What I'm Doing

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Another Reason to Use Firefox

From a C|Net News.com article: "A new flaw in Internet Explorer could be exploited to launch spoof-based attacks, or access and change data on vulnerable PCs, security experts have warned." The article goes on to say that the problem lies in how JavaScript is implemented in the browser, and that it is currently ranked as "moderately critical." Microsoft is angry that security researchers did not privately report the flaw to MS, but instead disclosed it publicly. In addition, this flaw can affect even "fully-patched computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Internet Explorer 6.0."

Yet another reason to switch to Firefox.

Get Firefox!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Switchfoot vs Copy Protection (and a rant about the RIAA)

[Google News Search]
Apparently, one of the members of Switchfoot has a problem with the fact that their label, Sony, has started putting copy protection on their CD's. One problem with copy protection is that, while preventing pirates from illegally copying music (although, those who really want to will always find a way around it), it also causes problems for everyone else who simply wants to back up their CD (in case it somehow gets destroyed), or make a copy to listen to on their iPod, or any other legitimate use. So, he took matters into his own hands, and posted a comment on a message board on their site, detailing how to circumvent the copy protection. This, of course, caused some problems, not only with Sony, but also with certain laws in the US that make it illegal to circumvent copy protection or even to publish how to circumvent copy protection (regardless of whether it is for legitimate or illegitimate use).

I had a link to the specific post earlier today, but, alas, the link no longer works, and I can't find the post in their forums anymore.

Here's a discussion point regarding this story: Switchfoot is a Christian group. As Christians, was it good or ungood for them to do this? Yes, they were breaking the law (I wonder if they were aware of that, actually), and, technicaly, Sony is their boss. So, on the one hand, submission to authority comes into play here. Also, Sony produces the CD's, Sony loses money if the CD's are pirated (*ahem*debatable*ahem*), and Sony has the right to do whatever they want with their product. On the other hand, the RIAA in general is pretty much well known to be greedy, heavy-handed, and, overall, just plain evil. So, were they standing up for the "little guy" (perhaps the musicians who don't approve of copy protection, or the customers who are being sold an intentionally defective product), or were they out of line for not submitting to those in authority over them?

Also, a comment on copy protection in general: Considering the fact that there is certainly someone, somewhere, who will always figure out how to circumvent the copy protection, and put the songs on the Internet illegally, anyway, is the RIAA really doing itself any favors here? The people who are going to pirate the music are going to pirate the music; all it takes is for one person to by the CD, copy it, and put it online, and it will just grow from there. The people who are actually being hurt by this are the people who actually buy the CD. And, what if someone buys the CD, wants to put it on an iPod or just listen to it on their PC, but can't, so they find copies of the songs on the CD they already own online. Say they just download those songs that, by "fair use," they have the right to have on their computer anyway. Is the RIAA going to sue them, just like it has hundreds of people already, including some moms and grandparents who didn't even know their children/grandchildren had downloaded music on their computers?

Monday, September 26, 2005

First Spam

Wow, I knew about people spamming blogs by posting advertisement comments, but, for some reason, I guess I didn't think I'd get spammed so soon after starting a blog. Yup, my previous entry (the one about Trained Attack Dolphins) had a comment posted to it by an "anonymous" poster advertising some sterling silver website. Actually, the spammer said the site is a "sterling silver site/blog" that "pretty much covers sterling silver related stuff." Riiiight, sure looked like a commercial site to me. Well, except that I couldn't find anywhere to order their products.

The spam has been deleted.

Of course, I wouldn't mind as much had the site been relevant to anything posted here. Oh, well, at least I haven't had to worry so much about spam in GMail.

Killer Dolphins on the Loose

According to The Guardian, the U.S. Navy may have lost trained attack dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Katrina. These dolphins were trained by the Navy to protect warships from terrorist attack. They may be armed with "'toxic dart' guns", and it is feared by some that they may mistake divers or surfers for terrorists.

Obviously, the Navy is not talking much about it, so most of this is speculation. The Guardian seems to be the only source with this story; other sites seem to just be linking back to The Guardian. However, if it is true, I'm predicting that we will see the formation of armed dolphin gangs taking divers and surfers captive, and holding them for ransom. I'm guessing their demands will either be large amounts of fish, or that we release all their brethren held in captivity for our amusement. Seriously, dolphins are the second-smartest creatures on the planet (humans being the third). I'm not sure why they haven't developed weapons on their own yet, but now we've given them weapons and let them loose.

World of Warcraft Plague

On one of the podcasts I listen to, this WEEK in TECH, reported that a plague has broken out in the online game, World of Warcraft. According to the podcast, players contract this "plague" when fighting a certain, powerful enemy in the game. When they contract the disease, their health starts dropping rapidly, and, when they die, they explode, infecting everyone around them. This was bad enough while fighting this enemy, but some players survived long enough to return to a town. Once in town, they eventually died and infected everyone around them, including some NPC's (non-playable characters; characters that are controlled by the computer).

Ars Technica has an article here

Time Waster 1—Troyis

Okay, so here is my very first "Time Waster" post. In these posts, I will mention interesting pages (usually games) that are so fun to play, your productivity will drop until you force yourself away from the site.

This time waster was featured as UserFriendly's Link of the Day on Sunday. Troyis is a game where you control a chess knight on a random board of white and blue squares. The goal of the game is to use the knight's chess move (the 'L' shape) to visit every white square at least once. It's great fun; so far, I've made it to level 8.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Location

As I mentioned on my blog at Xanga, I've been considering finding a new place to host my blog. As I said, Xanga is alright, but there are some things—one of the big ones being control over the layout—that bugged me. So, I am, for now, moving my blog here onto Blogger, to see how it is.

I'm also considering changing the name. I would like to keep the "Echoing Across the Binary C" part, but I'm not sure about keeping "cin >> cout;". One friend has suggested "printf(scanf());". So, if anyone decides to read this, tell me what you think of either of these titles, or suggest another one.