Register.com: As close as they can get to unethical.
A friend wants to consolidate his domain registrations. Not technical, so they ask me to help. What seems like the right approach? Let’s log in to your account at Register.com and make me the Admin contact, so I can help you out. Simple enough. Hum. Your domain is set to auto-renew, be locked, and have safe-auto-renew protection. Guess we’ll have to turn all those off to be able to transfer. Okay, I suppose they should tell you that by turning all that off you might lose your domain if you don’t know what you are doing, but we do. But, you can’t turn off auto-renew, because you have “mail” and “hosting” bundled with this domain. Ok, how do we unbundle those? Turns out you haven’t been using these features anyways, since your webmaster is hosting your site and email accounts on their server. Maybe if we just turn off auto-renew on those… That seems to do the trick.
Now, we need to request the transfer. We’ll log in to the registrar you want to consolidate to, and ask them to initiate a transfer. That’s working, I got an email (as admin) and they just need me to enter an “auth code” to proceed.
Back to Register.com. How do we get an “auth code”? Burrow down about 5 levels… aha, there’s the “request auth code” button. WARNING! Turn back, you surely don’t know what you are doing. Yes I do. Okay, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. BTW, did we mention that this is a bad idea? Yes, but I want to do it. Okay, but you know you could LOSE YOUR MANHOOD by hitting this ok button! Are you really sure?? YES! Just one final question, since you are trying to leave us, we’ll offer you a nifty renewal package at 10% off. I don’t want that. Are you sure? Yes. Ok. We will send you an auth code IN 4-5 DAYS, after our “security staff” have had a chance to evaluate your request.Continue reading "Register NOT com"
On 2009-11-30, at 15:59, Anapl Thvaa wrote: > To discourage violation of copyright laws and to prevent illegal > activities, this message is to serve as a reminder that all employees > are restricted from downloading copyrighted material including > music/movie files and other programs off the Internet to your Ynfmyb > computer or through the Ynfmyb network. > > Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this policy. Dear Anapl, Are there other laws that Ynfmyb has a policy for discouraging violation of that I should know about? Or can I still use the color Xerox machine for forging $100 bills? Thank you for your attention to this matter.
What’s a cookie? It’s just some information that a web-site can store on your computer and then ask to get back the next time you visit that site. For sites you intentionally visit, it does useful things like remember who you are, remember that you had the speaker muted the last time you played a u-toob video at work, or, in the case of your bank, remember that you have used this computer before to access your account so it doesn’t ask you for the name of your great-grandmother’s off ox every time you log in.
What’s a third party? It’s someone that is not you and is also not the owner of the website you are visiting. Usually it is an advertiser that is showing ads on the side of the website you are visiting. They have their own website that serves up the ads. You are not intentionally visiting their website — you’re just getting there as a side-effect of seeing their advertisement.
In the bad old days, web browsers used to let any site see all the cookies on your computer. This was bad. It might let the evil Pr0n site you “accidentally” visited gather information to impersonate you at your bank. They don’t do that any more, but they still, by default, allow any website to store and retrieve cookies. Which means, unfortunately, while you may be visiting
Most web browsers by default don’t allow third-party cookies these days (or as Safari puts it “Only accept cookies from sites I visit”). But if you turn off third-party cookies in your browser, a lot of sites will just use Flash cookies instead. Stupidly, the default for Flash is to allow these “third party” cookies. If you follow the link below:
you can turn this feature of Flash off. I recommend you un-check the box that says “Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer”, if you value your privacy.
A reader from Maine asks:
I am a hacker.
The popular press has co-opted the label “hacker”, which was originally a compliment of your high degree of computer skills, to mean a person who uses those skills for evil.1
If you are asking “Could I break into someone’s computer”, the answer is “yes”. There is no magic here. I started my computer career working in computer security at MITRE. And, believe it or not, things have not really changed much since those days. If anything, computer security has gone downhill quite a bit. No one has ever succeeded in commercializing the research we did (to build a secure system from the ground up), instead commercial enterprises have all focussed on selling “barn door” solutions, so called because they are attempts to close the barn door, despite the fact that a lot of (Trojan) horses have already been through…
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker(computing)#Hackerdefinition_controversy “Hacker (computing) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”
The government really ought to just nationalize the credit card industry, stop printing cash, and give everyone a free credit card. Then they can take 2.5% of everything that anyone ever spends (instead of AMEX/Visa/MC/etc.) and do away with the dumb income tax system. The savings in overhead, record-keeping, filing, etc. would probably snap the economy right out of the recession. And all those CPA’s could get real jobs and put their math skills toward solving something important like global warming…
P.S., Heck, global warming would probably be solved just by turning off all the computers that are wasting cpu-cycles folding, spindling, and mutilating tax returns today.
Are the record labels finally realizing that treating your best customers as criminals is not the way to make money?
… it sounds like the labels are, for the first time, interested in having the right discussion.
15:48 | Link
Apple and EMI announced today that they will be offering music without DRM protection for an extra 30 cents. Huzzah! Someone finally gets it. Give your customer a fairly-valued product and you don’t have to treat them as criminals.
iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song
Unless the music industry wises up, it will be faced with a long and protracted battle that may end up alienating the next generation of music fans.
The latest BS from the RIAA: They send you a letter and offer not to sue you if you go to their web site and send them $1500. Idiots. It’s basically a ‘phishing’ scam — they are hoping people will be stupid (or scared) and send them money, because it is not really worth it to sue you.
12:46 | Link
Vacation email === evil. Just say no.
Vacation mail is about as useful as the boilerplate .sig lawyers and brokers put at the bottom of their email telling me the dirty joke they just forwarded to me is privileged information and that if I am not the intended recipient it is my fault not theirs.
spam from Verizon Wireless
Why would I want to pay $2/mo. for a feature the my phone could do all by itself if Verizon had not crippled all the Bluetooth features on my phone?
Anonymous post from Bill Gates’s “Piracy” Confession
12:00 | Link
If you recently bought any CD's from Sony/BMG and tried to play them on your computer, they probably owe you money. Click on the banner to find out more.
16:19 | Link
Interesting intersection between open source and Sony’s copy protection.
Sony may have stepped into something they will really regret. It seems the open source community has discovered that they used (in violation of the open source copyright) open source software in their rootkit that supposedly is there just to enforce their own copyrights. Talk about getting hoisted by your own petard…
I needed to write a couple of simple scripts the other day. One to create a p4 change template that followed our guidelines; another to format review email from that change template.
Every time I write something like this, I start off with
Some day someone ought to design a clean version of
”CD burning is a problem that is really undermining sales,” Bainwol said in an interview prior to speaking before about 750 members of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers in San Diego Friday. Copy protection technology ”is an answer to the problem that clearly the marketplace is going to see more of,” he added.
Hello? Anybody home? People burn CD’s to put together a set of songs that they want to listen to, instead of having to put up with the dreck that you pack onto an album. Why do you think the individual song download is so popular?
Is there any other business that tries so hard to disappoint its customer?
Gene Weingarten, a humor columnist for The Washington Post and Washington Post Writers Group, praised the Times decision during his weekly washingtonpost.com chat yesterday. He said the paper displayed “the kind of cojones missing in too many places” and described “Garfield” as “a strip produced by a committee, devoid of originality, devoid of guts, a strip cynically DESIGNED to be inoffensive and bad, on the theory that public tastes are insipid. Now we need others to follow suit. Like the Post.”
Well, I guess that’s what all those pencil-necked geeks get for signing a petition against the great and powerful W!
Congress Trims Money for Science Agency (login required)
If you have a PeeCee, it is very important that you make sure it is up to date. Microsoft has discovered a bug in the way their software handles JPEGs (most of the images that you ever see on the web) that can allow an evil cracker to take over your machine.
This is worse than any worm or virus hoped to be, because you don’t have to download or click on anything. You can get whacked just browsing around on the web…
New York Times makes it simple:
Hlelo, chief :) Unreal Quality Hi Rsoelution Dolwnoadable Senecsrecent spam I received
I think I will add a filter to my email that rejects email with too many spelling errors. These dumb spammers are going so far to get around the statistical filters that their smap hsa becmoe nueradaleb.
Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed
If you are a Windows user, you should do yourself a favor and read this article. It is a very thorough article on how to secure your Windows computer against viruses and other ‘malware’:
If you have a broadband connection, either cable modem or DSL, the very first thing you should do, before you event think about turning on a new Windows computer and connecting it to the internet, is to buy a hardware firewall box, and put that between your computer and your broadband connection. This is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself. (Some people have estimated that it takes less than 90 seconds for a cracker to find a new machine on the net to exploit it.) It’s the first thing mentioned in the above article, and something that I’ve mentioned before:
Anyone who has a hardware firewall would not be affected by the Sasser worm (because it exploits a flaw that requires it talking directly to your PC — with the firewall in the middle, the worm can’t get through). Anyone who does not has probably already found out that they are in for a lot of trouble.
You may have received an email that looks a lot like this recently, telling you you need to log in to either update your account or read an important notice. Looks pretty official, huh? Don't be fooled. It is not from Wells Fargo, despite all appearances. Perhaps you know that because you don't have a Wells Fargo account, so they shouldn't be sending you email anyways.
These types of scams are known to nerds as phishing — the scammer is trying to lure you in with an official-sounding email. Wells Fargo is hardly the only company that has been a target of these types of scams. antiphishing.org has a list of recent scams, if you want to see the variety and complexity of some of these scams.
If you are a Wells Fargo client and lucky (or perhaps smart), you didn’t receive an email that looked like this at all. You may be running an email client that is too old to display fancy HTML mail. Or maybe you don't like HTML mail and have turned that feature off in your email client. If so, you got an email that simply said:
In order to view this message your e-mail client must support HTML format.
If so, you are better off than the majority, who are most likely using either AOL, a Microsoft product, or perhaps Hotmail to read their mail. These companies, in an attempt to serve you up spiffy email, have made it possible for scammers to pose as legitimate businesses and rip you off.
How does this scam work? This email is constructed by the scammer copying a web page right from Wells Fargo’s web site, and then carefully changing the link for the button to send your login and password (if you are duped into clicking) on to their computer, where presumably they will use it to drain your account.
This type of scam is one of the many reasons Microsoft is now recommending that you never click on anything in email. Don't even copy and paste a link. You have to type the link yourself, to be (somewhat) assured that the link your browser is going to is the link you mean to go to.
For me, I find HTML mail essentially useless. I turn off this feature in my email client, and as a result, can easily identify most spam and scams by the fact that their email does not display. Anyone who has important information to communicate to me had better send a plain text version of it.
If you are stuck with HTML mail, take care before responding to email that may appear to be from your bank or some other financial institution. Just like an unsolicited phone call, don't divulge personal information or passwords. If you really think it might be important, call them, using a phone number you can verify (like the phone number on your credit card or bank statement) and ask.
08:37 | Link
Bizarre election results in California have been traced to an electronic touch-screen ballot system. But no one is quite sure what went wrong, and because there is no paper trail, no one is ever likely to get to the bottom of it.Computer Voting Snafus Plague California
Pittsburgh gets it!
The goodwill that free Wi-Fi creates can only add to the airport's reputation for service and innovation, Gialloreto said. If it also helps passengers linger a little longer and spend a little more at the Airmall and other attractions, all the better.'I'll have a sandwich with my Wi-Fi, please'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
Thank goodness every major news outlet has replayed the scene in slow-motion every 15 minutes for the past week, or we wouldn't have all had our chance to be outraged at an incident every news outlet agrees should never have been seen by anyone.USA Vanguard - Journalism That Counts: Janet Jackson's milkshake.
See the "controversial" ad that CBS has censored:
08:24 | Link
USATODAY.com - Pepsi ads wink at music downloading
A federal agency confirms that it maintains an air-travel blacklist of 1,000 people. Peace activists and civil libertarians fear they're on it.Salon.com News | Grounded
[Many Hollywood careers were ruined by an earlier blacklist: Hollywood Blacklisting]
Wal-Mart has also lulled shoppers into ignoring the difference between the price of something and the cost. Its unending focus on price underscores something that Americans are only starting to realize about globalization: Ever-cheaper prices have consequences. Says Steve Dobbins, president of thread maker Carolina Mills: "We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world--yet we aren't willing to pay for anything manufactured under those restrictions."Fast Company — The Wal-Mart You Don't Know
I sent a friend my vCard, and he wondered if I knew that I could have separate first and middle names. (My vCard lists my first name as P T, not because I have pointy-haired boss or oil baron aspirations, but because…)
Just had to change my phone number from 508-245-1487 to 774-454-8493. Why? What happened to number portability? Well, here’s the dark side of number portability: your land phone company will tell you that the regulators have declared that they must treat calls to cell phones as if the cell phone were based physically where the “office code” (that’s the middle 3 digits of your phone number) is tariffed. For my cell phone that was Bridgewater, which is a long distance call from Plymouth; so all of a sudden it was costing me 10¢ a minute to call my cell from my home.
What to do? Well my land phone company (Verizon) suggests that I call my cell phone company (Verizon, no relation, believe it or not) and ask them for a new number that would be local to Plymouth. Turns out they are happy to oblige. I don't suppose this has anything to do with the fact that the 508 area code, despite being newer than 617 is still an old code and is popular and full. I don't suppose it has anything to do with the new number being in the new, unpopular overlay code 774.
Snooping around on the net I stumble across some information from Bellcore (you remember Bell Telephone, which was broken up by deregulation) which is the company that makes sense out of all the various phone companies by keeping the master list that tells what physical switch handles each phone number. These are the guys who presumably everyone will pay when number portability goes into effect. These guys are the Verisign of the phone system, except they have been in business much longer, and they quietly do their job, efficiently, and presumably for a nice fat fee, since everyone has to use their service.
What did I stumble upon? Just this amusing anecdote: Where do you suppose my new 774 number is routed to? You guessed it, the same physical switch in Bridgewater that my old phone number was assigned to, it’s just that my new number is tariffed as if it were physically in Plymouth.
17:47 | Link
I’ve been around the net a while (we did have both
One of the biggest misunderstandings with spam is how email works: Email is a lot like postal mail, in that it consists of both an envelope and a message. The envelope tells where to deliver the message. The message includes an inside address, which purports to be the source of the message, but is easily forged. (Just imagine writing a letter to your Aunt Jo, but you accidentally put it in an envelope to pay your electric bill. The electric company will get your letter, even though the inside address is for your Aunt Jo. Spammers do the same thing, intentionally. They write a nice letter that appears to be from your Aunt Jo, telling you how to enlarge your bank account, then make a zillion copies and stick it in a zillion different envelopes and send it to zillions of people.)
Unfortunately, most email clients, in an attempt to be helpful, open all your mail, discard the envelopes, and just show you the message. As a result, you don’t notice that the message from your Aunt Jo came in a bulk mail envelope — the one’s you would normally drop right into the trash if they came in your postal mail.
After a bunch of research, I decided to try a service called SpamCop.NET (not spamcop.COM — a cheap imitation, and not spamcop.ORG — who are actually spammers). Here’s how SpamCop works: it encourages people to report spam and analyzes the full spam message, looking at the internal postmarks (these are the
The technique that SpamCop uses is known as DNS blacklisting2, which some find controversial because they feel it could block legitimate mail that happens to originate at the same computer the spammer is using. SpamCop gets around that issue by only holding mail from suspected spammers — it leaves it up to you to choose to accept or reject the suspected spam, and if you like, to mark a particular address as being okay to always pass through (by putting it on your whitelist).
So, how do you use SpamCop.NET? After you sign up for an account, you can either arrange to have your old email address forward to your new SpamCop address, or you can configure SpamCop to pick up your mail from your old address. You have a choice of reading your mail using SpamCop’s web-based mail reader, or you can forward all unblocked mail to a new, private, email address (it can’t be your old address, or the mail will just go round and round in a loop). Keep this new address completely private — only SpamCop should know about it and only SpamCop should ever deliver mail there. You’ll need an email client that can be configured to pick up mail at your private address, but send mail using your public address to make this work best. (Unfortunately, AOL is not that flexible.)
Yes, it’s a bit contorted, but that is only if you want to keep your old public address around. If you are just as happy to discard your old public address, you can just use your SpamCop address as your public address. If you have a number of public addresses, like a free one from your alma mater, or a professional society, you can forward those to your SpamCop account too, and pick up all your mail in one place.
Recently, SpamCop has added two new features, virus scanning and a filter that analyzes email for spam-like content (the particular filter SpamCop is using is called SpamAssassin (again not to be confused with spamassassin.com or spamassassin.net, two commercial sites trying to capitalize on spamassassin.org’s success). The virus filter simply discards messages with viruses in them. They never reach your inbox. SpamAssassin uses a number of heuristics including Vipul’s Razor to score messages, and messages with a high spam-like score will be held for your approval before being sent to your inbox.
SpamCop.NET isn’t a perfect solution. I don’t think there is one. But it is the best I’ve found to date. I’m not associated with them in any way, just a happy customer. If you are as inundated with spam as I am, you might want to have a look.
1. Postmarks can be forged too, but SpamCop.NET is careful to trace the postmarks backwards from known trustworthy sources and to discard any that could be forged. If you want the gory details — the postmark is applied by the computer that receives the message (hence the
2. Blacklists and whitelists use the traditional definition of good and evil. Addresses on a blacklist are considered evil, those on the whitelist are considered good.
So far the RIAA has succeeded in stopping a 12-year old girl, a Yale professor, and a 71-year old grandfather from sharing music. Will that make them buy more CD's, or just make them cynical and bitter?
Seems Microsoft has had to give up on using Windows to host its own web sites:
FW: Fw: Fw: Re: FW: re: Fw: Reely funny! >>>>Note: Forwarded message attached >>>> >>>>>>>>Scroll down...
How many of these do you get each day? I think it’s amazing that email has been able to preserve all the features of the earlier fax joke technology where the joke becomes completely illegible after it has been passed on more than five times.
Luckily, Columbia University has shown that none of us are separated by more than six degrees; so, if you get a joke that is illegible, you can assume that everyone you know has already seen it and save the electrons (or fax paper).
Tech Superpowers, the folks who bring you Newbury Open — free wireless internet access on Newbury Street, have an interesting demo at Boston's South Station. The have set up a wireless internet “bubble” that lets travellers get a glimpse of what it might be like to have free wireless access in the station.
Unfortunately, they inform you, the “powers that be” are holding out, thinking that someone is actually going to pay them to have the right to the wireless airspace in the station (presumably because they will then charge people to access the internet from the station).
Who are these mysterious “powers”, and how do we get though to them?
[Full story at MSNBC]
"The way to go after illegal file sharing services is to compete with them, says Peter Lowe, Apple's Director of Marketing for Applications and Services. This can be done by offering quality and speed that is greater than that of file-swapping services, Lowe says."
[Full article at MacNN ]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is campaining to reform the way music is paid for, and 'decriminalizing' music sharing.
"Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, citing concerns about student privacy, moved yesterday to quash subpoenas issued by the recording industry to discover the identities of students the industry says are illegally distributing copyrighted music."
[Thank goodness someone is showing sense. How can subpoenas issued without judicial review be honored over constitutional rights?
Full story by James Collins in The Boston Globe]
15:54 | Link
Microsoft admits critical flaw in nearly all Windows software
[Full article at Security Focus]
"The music industry has issued at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users this month suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, U.S. court officials said Friday."
[Full article in Salon]
1. jackboot the spirit or policy of militarism or totalitarianism
[Full article at Spamhaus]
Latest round in the RIAA's attempt to get Congress to force us to buy a product we don't find value in.
Urges 60 Million Music Lovers in U.S. to Demand Legal Rights
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Monday, June 30, launched a "Let the Music Play" campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file- sharing legal.
The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file- sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus.
"Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal."
EFF's Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA's litigation barrage, details EFF's efforts to defend peer- to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress. EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer.
"Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists and more time listening to the more than 60 million Americans who use file-sharing software today."
According to online media analyst Big Champagne, more than 60 million Americans are using file-sharing software.
For this release:
EFF file-sharing campaign site:
EFF file-sharing ad:
How to not get sued for file sharing:
Get back what's constitutionally yours:
18:30 | Link
[Full story at The New York Times (free subscription required)]
Major record labels have launched an aggressive new guerrilla assault on the underground music networks, flooding online swapping services with bogus copies of popular songs.
[full article at
[For more on Jefferson's letter and patenting in general, see: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=3982]
In case you didn't see it in the Globe today, the state of Massachusetts has launched its "Do Not Call" registry, which "allows residents to block telemarketing calls to their homes..."
Mass. Residents can sign up until March 1 using a Web site, www.mass.gov/donotcall or by telephone, (866) 231-2255, or through the mail at PO Box 1348, Boston, MA 02117.
The article also says:
Under the new law, which takes effect April 1, telemarketing firms that fail to register or that call consumers on the lit will face penalties of $5,500 per violation. Calls from nonprofit and political organizations are exempted.
Also, a friend sent this "beep", which he claims if you record as the first thing on your answering machine, will make the telemarketing auto-dial machines hang up (and maybe even delete your phone from their list). This is what the Telezapper (as seen on TV, before midnight tonight) does.
Why copyright? Why did this obscure branch of "intellectual property," this private concern of entertainment and software firms, become the most pressing public policy area of the computer field?
[The Sklyarov and Jonansen cases] make us suspect that the multiple tentacles of the "intellectual property" leviathan bears barbed hooks on each end--and that some of the critical issues in modern democracy and discourse may be snagged by them.
(This article is also currently in print at The American Reporter, http://american-reporter.com/)
[From RISKS-FORUM Digest 22.38]
"The sad fact is that the legitimacy of government in the United States will remain in question as long as over 98% of the vote is tabulated by machines that can be easily rigged, impossible to audit, and owned by a handful of private companies. Until we get rid of those voting machines, democracy in America may be a distant memory."
"This is not spam! You are receiving this message because you are listed in an email database that I have purchased."
Oh, I see.
[Opening sentence from a recent spamvertisement:]
"This email is never sent unsolicited, you are receiving this message because we went to your site and you were chosen by our company to participate."
How well does your email font distinguish ‘l’ (ell) and ‘I’ (eye)?
[From Risks Digest]