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This is the TBTF Log, an experiment in reporting important breaking news in a more timely way than was possible with the Tasty Bit of the Day. The TBTF newsletter continues unchanged. The current issue is TBTF for 1999-12-16: Humble.

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Previous weeks' logs table of contents.

Friday, 1999-12-31

Wednesday, 1999-12-29

Wednesday (cont.)

Sunday, 1999-12-26

  • (published in TBTF) A promising automatic directory builder.

Friday, December 31, 1999

12/31/99 2:51:26 PM

  • updated What comes after 99?
    In New Zealand, the Aukland International Airport's Web site posted a news flash after local midnight to assure everyone that the airport was open and operating normally. It is timestamped 02:58 1 Jan 100. Here's a local mirror I captured at the time.

    Note added 2000-02-02: Margaret Peacocke of the Auckland International Airport just sent me a very nice note requesting that I remove the link to the original failed page (which they had fixed within a few hours), and I have complied.
    Note added 2000-01-02: Fredric White <fwhite at pobox dot com> writes to note:
    The official World clock for the puzzling new Greenwich electronic Time -- as best as I can figure, GeT = GMT + marketing -- has the same problem.
    At this moment the date reads 2/1/100. (Again, in case they fix it, see this screen shot I just captured.)

12/31/99 1:47:16 PM

12/31/99 1:30:55 PM

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

12/29/99 11:34:32 PM

  • DVD reverse-engineering injunction denied. A judge today ruled that a temporary restraing order is not warranted against the individuals and Web sites named in the DVD industry's complaint. Here is Chris DiBona's account of the day in Santa Clara court. By his estimate 50 sympathetic onlookers showed up to witness the EFF in action against the lawyers for the DVD Copy Control Association. In DiBona's words,

    This is cool part, so you have essentially 50 experts on code, and many of those are fairly knowledgeable on both license agreements and encryption. A number of people came up to the [EFF] lawyers and gave them their ideas on how to respond further to the points brought up by the DVD folks.

    Imagine just having 50 qualified experts just showing up to help. This is the true power we wield. And we put it together in 36 hours. No company can step on us if we remain vigilant.

    DiBona promises to post the trial transcript when it is available (the judge granted permission); watch for it here over the next few days.

12/29/99 10:11:08 PM

  • eToys "moves away" from its lawsuit. eToys has taken its lumps for its strong-arm tactics against the artists' cooperative etoy. This Wired story claims that eToys is now "moving away" from pressing its lawsuit, whatever that means. (The cynics among us might note that the Christmas season has passed.) The company did not say it is dropping the suit. I received this news in forwarded email from the head of the EFF, so it is genuine.

12/29/99 4:47:31 PM

  • updated It was probably the Martians. Last week Sprint filed an outage report covering Area 51 in Nevada. A circuit breaker was turned off, disrupting 8 DS3s, long distance, and "military services." Full details are not known. Service was restored after about 5 hours.

    here Updated 2001-02-05, 9:15 pm: Steven Armstrong writes to point out that on 2001-01-21 Sprint withdrew the outage report available previously at the above URL and replaced it with a PDF-format letter saying, essentially, "Move along. Nothing to see here." Armstrong concludes: "Talk about an X'd file!"

12/29/99 3:33:40 PM

  • Linux programmer rescues Microsoft's passport.com. Microsoft has had no end of trouble with Passport, the single-signon scheme it uses to unify for its far-flung Web properties. When Passport first went live, one side-effect was the notorious Hotmail security hole that allowed anyone to read the mail of any Hotmail customer using only their logon name. The latest difficulty came about when the domain name passport.com expired; no Hotmail user not already logged on could reach their mail.

    Linux consultant Michael Chaney diagnosed the problem on Christmas day and visited the Network Solutions site; he used his own credit card to renew the domain name for Microsoft. (Here's proof.) Microsoft called to thank him this morning. Chaney is sort of hoping that someone at the deep-pocketed company reflects on how much advertising revenue and customer goodwill he has saved them:

    In a perfect world, I wish they'd take that into account. But I'm not relying on it. It's their choice.

12/29/99 9:38:42 AM

  • To the ramparts. The DVD coalition, having stupidly relied on weak and unreviewed crypto to secure their bits, has now followed through on their threat to sue Web sites that link to copies of the software that strips away their illusory security.

    The algorithm securing DVD content was cracked after contributions from at least 5 groups of cryptographers around the world. The end result of this cooperative work was a program, DeCSS, put together by hackers in Norway, where reverse engineering is legal. DeCSS is available from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sites wirldwide. Here is a list of links to a few of them. The DVD Copy Control Association's complaint names 28 of these sites, including ones in Italy, France, and the Netherlands. In addition it slaps 18 sites that do not contain code, but only links to sites that do. One of the listed sites is automatically generated from Deja.com's database of Usenet postings.

    Will they sue me for linking sites that contain lists of links? Will they sue you for linking to this page? (Only four hops to content that US law forbids developing.)

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is planning to challenge the temporary restraining order, two hours from now, at the Santa Clara courthouse. California activists are planning a peaceful demonstration and educational gathering. Join them if you are able. "Dress like a banker," advises the EFF's John Gilmore. Be polite.

Sunday, December 26, 1999

12/26/99 1:30:34 PM

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This venue represents an experiment in more timely and less "cooked" TBTF news coverage. You'll read here things that came through my desktop machine mere minutes before. The TBTF Log replaces the Tasty Bit of the Day feature.

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