Backup Expires

I bought a Western Digital My Book from Costco a while ago. We originally bought the 500 GB version, but before opening it, I returned it and upgraded to the 1TB version.

Today I finally got around to unboxing it. The packaging was very easy to open and everything inside was neat and tidy. I plugged in the drive, and when it powered up, it asked if I wanted to install the software. I said yes, after unchecking the crapware that it would have installed by default.

The backup software installed without a hitch.

The first hitch occurred when I ran the backup software. It was trial ware, and I could buy it now, or try it out for 30 days. Uh, 30 days? That seems like an odd trial period for back up software. I plan to backup once a month. That means I get to try their software once, maybe twice, before it expires.

I’ve been looking at open source versions of backup software, so I think I will try them out next time.

Alert Providers

I read today about how there was a lockdown on the UBC campus recently. The CBC article I read mentioned that UBC is building a text message alert system for students (and faculty I presume).

So far only 40% of the students have signed up so far.

My thought was why is UBC building this system? Their system can only contact the phones they know of. If that person is away on vacation, and the system is activated, they will get a message. Also, how fast can UBC’s system pump out the text messages?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to get the cell phone providers to do this? They could blanket a specific area and get every phone in that target area. I bet they even have a broadcast functionality already built in too. To me this would seem way more effective and useful. Telus, Rogers, and Bell. Easy, peasy.

via CBC Website

Package Sticks

The package that caused me concern when it ended up in Mississauga while on its way to Victoria from Richmond? Well, as I mentioned in a previous post it was RAM for the computer at home. I installed those sticks today bumping the system from 512MB to 2GB.

Nice and easy upgrade that is treating me right. Editing pictures now takes less time, Firefox runs better, and RSS Bandit is happier too. Now to install PaintShop Pro X2!

Fight Canadian Copyright Reform

Below is a letter sent using the Online Rights Canada webpage regarding potential changes to copyright law that might introduce the Canadian version of the DMCA. I don’t normally get that involved in politics, but when I hear about changes such as this, I get riled up. Imagine not being able to legally rip your music CD’s for use in your iPod? Imagine not being able to use your VCR to record TV shows? Imagine it being illegal to make fun of an ad or a song by using part of it in your parody?Imagine this happens because some company (US based or otherwise) buries some wording in a multipage EULA?

From BoingBoing regarding the Canadian DMCA:

It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses.

Currently there exists in Canada a levy on all blank media (including iPods), that is supposed to help reimburse artists whose music is not purchased legally. Everyone pays this levy regardless of how they obtain their music. Why does the law need to change?

I’ve read some theories that feel these changes will pave the way for the RIAA to start suing Canadian consumers who have downloaded music. Nothing like gnawing off the hand that feeds you.

I sincerely hope that the politicians seriously consider what this will lead to. There have been two other politicians who lost their jobs because they tried to introduce such legislation.

Here is the letter that was sent.


December 8, 2007

The Honourable Keith Martin
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Sir,

I am a constituent who cares about Canada’s cultural policy, and I am
writing in regard to legislative proposals for “copyright reform.”
During the last Parliament, Bill C-60 provided some very sensible
approaches to this complicated topic, but it also left room for
improvement. As you consider the issue of copyright reform, I hope
that you will work to ensure that any new legislation is not a
regression from the sensible policies set out in Bill C-60.

In particular, I do not believe that “digital rights management”
(DRM) technologies should stop the public from making lawful uses of
their legitimately acquired media. Publishers using DRM push aside
the delicate balance between copyright and the rights of the public –
a balance set according to an assessment of the public interest by
legislators – and replace it with one-sided rules that reflect
publishers’ private interests. Even artists disagree with publishers’
anti-consumer use of DRM, as evidenced by the recently formed Canadian
Music Creators Coalition. Therefore, as in Bill C-60, new copyright
reform legislation should not make it illegal to circumvent DRM for
lawful purposes.

I am also concerned that the use of DRM can threaten computer
security and consumer privacy, as in the recent Sony-BMG “Rootkit”
fiasco. When content companies routinely use technological measures
to control how people enjoy entertainment in the privacy of their own
homes, I think we need protection *from* DRM more than we need
protection *for* it.

These concerns are shared by a substantial and growing number of
informed Canadian citizens. I hope that you will take them into
account when considering any changes to Canadian copyright law.
Thank you very much for your time.\r\n

Sincerely,

Greg Fox

Christmas Scam

I imagine the iPhone is going to be a big deal this Christmas. So far, I haven’t heard of any carriers in Canada, and I read a few tech blogs.

In the last couple days I have seen some ads for getting an iPhone in Canada. I went to the website,and did a little reading. Hah, someone has set up a company that is importing iPhones, that must have been hacked. No fully carrier supported phone provider would have a quote

“We’ll ship you and iPhone that’s ready to go and is LEGAL to be used in Canada. Lean more”

(no that is not a typo).

The site looks pretty lame by Apple standards with a few typos and inconsistencies. There are no big logos for any of the carriers, and they mention these phones will work on any GSM network. It smacks of a scam to me. It may be on the up and up, but this really seems odd.