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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Boycott Everything Sony

Sony, the well-known manufacturer of consumer electronics products, likes to plant rootkits in your (Windows-based) computer without asking for permission first. You see, they assume that you are a crook, they assume that you live for stealing other people's intellectual property whenever given the opportunity. They assume that you need to be controlled, and they think it's their duty to do so.

Groklaw's put up a page gathering all Sony-related information to one place so please, don't take my word for it, read for yourself.

If you really are like that, if you agree with Sony, then by all means, continue buying their products. But if not, boycott everything Sony. Start now!

Monday, November 28, 2005

FOP, Part Two

Sometimes it helps to complain, apparently. A day or two after my somewhat annoyed comment on FOP, the FOP team released an alpha from the development branch. Most of the properties I've missed in 0.20.5 are there, and seem to work. Ain't life grand?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Debian Sid

Debian Unstable, a k a Sid, has been, well, a little unstable lately. First, grep broke during one of my wildly optimistic dist-upgrades and I had some trouble booting and starting X, then xscreensaver and nvidia couldn't agree so X crashed. Cost me half a day, all in all.

Lesson: When working anywhere near a deadline, do not dist-upgrade. And above all, do not reboot.


Oh please let there be a new (stable) version of FOP while XSL is still a viable technology. I've been busy writing stylesheets for a system running FOP the last few weeks, see, and I'm not too happy with some of the bugs. I'd contribute to the project if I knew enough Java but I don't, so all I can do is to whine.

(For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, please feel free to ignore me.)

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I got another one of those fake Ebay "check-your-account" emails the other day. The technique's called phishing and, in short, it's basically an email with a link to a fake website made to look like Ebay, Paypal, or whatever. You're supposed to believe that your Ebay, Paypal (etc) account needs to be renewed so if you'll just be kind enough to follow the link and fill in your bank account details, you'll be up and running again in no time. Phishing is quite common, in my inbox at least, and a real pain.

For years, I've deleted these things without a second thought, but this time, I followed the link, entered a fake name, a fake bank account number, a fake PIN (as if Ebay would need it), a fake address, a fake city... you get the idea. The thing is, I went to some lengths to ensure that the information wasn't obviously made up, hoping that the fraud at the other end wouldn't immediately see what I was doing. And prayed to the net ghods that he would actually use the information to create a credit card, and attempt to use that card in an actual store.

Why not do the same the next time somebody sends you an email asking you to update your Ebay account? Make some trouble. See to it that these people are kept busy. I'm sure that sooner or later, somebody will try to use the information to make that fake credit card, and to try to use it. Just think of the fun you've created. It's not going to stop them all, but it's a start.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Backwards Bush

My friend Deck (read his blog, it's good) got a gift from his wife Alma (another good friend), a clock that counts the hours left of George W Bush's presidency. I'm definitely going to order one; have a look at http://www.backwardsbush.com/. However, if the FAQ is right, the battery must be replaced at least once before it's time. The battery life is only two years.

I'm sure that's more than enough for at least one more war.

Star Wars III

Just dusted my living room loudspeakers with my brand-new Star Wars III DVD, and I've got to tell you, the sound is excellent. A lot better than in that pathetic excuse of a cinema, the Palladium in Göteborg, where I last saw the film. Why is it that an eight year-old Dolby processor for home use can run circles around a state-of-the-art Dolby Digital thingie?

I'm going to fully enjoy watching the whole film tomorrow. Don't even think about calling me.

Using the GIMP

The Gimp is a free graphics software package, available for Linux among others. I did an upgrade recently but the configuration is a little scary. Just take a look at what it wants to do. User installation...?