LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
prices at Hawaiian Drive-In go up because the reporters at the Scott Peterson trial can't get enough of the potato salad.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Exposing George Carlin
Splat! Not two weeks after returning from Jolly Old England, my iBook took the big dirt nap. During the day it worked, later that night, it wouldn't power up. I suspect that although the power brick was rated for the 240 volts in England, it had been providing too high a voltage to the mobo. I dragged the machine into the local Apple store for repair. A week later I had the same case and LCD screen, but virtually everything else had been replaced.
I carefully restored the machine from my backup drive, and started firing up programs to make sure they worked. I had lost my key for GraphicConverter, but was impressed by lemkesoft's record keeping. Then I fired up iTunes.
I haven't bought much from iTunes. Musically I'm illiterate, but I had bought Brain Droppings by George Carlin. I was asked if I wanted to register this music on this computer. Nuts! I've got a new mother board which means I've lost some rights.
When Apple created the iTunes music store they had to provide comfort to the major music labels. These companies through the RIAA have been suing music downloaders, and iTunes without a lock and key approach was something they weren't going to sit still for. The compromise was that when you purchase music or other content from iTunes, you would be able to register it on three computers, and you would be able to burn it to audio CD. Later the number of computers was raised to five. Since I've had a mother board die on me, I'm now down one computer on my license.
This is important to know if you are going to buy music online. What are you really purchasing? Because I'm not generally thrilled with locked and proprietary file formats, long before my mother board gave me the finger, I had burned CD's of Brain Droppings to listen to in the Fek Mobile, and from the CDs, ripped MP3s for my file archives.
Why keep MP3s when I already have Audio CDs? Studies show that the CDs you and I are burning don't really have that long a shelf life. They're good for a few years and then there's significant deterioration. We can't rely on CD-R for archival storage. The best system for archives is RAID 1 arrays with periodic backups.
I just bought a new camera. This sounds silly because I bought it after my Business Vacation to London. I bought a Canon Digital Rebel and a killer 28-200mm lens. Affectively, this replaces my 35mm SLRs and produces a film equivalent image. Then Trouble sent me an email.
It turns out the Digital Rebel has the same CMOS as it's bigger brother the 10D. Bigger Brother is 500 bucks more and has a lot more doo-dads, but the doo-dads didn't seem like they were worth the extra cash. Trouble's letter pointed to a web site which explained how to hack the Digital Rebel's CMOS to unlock features that were only supposed to be seen on the more expensive camera.
This begs the question, is unlocking the extra features theft? Did I buy the feature set, or the hardware? Think of iTunes, there I am very clearly buying a license to listen to George Carlin under certain circumstances. I did not buy the music. Had I bought a CD, I would have bought a piece of plastic, but also a license to listen to the content under certain circumstances. I mean, I can't play Carlin on the radio without buying a license to do so.
You might remember back in the 90's there was a big brew-ha-ha over the licensing of Windows NT Workstation versus Server. The Redmond Company claimed there were many differences between the two products, which is why Server cost so much more. But a clever fella figured out that changing the values in three registry keys transformed WorkStation into Server. The truth was there was one product and the cheaper of the two was crippled.
This is also true of the Canon CMOS. There is one CMOS, and only on the more expensive camera is it not crippled. This makes sense. Working this way there is one development group, one QA group, and one set of bugs. Customers can move between the cameras in the product line and be familiar with how controls work.
To me theft has been about one's intention. Let's say you went to the grocer and bought a box of Twinkies, M&M's, Red Vines, Brach's Chocolate Stars, and Diet Coke. Upon returning home you audit the receipt and learn that the clerk forgot to charge you for the M&M's. Did you shop lift? In my book, no. You put the items on the counter and the clerk made a mistake. You are innocent and need do nothing about it. Should you choose to point this out on your next trip to the grocer, the Karma points are a bonus.
But what if I decided not to buy the 10D because I knew I could buy the Digital Rebel and hack it? Have I stolen anything? Under those circumstances there is an argument that I have. But if I bought the camera and then learned I could do this, I have not. I made my purchasing decision based on a cost/benefit ratio which did not include the extra 10D features.
I know what you are thinking. You're thinking I'm writing this to justify my actions. No, I'm not. I haven't hacked my camera. And honestly, I don't think I will. The extra benefits have no appeal to me. My Rebel's CMOS will remain a virgin.
I'm asking the question about theft because:
On the other hand... you have different fingers.
A lot of us feel that when we buy a piece of hardware we should be able to do what we will with it. Imagine if Detroit said I couldn't modify my car. We'd never stand for that. Car modification is a given which has been done since the beginning of time. There was no DMCA saying, "Thou Shalt Not Put Headers on thy Plymouth Volare!" Why should computers or digital cameras be any different?
Easy, no matter what you do to your Volare, it will always be a piece of crap. You can't hack it into a Corvette. The best you could do would be to upgrade it to a Yugo. In other words, the Volare was not a crippled Corvette, it was a crippled car.
If you hack a Digital Rebel what do you have? The 10D has physical differences which hacking the CMOS will not change. The number of shots one can fire off in rapid sequence is higher (9 rather than 4). The body is made of titanium rather than a polymer. So you really can't hack a Digital Rebel into a 10D. Perhaps the point is moot.
This is one of those subjects where if one is honest, one can see points on both sides of the argument. One must rely on their own morals to know when it is okay to make the modification, and when it one should just get rid of the Volare.
Nation in Mourning!
Jacko Not in News Last Week!
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"If there was only a way to be married and live alone."
"You see, this is your problem. You chose a tool that doesn't allow you to control the statistics!"
"I'd like a Grande Double decaf extra foam lukewarm half soy, half milk (organic, of course) cappuccino with caramel shot, no whip, shaken but not stirred -- with a twist, on the rocks. If they don't have that, plain black coffee is fine."
The Dark Side is good for your skin."
"Is this the Express Lane?"
"No, it's been very slow."
"Try the salsa, it doesn't hurt for a few seconds."
"I need some of that 'Jim Jones' Kool-Aid."
I must go shoot the grapes.
(The Last Honest Geek)
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