619 - Shake your boot.ini
Friday, December 7, 2007

Shake your boot.iniEdit

Hey, man, watch where you're putting that boot.ini! If you find yourself typing it, and you're also not familiar with backslash vs. forward slash, well, then, you shouldn't be writing graphics patches for EVE online. In other news, a politician defends a poorly written law (again), the race to the moon is on, and now you can learn how to use Facebook with a "bookazine." Thank goodness?

Stories CoveredEdit

Private company first to take on Lunar X Challenge
Odyssey Moon is the first to register for the Lunar X Challenge, a competition sponsered by Google. Carnegie Mellon is also expected to register. The top prize is $20 million, second prize is $5 million, and there are an additional $5 million in prizes for things like roving distance and surviving a lunar night.

Some airlines to offer in-flight Internet service
JetBlue Airways will be the first to offer e-mail and instant messaging on an airplane. These limited services will be free as the system is still working out some kinks. American Airlines, Virgin America, and Alaska Airlines should be offering greater internet service soon, for $10 a flight. Virgin America hopes to integrate its internet capabilities with its seat-back entertainment.

Wi-Fi 'illegal images' politician defends legislation
The SAFE Act (Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act) provides up to a $300,000 fine for anyone who provides internet access and fails to report any illegal images they may have observed. The wording of this act is such that it may refer to home wi-fi connections. Declan McCullagh suggests that the problem stems from the fact that this bill was written in a hurry and rushed to the floor, avoiding the usual “back-and-forth process” of law crafting.

SAFE Act won’t turn mom-and-pop shops into Wi-Fi cops
The SAFE Act, despite its unfortunately dated wording defining ISP’s, explicitly states that internet providers do not need to monitor people or content. The law would increase the penalties for those who learn about child pornography and don’t report it.

Hackers launch major attack on U.S. military labs
Hackers used phishing emails to gain access to a visitor database that included dates of birth and social security numbers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Los Alamos National Laboratory also appears to have been targeted, but there is little information about the details of that attack. Los Alamos has a history of security problems, including the release of nuclear research information through email and the existence of a USB stick with nuclear weapons test information on it.,140390-c,hackers/article.html

EVE-Online patch makes XP unbootable (Thanks, Nicole!)
The newest EVE-Online patch, meant to improve graphics quality, is instead making it impossible for your computer to boot. Due to a typo (extra backslash) and an unfortunate file name (boot.ini), the patch overwrites the c:\boot.ini in Windows XP. Clients who install this patch while running Windows XP are unable boot their computers until they have replaced the boot.ini file required by the operating system.

Wikipedia black helicopters circle Utah's Traverse Mountain
A man finds out he is banned from editing Wikipedia because he lives in the wrong neighborhood. One of his neighbors was banned from Wikipedia because he accused the site’s administrators of giving four articles a biased slant.

Dennis taps into Facebook craze (Thanks, Nicole Lee!)
Dennis Publishing will publish a Facebook guide book. The “bookazine” will be available for £5.99, and if sales are good enough it will be followed by a sequel.

Balancing robot can take a kicking
A human-sized robot that can regain its balance after being shoved and kicked was built by researchers in Japan. The robot is able to keep its balance because of joints that sense position and movement and yield when pushed.

Toyota unveils violin-playing robot
Toyota’s violin-playing robot will pave the way for dexterous robots that can use tools and help around the house.

From The PhonesEdit

  • Jason from Cincy Ring DRM.
  • Jay from Philly Law aside, maybe DriftNet could help.
  • Pete from New York Good explanation about the MPAA.


Molly and her iTunes update
Is Molly on some sort of special build from Apple list? She complains about getting iTunes updates all the time, and each time she Tweets about it, I check for an update only to find nothing. If she's getting special builds, I'd like to get in on it.


No Vista-only graphic cards
Hey guys, I've been building my own machines for years. There is absolutely no consumer-level graphics card on the market that is Vista only. Why would the hardware makers shoot themselves in the foot like that? If the gentleman wants to say what brand and model of computer he has, I can personally tell him where to get the WinXP drivers for his graphics card.

Charles in SF

Vista drivers
I was just listening to Buzzcast 618 where you guys were discussing "graphics cards being too new to support XP" The caller speaks the truth. I just went shopping for a laptop a month ago and went into it as I normally do. "it doesn?t matter what OS is factory installed because I'm just going to blow it up and install XP Pro anyway." Yeah...not so much. You will find that most of the laptops that come preinstalled with Vista will not list XP drivers on the laptop manufacturers support pages. However, you can "usually" download NT compatible drivers directly from the hardware manufacturers site (i.e. ATI, Intel, etc.). Huge pain in the hiney, but it can be done. Love the show.

Currey Fabiano

New graphics cards
Tom, Molly,

Just wanted to tell you that there are many graphics cards that do not allow you to downgrade to XP from Vista, as they are intended for Vista. One, for example, is the Nvidia Geforce 8700M, which is my own laptop, and I think that also includes the entire 8M series of Nvidia's cards. I do not know about ATI, but I assume their newer cards are similar. I have not, however heard of this problem with any desktop graphics cards.

Chris Illinois

XP incompatible graphics cards

As a comment to yesterdays show I would like to mention that I found several reports (forum postings) from notebook users saying that their ATI graphics card is not supported in Windows XP.

The reasons:
1. Notebook graphics chipsets are different from desktop ones in both GPU/RAM frequency management and cooling methods (the temperature at which the active cooling starts is significantly lower than on desktop card, preventing notebooks from melting/overheating).

2. Notebook graphics are not supported in the official drivers (this is the case at both Nvidia and ATI/AMD) and if the notebook's manufacturer releases only XP or only Vista drivers, the other OS will not be supported. The users I mentioned above all had ATI/AMD HD2400/2600 class graphic cards in their systems, and they experienced random restarts and crashes (sometimes BSODs) when reverting to XP. I do not have details about Nvidia.

3. Some MS drivers do work with unsupported cards, but there is no control over the power management features of the card, so there will be a serious penalty on battery lifetime, as the GPU/RAM will not have reduced frequency during battery mode operation.

Note: DirectX support has nothing to do with this issue, as all grapchics chipsets are backward compatible with 9.0(c).

One is glad to be at service.


Copying video DVDs without violating DMCA
Tom, Molly, and Jason,

Copy protection vs. Copyright Protection

What's on a DVD to protect the content is not called 'copyright protection.' It's called 'copy protection'. 'Copy protection' is a technological measure that protects the disk from making a copy of the disk and/or the files contained on the disk. 'Copyright protection' is the law that protects intellectual property from unauthorized copies. Thus, copy protection is a technological measure and copyright protection is a federal law that protects intellectual property through the courts. Seeing as BOL reports on Jammie Thomas and the RIAA rather frequently, I'd have thought you could have figured this one out.

Copying video DVDs does not always violate the DMCA

It is a complete misnomer that you have to violate the DMCA reverse engineering provisions in order to copy a video DVD. Let me explain. There are two ways to copy a DVD:

Attempting to copy the individual files off of the disk to another media source (i.e., your hard drive). This is a file-level copy.

Making a byte-for-byte copy of the data from the DVD to a file (also on your hard drive). This is a full disk copy.

Let me explain why #1 violates the DMCA vs why #2 doesn't.

Item 1 violates the DMCA because the software has to decrypt the files in order to copy them and still allow the files to be usable. By decrypting the files without officially licensed software, you are circumventing or reverse engineering the cipher in order to get to the unencrypted data. This act violates the DMCA's reverse engineering clause.

Item 2 does NOT violate the DMCA. A byte-for-byte (byte-level) copy of a disk is simply a raw copy of all of the bytes from the beginning of the disk to end. This type of copy does not require any decryption to make the copy. These are typically called .ISO files. No decryption, no reverse engineering, thus, no DMCA violation.

So, you can make full copies of Video DVDs for backup purposes without violating the reverse engineering portions of the DMCA by making a byte- for-byte copy. One tool that can be used to make a byte-for-byte copy is 'dd' on Linux. Winimage and Nero, I believe, are also capable of making byte-for-byte raw copies.

OK, so where's the caveat? It's right here. Many DVD producers intentionally introduce bad sectors (hard errors) onto the DVD as an additional 'copy protection' mechanism to prevent byte-level copies. The DVD Video portions describe where exactly to look on the disk for the next bit of data. So, playback of the DVD will never hit these hard errors because the playback avoids them. However, when you make a byte- level copy, the tool and drive will scan and attempt to read every sector (including the hard error sectors). These hard errors will cause some DVD drives to barf and, thus, the tool attempting to read the data will also barf. So, it can be next to impossible to copy come disks at the byte level with some DVD drives. Circumventing hard error protection also does not violate the reverse engineering portions of the DMCA as it also does not require removal of any encryption protection schemes. It just requires avoiding hard errors on the media itself, which are likely easily found with a scanning tool. Sony is one media company that intentionally introduces hard error sectors onto its DVD media to prevent byte-level copies.

The final issue in byte-level copies is that it will be the full size of the media. If the disk is dual layer and consumes 17GB of data, it will consume 17GB of data on your hard drive as a byte-level ISO copy. So, it definitely eats a lot of space. This also means that to reburn the disk, you'd have to have media sized to accommodate this .ISO image. The good thing about a byte-level copy, though, is that it's an exact image of the DVD. Nero also allows you to mount an ISO file as though it were a real disk and, thus, would allow you to play this media back as though it were a real DVD with licensed DVD playback software.

So, there you go, you can make byte-level copies of DVDs without violating the DMCA reverse engineering provisions.

Brian W.

Who voted against the restrictions on free hotspot operators?
In Episode 618, you guys mentioned the 409-2 vote in favor of the new law imposing additional restrictions on free Wi-Fi operators. Who, you asked, would--in an election year--vote against something that was billed as "protecting the children?" Well, it looks like it was Reps. Broun from Georgia, and (surprise!) Internet darling Ron Paul himself.

This isn't a political endorsement or anything; I'm not one for politics, and I know you guys don't like to get into that stuff on the air anyways. Just thought it was interesting, and so I passed it along.

Great show, etc.

--Vishal from LA

(Then later...)

OK sorry, I admit it--I paused the podcast and sent the e-mail. I'm giving myself a timeout. Why do you guys have to be so damn comprehensive?! =)

Facebook apology
Greetings Buzz crew,

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is getting a lot of credit for admitting mistakes and apologizing for the way in which Beacon was implemented. But unless Facebook users read tech blogs or listen to Buzz Out Loud, they're unlikely to know about Mr. Zuckerberg's presumably heartfelt mea culpa, or how they can take action to protect their privacy if they wish to. I received no message in my Facebook mailbox, no post in my newsfeed, and no communication via the Facebook petition group created to protest the implementation of Beacon. Facebook shouldn't get credit for an apology to the tech pundit class when that information has not been transmitted to all who use the service.

Show is good. Me like!

Shelly Austin, Texas

Jumping to Conclusions gets you wet? (snicker snicker)
Hi Tom (and Molly and Jason),

Thanks for referencing one of my favorite children's books and ruining its innocence at the same time. :)

I think the book you were trying to remember was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster ( Somewhere along Milo's journey to rescue Rhyme and Reason, he and his friends jump to the Island of Conclusions. I think it may be somewhere near the Island of Concussions, but I can't seem to remember my last visit.

Love the show!

Chuck...not the Chuck Parker, Colorado

P.S.> Molly--Remember the time you were talking about your ideal refrigerator and said something I like, "I need my horizontal space, man!"

Now, I can't get the idea for a cheesy superhero out of my head-- Horizontal Spaceman. Eat too much at your Christmas party? Leave it to Horizontal Spaceman. Yes, he would have an arch-nemesis--Vertical Spaceman (of course), and an intriguing love-hate relationship with the mysterious Depth Woman (male superheros are so two-dimensional).

Additional NotesEdit


Really it’s just idiotic political posturing. Molly

After The CreditsEdit

  • Alex from Miami Beach says Black Friday 3
  • Quadin from Oklahoma Happy Black Friday 3
  • Unknown So happy you talked about my phone call! Can’t fail economics.

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