Daily Archives: 1 December 2005

Firefox 1.5 Goes Gold

The Firefox browser
version 1.5
went gold on Tuesday. I downloaded the Windows
version that night and the Linux version on Wednesday. So far,
other than extensions being broken (something that seems to
happen on a regular basis), it runs fine. Although, I don’t see
much of a difference in performance or features.

For those installing the Linux version, there’s only one tar
ball for i386 but it works in Xandros Deluxe 3.01 except for a
GTK2 error that doesn’t seem to cause any noticeable problems. If
you want a Debian specific version, you will need to try
searching Google for a backport. Otherwise, just use the tarball
and extract the files. No need to compile and I didn’t need to
add any libraries or other programs. Just extract and click on
the “firefox” file. All your current Firefox settings will be
read. Amazing. Now, when the day comes that installing all Linux
applications is this easy will be the day that Linux is ready to
replace the Windows desktop. That day has just become a bit
closer.

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Yet Another Sony DRM Debacle

People who create copyrighted work have a right and obligation
to ensure that their works are protected. However, no law is absolute and few if any laws or rights
operate in a vacuum. That is, there are usually competing rights.
For example, my right to throw my fist ends at your right to keep
me from injuring you. One right trumps the other.

Similarly, although authors have a right to protect their
works, that does not mean that right trumps all other rights.

J. Alex
Halderman of the “Freedom to Tinker” website
is reporting
that the recent Sony rootkit debacle isn’t the only Sony DRM in
the wild. It seems Sony is also using something called MediaMax
(it is reportedly also used by other music labels).

Mr. Halderman is saying

MediaMax phones home whenever you play a protected CD,
automatically installs over 12 MB of software before even
displaying an End User License Agreement, and fails to include an
uninstaller.

Part of the software that MediaMax installs is a driver meant
to interfere with ripping and copying from protected discs. I had
believed that MediaMax didn’t permanently activate this
driver-set it to run whenever the computer starts-unless the user
accepted the license agreement. As it turns out, this belief was
wrong, and things are even worse that I had thought.

You can read the rest of the gory details at his site but it
is becoming clear that certain companies wish to own your PC and
don’t take into consideration competing rights. All I can say is
vote with your pocketbook by avoiding these companies and by
spending your money on people who treat you and all the laws with
respect. YMMV. IANAL. Insert disclaimer here.

Lava Lacuna

The lava from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii
continues to make its way to the ocean. Occasionally, the land
that is built up due to the lava cooling breaks off and falls
into the ocean. The Honolulu Advertiser has
a story on just such a lava bench
.

This first shot is what this area of the Big Island looked
like before the break.

Big Island coast photo before the break.

This second shot shows what it looks like now with a huge
chunk of land having slid into the ocean. Let this be a warning
to all you folks who hike out to get pictures of the lava flowing
into the ocean. The land you may be standing on could break off
and cause your death.

Big Island coast after the break.

When these so called lava ledges/benches do break off, you
sometimes end up seeing lava pouring out of lava tubes like the
photo below. That is molten rock shooting out like water from a
fire hose. That is how a new ledge will develop and perhaps how
the Big Island will get even bigger.

As always, if anyone is interested in some hot, prime ocean
front property, see your local realtor. I’m sure they’ll give you
a good deal and maybe throw in part of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Lava shooting out of a lava tube into the ocean.

Aloha!