My Archives: December 2003

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! to one and all. I have a good feeling about '04. And that's despite my choice of cartoon to feature: Don Wright's "Baby 2003."

Hooray to Dave Barry's 'year in review' column! Barry advises, "2003 is finally, we hope, over. But before we move on, let's put our heads between our knees and take one last look back at this remarkable year." [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:25 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

This is wryly amusing: a Microsoft manager is asking Linux users why they like Linux. A pity he didn't think to ask why they don't like Windows. Now there's a well with no bottom. [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:37 PM EST [Link]

Cartoon of the Day: Jack Ohman's "Halliburton Provides Pipelines".

Posted by mac @ 03:52 PM EST [Link]

Monday, December 29, 2003

Several days back I offered to share my experience/opinions of a few Linux distributions. If you're interested in a move to Linux, this might interest you. If you're not planning such a move, feel free to ignore the rest of this blog entry. [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:17 PM EST [Link]

At last count, the author of the now-famous but anonymous SCO parody of a Nigerian scam letter has been linked to 120 sites, been the subject of an article in "Computer World" and the object of speculation on BBs (Who *is* that masked author anyway?!)... The "Computer World" article opens, "Fueled by the ongoing legal battle between Unix vendor The SCO Group Inc. and IBM, someone in the open-source community has apparently decided that the whole situation is a mockery in need of mocking." Someone? (Ohh, Ohh, Teacher Call on Me! I know, I know!!!) The author is none other than that loquacious lothario, my husband Brad, and the parody world-premiered here on McBlog 07/27/03.

Well...even tho' cartoons seem like an anti-climax, here goes: Tony Auth's "Saving the Village" is bitter-funny; and Tom Tomorrow may be uncomfortably on target with "Franksly Speaking." We're *still* battling the vicious bug that's going around so I'll just say...

Best to all,

Posted by mac @ 01:57 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Cartoon for the day: Pat Oliphant's "Bush makes wish to Santa." [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:18 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Leon's Almanac of Political History allows you to glimpse some of the important political events that happened on a specific day in history. For example, on December 27, 1979, "President Carter signs the JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT ACT, which is a major step forward in making the prison business more profitable. Even Microsoft takes advantage of the low prisoner wages."

Announcing the P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2003! " The P.U.-litzer Prizes were established more than a decade ago to give recognition to the stinkiest media performances of the year." Entertaining...even tho' the awards have a definite liberal slant. [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:10 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, December 25, 2003


In honor of the 3rd Lord of the Rings movie, discover your hobbit name and, then, your elfish one. My names are, respectively, Iris Bulge of Hobbiton and Eldárwen Arcamenel.

In keeping with the spirit of the day -- and I do *love* Christmas -- I am blogging in a lighter vein, with only cartoons as political commentary. [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:52 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Once again, I am delighted to be proven wrong.

In my postscript to yesterday's blog I groused that stock market analysts were clueless about techincal stocks and the issues surrounding the SCO case. Today, Decatur Jones allowed Groklaw readers to see their latest SCO analysis. Color me surprised: their take on the technical and legal issues seems to be well-informed and accurate; they even understand the difference between header files and program code. I can't comment on their financial analysis, but the rest of the document seems to be on the mark.

Happy holidays!

Posted by brad @ 06:03 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

"Header files?"

That exclamation, in varying tones of laughter and disbelief, echoed around the Linux community yesterday as the SCO Group revealed the list of files which they allege is their "intellectual property" in Linux. Yes, friends, they've identified five files which appear to be the same in Linux and SCO Unix. Here's why this is such a joke. [more]

Posted by brad @ 05:14 AM EST [Link]

Monday, December 22, 2003

A couple of victories in the fight for online freedom: first, a US appeals court has quashed the RIAA's DMCA subpoena of Verizon. These subpoenas are a particularly egregious aspect of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, since they can be issued by a clerk (not a judge) on the basis of an allegation alone, with no supporting evidence. In this case the judge ruled that since Verizon wasn't storing the offending content, the DMCA could not be used against them. [more]

Posted by brad @ 10:40 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I find it interesting that, although I have three email addresses published on different web pages, over 90% of my spam is addressed to just one of them. This is the address that I use for personal correspondence, that appears in public databases, and that I use to sign up for most services and offers on the Internet. I'm tempted to conclude that robots trawling web pages are not the main source of email addresses for spammers. Which gives me hope that my new email plan will kill 90% of my spam. [more]

Posted by brad @ 04:29 AM EST [Link]

Friday, December 19, 2003

A bit more about network firewalls.

Scott M. writes regarding Zone Alarm, "First, firewall algorithms, like other security code, need to be perpetually updated. So where does that leave a user who bought a free product just before it was removed from marketing? If Checkpoint takes this tack, it won't support the free version forever." [more]

Posted by brad @ 11:02 PM EST [Link]

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Three words: Mark Fiore Halliburton.

Best to all,

Posted by mac @ 07:56 AM EST [Link]

It's nice to see that someone at IBM has a sense of humor, and some corporate license to display it: Linux fans will appreciate Penguinstein.

If you needed another reason to despise Microsoft, they're now demanding a cut for every flash memory card and device sold. That would include still and video cameras, audio and video players, and so on. [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:50 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Is life too demanding and time too short? I hear ya. And, unlike the rest of the world, I'm here to help. When writing a letter of complaint, don't rack your brain for the proper insult...just use The Random Elizabethan Curse Generator which offers more than 388,000 curses. If you crave insults that are a tad more political, try the automatic Insult a Conservative generator...Note to offended a libertarian, I'm closer to the right than I am to the Left, and I find these hilarious. And, yes, I did look -- without success -- for an Insult a Liberal generator. The closest I came was a Random Insult Generator that can be set to "Democrat" for political views...My first attempt rendered "You crud-infested Hillary-lovin' barforific hog-humping tramp!" For a wide category of specific insults, consult , e.g. the YoMomma category opens with "Yo momma's so ugly when she joined an ugly contest, they said "Sorry, no professionals."}}.

BTW...if you are wondering why I am so preoccupied with insults this morning, my computer crashed again. [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:24 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

If you're a Windows user and you haven't yet obtained firewall software, now would be a good time to download Zone Alarm. Check Point is buying Zone Labs, publisher of Zone Alarm, and I don't know if they'll keep the free version available. (Let's hope they do.) [more]

Posted by brad @ 04:31 PM EST [Link]

Cartoon Fix!...Ted Ralls' "Hey Foreigners!"; Steve Sack's "The Fine Print"; Paul Conrad's "The Grush Who Stole Christmas Yet to Come"; and, Ann Telnaes' "To the Victor", which I like because of the lapdog (Tony Blair).

Gratitude to Kirsten for bringing the two following links to my attention. K. writes, "I thought this was a funny article you might enjoy which pokes fun at the Bush administration's idea that the moon is big and big works." [Note: this is a comment on Bush's announced plans for American astronauts to return to the moon.] The article opens, "President Bush announced today that his administration plans to build a mall on Mars..." On a more serious note, K. points out "a really useful find for anyone wishing to pursue independent academic study. MIT is apparently opening up most of its course materials on the web for general public use. I checked out one class and found references for the reading materials, a syllabus and calendar, assignments with solutions, quizzese and exams with solutions, links to related resources, and video lectures. There are over 500 MIT courses available. Here's the link."

More commentary today as time permits. Meanwhile here's today's FOXNews/ifeminists column.

Posted by mac @ 11:04 AM EST [Link]

Monday, December 15, 2003

Here's all you should need to know about proposals for the UN to control the Internet: at the recent World Summit on the Information Society, attendees were bugged with RFID tags without their knowledge. In the name of "security," of course. [more]

Posted by brad @ 05:54 PM EST [Link]

Cartoon round-up for today: Tom Tomorrow's commentary on the Bush Presidency entitled "Update from Parallel Earth"; Tom Toles' critique of Bush's fiscal policies, "Bush on the Card"; and, Chuck Asay's not too subtle but accurate "The Kids Support For The Medicare Bill. For less Bush-specific chuckles, try The Wizard of Id's Robbing Hood or the following audio link that begins with the familiar Ta-ta-ta that signals the start-up of Windows and ends with what may be another familiar sound to Windows users (voice courtesy of Krusty the Klown). [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:20 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, December 14, 2003

e-gold customers: beware of an email purporting to be from e-gold, telling you that you need to check your account. Don't click on the link! It's a bogus link to another site...which becomes obvious if you view the email in plain text. For more info, go directly to (don't click on that link!) and read their "security alerts."

Posted by brad @ 02:37 PM EST [Link]

I finally found the article about Palladium that I was seeking. It's a good overview, and well balanced, although in my opinion a bit naive where Microsoft is concerned.

Briefly, Palladium -- now called NGSCB, Next Generation Secure Computing Base -- will let Microsoft

* control the applications you can run on your computer
* control the data you can view, save, or use on your computer
* prevent you from moving applications or data to another computer
* force you to buy upgrades

In response to these accusations, Microsoft basically says "Trust us." Who in their right mind would do so? [more]

Posted by brad @ 11:37 AM EST [Link]

I'm back after being laid low by a bug that utterly interrupted my life. And the first order of blog business is CARTOONS and other laughs! Cudos to: Mike Luckovich for "Visit to Drunken Sailors"; the Onion for its infograph on stopping SPAM; and, an oldie but goodie, "A Drug War Carol" by Susan Wells and Scott Beiser -- look at the top right-hand side where it says "next", and use that button to move forward to the next page(s). [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:35 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, December 13, 2003

In a previous blog I went on a rant about the universal ignorance of politicians when it comes to technical matters. Sometimes I'm happy to be proven wrong. I've actually learned of a politician who seems to "get" the ideas underlying open-source software.

Unfortunately, he's in Peru. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:55 PM EST [Link]

I would like to dispel the rumors that, since her "Switch to Linux" posting, Wendy has been kidnapped by Penguinistas and locked in a room with a CP/M computer and a 1200 baud modem. Actually, she's just been suffering from a vicious cold.

You may have heard on CNN that Microsoft is declaring Windows 95 and 98 "obsolete," so no more security patches for them. Windows NT and ME are soon to follow; support for them next year will cost you. And the successor to Windows XP, code-named "Longhorn," isn't due until 2006...or maybe 2007 or 2008. While this might herald a period of unusual stability for Windows users -- and maybe a chance for Microsoft to catch up on bug fixes -- don't count on it. [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:52 PM EST [Link]

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Congratulations to RIAA Radar for creating a really useful tool: on their web site you can search by recording artist and find out if their albums are RIAA or not. I'm happy to learn that some of my favorite artists, Trout Fishing in America, Electric Bonsai Band, and The Capitol Steps, are "safe." Just in time for Christmas shopping. [more]

Posted by brad @ 07:41 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Is there such a thing as a free lunch? What if the production cost of lunch is zero?

I would love to see a libertarian economist do an analysis of the Free Software movement. I think this movement is challenging some of our basic assumptions about property, especially intellectual property, the incentives for software writers, and the business model for software. [more]

Posted by brad @ 06:31 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

"United States set to Legalize Spamming on 1 January 2004"

Think that headline is alarmist? Guess again. The CAN-SPAM Act -- widely being called the YOU-CAN-SPAM act -- has been crafted by direct marketers and their pals in government to ensure that they can send you all the spam they want. [more]

Posted by brad @ 01:53 PM EST [Link]

Monday, December 8, 2003

A great cartoon from Russmo "Big News" which pretty much captures it.

All for now,

Posted by mac @ 02:05 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, December 7, 2003

"Of course you know this means war!" -- Groucho Marx which Wendy's skill at web research will easily trump my technical credentials. Certainly I haven't come up with anything to match yesterday's "Switch to Linux." Luckily I chanced upon this item from Karen De Coster's blog: can you tell a Programming Langauge Inventor from a Serial Killer? (I blush to admit that I got only three correct...I guess I should turn in that diploma.)

It seems that Apple iTunes customers are learning that "Digital Rights Management" is code for "all your data are belong to us." [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:01 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Cartoons!: Mark Fiore's rather heavy handed "The Simple Life"; on the other hand, Ted Rall rocks with "Let's Make Every Vote Really Count"; and Tom Toles does a nice job of lampooning the U.S. "drive for democracy" that has to confront the Shiite's actual demand for a free election -- in "Not Yet".

In my never-ending spousal competition with Brad -- the sort that lends spice -- I offer this antidote to the "Linux Rules!" crowd. Frankly, I also think Linux Rules and I appreciate that I am doomed to be out-classed by the B-unit who, after all, has a doctorate in Electrical Engineering compared to...well, my high school education and credentials in feminism. But I am taking the Hans Solo approach to our (faux) domestic dispute: "Never tell me the odds!" [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:17 AM EST [Link]

Go to Google, type in the words "miserable failure," and click "I'm Feeling Lucky." According to The Inquirer, the campaign to establish this link began here only a week ago. I'm happy to help.

If you deal with secure or confidential documents, beware Microsoft Word. Your documents are stuffed with hidden content such as the names of the authors, your organization, filenames on your computer, deleted text, and even text from unrelated documents. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:26 AM EST [Link]

Friday, December 5, 2003

According to a WorldNetDaily article, "The city of Washington, D.C., is implementing a plan to install machines dispensing free condoms in several government offices frequented by the public....'[The dispensers are] going to be as common as water fountains,' [according to] Ivan O. Torres, interim director of the city's HIV/AIDS administration." Two thoughts come to mind. 1) Given how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy turnl -- is this a measure called for by Clinton? 2) Does Torres know how difficult it is to find a water fountain in D.C.? [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:32 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Top ten reasons Bush wants a new moon program.
10. Locks in all those NASA votes for '04.
9. Needs a safe hideout in case of another terrorist attack.
8. Thinks Moon is a small mideastern country.
7. Wants the Johnson Space Center renamed the Bush Space Center.
6. That's where Saddam hid his WMDs.
5. Halliburton is buying Morton Thiokol.
4. Having nightmares about the Yellow Menace.
3. Thinks the deficit is too small.
2. Now Howard Dean has to promise a Mars mission.
1. Someone told him there's oil on the moon.

mac & brad

Posted by brad @ 12:29 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Jon Johansen is back in court. He's the Norwegian student who was tried -- and acquitted -- for writing software to let DVDs be played on a Linux computer. [more]

Posted by brad @ 08:06 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Conventional wisdom says that, if you connect to the Internet for as little as 20 minutes, your computer is likely to be probed by a malicious program. That was then, and this is now: during an idle period last week I watched the traffic coming in to our firewall, and it was being probed, on average, every 20 seconds. [more]

Posted by brad @ 06:31 PM EST [Link]

And the award goes to....! "US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has talked his way into the gobbledegook hall of fame. He got the Plain English campaign's 'Foot In Mouth' award for a statement on the problem of 'unknown unknowns.' He was quoted as saying: 'Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.'" But the consequences of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq are far from laughable. I offer following link to a movie about the U.S. use of depleted uranium in weaponry with two caveats: 1) if you don't have broadband, it will take a long while to download [943K]; and, 2) the images are immensely disturbing. Fair warning.


Posted by mac @ 05:00 PM EST [Link]

Monday, December 1, 2003

Cartoon fix for the day: Pat Oliphant's "Can We at Least Discuss This?" that comments on the new Medicare Bill; Dan Wasserman's "Bush's Mood Elevator" on the same topic. And while I'm dishing the toons, I shouldn't forget the classics like Dilbert, which is good to drop into at least once a month to click on the 30-day archive. [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:24 PM EST [Link]

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