Archive for November 2004

Underthings

Some interesting observations about the value of underthings between the two genders.

Bonnie goads me every so often, saying that I should get rid of my “saggy whities” and get some proper underwear. In turn, I sometimes suggest that her decade-old bras have perhaps seen better days. But when we go shopping for our own respective underthings, we’re more than likely to exclaim something like, “XX dollars?! I can’t afford that, I’m so poor!“.

Then we turn around and buy things for each other, thinking nothing of it. $12 for a pair of boxers is a bit much, methinks, but she thinks that’s reasonable. Vice versa for a $25 bra. It’s all kind of odd if you ask me.

A side note… ladies, all those things that you’ve been throwing in the wash, flushing down the toilet, or chucking in the wastebasket? You’re throwing away pure gold! (Don’t click the link in a public place, it’s not “workplace friendly”. When you do click, check out the “Miscellaneous Items” and “Women’s Clothing” sections).

DMCA, robots.txt, and Rogers Modem Upgrades

I recently received a couple of DMCA takedown notices. The first was from a company called BayTSP, on behalf of Borland. Here’s an excerpt:

Title: JBuilder
Infringement Source: BitTorrent
Initial Infringement Timestamp: 15 Oct 2004 00:18:00 GMT
Recent Infringment Timestamp: 15 Oct 2004 01:33:54 GMT
Infringer Username:
Infringing Filename: 09.11.04.Borland.JBuilder.2005.Enterprise-SHOCKiSO
Infringing Filesize: 953556942
Infringers IP Address: 69.93.230.10
Infringers DNS Name: mail.distrust.net
Infringing URL: 69.93.230.10:6881/09.11.04.Borland.JBuilder.2005.Enterprise-SHOCKiSO

Looks like an automated scan and report, considering the complete lack of a reasonability check. Torrents by nature are transient; by the time the takedown notice gets to a human at the ISP, and the ISP gets it to the customer, the “infringer” is long gone. Not to mention the difficulty in proving that any one peer (except the seeder) in a torrent actually contributed a full copy of the “infringing file”.

The second one was from “James Young, Internet Investigator”, on behalf of Microsoft:

Computer program(s):
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP Home Edition
Office XP Professional
Windows 2003 Server Enterprise

Copyright owner(s):
Microsoft Corporation

Infringing material or activity found at the following location(s):
http://home.distrust.net/dsze/xpkey/MS%20Windows%20XP%20SP%202%20And%20Office%20KeyGen.exe

The above location is offering ‘Cracks’ or ‘Product Keys’, intended to circumvent technical measures that control access to Microsoft’s copyrighted works and that protect Microsoft’s copyrights in those works.

Based on the web server logs, this one looks like it was not-automated; found by a real “Internet Investigator” using MSN’s search. Now I know what you’re all thinking; I should have just created a robots.txt file to prevent that directory from being indexed by search engines.

Sure, except for one tiny problem. It’s like attaching a sign to your house listing all the valuables that you don’t want people to know about. It makes the job of a nosy “investigator” much easier, since they can go straight to the goods as long as they know where your “house” is. Want a real example? Check out the robots.txt on Rogers’ web site here. For those too lazy to click, here’s what it contains:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /yahoo/
Disallow: /modemupgrade/

Gee, I wonder why they want to hide /modemupgrade/. Suffice to say, I’ve successfully traded in my Terayon here in K-W for a Motorola DOCSIS, even though I never received an “upgrade letter”.

As for the XP/Office/2K3 keygen, it’s now password protected. Those that need access should be able to easily decipher the instructions when they click on the link.

Office Furniture

Apologies for the hiatus, Bonnie and I finally caved and bought ourselves some office furniture. The southwest corner of our modest apartment is now home to a right corner desk, a left corner desk, a hutch, two lateral files, two bookcases, and a three-drawer file. For the past two weeks the place has been a mess, littered with unassembled furniture and their corresponding boxes. Things are getting back to normal now, so here are a couple lessons learned from the whole debacle:

  1. If you buy furniture from Office Depot, make sure you pick it up yourself. They use Purolator to deliver everything, which is fine if you’re buying a box of Sharpies, but not such a good idea for 800 pounds worth of furniture. Imagine you were in the furniture delivery business; think of all the things you would have to do to make the process go smoothly everyday. Purolator doesn’t do any of that.
  2. The corollary is that it is not a good idea to ship large, heavy items using Purolator. I asked the delivery guy, “How did this box get like this, was it dropped?” To which he responded, “It’s possible, everything goes down a conveyor.” This is from the same guy that punched our apartment number into the intercom rather than looking up the correct code in the directory right beside the intercom. He did this on two separate occasions. This was also his “first large delivery”. They sent him by his lonesome to bring all 800 pounds up himself. Good job Purolator!

Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge now. I’m just worried about moving day next year. All this new office furniture plus another four bookcases, a marble dining table, eight dining chairs, and a queen-size bed[1] (those latter three items are all hand-me-downs from Bonnie’s parents), probably means professional movers are in order. I say we should make the most of it and pick up a (baby) grand piano too. I wonder if any of them would bring in a huge crane and move stuff via the balcony like they do in some European cities. That’d be cool.

[1] Thankfully not a four-poster carved from the trunk of a giant sequoia, which we always half-jokingly tell ourselves that we’ll pick up eventually.