Warning: you can be sued whenever we feel like it February 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 10:07 am

Blogger Pate is concerned of being sued by IBM after reading a book from IBM Press. Page xix from the book “Mining the Talk” reads:

if you want to take our methods and create your own software solution to sell as a product, while we applaud your initiative and enthusiasm, you really should first discuss this with suitable representatives from IBM business development. IBM has sole ownership of all the intellectual property described in this book, all of which is protected by U.S. patents, both granted and pending. All rights reserved, etc., etc.

So what, there are plenty of other books on the topic. So what IBM has patents? Google has patents, Microsoft has patents, Yahoo has patents, they all have patents. But does that mean that all or any of them will sue you after you read a technical book? Thought so.

Go eat your force fed foie gras, your castrated pork, then drink your glass of BGH milk. Does the fact that there’s no warning on the label make it any better?

Thoughts can’t be patented, and even though IBM exists since 1888, there’s almost always prior art.


ORLY December 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 12:22 am
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The principal of the Big Spring High School declared the letter about a student who got suspended for using Firefox a hoax. Is this a cover-up or was it really just a hoax?

UPDATE: BoingBoing says it’s a hoax (though again based on information from the principal).


DRM defeats its purpose December 17, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 12:16 pm
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In “The Magnificence Of The Disaster” (PDF alert), prof. Deirdre K. Mulligan and Aaron K. Perzanowski analyse the Sony rootkit scandal. Quote:

The security flaws inherent in Sony BMG’s DRM left users open to attack, and the DRM collected data about users’ private activities without proper disclosure. […] The rootkit incident threatened both the security of the network infrastructure and the future of DRM technology.


The outcry from fans, artists, and consumer advocates alike gave rise to a palpable shift in the public perception of Sony BMG and its parent corporations.

So thanks to Sony for providing DRM a face in the public eye!

By dramatically increasing public awareness of the restrictions on access and copying imposed by DRM technologies, while simultaneously corroding consumer confidence in their safety, the rootkit incident likely undermined the significant investments of both content providers and protection measure vendors in such technology. In the wake of the rootkit fiasco, major labels abandoned the use of DRM on CDs,91 and leading protection measure vendors ceased development of new CD-based DRM systems.

In short, a company turned against their customers and ended up screwing themselves.


Restrictions kindly lifted, thanks

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 12:13 am
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If you still haven’t heard of the Kindle, this Joy of Tech comic is all you need to know. Except the sharing bug (which, so it seems, was based on Mobipocket‘s DRM) has been fixed with 2 python scripts. Though a better e-reader has already been available for a while now…


FYI… December 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 11:08 pm
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The Old New Thing is a blog focused on Win32 UI development and related topics. This article warns about a registry key called AppInit_DLLs which seems to have lost its original purpose and became a vector for malware instead. Some of the comments refer to “Program A” and “Program B”. A is actually Google Desktop, B is WindowBlinds. They both suck but I’d classify the latter as an actual instance of malware; It’s advertised as “safe”, “compatible”, “reliable”(!) and “more secure”(?!) but it’s none of that. Ofcourse, marketing generally works by taking the biggest downside and turning it into a huge selling point. E.g. “comfortable flying” or “eco-friendly car”.


Oh noes!

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 8:08 pm
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At the time of writing, www.userfriendly.org is unreachable. As you can see with traceroute, it seems a router along the way has failed. The IP address of the website is, but a larger range of seems to be unresponsive. The network is owned by EI Catalyst, but earlier today a router from Server North on the same network showed up in the trace as well:

6 92.237 ms 239.871 ms 245.572 ms
7 248.927 ms 245.140 ms 254.694 ms
8 * * *
9 140.147 ms 244.024 ms 244.344 ms
10 253.781 ms 250.168 ms 251.876 ms
11 231.505 ms 251.706 ms 249.619 ms
12 225.662 ms 264.532 ms 250.091 ms
13 253.956 ms 233.194 ms 246.092 ms
14 250.259 ms !H 247.689 ms !H 253.769 ms !H

Actually, forget the above! While investigating the matter, User Friendly came back online on a different server. Quote:

Main UF server hosting both www and ars is currently down. This is a replacement server. ARS is still down, so the usual archive viewing will not work today. When we get that system back on its feet we’ll update you.

So much thanks to Yohimbe, because todays UF is brilliant.

UPDATE: The downtime was caused by a hardware failure in the server:

We’ve just replaced our main server. Helpfully we’d been planning this for a while. Our hand was forced by an unexplained failure on the previous hardware. We just changed the schedule. The new hardware is more reliable and faster.


WTF? December 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — irql @ 2:50 pm

If you would like to know what IANAL means, try this article on Wikipedia.