The association mailed 204 notices a few weeks ago. 124 people settled. “”The overwhelming majority of those who received the notification letter contacted us and were eager to resolve the claims,” says President Cary Sherman. We’ll see the rest in court. Meanwhile, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, the use of Kazaa has dropped from a high of seven million last June to just 3.2 million this month. Which is weird because Download.com says 2.1 million copies were downloaded just last week. Could Nielsen be undercounting?
- The San Jose Mercury News says Friendster spurned a $30 million buyout from Google, and took $13 million in VC instead. Have these guys learned nothing?
- Apparently Microsoft has shell envy. According to one blogger, at PDC Microsoft showed a new command line interface slated for Longhorn called Monad.
- Mysterious white blotches are marring the displays on some new 15″ Powerbooks.
- China’s new richest man is Internet entrepreneur, Ding Lei. But according to the Guardian, it’s not the best list to make.
|Thursday, 30 October 2003, 3:59 pm
Put on your rubbers. Another major solar storm is on its way today. Aren’t these things only supposed to peak every 11 years?
65 years ago today, Orson Welles proved the power of radio with The War of the Worlds.
Get your billionaire masks for Halloween here. Now that’s what I call scary.
- Spammers have stolen addresses from the Orbitz database.
- Kazaa 2.6 is in beta. The new version allows multiple simultaneous searches and adds e-commerce capabilities. There’s a new ringtone channel for mobile phones, too.
- Gator is now Claria. But it’s still not spyware, got it? Uh hunh.
- Yoshi did it. Cory Doctorow, too. Now Salon has an article about how hackers are “modding” their metabolisms with the Atkins Diet. Cory says it’s just like overclocking.
|Wednesday, 29 October 2003, 3:34 pm
Stop the presses. It’s time for news.
The stock market crashed on this day in 1929 beginning The Great Depression. First ball point pen goes on sale in 1945.
- Another reason to upgrade to Panther. @Stake, an Internet security firm, is warning that systemic flaws in OS X make it vulnerable to local attacks. Panther fixes the problems, although @Stake says there’s no reason a small patch couldn’t be issued for earlier versions of the OS. Apple has already issued one security patch for Panther last night – but it’s not clear whether it’s related.
- You lose some, you win some. The US Librarian of Congress has denied the EFF’s request to copyright extensions that would allow fast-forwarding through commercials on DVDs, viewing region protected DVDs on US players, putting public domain movies on DVD, and cracking copy protection on audio CDs. According to PC World, the librarian did allow decrypting lists of blocked web sites in filtering software, “accessing e-books for which the publisher has disabled the read-aloud function, circumventing obsolete digital rights management devices that prevent access due to malfunction, and accessing computer programs and video games distributed in an obsolete format.” The exemptions expire after three years. 321 Studios says it will appeal in Federal court.
- The W3C is asking the patent office to reexamine Eolas’s patent on key web technologies. That’s the company that successfully sued Microsoft over active content extensions in Internet Explorer. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, warned that the patent “will cause cascades of incompatibility to ripple through the Web.”
- Slashdot reports that the Tennessee Super DMCA bill is back in hearings. The Tennessee Digital Freedom Network is on the case.
- Also on Slashdot, Microsoft has fired a temp employee for posting a completely innocuous picture of new Mac G5s being delivered to the company in his blog. For crying out loud, Microsoft is the #1 Macintosh developer. What’s so secret about them buying Macs?
- The biggest solar flare in decades hit the earth yesterday and now I can’t find my watch. Hmmm.
|Tuesday, 28 October 2003, 9:00 pm
Megan Morrone and I are doing a book signing in the San Francisco Bay area Thursday evening November 20. We’ll be at the Emeryville Barnes & Noble with Becky Worley. We’ll give a little talk and sign for as many people show up. The event starts at 7:30p. See you there!
|Tuesday, 28 October 2003, 3:06 pm
Good morning, newshounds.
Congratulations to our neighbors to the north for their historic rock/paper/scissors championship. We’ll get ya next year!
Hugs to our friends in SoCal. Check out the fire pictures moblog at Textamerica. Very dramatic.
I’m off to burn a couple of hundred tons of prehistoric plant material, but before I do… here’s the news.
- AMD and Intel’s usual Q4 price cuts are in. The 3.2GHz P4 drops from $653 to $433. Athlon 3200+ drops from $433 to $325. No cuts on the 64-bit chips.
- The US Senate is considering a new “privacy” law that undercuts financial privacy protections in California.
- Ohio’s Attorney General says AOL’s slow disconnects are illegal. Sues for $400,000.
- Nokia introduces a “TV” phone, the 7700, available Q2 2004 in Europe and Asia.
- I’ve been ignoring the SCO vs Linux case for a few weeks because it’s so dumb and pointless. But SCO has taken dumb to a new level by claiming the Gnu Public License (GPL), which is the basis for the entire free software movement, “violates the US constitution.” Hunh?
- Microsoft’s Longhorn Development Center is open for business. Forget developing for XP, gang. Invest in Longhorn for mad profits in ’06.
|Monday, 27 October 2003, 2:53 pm
Tags: News, Technology
Good morning! Put down that bagel, Ramadan begins today.
The US Navy was established on this day in 1775. New York’s IRT subway opened in 1904. DuPont names its new synthetic fiber “nylon” in 1938. IBM introduces EGA in 1982.
- AOL is disabling the Windows Messenger service on customer’s computers without warning. The company says it’s taking this action due to spam and an MSBlast-like worm that uses Messenger. When you launch AOL it changes the settings on your PC, permanently. You can re-enable if you know what you’re doing. I agree this service is worthless for home users and poses a huge problem, that’s why we alerted people to it over a year ago, but should AOL be taking it upon itself to change people’s Windows settings without asking them? Seems a bit intrusive. Microsoft is reported to be considering disabling Messenger in SP-1.
- California wins its first anti-spam judgement. $2 million against PW Marketing of LA for sending out spamming how-to guides.
- Dell will be back at Comdex for the first time in six years. IBM and Intel will also have a presence. The conference which begins November 16 in Las Vegas will be much smaller than in years past, though. 50,000 are expected to attend, down from 200,000 at its peak, and there will be 500 exhibitors in just one hall at the LVCC.
- Dell has alsoannounced its own iPod clone, the Dell DJ. $249 for 15GB (great price!), $329 for 20 GB, it syncs with MusicMatch. No listing on the Dell site, yet.
- Two MIT students have created an online music library any student can listen to over the university’s cable TV network for free. The Library Access to Music Project, LAMP, is in effect a 12 channel campus radio station with 3,500 CDs, and is apparently legal. The students say they’ll release the software to any other school that wants it.
- 60% of email users say they’ve curtailed their use of the medium in “a big way” due to the flood of spam. However, 7% of e-mail users said they had ordered a product or service that was offered in an unsolicited e-mail, and 33 percent had clicked on a link to get more information. Doh!
- Yoshi’s next mod: hack traffic lights so you never see red again.
|Monday, 27 October 2003, 2:08 pm
Uh oh. Now I’m worried. CompUSA didn’t have ANY voice modems. Could this be a dead category? I’ve got all the software theoretically working, but I can’t tell if it’s actually doing anything until I get a voice modem.
I’ll check Central Computers in the morning. Otherwise I’ll have to show EBay.
|Saturday, 25 October 2003, 8:19 pm
Time to troubleshoot. I’ve connected the modem to my Windows machine and fired up Hyperterm – ah memories. Windows can’t talk to the modem either. Maybe it’s the modem? I haven’t used it in years.
vgetty really wants a XyZel modem. Amazon sells them, but I need one now. Looks like a trip to CompUSA is in order.
|Saturday, 25 October 2003, 4:44 pm
Got the modem cable. Amazing how times have changed. Radio Shack has Firewire and Ethernet cables all over the place. The serial cables are hidden away. At least they still have them! Now let’s see if any of this works. It’s been so long since I’ve used a modem I’m not sure how to do it!
First stop: the Linux Modem HOW-TO. There’s lots of extraneous stuff in here which I may well need later, but first and foremost, I need to find out how to talk to the modem to see if it’s even working. The answer is Minicom – a ubiquitous terminal program for Linux. It’s already installed. Phew. I can’t see the modem. Rats.
|Saturday, 25 October 2003, 3:07 pm
OK hurdle number one has cropped up early. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in a command line environment. I didn’t feel like installing X Window on this machine since it will never get used. Unlike Georgy (our geek candidate for California governor) I am neither a vi nor emacs user. I usually use pico or joe to edit text files on the command line. And I’ve got text files galore to edit. But there’s neither program on this minimal install. Rats. Fortunately curl is installed, so I download a copy of nano – a better pico. It’s an RPM so installation is a snap. I’m feeling a little better.
- mgetty+vgetty have compiled just fine and seem to be working
- I’ve modified my inittab to start vgetty on boot
I can’t test either though because I never did find a modem cable. So while I’m waiting for Radio Shack to open, I’m downloading the additional software I’ll need using curl and ftp.
I’ve got to convert the MP3s on the CD into WAV form. vgetty comes with a command line program to convert the WAV into the pvr format required by the modem. My first try, mpg123, can dump the MP3 as raw audio, but wav2pvr doesn’t understand that. So now I’m trying SoX. With the addition of underbit’s libmad library, SoX is supposed to be able to convert MP3s directly. libmad is the same library mpg123 uses, so the quality should be fine. When I ./configure SoX it sees libmad, but for some reason the compiled program can’t find the libmad.so.0 library.
I have to drive Henry to his baseball game and get his cousin to his soccer game in Sonoma, so I’ll have to take a break now. I’ll get the cable on the way home and try to solve this library problem. I’ll start by putting links to libmad.so.0 in all the usual places.