Archive for February, 2009

I find this post by Anne Loucks as hilarious.  Are you sick of those stupid agreements that you are forced to accept every time you install some bit of software?  Take back control, and have your CAT agree to the EULA, not you!

John


The Agreeable Cat

by Anne Loucks

How often have you been presented with unplesant click-through license agreements like this one from the Adobe website:

downloading

It is disturbingly common for people to click right on through such barriers without even looking at the agreement. I totally understand this attitude. Reading the EULA is generally a waste of time. “Blah blah blah… bequeathment of firstborn… Blah Blah Blah… eternal soul…“ and so on.

Of course, I have created a wonderful solution to this problem. My cat, Simba, agrees instead of me. As he is not a legal entity, I don’t really know how kitty’s agreements would stand up in court, but I like to think he would be responsible for any breaches of contract, assuming the agreement is even enforceable. After all, he is not even of legal age, at least in human years.

front back

First, we must create a way for Simba to push the button. I created a cardboard platform with a long thin protrusion for pressing the spacebar, which is sufficient to activate most onscreen buttons after you TAB to place the focus on them.

Setup shot

Next, I carefully place it over the keyboard of my computer.

Luring the cat

Finally, I lure Simba over the cardboard platform with the promise of petting.

Success!!!

Success!! He presses the button of his own free will. Admittedly, he was coerced and rewarded, but really, nobody forced my cat to step on the button and become party to a software license agreement. At the very least, we know he was not under duress.

downloading

The download begins and I have personally agreed to nothing.

This same strategy could be used with small dogs, children (preferably the neighbors’), or even a carefully crafted button presser that moves up and down as the wind sways a tree outside your window. Mother nature is responsible for the license agreement! I swear!

Who knows how well this might hold up in court, and who cares? EULAs are something of a joke to begin with, as they have no physical signature. Still, if you are worried about legal safety, maybe your cat will be as agreeable as mine.

To Anyone who does something similar on their own, I would love to post your photos here. Send them to me at anne.loucks@ohesso.com.

Also, Boing Boing and Slashdot have picked up this essay, if you want to see what other folks have to say about it.

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I love CW (That is: Morse Code).  On the Ham Radio bands, I operate almost exclusively CW.  It is fun and rewarding.  It is a challenge.  It is an easy way to get those DX contacts in the middle of the lowest part of the sun spot cycle.

There seems to be a resergence of interest in CW.  Eliminating CW as a requirement to get a Ham Radio license hasn’t done much to bolster our numbers.  CW is not the reason that our hobby has declining numbers.

Enter LCWO.net .  LCWO.net  is a web site I just discovered that will help you learn, or improve your CW skills.  LCWO stands for “Learn CW Online”.   I fiddled around  a bit on the site and found it very interesting; and it will even track your progress.  Give LCWO.net a try, it just might be the ticket to help you learn, or improve your CW.

CW is FUN!

John – K7JM

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Supreme Technocrat's Crown Katie

Katie got a part in her school drama class play as the “Supreme Technocrat”. As part of her costume, she has to have a crown appropriate to the title. Being a life long nerd, I decided she needed something more than the standard crown, she needed a Technocrat’s crown. We rounded up a bunch of old Integrated Circuits and made a grand crown for the purpose. Katie will make a “Fine” Supreme Technocrat.

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