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15 February, 2003

The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher

Lots of good stuff here, including a reference to one of my all-time favorite books by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

Our final consideration of Escher's art involves its relationship to the fields of information science and artificial intelligence. This aspect of his work has been largely overlooked in previous studies, but the case for its importance to these fields was forcefully made by Douglas R. Hofstadter in his 1980 Pulitzer Prize winning book, G�del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Absurd EULA

If you think software license agreements have gotten out of hand, you ain't seen nothing yet. Here's an excerpt that appears in a study manual for a standardized Professional Actuarial Examination from BPP Actuarial Education:

"All study material produced by BPP Actuarial Education is copyright and is sold for the exclusive use of the purchaser. You may not hire out, lend, give out, sell, store or transmit electronically or photocopy any part of the study material. You must take care of your study material to ensure that it is not used or copied by anybody else. By opening this pack you agree to these conditions. Returns will not be accepted if this pack is opened."

Keep in mind that this is a book -- a physical object. Is this a futile attempt to wipe out the used book market and eradicate fair use? The most amusing part is that they probably think it's actually enforceable.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Crop Circles: The Best of 2002

Lots of very creative crop circle photos.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Duct Tape Fashion

Duct Tape. It's not just for anti-terrorism. The Duct Tape Fashion site offers duct tape wallets, hats, belts, guitar straps, purses, and a lot more.

The terror alert has put a run on duct tape in some areas. We lowered our price to help meet this urgent demand. The catch is you can't pick the color; we'll send you the most available of the 12 colors we stock. Next Day and 2nd Day shipping available.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Windows XP Passwords Useless?

Brian Livingston points out a simple way to defeat the password feature in Windows XP.

Anyone with a Windows 2000 CD can boot up a Windows XP box and start the Windows 2000 Recovery Console, a troubleshooting program. Windows XP then allows the visitor to operate as Administrator without a password, even if the Administrator account has a strong password. The visitor can also operate in any of the other user accounts that may be present on the XP machine, even if those accounts have passwords. Unbelievably, the visitor can copy files from the hard disk to a floppy disk or other removable media - something even an Administrator is normally prevented from doing when using the Recovery Console.

Even though Windows XP is hyped as "the most secure version ever," the scenario described above is not possible with Windows 2000.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

A EULA Lawsuit

From CNET: Lawsuit challenges software licensing:

A California woman is suing Microsoft, Symantec and some software retailers, claiming the companies "concocted a scheme" to mislead consumers by requiring them to consent to software licensing agreements they haven't read.

Specifically, the suit, which was brought by Cathy Baker, claims that Microsoft, Symantec, CompUSA, Best Buy and other unnamed retailers don't allow people to read "shrink wrap" licenses -- agreements printed inside the box or incorporated into the software itself -- before they buy a product.

And, of course, retailers don't allow you to return software that has been opened. The ultimate Catch 22. It's about time that someone challenged this absurd practice.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

The Makeup Gallery

The MakeUp Gallery is...

...is the best photo-gallery on the Web featuring actresses in character and prosthetic makeups by some of the best makeup artists. There are over 5000 images from more than 600 movies and TV shows. The transformations from actress into character are illustrated with before and after shots and, wherever possible, with behind the scenes shots of the makeup process.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Terror Alert Status Images

Collect all five!

In fact, this site provides code that you can add to your web site to automatically display the current alert status -- perfect for those who are short on duct tape.

Posted on 15 February, 2003

Browser Check-Up

Qualys offers an online test for security vulnerabilities in your browser.

Posted on 15 February, 2003