Thursday, January 26, 2006

a break; from all the stress

I've finally had some time to relax after an extremely stressful Monday and Tuesday filled with exams and stuff. It's always a shock to check your RSS-reader and see the 50 new stories at Slashdot, my Boing Boing folder also shows 98 items, and counting. So the better part of today was spent going through most of the news-items I had missed since Saturday and here's a collection of what I found to be most interesting:

Gamers gasp as booth babes banned [bit-tech.net]: " Oh dear. We like to remain an equal opportunities news reporting outfit here at bit-tech towers, but we're just a bunch of guys at heart. We've been blasted for being a little female-exploitative in the past - but sometimes, when we get a story that makes us sad in our hearts, we just have to run it."
Poor geeks. Now their last chance to see 'real' women has been taken from them. I think I'll start a charity to collect some money so they can at least rent some decent pr0n. Or maybe get a stripper for their MSN buddy's birthday. Seriously though (if that's even possible on such a subject;) I think that large games conventions need booth babes otherwise they'll loose much of their appeal. I mean, how could any Gamestar (largest German gaming magazine) E3 coverage ever be complete without their booth babes section? What are all those nerds supposed to do while waiting 2h in-line to see a 60 second trailer of one game or another? And let's be honest, Sex sells and attracts attention. I can't count the number of Games Convention and CeBit booths I only checked out to get a closer look at 'da ladies'. I also remember some fine folks from a German modding website who literally took hundreds of photos of good-lookin' booth babes and female visitors during GC04. But more importantly, I vividly remember the dark-haired girl from the Sony Ericsson booth that year... she could grab some serious attention with the way she moved her ass (w00t) at that Sony PlayStation party! However my personal favourite as far as booth babes are concerned is this photo... ;-) To cut a long story short, computer conventions and geeks need booth babes!

DRM is a complete lie [theinquirer.net]: "DRM IS A LIE. When an agenda driven DRM infection peddler gets on a soapbox and blathers about how it is necessary to protect the BMW payments of a producer who leeches off the talented, rest assured, they are lying to you. DRM has absolutely nothing to do with protecting content, it is about protecting the wallets of major corporations. The funny thing is they aren't protecting it from you, they are protecting it from each other."
This is probably one of the best rants about DRM that I've read in a very long time. Personally I've decided not to support any companies who use extensive DRM technologies, so I certainly won't be buying any Sony products in the forseeable future. I accept and understand DRM as long as it doesn't cut into my fair-use rights. So if I purchase a CD I want to have the right to make a copy of it so I can use it in the car. When I buy a DVD I want to be able to make a backup of it, even more since it was recently discussed that today's optical media might only have a life-time of 5 years or so before stopping to work. When I decide to burn our collection of family videos to a DVD I sure as hell don't want to be sued for using DeCSS just because I'm producing a copy for Grandma's birthday. And the list goes on...

GPL 3 disses DRM [arstechnica.com]: "The wording of the language makes it clear that GPL3 is aiming to exclude software and products that utilize DRM. This is not entirely surprising, as Richard Stallman, the creator of the original GPL and one of the two co-authors of GPL3, already hinted as such. "We might put in something refusing to allow DRM modifications. Maybe, maybe not," he said in an interview in April 2005. The use of the word "Restrictions" instead of "Rights" in the DRM acronym appears to further enforce their anti-DRM position."
Yet another comment on the state of DRM. Stallman is walking a thin red line with this GPL3 proposal. While I generally do agree that the philosophy behind GPL aren't compatible with DRM Stallman might scare of a lot of potential companies interested in licensing their software under the GPL. As the article points out it is entirely possible that Linux will stay with GPL2 because GPL3 wouldn't allow companies such as TiVo to make use of Linux based solutions in some of their products which support DRM in one way or another. It will certainly be interesting to see how the discussion surrounding this GPL3 draft turns out, I do think that the DRM issue will be the most debated point. In general this new version seems to have been well received, for example by the folks from Debian (Debian scrutinizes GPL3 [newsforge.com]).

Cell Phones & Leashes - A Deeper Social Analysis [overclockers.com]: "Cell phones have become a prescription drug with extremely hazardous side effects & dangerous dependency disorders. It's not my intention to bring out typical arguments heard about the same subject, more so and observation as to what cell phones have done to me and other "test" subjects. This isn't a rant about annoying ring tones."
If you're ever annoyed about hearing your cell phone ring, read this article! And let's be honest, we all have a love/hate relationship with out cell phones, right? While things here have never been so out of hand as with that poor guy, I've been in a couple of situations where cell phones have caused significant problems. It's a real pain to have people call you at times when you simply don't wanna hear anything from them. The worst part is that most people don't stop calling, even if you've already ignored them three times. It's like, gimme a break, will you, it's only 11a.m., I'm a student and I'm asleep, so STOP CALLING! That's also why my cell phone is always turned off while I'm sleeping, there's nothing worse than having somebody wake me up with some appalingly useless issue...

Windows XP on an Intel Mac [winxponmac.com]: "The Contest
My MacBook is shipping on the 15th of February. I told my boss that this would replace my IBM desktop and I could boot Windows XP on it. I am still confident it can be done. I am pledging $100 of my own money and offering anyone else who would like the instructions on how to Dual boot these two operating systems the ability to donate some of their money into the pot as a reward for the person / group that can make dual-booting Mac OS X and Windows XP happen on an Intel Mac. Good Luck."

Having heard that a number of people have already trashed their brand-new iMacs when messing with EFI and trying to get WinXP to boot it will be interesting to see whether this bounty will yield any results. I'm sure sooner rather than later somebody will come up with a way to dual-boot WinXP or some Linux version on an iMac. Which would give me yet another reason to get an Intel based Mac mini once Apple releases that baby (which IMO will happen once Intel gets their Core Duo production running smoothly).

Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds [livescience.com]: "The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.
"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."
Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning."

Quite an interesting study I dare say. Makes me wonder about my own decision making process... And not just as far as politics is concerned, it's about everything: buying decisions for example. I tend to read lots of reviews, forums and customer feedback before I make any significant hardware or gadget purchases. But if you extend the results of that study, I might actually only do all that research to confirm to myself that I was right about buying XYZ in the first place. And I'm a fairly unbiased buyer, what about all those AMD, Intel, ATI and NVidia fanboys? To them, buying gear from "their" company is more of a religious deed and it might prove impossible to convince them that another piece of hardware might be better suited. Anyway, certainly something to keep in mind for the future...

Link of the day: ipspotting.com: useless, but fun!

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