Archive for January, 2002

The Microsoft Delusion

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BBC employees are to be banned from connecting their PDAs to the BBC’s computers unless they run on the Microsoft Windows PocketPC 2002 platform.

An internal email from the company’s technology division stated all PDA platforms other than PocketPC are insecure – which will prevent anybody operating a Palm or Psion handheld device from using their PDA at work.

The email said reasons of security and unusually, the “exposure to users of health and safety risks” left the company with no other choice but the PocketPC platform.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said:

“The BBC has to have some kind of say if people are going to be downloading things from our computers and taking them home.”

“We believe PocketPC includes all functionality and is one the most secure platforms available. [my emphasis]

Employees have until summer 2003 to change their PDAs or refrain from porting them to BBC computers.

I hope BBC was paid well by Microsoft to make that public announcement. I haven’t seen any major flaws or breaches where a Palm or Psion handheld PDA was used in some insecure fashion to exploit, steal, or “hack” into any corporate networks… at least none which cannot also be done with a PocketPC.

Microsoft, OTOH, has had at least 3 security advisories per month for the past 4 years, sometimes more.

Cross-country Moving Related Stuff

  • Movers arrive tomorrow. Still have to disassemble
    this desk
    ! More packing remains.

  • Liquid polyurethane foam isn’t the best way to pack monitors. Time for Plan B.
  • Truck must be relocated soon also, or donated.
  • pilot-link will have to be released when I’m on the “other side”.
  • Am I attending Palmsource in two weeks?
  • Cox Cable better live up to their bandwidth promises.
  • Server relocation must happen promptly.

Advogato Certification and PG&E Power Issues

Zurk, how noble of you to certify yourself directly as Master, without even a single project under your guidance. Perhaps you might want to take a look at the Certification Overview and think of a value which suits your personal contributions. Your Sourceforge entry doesn’t seem to contain much. Your homepage seems to be down. I did find your ZDoc homepage though. Perhaps you should add your project to the
Advogato project page.

You complain that you lost your certification, and that you can’t post. Perhaps you need to contribute to some community projects or Free Software work. You are judged by your peers here, by your contributions, not by your “friends”.

You aren’t “owed” certifications, you earn them. Just a thought…


  • belated Christmas shopping
  • friends from the past
  • pilot-link hackery
  • packing everything into boxes
  • power outages
  • voratious hunger
  • unstable sleep pattern

SPAM Honeypot

    I just looked at the logs from my spam honeypot script running on my box, and there was one spam harvesting engine stuck in it
    tonight, and it had already hit it 25,813 times before I finally blocked it with iptables. Each new link it found, it spawned
    a new instance of itself and begain spidering the page again. This is purely evil.

    At over 200 unique fake email addresses per page, that’s over 5,162,600 fake email addresses that my script successfully populated it’s database with. Too nice.


    I had my power shut off today at 12:40pm, and I called PG&E to restore it at b>2:30pm, the power flickered on for 1 full second at 3:48pm and was off again.

    I called them again at 5:18pm and then again at 6:26pm. They told me power was restored. Uhm, no. They said they would dispatch another truck, but it could take up 8:00pm.

    I decided to just fix it myself. I went downstairs into the ahem “locked” Utility room and right next to my meter was a little PG&E post-it that said “Service Restored” and a tech’s name. I opened the little metal flap over the breaker, and it was in the Off position. Gar!

    Why do I always have to deal with this ineptitude? Next time they cut my power, I’ll just march back down there, ahem “open” the Utility room, and turn it back on.

Autoconf quote of the day:

“Using autoconf is like playing chess from 20 feet away by flicking a rope to move the pieces…”mbp

It’s Thu Jan 24 02:17:58 PST 2002 and I’m not even tired yet.

VMware Tweaking

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RoUS, VMware is something I know a great deal about, inside and out. I can probably help you.

I’ve gotten many unsupported USB devices working, regularly sync my Palms over USB, Ir, and serial into and out of vmware guest images, and have no problems with NAT or DVD playback.

Hit me up in email and I can help you out. I have some tweaks as well, that you may want to implement, which will speed up the performance of that NT image for you inside the vm.

I have about 12 images I use in vmware on nearly a daily basis (and as I type this, FreeBSD 4.3 is happily compiling gnome inside VMware right now on another window).

I rely on it quite heavily for my cross-platform work, where I need a “soft” box to test in.

Sony GPL Violation

Sony Debacle II
Cross-posted from my original Slashdot posting on the same subejct from today

    I’ve been hoping they’d learn, but they still do not. I just checked the Sony Palm Developer website, and they have a Windows binary of POSE, the PalmOS Emulator. This binary covers “PEG-T600C/T400/T415” models and another binary on the same site covers “PEG-S and PEG-N Series” models. The source code that they have available only covers “PEG-S and PEG-N Series” models. These are all from November 20th, 2001.

    Sony, where is the POSE source code for the “PEG-T600C/T400/T415” series version of POSE? You have
    two new models of Clie devices on the horizon, and I’m sure that developers would like to begin supporting them, further increasing your sales margins. You have a Windows binary of POSE available that supports these models, you are legally bound to provide the source code which generated these binaries.

    Here’s a quote from your PalmOS® developer page:

    The source code will be available with the final version.

    Sony, listen closely.. you really need to make yourself aware of the GPL before you blindly violate it like this. If you come back with the excuse that you are “cleaning up the code”, you are still in violation. “Cleaned up” code will produce a different binary. You are bound, by the GPL, with releasing the source code which generates any binary you create and distribute from that source code, Windows, Unix, or Macintosh.

    I will be in attendance at Palmsource in a few weeks, and I hope you will be as well, because I intend to fully bring this to the attention of yourself, and everyone else there. I have been quiet about this issue, but believe me, I am not backing down.

    I have reluctantly added support to pilot-link for the Sony devices, most of which are randomly designed in nature, so that you can see increased sales due to the non-Windows users purchasing your hardware. How about giving back to the community that has been supporting your bottom line for the last two years, instead of raping and stealing from it?

    I see only one way that you can claim that you are allowed to proceed with this violation, and that would be if the original copyright holder of xcopilot relicensed or sold the copyright to that code to Palm and then they in turn relicensed it to you. I do not see that being the case, since all previous versions of POSE that you have made available have been based on publically available GPL versions of the codebase. From your own site:

    This is the same software level as Palm OS® Emulator 3.0a8 (PEG-S and PEG-N Series) and Palm OS® Emulator 3.2 (PEG-T415), distributed by Palm,Inc.

    I anxiously await your public response to this matter.

My friend Rex was shot dead

More news about my friend Rex who was shot and murdered in front of his store. It seems as though the accused wanted to be friends with Rex, and not just a “customer”, and was upset because Rex was treating him like any other customer.

“Mrs. Adamson stated that she knew her husband didn’t like the storeowner Rex for no particular reason other than William wanted to be friends with him and Rex treated William just like any other customer and that Rex thought that he was better than everyone else,” the affidavit said.

Some people really lead sad, sad lives. I’m sorry you had to be the target of someone else’s weakness, Rex.

OpenProjects un-IRC Network

slef: Don’t feel so bad. I nurtured that network long before it was usurped by lilo. Back when it was still called “Linpeople” (faces of the original crew) many years ago. I moved #palmchat from Dalnet to OPN (and lilo decided to bend under the whining pressure of the founder of the Dalnet channel and removed my founder status and gave it to the other person).

I moved #ipaq and over to OPN from (well, it was a collective decision, I jumped and founded them to secure the channels, and then handed the foundership over to a7r and nikos).

What did I get for my troubles? lilo decided to g-line me from the entire network (there was also a situation where I was banned from #linpeople there, because I was in a heated discussion involving Windows vs. Linux with another person there. It was “decided” to ban me, because out of the two arguing parties, one of them had lilo on /ignore (me), so I was banned).

Too bad I’ve been there long enough I have enough ways in and out without having to make myself visible. Some day I’ll post the logs of his little private conversations with me that led up to the g-line. Maybe some day that network will grow up, but right now, it’s all posturing and positioning with ignorant non-community people in control.

As you said, there are dozens of other networks to participate in, and they’ve been around longer, are more stable, and much more friendly. I’m doing what I can to nurture those networks now. I’ve outgrown the small, constrictive box called OpenProjects. Other networks are benefiting from my skills and input now, there’s no need to go back to kindergarten.

How is it stealing, when you own the music?

I don’t normally cross-post stuff like this in my diary, but I got to reading all of the background on the whole Napster thing and the new .NAP file format. I’m disgusted that it’s come to this. This is going to solve nothing. The RIAA missed the boat on the Internet as the next distribution medium for their labels, and once again, the cost of that is pushed back on the consumer.

After further reading, I found this article, from Courtney Love (don’t skip it because it’s Courtney Love, trust me, read it). It’s worth a read. Its really well put together, and covers a lot of issues I never even realized about “Sharecropping”, and how bands are raped by their label. Bands now have to file for bankruptcy just to get out of their agreements, so they can pay rent!. The RIAA is trying to regulate this, so that it’s harder for bands to declare bankruptcy. Uhm, excuse me?

“It’s piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to declare bankruptcy. Some musicians have declared bankruptcy to free themselves from truly evil contracts. TLC declared bankruptcy after they received less than 2 percent of the $175 million earned by their CD sales. That was about 40 times less than the profit that was divided among their management, production and record companies.”

“Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist’s only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.”

You can read all the gory details here.

I’m pissed because my radio got stolen from my locked Jeep back in March, and the only way I can listen to music right now is on my computer(s). I rip every cd I buy to ogg and some mp3s. I do not share them with anyone other than myself and my
girlfriend. There are independant labels that I do distribute mp3s of, but I have full consent of those bands themselves, and I do not listen to the raw cd’s themselves because it’s very inconvenient to do so.

All of this CPRM, RIAA, etc. madness is leveraged to take that away from me. How much longer before we’re told what data we can and cannot make, and what medium we can store it on. Maybe I should listen to ‘strings /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp‘ more. Oh wait, now that’s bypassing copyright controls, so I’m in violation of the DMCA.

…back into the cave I go. Much more work before the 0.10.1 release of pilot-link.

Random Palm Comment


opie, some of us here are quite familiar with Palms, PDAs, and other handheld PIM devices. I only own about 22 units, so not that many, ranging from almost every Palm made, my Helio, two iPAQs, my Agenda, two Cybiko units, and handfuls of others.

As you know, I’m the maintainer of one of the packages you can use to connect your PDA to your desktop and sync data. You may want to look here for a matrix comparison of every Palm made. It may give you some ideas, depending on your needs.

…anyway, in other news progress continues on many fronts.

Bad Behavior has blocked 1810 access attempts in the last 7 days.