Archive | January, 2007

Ed Foster’s Gripelog || Reader Voices: Invalid Terms

Ed Foster’s Gripelog || Reader Voices: Invalid Terms asks, “At what point is it clear that a nasty license provision goes so far across the line that it must be deemed invalid? That seems to be an increasingly hot topic, due in large part to recent discussions here and elsewhere about various terms in Microsoft’s Windows Vista EULA.” Anyone considering installing Vista needs to be informed about the liabilities they may be assuming for themselves and their organizations. Or not, depending on whether you’d like to go to court and debate the validity of these licenses…

Ernie The Attorney: Avoid penalty for switching cellphone carriers

Ernie The Attorney blogs about how to Avoid penalty for switching cellphone carriers when you’re signing up for the new Apple iPhone. He points to Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch where Mike suggests, “My recommendation is to simply throw out the PC and switch to Mac. You’ll do it eventually anyway. Might as well do it now.” Wow! Will the iPhone be the new driver for Switchers?

Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs – New York Times

In today’s New York Times, Randall Stross writes, Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs

Here is how FairPlay works: When you buy songs at the iTunes Music Store, you can play them on one — and only one — line of portable player, the iPod. And when you buy an iPod, you can play copy-protected songs bought from one — and only one — online music store, the iTunes Music Store.

Well, I suppose that might be “fair play” if you make your living selling iPods or you’re a record company whose business plan is to sell listeners the same music over and over, each time they want to listen on a different media. Great business if you can get away with it.

Make no mistake: I’m not advocating we steal content. That’s not right. The Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression puts it succinctly:

  • Piracy of an artist’s work is illegal. Fair use is not.
  • We have the right to hear, speak, learn, sing, think, watch, and be heard.
  • No one should assume by default that we’re criminals, and the technology we use shouldn’t do so either.
  • We have a right to use technology to shift time & space.
DRM-encumbered devices are Defective By Design — intended to prevent you from using all of the capabilities of the device.

Groklaw – EU Commission Study Finds You’ll Save Money Switching to FOSS

Groklaw points to EU Commission Study Finds You’ll Save Money Switching to FOSS. The “free” adjective has always been a burden for FOSS, but when the other choice sounds like “Open Sores” it doesn’t take a marketing genius to decide… that geeks shouldn’t try to sell software. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) stalking-horse has been one of the best ways to confuse the issues, like the “shopping cart” estimates of cost of living. It depends if you prefer organic tofu or roast beast. Calculating the total cost of developing, maintaining, installing, training, supporting, migrating to/from and disposing of software is a guesstimate so mired in swags and assumptions it can mean whatever the company paying for the study wants it to mean, now can’t it?

Five Things You Might Not Have Known About Me

Andrew Ross MacNeill tagged me with the “Five Things” chain letter, also tagging Craig Bailey, Eric Den Doop, Kok Kiet (John Jones), Richard Base (FoxPro: Catalyst). In turn ARM was tagged by Rick Schummer, who was tagged by Alex Feldstein and Rick also nabbed Kevin Ragsdale, Kevin Cully, Mike Feltman, Randy Jean. Alex had tagged Rick along with Garrett Fitzgerald, Rick Borup, Doug Hennig, Craig Berntson. Alex, in turn was selected by Claudio Lassala. Claudio was tagged by Markus who was tagged by Rick who… well, you get the idea. Someone was bored over the holidays, probably someone who wasn’t incensed over Microsoft giving away Acer laptops for Christmas, and decided to double the volume of the internet with self-indulgent blogging bit. Folks, who cares?

I’ve followed the links back 27 times and still haven’t come across the first couple of A-List bloggers I’d seen playing this game only a few weeks ago, so my back-of-the-envelope math tells me that there’s no one left who has a blog, so I’m tempted to declare the game over. Well done.

But just in case there’s bad juju with breaking the chain, has anyone heard from Calvin Hsia, Christof Wollenhaupt, Paul McNett, Andy Kramek and John “Gonzo” Koziol? No? Tag, boys, you’re it!

For those into this six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon game, there’s a list of blogs at Fox Wiki Blog Watch and, yes, a self-referential aggregator of the resulting feeds at Planet Fox.

  1. I was saved from near-certain death aboard a submarine by a quick-thinking shipmate… and his clipboard. Really.
  2. I sat next to Senator George McGovern at a political rally.
  3. I earned three varsity letters in swimming. Butterfly was my specialty, though I wasn’t very good.
  4. I’m Union and I Vote: UAW Local 1981, the National Writer’s Union, AFL-CIO.
  5. I lived in a travel trailer over summer of 1980 in Orlando, Florida and the winter of 1981 in West Milton, New York, yards from the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Might explain a lot, eh?

Survey of email servers shows Open Source still king

Over on the O’Reilly site, Ken Simpson and Stas Bekman write of their adventures “Fingerprinting the World’s Mail Servers.” They report:

Of the 400,000 domains we surveyed, 31.2 percent of them (still) receive their email via open source mail server software. Of these, the most popular by far is still the old guard, Sendmail (12.3 percent), with Postfix a relatively close second (8.6 percent). Exim and qmail are roughly tied (5.3 and 5.0 percent, respectively) in third place.


Microsoft leaves Word zero-day holes unpatched

CNET is reporting Microsoft leaves Word zero-day holes unpatched. Hmmm… is it still a zero-day hole if it has been around for a while? I’m afraid the term has lost its punch. Nonetheless, Cnet goes on to say,

Microsoft on Tuesday released fixes for vulnerabilities in its Windows and Office software, but left several known Word zero-day flaws without a patch.

As part of its monthly patch cycle, Microsoft published four security bulletins with fixes for 10 vulnerabilities. Three of the bulletins are deemed “critical,” the company’s most serious rating; the fourth is tagged “important,” a notch lower. All bulletins, however, address flaws that could allow an attacker to commandeer a PC.

Nasty stuff. It’s the second week of 2007, and Microsoft patches are already up to MS07-08, although four of the patches were pulled from this release. I wonder if they’ll still be “zero-day” next month?

Hit the Microsoft site at if you need more information on these patches. Get patching!

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.