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Messages - radiorahim

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1
Quote
It was that act that, I believe, set off the whole stupid sovereignty-constitutional bullshit crisis for the next 25 years. It really pissed off a whole generation of Quebecers in particular, and paved the way for a PQ win in 1976.

One thing led to another.

What a waste of time and energy. It was hard on the Canadian economy, almost destroyed Montreal (although, ironically, the lack of development for so many years preserved its beauty!), and I believe led to the creation of the Reform party and the Harperites.

I refer to this as the Canadian constipational debate. ;)

The Spanish seem to have more or less figured this stuff out.   I was in Barcelona during last spring's Spanish election.    Catalunya functions pretty much as an independent country...with several different Catalunyan nationalist parties in the Spanish parliament.

Not to forget the Basque, Galician and Canary Island nationalists.

Compared to them our "constipational crisis" is pretty small stuff.

As for Elizabeth May and the Greenies..."party status" is more important than any principles.   First they tried to recruit ex-Tory right-wing populist Garth Turner...then they successfully recruit a cast-off Liberal only a couple of weeks before an election call.

In the last campaign they ran candidates in Newfoundland who could barely find Newfoundland on the map.   IIRC none of their seven Newfoundland candidates lived in the province.   But, it helped them get some money.

I favour P.R. of course...and in that system she'd be "in" the debate.  But we don't have P.R. and the "practise" in the TV debates has been to include parties that at least have a seat.    So the task for the Greenies in our admittedly antique electoral system is to build at least one successful constituency organization.

2
This youtube video entitled "DRM=CRAP" by ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind is probably one of the best "primers" on so-called "Digital Rights Management" (what the Free Software Foundation more accurately describes as "Digital Restrictions Management")

[youtube:i9frg2ww]YKI_w_VBoTQ[/youtube:i9frg2ww]


Under Bill C-61, DRM will have legal protection just as it does under the U.S. Digital Millenium Copryright Act.

3
You can send a letter to your MP expressing your opposition to Bill C-61 (the U.S. dictated amendments to the copyright act) using the form at Online Rights Canada at the link below:

http://www.onlinerights.ca/get_active/copyright_reform_action/

If you're interested in following this issue and the net neutrality issues, Michael Geist's blog is a great "clearing house" of info:

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

There's a bit of a war on this summer with the Harpocons over who's going to control how the internet works.

There's one very interesting commentary on Michael Geist's blog from one of the posters who shows how easy it will be to become a "criminal" under Bill C-61.

He upgraded his CD-ROM drive on his computer from an "old fashioned" IDE one to a new-fangled "SATA" (Serial ATA) drive.

A video game he particularly liked would no longer work.   The disk was "digitally locked" and wouldn't work on the new SATA drive.    So he downloaded some software that broke the lock so he could play his legally purchased video game.

Right now in Canada that's a perfectly legal thing to do.

Under Bill C-61, that's very illegal!    The rights of the corporation that creates the "digital lock" are more important than your rights to use the things you buy with the equipment you own.   Not only that, but distributing anything that breaks a digital lock is illegal.

4
Activism / Online petition supporting "Net Neutrality"
« on: July 07, 2008, 05:57:32 PM »
Please sign the online petition (link below) supporting net neutrality:

http://www.neutrality.ca/index.php?option=com_performs&formid=1&Itemid=3

If you don't know what net neutrality is, and why it's important to us all you can go here and watch a video by Amber Mac that explains:

http://saveournet.ca/

5
The Americas / Re: Hostage release in Colombia
« on: July 05, 2008, 07:44:00 PM »
The plot thickens:

Quote
Source: US Military Special-Ops Team, and Not the Colombian Army, Carried Out Hostage Rescue in Colombia
Months in the Planning, the Operation Included US Special Forces Posing as Members of a “French Humanitarian Group”

By Bill Conroy
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

July 3, 2008

A U.S. military special-operations unit carried out the recent rescue of three Defense Department contractors being held by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), according to a source who has first-hand knowledge of the operation.

The U.S. military contractors – Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell – had been held captive by the FARC ever since their surveillance plane was shot down in February 2003 over the Colombian jungles. Also rescued in the mission were 11 Colombian military and police officers as well as former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt – who also is a French citizen.

The source of information for this report asked not to be identified, though Narco News has not been led astray by this source in the past.

The source claims the rescue mission was a U.S.-led operation with Colombian support – as opposed to the reverse, as has been widely reported in the U.S. media. The operation had been underway for some months prior to the July 2 rescue day.

In priming this pump, the U.S. team managed to plant some satellite phones with the FARC. The source declined to provide details on how that was accomplished for fear of compromising future operations of this nature. From there, the U.S. military used its technology to set up surveillance by intercepting the FARC’s communications.

The whole operation was carried out, the source claims, under the guise of being a humanitarian mission. The FARC, the source claims, believed they were dealing with a “French humanitarian group.” The communications intercepts helped to facilitate that deceit, the source adds.

http://narconews.com/Issue54/article3153.html

6
Technology & Science / Re: YouTube just ceased to be fun
« on: July 05, 2008, 07:31:20 PM »
One of the bittorrent indexers, "isohunt.com" has this to say:

Quote
As for us, we successfully argued in our MPAA case that we don't need to turn over your IP addresses as it is a violation of user privacy with no evidentiary value, and only turned over .torrent access logs in anonymized form. You may not like to hear that .torrent logs are being turned over, but the truth is we were ordered to do so and that the MPAA does need anonymous logs to prove their frivolous lawsuit.

The bottom line is, what really matters to you is your privacy and I can assure you that our rather simplistic privacy policy is true and correct: we will not disclose your personal identity to any third party, without your consent. For other website admins, as Brian Aker of MySQL has suggested, for sake of privacy of your users and your own sanity, only keep server logs in anonymized or aggregate form. I see no usefulness to keep full logs long term. As to ISP or other man in the middle snooping of your activities on isoHunt, we now have SSL encryption option to protect your visit to isoHunt.com from prying eyes.

https://isohunt.com

(note the "https" instead of "http"...if you use https the traffic between your computer and the site is encrypted...similar to the way your traffic is encrypted when you do financial transactions.)

So there's some hope...if Google appeals and decides to fight the release of IP addresses that they will be successful.   Google's big problem though is that they keep all these records about everybody on file.

7
Technology & Science / Re: YouTube just ceased to be fun
« on: July 04, 2008, 07:32:30 PM »
Quote
'd say it's about time to start seriously thinking about routing all that web architecture out of the US and into some non-police statish locale, like the middle of the frikkin ocean.

With Harpocon's Bill C-61 in the works...and at this stage only the NDP opposing it we're going to see this kind of nonsense happening in Canada as well...so maybe you're right!

8
Technology & Science / Re: Gates steps down from Microsoft
« on: July 03, 2008, 10:48:37 PM »
Here's Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman's take on Bill Gates stepping down.   Unlike Gates, Stallman is a genuine "tech hero".

(It's published under Creative Commons no derivatives license so I think that means I have to quote the entire article...but it's a good one anyway ;) )

Quote
It's not the Gates, it's the bars
By Richard Stallman
Founder, Free Software Foundation

To pay so much attention to Bill Gates' retirement is missing the point. What really matters is not Gates, nor Microsoft, but the unethical system of restrictions that Microsoft, like many other software companies, imposes on its customers.

That statement may surprise you, since most people interested in computers have strong feelings about Microsoft. Businessmen and their tame politicians admire its success in building an empire over so many computer users.

Many outside the computer field credit Microsoft for advances which it only took advantage of, such as making computers cheap and fast, and convenient graphical user interfaces.

Gates' philanthropy for health care for poor countries has won some people's good opinion. The LA Times reported that his foundation spends five to 10% of its money annually and invests the rest, sometimes in companies it suggests cause environmental degradation and illness in the same poor countries.

Many computerists specially hate Gates and Microsoft. They have plenty of reasons.

'Solicit funds'

Microsoft persistently engages in anti-competitive behaviour, and has been convicted three times. George W Bush, who let Microsoft off the hook for the second US conviction, was invited to Microsoft headquarters to solicit funds for the 2000 election.

Many users hate the "Microsoft tax", the retail contracts that make you pay for Windows on your computer even if you won't use it.

In some countries you can get a refund, but the effort required is daunting.

There's also the Digital Restrictions Management: software features designed to "stop" you from accessing your files freely. Increased restriction of users seems to be the main advance of Vista.

'Gratuitous incompatibilities'

Then there are the gratuitous incompatibilities and obstacles to interoperation with other software. This is why the EU required Microsoft to publish interface specifications.

   
Microsoft would have us believe that helping your neighbour is the moral equivalent of attacking a ship

This year Microsoft packed standards committees with its supporters to procure ISO approval of its unwieldy, unimplementable and patented "open standard" for documents. The EU is now investigating this.

These actions are intolerable, of course, but they are not isolated events. They are systematic symptoms of a deeper wrong which most people don't recognise: proprietary software.

Microsoft's software is distributed under licenses that keep users divided and helpless. The users are divided because they are forbidden to share copies with anyone else. The users are helpless because they don't have the source code that programmers can read and change.

If you're a programmer and you want to change the software, for yourself or for someone else, you can't.

If you're a business and you want to pay a programmer to make the software suit your needs better, you can't. If you copy it to share with your friend, which is simple good-neighbourliness, they call you a "pirate".

'Unjust system'

Microsoft would have us believe that helping your neighbour is the moral equivalent of attacking a ship.

The most important thing that Microsoft has done is to promote this unjust social system.

Gates is personally identified with it, due to his infamous open letter which rebuked microcomputer users for sharing copies of his software.

   
Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he helped create remain, for now

It said, in effect, "If you don't let me keep you divided and helpless, I won't write the software and you won't have any. Surrender to me, or you're lost!"

'Change system'

But Gates didn't invent proprietary software, and thousands of other companies do the same thing. It's wrong, no matter who does it.

Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and the rest, offer you software that gives them power over you. A change in executives or companies is not important. What we need to change is this system.

That's what the free software movement is all about. "Free" refers to freedom: we write and publish software that users are free to share and modify.

We do this systematically, for freedom's sake; some of us paid, many as volunteers. We already have complete free operating systems, including GNU/Linux.

Our aim is to deliver a complete range of useful free software, so that no computer user will be tempted to cede her freedom to get software.

In 1984, when I started the free software movement, I was hardly aware of Gates' letter. But I'd heard similar demands from others, and I had a response: "If your software would keep us divided and helpless, please don't write it. We are better off without it. We will find other ways to use our computers, and preserve our freedom."

In 1992, when the GNU operating system was completed by the kernel, Linux, you had to be a wizard to run it. Today GNU/Linux is user-friendly: in parts of Spain and India, it's standard in schools. Tens of millions use it, around the world. You can use it too.

Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he helped create remain, for now.

Dismantling them is up to us.

Richard Stallman is the founder of the Free Software Foundation. You can copy and redistribute this article under the Creative Commons Noderivs license.
 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7487060.stm

9
Technology & Science / Re: Gates steps down from Microsoft
« on: July 01, 2008, 11:28:04 PM »
Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote the Basic interpreter for the Altair computer back in the 1970's and that was pretty much the only innovative thing that Microsoft has done.

Ever since then it's pretty much been the "Homer Simpson scenario" that you mentioned ;)

And of course there was William Henry Gates III's famous "Open Letter to Hobbyists"

Quote
The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/homebrew/V2_01/gatesletter.html

10
Technology & Science / Re: Gates steps down from Microsoft
« on: July 01, 2008, 12:42:13 AM »
He kind of models himself after Andrew Carnegie...who achieved pretty much monopoly control over the steel industry in the 19th century U.S.   Steel was a vital commodity as this was the period of time when the railway network was being built across the U.S. ...and building steel rails was very big business.

Carnegie...like Gates did some nasty things.   In Carnegie's case it was setting out to bust the union at Carnegie Steel's Homestead, Pennsylvania works in 1892.   Carnegie was successful and set back unionization of the steel industry for 40 years.

Of course afterwards Carnegie did all kinds of charitable things including building public libraries...in fact as a kid I made regular use of one of them.

But we should not forget how Carnegie amassed his wealth...and neither should we forget how Bill Gates amassed his wealth.    Gates achieved his wealth not necessarily by writing innovative software but by controlling the software market with a vice-like grip.

11
Narrow Shoulders / Re: Virus-checkers
« on: June 24, 2008, 11:44:44 PM »
Quote
(Hence my reluctance to switch OS. L.'s played around with Ubuntu on a dual boot on his compy and had headaches. I need things to just work.)

A little thread drift...

Take a look at some other GNU/Linux distros.    Yes Ubuntu is very popular and there's lots of "buzz" around it and an excellent user community.  That's both a good and a bad thing.  The problem is that often when folks encounter a problem with Ubuntu they assume that every Linux distro is the same.

The GNU/Linux system isn't "owned" by anyone...so that means that companies big and small, groups of online communities and even a couple of basement hackers are free to put out their own Linux distribution.

If you had the skills you could put out "Kuri's Linux"...or if a group of folks on this board had the skills and wanted to put together a GNU/Linux distro we could have "BreadnRoses Linux".

It might sound crazy at first...but many GNU/Linux distros these days actually include tools that are designed to make it ... well maybe not "easy"...but certainly "easier" for folks to put together their own GNU/Linux distro.

Putting out "Kuri's Windows" or "Kuri's MacOS" would be totally illegal!

A case in point about "distro shopping".   I setup a computer lab for a senior's centre last year.   I was going to install "Kubuntu"...which is basically Ubuntu using a KDE desktop instead of the "Gnome" desktop used in Ubuntu.

I had a problem with an onboard sound chip.   It wouldn't work "out of the box".

So, I tested "Linux Mint".   Linux Mint is a "fork" of Ubuntu (because GNU/Linux is free software you're allowed to do that).  It's put together by a very small development team based in Ireland.  I didn't even have to install it.   I just ran it in "Live CD mode" where everything runs off the CD.

As soon as Linux Mint came up I heard the "login music"..."music to my ears"...literally!
With Linux Mint that soundchip did work out of the box...and that's what I ended up installing.  It's still running flawlessly.

At other times I've found this or that distro that didn't do what I wanted them to do on this or that particular computer...so I just tried something else until I found what I wanted.

12
Technology & Science / Re: Yet another reason to avoid microsoft
« on: June 24, 2008, 11:09:19 PM »
According to his article, 92% of software developers are not working on developing new software applications for Windows Vista this year...and it isn't going to be all that much more next year.

http://tinyurl.com/5ulmy5

13
Narrow Shoulders / Re: Virus-checkers
« on: June 23, 2008, 11:45:00 PM »
Quote
It sounds like you're running a bunch of anti-virus applications all at the same time. Don't do that. You'll screw up your system.

One at a time.

Yes I missed that...never run more than one anti-virus checker on your Windows computer...they often fight with each other.

14
Narrow Shoulders / Re: Virus-checkers
« on: June 23, 2008, 11:42:17 PM »
Of course I have to start by saying that the best way to prevent viruses and other types of malware is to never install a software programme called "Microsoft Windows" on your computer. :)

ClamAV (the anti-virus engine that Clamwin uses) is mostly used on free software GNU/Linux systems and in particular on mail servers ...not really to protect the GNU/Linux machine, but more to protect Windows machines that connect to them over a network.

But just in case some malicious person or corporation installed this Microsoft Windows programme on your machine and you don't know how to get it off, one other anti-virus programme that you can use is "Avast" available from http://avast.com.

They give you I think 30 days permission to use it, but if you do this rather bizarre thing called "registering" it, they'll give you a thing called a "serial number" and you can use it for a year.   Then you'll have to ask permission to use it again...and the cycle goes on...you keep having to ask for permission to use it.

You're quite correct that Clamwin doesn't have a "real time" anti-virus scanner.   However given that it's licensed under the GNU General Public License you never ever have to ask for somebody's permission to use it.   If you want to use it just use it.  You don't need to get a serial number and you don't have to give anyone any information about yourself.

The advantage using Clamwin is that "realtime scanners" that are constantly running in the background slow your computer down.

The disadvantage is that you'll need to be much more vigilant about running regular scans on your machine and making sure to manually scan every file that you download. :)

15
Narrow Shoulders / Re: Techie Tools
« on: June 22, 2008, 10:22:00 PM »
Here's a site that has some online tools to assist you in making your website accessible to folks who have some kind of colour deficit in their vision.   You can view your site the way a "colour blind" person would see it...and hopefully make the necessary colour corrections.

http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php

Folks are starting to surf the net from their mobile phones.   If you want to see what your website looks like to a mobile phone user you can install the "Small Screen Rendering" extension in Firefox.   I'm not sure if it works in Firefox 3.0 yet.

You can get it at this link (scroll down the page a bit).
http://disruptive-innovations.com/products/index.html

You can view in small screen mode "natively" using the "Opera" web browser.   I'm not normally a fan of proprietary software but I've always had a soft spot for "Opera".   Opera makes its money supplying the mobile phone version of it's web browser to mainly European mobile phone companies.   The browser for installation on computers is "free as in free beer"...but not "free as in free speech" and is available for Windows, MacOSX and GNU/Linux.

http://www.opera.com

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