Technology News and Stuff

U can haz KDE 4.1 ~ Javascript ~ Would apple mess with your music? ~ When pseudonymous trolls get out of hand.

If you want KDE 4.1 and you want it now, have a look at this guide to installing it on your LInux Ubuntu 8.04 box ahead of its appearance in the Ubuntu repository.

For those who don't know what that means: A given distribution of LInux may use a particular method of installing software that in turn uses on line repositories. Individual software items may be added to this repository at the discretion of the maintainers of the distribution. Some distributions are fairly conservative and careful with what they add, and it is not uncommon to have the absolute newest release delayed in its inclusion in a repository. This is to protect you, the dummy, from yourself.

But, if you are either more smart than they think you are, or more stupid than you think you are (it is often hard to tell) you can install software that is not in your distro's repository. The Howto indicated above is an example of doing this.

Computeworld is running a series on different programming languages, and currently has an article on JavaScript that is very interesting and informative.

Homeland security has decided unilaterally that it has "the right to seize for an indefinite period of time laptops taken across the border." That's going to go great until they seize the wrong person's laptop. Read about it here on cnet.

Check this out, iTunes Store users:

If Apple ever stopped issuing keys for its FairPlay digital rights management then, just like at Yahoo and MSN, iTunes users would be prevented from moving their music to different machines or devices. That would affect most of the 5 billion songs the company has sold.

Could it happen? Yes.

When pseudonymous trolls get out of hand:

One afternoon in the spring of 2006 [7th grader] Mitchell Henderson ... took a .22-caliber rifle down from a shelf in his parents' bedroom closet and shot himself in the head. ... His classmates created a virtual memorial on MySpace ... One wrote that Mitchell was "an hero to take that shot, to leave us all behind . . . . " Someone e-mailed a clipping of Mitchell's newspaper obituary to [and] Mitchell's page came to the attention of an Internet message board known as /b/ and the "trolls," as they have come to be called, who dwell there.

Measured in terms of depravity, insularity and traffic-driven turnover, the culture of /b/ has little precedent. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line, or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.

Something about Mitchell Henderson struck the denizens of /b/ as funny. They were especially amused by a reference on his MySpace page to a lost iPod. Mitchell Henderson, /b/ decided, had killed himself over a lost iPod. The "an hero" meme was born. Within hours, the anonymous multitudes were wrapping the tragedy of Mitchell's death in absurdity.

Someone hacked Henderson's MySpace page and gave him the face of a zombie. Someone placed an iPod on Henderson's grave, took a picture and posted it to /b/. Henderson's face was appended to dancing iPods, spinning iPods, hardcore porn scenes. A dramatic re-enactment of Henderson's demise appeared on YouTube, complete with shattered iPod. The phone began ringing at Mitchell's parents' home. ... "They'd say, 'Hi, this is Mitchell, I'm at the cemetery.' 'Hi, I've got Mitchell's iPod.' 'Hi, I'm Mitchell's ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?' "...

This is a fascinating item in the NYT.


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Apple could make all their songs unusable, but it would cost them 5 billion dollars to reimburse the purchasers for their music. I'd have a few hundred coming to me too. I'd probably hack the songs rather than re-purchasing them though.