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Slashback: Wireless, Gasoline, Prevarication 259

Slashback tonight with story updates on wireless networking on the highway, on the bounce, and among friends, as well as a more pessimistic report on Nigerian scammers, a good reason your car's mileage might not match the EPA's estimate, and a strange response from Macrovision about the copy protection it's employing in European-market CDs. Read on for the details.

It's not a feature, it's a bug. A representative from Macrovision writes "This statement is being issued to address some concerns that were recently aired on Slashdot with regards to the copy protection of some music CDs, the new Beastie Boys CD in Europe in particular.

Macrovision does NOT install any spyware, shareware, malware or any self-replicating code of any kind onto a user's PC.

When playing a (Macrovision CDS-200) copy-protected CD for the first time, playback software components may be installed, if needed. This software is used to enable the on-disc music player to load an on-screen user interface and to play back the audio. For further information, please contact: cds-info@macrovision.com."

Seems to me that a CD which that requires any software installed for it to be played by a standard CD drive is by definition at least "brokenware," or perhaps "meddleware." What if it's being used in a computer without an operating system supported by these "playback software components"?

Definitional evasion aside, so far CD "copy protection" is mostly about as effective as critics proclaim it to be: ptorrone writes "There has been a lot of talk about the copy protection on the new CD 'Contraband' from Velvet Revolver, but for us we didn't have any problems making MP3s for all our devices despite their efforts to stop us it seems. Here's our story..."

MSN Search pales next to Google, so far. An anonymous reader writes "Reported earlier today here on Slashdot, MSN is preparing a new search engine which is set to knock Google's socks off. However, early results show that not only is the new algorithm lacking enough smarts to knock Google as king, it doesn't even compete with the current MSN algorithm."

Open wide and say "ARRL!" dos4who writes "Well, the ARRL Field Day 2004 results are in, and posted on The The American Radio Relay League website. In the Single Operator High-Power class, congratulations to W5ZN for logging a score well over 600,000!

I had the opportunity to witness the Abbotsford, British Columbia club in action, and it was an awesome experience. Just the sight of all those massive antennae clustered on one field invoked visions of E.T. popping in for a visit."

And william_lorenz writes "Our own group from Ohio made contacts all over the United States and had a great time doing it, camping out in tents and running multiple battery-operated radios and make-shift antennas throughout the day and night. We even played with some Slow Scan TV! What are your stories?"

Seems unlikely it's the only country not to have done so ... bluethundr writes "On the flipside of a story from yesterday the Register reports today: 'Malam Nuhu Ribadu says Nigeria is the only country in the world that has failed to apply special laws or establish dedicated "front offices" to combat the crimes.'"

Are you pumping what you think you're pumping? couch_warrior writes "It was noted in a recent /. inquiry that EPA estimates of mileage vary from real-life experience. While there are several factors that can affect this, one major but often overlooked factor is that the amount of gasoline contained in a supposed 'gallon' varies by up to 10% due to gas pump fraud. Two illustrative stories show localized evidence of this scam, but few states regulate gas pumps effectively. The laws are on the books, but enforcement is typically lax. Cynics might speculate that this is because both the State and the Fed are getting a cut of the illegal proceeds. It is a way for them to increase the tax revenue on fuel, without taking the political hit for raising taxes. A challenge for /. readers -- go buy some gasoline in graduated containers, and check for yourself [avoid 1,5, and 10 gallon sizes; many states use these for testing purposes and the computers inside the pumps 'catch up' temporarily at these intervals]. Persons of conscience might feel motivated to flood their local state weights and measures bureau with complaints (if test results warranted :-)"

Never beam your secrets in a cornfield. bgumm writes "Hot on the heels of the Texas DOT's WiFi stories, here comes one from the corn state, Iowa. The Iowa DOT and an Iowan wireless network company, I-Spot Access, have partnered to offer WiFi at six highway rest stops across the state. USA Today picked up the story, as did the Des Moines Register..."

And for those in a state too backward to have rest-stop WiFi just yet, Porsupah writes "WirelessWeek is reporting that Ricochet has been sold on again; this time, to YDI Wireless. Bay Area readers may fondly remember the company as bringing flat-rate 28.8k wireless connectivity to all of the area several years ago for $30/mo, before expanding aggressively to cover several other major US metropolitan areas, financed by MCI, with a nominal 128kbps service at $75/mo. After bankruptcy, Aerie Networks bought some of the remnants, relaunched in San Diego and Denver, and then.. nothing. What next?"

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Slashback: Wireless, Gasoline, Prevarication

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @06:59PM (#9587717)
    It's all lies.
  • by LaserLyte ( 725803 ) * on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:01PM (#9587723)
    From the FlexBeta article:
    Microsoft is working on a new search engine algorithm which is supposed to compete with Google, now that they have upped their hotmail storage in responce to Gmail's arrival.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Hotmail has upgraded neither their free accounts nor their paid accounts as of yet. I'm still stuck at 78%, and I have no more than a few MB of mail in my hotmail account.
  • CD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TommydCat ( 791543 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:03PM (#9587744) Homepage
    If it's not redbook, it's not a CD!
  • Alternatively... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frankus ( 38740 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:05PM (#9587765) Homepage
    ...always gas up in 10-gallon increments.
    • Re:Alternatively... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:43PM (#9588023) Homepage
      This has the makings of a great documentary.

      1) Test the accuracy of the gas pumps for one specific vendor. Inform vendor of results.
      --show retest done next day, next week, and the following month . . . assuming of course it's not an honest mistake that will be fixed.

      2) Get candid interviews with patrons of the station as they watch the video showing the bad measurments and the managments response when they are informed.

      3) Show scenes from the class action lawsuit filed on behalf of anyone who bought gas from specific vendor in the time frame the testing was performed.

      4) Hold flash mob at specific gas station to get incredible riot like footage to hype the film

      5) profit.

      • 6. Be accused by the oil companies and their politicians' cronies of being a fat slob whose filmmaking reminds them of Leni Riefenstahl.

        7. they mock you
        8. they fight you
        9. you win

      • Doesn't suprise that pumps are off. I once filled a tank on a car with .4 gallons MORE than it could hold (including fill tube, engine was off), and it had a little left when I pulled in, say 1/10 of a tank.
        It had an anual inspection sticker indicating it had been tested that month, when I said somthing to the manager he was short with me and said "it's accurate". I almost argued with him, but instead paid him and told him I would avoid shoping where I get treated like shit for pointing out a miss-call
        • when I said somthing to the manager he was short with me and said "it's accurate". I almost argued with him, but instead paid him and told him I would avoid shoping where I get treated like shit for pointing out a miss-callibrated pump. I Implied it was deliberately off, and said it loud enough the people near me could hear it.

          you go, you crusader for justice, you... i'm sure that gas station manager was really intimidated- he probably went and fixed it right after you left... ...yeah...
    • But my motorcycle only holds 4 and a half gallons! I'd have to spray five gallons of gas onto ground!
      Then again, I guess that's the American Way(TM).
    • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:13PM (#9588193)
      BRILLIANT! Seriously! I'm not being sarcastic... brilliant idea. I'm on the road a LOT being self employed, so I can pump 5 or 10 gal at a time, don't need to top it off 'cause I'm at stations a lot. Can't wait to get my extra 1-10% :)

    • If I was to engineer such a fraud, (which I wouldn't) I would mismeasure full speed outflows. ie. Mismeasure on the standard consumer use case of sticking hose in tank, pulling the trigger to the max, and putting the catch on while going off to wash the windows.

      What I would measure accurately is the trickle, trickle, trickle case where someone is trying to get an exact quantity like X gallons for measurement purposes.

      • You know, somewhere an engineer working for an oil company just turned slacking off and reading Slashdot into the largest bonus he is ever going to get. An you aren't even going to get royalties... :)

    • by the_twisted_pair ( 741815 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:33AM (#9590484)
      Seriously - I have a friend who works for UKAS (UK accreditation service, checks lab metrology etc) who suggested this.

      Pumps do drift in calibration, but they are calibrated to measure at max. output rate into free air, which allows for a certain amount of vapour, bubbling etc. Stick the nozzle in the tank, crack the valve open and fill as slowly as you can stand - the pump now under-reads the delivered quantity, because it is delivering against static pressure.

      Try it; I've regularly achieved 7-10% more for free on a whole tankful. That's a big deal here in the UK, at 80p+ /litre - about $5.20/US gallon - and no, I don't feel the least bit bad about cheating the Taxman in this way.

      Note that many pump are set to time-out after a few minutes to avoid the potential for being left running onto the forecourt.

  • by NigritudeUltramarine ( 778354 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:06PM (#9587774)
    Macrovision does NOT install any spyware, shareware, malware or any self-replicating code of any kind onto a user's PC. ... When playing a (Macrovision CDS-200) copy-protected CD for the first time, playback software components may be installed, if needed.
    If the software behaves differently when the CD is played for the first time then indeed it is altering the user's computer, to track how many times the CD has been played (zero, or more than zero for example). That's tracking the user's habits, thus spyware. And, by the fact that it is not made clear to the user that software is being installed on their PC, that's malware in my book.

    I haven't seen the software myself, nor yet found a detailed technical analysis, so I can only speculate beyond that point. But from the descriptions I've seen, I would not doubt that it continues running, even when the CD is not actually playing, using some amount of memory and some small number of CPU cycles. Can you imagine if every audio CD you own installed its own little software in this manner? Personally, I own around 300 CDs, which is not nearly as many as some of my friends. I surely wouldn't want 300 such applications intalled on my system!
    • That's tracking the user's habits, thus spyware.

      I don't think this would hold up in any court anywhere. I think that the company can assume that when you buy a DVD you view it at least one time(s). It isn't spyware unless this information is sent somewhere.
      • I don't think this would hold up in any court anywhere.

        And outside of the courts, that definition has nothing to do with the usual use of "spyware" in the computer world. I've never heard anyone suggest that, say, KDE's running kpersonalizer on first startup constitutes "spyware".

    • If the software behaves differently when the CD is played for the first time then indeed it is altering the user's computer, to track how many times the CD has been played (zero, or more than zero for example). That's tracking the user's habits, thus spyware.

      I can't agree with this. Lots of programs behave differently the first time they are run (by launching a startup wizard for example). Logging usage of the program doesn't constitute "spyware" unless the usage is communicated to the software maker (o
      • Lots of programs behave differently the first time they are run (by launching a startup wizard for example).

        Lots of programs that you must install intentionally behave differently the first time they are run. The difference here is that the software is installed without any user confirmation. This is underhanded, and almost certainly not according to Microsoft's guidelines.

        Logging usage of the program doesn't constitute "spyware" unless the usage is communicated to the software maker (or a third party
  • by sploo22 ( 748838 ) <dwahler@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:10PM (#9587795)
    ...is total and complete FUD. Come on... they searched for "Olympic gold metals." You can't judge the accuracy of the search engine by a query that only finds mistakes. And the number-one Google result for "fastest processor currently available" claimed it to be the Athlon 1.3GHz.

    Overall, the biggest problem with the new MSN search seems to be that it doesn't ignore words like "the" and "what" which shouldn't be in your search in the first place. I hate Microsoft and their anticompetitive tactics just as much as the next guy, but how is this article any better?
    • I think you are forgetting something- most casual computer users are either too stupid or too lazy to learn proper search technique. Therefore, you should get accurate results even with slight grammatical errors/mispellings (Google suggests the proper spellings for you) and using words such as "the," "is," etc.
      • Did you notice that Google didn't change "metals" to "medals"? And with good reason - true artificial intelligence (by which I mean an understanding of the world in order to make this type of decision), while nice to speculate about, is not here and will not be here in the near future. That's what people are for.
        • The thing is, "gold metals" and "gold medals" are both perfectly legitimate search queries in thier own right. Since many people have mistakenly wrote "gold metals" when refering to "medals," searching for "olympic gold metals" returns many valid results (in fact, over 22k).

          Also, when I did search for olympic gold metals [google.com] not only were the 22,500 or so results returned, Google did in fact suggest "medals" as an alternate spelling (which returns about 228k results).

          Of course, a Google engineer probably just
    • Overall, the biggest problem with the new MSN search seems to be that it doesn't ignore words like "the" and "what" which shouldn't be in your search in the first place.
      Seems to be case-sensitive too - that's a big problem.
    • And if you did a google for "2004 fastest processor currently available" you get a Dell Inspiron 9100 P4 3.2 GHz. Pretty fast.

      It only makes sense that pages that have been sitting around for years would have been viewed more, thus having a higher page rank.

      Now, was adding the year that hard?

  • A Microsoft Tactic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artlu ( 265391 ) <[artlu] [at] [artlu.net]> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:10PM (#9587797) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone think that microsoft may try to capitalize on people's fears of Google having complete access to email and the like? Seems like it might be a good option for them to attempt even though it would be pure hypocrisy.

    GroupShares Inc. [groupshares.com] - A Free and Interactive Stock Market Community
    • by casuist99 ( 263701 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:22PM (#9587876) Homepage Journal
      It would be hypocritical, but they will probably try it anyway. "Trust the butterfly!"
      Seriously, though, as long as we are willing to allow "free" portals to have access to all of our personal information, how can we get upset when they have access to our personal information?
      MS can hold on to your CC# and passwords and automatically fill them in on sites that require it, if you use hotmail they have your email, and they're trying to improve their crappy search engine that few people use. Oh, and if you use MSN, they've got you that way too.
      Yahoo has shops and stores that I find somehow already know my credit card number (past purchase, no doubt), they have my email (one of my account anyway), and they offer searching, tv-listings, a calendar, etc.
      That's just a few examples of what MS and Yahoo! aleady have from millions of customers. The fact that Google (which has proven itself less scuzzy than its competition) is trying to expand is welcomed by myself and nearly all my friends.
      If you give all your info to a site, don't be surprised if they have all your info at a later date. Convenience and privacy are hard to simultaneously maintain with current services.
      • Privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Via_Patrino ( 702161 )
        On the other side MSN (and also Yahoo) use "soul-sucking" redirect links on the serch results, instead of direct links. That way they track what you click in.

        In the aspect of privacy concerns, I prefer choosing not using a particular email service than copy and paste the url of every result im interested in.

        And one curiosity: Microsoft seens to put high wheight on links already clicked, I searched (in another browser) the terms Ive searched before in my tests (low used terms) and the ones Ive clicked are
  • by daveo0331 ( 469843 ) * on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:11PM (#9587801) Homepage Journal
    A challenge for /. readers -- go buy some gasoline in graduated containers, and check for yourself [avoid 1,5, and 10 gallon sizes; many states use these for testing purposes and the computers inside the pumps 'catch up' temporarily at these intervals].

    All right, from now on, whenever I buy gas, I'll make sure to buy exactly 5.000 gallons :-)
    I don't want to get ripped off.
    • Re:Gas pump fraud (Score:2, Informative)

      by maximilln ( 654768 )
      Additionally, in most areas, dispensing of gasoline from the pumps into unapproved containers is illegal.
      • Gee, I wonder why this really is - couldn't have nothing to do with people actually checking on their own, could it...?

        Yeah, yeah - I know it is ostentaciously there to prevent people from pumping gas into a garbage bag (and I am sure that has been done), but still - makes you wonder...

    • Re:Gas pump fraud (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flexagon ( 740643 )

      I'll make sure to buy exactly 5.000 gallons :-)

      Not necessarily good enough. In the article's KCBS link, the DWM agent used a 5 gallon measure. That was enough to catch 4 of the 5 stations he and the reporter visited. Given the situation, it's apparently not necessary to be any more clever than this.

      • I wonder how long until they start telling clerks to press a button if someone is dispensing in to a container, so that it becomes more accurate. Or if they develop some other way to check (maybe just ask on that little electronic screen, and make it illegal to lie to them, even though they're allowed to lie to you.)
  • ricochet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by seringen ( 670743 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:13PM (#9587822)
    When I moved back from switzerland where I had a dual ISDN line in 1994 to santa cruz, i got a ricochet modem. It was really wonderful, albeit very slow. I could go up into the hills between my house and UCSC and sit out on the field, something i can't do too efficiently nowadays. It was fun while it lasted!
    • I LOVED my ricochet modem at UCSC. I remember sitting in a field with my laptop, modem and a webcam, just to say I could videoconference with less than $500 worth of equiptment in 1997. I used the same setup (and Netscape push technology)in a gen-ed technology class as an example of "what was possible". I got an A.
  • by abertoll ( 460221 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:18PM (#9587847) Homepage Journal
    I've ALWAYS wondered whether or not I'm getting a full gallon, or how accurate those pumps are at gas stations. It doesn't really make me feel good to realize my paranoia was right. I mean it's SO easy, and can be done in such a way that's very hard to detect. If I cut 1 ounce on every gallon of gas I pump who is to say I did it and it isn't just the pump which is a bit inaccurate? Not that it matters, but there ought to be a way that our CARS can tell how much gas has been put into them.
    • Liquid Mass Flow Meters run upwards of $200 US in OEM bulk purchase qualities. This means that cars would be another $225 more expensive and would have another part in the gas tank/fill tube that could break and leak. It was a good idea though.

      The more effective solution would be spot-checking pumps and fining stations thousands of dollars. As to pumps "catching up" at 1,2,5 and 10 gallons, just spot check with random amounts.
    • by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:46PM (#9588051) Journal
      There's just one problem with that. A gallon is a measure of volume, which will vary by temperature. The weight of the gas you pump will stay the same, but it's more difficult to calibrate that kind of sensor on the gas tank. So, you have two options:

      Measure volume pumped, and hope your car is level, so that the irregular shape of your tank doesn't affect the sensors inside.

      Measure the weight, hope your sensors are correct, and avoid every pothole on the freeway so as not to wear out the sensors prematurely.
      • by M. Silver ( 141590 ) <silver@@@phoenyx...net> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @09:04PM (#9588515) Homepage Journal
        A gallon is a measure of volume, which will vary by temperature.

        Mod parent up, because it does, and a lot more than you'd expect, too.

        I worked for a company that sold sensors to measure liquid levels, and we'd've sold a heck of a lot more if they'd been practical in gasoline storage tanks. (I'm not sure why we couldn't have just added temp sensors to compensate, other than in large tanks maybe the temp wasn't consistent even through the volume of the gasoline or something.)
    • ... there ought to be a way that our CARS can tell how much gas has been put into them

      That would require an expensive change (sufficiently accurate flow or volume measure) to all cars and, worse, all existing cars to get any quick effect. An alternate way might be to do something along the lines of what was done to banks (that used to shave fractions of a cent from interest payments by always rounding down): require the total amount of gas pumped from the storage tank (say, at next refill time) to agree

    • by xyote ( 598794 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:33PM (#9588312)
      Just check the difference between how much gas they sell and how much they buy from their suppliers.

      I like the old fashioned way of doing it. Just watering down the gas. No gimicky reprogramming of gas pump electronics.

    • the article I read said that a pump was concidered inaccurate when it was off by 4 cubic inches in five gallons which is just under 1 oz in a gallon. The stations must know that when they drop 50K gallons in the tank week after week, that the varience would be just about 1 thousand gallons and would be pretty obvious when their records got examined.
    • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @09:50PM (#9588785) Journal
      I read the articles. The KCBS (2) article is interesting. They say that the state tolerates an error of 6 cubic inches in 5 gallons, and that the first pump he tested was off by 50% more than that. Wow! 50% more that legal! But how much is that?

      Well, 5 gallons is 1155 cubic inches, so 6 cubic inches is one-half of one percent. This pump that was off was off one-quarter percent more than that. 1/4% is 5 cents on a 20 dollar fillup.

      I wouldn't be at all surprised if gas stations try to hit that .5% low, but really that's pretty close to the mark. This is nothing compared to, say, the decrease in energy resulting from the mandated blending of ethanol with gasoline.

      In my experience, when the needle in my MR2 gets to E, it always takes within .1 gallon of 11.3 gallons, except for one time when it was considerably more -- and I called the state Weights and Measures people to report that station. The number is on a sticker on the gas pump, might as well attempt to make the system work. Anyway, since it always takes the same amount of gas, I have to think that most stations are either accurate or all cheating by the same amount.

      Thad Beier
      • I was just down by NYC (well, over an hour north in peekskill), and even at 20 cents more expensive than Pennsylvania prices, I still couldn't find any that weren't 10% ethanol. And like you said, that performance difference is brutal. I filled on the way from Binghamton, and made it to peekskill no problem. I had to fill halfway back because it burned through it so quickly. And honestly, I was happy, because it helped flush that crap out of my car. I expect my car to go when I push down the gas pedal.
  • Truckstop WiFi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abiggerhammer ( 753022 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:20PM (#9587860)
    Public WiFi at rest stops is neat and everything, but I've started noticing open WAPs at truckstops as well. For some chains, like Flying J, it appears to be a deliberate choice on the part of the company -- they all have 'flyingj' as their SSID. (Added bonus: at one where I refuelled in Michigan, I couldn't pull an IP under Windows, but it worked just fine under Linux.)

    I go to school in Iowa and my parents live in Texas, so I drive across both states pretty frequently. TxDOT doesn't spend a lot of money on rest stop maintenance, so there may be WiFi, but the bathrooms are nasty. (Iowa rest stops are very nicely outfitted, however, but that's not too surprising, since I-80 is one of the major freight corridors in the US.)

    • Re:Truckstop WiFi (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CatPieMan ( 460995 )
      I love free WiFi. I had to give a friend a ride to the doctor, and, poof, there was a free public WiFi available will full access to a couple of windows servers.

      How did I find out? My computer signed in and AIM started as soon as I turned it on (I was planning on doing work).

      Ah, what an age we live in, where even doctors offer free public WiFi.

      As for public restrooms, VA has some terrible ones. Maryland has some nice ones, as does Delaware. Most PA ones are also quite nice (especially along the turnp
    • Yeah, when I was driving down to Florida a couple of weeks ago, we were constantly scanning for APs, and two or three times "flyingj" came up, with multiple APs in each location. In fact, they're using Cisco (i.e. high quality) access points, it would seem. I really wouldn't expect that many truckers to require a high quality 802.11b connection, but I guess you learn something new everyday.
      • Re:Truckstop WiFi (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tweek ( 18111 )
        Actually my dad is one of those truckers.

        You would be surprised about the Modern Truck Driver.

        He uses the Flying J hotspots to find the cheapest gas prices down the road, check email for loads he can pick up and visit one of the multitude of Trucker service websites where he can find people looking for someone to do a load.

        He also has a t-mobile pcmcia card that he uses for access when he isn't in range of a hot spot.

        You can see all the areas they have covered here:

        http://www.tonservices.com/map/activ [tonservices.com]
      • Interestingly, it turns out that many truckers are huge fans of wireless access and, when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. These folks are on the road for the majority of every month, but they still have to run their lives, communicate with friends and family, etc.

        After a recent road trip I did a google for "PrePass" to see if it was connected to sensors I kept seeing over the highway (it is). Among the hits I got was a site run by a married pair of truckers. The relevant part:

        How do you go

  • by jZnat ( 793348 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:21PM (#9587865) Homepage Journal
    That CD protection software doesn't sound like malware, but more like a step behind in programming by using proprietary software. Hopefully one day we can rid ourselves of proprietary things and get to using standards. I bet those CD decryptor programs are Windows-only also. Blargh...
    • That CD protection software doesn't sound like malware

      The hell it isn't.

      It is specificly designed to block me from using my music in perfectly legal and legitimate ways. The only good thing about it is that it is a particularly lame-ass attempt at enforcing the malware.

      Hopefully one day we can rid ourselves of proprietary things and get to using standards.

      STANDARD malware is still malware.

      It sounds like you're advocating Trusted Computing, standardized "open" DRM that is a particular hassle to defea
  • by Einer2 ( 665985 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:21PM (#9587866)
    For those who travel cheap, a lot of KOAs are also being wired as hot spots. Unfortunately, the access charges tend to be rather steep. I was told at the KOA in Cedar City, Utah that it'd be $3.95 for one hour of access. I get the impression that flat-rate packages are a much better deal, though.
    • When I go camping I try not to bring any of my wireless and computational devices (a charged and off cellphone is the exception, although I'm often out of cell coverage). I view it as a time to escape. Then again I've never camped at a KOA: they probably cater to a different type of camper.
  • by darin3200 ( 791186 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:23PM (#9587878)
    EPA estimates of mileage vary from real-life experience

    I've noticed this with my hummer. Its EPA highway mileage was 1.5 mpg but with a nice tail wind I can get it up to 1.7!
  • erm (Score:5, Funny)

    by DHR ( 68430 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:23PM (#9587880) Homepage
    "Just the sight of all those massive antennae clustered on one field invoked visions of E.T. popping in for a visit"

    I think I'd be scared too if I saw a field full of gigantic insects

    ahem. [reference.com]

  • Gas pump fraud? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Umm...my milage figures are pretty accurate by my best guesses. It's consistant, and my car actually keeps track of it's milage, both in real time, and over the last 99+ gallons of gas used. It's a pontiac bonneville, but I think quite a few of GM's line has the same features.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:27PM (#9587906)
    The Xbox doesn't recognise all CDs out there - had a Smashmouth single I tried to read on my brothers' xbox and it wouldn't recognise it at all...

    Just pointing this out as the link to the mp3's from Velvet Revolver story made it seem like the Xbox would work with every audio CD.

    (and note to the Grammar Nazis - yes, it should be "brothers'" not "brother's" - I have 2 brothers who share the console ;^)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seems to me that a CD which that requires any software installed for it to be played by a standard CD drive is by definition at least "brokenware," or perhaps "meddleware."

    Perhaps "muddleware" -- as in I'll keep muddling through it until it works or my computer bursts into flames -- or "muggleware," the stuff that software wizards hate.
  • That's me! (Score:4, Informative)

    by tji ( 74570 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @07:53PM (#9588093)
    The picture in the Des Moines register is me! ( http://dmregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/2 0040630/NEWS08/406300350/1001&lead=1 [dmregister.com]

    I was driving out to visit family in Michigan, and stopped at that rest stop & noticed they had free wireless access.

    The funny thing is, it didn't work. I could connect to the access point, but I couldn't get beyond that (traceroutes, pings, and any other access stopped at the AP). The photographer called the the iDot people responsible for it, and the telco guys were heading over to fix it, but I didn't stick around.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You sure look like a dork.
    • If ya weren't using a Mac, I woulda asked if you're available. :p
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sorry about that! I'm the ISpot guy who installed all of those rest areas. Qwest somehow managed to reassign one of the public payphones to our DSL line and they were still fixing it when you were there. It was back up about 10 minutes after you left. I let the reporter use my laptop to upload that picture to the newspaper because his didn't have wireless!

      -Tom
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:10PM (#9588177) Homepage
    I like a multitude of search engines, and I find google to be harder and harder to get reviews out of. I've gotten better but so have the google bombers. (although to be honest this effects most search engines.)

    I have to put a few words in that a sales page won't have (sharpness for lenses saturation for printers etc..) to hunt down the reviews.

    Besides google I've been using Teoma [teoma.com] ,
    yahoo [yahoo.com]
    About.com [about.com] (which sometimes is junky but pretty good for some topics

    and when looking hard voila.com [voila.com] which despite having to select "world" instead of "france" works well..

  • Those results are NOT field day, but the JUNE VHF QSO Party - I really didn't think the results for FD would be up yet, considering it was this weekend
  • Gas Pumps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stultsinator ( 160564 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @08:44PM (#9588384)
    Leave your graduated cylinder at home -- It is illegal to pump gas into a non-approved container. A better idea would be to fit a flow meter on the end of the nozzle while you're filling your car. Then you can not only track discrepancies, but you can find out if the pump "makes up for it" at the 5- or 10-gallon mark.
    • Re:Gas Pumps (Score:3, Informative)

      Leave your graduated cylinder at home -- It is illegal to pump gas into a non-approved container. A better idea would be to fit a flow meter on the end of the nozzle while you're filling your car. Then you can not only track discrepancies, but you can find out if the pump "makes up for it" at the 5- or 10-gallon mark.

      This might work for diesel fuel which has a very low thermal expansion rate, but not for gasoline. Gasoline expands when it gets warm. Don't believe me? Fill your tank to the VERY top -
  • Is there any evidence that CD copy protection = more CD sales?

    Unless using CD copy protection results in more sales of the copy protected disk, there is no reason to use it.
  • by ezraekman ( 650090 ) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:23PM (#9588958) Homepage
    A challenge for /. readers -- go buy some gasoline in graduated containers, and check for yourself [avoid 1,5, and 10 gallon sizes; many states use these for testing purposes and the computers inside the pumps 'catch up' temporarily at these intervals].

    You'd better know what you're doing, or you're wasting your time. According to the article:

    Some people take one of those red, five-gallon containers, fill it up with five gallons of gas and they think that's accurate,'' Pedersen said. "Those portable containers are not calibrated and different weather conditions can change the amount they hold. They are not an accurate measure of five gallons of gas

    I have a feeling that most "graduated containers" that people have are going to have the same issue. Then again, I imagine that the Slashdot community just might be made up of a slightly higher percentage of scientifically-minded individuals. ;-) So, perhaps a few of you might actually have a realistic chance at accuracy. Just bear in mind that the state is going to be using precisely-calibrated instruments, and know how to use them. You'd best do the same, or you'll just look like an idiot.

    • by grnbrg ( 140964 ) <slashdot@@@grnbrg...org> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:05AM (#9589507)
      "Portable red plastic containers are inaccurate!"

      "Filling non-approved containers is illegal!"

      "The computers 'catch up' at 1, 5 and 10 gallons!"

      Well, DUH.

      • Buy a cheap 10 gallon red gas container.
      • Take it to your local filling station, and fill it with six or seven gallons of gas.
      • Note the amount the pump claims.
      • Take your mostly full container home, and measure out the gas in the container with an accurately calibrated container of your choice.

      Now if the pump claims 6.83 gallons, and you only measured 6.27 gallons, you can get excited.

      This isn't rocket science. It's stoichiometry.

      --
      grnbrg

      • Well, DUH.

        • Buy a cheap 10 gallon red gas container.
        • Take it to your local filling station, and fill it with six or seven gallons of gas.
        • Note the amount the pump claims.
        • Take your mostly full container home, and measure out the gas in the container with an accurately calibrated container of your choice.

        Now if the pump claims 6.83 gallons, and you only measured 6.27 gallons, you can get excited.

        You're forgetting about liquid congruity and cohesion. You know how you can never quite get all the wa

  • Gasoline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0SVide0 ( 638407 )
    The only issue here is that the gas station can and will call the police on you for pumping gas into an unlicensed container, and if you happen to get away before they do... they already have your license plate, photo, and likely depending on how you paid your name, address and phone number. Anyone see any 2,3,4,6,7,8, or 9 gallon graduated cylinders lately licensed to hold gasoline?
    • Re:Gasoline (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChrisMaple ( 607946 )
      At home, put 2 gallons of carefully measured gasoline into a legal 5 gallon container. Go to the station and see how much more it takes to fill it up.
  • Gas Mileage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:25AM (#9589579)
    This make sense to me. I have a bad habit of driving around until the red "get gas now" light comes on. I've noticed a difference of plus or minus a gallions in how many gallon I buy when I fill up. Funny thing the mom and pop gass station always takes the least. And Costco takes the most.
    • by pwarf ( 610390 ) <pwarf AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:16AM (#9590431)
      I've no affiliation with Costco, but how many gallons it takes to fill up until the auto-shutoff is triggered is not necessarily a good indication of whether you are being short-changed. There could easily be a gallon difference in shutoff levels between two gas stations. While filling a gas tank higher does add some risk of it expanding (see other comments about gas expanding up to two percent for a reasonable temperature range) and overflowing, most people drive enough soon after filling up to make the spill risk from thermal expansion a nonissue.

      However, mom and pop stores may have determined it was cheaper to give you more gas than it was to try and get the calibration closer and risk fines for dispensing too little. Sort of like bakers giving out 13 instead of a dozen to avoid serious penalties for shortchanging their customers.

      An interesting sidenote, this article has encouraged me to buy gas in the morning while it is cool instead of afternoons and has given me another reason (the dispensed fuel is typically hotter than that in the tanks at the gas station) to not visit a gas station right after it has received more fuel from a tanker truck (the primary reason not to fill up at a station that just received more fuel is that sediment in the tank is stirred up).
  • by nadaou ( 535365 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:11AM (#9589748) Homepage
    Definitional evasion aside, so far CD "copy protection" is mostly about as effective as critics proclaim it to be: ptorrone writes "There has been a lot of talk about the copy protection on the new CD 'Contraband' from Velvet Revolver, but for us we didn't have any problems making MP3s for all our devices despite their efforts to stop us it seems. Here's our story..."


    It doesn't matter that it is a joke. What matters to the record companies is that you have to take pro-active measures to defeat it (holding down the shift button included). That is the trigger for the anti-circumvention clause in the DMCA, and that is what they will be able to go after you for. Defeating the anti-circumvention device is a crime they can send you to jail for, as they can't get you for a free-use copy for your car mp3 player, and non-free-use copyright infringement isn't exactly up there with murder in the eyes of most judges/juries or the law.

    I guess this means if you rip it with GRIP in Linux or with iTunes on the Mac, you're in the clear DMCA wise.....

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