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  • 13:55 @cnnbrk Endo.... Looks like he hit his brakes a bit too hard. #
  • 15:05 @infidelsarecool She said, "Take over the country." Maybe she meant "company" but she didn't correct herself. Likely a Freudian slip. #
  • 15:15 Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin makes a good point about Obama's lack of executive experience: bit.ly/bcy0WE #
  • 16:45 Calypso currently being restored with plans to relaunch it. Betcha didn't know it was originally built in Seattle. bit.ly/bCvo3I #
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  • 09:00 Unsurprisingly, my home state of Washington has one of the ten highest gas tax rates: bit.ly/9GVVru #
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  • 12:52 SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket into orbit. #
  • 15:10 How NOT to design a web page. Warning: Has sound and your eyes will bleed but it's otherwise SFW. yvettesbridalformal.com/index.htm #
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  • 10:14 thinks it's pretty amazing that we can watch live video from almost 5000 feet below the surface of the ocean on our computers. #
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  • 10:22 I scored 10 out of 10 on Poynter's ''Take the Quiz: AP Stylebook or Fake AP Stylebook?'' bit.ly/b8DTfK #
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  • 15:25 I consider this a distinct possibility. RT @RogerHedgecock: Gaza Flotilla was a set up by Iran. 877 847 6437 #
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  • 16:59 Did something crazy but not as crazy as I thought about ten minutes ago. #
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  • 11:31 @vixy Latest update: Over $2000 has already been donated, way more than the needed $1200. Wow. #
  • 12:28 @Andrew2893 I'm impressed. You can type an ad hominem insult in all caps. You have some leet skillz, dude. #
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This is.  Ordinary people helping ordinary people.

What does this show?  That the best way to help people is for other people to give of their own free will to those who are in need and not for the government to take money from some to give to those it decides are deserving.

It also shows something else:  That the Internet can be the most powerful force for good this world has ever known.  Just think about it; the World Wide Web has been a service available on the Internet for only 20 years (and available to the general populace for about 15 years).  It's still very much a frontier and look at what can be accomplished with it already.

There's a much longer essay about this that has been percolating in my brain for over a year.  Maybe someday I'll actually write it.

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  • 10:53 I love it when I need to talk to someone and I have to wait 20 minutes while they beat a dead horse with someone else. #
  • 12:09 @Othar Since your mission is to destroy all Sparks (including, eventually, yourself), wouldn't that include the Supreme Being as well? #
  • 12:27 "[Democrats have] an extremely liberal record: You liberals should pretend like you have a pair and run on it." bit.ly/bcgnf2 #
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  • 15:14 @xenscooter When I click the link, I get the Not Found page. #
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Via the Patriot Post.

The Foundation

"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness." --George Washington

For the Record

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, raising hands with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
"It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program. It will, however, make meaningful sanctions more difficult. America's proposed Security Council resolution is already laughably weak -- no blacklisting of Iran's central bank, no sanctions against Iran's oil and gas industry, no nonconsensual inspections on the high seas. Yet Turkey and Brazil -- both current members of the Security Council -- are so opposed to sanctions that they will not even discuss the resolution. And China will now have a new excuse to weaken it further. But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs' nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran's program. The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world. That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement." --columnist Charles Krauthammer
Read more... )

The Last Word

"The literacy rate in the United States is 99 percent. That means that only 1 percent of people in the United States above the age of 15 are incapable of reading and writing. Apparently, all of them are members of the Obama administration. Attorney General Eric Holder admits that he has not read the Arizona immigration law, which requires law enforcement officers to check immigration status upon stopping people based on reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says she hasn't read the law, either. You can also lump State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley into that group. That did not stop any of them from opining at length on the Arizona law; Holder called the law 'a slippery slope' leading to racial profiling, saying he based that opinion on 'television, talking to people who are on the review panel.' Napolitano called the law 'bad law enforcement law.' Crowley defended a U.S. diplomat who actually apologized to China for the immigration law -- as though American states should apologize for enforcing their borders to a country that routinely excises and sells the internal organs of its political prisoners. ... The Arizona law is 15 pages long and runs about 8,000 words. An ADHD-addled teenager could peruse it in an hour. It's been approximately one month since Arizona passed the law, and the Democrats still haven't read it. Which means one of two things: either they prefer to remain ignorant so they don't have to honestly appraise the merits of the bill or they can't read. If it's the former, they're disingenuous liars. If it's the latter, they're ignorant boobs. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it's the latter." --columnist Ben Shapiro
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  • 11:23 Tom McClintock responds, quite correctly, to Mexican President Calderon's speech to Congress: bit.ly/9I7Ill #
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From Ronald Reagan's address to the nation on the loss of the Shuttle Challenger, January 28, 1986:
We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
Consider the entirety of recorded human history, several millennia. Only in the barest sliver of time at the end of that period has humanity been exploring space. April 12, 1961 marks the beginning of that sliver, and it's been not quite 50 years since then. Reagan was right. We have only barely begun our quest beyond Earth's atmosphere. We have taken only the smallest of baby steps.

One day our children, in some form, will journey to the stars, but that time is a long way off. Oh that I could live long enough to see that day. Oh that I could be there with them.
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  • 14:20 @FallenPegasus Were you having a Manfred Macx moment? #
  • 14:36 According to this tool, my Facebook privacy settings are all good. bit.ly/acqYwp #
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  • 11:50 @wilw You and me both. #
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  • 09:43 The Empire State Building honored the murder of 77 million people in China, but won't honor Mother Teresa: bit.ly/bZkJJF #
  • 16:02 In case you missed it, Portal is now available FOR THE MAC and it's FREE for PC and Mac until May 24th. bit.ly/b14tpe #
  • 17:31 Yet another example of TV drama computer fail: bit.ly/aTsP95 And the followup: bit.ly/aiOi2O #
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I've written before on the various Digital Rights Management schemes used by PC game publishers to prevent piracy.  There's been a new development since then so I thought it a good time to revisit the topic.

The new development is that Ubisoft, one of the largest publishers in the industry, has developed a new DRM technology for their PC games that is especially pernicious.  So far they've included it with Assassin's Creed 2, Silent Hunter 5, and Splinter Cell: Conviction.  The way it works is that it requires you to have a continuous connection over the Internet to Ubisoft's servers while playing the game.  Should your connection be lost for any reason, the game will quit.  Originally, any progress you had made since the last checkpoint would be lost though apparently a patch has been released that allows you to continue the game where you left off.  Nevertheless, you still require the connection to play so you can't play if your Internet connection is down or you are on a portable computer away from any connectivity option.  I was looking forward to Splinter Cell: Conviction having played previous Splinter Cell games on the PC.  This time, if I do purchase it, I will get it for the Xbox 360 or wait until it is released on Steam without this DRM, if it ever happens.  You can buy it on Steam now but it still includes this DRM.

And that brings me, once again, to the reason Steam is a much better way of doing this.  With Steam, your license is tied to your identity, and not to your computer.  As long as you are signed in as you, you can download and play any game you've purchased or otherwise obtained, such as a gift.  Steam has an offline mode that allows you to play if you're disconnected, at least for a time.  In addition to managing your license, it also manages the game files, automatically downloading any updates or patches and ensuring that the files are all correct.  You can back up your games so you can then install them on another computer, or reinstall after a system wipe, without having to re-download them.  It provides social features such as news, groups, forums, etc.

Yes, Steam does install a service so that it can do certain things without requiring you to give it administrator access, such as updating games and updating itself.  But, unlike SecuROM and possibly other DRM technologies, it doesn't care whether you have certain software installed such as CD mastering software.  It just works, and it works well.

The other downside is that you can't resell or lend a game to someone else like you can with most non-Steam games.  For example, I've lent my copy of Fallout 3 to a friend and was able to do so because I bought a physical copy instead of buying it through Steam.  Fallout 3 does come with SecuROM but only uses the disk-check feature and, as far as I can tell, doesn't install the SecuROM service nor register your machine with a central system.  It does also integrate with Games for Windows Live and you do register the game on that service, but you don't have to use Live to play the game, only if you want it to track achievements and use the other Live features.  My friend isn't doing that so he isn't having any issues playing the game.

And some games that originally came with DRM are now being offered on Steam without it, as Steam now takes its place.  For example I just picked up a copy of Dead Space from EA which originally came with SecuROM but has it stripped out for the Steam version.  EA at least has done this with several games indicating that they at least understand that Steam obviates the need for anything else.

Other than not being able to resell or lend games (and I'd like to see Steam add the capability to lend your license to someone else), the type of license management represented by Steam is, in my opinion, far superior to that currently in use by Ubisoft and other publishers.  I'm glad that more games are being released on Steam without onerous DRM software and hope that more publishers such as Ubisoft realize it's a much better way to go.

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  • 10:24 @xenscooter Nifty. I'll be keeping my eye on it. #
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