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Slashback: Net Neutrality, Bugged Coins, and Pawns 102

Posted by kdawson
from the correction-retraction-and-apology dept.
Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including: anti-Net-neutrality article modified; no bugged Canadian coins; a tech program for women in Silicon Valley; Pirate Bay and Sealand; and Microsoft evangelist apologizes for "pawns" comment. Read on for details.

Network neutrality. MobyDisk writes, "Network Performance Daily retracted last week's interview with Professor Christopher Yoo from Vanderbilt University Law School on his opposition to net-neutrality policies. The new article is a clearer, more subdued interview. The editor, Brian Boyko, says he never received Mr. Yoo's corrections to the article before press time. From the apology: 'The article had done him a disservice and we resolved to repair any inaccuracy or anything that would be unfair to his words or image.'"

Bugged Canadian coins. Lars T. writes in a journal article, "A recent Slashdot story asked: Bugged Canadian Coins?. Now The Globe and Mail has an update on the story — or rather the non-story. '[A] U.S. agency that investigated the complaint found no evidence of any secret transmitters, or of any other tampering. It's not clear why this information failed to find its way into the released U.S. Defense Security Service report.' So you can all pack in your tin-foil hats — at least that's what they want you to believe."

Engineering gender gap. Ellen Spertus writes, "Regarding the recent article The Hidden Engineering Gender Gap: Mills College has a post-baccalaureate program in computer science, which was recently written up in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The program is co-ed, although the majority of students are female. Graduates of the program have successfully gone on to CS PhD programs and industry jobs."

Pirate Bay and Sealand. Kawahee writes, "Coming off previous coverage here of The Pirate Bay's intentions to purchase Sealand after it was put up for sale, The Pirate Bay has revealed on its website www.buysealand.com that it has entered into negotiations with Sealand. From the post: 'The Government of Sealand has initiated negotiation. Tomorrow, the ACFI and Government of Sealand will sit down in the SMTP chambers of the Internets to discuss the future of the micronation. We welcome the request and hopefully we can settle on a price. But knowing how hard non-kopimistic people can be to negotiate with, we will go with Plan B if they're not willing to meet our demands, press officer of ACFI says.' BuySealand.com is also now sporting a donation meter, and as of the 15th of January it stood at USD $13,714."

MS evangelist apologizes for "pawns" comment. gogat0rs writes "Former Microsoft Tech Evangelist James Plamondon, who made headlines this week when a 1996 speech he gave became public during a Microsoft antitrust trial in Iowa, has apologized to the Microsoft developer community for using a metaphor that described key industry influencers and developers as 'pawns.' Plamondon wrote that calling developers pawns was both offensive and inaccurate. He goes on to say, It mischaracterizes the mutually supportive relationship that must exist between a platform vendor and its platforms early adopters, such as that which Microsoft and independent software developers created in the 1990s. I regret having used the "pawns" metaphor; I apologize for any misplaced ill will it may have caused towards Microsoft; and I won't use it in [the] future.' Since the apology was issued, the full text of the Plamondon speech has been released as a public document on a Comes v. Microsoft website, along with 80 other exhibits."

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Slashback: Net Neutrality, Bugged Coins, and Pawns

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  • whew (Score:5, Funny)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:01AM (#17658592) Homepage
    MS evangelist apologizes for "pawns" comment.

    I suppose that's better than an MS apologist evangelizing for the "pawns" comment.
    • Re:whew (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:29AM (#17658810) Journal
      But it accurately reflects what their attitudes was, and likely still is. They view people as pieces in their game. Which is well until people realise what is going on.
      • Re:whew (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @01:52AM (#17659364) Homepage
        But it accurately reflects what their attitudes was, and likely still is. They view people as pieces in their game. Which is well until people realise what is going on.

        Hate to break it to ya, but that's all business has ever been. MS is just blatant about it, but they are hardly the most blatant. We, as an industry, just find it offensive because on the whole, we are a rather naive bunch.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fatphil (181876)
          I don't see how you can say that something that remained publicly unknown for 10 years, and then retracted when it became known, can be described as 'blatant'.

          Yes, it's obvious, as it's business. But MS were and are doing their best to try to pretend to be the friendly, helpful, forward-thinking face of the IT world, even if it's a complete fabrication.
          • I don't know if he made the situation even worse, though:

            "I regret the use of the term 'pawns'. Pawns suggests they slavishly obey without questioning. In fact, they are often highly intelligent, believing in the cause, and I therefore should have used the more accurate term 'useful idiots'."
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spun (1352)

          But it accurately reflects what their attitudes was, and likely still is. They view people as pieces in their game. Which is well until people realise what is going on.

          Hate to break it to ya, but that's all business has ever been. MS is just blatant about it, but they are hardly the most blatant. We, as an industry, just find it offensive because on the whole, we are a rather naive bunch.

          No, we find it offensive because it's actually offensive. The fact that "that's all business has ever been," does not ma

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nmb3000 (741169)
        But it accurately reflects what their attitudes was, and likely still is.

        I would hazard a guess that most people won't even read the part of his speech where he compares ISVs (independent software vendors) to pawns.

        He wasn't saying the developers are pawns as in "worthless minions to do our evil bidding" or "clueless morons who can't make it without us". It was more of a chess analogy, saying that while each of the individual vendors/developers are not strong by themselves, when you take them as a group th
        • See the great-GP post.

          I kid, I kid... ;-)
        • by fatphil (181876)
          Why didn't he use the term "foot soldiers" instead?
          Pawns is such a loaded term he'd have to be completely ignorant to accidentally use it.

          Then again, he was a MS evangelist/apologist, so ignorance does come with the territory.
        • by Vellmont (569020)

          He wasn't saying the developers are pawns as in "worthless minions to do our evil bidding" or "clueless morons who can't make it without us".

          Huh? It's quite clear what he's saying. Essentially he's saying that ISVs aren't partners with Microsoft, but companies that can be strategically set up to either be sacrificed for the greater good of Microsoft. Or maybe just used to gain competitive advantage.

          Gee.. why would any ISV be offended at being sacrificed or duped into a certain strategy that only helps M
        • by AJWM (19027)
          But the chess analogy is precisely why it's offensive. Pawns are considered interchangeable, and the first things you sacrifice when it is to your advantage to do so. You put them in a position where they might gain an advantage (and you're happy to take the benefit of that if it happens) but where they're more likely to be squashed (indirectly gaining you advantage somewhere else).

          You don't sacrifice them for no reason, but they're the first under the bus when the time comes.
      • unfortunately, the mathematics of game theory I have seen so far does not seem to integrate the range of roles in a game
        • Game maker
        • Game player
        • Game player - low level
        • Game Piece
        • Broken Piece
        • Road Kill

        Of course, games are fractal, and there is a range of awareness/education that runs along side of this, going from the Clue Zone to the No Clue Zone

        One nice tidbit - when you know you are a piece, you have become a player on some level.

  • Yay! (Score:3, Funny)

    by numbski (515011) * <numbski.hksilver@net> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:02AM (#17658594) Homepage Journal
    All will be well with TBP...until the Ninjas come, and they will come [drmcninja.com].

    Arr mateys.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Ninjas are only a match for pirates if they can cut the pirates off from their rum first.

      -Eric

  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:07AM (#17658624) Homepage
    ...by saying "Actually, more like those little horsies that move in an 'L' shape."
  • $13,714? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800)
    The price tag for Sealand is reported in the $1 billion [usnews.com] range -- a bit steep for a bunch of overgrown w4r3z kiddies, even with $13,714 kicked in by a bunch of undergrown w4r3z kiddies. Particularly since the whole "Sealand" thing is just an elaborate prank in the first place.
    • by shodai (970706)
      w4r3z kiddies = bittorrent users? nice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ISurfTooMuch (1010305)
      If I had anything close to Sealand's asking price, why would I want it? With that kind of money, you could probably negotiate with an impoverished country for the sale, including sovereignty, of a small island. I'd rather have a real island instead of an old, burned-out gun platform.
      • Re:$13,714? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by batquux (323697) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:45AM (#17658926)
        Or you could just buy all the movies, music, and software you wanted...
      • Sealand's sovereignty isn't even recognized...the UK government could take/destroy it whenever it felt like it. A decent warship could do the job before breakfast, and they would, as soon as it became anything more than a millionaire's toy.

        OTOH there's plenty of islands for sale where nobody will dispute their independence. Win-win.

        PS: Would you even bother with this sort of stuff if you had enough money to buy Sealand? I wouldn't, I'd buy my island and spend the rest of my life debauching on it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thrillseeker (518224)
      The price tag for Sealand is reported in the $1 billion range

      They'll probably take an IOU and $20 cold hard cash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      The price tag for Sealand is reported in the $1 billion range

      Appropriately enough, that's in sea-dollars, which are really just Polaroids of Prince Roy with a denomination written on it with a Sharpie.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        A single exposure of color polaroid film is about a dollar anyway [amazon.com]. That's 20 exposures for seventeen bucks and change and that doesn't include tax and shipping. Unless you're sure that you can make greater-than-one-dollar denominations, it won't save you anything :)
    • by robbak (775424) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:53AM (#17658992) Homepage
      I do not think that basing any part of their operation in the United Kingdom would improve The Pirate Bay's lot. And, like it or not, HM Fort Roughs is in the United Kingdom, and is probably still property of the Crown. However, it is not (at this time) worth the Governments time to throw them off, especially as they are not doing anything blatently illegal. If ThePirateBay set up on HM Fort Roughs, the bobbys would be all over it like a rash.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by spune (715782)
        While this is no doubt what a thorough shake-down would resolve, such a shake-down has not yet occured and Sealand's sovereignty has not been disputed during its decades of existence. Additionally, Sealand claims that certain interactions it has undertaken with other nations constitute de facto international recognition. Until the UK gets pissed and tries to take out the tiny nation, your bold declarations are legally baseless. Remember, at the time of Sealand's proclamation of independence, the British mar
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by redcane (604255)
        They would have to overcome their own court precidents to do that. Considering the "bobbys" didn't show up when the German government appealed for intervention to the UK when sealand held some of it's citizens as Prisoners of War, I think they are in OK shape. That is also where the UK courts ruled they had no jurisdiction over sealand.
        • by Lars T. (470328)

          They would have to overcome their own court precidents to do that. Considering the "bobbys" didn't show up when the German government appealed for intervention to the UK when sealand held some of it's citizens as Prisoners of War, I think they are in OK shape. That is also where the UK courts ruled they had no jurisdiction over sealand.

          Funny thing is, he never held any Germans as PoWs. Unless he admits that his "Prime Minister" could never have been a Sealand citizen to begin with.

        • by dave420 (699308)
          Or just send in the marines. Invade it, problem sorted.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by elrous0 (869638) *
          It's an rusty old anti-aircraft platform. Anyone could destroy it with a nerf gun, for Christ's sake!

          The only reason the UK has basically tolerated/ignored them is because, until now, it's just been a small family of crazy squatters living there.

          -Eric

        • We're not talking about mere POWs here. We're talking about teh pirates! You know, the ones who steal music to fund terrorism?

          It TPB buys it, Sealand's toast.
    • Re:$13,714? (Score:5, Funny)

      by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @01:14AM (#17659130) Journal
      That's enough to pay for a boat rental, some shotguns, and a coup.
    • by iminplaya (723125)
      The price tag for Sealand is reported in the $1 billion range

      Sorry [austinpowers.com]
    • by nasor (690345)
      I'm sure even the people who currently "own" Sealand know that they will never get hundreds of millions of dollars for it. If you really want to start your own country and you have hundreds of millions of dollars to throw around, there are much better ways to go about it. There are many tiny island nations that have territorial claims to a lot of small, uninhabited islands. Many of these countries have GDPs in the low tens of millions of dollars. Tuvalu [wikipedia.org] comes immediately to mind, but there are plenty of oth
  • 'Happiness is a [pissed] pawn'.
  • MS evangelist apologizes for "pawns" comment

    Hmmmm, 1996, are we sure he didn't mean pwned? I mean, someone had to be an 31337 pioneer.
  • First, a bunch of 'real' hackers wouldn't need to come up with the money. They could just havk away, steal the money, give it to sealand, take the deed, steal the money back, and be the better for it.

    #2; Wouldn't it be full of Sea-men at this point?> what about the families that live there? Would they be happy sailing with a Jolley-Rodger?? Or would they be allowed to be voted off the boat? Like survivor-cast-away thing?
    • The population of Sealand right now is less than 10 at a time-- and those are only employed by the internet company that works there. The royal family left a long time ago.
  • A lot of people are going to read that "pawns" speech and, well, freak out. And he just goes on and on and on. Just when you think it couldn't get any more obnoxious...

    I couldn't even read half of it, I was laughing so hard. It's like listening to your drunk brother go on and on about how the wife that just dumped you was a lousy lay anyway.

    Definitely going to save this one.

  • I was kinda happy when I heard the original story...at least, with bugs in them, the Canadian dollar would be good for something.
  • "Tomorrow, the ACFI and Government of Sealand will sit down in the SMTP chambers of the Internets"

    Can we please stop using that "Internets" George Bush mistake - it 's so dumb it makes my head hurt. Please just scratch fingernails on blackboards instead.

    • Can we please stop using that "Internets" George Bush mistake - it 's so dumb it makes my head hurt. Please just scratch fingernails on blackboards instead.
      Very well! From now on, it is known as the Intertron!

      Or the Interblag [xkcd.com], whichever you prefer.
      • by belgar (254293)
        Or, you know, just talk about the tubes instead.
      • by MarkGriz (520778)
        Can we please stop using that "Internets" George Bush mistake - it 's so dumb it makes my head hurt. Please just scratch fingernails on blackboards instead.

        Very well! From now on, it is known as the Intertron!
        Or the Interblag, whichever you prefer.

        I prefer "intertube" myself.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @02:25AM (#17659540) Journal
    /. has the wrong link
    here's the correct one
    http://www.networkperformancedaily.com/2007/01/cla rification_a_case_for_nonne_1.html [networkper...edaily.com]

    Here's Yoo's response to comments [networkper...edaily.com] that NPD graciously published to make up for it's original error.

    As an aside, IMO, it's poor form to pull the original article & substitute the revised one without explaining what the flawed portions of the original were.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm the editor of Network Performance Daily, and I agree.

      But the original article just simply was not fair to Prof. Yoo nor accurate as to what his views were, and although we debated whether or not to leave the original article up, we decided that it was best to our readers to take it down.

      However, I left my contact information up, and anyone who wants to e-mail me directly can request the original article so that they can see what was changed. I thought this was the most optimal solution to the problem.

      S
  • I'm not willing to pay to see the linked Canadian coins article. After a brief Google, this is the announcement (I don't see any rush by the mass media to report the "correction"): A statement in the 2006 Defense Security Service Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report which claimed radio frequency transmitters were discovered embedded in Canadian coins is not true, according to DSS officials. This statement was based on a report provided to DSS. The allegations, however, were fo
  • It's not clear why this information failed to find its way into the released U.S. Defense Security Service report.' So you can all pack in your tin-foil hats --

    Wouldn't that be tin-foil trousers?
  • by jesterzog (189797) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @03:18AM (#17659846) Homepage Journal

    ...the speech is full of really interesting comments. I've only just skimmed it for now, and there are several highlights for me. eg. Page 26:

    But nonetheless, I mean, Windows 95 programming for Mac developers on the conference agenda at the Macworld Expo--I mean, you couldn't pay enough to get that. And all it cost me was some free software, and her husband had had a stroke and I sent her some articles about recent therapy and research in strokes, went to the library and looked it up. I had a problem with that one. I mean, that one was...you know, I care about her as a person, I've known her for years, you know, I was truly sorry that her husband had a strokel my grandmother died of a stroke. I was kind of interested in the topic. I went to the library anyway, I found this information. I was about to fax it to her, and I said, 'Wait a minute. This is, like, totally scummy. I know I'm doing this for a purpose!'"

    Page 27:

    "I've killed at least two Mac conferences. First there was hte Mac App Developers Conference. I was on hte Board of Directors of the Mac App Developers Association long ago, and after I left I worked to try to turn it into a cross-platform developers conference, and I did. I managed to make it...their last conference was very cross-platform, both Windows and Macintosh, which of course turned off their Macintosh audience; half of the conference was irrelevant to them. They didn't care about Windows. They were a bunch of Mac guys. Which diluted the value of the conference. And they didn't know how to advertise the Windows guys when the Windows guys showed up. So they lost money that year and the group folded. Oh well. One less channel of communication that Apple can use to reach its developers."

    Here's the funniest bit from page 32:

    "Don't look like you're trying to snooker them or something, and don't sound arrogant. Microsoft people have this...It is going to be presumed that you're an arrogant asshole until you prove otherwise. So be nice and polite on email."

    Page 37:

    Technical support. Well, you know, tech support costs money, but you can fudge a little on it. What I do is I promise people enhanced technical support, which means that they go through the normal technical support channels, and if PSS doesn't satisfy their need, then they send me the email thread of the service request, and then I'll send it around through the channels and say, hey, PSS, why didn't you solve this problem? The key thing there is that they have to send me the email thread of the service request, which means that PSS actually has to screw up for them to send this to me. They have to go through PSS first. PSS is very good, and so it doesn't usually happen. So I almost never have to deal with this, but it sounds great. Ooh, if you have a problem with PSS, escalate it to me. Cool.

    • by SaleNowOn (846913) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:31AM (#17662280)
      "the speech is full of really interesting comments"

      Wow, That speech is just out there, really absorbing reading. Inside the mind of an Evangelist....its a frightening place.

      You read the article, then read the retraction and you realise his retraction and apology from a personal point of view would mean nothing to him, absolutely nothing at all. It would just be the best strategy to initially limit the damage and then work out the next move.

      Favourite Question is on page 26

      Different Speaker: I go back to my former question. How do you sleep at night ?
  • People on various forums suspect that an island would be the way to go. "Only" thing left to do is convince a country to allow them sovereignty, raise the necessary funds and find out how to operate a server farm on a small island without power or water supply as well as lack of Internet connection...

    From this wiki: [piratebayagency.com]

    Having recently abandoned its plans for acquiring Sealand, the FreeNation community, along with ThePirateBay.org, the world's largest torrent tracker, is looking to purchase an as-yet-undeter

  • First the pirate party crap and now this? Sorry to sound like a troll, but sealand is *not* a legal country. A bunch of guys took over a defunct military installation...then a wealthier man strongarmed them out of the installation and delcared it was his since it was more than 3 miles off the coast. Well newsflash bates...that only applies to LAND. Sealand is *not* land. It is more of a permanently anchored boat than it is land. A boat belonging to the United Kingdom. The country isn't even recognize
    • by akohler (997911)

      The fact that Britain abandoned the island now known as Sealand made it, under Internitional Maritime Law [un.org]. Although Sealand is not officially recognized by any State, there have been many instances of de facto recognition, including in British Court, meaning that technically, it is a legal country, at least until someone successfully challenges it.

      • by nomadic (141991)
        It's a structure, not an island.
        • by akohler (997911)

          That's true. Thank you for correcting me. I should have stated "artificial island i.e. man-made structure. According to Un Convention on the Law of the Sea [wikipedia.org], artificial islands cannot be nations. However, as Sealand claimed sovereignty prior to 1982, this is not a valid point for disputing its sovereignty.

          • by nomadic (141991)
            The Law of the Sea, like most international law, isn't hard, fast, and binding, but is an attempt to establish certain norms. As for claiming sovereignty, I believe the consensus is they a) never really had the right to claim it, and b) have not been sufficiently recognized to give them any sort of legitimacy. The more I learn about Sealand the less I'm impressed with their claims. The guy who founded it sounds like a delusional, violent thug, and an ambiguous ruling in English courts does not a sovereig
            • by akohler (997911)

              I would agree with most of that, but according to modern political theory [wikipedia.org], recognition by other Sates is not necessarily a criteria for sovereignty (although I imagine it helps). As for claiming it, 1. It appears the British government abandoned claim to and it was outside their territory limit at the time, 2. Many nations have been founded in places that someone else had already claimed or was already occupying, including both Britain, and later, the U.S.A. - hence, in practicality, if you take it, use it,

              • by nomadic (141991)
                I'm not really sure they abandoned it. And I'm a little suspicious about how permanent that population really is, considering most people wouldn't want to live in a porch suspended above the ocean.
  • the pawns go first" http://www.x-menthelaststand.com/ [x-menthelaststand.com]
  • Maybe I'm really showing the fact that I'm not a member of the "in-group" but could someone please share with me what the word kopimistic means?
    • God knows what Sealand thinks this means, but a quick google search [google.co.uk] reveals that all references to 'Kopimistic' are Sealand-related stories. Dictionary.com [reference.com] certainly doesn't have a clue. Making up words is a fabulous way of raising the somewhat dubious credibility of Sealand! Someone, please prove me wrong...
      • by yo303 (558777)
        Making up words hoping to get them into common usage is actually VERY kopimistic.

        yo.

    • by W2k (540424)
      It comes from kopimi [kopimi.com] (copyme).
  • THat's what the Canadian Secret Service wants you to believe.
    • by disckitty (681847)
      If you want to go for an alternative conspiracy theory, you could say that the Canadian secret service yelled at their equivalents in the American secret service, and threatened to release an equally damaging piece of information that they (the Canadians) are aware of within the American intelligence. At which point, the American secret service retracted their previous claim.

      It is odd, perhaps, that along with limiting communication, most intelligence agencies, in general, don't publickly rat out their equi
  • Surely there are enough Pirates in Pirate Bay to raise the Jolly Roger over Sealand!
  • Network Performance Daily retracted last week's interview with Professor Christopher Yoo from Vanderbilt University Law School on his opposition to net-neutrality policies. The new article is a clearer, more subdued interview.

    What the hell? I RBFA and the second was totally different. Like the "pawns" comment from Microsoft, I think I see a pattern:

    1. Write what you believe
    2. Wait for criticism
    3. Claim original was grossly incorrect
    4. Write new article that says whatever will please readers, and delete original

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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