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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
Member since
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
Description

The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2259 Articles
93 Comments

18 years Ago

FTC shuts down pop-ad king

Published on in Technology

An article on Slashdot reports that the FTC is shutting down a number of sites that trap you into an endless cycle of pop-up windows. Many of these cycles involve porn and gambling site advertisements. One stumbles into them by mistyping popular web addresses.

Once again, the government shouldn’t be getting involved here. This guy is just using ingenuity to manipulate the functions of popular browsers. It’s not a virus. It doesn’t do any damage. The problem lies in the browsers. Here’s a... [More]

Think DMCA was bad? Here comes SSSCA!

Published on in Technology

An article at EE Times details a bill coming to Congress soon. This new bill pushed onto the floor of Congress by big players (MPAA with Disney and Fox in the lead), will force any company making a digital device to install hardware-level copyright protection. Let me clarify. That means any American company. In an already struggling economy, this is not a good idea. Who’s going to buy these devices? Probably a lot of people. Will they know that they’ve been crippled? Not until it’s too late.... [More]

W3C looks to promote patented standards

Published on in Technology

Ars Technica reports on a new proposal by the W3C which would allow them to promote standards which are not open. That is, standards that are copyrighted and/or patented by companies. This opens up future problems like the GIF one, in which Unisys laid in wait until the format was accepted as an open standard, then came forward with its patent. The article points out that the W3C seems to be in a remarkable hurry to pass this recommendation:

<q>As we[W3C] have begun to use portions of the... [More]

Taliban Oppression

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

An article at news.telegraph.co.uk has an extensive interview with a former Taliban enforcer. This man, with many others, formed the police force of the Taliban, charged with enforcing their ever-stricter and more oppressive rules. Their instructions were to:

<q>You must become so notorious for bad things that when you come into an area people will tremble in their sandals. Anyone can do beatings and starve people. I want your unit to find new ways of torture so terrible that the screams will... [More]

New Oz pictures

Published on in earthli.com

2 new Oz pictures.

Eradication is the only way

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

That’s the consensus opinion of today’s Newsday letters section. It’s full of cogent discourse like:

<q>If we fail to respond, make no mistake it will be perceived as empathy. The next time − and there will be a next time − will 20,000 American lives be lost? … I would like to ask the family and friends of those murdered by the hijackings if they want to “turn the other cheek.” … I’d feel terrible if I did less for my children than the previous generations have done for us.</q>
Does our... [More]

Why not go after Boeing?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

They’re the ones who made the planes which were turned into weapons of mass destruction. Sure, that sounds stupid. It’s because it is. That’s the same argument that has lulled most of the government and 94% (or whatever the current poll shows) of the people of America. This article on CNET discusses the holes in the argument against cryptography. There’s so many, it’s hard to know where to begin. I think most of the people for the anti-crypto measures know their argument doesn’t hold water, but... [More]

New Forums opened

Published on in earthli.com

Work proceeds in the forums. Many new posts added. Existing posts separated into Current Events, Humor and Technology.

A Look at XP Licensing Policy

Published on in Technology

Believe it or not, ZDNet (albeit the British version) has weighed in with a scathing critique of Microsoft(There’s a great little analogy comparing Microsoft to a blue whale and its users to krill.), its licensing policies and its treatment of customers.

<q>…XP Home Edition says that your computing experience will be made less pleasant because the operating system will turn itself off if you change your computer too much, at which point you’ll have to go begging to Microsoft to be allowed to... [More]

DoCoMo, Telecom the Japanese way

Published on in Technology

There’s a good article on Wired about the largest telecom company in Japan. It covers a lot of how the Japanese are using cell phones and the approach a successful (as so many in Europe and the States are not) telecom company should take.

The only answer is a military one.

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

In a recent New York Newsday, an editor, Howard Gardner, statemed in an article:

<q>If we can carve away that arrogance, replacing it with a tad of humility, we will gain the respect of the civilized world. And, in the process, we will so isolate the fanatics and terrorists that the rest of the world will shrink away from them.</q>

Andrew Targovnik of Syosset responds:

<q>…This is typical liberal utopian garbage. So let’s be humble and this will reduce terrorist attacks? Please. There’s... [More]

Stop Using IIS

Published on in Technology

Slashdot writes that the Gartner Group has come out with a statement recommending that businesses not use Microsoft’s web server.

Slashdot misreports the severity, though:

<q>Gartner remains concerned that viruses and worms will continue to attack IIS until Microsoft has released a completely rewritten, thoroughly and publicly tested, new release of IIS,‘ which they say has an 80% chance of happening by the end of next year.</q>

Note that the Slashdot quotes extend into the portion that is... [More]

Guilty until proven innocent

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Apparently, we aren’t going to take the careful approach to not angering any more of the rest of the world. (Newsday: Buck Stops Here):

<q>The executive order is extremely broad in scope, allowing the government to freeze the assets not only of those who have committed terrorist acts but also of those who, in the government’s view, <q>pose a significant risk of committing</q> such acts. It further allows the government to move against those who aid terrorists, serve as fronts for them or are <q>... [More]

Quick, before they come to their senses!

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is all happening quite quickly as well. A lot of measures are being pushed through. Attorney General John Ashcroft is imparting a sense of urgency to his own agenda for increased domestic surveillance powers (Newsday: Act Fast on Terrorism):

<q>[He] urged Congress to act expeditiously to broaden laws aimed at curbing terrorist activity in the United States, including allowing more detentions of legal immigrants, allowing expanded wiretaps on suspected terrorists and gaining greater access... [More]

Comprehension != Justification

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

One response I’ve seen to these examinations of U.S. foreign policy is this letter in the Newsday:

<q>…Sheryl McCarthy and Jerry Falwell both agree that the United States brought disaster on itself. While Falwell says this is a punishment from God for our having become so secular, thus making the murderers agaents of God’s will, McCarthy sees this as the inevitable retribution for our national hubris and for having a foreign policy that is in our own best interests. This type of fuzzy... [More]

Is privacy such a big deal?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

There’s been a bit of a back and forth on the privacy issue in the last few days. JonKatz of Slashdot published an article that’s a complete turnaround from any of his past positions. It’s an interesting read in that it advocates avoiding ‘kneejerk’ reactions to protect privacy. I think that’s good. Kneejerk reactions are never good, it does everyone good to think about their positions and come up with cogent arguments.

However, I still think that this immediate jump to abrogating privacy in... [More]

War

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Looks like things are unfolding pretty much as they can be expected to. Troops are massing, reserves are called up. Osama Bin Laden goes from someone with a history of terrorism, to a possible suspect to the prime suspect to wanted dead or alive, all in a matter of days.

The President has pledged to rid the world of evil-doers and rout out terrorists and countries that harbor terrorists. The U.S. and its foreign policy is arguably the biggest evil-doer around and also happens to harbor the... [More]

Forums Updated (Again)

Published on in earthli.com

Earthli Forums code updated. Users can now create accounts. More invective than you can handle.

Why was the WTC attacked?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Those are the questions we have to ask. It’s not seditious to wonder whether the U.S. courted danger. Sedition is a word hopefully left buried in the past for this country. In order to prevent such things from happening again, we must try to understand why they happened.

The New York Newsday has a good overview of Afghanistan’s history and current situation.

For those at all curious on what could incite the attack on the WTC, go here for an interview with Osama Bin Laden.

Israelis and... [More]

How did Microsoft get off the hook?

Published on in Technology

The justice department just kind of let them walk. They definitely abused their monopoly (see this thread). It seems the prosecution lost their witnesses. All of the companies pushing the U.S. Government to release Microsoft’s yoke suddenly have much more important things to worry about…like bankruptcy.

U.S. Government wants encryption keys (again)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

It’s times like these that make ‘cynic’ seem to be synonymous with ‘realist’. No sooner can you start to worry about civil rights infringement than you find more cases of it being proposed than you can count.

How is it that the notion of preventing honest citizens from using encryption somehow increases our freedom from attack? Does Congress truly believe that terrorists who will stop at nothing will make sure to use only legal, government-sanctioned software with backdoors neatly in place? I... [More]

Removing illegal filenames in NT/2000

Published on in Programming

I thought it was a shame that the guy was laughing at what sad bastards we are that we can’t even clean up his mess (for 3 months).

For future reference, here’s how you do it (only works in Windows NT/2000, for Windows 95, 98, use a DOS utility like ‘elim’):

dir /x

The /x switch shows short and long file names. All of the illegal folders had legible short file names. The first one was ~0200, where 20 is actually hexadecimal for 32, which is ‘space’ in ASCII.

Once you know the folder name,... [More]

WTC Collapse was well-designed

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Why did the tower collapse? How did it manage to collapse so neatly? Was it a lucky hit?

Read More

The New Scientist also weighs in.

Civil Rights the next casualty?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

In the wake of the WTC attack, it is unfortunate to see the stirrings of government agencies that see this as an opportunity to legalize infringements of basic rights on Americans too shellshocked and/or frightened to resist.

Already, on Tuesday afternoon, the FBI was shopping their home-grown packet-sniffer, dubbed ‘Carnivore’, around to all the major ISPs again. This is a blatant, crude move that will likely work for many ISPs who don’t want to be seen as uncooperative or harboring terrorist... [More]

The FISA Court

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Domestic Spying and other wonderful stuff.

Read more

Tuesday’s commute.

Published on in earthli.com

Marco’s Tuesday commute.

Some see it as an opportunity

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The FBI has already started to push its Carnivore strategy again. Now that the nation is properly ‘terrified’, they figure we’re a much easier target for intruding on our rights of privacy. For most ISPs, the FBI was right.

Read more

New page settings

Published on in earthli.com

Added customization options. Change color scheme, font and size and use it throughout the site. (See Settings on the right.)

FBI search methods matter of national security

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The FBI has been granted protection under the Classified Information Procedures Act. They don’t have to explain how a key-logging program was placed onto a private machine.

Check the Register for more information.

Jean Louis Gassèe

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Jean Louis Gassèe

See also an article on Byte on boot loaders.