March 10th, 2001

Books

Saturday morning (paying work, stupid people)

I got a few hours of sleep sometime this morning. Perhaps ot was between the second showing of Jules Verne and dawn or so.

I managed to get to the bank for the focus group thing. It was pretty cool, but I was late. I couldn't find the place, and ended up relying on MapQuest. Their directions got me there, and I got back out, but I still don't know where the new branch is, even though it's only about two blocks from the old one. More reasons to hate or at least strongly dislike Buckhead.

I may write up the focus group seperately (sp?) later. I corned one of the bank's employee's, who alleged he was a webmaster. I cajoled him for the way their operation is structured on 'commercialware' end to end and wondered why they waste all that money and caused themselves so much unneeded frustration, especially for the kiosks. About that time the (admittedly quite friendly and nice) ratbert came back and ushered me out (by giving me a check :). The same fellow happened to go for a smoke on my way out of the building (secured doors..) and I apologized for my rudeness, introduced myself informally, and gave him a resume. He was nice enough about the ambush, looked at it, shot one f the buzzwords back at me ("you're a sysadmin?") ("not of anything in particular. I have a couple small businesses around town who have my boxes as firewalls on their DSL"), said he thought they might need someone, and that'd he'd pass it to the catberts (he said HR, actually). He seemed nice enough about the whole thing, and didn't offer his name, which I didn't realize until later. I then decided that it was more polite for both of not to pretend like I was making his aquaintance. We both knew I just wanted someone to carry the resume in, and it seems a better transaction without all that falsehood... Nice fellow. I do rather hope he didn't roundfile the resume, though.

On my roundabout way homeward, I found ISS headquarters, or at least a very large sign advertising them and and their job openings, which I should check out.

After escaping from Atlanta into DeKalb County, I swung by a computer shop that I have been trying to do some work for of late. While heckling and arguing with the instructor, I managed to assist her [the owner] in understanding what it was I'm trying to do, and set it up for Wed. Cool. Paying work is nice every now and then, you know ;)

The heckling and outright lecturing were justified. This guy is teaching these newbies how to take networking tests (Network+, not sure) which he seems to be okay at. I mean he knows more Windows than Unix, and he's teaching the newbies on Windows so of course there is some platform advocacy and over simplification. We traded quips on that stuff, but I tried to stay out of it until he told those kids that they should go download software off the net for free, because it's out there. We're not talking about Free Software (libre and gratis). We talking stolen beer. He said "Photoshop" at least twice.

This caused me to rant a little, and he didn't get it, correct himself, apologize, or change the subject, insisting that that behaviour was okay, even after I brought up that it's illegal (which it is). He affirmed that they'll never catch you, and the tired old line that it's okay, everyone does it. I reminded him that they do go after people, that they will take your computers, and if it's a business, there are huge fines and jail time. Still he persisted. So I finished up thusly, after he insisted that it was still okay: [composed afterwards from memory, more or less]

"Sure, if the software license says: okay, take this and give it to all your friends as much as you want, then it would be fine. And there is plenty of software that says that. The stuff I use does. But, Adobe Photoshop's license says something like: for your 500 bucks you can use this software on one machine at a time and cannot give copies to anyone else for them to use, and if you do that you break the license and their copryright and they come after you with police and lawyers. And the laws have been changed, they can get you even if you were not charging for the illegally copied software."

After that, he went back to teaching them how to eliminate some of the answers in multiple choice questions. I was so annoyed that he would be feeding that crap to a bunch of newbies who were training to become computer techs... I mentioned it to [business owner] and she said she'd talked to him about it before and would again. We'll see. So I now officially describe him: "he knows his stuff pretty well, but has an attitude problem." And I will end up teaching some of these same kids UNIX or security later on...

Before I got clear of there, he talked to them a little about security, which remark: "That's why we're all about NT: security." made me laugh and say so. Just prior to fleeing I pointed at the small assembly of newbies and told them flat out that security is all on them, not on any software, that if they know their stuff, they'll be okay, but that if not, it won't matter whose stuff they use.

Going to be fun trying to retrain those minds..Argh.

  • Current Music
    Tori Amos, Under the Pink(just started again)
Books

(no subject)

You might want to peek at the budding discussion vidicon and I are having about Reciprocality.

I gotta go find out if there are any tickets for Crouching TIger tonight. On recollection, I know I can't find out from here. Suck. Hrrm. The recording might say whether or not it's sold out yet.. Maybe.

If you are wondering why I haven't seen it yet, or why I don't give money to the movie biz, you'll have to wait for a later episode. Start with OpenDVD and work your way through Eldritch v. Reno to the EFF. I feel too notbad to dive into all that crap now, particularly after adding to my list of stupid people this after noon (see above).

  • Current Music
    Tori, UtP (second run through)
Books

(no subject)

The movie industry's suicidal tactics succeeded. We went to a video store after determining there was no theater we could reach or find a seat in in range. We were easily defeated by the blithering array of lousy movies at the store (which is particularly poorly organized, and no longer my responsiblity :). We came home empty handed save a flyer for a local computer shop run by some guys I know. I was wondering if they were still going, and it looks like they have latched on to the cert farming business. I plan on giving them a poke over a couple things... Oh, and the rents found some movie from 1953 on the TV. (snicker)

One of them always insisted, whem we were all working in a building owned by IBM a couple years back, that big companies would never adopt free software, and that I was just nuts. Well, IBM has bought into Linux and free software big time, and is kicking off a big ad campaign this month to remind everyone. Another of them was a little friendlier (or quiet on the subject), and around the time we all stopped working there, I helped him move. I haven't heard from them in a couple years since then. If they've clued in (conceivable), they could some one with my knowledge, and if they haven't it'll be fun sparring with them and enlightening any clients of theirs who happen to be around :) Either that or I'll sell them a firewall. I should be doing more of that anyway.

And now I'm tempted to put the URI for their site in here, as it appears I am about to heckle my way through it.. They have apparently gone over to cert farming (with financing!) wholesale. Ah, hell, it's pretty bad. Heckle away, it's too easy to be any fun... Look at those tables. Gack. Be pretty funny if some one showed 'em this before I get to poking them, though.

On the other hand, one of more of those guys may still be upset with me over how all that (us not working at the building owned by IBM) went down. I made some lousy choices, and it caused me some trouble. This had little to do with their leaving though, and may have even provided a little cover for their plans (which had apparently been brewing for some time). Hrmm..

Leeching a bunch of Debian floppies to try out. Some nutter has worked the ReiserFS into the install program so you can install Debain GNU/Linux 2.2 (potato) on reiser as root. If you are still reading the paragraph, you might care to know that amongst other nifty tricks, reiser is a journaled file system, meaning no fsck on boot most of the time, and a tiny one is dire emergencies (as opposed to the usual half hour of downtime..) Also grabbing a floppy for OpenBSD, who have yet another cool new mascot for the 2.8 release:

Cute, ain't he?

  • Current Music
    Mediaeval Baebes, Salve Nos
Books

(no subject)

I just stumbled across another amusing reminder that computer are only useful for: Porn, video games, and things that don't externalize beyond computer technology... and now communication, maybe..

I mean how precisely do you tell a person what fscking (scandisk in Windoze) is without explaining a filesystem, inodes, and FATs to them? That you are getting it drunk and then throwing it in the shower after pouring a pot o' coffee down it's throat (holding it's nose to make sure it swallows every drop) ? Or is their a meditative metaphor I am unaware of?</p>

It's a visualization plugin for Winamp, and I almost don't want to spoil the fun by telling you more... Okay here's the graphic from the download (~ 3 meg) site:

I did sort of warn you it was silly, right? T make this a proper plug, here is the web site of the responsible party, WildTangent, Inc.

On third thought, you may not want to bother unless you have:

  • what we in the biz would call a suuuweeeet box (technical term), a fast chip and nice 3d borad seem a good idea (it renders a bit choppy on this here p54c 166 ;(
  • a stomach for doofy licenses and snooping software

Ah, well. Just look at the graphic again, shake your head and walk away. At least I've got WinAmp now, which is a generally good thing on a windoze install, and makes the windoze LJ 'ware much more useful.

  • Current Music
    Mediaeval Baebes - An Adult Lullaby
Books

Napster court rulings, illogic

Napster should get common carrier status, and should not have to attempt to monitor its users to detect law-breaking (which incidentially it cannot do).

Compare:

Napster allows people to collect their music collections across great distances and this creates such possibilities for crime (copyright violations). They should be forced to try and make sure that crime (copyright violations) isn't possible while operating their service.

ATT allows people to collect their conversations across great distances, and because there is a danger of criminal speech (hate speech, treason, slander) the carrier (ATT) should have to take responsibility of preventing these specific kinds of speech while running the service.

This had been sitting on my desktop for a month. Just shoving it in. --adric

  • Current Music
    Mediaeval Baebes - Ah Si Mon Moine