The Computer Gods Hate Me

My Tablet PC isn’t feeling very well. It refuses to finish booting Windows. After some messing around, I found out that a device driver, d346bus.sys, is not loading well. A quick google search indicates that I’m not the only one with problem. However, I don’t have any way to fix the problem at the moment. I tried downloading Knoppix, a bootable version of Linux, however, it only has read NTFS support and I actually need to write too. Then I headed down to the Computing Center, no help there. All the machines run W2K and the guy helping me didn’t have his WinXP disk with him, he will on Thursday though. I would use my WinXP disk, but I don’t have one because Microsoft forces companies who distribute OEM versions of their software to encrypt it so that it can only be restored on the machine it was designed for. Ergo, the OEM just makes a Norton Ghost image and creates a front end to ensure it will only load on the authorized computer and BAM…I’m up the river without a paddle. So, for the next few days I get to use a pen and paper (*gasp*).

Fire Alarm and Free Pizza

Monday’s aren’t too bad really. I had a hour and fifty minute block of EPICs followed by 50 minutes of hell in Calc and another 50 minutes of Chemistry with a really great Chem teacher (the best in the school, so say upper classmen). I had a lunch meeting with the Orediggers, the school newspaper. I’m going to writting some articles and I post them here when I’m done. I’m also going to be working on the Oredigger’s website. Anyways, Earth Sci got a giant 15 minutes chunk taken out when the fire alarm went off. No fire truck showed up and I couldn’t see any flames, so I assume it was a false alarm.

iPod Saga Continues

My iPod saga continues as my 20GB 3rd Gen iPod still is not working. I’ve taken it to BestBuy several times now, all with no change and I’m really getting fed up. Tomorrow I’m bribing my apartment mate to take to BestBuy where I hope to convince them that they need to replace my iPod, not “repair it” (read as: send to a lab where they can reformat and reinstall, but not actually fix anything). If that doesn’t work, I plan on finding an Apple store where they should be able to replace it on the spot.


Today was sort of like yesterday. I didn’t really do much. I do go to Boondocks today. It’s an overpriced family fun center…I got in for $1 though and recieved unlimited gokarts, bumber boats, mini-golf, lasertag, and 10 tokens for games, so I’m fine with that. I also worked on the little amount of homework that I had today. Nothing much else to report.

Computer Woes

I downloaded and installed Windows XP SP2 the other day and it was working just fine. However, it seems that there are still some issues with SP2 and iPod. So I had to roll back SP2 just now ;-( so that I could sync my iPod with my computer. Bummer.

What I Did Today

I went to Best Buy today to get my iPod back. It had a hard drive issue, so I had them fixed it. We’ll see if they did. I also went to Radio Shack and picked up a DPDT (Double Poll, Double Throw) switch for my speakers. I have on set of speakers above my bed and another by my computer and the switch allows me to easily switch between them.

1 down, 127 to go

The first week of college is over, and was pretty impressed. Most of my classes are only 50 minutes long, the exception being EPICS. The only classes that I have a distaste for right now is Calc 1. We have a foreign teacher who is sometimes hard to understand. The class is also unengaging. This weekend, I don’t have anything to do, so I guess I’ll just hang out. Just about everyone else know is heading for college this weekend.

Prank emails

I got this in my inbox the other day:

From: Best Buy Customer Service []

To: Andrew Ferguson

Re: Your iPod

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

We received your complaint regarding your desire to exchange your 3rd generation iPod for one with twice as much hard-drive space.

We at Best Buy would like to apologize for your troubles with our customer service. We at Best Buy pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service reputation, and were appalled to hear that it had been tarnished. Who were we to contradict the first person with whom you spoke? Obviously, she had much more authority and knowledge than the store manager and customer service specialists at 1-888-BEST-BUY. We have received word from the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office and he agrees that our behavior was reprehensible. In order to compensate you for your time and patience, we wish to offer you a Lifetime Service Plan that will replace your iPod with the newest available models.

Obviously, any service plan ought to replace your iPod with a newer model whenever such is available. We appreciate your commitment in buying a 4-year service package while still ignorant of the new iPod only days away. We apologize that the sales person who sold you your iPod did not inform you that a new generation of iPod is released yearly. We know that all of our customers may not be “tech savvy” and try to compensate for their “lack of knowledge.”

Once again, we offer you our sincerest apologies and remind you that in future letters to multi-national corporations, you ought to use spell check.

Sincerely Sorry,

Messrs Alec Turnbull and Daniel Bushyhead

P.S. All in good fun, live long and prosper.

Well,  couldn’t let Alec and Bushyhead have all the fun. So I crafted this email:

From: Guy Witherow []

To: Alec William Turnbull

Re:Violation of Columbia University Network and Computing Usage Policies

Alec William Turnbull

During a recent security check of University systems and networks, we discovered that you violated several Columbia University Network and Computing Usage Policies and E-mail Usage Policies by sending a frivolous email to andrew[att]fergcorp[dott]com and forging a from address of “Best Buy Customer Service” <>.

Part 9 of the Network and Computer Usage Policies states: No University system or network may be used for any purpose or in a manner that violates University statutes or regulations or federal, state or local law; and parts 17 and 21 of the Email Policies: No e-mail may be sent or forwarded through a University system or network for purposes that violate University statutes or regulations or for an illegal or criminal purpose; and, Unsolicited e-mail messages to multiple users are prohibited unless explicitly approved by the appropriate University authority. See

All messages must show accurately from where and from whom the message originated, except in the rare, specific cases where anonymous messages are invited.

As you may know, violations of these policies may result in the immediate suspension of computer account and network access pending investigation of circumstances and may lead to eventual revocation. Serious violations of the policy will be referred directly to the appropriate University or outside authorities; unauthorized use of University computing facilities can be a criminal offense. The penalties may be as severe as suspension or dismissal from the University and/or criminal prosecution.

A Judicial Hearing has been set for Monday, August 30 at 4:45pm. Because this is a matter of computing and network abuse, the hearing will take place in the Computer Center located at 3020 Broadway. If you have any questions about the hearing or wish to change your assigned hearing date and/or time, please contact the Computing Center directly at (212) 854-1919.

-Guy Witherow
AcIS Staff






The email actually didn’t go through for some reason, but I showed it to Alec on IM, to which he responded:

(14:49:19) Alec: oh shiiiiitttt
(14:49:22) Alec: hahah
(14:49:35) Ferg: like it?
(14:49:39) Alec: oh man
(14:49:44) Alec: you did your research
(14:49:49) Ferg: yea
(14:49:54) Alec: oh mannnnn
(14:50:12) Alec: scares the crap outta me even knowing you wrote it

Reminds me of the Klingon Proverb, bortaS bIr jablu’DI’, reH QaQqu’ nay’ (Revenge is a dish best served cold).

Some people just don’t get it

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you should probably know that I have big issues with copyright laws, specifically the move towards putting power (and money) in he hands of corporate conglomerates and taking it away from the consumer. For those of you who don’t know the basic reasoning behind copyright laws, here’s the basic rundown:

Copyright laws exists to protect a product from duplication for period of time so that the original creator of such item may profit from its development and recoup costs of development (if any). After the period of time has expired, the product become public domain so that others may produce the product (thus making it cheaper to purchase) and to improve upon said product (thus advancing the product).

The latest people to not get this message are Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), sponsors of The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (SB2560). The bill “would hold technology companies liable for encouraging people to infringe copyright.” ( Among other things, such legislation would put the fear of God in to the minds of many developers of network tools that are designed for multi-user communication. It would also hamper the development of file-sharing programs and programs that including file-sharing features. Not suprisingly, many music labels and Hollywood are in support of this legislation, proving that they too just don’t get it. It also proves that the music and movie industry doesn’t realize that antiquated forms of audio transmission, that is CD’s, just don’t cut it anymore…especially at $15+ a pop. Perhaps even more amazing is the similarity to the “1984 Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision, which found that products capable of substantial non-infringing uses, such as home video recorders, are legal.” ( The “Sony Betamax doctrine” clearly applies to SB2560.

I think that if a Congressman tries to pass a bill that is in conflict with an outstanding Supreme Court Decision, they should be banned from politics for life and assessed a $5 million dollar fine for the time and money of the American people they have wasted.

First Day

The first day of college was all I dreamed it would be, and more. I woke up at 10:15ish, had some breakfast then meandered down to my 11 o’clock class only to find no one there. So I went to the Student Center and transfering my music ratings. I then headed back up to the apartment. A short time later a guy from Comcast came in and installed yet another internet connection. What could be better?