[Comet Hale-Bopp]

[sound] Hello There! 
[?] Who Am I?
[?] Twisty Welcome
[?] Important Stuff
[?] Good Causes
[?] Murphy's Musings
[?] Science
[?] Computers, Linux
[?] Irish & Celtic
[?] Music
[?] Books
[?] Doggy
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[?] Net People
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[Pat Murphy's Maze of Twisty Little Passages]

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti It's been a long time since I wrote anything in this maze of web pages, but you can't just ignore a crisis like what happened in Haiti in January 2010. Please consider helping out however you can. This charity is one that I trust, but if you can't give to them, please give to some other trustworthy charity that is trying to help out in Haiti.

I have difficulty putting into words the bitterness, outrage, frustration, and shock I have felt since the year 2000 about what I perceive as the usurpation of fundamental voting rights in the United States. So I put together the logo at right, based loosely on the typical "I voted" stickers handed out at the polls. For more information on this issue, go to VerifiedVoting.Org and find out for yourself.
My vote didn't count

[White Dove - Peace in Ireland]

Other Important Causes

[Peace in Ireland NOW]

These images were from several grass-roots initiatives in the 1990's to support — and keep — peace NOW on the whole island of Ireland. The online petition is long since gone, and with the Good Friday agreement, the sharing of power between former foes, and what looks like the beginnings of real prosperity in Northern Ireland, the original need for the petition is long since gone. Maybe they, or other similar efforts, made some small difference.

[Against TCPA]

You've read 1984 by George Orwell? Then the facts behind the so-called trusted computing platform alliance will seem eerily familiar. With this sinister technology, the computers of today become the telescreens of tomorrow. Open Source, Linux, the *BSDs all go by the wayside because you can't run unapproved software on your computer, especially not an unapproved operating system. If you think copy protection, DVD playback and the like is a nightmare now, it'll only get worse. Pay per view will take on a completely new and ominous meaning. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

This is one of the worst and most totalitarian ideas to ever come from what I can only conclude must be the twisted and greedy minds of big corporate entities. Everyone I've talked to, even those who are usually pro-industry and pro-business, see this sort of thing as invasive, unworkable, and a really bad idea. If you think the same way, then Why don't you say so (if you're a webmaster like me, you can say so here). In either case, you can get a banner of your choice for whatever web presence you may have and show the industry giants how far off base they really are.

This one's important. If Freedom means anything to you, then you need to do something.

(Final update! Case dropped. :-)

(Update: Jon Johansen has been cleared of all charges by the Norwegian Supreme Court. Read the Slashdot coverage, or the English language version of the AftenPosten story (Norwegian Daily paper). Maybe there is justice in the world after all...

When I read about the arrest of a 16-year old in Norway (on SlashDot) in connection with the DeCSS code (DVD Descrambler for Linux), I just about lost it. This is nuts. Why is the MPAA (who control the DVD Copy Control Association) bullying a young boy in a foreign country? Why are they trying to sue the whole internet (I'm not joking) and filing subpoenas against anyone found linking to what might be a copy of the code? This is total abuse of power by large corporate entities and an attack on individuals and their rights that ignores international boundaries, and just makes no sense. The About and Journalist's Fact Sheet pages on the now-gone OpenDVD.org server were eye-opening. I'm looking for a site that may have saved them so people can read them and learn.

Update: here's a GNU-zipped tarball called DeCSS that I got from Mr. Bad of Pigdog Journal. It's available under the Artistic License so help yourself. This is a tool to remove Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) from a web page, hence De-CSS. Get it? It has nothing to do with the rest of the content of this paragraph, other than a protest.

And furthermore (I told you this issue got me steamed): In a deposition I just read, Mr. Garbus (Attorney for the Defendant) asks Mr. Schumann (Attorney for the Plaintiffs: "Can you, through the DeCSS utility ultimately play the DVD or is its only function to copy and store?". Answer from Schumann: "Its only function is to copy and store". In my humble opinion, this is such a distortion as to be verging on an outright lie. It is my understanding that the DeCSS facility can produce an output stream that can be fed into a player to show images on the screen and play sound through the speakers. This does not involve any copying or storing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is accurate.

[Blue Ribbon]
For several years I was a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The Dmitry episode was the final straw; I felt I could no longer keep their buttons here without some active financial support for them. If you feel the same way, please consider joining.

EFF has championed many causes, some of which I highlight here because I feel strongly about them. They usually find the individual struggling against large corporations, industry "trade" groups, and occasionally governments. Their latest Effector OnLine newsletter is usually worth reading. Their original campaign on the web was, of course, the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Free Speech on the Net.

[Golden Key]
The Golden Key Campaign is another of their efforts, this time on the issue of online privacy and encryption. My version of their logo has fewer colors than the stock EFF copies; download and use it if you want. Progress has been made recently, but the war is far from over. We still can't legally leave the country wearing the PGP encryption algorithm t-shirts! And in my job, I still cannot ship pre-configured Linux systems to our office in Chile, because our standard install includes both PGP and OpenSSH, the OpenBSD version of the secure shell.

The Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression is a response to the latest threat to free expression. I agree fully with the basis for this campaign:

[Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression]

  • Piracy of an artist's work is illegal; Fair use is not.
  • We have the right to hear, speak, learn, sing, think, and be heard.
  • No one should assume by default that we're criminals, and the technology we use shouldn't do so either.
  • We have a right to use technology to shift time and space.
I can't say it any better than that. The entertainment industry brought this debacle on themselves by not providing a driver (binary or source) that allowed DVD media to be played on Open Source systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, etc.

[Sign The Linux Driver Petition]
If you use Linux like I do (both at work and home, for several years now) and you want more software available on the Intel/Linux platform, you may want to take a peek at Libranet. A few years ago they sponsored a Linux Driver petition. It aimed to get more commercial vendors to pay attention to our (exponentially growing) community. I wonder what happened to it...

[Friends of Randal Schwarz; yeah, I know; I don't have a llama png!]
Friends of Randal Schwartz for those of you who care about someone who has contributed immensely to the Perl Language. He's the guy who a major semiconductor manufacturer sued when (as a contractor for them) he found major security weaknesses. Ungrateful sods... If you have ever clicked on a web link that included a CGI script, chances are you've used some of his work. He's also got a good O'Reilly book on Learning Perl that I'd recommend for learning the language, though the camel book by Randal and Larry Wall (now available for perl 5!) is the ultimate reference (I read the first, and bought the second). If you're looking for some good perl scripts, try the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network or CPAN.

Boycott Internet Spam! Monty Python's Flying Circus Monty Python's Flying Circus! spam lies spam lies No Junk E-Mail! Hormel Pink Ribbon

[Powered by Apache!] Patrick P. Murphy
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA