CTE Development: Project Minucaus

don't be surprised if this comes back to life soon
i see a need for it


The morning's commute

I almost forgot about it. I think it's definetely by far my worst commute ever. So much so that I got home and died on my bed. I was out for a few hours I think. Thank God my mother took pity on me and drove me and Sean the Pager express from school, stopping at White Castle. Most of my major issues so far were Bee Line's fault, but not this time. I'll be recounting it soon, along with the tree issue. Scan of late slip and pictures of dismantled tree to come soon.

What's wrong with Microsoft?

Wow another essay by the same guy. This one I pretty much almost entirely agreed with. I suppose it's a problem with most people, but since my grandmother is the only person who I've coached into the "computer box" world, I've only noticed it with her. (By the way, I pushed to put Linux on her computer, again with my logic: She's never touched a PC in her life, why not just install a very user-friendly distro (not necessarily Windows-user-friendly) and have her learn that just like everyone learns how to use Windows.) The one thing I'd add to this essay is that running as non-root is a much better experience on any good Unix box compared with Windows, where loads of software needs Admin priveledges (either because it's poorly designed, or made prior to Windows XP, or maybe because windows makes unpriveledged accounts unnecessarily crippled, or maybe the way windows works means that certian adminny things are more esssential), where similar (even sometimes virtually identical) needs a humble Unix user account. In some extreme cases, similar software can run as nobody. Also, good modern Unix daemons do a great job of just using root when necessary and then dropping root priveledges and chrooting for the majority of their execution. (thereby making flaws in the majority of code mostly harmless).
Anyway, good read for everyone. Helped me realize a big problem, which I had not yet seperated from the "I hate Windows" issue.

Linux is Not Windows

Very good article. I suggest that everybody read it, even if you're a guy like me. I disagree with the guy on some points: I think "Linux" might eventually replace Windows on every desktop; I think a big problem is just retraining; some GUIs (not those I would use, but are more Windows-user-friendly) do hide everything and make it like Windows. I think it's possible to almost completely imitate Windows, even the API (WINE), and therefore all of the apps. I think there is a huge space between I want an OS that puts all the power in the hands of the user and expects him to know how to use it and I want Windows without the problems. Now he sort of fills it with I want a replacement for Windows without the problems Mac OS X, which has all of the Unix stuff under-the-hood, but a fantastic GUI. A Windows user still needs to relearn some stuff though. Anyway though, still a good read. Those who know enough about this stuff, like me, can obviously make their own opinions on some of the stuff discussed, and those that don't can still read it, careful to not accept it all as gospel, just because it is unfamiliar. Anyway, good read for everyone, I especially like the windows:linux::car:motorcycle analogy, but windows:mac::car:motorcycle is closer i think. One could argue that each of these is as "user-friendly" as the other, but switching requires a transition. The Windows-to-Linux transition presents two issues: relearning (unless someone makes identical GUI), and getting deeper into the OS (unless you use one of those user-friendly OS's). Much OS-switching (unless we're talking about among Unicies) also requires using different apps, which may be much better on one platform than another, regardless of how good the platform itself is. I don't see how vehicles does this. Like I said, read it. It's long, but worth it.


It's worse than I thought!

Basically, to sum up the above (assuming the bit about needing more bandwidth is true), they want to charge people that they aren't accountable to (if a content provider doesn't pay up, and this idea catches on, they are screwed) and can therefore charge insane rates, rather than charge their customers more (if I decide my ISP's rates are too high, i just switch). So rather than competition among ISPs for customers (the way it should be), it's every "content provider" paying every ISP that wants any amount of money. Sure one might charge more than another, but that's not competition, since you may need to pay all of them to keep your buisness.

For you and me, it's a question of which is easier to switch: your ISP, or "content provider"s. For me it would definetely by ISP; if mine pulls this crap, i'll just drop them. So I guess if "content providers" stick up for their rights, the ISP's customers will drop those ISPs, since their friend down the block can use iTunes with another ISP that costs the same. On the other hand, maybe the FCC will do something right for a change and stop this bullcrap before it starts. I suppose that goes against my general favoring of small government, but since they are there, might as well do something useful.

OK first off, they are really evil with donations: Free Wi-fi Prompts BellSouth to Withdraw Donation (well, many telcos have been fighting municipal wifi)

and here's a link to a slashdot version of my last post: BellSouth Will Charge Providers For Performance

by the way, their delivery analogy sucks, since in physical delivery, it's usually just that one company (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc) delivering it door-to-door, for everything domestic, and some international. As I pointed out, the Internet is nothing like that.

I think I'm gonna ask my dad about this stuff. I'll also make sure my ISP isn't engaging in this crap. Hopefully Verizon isn't, since hopefully I'm getting FttP/FiOS here soon anyway.

Now back to my reason for this post, which I only touched on with the donation thing: there is a real evil to all of this. This isn't an ISP issue, but a telephone company misusing it's power as an ISP (please not verizon). Back before the 1984 AT&T breakup, one company controlled just about all telecommunications in this country. Unless you were calling local within GTE territory, AT&T got a cut of your phone call. I'm pretty sure they got pretty involved with running lines for Intarweb type stuff around the country....

Oh man, I got to go (chainsaw action!), but here's the other 2 links: BellSouth Wants to Rig the Internet and Telcos Propose 2-Tier Internet

Internet Daily: BellSouth wants new Net fees - Internet Software - Retail - Internet Services - Mobile phones - Travel - Media - Entertainment and Lei

This is completely and utterly retarded. I, the ISP customer, am already paying my ISP to connect me with these "content providers." It is insane for them to try and get money on both hands. Besides, the Internet is much more complex than just "the telco [or whomever] runs a line from my house to Apple." I am paying Optimum Online to connect me with backbones or points of presence, AND give me the few megabits per second of bandwidth or whatever. These other people (Apple, Yahoo) usually either are hosted practically right on top of these places (neteorkally speaking-The bigger ones usually own their own connection (or lease a dedicated one) to these places) or the even bigger ones might own on.) For people like me, or even those who colocate in a few rackmounts, this is even more insane, since we don't usually even know who we are connected to.

On the shared web hosting side (me, and most other websites that don't need a ton of CPU or other resources), we certianly don't have a clue, we just know our hosting company is giving me x GB of bandwith per month. Same goes for those who lease a dedicated server (by now we've definetely covered most web sites), except they know a bit about stuf like, this is my IP, and they also might control their NIC. But just like me, they expect their host takes care of supplying the agreed-upon monthly bandwith as well as speed (per second amount) . Wehen we get into simple colocation, which many of the smaller web hosts hosts buy from data centers, they still usually don't know. Often, they will run their own internal network (there'll be a swittch (perhaps also a router) inside their rackmount for communication among all of their hardware and "the internet", which again, they just tusually tell the data center they want x static IP's andd a x MB/s connection and negotiate on monthly bandwitth similarly. (They also buy the secure physical space, the cooling, the UPSed and generator-backed-up electricity, and their hardware also often gets insured against fire, theft, etc.) Just like everyone else, thy probably aren't too consirned with what backbone everything is going to and cetianly not what ISPs those are ultimately leading to. There are the leet hosts and large websites who colocate but manage their own connections. Here's where they begin to have a clue. They get space from the data center, usually generator backuped (maybe also uninterupted, but many have their own UPS's as well), but the connections to backbones and so forth (perhaosps a POP in the same data center they get seperately. (this generally means paying the backbone some money, to connect them with everybody else on the backbone, most notably the ISPs; this is my biggest reason why it's retarded. these things ought to be p2p, no money flowing from just one direction to the other) They have their own routers to route trafic among their own small network and the Internet backbones. These routers are designed to route traffic effectively, perhaps with some awareness of the ISP.

ISPs are practically peers with websites llike these, since they do practically the same thing, except rather then the computers they are connecting with the internet are not their own in a data ceneter, but they must provide a means of branshing out the network to individual ho,mes (this is probably actually the most expensive art of the buisness, which is why the homeowners pay the ISP bill, and not every web site. some of your fees though, do go to paying the ISPs bills at the backbones and so forth).

BAnyway, I see what they are trying to do. They are pretty much actiing ike it's: Consumer <- Intarweb (Bell South; isn't it ironic that my poking fun at AOL was for the reason that they tried to do this and leave out the next part) -> Web sites. In that case it would make sense. If bell south was "the intarweb", then of course, both sides should pay...perhaps equally!

However, this is not the case. As I explained above, it's more like

ME <- Optimum Online <-their backbone(s) <-THE INTERNET EXISTS AT ITS FULLEST HERE; BACKBONES JUST TRAVEL ALL AROUND THE WORL AND CONNECT AT VERIOUS PLACES (ROUTERS) -> backbones and lines to server data centers -> networks of hosting companies -> "web sites". Now of course, huge companies like Google make their way al the way to the center of the diagram, since they have their own data centers, fast links between them, and therefore practically constitute it's own backbone.

So I'm not really sure how all of the backbones in the middle cooperate, but it's mostly to keep their customers happy. If I was an ISP and was picking a backbone to start off with, I'd pick one that had good connectivity with other backbones in different places in the country, and of course a point of presence geographically near (preferably at) my central offices (where the cable/fiber/DSL/satellite/modems) are (which in turn, are very near near my customers; for isntance, DSL customers must be within 3 miles of a DSLAM, pronounced "Dee Slam", but meaning something like DSL something something). So I suppose that's how that works.

Anyway, so working from both sides, we have zillions of people that wanna connect with other people. Then we have companies that ficilitate this (data centers and places of DSL, etc termination). Now in Bell South's view of the world, this is it. But it's not. Backbones establish physical lines all over the world, and points of presence where their customers can connect to (either in the same data center or by leasing a T3 or OC3 or something line from a telco to there). Major web hosts (and really major web sites), and often ISPs, will connect to multiple of these backbones. Backbones agree to connect with each-other for their own good, which is the good of their customers, who want to connect to the customers of other backbones. So it's really the common good. I'm not positive on this, but generally speaking they don't pay each other a cent. Each side benefits equally from these "exchanges," since customers of both are paying for it. Be careful not to liken this to a web site or ISP connecting to a backbone. They are paying the backbone, because they run the whole redundant infrastrucure, and i think really expensive is the lines themselves (think about Europe to US lines).

So now, why is bell south retarded? Because by their logic, web hosts should charge people that use the web sites they host to use them, since "You're using our network and servers." Earth to idiots: YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE ALREADY PAYING YOU TO LET THEM USE THEM!!!! For ISPs: YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE PAYING YOU SO THEY CAN USE THE SERVICES PROVEIDED BY THE LIKES OF YAHOO AND APPLE. THAT'S WHY IN YOUR ADS, YOU SPEAK OF DOWNLOADING MUSIC FAST AND SO FORTH. If this happens, and it catches on, then Apple et al. will be paying every single freaking ISP. That's insane. The point of leasing bandwith on a backbone is that you get to connect with everone else (including those on other backbones) for one charge.

I say we boycott these guys, and hope it doesn't catch on. I'm not really sure how bell South is going to enforce this. I mean, if they just cut off "content providers" that don't pay, they will lose even the customer (think Joe iTunes user) who has no clue what I just said or why these are unjust. I have even less an idea about p2p filesharing proticols. Or will they artificially slow down traffic to/from IPs that haven't paid the bribe? Again, if Bell South was the intarweb, this wouldn't need to be artificial. They could just lower the physical capacity of the line to Apple. But that isn't the case. A packet from Apple to Bell South passes through backbone(s) and by the time it it's Bell South's most outer router, it has a distinct IP, but the way it came doesn't indicate who it is. Therefore, why should they pay?

This is just a way for them to make another buck. Their customers want more, and therefore they need to pay the backbones, so rather than ask their customers for higher rates (and therefore be less competitive with other ISPs), they go to someone they don't have to answer to and get it from them.


Draft 1 of GNU GPL Version 3

I just found out about it by subscribing to the mailing list a while ago. (It's very low volume; this is the first thing they sent me after confirmation a few months ago. I almost forgot I was subscribed! Recommended!) The preamble follows:

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your
freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public
License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free
software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. We,
the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for
most of our software; it applies also to any other program whose
authors commit to using it. (Some Free Software Foundation software
is covered by the GNU Lesser General Public License instead.) You
can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it
if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it
in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to make requirements that forbid
anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights.
These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you
distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that
you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the
source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their

Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps: (1)
assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License which
gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.

For the developers' and author's protection, the GPL clearly explains
that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is
modified by someone else and passed on, the GPL ensures that recipients
are told that what they have is not the original, so that any problems
introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors'

Some countries have adopted laws prohibiting software that enables users
to escape from Digital Restrictions Management. DRM is fundamentally
incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, which is to protect users'
freedom; therefore, the GPL ensures that the software it covers will
neither be subject to, nor subject other works to, digital restrictions
from which escape is forbidden.

Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. We
wish to avoid the special danger that redistributors of a free program will
individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program
proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL makes it clear that any patent must
be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and
modification follow.

Source: GPLv3 Draft — GPLv3

Compare that with version 2's preamble, from 15 years ago....

I haven't had the time to yet, so I really can't form an opinion. What I've heard is that public websites use modded GPLv3 might have to release it, and that it's anti-DRM and anti-software-patent.

The thing we all must remember is that the vast majority of GPLed code is under "version 2 or later" meaning that people have an option with existing code. But some maintainers may switch to v3, and some new projects may use v3. I think a significant amount of software will be "version 3 or later" within a year after the GPL's release. I also think that it's very possible that these projects will fork as a result, if v3 is as restrictive as I've heard.

Anyway, I will compare the two preambles (and parts of the rest if I'm not clear on something), and perhaps post some comments over there.

PS: I'll post pictures of each stage of the "Evergreen on Civic" issue when it's all over. For those following the happenings thru other channels, the latest event is that my dad bought a chainsaw.


Cheat Sheet for Physics

Pretty self-explanitory. It needs to be hand-written, but you could just write this out in pen. There is also a PDF available.
Seriously though, most of you probably have already made it. This is just so you can make sure you didn't forget anything. I suggest that you just look at each formula on mine and make sure yours has it.
Hope this helps some people!