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Mail 203 April 29 - May 5, 2002 

 

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Monday  April 29, 2002

We are in Rome. Returning Thursday. Mail posting begins with Saturday, May 4, 2002

 

 

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Tuesday,  April 30, 2002

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Thursday, May 2, 2002

We return from Rome today.

 

 

 

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Saturday, May 4, 2002

There is a LOT of mail. I'll get up what looks informative. Begin with this. I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but I know of nothing to contradict what it says.

This was forwarded about 6 times before it got to me.

Notice that paragraph...

"Feel free to pass this email around and send me any feedback or questions."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: "Saul Kramer" <kramers2@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il To: <kramers2@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 4:53 AM Subject: Tales from Jenin

Hi all

I'm writing this email after having returned last night from the emergency army call up that sweetly interrupted my life 3 weeks ago. I'm writing this email for simple reasons, to tell you the truth about what happened in Jenin over the last 2-3 weeks and to share some of the stories and incidents that we had.

Its pretty sad seeing and hearing the lies CNN, BBC and all the others have been feeding the world when you have seen a completely different picture yourself.

Feel free to pass this email around and send me any feedback or questions.

Let me just get one thing cleared, there was no massacre in Jenin, I repeat no massacre in Jenin!!! (ill get back to this later)

My reserve battalion was stationed on the northern and eastern border of Jenin with the purpose of ensuring the enclosure of the area during the Defensive Shield Operation took place. We were divided amongst a number of roadblocks and defensive positions with the main purpose of preventing terrorists leaving Jenin to carry out attacks inside Israel and also from escaping during the operation. We were also responsible for monitoring the entrance of the Press and humanitarian aid going into Jenin, and also Palestinians needing to leave Jenin for humanitarian reasons. I myself together with eleven other soldiers manned a small roadblock at the northern tip of Jenin, which was one of the main thoroughfares for traffic entering and exiting the area.

Jenin is not a big town. The refugee camp is a small part of Jenin and the pictures repeatedly shown on TV are of a small section (10% -15%) of the refugee camp that was destroyed. The refugee camp is where the terrorists have mainly operated and harboured factories and storage facilities for weapons, explosive belts etc. Many of the recent suicide bombers have strapped themselves up in this refugee camp. What is also very fascinating is that UNWRA (United Nations Work and Relief Agency - part of the UN) has been responsible for the refugee camps over the last 50 years and has allowed terrorist infrastructure to flourish under its nose.

In the fighting that took place in the refugee camp, children were used as human shields by the terrorists. One of the brigade commanders told us this last Saturday night that they were shot at in the small alleys of the camp.

They returned fire only to hear the cries of young children to which they immediately stopped shooting and prayed that they had not killed any children. They hadn't.

The armies respect and consideration for the life's of innocent civilians is of a high standard. For this reason, 23 of our own boys were killed in the Jenin fighting. If we had no regard for the life's of innocent civilians, 23 sons, husbands and fathers would be at home with their families now. They were the price we paid for the high moral and ethical standards upheld during the fighting.

During the week of the incursion into Jenin the area was a closed military zone. However contrary to what was reported, humanitarian aid was allowed in and I myself personally checked many of the hundreds of trucks that were allowed in to deliver supplies to the Palestinians. This was carefully coordinated with the army to ensure that innocent civilians would receive the supplies and to minimise the risks of those entering the areas.

For a few days after the fighting had stopped, the area was closed off to the press. This is when the rumours of the massacre began despite the army press giving detailed briefing sessions to the media on the situation. So why was the area closed to the press and what did we seemingly have something to hide? Simply, the refugee camp had been booby trapped by the terrorists and minefields awaited those that entered. Soldiers inside the refugee camp told me of not being able to move 5 meters at a time without having to diffuse another pipe bomb or mine. Many of the houses destroyed were done so by bombs planted by the very residents of the camp. Some of the dead bodies were also booby trapped with grenades! and mines awaiting the Israeli soldiers. (The Palestinian death toll stands at below 40 with maybe another 20 or so buried in the rubble of which most has been cleared up. This was also told to us by embarrassed reporters who entered the area eagerly awaiting to report an Israeli massacre of Palestinians only to be disappointed to find minimal destruction.)

The media. Last Sunday while myself and my good friend Ben were on duty at the roadblock at the time when no press were allowed to enter Jenin, we spotted a jeep trying to evade the roadblock through an adjacent field. We managed to stop the jeep and discovered a group of French Journalists who had managed to enter Jenin and were now trying to leave. We followed the normal procedure of questioning them, checking their vehicle and identification. This process sometimes takes a while because we have to phone another army base who then checks the identities with the Israeli authorities which includes the intelligence operations. Anyway, it turned out that one of the supposed French journalists is actually a Palestinian terrorist on Israel's wanted list. He was taken away by the police together with the other real French journalists. Bet you never heard about that one on TV.

Last Thursday, friends of mine on duty at another outpost a few kilometres away from me spotted two young kids walking in the middle of the day with black backpacks on their backs. The two kids entered an abandoned structure about 800 meters away from the outpost and left without the bags. The kids thought they had gone unnoticed. It was later discovered that the bags contained weapons, explosives, an Israeli army uniform with a red paratrooper beret. The plan was for a terrorist to pick up the loot at night, dress up as an Israeli soldier and attack the outpost. We had already received intelligence reports 5 days earlier warning of a terrorist dressing up as a soldier and entering one of the outposts.

Avi, a good friend of mine studying together with me at Bar Ilan was stationed in Nablus (Shchem) during this operation and told me the following: They took over a house in Nablus as a stronghold in order for the operation to clear out the terrorist infrastructure there. While in the house, they did not use the electricity to charge their cell phones. They did not touch or eat any food left in the house. They made a concerted effort not to use any furniture in the house. When they left the house a few days ago during the pullout of Nablus, they cleaned the house and left money on the table. I have heard this reported from soldiers that were also in Beit Lechem, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Jenin.

On Monday morning this week, a UN bus entered Jenin carrying a UN rescue team from Britain. The team included doctors and other rescue personnel who get dispatched around the world to help with rescue operations. Four hours later the bus returned through our roadblock and they stopped and we had a chance to chat a little. The first thing they said is that this was the biggest waste of time for them and they would be catching the next flight out of Israel. One of the doctors told us that one of the "massacred" bodies he examined was that of a man that had been dead for two years. What a shame that the Palestinians dug him up to add to the death toll.

As my friends and I packed up yesterday ready to head for home we joked at how the whole world considers us to be monsters and how one day we might all be charged for war crimes. We felt good for having served our country once again and we hope that something was achieved in this operation. What lies ahead is still uncertain. What became so clear to me is the importance of seeing things in the right context and perspective. If all that happened these last 3 weeks was an Israeli incursion into the Palestinian areas, then yes, maybe we don't look so good in the worlds eyes. But looking in the context of the history of Israel and our longing to live peacefully side by side with our Arab neighbours, we cannot let terror to exist and destroy our dream. I pray and hope that new Palestinian leadership emerges that will want to make this world a better place for its people.

Saul Kramer 

Forwarded by  Gary R. Utter,  http://www.syndicomm.com/ 

The Old Testament solution to troublesome neighbors was extermination. The Romans modified that to slaughter plus selling many of the losers into slavery. There was also Diaspora. We live in more squeamish times. I for one have not forgotten that Jenin cheered the falling of the Twin Towers. 

And I still believe that the only way to peace in the Middle East is stable and nearly impervious borders. Build walls, and make them strong. 

Hi Jerry,

Welcome back.

I came across these articles that I thought you might find of interested.

Firstly there is this article ( http://www.sigmaxi.org/amsci/amsci/issues/comsci02/Compsci2002-01.html  ) which talks about Lewis Fry Richardson and his work on mathematics and the study of warfare.

This led me to a book called "How to stop a war: The Lessons of Two Hundred Years of War and Peace. How and why wars start...and how we can prevent the next one" at ( http://www.jim.dunnigan.com/howtostop.htm  ).

The web page has "General Observations on Two Centuries of Mayhem" which contains interesting observations from the book. Worth a read.

- Paul

Richardson's Statistics of Deadly Quarrels remains a classic work that ought to be studied by everyone interested in the subject, but in fact few are aware of it. Dunnigan and I have had our disagreements, but he is always worth paying attention to.

I used Richardson's work in a Study of Stability for the US Air Force Office of Plans and Doctrines when I was doing that kind of work.

You mention you don't have a batch process for resizing images.

IfranView (http://www.irfanview.com/) is a lovely viewer/editor which includes an absolutely crackerjack batch convesion process (File/Batch) which allows resizing, rotating, and other useful options.

Highly Recommended!

Welcome Home, Everett

And indeed I have recommended it, but it wasn't on the laptop I took to Rome... I agree, it's a great program.

Jerry,

This may be of interest:

http://www.linuxandmain.com/tech/robformats.html 

This strikes me as cold hard rationality, which I wish I saw more of in the Linux weltanschauung.

--Erich Schwarz

Indeed. Thanks.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope found it, but you still can't see the Mote :) http://msnbc.com/news/745445.asp?pne=msn 

Edward Maner

Thanks! It's gorgeous.

Jerry,

If USB 2.0 does replace Firewire as you predict it won't be "good enough", it will be yet another step backwards courtesy of Intel Inc. The so called "backwards compatibility" of USB 2.0 is a myth that will trap many users into forking out far more for new equipment than is required and force them to handle a whole new set of "stupid knowledge" they shouldn't have to.

So you buy a new computer with USB 2.0 ports, or add a USB 2.0 card to your existing machine, to go with your new high speed USB 2.0 CDRW drive or external HDD. Think your expenditure is over? Hardly, now you have to replace your USB 1.1 hub(s) with new (much more expensive, and thus far almost unavailable from what I've seen) USB 2.0 hub(s) (well, actually it's now more a router than a simple hub like USB 1.1 uses) - otherwise if you plug your new USB 2.0 peripheral into the old USB 1.1 hub it'll simply run at USB 1.1 speeds - 11 Mb/s instead of 480 Mb/s. So now to run a mixture of USB 1.1 devices (printers, mice, keyboards, etc.) as well as new USB 2.2 devices (e.g. CDRW drives, scanners, HDDs, etc.) on your system you need to know which ones are which and have the appropriate USB hubs to support them, otherwise all the USB 2.0 hubs and devices will be throttled back to run at only USB 1.1 speeds. This is idiotic! It's only there because stupid Intel refused to see common sense and allow USB to remain what it was originally designed to be - a cheap, easy to use serial port for slow devices like keyboards, mice, scanners, etc. They had to take on Apple, TI, Sony, etc. in the fast serial device arena that was already well catered for by Firewire. Just to show they wouldn't yield ground to anyone. No caring or concern for their customers, just corporate hubris and stupidity. Check out http://www.mackido.com/Hardware/USB2.html  for more info on this disaster.

And then there's 800 Mb/s Firewire, what's the point of USB 2.0 then (by the middle of this year)? At least with F/W you don't have any stupid (and expensive) hubs to worry about, just make sure you put all your 800 Mb/s F/W devices earlier in the chain than your 400 Mb/s devices and you're done, everything will run at it's maximum throughput and there are no topology problems to screw you up. USB 3.0 anyone? Yet more new hubs, yet more topology problems and "stupid knowledge" to keep "gurus" in a job when computers and peripherals should be getting easier to use, not more difficult. USB 2.0 is NOT "good enough", it's not even close.

Finally - what's all this fuss about "Legacy free" Compaq boxes anyway? They should be the standard! I simply cannot believe that after all these years of USB 1.1 and Firewire Dell, IBM, Compaq, et al are STLL making machines with serial and parallel ports, and maybe one lonely USB 1.1 port if you're lucky (so to use a USB keyboard and a USB mouse you need a hub straight away), instead of all of them now having 2-3 USB and 1-2 Firewire ports! This is particularly dumb on notebooks and laptops that are so short of rear panel space as it is. It's time to drop these dinosaur serial and parallel ports and replace them with something more 21st century like USB and F/W.

-- David S.

"You have a good knowledge of Unix and a girlfriend. Not many people can say that." -- Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson.

Well, clearly you know more about market conditions than Compaq and Dell, who insanely continue to build machines with legacy equipment. I don't expect Firewire to vanish, but I do believe it will lose market share to USB 2. Whether I approve of that isn't important.

The real problem with USB on laptops is the power requirements.

Jerry,

I have USB 1 and FireWire connections on my laptop and I agree with you about the possibility of USB 2 taking over. I do see one advantage for FireWire in the peripherals arena and that is; it is a smaller form factor which is important for cameras and other types of small peripheral devices which connect infrequently for uploading and down loading of data.

Larry Woodmansee 

Firewire will be around a long time for peripherals. But five years is a fairly long time in this rcket.

 

 

Recently you mentioned you were awaiting delivery of a new, big LCD monitor. Have you seen the new ViewSonic VG191? I've been using one for about three months now. It is big, bright, sharp, and features very good color saturation (thanks to the 500:1 contrast ratio and 250 nits brightness). This ViewPanel is even easier on my eyes than the 17" ViewSonic Triniton monitor it replaces. As one who also suffers from extremely poor eyesight, I really appreciate this quality large display for long sessions on line, editing documents or retouching photos.

R. Pownell

I am looking at flat screen monitors now with a view to converting at least one of my operations to those.

And Roland reminds us of an old story I used to repeat often:

In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6. "What are you doing?", asked Minsky. "I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe." "Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky. "I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play." Minsky shut his eyes. "Why do you close your eyes?", Sussman asked his teacher. "So the room will be empty." At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

There are a number of Minsky enlightenment stories. Most true.

This story is very much worth looking at:

http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/30/28149.html

Apparently someone has found the oldest map in the world, possibly 120 million years old. (!!!!?) complete with ancient writing. It is a high grade relief map in stone with a glass like surface, and corresponds to what is known about the geology of the area from that time. It was found among the primitive peoples of the Ural mountains area.

The article is completely serious in tone, and very detailed. Now we get to see if this is an elaborate hoax or for real.

I have saved the page with photos, and can send it zipped up if desired.

Michael Zawistowski z@gis.net 

Please visit http://RadioFreeNation.com  Thank You

Well, I found it worth looking at, but I don't believe a word of it.

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande Medical errors kill more people each year than auto accidents, breast cancer or AIDS. Can automating medicine prevent tragedies like the Andrea Yates case? Reviewed by Ivan Oransky, M.D.on 04/09/02 at Salon.com http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2002/04/09/gawande/print.html

Link to book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805063196/qid%3
D1020191010/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/002-2577012-1683203
 

-- John Bartley, telcom admin, USBC/DO, Portland OR - Views are mine. 503.326.2231...147 http://palmwireless.cjb.net Wireless FAQ for PalmOS(r) http://celdata.cjb.net Handheld Cellular Data FAQ

Cochran estimates that it was as late as 1938 that physicians ceased to do more harm than good and kill fewer people than they saved. Prior to Pasteur and the germ theory of disease there was little doubt...

An analysis by the SAMBA team of the recent Microsoft document release that restricts GPL implementation of the CIFS/SMB protocol:

< http://us1.samba.org/samba/ms_license.html >

This throws even more fuel on the fire that instead of competing with GPL, Microsoft is simply trying to hide behind their lawyers and look good to the anti-trust court. Otherwise, why bother releasing this, especially with the GPL restrictions.

Come on Microsoft - compete!!! If you are convinced of your technical superiority, why waste time and effort bashing the GPL. But then, as Roland noted, Samba blows Win2k out of the water as far as file serving performance goes. And it would somehow be cheaper to spend $millions on lawyers to fight the GPL (hurting everyone and not advancing anything) rather than spending $millions on fixing the problems (helping everyone, including Microsoft, since they would end up with a better product).

This logic escapes me.

Pete Flugstad

I don't have enough information to comment.

Hi Jerry,

I love your column and I've looked forward to it every month (and now every other week I suppose) since 1995. I've often heard you recommend PC Power & Cooling cases and have always meant to ask you about the amount of noise they make. I realize that it is more of a function of the CPU fan and (to a lesser degree) the power supply fan, but I was hoping that maybe you had given the noise factor some thought when reviewing cases.

Keep up the great work and let me say that whatever they're paying you, it's not nearly enough!

James

PC Cool makes quiet fans for extra cost. I am not particularly bothered by computer noises to begin with. I know some people are, but I don't hear as well as they do.

And Roland reminds us of the death of an able and honorable adversary

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Obit-Lebed.html  -- ------------------------------------------------------------ Roland Dobbins <mordant@gothik.org> 

and then there is:

I admit, I am biased. I believe that "free" software has a place in the world and that it represents a milestone in the development of computer related technologies.

That aside, I came across this link at ( http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/weblog/view/wlg/1364  ) that talks about a letter ( http://www.gnu.org.pe/resmseng.html  ) written by Dr. Edgar David Villanueva NuŮez, Congressman of the Republica of Perķ in which he replies to a Microsoft Executive about a letter the executive sent regarding Peru passing a bill requiring the government use free software.

It's a devastating reply that cuts though all the hype and fud typical of large corporate interests.

I wonder how long this politician will be able to stay in power, now that he has perhaps made a powerful enemy?

- Paul

Indeed. Indeed.

And Roland tells us of quantifying Heisenberg:

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992209 

and

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0102069  --

And Jim Warren tells us 19 things it took him 30 years to learn: (this turns out to be taken from a Dave Barry article so I have deleted it. No credit was given in the mailing I got.)

 

 

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Sunday, May 5, 2002

*This message was transferred with a trial version of CommuniGate(tm) Pro* Jerry,

I read David S.'s comments about the continued inclusion of legacy I/O ports on PCs and had to comment.

A few months ago I bought a Compaq Presario 710US laptop for use at work. This is a consumer-oriented machine, rather than a laptop meant for "professional" use, but it was cheap and this was during PA's tax-free PC week. It has a parallel port, but no serial port. Instead, it has 2 USB and 1 Firewire ports. I didn't think to check for the presence of a serial port before I bought it, which later caused me a couple of problems.

As I was configuring it for use at work, I went to install the software for my Palm IIIxe, which uses a serial interface to sync with the PC. But I don't have one. The other problem that I ran into is that as a network engineer, I often need to login to routers and switches using a serial console port.

I wound up having to go and purchase a USB-to-RS232 serial converter cable. Since the cable has electronics built into it, it cost me $50.

So, even if J. Random Consumer who's buying his first PC may not need a serial or parallel port, a lot of other people still need them. Far from being legacy devices, serial ports are still needed, whether to connect peripherals like Palm pilots, or to connect their PCs to other devices like routers.

-- Dave Markowitz AIM: frodo527 frodo527@building-tux.com Yahoo!: dave_markowitz http://www.building-tux.com RKBA = FREEDOM!!!

Oh, I tend to agree. Belkin makes USB port systems that will convert to standard serial and parallel, and I have them for emergencies. The iPAQ legacy free is a good machine but there are times when I have needed the Belkin conversion box...

More on this:

Well Ö I would hate to get rid of my external serial modem. I cannot stand internal modems. I like to hear the connection and see the lights. Nor would I like to get rid of my $1500 laser printer. It works perfectly, and I donít want to replace it due to new standards.

 

And then there is the hub matter. USB is great. I have a USB Flash Drive, a Digital Camera, and a USB connection for my IPAQ. Itís quite convenient to plug these devices into the hub right next to my monitor. Iíd rather not bend over to plug them into the tower, or crawl around looking for a USB port. A 4 port hub is $20 -$40, not too much for me to pay for the convenience.

 

Yes, you could pull the serial and parallel ports out of the boxes, and purchase a card to do those functions if needed, but most consumers donít want to open the box. And the $10 or so this adds to the cost of a PC is pretty small, and most folks are really glad itís there when they need it.

 

Tracy

Agreed.

And we have this press release which looks interesting:

 

The following press releases will be issued on Monday, May 6th. As you can see, Wi-Fi continues to grow and may even be emerging in ways we never anticipated.

Wi- Fi Certified Products Surpass the 300 Mark

In Only 24 Months Over 300 Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Products Have Received Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Certification In Nine Different Product Categories http://www.wi-fi.com/pr/pressrelease.asp?PRID=73 

Wi-Fi Attracts Eleven Additional Members Identifying New Trend

Convergence of Wireless Technologies Appears To Be Catalyzed by the Emergence of Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Technology http://www.wi-fi.com/pr/pressrelease.asp?PRID=74 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

C. Brian Grimm Wave Communications for WECA 228-A3 Eastwood Road, 161 Wilmington, NC 28403 USA 910.686.0870 land line 910.686.2496 fax 910.616.5200 GSM cell phone

WiFi looks better all the time...

Roland points us to three years under the DMCA...

http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/20020503_dmca_consequences.pdf 

 

 

 

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