Older blog entries for ask (starting at number 134)

25 Sep 2003 (updated 26 Sep 2003 at 02:46 UTC) »
From the minds of the Direct Marketing Association
Some confused judge in Oklahoma decided that Congress had given the FCC but not the FTC authority to make a the Do Not Call registry. So it's temporarily being blocked; otherwise it's supposed to take effect from October 1st. (Of course the legislators are saying that everyone is behind it and they'll get any legislation needed set up in a matter of days).

The best part of the NYT article:

The Direct Marketing Association acknowledged that the court ruling did not solve its public relations problem.

"We're pleased the court has agreed with us. On the other hand we're concerned about consumers who think we want to make calls when they don't want to receive them," said Bob Wientzen, chief executive of the association.

So we shouldn't be concerned that they want to make calls we don't want to receive? What kind of awkward spin is that? Of course it can't be easy to be the head of an organization of companies that everyone hates (act five, about 41 minutes into the show).

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If you liked Verisign's Sitefinder ...
For those of you who liked Verisign's Sitefinder .... huh? Noone? Alright then. For the rest of us: Mark Fowler brings us Acme::VerySign - make unused subroutines useful! "Useful" in the ever popular VeriSign sense of course. In related news, ICANN asks VeriSign to suspend sitefinder. Geez, just revoke their contract already! (via CircleID)

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16 Sep 2003 (updated 16 Sep 2003 at 20:49 UTC) »
metamark.net hijacked
Grrrh! Deutsche Telekom AG hijacked my domain metamark.net.

They requested a domain transfer from OpenSRS. We may not have rejected it, but we (as the owner) never requested the transfer and we never approved DTAG to do it! They are only allowed to do the transfer on behalf of the owner (duh).

OpenSRS told me that they are required to do the transfer and Deutsche Telekom are required to keep on file the old information and the new information and then document how we requested the transfer. Which we didn't of course, so they'll have to give it back. But what a fucking pain!

I can see in the OpenSRS log that the theifs, Michael Schoenemann (aka Metalife.de) and DT tried to transfer it some months ago where we rejected it from OpenSRS. No problomo, they'd just try again and again and again....

In the meantime the Metamark service is also at Metamarks.net; and the urls at xrl.us are of course unaffected.

I can't find a phone number on the Deutsche Telekom registrar site (maybe I could have if any click didn't lead me into frame and popup hell), but I sent them a mail in their contact form and when it's business hours there again I'll call and ask for their "compliance department" (on advice from OpenSRS). The T-Systems page is saying maybe we'll call you if you ask nicely. So I did, and other wise their press office has a phone number: +49 6151 680-22 10 (press office).

Any advice from someone who's parsing german better than I would be welcome.

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Grand Theft America
Really neat flash movie about how Katherine Harris stole the vote in Florida. Based on Greg Palast of BBC's Theft of the Presidency. (via David Weinberger)

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12 Sep 2003 (updated 12 Sep 2003 at 09:40 UTC) »
The properties of ideas
Thomas Jefferson said:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself, but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it.

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breath, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

(via politech)

So in that spirit I've picked up Tony's idea of marking blockquote's with a line before the indention. Thanks Tony! :-)

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5 Sep 2003 (updated 5 Sep 2003 at 23:24 UTC) »
Funny Open Firmware bug
You can't use uppercase "U" in your open firmware password on most modern macs. Lowercase "u" and anything else is fine apparently. How weird is that. Not that it matters, who is using it anyway? Except to clear the nvram and as a poor mans System Profiler I haven't even booted Open Firmware since '97 when you had to do odd hacks to boot Linuxppc.

(Hold down command-option-O-F just after turning the computer on to boot into Open Firmware; it's fun! Programmable in Forth and all.)

Ah, you can set the password with a nifty tool. Brave new world.

PC Magazine are reviewing the giant 17" laptop I made fun of a while ago. "Pushes the Limits of Portability" they say. I thought even the 17" Powerbook did that! I need to stop mentioning powerbooks in every entry I make here.

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3 Sep 2003 (updated 5 Sep 2003 at 23:23 UTC) »
No new Powerbooks just yet
Apple lowered the price on the powerbooks in early june to clear inventory (or so the story goes). The new PowerPC 7457 based 'books were supposed to come out in late June. Since then the rumor has been "Any Day Now". Apparently Motorola are completely unable to supply the darn things, because now the story is that they won't come out until October.

That's almost a year after the last update of the 15", and ... well, also almost a year after the 12" and the 17" came out. And the retain channel and the distributors are almost completely out of stock.

Unless they have a contract that makes this hurt for Motorola, then Apple is in a really bad spot.

Apple: "Make the darn things already or we'll change chip supplier!" Motorola: "Er, you already did." Apple: "uuuh... Because you suck!"

Of couse, maybe this will make G5 powerbooks and iMacs come out sooner... (the G3 in the iBooks is produced by IBM).

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www.cpan.org distributed
We are planning to load balance www.cpan.org a bit. I'd like to find a http mirror or four for this. If you might want to volunteer to setup your well connected httpd to answer requests for www.cpan.org, then send a mail to ask at perl.org. A well connected mirror in Europe would in particular be interesting.

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30 Aug 2003 (updated 30 Aug 2003 at 00:49 UTC) »
Baghdad Burning Weblog
A young woman in Baghdad is writing a weblog Baghdad Burning. Very interesting; go and read already. This internet thing is amazing.

The other way to wake up, is to be jolted into reality with the sound of a gun-shot, explosion or yelling. You sit up, horrified and panicked, any dream or nightmare shattered to oblivion. What can it be? A burglar? A gang of looters? An attack? A bomb? Or maybe it's just an American midnight raid?


I'm a computer science graduate. Before the war, I was working in an Iraqi database/software company located in Baghdad as a programmer/network administrator (yes, yes... a geek). Every day, I would climb three flights of stairs, enter the little office I shared with one female colleague and two males, start up my PC and spend hours staring at little numbers and letters rolling across the screen. It was tedious, it was back-breaking, it was geeky and it was... wonderful.

(via boingboing via William Gibson)

You know it's geeky when a review of a jacket includes things like "Indeed, the jacket is distinguished not just by the number of pockets, but by the ability to run wires between them.". (thanks Robert).

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29 Aug 2003 (updated 29 Aug 2003 at 10:58 UTC) »
BBC opening up their archives
BBC is planning to open up their archive with a creative license of some sort. That is amazingly awesome news. Read the BBC announcement yourself and drool. Or read Danny O'Brien's Freeing the BBC. It's supposed to only be for people in the U.K., but it sounds like that's just going to be their distribution and the license will be open enough for others to redistribute.

O'Brien also made a posting trying to make us not too excited. I'm very excited, even if I won't get my Hitchhikers Guide fix right away.

Between BBC news, various NPR programs and Let's get lost I'm all set for my radio needs. Only trouble with the latter program is that it makes me not go to sleep until 3am thursday nights. Which is now. Good night.

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