Slashdot highlights

Pretty much the best line on /. lately is this one on the review of a Dell gaming computer is the highlight. "It's like buying a TV at a grocery store. It's like wine in a box. It's like Bourbon made in California.. or Scotch made in Canada. It's like calling Will and Grace smart TV."

A more somber note is the news that they wanna fix the analog hole. You see, I may not be able to copy the fancy new Windows Media sound file and send it to my friends... but I can play it on my stereo, record it onto a tape, play that tape onto the computer and re-make it into an MP3. Plugging the analog hole is considered the "important next step". For as pain-in-the-ass as that seems, people still will do it. Of course, you can't retroactively fix a hole based on old technology...

But somebody in the thread had a relatively neat idea that I had a variation of. You see, I'm sick and tired of these bars scanning my drivers licence and popping up a list of the bars I'd been to, even when the bars were from competing companies. Here's another account of the practise from Half Doubting Thomas (VUE magazine article on the subject is linked in the comments of that post). Anyways, a horribly evil thought I had combined these scans and the revelation a couple years back that trusty JPEGs could be used to propogate a virus. My thinking was relatively simple: scanning something creates a series of 0s and 1s to describe the file. It is theoretically possible to put a nice white sticker on the back of a licence (where the bouncers never notice) so that the act of scanning your ID infects the computer. A nice malicious bit of code would ensure that youre personal data never got kept. Of course, there are way too many problems with it, but it is in the realm of possible. This Eurion Constellation that the /. poster mentions seems a little more universal, though its possible BarNet and their ilk have blocked it out. Hey, if anybody else ever comes up with a better trick I'm welcome to suggestions.

Slashdot also covered the story that some kid with too much time on his hands hacked into an electronic Wal-Mart dancing Santa. It would have been much cooler if, as I first suspected, the Santa was on display for customers and the store was caught by surprise with the hack. Alas, not quite as exciting.

Also interesting is a comment about intellectual property rights in Hungary, where the government has regulated away all these "evil music companies" and the end result is disgustingly totalitarian. And then people wonder why Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush are hugely popular east of France.