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    • New note by bobjonkman 19 September 2021
      Reminds me of a riddle I heard in high school (around the time Canada switched to metric): If it's 0 Celsius here, and twice as cold in Ottawa, what's the temperature there? Conflating both the #ZeroIsNotMinimum problem and a negatively worded question about positive values. Think of "If it's 273 Kelvin here, and twice as […]
    • Favorite 19 September 2021
      bobjonkman favorited something by lxo: both C and F lead to such nonsense as "temperature has doubled/halved in just a few hours" if it did, we'd be in deeper trouble. but that's how misleading temperature scales get with a zero that isn't really zero imagine if we used height or weight units whose fake-zero was […]
    • Favorite 18 September 2021
      bobjonkman favorited something by lxo: .oO it's software freedom day! it feels a little ahead of the right date, but I'm not one to pass a free software celebration let's make it a fortnight-ish freedom fest, from today through to Sept 27 (GNU launched, FS coined), and on to Oct 4 (FSF founded)
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lxo 18 September 2021
      RT @lxo .oO it's software freedom day! it feels a little ahead of the right date, but I'm not one to pass a free software celebration let's make it a fortnight-ish freedom fest, from today through to Sept 27 (GNU launched, FS coined), and on to Oct 4 (FSF founded)
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by steve 16 September 2021
      RT @steve @bobjonkman I really appreciate it, Bob!
    • Favorite 16 September 2021
      bobjonkman favorited something by steve: @bobjonkman I really appreciate it, Bob!
    • New note by bobjonkman 12 September 2021
      #Stroopwafels FTW!
    • Favorite 12 September 2021
      bobjonkman favorited something by guizzy: Today @mitsu and I went to a Spanish specialty grocery store, got sobressada and menorcan cheese. Then we went to an european specialty store and got stroopwaffels. And we went to Bagel St-Viateur, and got freshly made bagels (the real stuff, not New York pretenders) to enjoy with some smoked […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 12 September 2021
      Hang in there, Dr. Sekula. Your summer somewhat mirrors mine: Conflicted about working in a Covid environment; trying to stay engaged in politics (not physics research); the loss of my father and admitting my mom to a long-term care facility where Covid mortality is high. We'll pull through, and if the future looks different from […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by steve 12 September 2021
      RT @steve "End of Summer, 2021" Ive gone silent in this blog. Take it as a sign of everything else that has been going on. Writing in this blog is the first thing to be sacrificed when life intervenes. Its been many months since I wrote here. Truth be told, I think I need to […]

Archive for December, 2008

Bopaboo, the musician’s income broker

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 16th December 2008

Chrome piggy bank wears headphones

Because Pigs Like Music Too

There’s been a fair bit of press about bopaboo, the online service that buys and sells “used” MP3 files.

Every article I’ve read suggests that this is something that either should be, or shouldn’t be illegal, but that either way bopaboo is going to get their pants sued off by Big Media. The problem is that they all view the music files as a tangible good, as a property that doesn’t even belong to the person who possesses the item.

bopaboo is going about it all wrong too. Rather than focussing on the buying and selling of the files, they should be viewed as a service for getting money into the pockets of the musicians. Income brokers, if you will.

Some of us really do want to pay the artists whose music we listen to. But for the most part, individuals have no easy way of doing that directly. The traditional way is by buying a CD, for which the payment eventually works its way back through the distribution chain, the CD manufacturers and Big Media’s deep pockets, eventually paying the artist a few pennies. And that only works if the CD is available in stores, still in the catalogues, and not choked to death by DRM.

bopaboo can bypass all that.

For example, Bruce Houghton tells us that he sold a file, bought another, and then sold it again all in the space of a few seconds. This is great! Every transaction that’s made on bopaboo should result in more money in the pockets of the musicians.

Not only is it a direct way of paying musicians, it’s a lot greener than driving to the record store, buying a piece of plastic (that’s stored in a plastic container wrapped in plastic, and probably carried home in a plastic bag). It’s faster to get the music on your digital media player, since the files from bopaboo are already in digital format. Since bopaboo is planning on watermarking files to avoid duplicate uploads, hopefully they’ll complete all metadata too, so that any purchased files will be more complete and accurate than anything that can be downloaded from the P2P networks.

Four value-adds for the price of one digital file. Too bad the bopaboo Vice President of Marketing isn’t pushing that a little harder.


Update 6 November 2011: Bostinnovation reports an upstart new company, ReDigi claims to be the world’s first online marketplace for used digital music. Sorry, ReDigi, you’re only three years late to the game.

Because Pigs Like Music Too by left-hand is used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 Generic license.

Posted in Big media, filesharing, green, music | Comments Off on Bopaboo, the musician’s income broker

Putting up the Christmas tree

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 14th December 2008

Christmas Tree

# Program: trimtree
# Purpose: To prepare a Christmas tree before decorating
# Date: before 25 December

repeat until (height == 0)
if (wife == “It’s lopsided!”)

if (wife == “It’s leaning!”)

if (wife == “It’s bare at the bottom!”)
saw_off_base(to branches)
end loop

Image by Tom Carmony, used under CC

Posted in Christmas, code, pseudocode, tree | 6 Comments »

Blocking port 25 considered harmful

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 10th December 2008

Coffee cup with a broken handle on a cluttered desk

Coffeine abuse by maciekbor

Over in the Teksavvy Forum at DSLReports Rocky Gaudrault, the owner of my ISP, Teksavvy, started a discussion on blocking port 25 entitled “Argg…. UCEPROTECT… very frustrating!“. This is my reply:

Two cents I’d like to contribute:

The UCEPROTECT service isn’t blocking e-mail, it merely provides an opinion on an IP’s reputation as a mail server. Technically, this opinion is expressed with a DNSBL.

When mail doesn’t get delivered, it’s the receiving mail server that blocks it, not UCEPROTECT. The recipient may reject the mail based on the opinion of the DNSBL, but if that DNSBL gives bogus information then the recipient will be blocking legitimate mail. The fault is with the mail recipient for choosing a poor DNSBL. It’s not Teksavvy customers who can’t send e-mail, it’s the recipients who are refusing to accept it.

Even if Teksavvy did block port 25, there’s no guarantee that poor DNSBL services would whitelist Teksavvy’s servers. DNSBLs are run at the whim of their operators, and they can blacklist anything they like. The people who use these services need to understand that they’re letting someone else decide what mail they can receive, completely out of their control.

Port blocking is ineffective as a spam fighting technique — ISPs started port blocking in 2001, but if port blocking is so good, why is there still spam? Most spam still comes from disreputable bulk mailers running large-scale operations. Remember the McColo servers from a few weeks ago? When that one operation was shut down there were reports that spam volumes dropped by 30%. To fight spam, concentrate on the large-scale spammers.

There are lots of spambots running on poorly protected home computers, but that’s a symptom of poor security. Blocking port 25 won’t fix the security problem. To fight poor security it’s far better to identify the compromised computers, and provide them with tech support to fix the problem. Teksavvy is in a better position to do that than any other service provider I know.

There is no benefit to Teksavvy customers in blocking port 25 — It doesn’t protect Teksavvy customers from spam. It might protect other ISP’s customers from Teksavvy spammers, but it also denies Teksavvy customers full access to the Internet. Full, unblocked access is one of the main differentiators that Teksavvy brings to the market. Don’t give that up, Rocky.

Blocking ports also prevents legitimate services. ESMTP extensions like DSN rely on a direct connection to transfer Delivery Status Notifications. If a relay server doesn’t implement DSN then status notifications don’t get through. If port blocking is turned on, the smart host providing the relay service had better implement every ESMTP extension that exists. And that could still block other services that rely on unfettered access to port 25 (iMIP anyone?)

Blocking one port today is the thin edge of the wedge to blocking other services. Already I’ve seen requests for blocking ports 137 and other Netbios ports. If Teksavvy starts port blocking then every time there’s a new vulnerability the Teksavvy execs will need to agonize over whether to block or not. DNS is broken? Block port 53. There’s child porn on Usenet? Block port 119. CRIA threatens to shut down encrypted filesharing? Block port 443. If Teksavvy has a policy of no port blocking, all these decisions are moot.

I left Rogers because of port blocking, and came to Teksavvy because of unfettered access. Please don’t take that away.


Coffeine Abuse by maciekbor is used under a CC-BYCreative Commons Attribution license.

Posted in considered harmful, dnsbl, dslreports, port blocking, smtp, teksavvy | 7 Comments »

GWCheck Support Options

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 9th December 2008

GWCheck logoGert has once again posted my GWCheck Support Options document on his website, Thanx, Gert!

I put a sub-heading of The definitive guide to GWCheck’s “Miscellaneous” switches on it, but I think that may have been incorrect. GWCheck Support Options doesn’t determine the definitions of the support options, and certainly isn’t authoritative or even complete, and I don’t intend it to be the final version.

Calling it The ultimate guide to GWCheck’s “Miscellaneous” switches sounds a bit egotisical, but that seems to be closer to my intended meaning of “The most comprehensive guide available.”

There! Perhaps that’s the sub-heading I’ve been looking for…


Update 23 Nov 2011: GWCheck Support Options are also available at

Posted in groupwise, gwcheck support options, | Comments Off on GWCheck Support Options

This Blog is not for reading

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 4th December 2008

…so get off my lawn, already!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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