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Best Of 2008
Best of the Web 2008
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Is More Memory Better? - a article

A very interesting article on on using more and more memory on one's system.


Annals of Self-Experiment - Seth Roberts is His Own Mouse

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This is a story from a site called Quantified Self (Tools for Knowing your Own Mind and Body):

I'm becoming a devoted fan of Seth Roberts, one of the great champion of self-experimentation. Roberts, an emeritus professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, has spent many year studying himself, and, even better, offering many practical clues about how to construct your own "experiments of one." I first found out about his work in the most obvious way: searching on "self-experimentation" in Google.

mouse.jpgThis lead me to Roberts paper: "Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight." The problems he describes are so common, and his solutions so counter-intuitive, that you can't help being intrigued. One of the great things about reading Roberts is getting a feeling for how different self-experimentation is from other forms of self-knowledge. While Roberts often begins his experiments with a hypothesis, using his stock of common knowledge, suggestions from friends, and categories of analysis typical of a well-trained college professor, this first idea is usually proven, through experiment, to be wrong. Not superficial, or too narrow, or distorted by delusion or prejudice; simply incorrect, provably irrelevant. So then Roberts has to come up with new ideas. The data, expressed as charts, no longer merely test his hypotheses; the data becomes the source of his theories. And the theories bear the mark have having emerged from data. Often, they seem very, very odd.

Direct link to Seth Roberts' PDF:

I *love* this stuff.  More please.

Inside Story of A Notorious Satelite Dish Card Counter-Hack

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Very cool story.

Tarnovsky began his pirating career in the '90s while serving in the U.S. Army. He had a top-secret SCI security clearance working on cryptographic computers in Belgium for NATO headquarters, and spent a year at Ft. Detrick in Maryland providing support to the National Security Agency for satellite transmissions to Europe.

In 1996, he was stationed in Germany when his colonel sold him a used satellite-TV system, along with two pirated access cards, neither of which worked. Tarnovsky began posting on online pirate forums, and developed contacts in the community, ultimately learning how to fix the cards to access English-language programs from Sky in the United Kingdom.


While living in Europe he'd once seen a news report showing an engineer at a French satellite company writing countermeasures, sitting in a lab with smart cards piled around him on his desk.

"I always thought it would be so cool to be that guy," Tarnovsky says. "Finally I got the chance."

Tarnovsky had two roles at NDS -- to find holes in its software and work undercover with pirates to discover what they were doing against NDS technology.

To conceal his relationship with NDS from pirates, few people at the company knew his identity. He used the name "Michael George" and for the first four years was paid through other companies, including, for about five months, HarperCollins, the Murdoch-owned book publisher.

"It was very hush-hush, because we didn't know who could be an inside informant," he says.

Part of his job was developing ECMs for NDS. He'd examine pirate NDS cards to determine how they worked, then send instructions to engineers in Israel to create a kill for them.

"I didn’t actually load the gun and pull the trigger but I got to make the bullet," Tarnovsky says.

Among the countermeasures he says he created was one known among pirates as the "Black Sunday" kill -- an elaborate scheme that destroyed tens of thousands of pirate DirecTV cards a week before Super Bowl Sunday in 2001.

Instead of being delivered all at once like other measures, the Black Sunday attack code was sent to pirate cards in about five dozen parts over the course of two months, like a tank transported piece by piece to a battlefield to be assembled in the field. "They never expected us to do this," Tarnovsky says.

If you get angry about frivolous lawsuits by big company bullies you'll love..

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"Monster Cable Threatens Blue Jeans Cable, Gets Ass Handed Back"

Read the very long and technical and beautiful letter written by Kurt Denke's who runs a small cable company to the Monster Cable company which tries to threaten them with a lawsuit..

..My observation has been that Monster Cable typically operates in a hit-and-run fashion. Your client threatens litigation, expecting the victim to panic and plead for mercy; and what follows is a quickie negotiation session that ends with payment and a licensing agreement... I do not compromise with bullies and I would rather spend fifty thousand dollars on defense than give you a dollar of unmerited settlement funds...
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985, I spent nineteen years in litigation practice, with a focus upon federal litigation involving large damages and complex issues. My first seven years were spent primarily on the defense side, where I developed an intense frustration with insurance carriers who would settle meritless claims for nuisance value when the better long-term view would have been to fight against vexatious litigation as a matter of principle...Not only am I unintimidated by litigation; I sometimes rather miss it..."


This filled my heart with joy.

Follow-up Articles Explaining the Debacle of Corrupt Game Reviews

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A few months ago we posted about a gamespot review writer who was rumoured to have quit after being pressured to retract a negative review.

Looks like the true story confirms those initial reports and a few articles now expose the ugly truth behind the whole corrupt enterprise.. Here's a little snippet:

As a marketer, if you recognized you needed more traffic to your product, you could buy it. You could even buy a top placement for your title on the GameSpot homepage, pretty much assuring clicks to coverage on your title, regardless of whether there was organic interest or not. And we're not talking about just banner advertisements here -- we're talking about buying one of the top stories on the front of the site. is funded by donations from readers like you. If you find this site useful, please consider becoming a supporting member by making a small one-time donation, in the amount of your choice.

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