Vending Machine-less Lounge:: Vulnerbilities in Armored Humvees
I was going to react to this CNN artcile and explain how you can disable a Humvee with potato chips. But I thought the Echelon system might pick it up, so I will refrain.
But really, why would Anderson do such a thing… so openly in a chat room? Like a I said before about human nature, because he wanted and needed to.
But I'm guessing that the armored Humvee is just a suped up Hummer H1. Probably, one could disable it in the same way as a H1… I wonder if GM dealers are racially profiling their customers. Those salesmen would do anything to make a sale. I doubt they would turn away a customer that wants to pay cash for the full price.
Hummers have become a consumer vehicle, just as the Jeeps. I wonder if there are any bids out there for the next small military transport vehicle.
Vending Machine-less Lounge:: DVD Region Codes: Is It Illegal to Circumvent?
As many of you know, the DVD movies that you buy are region locked by a system called RCE (REA?) that will force you to play the DVD in a player purchased in the same country.
DVD distributors are required to set the disk's region code by the DVD Forum in order to have their DVD certified – and thus being able to carry the “DVD with squashed disc” logo. The thing is, this is a licensing requirement only for the distributors of the DVD software and hardware – not for the consumers.
It's not a copyprotection method either. One can easily copy region locked discs AS region locked discs.
Also, RCE is not an encryption method. That is, RCE turns a bit on/off for each region. If only the first bit is on, it's a region 1 disc. If only the second bit is on, it's a region 2 disc. If all bits are on, it's an ALL region disc. That's right, manufacturers have the option to set their discs locked to “ALL” regions. It's still locked, but will play in any player.
Back to the encryption. Because RCE is NOT an encryption method, one does not require to disassemble file with tools like DeCSS to circumvent RCE. If one would wish to do so, one may build a player that does not read the RCE bits at all. Hence we have software DVD players like DivX and VLC. The only thing that these software vendors cannot do is to carry the official “DVD” logo licensed by the DVD forum.
So, if you do not call your machine a DVD player, then you do not need the “DVD” logo license to sell your product. Therefore, legally, you can have a machine that can play DVDs but just not called a “DVD player”.
But there are some of you that still worry, “Isn't circumventing region coding against the Digital Millenium Copyright Act?”
Well let me ask you this. Are you copying these discs? No you're just watching them on your non-DVD player.
As long as you purchased a DVD distributed by a distributor licensed by the movie studios, simply playing a region locked disc in your non-DVD player should not be illegal.
… come to think of it, “DVD players” with the “DVD” logo licensed by the DVD Forum decrypts the CSS encoding on a DVD video… if decrypting CSS is illegal, isn't a licensed “DVD player” also illegal? Because being a licensee of the DVD logo is not a license to decrypt the movie distributors' encryption. Hmm, oh well.
Vending Machine-less Lounge:: An open letter to Mac OS X software vendors that sell multilingual software
Dear software vendors,
In this world, there are many companies that operate Internationally and many users that are multilingual. With the introduction of Mac OS X 10.x, software programmers have the freedom and somewhat of an obligation to take advantage of the multilingual packaging feature of Mac OS X.
As seen with the iLife softwares available from Apple, each software detects the user's current language settings and loads the application's menus in the matching language. Many software vendors have taken advantage of this feature. For instance, Roxio's Toast software comes loaded with English, French, German, and Japanese libraries. And as seen in the SFTP program Fugu by the University of Michigan, each language may have their own menu items.
Some of you may make excuses that this will cost too much… but will it? Seperate language versions of your software can be consolidated into one package, seperate language manuals can be sold seperately from the software. Think about the operating costs of managing 20 different language versions of your software against 20 different user registries with millions of names per list – let alone protecting all 20 different language packages from software piracy. Now what if you only had one package per title to worry about?
There might be increases in cost initially, but in a few years, this change will pay for itself. Not to mention that It will save a bundle for the users – who will be more willing to pay for each copy of the software.
So please, please, please – at least try it out with one of your softwares – maybe the Lite/Free versions.
Vending Machine-less Lounge:: Why Terrorists Spread Terror
Why are there fanatics that strap explosives to themselves and blow up military installations? Why do people sneak into your country to get on a plane and ram it into a building?
Because they're crazy. They do not see the big picture. They live in the “Here and Now”. For the most part, they just enjoy being a terrorist, and belonging to a brotherhood or sisterhood of men and women with similar ideals. After all, that's how the US was started, how US Marines and SOG teams rely on each other, and how most of us live our lives.
Most of our lives, we are selfish beings. That is a necessary notion to posess if you want to live, procreate, and prosper. We take care of our elderly in hope that our young will do the same. We take care of our young so that they can spread our seeds and ideals to the next generation. It's all “me me me” – and that's totally fine.
From a telescopic view from another galaxy, our planet is not so different from a petri-dish with a mass of different species of bacteria living on it. Sometimes one kind of bacteria invades into the space of others, maybe killing off a few million other bacterias – but that's fine. In a few lifecycles, the agressor dies off, and we return to an equilibrium. I understand that this example maybe too big of a picture to live by, but at some extreme, it is true.
So, from natures system of “self-preservation”, civilization created “selfishness”. Because our lives are short, those humans that must live in the “here and now” get a little bit confused between these two. Thus, we try to enjoy our lives as much as possible, and if necessary, change our world so that we can enjoy it more.
… and that is why terrorists spread terror. Because they need to.
PHP and MySQL:: Calling constructor variables from within a nested function
This tidbit of information was useful when tyring to incorporate EUC2SJIS and FPDF into PHP 4.3.0 for Mac OS X 10.2.x.
When you have an object defined within one file, and a function calling that object's member function from another file, both the main function and member function's variable must be global.