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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

EFF Warns Texas Instruments to Stop Harassing Calculator Hobbyists | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:33 am EDT, Oct 15, 2009

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned Texas Instruments (TI) today not to pursue its baseless legal threats against calculator hobbyists who blogged about potential modifications to the company's programmable graphing calculators....

"The DMCA should not be abused to censor online discussion by people who are behaving perfectly legally," said Tom Cross, who blogs at "It's legal to engage in reverse engineering, and its legal to talk about reverse engineering."

Coverage on Slashdot, CNET, Ars, BoingBoing.

EFF Warns Texas Instruments to Stop Harassing Calculator Hobbyists | Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF representing Memestreams again DMCA attack from TI
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:33 am EDT, Oct 15, 2009

The EFF is representing Tom against TI their DMCA takedown filed against Memestreams.

The crux of this letter from the EFF to TI was the same point many of us were discussing on Memestreams the very day the DMCA notice was served: The TI signing key that was cracked does not protect access to copyrighted material. This is not the same thing as using DeCSS to decrypt the contents of DVDs on a unauthorized and unlicensed devices. That would be circumventing an encryption method (CSS) used to protect copyright material (the film on the DVD). That *would* be a violation of the DMCA. Just go ask 2600 about that...

But that's not whats happening in this case.

The TI signing key allows software written by anyone to run on TI hardware that someone owns. The TI hardware checks the signature (created by signing key) of any software it tries to run. Now that the signing key has been published anyone can run new, non-TI software on TI hardware they have ownership of.This is not a copyright issue in anyway, shape, or form. The DCMA does not apply. This (among other things) is what the EFF is asserting.

Frankly, that's fairly obvious, cut and dry. Having been on the receiving end of a DMCA threat and the countless other cases where baseless DMCA claims are used to shut smart people up, I'm optimistic that the EFF will prevail.

But that's not what's interesting.

What *is* interesting are the legal issues around private keys. Is a private key a trade secret? A 3rd party, through no illegal act, who independently discovers the a trade secret can utilize or publish that secret. Only we aren't talking about the Coca-Cola formula here. Public and private keys are mathematically linked. You can derive a private key, given a public one. It just can be very very (infinite grains of sands on a beach) hard. Or not. As in the TI case. You can't patent a private key, that kind of makes it public. ;-) So what do we do? Does there need to be some new kind of IP protections beyond traditional ones like patents, trademarks, and trade secrets? Are massive efforts to compute a mathematical value legal? Is it based on what that value protects or unlocks? Is it based on the intent of the people who derive the value? Homebrew software developers vs. Blueray crackers?

While I hope this matter is resolved quickly for Tom's sake, I would like to see some of these other legal issues addressed.

EFF representing Memestreams again DMCA attack from TI

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:12 am EDT, Jul 30, 2009

There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses. It's embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals.

When you use time that way, it's merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you're done.

But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.

When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon...

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

ICANN == Whores
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:17 am EDT, Apr  9, 2009

The familiar .com, .net, .org and 18 other suffixes — officially "generic top-level domains" — could be joined by a seemingly endless stream of new ones next year under a landmark change approved last summer by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, the entity that oversees the Web's address system.

Tourists might find information about the Liberty Bell, for example, at a site ending in .philly. A rapper might apply for a Web address ending in .hiphop.

"Whatever is open to the imagination can be applied for," says Paul Levins, ICANN's vice president of corporate affairs. "It could translate into one of the largest marketing and branding opportunities in history."

ICANN needs to be stopped. They proposing and prompting concepts that will irrevocably damage the Internet with essentially no one to keep them in check.

Something seriously must be done about the pollution of the TLDs.

From RFC 1591 in 1994:

2. The Top Level Structure of the Domain Names

In the Domain Name System (DNS) naming of computers there is a
hierarchy of names. The root of system is unnamed. There are a set
of what are called "top-level domain names" (TLDs). These are the
generic TLDs (EDU, COM, NET, ORG, GOV, MIL, and INT), and the two
letter country codes from ISO-3166. It is extremely unlikely that
any other TLDs will be created.

Postel must be screaming in his grave to know ICANN rolled like a dog in heat to special interests and already created bullshit TLDs like:


This is insanity. ICANN's mission statement is not to facilitate "the largest marketing and branding opportunities in history." Its to manage and preserve the operational stability of the Internet's addressing systems! When the hell did it become being a stooge for the world's ISPs?

Fuck. This. Shit.

ICANN == Whores

Nothing is original
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:38 pm EST, Jan 19, 2009

Nothing is original

Digital Domain - What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting -
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:09 pm EST, Dec 28, 2008

TEXT messaging is a wonderful business to be in: about 2.5 trillion messages will have been sent from cellphones worldwide this year. The public assumes that the wireless carriers’ costs are far higher than they actually are, and profit margins are concealed by a heavy curtain.

Digital Domain - What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting -

EFF sues Cheney, Bush, and the NSA to stop illegal wiretapping - Boing Boing
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:28 pm EDT, Sep 20, 2008

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA, President Bush and Vice President Cheney on behalf of AT&T's customers to fight illegal wiretapping.

I know this is totally beside the point, but don't you wish that this actually was the NSA logo?

EFF sues Cheney, Bush, and the NSA to stop illegal wiretapping - Boing Boing

Congress sends bill raising fuel efficiency standards to Bush -
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:24 am EST, Dec 19, 2007

The energy bill, boosting mileage by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon, passed the House 314-100 and now goes to the White House, following the Senate's approved last week.

Woo-hoo! 2020 is a long way off, but this increase has taken over 30 years to wrestle from the Republicans. Will it come to fruition? Will it narrow our range of choices to Scions and Saturns? Who the hell knows?! But at least we've finally gotten the auto lobby off their butts and motivated them to REALLY do something, and I mean more than just a few hybrids here and there.

-janelane, super-thrilled

Congress sends bill raising fuel efficiency standards to Bush -

My programming rules 2.2
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:40 am EDT, Apr  4, 2007

I'm bored today so I decided to update my programming rules, make a 2.2 if you will, I know the smart ones out there never trust a 1.0 anyways...

My Rules (2.2):
1. Kludges that we'll fix in the next release never get fixed in the next release...

2. If you don’t do it right now, you (or some poor bastard that replaces you) will have to do it right later...

3. It always costs more to do it later...

4. You're not going to have more funding for the next release. (thanks Decius)

5. Beware of anyone in a suit...

6. The man in charge usually didn't get there by being better than everyone else; keep that in mind.

7. If you don't talk to your customers to see what will make them happy, then sooner or later someone else will...

8. Sales guys can be powerful allies for interoffice BS, but if you make yourself too available they will never leave you alone...

9. Management has no idea what the customer wants...

10. Engineering has even less idea what the customer wants...

11. Assume every engineer you work with is an idiot, try not to let on that you know...if you find engineers that are obviously not idiots, find a way to keep them...

12. Never outsource your core competency...

13. Laziness and incompetence are contagious...

14. No-one cares if you read Wikipedia all day every day if you get your work done on time...

15. If they do care, find another place to work...

16. Your code is not finished until you've tested it...

17. Never assume they have tested their code...

18. Simple regression testing is best done when it’s automated; it’s less error prone too.

19. Engineers that think lack of documentation is job security should be fired sooner rather than later (otherwise you'll make them right)...

20. Contrary to popular belief, third party libraries reduce portability of your code...

21. "Cool" is not a business case...

22. Engineering’s job is to say yes, no matter how stupid management's requests are...good engineers find ways to say yes that spotlight their intelligence and managements stupidity...(e.g. if they ask you to turn lead into gold, tell them you will if they allocate a few trillion dollars and a fusion reactor)...

23. The night before its due is probably not the best time to start integrating your code in a large project...

24. You can be really good at your job, and a dick, or you can be so so at your job and a really nice cannot be a dick and bad at your job...

25. Time estimation is really will take longer than you think it will...

26. Demonstrating that your competitors suck isn't enough to get anyone to buy your product...

27. Don't ship anything you're not proud of...

28. Your code will be used in ways you never thought of...plan accordingly...

29. If you can't settle on one way of doing something, do it both ways and make it a co... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]

My programming rules 2.2

Topic: Miscellaneous 10:37 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2007

Now that's a tower. It has been upgraded to eight legs (instead of four) which makes it a confusing lattice of steel at the base.


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