Monthly Archives March 2005

Fedora Core 3: Mystery Solved

You may recall the problems I had downloading the Fedora Core 3 ISO image a while back. Well, I did finally get a good copy downloaded and installed. I did a bit of analysis on the downloaded images, and determined that there had been a couple of four-byte changes. This was something of a mystery, but nothing notable. I was mentioning this to Rohan just now, and he twigged on the “four bytes” part of this. In particular, he wanted to know what the bytes had been changed from and to. In the non-corrupt image, there is a byte pattern
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Categories: Rants and Rambling.

Plants Create Genetic Backups?

Recent findings suggest that certain plants might have the ability to revert to gene sequences present in their grandparents’ DNA. One theory is that these reversions are activated if the genes passed to a plant by their parents cause them stress. It’s not clear where the backup copies of genetic information are being stored yet. If these findings withstand scrutiny, and if such mechanisms also exist in animals, the implications for genetic engineering are staggering.
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Categories: Health and Science.

Texas v. Vonage

Following an incident in Houston in which a Vonage subscriber was unable to reach 911 in an emergency, the Texas Attorney General has filed suit against Vonage. The suit seeks suitable notice to subscribers about the (rather crippling) deficiencies in Vonage’s 911 service. There are a few problems with the way that Vonage currently handles 911, and I’ve been warning people about them for a couple of years. The first is that, by default, dialing 911 simply plays a recording saying “you don’t have 911.” You have to activate 911 service before you can use it, and apparently Vonage doesn’t
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Categories: VoIP.

Enova Oil

Arthur Daniel Midlands has recently launched a new cooking oil in the U.S. that they’re marketing under the name “Enova.” The marketing claim is that “less Enova is stored as fat in your body than other cooking oils.” What is this stuff? Structure and Process According to their literature, the key difference between Enova and “conventional” cooking oils is that most plant oils are composed of triglycerides, while Enova is predominantly diglycerides — in particular, diglycerides of a very specific shape. My organic chemistry knowledge is very rusty, but the general idea is that the fats that we ingest are
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Categories: Food and Health.

QoS Considered Harmful

Cringlely has an interesting take on QoS. What happens when the ISP tags the traffic for its own services to have a higher class of service than that of all those third party services? I’ve heard lots of arguments that best effort is good enough for VoIP if you have sufficient bandwidth. But that will fall apart pretty quickly if it has to compete with lots of higher priority traffic. This could be the big ISP’s best shot ever at breaking that annoying end-to-end internet. Now, Cringely did not present any evidence the ISP’s were actually doing this–but I keep
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Categories: VoIP.

Spam Getting Bizarre: “We have learned from the Internet that you are interested in tents”

I don’t think any comment is necessary, but this is certainly… um… unlike any other spam I’ve ever received. To Whom It May Concern, We have learned from the Internet that you are interested in tents. We have been in the tent manufacturing business for many years and are currently in the process of expanding and our customer base. We are quite excited about contacting you and the potential for establishing friendly business relations with you as well as sharing the mutual benefits. We specialize in high quality, high performance tents offered to our cutomers at competitive prices. We are
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Categories: Silly Stuff.

Random Trademark Fact: “Push to Talk” now free

I have, until now, been under the impression that the term “Push to Talk” is a trademark of either Motorola or of Nextel, and that using it in a more general sense was generally asking for trouble. Then, today, I spotted a Verizon ad advertizing their “Push to Talk phone.” The capitalization is theirs, which gives it almost a trademarked feel. However, there isn’t any indication of trademark ownership anywhere in the ad (aside from the places you’d expect it — next to the Verizon logo, for example). So, I checked with the USPTO (which doesn’t let you bookmark into
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Categories: VoIP.

Followup: The Guilty Party

So, it turns out the ISP — or at least one of them — who had started blocking port 5060 so as to disrupt VoIP services is a little company called “Madison River Communications.” The problem appears to be cleared up now. And the fine is big enough that it would definitely deter… umm… most people who had to pay it out of their own pocket?
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Categories: VoIP.