War Plan Crimson

12/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian, American

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/29/AR2005122901412_pf.html

This one isn't news but it's a reference to various plans the US and Canada had to invade each other over the years. It makes for entertaining reading and fortunately the plans (like the concepts posited in the alt-history writings of Harry Turtledove and Harry Harrison) have never been tested.

(Via #sc on arcnet)


Who wants to buy a NAS with built-in DRM?

12/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/12/western-digital.html

This is an unusual one: Western Digital put out a NAS that actually filters out 20 file formats by their suffix as being copyright infringements.

The DRM is buried in software used by the product to make files available remotely (i.e. outside of a secure subnet.) Some discussion on BoingBoing suggests that the DRM is due to software's uses of a central server run by WD to act as a point of contact and as such they would open themselves to being the equivalent of an illegal Torrent or filesharing site. It's a weak argument but at least it resembles justification. While WD does acknowledge there are limits on the functionality of the unit on the website, apparently there's no such limitation on the real pacakging meaning the purchaser is getting a pig in a poke. Keep in mind that the limitations are arbitrary and conveniently cover only audio-visual types; one suspects the MPAA and RIAA had a hand in this one.

Anyway, I still recommend DLink's DNS-323 which is a far nicer solution, unemcumbered by insane DRM requirements. And that remote access functionality? The DLink's FTP functionality works like a charm.

(Via Pogge)


Wired on Futurama

12/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/magazine/15-12/ff_futurama

Excellent piece from Wired on "Futurama", the utterly brilliant and sadly prematurely-cancelled animated series from Matt Groening. If you've not seen it, I have a complete set of the DVDs I'd be happy to lend out*.

(* Offer limited to people I know and like. Which, given the total readership of this blog, probably includes you.)


$85,000 cellphone bill for one month's usage

12/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Calgary, iPhone

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/12/12/cell-phone.html?ref=rss

This is an impressive one and it doesn't even include an iPhone.

Full story »


'Cry "havoc" and let...line?'

12/13/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Recently I was asked to proof some well-known literary quotes, amongst which were some Shakespearean ones that had to be identified as such.

Full story »


Fark's NSFW

12/12/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/news/2007/12/fark_nsfw

I quite like Fark but I have to say that trying to take out a trademark on the term "NSFW" is a rather poor show. The only thing that could justify this is if they're attempting to make a statement about the inappropriateness of taking a common term and making it a private possession, and then putting back into the public domain.


Good attempt, guys

12/11/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright, Calgary

I recently decided to "upgrade" my old "Die Hard" DVDs as my original transfers which, while reasonable for the time, were substandard. Besides, the pack including the as-of-yet unwatched fourth installment so I figured it was a decent choice.

Full story »


The underlying flaw of social networking sites

12/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Calgary

Link: http://informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204203573

Cory Doctorow has a good article up about the principal driver of the boom'n'bust nature of social network sites. To wit:

It's socially awkward to refuse to add someone to your friends list -- but removing someone from your friend-list is practically a declaration of war. The least-awkward way to get back to a friends list with nothing but friends on it is to reboot: create a new identity on a new system and send out some invites

I've seen many people on Facebook with friends lists in the hundreds. Who actually has that many? More importantly, who really wants to share day-to-day details with them all?

(Via BoingBoing)


Blog posting claims another job

12/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.metafilter.com/66883/The-Voice-of-the-Underground-is-silenced

This one's too bad:

the voice of the London Underground has just been fired for recording and posting some spoofs on her own website. "Mind the gap" no more.

(Via BoingBoing)


Smart Car collision test

12/08/07 | by Adam | Categories: YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJHpUO-S0i8

One common comment I've heard questioning the survivability of the small Smart Car is whether anyone in it could live through a head-on collision. The video from a British motoring show appears to suggest that yes, you would. Even so, I certainly wouldn't want to try it.

For a far less successful crash, take a look at these two Chinese sedans run through a more formal test by the German ADAC.

(Via Kottke)


RBC Impersonation Scammers Making The Rounds

12/06/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Internet, Spamming

Here's the text of the scam:

Royal Bank of Canada

Dear customer,

Due to the recent upgrade of our servers,
we have issued this warning message.

It has come to our attention that
some of our customers no longer
have access to their banking online.

So, we have urged that all our customers
should provide some information which would be sufficient
to proof their online banking accesses.

We urge you to click on the reference
below to verify your active online banking access:

http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/confirm?proof_active_membership=CONF_a2387h8jdi7098ild8 7501

Thank You.

Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, Royal Bank of Canada will
periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.

Visit our Privacy Policy and User Agreement if you have any questions.

Thunderbird flags this as an e-mail scam. Firefox flags the target http://monde-tech.com/feeds/RBC1/RBC.htm as a scam, and Internet Explorer 7 reports it as a known phishing site.

It took a while for the built-in scam-detection tools to arrive, but I am pleased that it has to help our large population that is not as tech-savvy.

Now, if only we had a way to attack phishers with mountains of bogus information...


Where's the cite?

12/06/07 | by Adam | Categories: Whining

One thing I hadn't considered much when I started helping Ritchie on the blog was cites. Other than the few articles that are written purely from scratch, most entries reference some other work. In fact most reference some other work that references the original article. It all gets a bit convoluted.

Full story »


Princess Bean

12/05/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.worth1000.com/cache/contest/contestcache.asp?contest_id=17338&display=photoshop#entries

in one of the ongoing "Star Wars" related posting, here's one involving Photoshopping celebrity faces onto characters from the series. The Princess Leia/Mr Bean mix is outstanding.

(Via BoingBoing)


Oh, now who do I cheer for?

12/04/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071202-amazon-and-wal-mart-unwittingly-team-up-against-drm.html

This isn't fair. Bete noire #1 (Walmart) tells bete noir #2 (Record Labels) to drop bete noire #3 (DRM).

Give me a few hours to resolve the cognitive dissonances on this one.

(Via BoingBoing)


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