Archive for February, 2002

Prodigy Moving and Storage Destroyed My Stuff


I decided to clean up the “office” today and connect my LAN back together. It was successfully boxed up in California, and relocated to my new home in Westerly, RI by the movers. I had separately bagged, tagged, and labeled every single cable, power adapter, and dongle/adapter to make sure I knew where it all went when I re-assembled it.


I am incredibly angry. Not only did they destroy over $6,000.00/USD of my possessions, causing my “office” to become a pile of cardboard boxes, but they’re ignoring my requests for information, which have now become demands for answers.

Now I have no LAN, no network, and a pile of machines gathering dust in the corner with data I need to access on them.

Stay away from this company if you can.

Executioner Paperback Series Missing Issues Wanted

I have been unboxing my belongings here, and one of the boxes has my collection of Executioner paperback books in it. I used to read these when I was in my teens. I have quite a few in the series, except the following missing issues.

If anyone has these missing issues and is willing to part with them, please contact me, and I will gladly pay for the shipping/etc. to obtain them.

#07: Assault on Soho
#10: Carribian Kill
#15: Panic in Philly
#17: Jersey Guns
#20: New Orleans Knockout
#22: Hawaiian Hellground
#23: St. Louis Showdown
#31: Arizona Ambush
#41: The Violent Streets
#43: Return to Vietnam
#47: Renegade Agent
#49: Doomsday Disciples
#52: Tuscany Terror
#53: The Invisible Assasins
#55: Paradine’s Gauntlet
#56: Island Deathtrap
#58: Ambush on Blood River
#59 through #74
#76 through “N

I also have several issues of Phoenix Force, The Destroyer, The Butcher, S.O.B’s, and Able Team. If anyone has these books lying around collecting dust in their basement, let me know. I want to read them again from start to finish.

Busy weekend, cleaning up around here, building a new desk. Lots of construction and deconstruction going on.

Prodigy Moving and Storage destroyed everything I own

Still fighting the damages here. Every box is a new adventure of missing, broken, and otherwise damaged stuff.

I filed an incident with the Better Business Bureau. Now I have to file dozens of claim forms. So far, the major items destroyed were:

  1. my very large computer desk (metal hardware ripped right out of the wood in dozens of places, $2,000.00)
  2. a floor lamp (sections disassembled, and then cross-threaded and forced tight with tools upon re-assembly, base broken off from bottom section, $100.00)
  3. my futon (disassembled, hardware removed and then misplaced, $300.00)
  4. my plastic under-office-chair floor mat (shattered, $52.00)
  5. computer chair (vinyl shattered. “Shattered” the vinyl? What did they do, run into a liquid nitrogen truck?)
  6. blender (crushed, $149.00)
  7. microwave (rotisserie shattered, $75.00)
  8. two vcr’s (front smashed in, tops crushed in, $800.00)
  9. printer (top completely shattered, smashed in, $200.00)
  10. 40gb laptop drive (hit dead-center on top with what appears to be a hammer, dented deep, $699.00, lost data, priceless)

…and many other things. I also have 4 missing boxes, including my Playstation, and some sculptures that are very important to me. This does not make me happy.

pilot-unix and pilot-link Mailing Lists
I finally (publically) set up the four mailing lists I wanted to get going.

Cox Cable

    I found out that my shiny new “High-speed” cable internet connection is choked at 256/256. I’m already paying $109.00/month for this “Business” account, so I can have one static address, but I get 1/6th the bandwidth of the people paying $29.95/month. Cox’s excuse was that I get a higher “..service and priority” rating and “ shared bandwidth, you get 256/256, all the time..”.

    I don’t need service, Cox doesn’t even support my platform of choice anyway. To get 1.5/256 and remain on one static address, it would cost me $249.00/month. That’s practically a car payment! This is cable access, and this is rape.

    Why is broadband in New England so expensive?!

The eBay Scam

    The level of intelligence of scam artists these days never ceases to amaze me.

    I “ordered” (won) an IBM T23 laptop on eBay on January 18th, 2002. The seller insisted that payment be received within 7 days from the close of the auction. The payment was overnighted to the seller as promised. It has now been over 4 weeks since the close of the auction, and 3 weeks since he received payment.

    I received an email a few days ago stating that they “lost” my auction number (which was clearly written on all my emails to him, as well as the payment check), then he responds with an email telling me that my Sony Vaio was discontinued, and I would have to “re-order” a new model. I distinctly selected an IBM T23 laptop, not a Sony Vaio. My eBay auction ID number still brings up the original record on the eBay site for that T23.

    I emailed him back, and expressed my anger, since I had already missed out on two important speaking engagements without a computer. He said that they always take payment to full terms, before shipping. I can only assume this means they hoard the payments in their account for a full month, so they can get the maximum amount of interest on my money in their bank account, before shipping the product. This is very sneaky.


    Now that my desk and shelving units were destroyed in the move, I am forced to figure out a new way to build a desk to hold all of my books, computers, and serve as a workbench. I went out and bought a solid-core door (not drilled), and am planning on making that the desktop. I will build some bookshelves to mate to the ends as “feet”, and then add more shelving along the back of it. Cheaper and much harder to destroy than my previous desk.

    Anyone know where I can get a set of good (free) woodworking plans for things like this? I’ve build shelving before, rabbet groove, screwed from the outside, fibreboard paneling along the back, etc. I’m wondering if there’s a better way to make them more modular.

Almost Everything I Own Was Destroyed

Safely made it to the East coast, my belongings didn’t.

60% of my belongings shipped ahead with movers were completely damaged, smashed, and crushed. Huge loss.
Computer desk completely trashed. Metal hardware was torn right out of the wood itself in dozens of places. Dishes, cups, appliances..

The only thing not destroyed were my boxes of books. I can only assume that was because the movers couldn’t read. Fragile boxes clearly marked as such, with ‘This Side UP!’ on them were at the bottom of piles of boxes, upside-down, crushed.

I’m baffled at the amount of damage. When I drove myself from CT to CA in a U-Haul, I didn’t even use moving blankets or pack things in foam and newspaper. Not a single item was broken. This time, I made sure to pack everthing very carefully in foam, paper, and with moving blankets. Everything that could have been broken, was.

Erika thinks this was intentional. This clearly looks maliscious. There’s no way they could “accidentally” break every piece of furniture, appliance, dish, cup, and obliterate that 512lb computer desk.

I’m starting at the beginning again.

Very angry, very upset.

More on this later, photo-documentary of damages to follow.

BluefishWireless Responds to Our Copyright Dispute With Them

We have been “warned” by Bluefish not to contact their customers and ask for the sources for their version of an application based on our Plucker source code, covered under the GPL. The response from them was to advise us to:

…get legal advice from a US attorney before making any more statements to any of our customers or potential customers…”

That sounds like fear to me.

I will be emailing Eben at the FSF in the morning with a full rundown of everything said and done to date, at Tridge’s suggestion.

They have had the sources requested from them by myself on the telephone, and in several emails from community members (incuding myself), and they have refused to provide those sources, both verbally, and in written requests.

They also contend that since their use of Plucker is part of a larger “education vertical”, and that their customers have nothing to do with the licensing of the “Bluefish solution”. I contend that they do have everything to do with it, based on Section 6 of the GPL, which states:

6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients’ exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

By not providing the sources to their customers and partners, they are imposing more restrictions, and further, by not alerting their customers as to the licensing involved with the “Bluefish solution” (which uses Plucker, a fully GPL’d application), they are hiding the fact that it is using GPL’d code, which they have not followed the license to according to the terms of that license, including re-distribution.

Update: Microsoft Security, Bluefish Wireless, pilot-link and Relocating

Update: Microsoft Security

raph, I share the exact opposite view that you do, and I think that this could definately be a bad thing. I posted a quick comment on it a few days ago under that same Slashdot story you referenced in your recent diary entry.

Open Directory Project

softkid, your Open Directory Project seems mighty similar to the DMOZ Open Directory Project. Why not just join them as an editor. They have quite a big jump on you already. I have one of my own for Palm-related content (ala AvantGo), but the code driving it is not complete yet.

More GPL Violations

A company based in San Francisco called Bluefish, has taken Plucker source code in full, and used it to create a product they sell (quite expensively). This isn’t bad, but “their” application states clearly in the About box, that it is “Free Software” and covered under the GPL (as does the About box found in Plucker).

They have removed all attributions and references to the original authors of the source code they are using, and replaced them with their own, which is very misleading. They have also taken custom artwork without permission, and used it on their application.

Here’s a quick screenshot comparison Bluefish versus Plucker:

I called the CEO, James Fisher at the San Francisco office and politely made a verbal request for the source code to the application they provide in binary-only format on the Mercury
News website

He politely told me no.

I then said asked if he was aware that the application that they based their product on was covered under the GPL, and by not providing sources which created that binary that was already made available for download, he was in violation of the GPL, as detailed in Section 6, 7, and 10 (along with others) of the GNU General Public License, a license which Plucker is clearly covered under.

The GPL FAQ also has two related questions on it:

(one) “I want to distribute an extended version of a GPL-covered program in binary form. Is it enough to distribute the source for the original version?”

(two) “I want to distribute binaries, but distributing complete source is inconvenient. How about if I give users the diffs from the current FSF version along with the binaries, and suggest they get the base source from the FSF?”

He then said that he was not in violation, and suggested that I should “..go re-read the GPL, because we are not violating it..“.

I asked for his email address, so I could quote him the relevant sections of the GPL he was violating. I also mentioned that I was going to put a call into the FSF to get their clarification on the issue.

Then he begins to tell me that he “might” release the sources, but that they were busy “debugging” them right now, and might release them when they was done. (The key word used there was “might”, not “will”)

Sorry, no. If you release a binary which was based on GPL sources, you are required to release the full sourcecode, scripts, and other tools which created that binary (which were covered under the GPL), at the same time, not months or years later. Section 3 of the GPL is very clear on this.

His assertion that they were “debugging” the application is invalid, as “debugged” sources will produce a different binary (whose source must also be made available upon request).

If you can put the binary up for download, you can put the source code up for download as well (though this is not required, it can be mailed or linked elsewhere). The stipulation though is that you can not impose more restrictions on the code, obtaining it, or its use, than you received when you agreed to the license by using it (Section 6. of the GPL).

I have written a draft letter (currently un-sent at the time of this diary entry) which I will be sending to James Fisher as well as copying in the relevant FSF parties. I have taken pains to make sure that this letter appears non-threatening, and that the proper “legal” language was used throughout. I welcome any comments on it before I send it (and after sending it, it might disappear from that URL)


Someone recently brought up that they also have a name and logo which is suspisciously similar to the Bluefish HTML Editor. I took a quick comparison screenshot to show the similarities. Flip one fish horizontally and they are nearly identical. Who has the trademark first on this one?

I’m only concerned about the clear violation of the GPL stated above though, but this graphical logo similarity is interesting.

Is it just me, or is this happening more and more lately. Companies seem to treat Open Source and Free Software as some sort of “bake sale” of free code thew can just take and use however they wish, without abiding by the license, giving proper credit and attribution, or adhering to the terms of the code they’ve been using.

“Oh this code we downloaded to make our commercial product had some sort of GPL thing at the top of every file. We don’t use that GPL thing, so we just removed that stuff and the names of those guys who wrote it. It’s our code now.”

pilot-link Needs Testers!

We’re about to release the first preview release of pilot-link which includes some very neat new features — USB support and a very detailed DEBUG and logging facility (thanks to jpr). I’ve also cleaned up the sources in general, making them more readable, compressing the cruft, and converted it all over to Automake and fully using getopt().

There’s still some lingering issues with Win32 and OS/2 support, and requests for testers and porters have been made, but there has been no response yet.

Moving Eastward

The move back east is going slowly, much slower than I want. I do not want to have to pay another $2,000/USD for rent in February, especially while unemployed. I have Palmsource in San Jose to attend in a few weeks ($1,200/USD registration fee), and the cross-country relocation. Ick.

So much to do…

The Big Move™ II

Well, it seems that 95% of my stuff was handled by the movers, the remaining 10 boxes had to be shipped via UPS. Very Expensive.

I’m crashing at Rasmus‘ house during the few days of transition before I fly out to handle the relocation of my truck.

23 months ago, I made this move… in reverse, except I drove West. It’s too grueling to return the same way, so I opted for this route. Too much lingers in both places.

Bluefish GPL Violation

    The move against Bluefish and their GPL violation seems to be gaining steam. Many people have replied to me about my original post. The email goes out later today. Mercury Guide will not be allowed to distribute their modified version of Plucker at the Olympics, nor distribute their IrDA kiosks around Salt Lake City to beam the application to Palm users unless they comply with the proper licensing.

    I urge those who are interested in the cause to email James, the CEO, and ask for the source code to their application, which is directly referenced to be based on GPL code (Plucker). Give him a call, email him, fax them, do not let this drop. Phone their San Francisco office (415-775-3697), or give them a Fax with your comments (be professional, 509-561-7934)

    If you call or email, PLEASE take care to be professional, courteous, non-threatening, and quote the relevant parts of the the licensing you reference. We do not want to come across as miscreants or as spamming their mailbox.

    Maybe after the letters Mike and I send today, they will comply. Then again, maybe not, there’s a lot of their own money riding on the success of this application, I think. This is a serious matter.

    Feel free to cross-post this diary entry to your favorite discussion forums and lists.

Things with Wings

  • Palmsource (2/5-2/8, San Jose, contingent on a pending T23 in NYC)
  • Flying East (within the week if all goes well, to my new home)
  • Flying West (3/4-3/5, speaking about PDAs and Linux
  • Flying East, then South (3/21-4/1, way south, where the sun touches the water) in Berkeley)
  • Flying East (to once again, begin anew)

All within the next 50 days.

The Other Stuff

    Sleep is still erratic, tinnitus still as loud, back still as tight. Add them all to the pile of hereditary and accident related trauma. There’s an impending pilot-link release waiting in the wings too.

    Need to get situated, get connected, and hunker down and code. CODE!

Bad Behavior has blocked 102 access attempts in the last 7 days.