What the Terrorists Want

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 09/15/2006 - 11:29

Bruce Scheier has a great article in his latest Crypto-Gram Newsletter entitled What the Terrorists Want." His basic point is that the point of terrorism is to cause terror, and in this the terrorists have succeeded:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets, or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.

The entire article is well worth reading. Full link:


Universal Extract 1.3 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 09/15/2006 - 00:33

I mentioned recently that news was slow because I've been working on some new programs. Well, here's the payoff. :-)

I just posted Universal Extract 1.3.. This is a pretty substantial update, adding support for quite a few more formats and improving support for existing formats. Although the interface still looks the same, a whole lot of improvements were made "under the hood".

Download links and an updated format support table can be found on the Universal Extractor main page. Details about improvements in this version can be found in the Universal Extractor ChangeLog.


Copyright and Intellectual Property

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 09/13/2006 - 16:44

I just read two good articles on intellectual property and copyright law, both written by Cory Doctorow (editer of craphound.com and co-editor of Boing Boing).

The first article, published on Locus Online, discusses this history of copyright law, why it originally came to be, and how it fails when applied to end-users. The second article, published by the USC newspaper Daily Trojan, discusses a recent letter sent by USC administration to all returning students that declares all filesharing and P2P network use as illegal. It presents a solid argument as to why this is not true, providing examples and historical context to back up his points.

Both articles are very interesting and poignant in today's society, and I recommend taking some time out your day to read them.

Full links:

New script - Inno Setup CLI Help

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 09/13/2006 - 11:16

I added a new script to my software page. Inno Setup CLI Help is a set of functions in Pascal that can be included in any Inno Setup installer to display command line usage information to the user when /? is passed to the installer. This help information includes both common parameters available for all Inno Setup installers, as well as the components and tasks that are unique to each installer. The purpose here is to educate the user and make it as easy as possible for him to automate and/or customize installation to suit his needs.

Full details, a screenshot, and download links are available on the Inno Setup CLI Help page.

"If you haven't done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about."

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 09/10/2006 - 21:16

"If you haven't done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about," seems to be a answer response these days to concerns about loss of privacy and personal rights in an age of ever-expanding surveillance. Needless to say, this is an absurd and shameful argument. Of course I have something to worry about. Everyone does. To quote Bruce Scheier from a recent article:

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy is a fundamental human right, one which can not and must not be surrendered. The next time you here this statement, consider these responses:


Some of my favorites:

  • If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.
  • Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition.
  • Because you might do something wrong with my information.
  • Mind if I make a video of you [making love to] your wife then?
  • So you trust the government completely? Not just this administration, but all of them? You trusted Nixon?
  • Yeah..., isn't that what Stalin used to say?
  • "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

You get the idea.

Latest news

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 11:30

For those of you that have noticed the lack of updates of the past week, I just wanted to let you know that I'm still around. I've been spending just about all of my free time working on a new app, as well as updates for Universal Extractor and AutoFLAC. They're not yet complete, but keep an eye out for more announcements in the next few days.

New script: Convert to FLAC

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 08/27/2006 - 02:43

I've added one more script to my software page. This shell script will convert audio files compressed with a lossless audio codec such as Monkey's Audio or Shorten to the FLAC. The key feature here is that instead of simply transcoding the file to FLAC, it'll preserve and migrate any tag information as well.

Additional details can be found on the Convert to FLAC home page.

Please also note that this is essentially an extension of the apetoflac script I posted last week to handle more input formats. Since this script completely supercedes apetoflac, I've removed all references to it from the apeinfo page and simply link to Convert to FLAC instead.