Archive for June, 2007

How to do an end run around the GPL with retail software

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

1. Include a GPL-based program in your retail software version 1.0.
2. 3 months after 1.0 is released, release version 1.1 and cease distributing 1.0.
3. Delete the sources to 1.0.
4. Repeat ad infinitum.
5. ???
6. Profit!

This way you only have to satisfy source requests from customers who request it up front immediately after their purchase. Immediately after a direct purchase from you, that is — if the boxed software is sold by a distribution house after you have moved to a new version, well that’s no longer your problem, is it? And those pesky customers who have to maintain your software in the field will just have to do without the sources to any prior versions that you no longer distribute. Bonus points if they purchase upgrades to the new version because of this scheme.

For extra evil, you can refer customers who ask for source to a generic upstream mirror for the “sources”, as long as they don’t make enough noise about your violation of the GPL.

Bank of America “security”

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

When you’re in a Bank of America online banking session, if your session goes idle for too long, the site pops up an alert box letting you know that your session has timed out due to inactivity. The alert box then redirects to a page which destroys your session and presents a login. This scheme can be easily defeated by immediately refreshing the page after dismissing the alert box, before the redirect occurs… thanks, BOA.

Is it a person or is it not?

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Court documents: Cop killed pregnant woman in her home

Investigators believe policeman Bobby Lee Cutts Jr. killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend Jessie Marie Davis at her home about eleven days ago, according to court documents released Monday.

Cutts faces two counts of murder and is expected to appear in court Monday afternoon.

Unborn Victims of Violence Act

The fundamental moral divide on the issue of abortion is whether the fetus is a part of the mother, giving the mother the exclusive right to determine its fate under the 14th Amendment, or an independent being, giving the state the power to prevent harm to it — even when authorized or committed by the mother.

Yet while it seems that even though Roe v. Wade decided the issue in favor of the fetus being a part of the mother, in that it read an unprecedented right to privacy into 14th Amendment, it seems that in criminal law the fetus is treated as a separate person, invoking a separate charge to the perpretrator equal to that associated with the mother’s death.

Is it possible to really have it both ways in a moral system based on consistent principles?

What they didn’t teach you in brake bleeding school

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

There are always unforeseen problems when working on cars. Bleeding the brakes is no exception.

There are lots of different ways to bleed the brakes. I use a hand vacuum bleeder. It can be purchased for less than $30 and makes brake bleeding a one man job. Another very cheap tool is Speed Bleeder one-way valves.

Have a glass jar nearby to collect old brake fluid. When using a vacuum pump, put the vacuum tip into the jar before removing the collector from the vacuum pump to avoid spillage.

Always keep the master cylinder topped off. Occasionally take a break by closing the bleeder valve and go check on the master cylinder.

Bleeder valve is Frozen

Yes, you are doing the right thing. You are trying to loosen the piece that has a nipple on one end and that threads into the brake cylinder on the other end. It will be above the brake line fitting. Just make sure you are trying to turn the valve the right way. Lefty loosey, but it’s reversed if you’re coming from the other side. Use the box end of a wrench to loosen the valve. If the valve has not been opened in a long time, don’t risk breaking it — spray PB Blaster or Kroil or similar catalyst penetrating oil onto the screw and let it soak in for a day or two. If you break the valve off, your job just got a lot more painful. The valve only needs to break loose and move at most 1/4 turn for you to do the job. When you reinstall a valve, put some axle grease on the exposed threads to help protect it from future corrosion.

Air Rises

This should be obvious, but sometimes the obvious escapes us. The vacuum pump and collector must be held in the air ABOVE the bleed fitting in order to accomplish the bleeding. Also, if there are any high spots in the system, the end of the car being bled must be elevated (elevating might be a good idea in general — it certainly doesn’t hurt).

When using a vacuum pump, pump it to about 20 mm Hg and pump some more whenever it goes below 15 mm Hg.
First, you want to get old brake fluid out and discard it. Old fluid will be dark with moisture and contamination, new fluid will be clear and beige-colored. Secondly, you want to purge the air from the system. You should see lots of bubbles at first, eventually trailing off and running clear.

Nothing happens

You might have to tap the brake pedal to push a clog out of the bleeder nipple, especially if it was missing the rubber cap.

The bubbles won’t stop

You’ve been bleeding for a while. The bubbles seem pretty consistent, not trailing off, or there is a distinct foam to the pumped fluid. You might even hear a hissing noise. The problem here is not anything you’re doing. It is air passing the threads on the bleeder and being pulled in with the brake fluid. This would not be a problem except it makes it impossible to tell when you have actually bled the system. To fix this, you must take the bleeder valve out all the way (I used a 5/16 socket to make this easier) and wrap teflon pipe thread tape around the threads several times. Reinstall the bleeder valve and try again. Like magic… hopefully. If it still seems to be leaking air, you may simply have too much corrosion on the bleeder valve for it to correctly seal. Go and buy a new bleeder valve, wrap it with teflon tape, and you should have no more bubbles.

Hopefully this is all the information you need to get the air out of your brakes. When you’re done, top off the master cylinder, reinstall the cap, and remember to pump your brakes to build up pressure while the car is still parked. (If you did not also install a new master cylinder, don’t allow the pedal to hit the floor though, or your master cylinder is likely to be damaged.)