Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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January 2005
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Gerald McBoingBoing posted to the Net…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 11:52 pm

The Dr. Seuss kiddie 45, Gerald McBoingBoing is now available for download from - the ZIP file can be downloaded via BitTorrent (we recommend BitTornado), so you can download and help distribute the file at the same time.

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Build-in Against the Broadcast Flag Mandate

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 11:12 am

Copyfight is staging a “build-in:” Build your own high-definition video recorder that lawfully ignores the broadcast flag.
Build-in Against the Broadcast Flag Mandate

Cool idea. I’m hoping to put together a computer before the deadline myself. Think of it…a TiVO clone without anyone recording what you watch, allowing you to record off-air digital television…cool stuff.

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Why EFF Is Fighting Apple

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:30 pm

From Copyfight: The Electronics Freedom Foundation is taking the cause of three blogs/newssites attacked by the computer maker for providing to the public information on future product offerings.
Why EFF Is Fighting Apple: Corante >Why the EFF is fighting Apple

I’m amazed that Apple has become this user-unfriendly. Time to send a message to the computer biggie that we won’t accept this any more than we’d take this kind of crap from Microsoft.

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I don’t normally promote eBay auctions, but…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 8:56 am

Ok, so I admit it…I’m not a great fan of eBay. Part of the reason is that so many people have tried to increase their auction bids by posting notices into the OTR Digest or the Phorums, so eBay hasn’t exactly endeared itself.

But this auction is just too juicy not to mention; a Medium fleece jacket presented to and worn by Bob Edwards at what wound up being his final staff retreat among National Public Radio’s Morning Edition staff. My favorite line from the auction description:

In protest of the senseless and mishandled firing of America’s Host, I’m donating the proceeds of this auction to NPR rival American Public Radio!

Go get ‘em - I hope you get a bundle for it!

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So the Katester spent the night in the hospital…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:01 pm

Katie’s been suffering fron an illness lately, and it was decided she should be admitted to the local hospital overnight for some IV medications. She’s six (six-and-a-half, as she makes clear), so she was understandably nervous. What’s worse, we recently watched an episode of Joan of Arcadia where a friend of Joan’s enters the hospital and later dies; it d*mned near broke my heart when Katie asked me if she was going to die, too. (She will, of course, but with luck not for another hundred years or so, which is exactly what I told her.) She was a brave soldier through the wrist access (she even watched), and became almost bored with the meds going into her arm. She even got used to the annoying automated blood pressure cuff that checked her pressure every half hour, awake or asleep, and only became mildly annoyed at the dog-and-pony show required to get her from the bed into the toilet (”Too many wires,” she’d say).

So when the time came this morning to be released…she didn’t want to leave. She told me that everyone was so nice to her there, she wanted to at least stay for lunch.

I don’t know whether to credit the staff of York Hospital’s pediatric ward, or the raw pluckiness of the Peanut. So I think I’ll allow them to share the credit.

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Johnny Carson, king of late night, dies

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 2:17 pm

From the Associated Press via Seattle PI: Johnny Carson, the “Tonight Show” TV host who served America a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter, droll comedy and heartland charm for 30 years, has died. He was 79.
Johnny Carson, king of late night, dies


A quick search of the net turned up an interesting article on i-Newswire which suggests Carson has been writing occasional jokes for David Letterman, who according to the release he considered the rightful successor to The Tonight Show. The story is amplified in this AP Wire story available through, and a Reuters UK story.

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Another twist on blog comment spam…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 3:31 pm

There’s yet another bizarre twist to blog comment spam I’m nothing. Now the scum are comment-spamming domains that have an, “ACCOUNT TERMINATED !” page on them…of course, there are clear indications that it’s phony (why is it that the chickenboners couldn’t write a gramatical sentence if you held a gun to their heads?), but if you wait a week or so, there’s suddenly an on-line gambling site or illegal scam pharamcy at the domain.

Of course, you don’t have to deal with these, but I can tell you they are annoying the devil out of me, coming on top of the “normal” comment spam the blog is receiving…I wonder if there’s a methodology for renaming on a random basis whatever file they are looking for to determine that WordPress is running?

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FireFox continues gains against IE

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:59 pm

From CNET The popularity of alternative Web browser FireFox continues to rise at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to a new study.
FireFox continues gains against IE

Anyone who’s used it understands why…IE is so filled with security holes, it’s a pleasure to use a browser that isn’t infecting the system constantly.

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Harvard student finds lawyer to defend Apple suit

Filed under: General, News — Charlie Summers @ 6:51 pm

Update from Harvard undergraduate student Nicholas Ciarelli, who goes by the pseudonym Nick dePlume, said in an article on the site that he is being represented by Terry Gross, a lawyer who once represented the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an agency that is backing two other Macintosh sites that are in Apple’s legal crosshairs.
Harvard student finds lawyer to defend Apple suit

Apple - back off. Now. You’re looking like a schoolyard bully.

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Do You Want to Live Forever?

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 3:22 pm

From Technology Review: A fascinating interview and look at Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey, who is convinced humans can live a lifespan of thousands of years…as soon as within the next twenty-five years.
Do You Want to Live Forever?

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FBI Tosses Carnivore to the Dogs

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:49 pm

From Wired: The FBI has effectively abandoned its custom-built internet surveillance technology, once known as Carnivore, designed to read e-mails and other online communications, according to bureau oversight reports submitted to Congress.
FBI Tosses Carnivore to the Dogs

Good news, bad news. Carnivore is gone…but now the FBI is using commercial software. So there’s still no such thing as privacy.

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Christmas Came a Little Late This Year…

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:34 pm

I’ve been pretty busy lately, trying uselessly to catch up from December, and so haven’t been to the Post Office for weeks. Went down earlier, and there in the box was a package from our friend Craig Wichman, Old-Time Radio fan and Modern Audio Drama actor/producer. In the package, along with a note, was a CD of, “A Christmas Carol,” performed by the Quicksilver Radio Theater and featuring Mr. Wickman as Scrooge. Those of you who attended last year’s Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention in Newark saw him perform the role of Sherlock Holmes…

Which brings up how charitable this gift really is…see, I promised Craig months ago that I’d get the pics from Saturday at the FOTR Con posted. (Saturday was, of course, the day of the Sherlock Holmes recreation.) As I’m sure you’ve noticed, no Saturday photos have made it here yet. I d*mned near forgot on which computer they’re currently residing…

But to show my heart’s in the right place (even if my head isn’t), I enclose a precious few pics from the Holmes recreation, and publically promise to get more pics posted in the next week. Note the first three are from the rehearsal, and the last from the performance.

As to, “A Christmas Carol,” I’ve been bummed by the passing of Christmastime this year anyway, so my plan is to follow the advice of the author sometime over the coming weekend when I can remove all distractions, turn down the lights, close my eyes, and follow the cast to Queen Victoria’s London in the Year of Our Lord 1843…





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Thimble Theatre dailies discs ready…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:14 pm

Bruce Rosenberger sends in the following; those interested should contact Bruce directly (I didn’t even know what “Thimble Theatre” was until a Google search…):

Finally! The disks are ready! Announcing:

Thimble Theatre dailies - Dec 19 1919 - Jan 1, 1921

Scanned from the files of the SFACA, the first year of this hard to find strip. Scanned at 266 ppi and saved as .tif files. The files have been cleaned of “noise” but if I wasn’t sure, I left it.

The SFACA collection was missing 7 of the dailies from this period. Thanks to “Holmes,” 5 of those are included, retrieved from microfilm.

The set of 2 disks is available for $15 postpaid in the US and Canada. One of our European members and I had worked out a distribution plan for that continent that would keep the price the same. If you don’t live in the US or Canada, contact me and we’ll figure something out to hopefully save huge postal charges. Payment can be made via check, moneyorder, or Paypal. Contact me for details.

All profit from these sets will go to purchase future sets. This is a not for profit venture to make these rare strips available to all. I suspect that a limited run book will also be published in the future.

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Think Secret Seeks Free Lawyer

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:59 pm

From Wired News: The 19-year-old publisher of a website facing a lawsuit over an article about a top-secret $500 Apple computer said Friday he can’t afford to defend himself.
Wired News: Think Secret Seeks Free Lawyer

Pretty lame of Apple to be suing a kid, ain’t it? If they have a beef against anyone, it’s against anyone who violated a confidentiality agreement with the company. But of course Apple will use its legal weight on the website, hoping to silence any other site that might inform the public.

God Bless America.

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I hate spammers…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 7:17 pm

…but I’m starting to hate users who complain to the wrong people about spam more.

Apparently, some scum is (badly) forging a Received: header field with the address. The forgery seems to be malformed (in the few examples I’ve seen, anyway), looking like:

Received: from (HELO [27

The examples I’ve seen appear to be coming out of China and Hong Kong-based machines, but it’s possible they’re coming from zombies all over the world. I don’t know what they’re advertising, because with all the complaints I’ve received, no one has bothered sending me an accurate copy of the mail including complete header fields and body. I do know the To: header field contains, “undisclosed-recipients: ;” which is unusual in spam. Regardless, I am getting seriously tired of people seeing a web address in the headers and complaining to me about the spam. I mean seriously tired.

Look, people, forget that I’m more anti-spam than you can ever hope to be. Ignore that I’ve properly complained about more spam in my carreer than you will ever hope to get. Don’t pay any attention to the clear anti-spam graphics on the website.

Buy a friggin’ clue that header fields can be forged, and learn how the blazes to complain to the proper originator!

Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. Seriously; there’s a wealth of tutorials on the Internet to explain how to “chain” Received: header fields. There’s my personal favorite, SpamCop, who will actually do this for you so you don’t have to worry about making the mistake. It’s really easy to tell from what machine any given spam came from, really it is. And although I should note this is only an anecdotal observation, most of the misdirected cursing and complaining seems to be coming from Canadians. I make no judgement here, only note the observation.

But please stop swearing at me simply because some spammer scum badly forged a Received: header field, huh?

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Hacker ‘Gets More’ From T-Mobile

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:38 pm

From Wired News: A hacker broke into a wireless carrier’s network over at least seven months and read e-mails and personal computer files of hundreds of customers, including the Secret Service agent investigating the intruder, the government said Wednesday.
Wired News: Hacker ‘Gets More’ From T-Mobile

According to other stories, this guy was also able to snatch camera phone photos from celebrities, including Demi Moore.

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Time for Sensible Copyright Law

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:32 am

According to Donna Wentworth at Copyfight, IPac has just unveiled Jailed for a Song, a new public-awareness campaign that makes it clear that people who support sensible copyright law aren’t the radical extremists in this debate. If you’re affected by copyright law…and who isn’t…you should read the information available here, and get involved to keep the Hollyweird contingent from convincing Congress that copyright law is a weapon to be used against everyone.

Check it out, and spread the word. Those of us interested in Old-Time Radio, television, film, music, and the arts in general need to band together to battle the corporate interests determined to take away any right we have to enjoy these works without checking in with the “owners.”

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Hackers Tune In to Windows Media Player

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 7:36 pm

From eWeek: Hackers are using the newest DRM technology in Microsoft’s Windows Media Player to install spyware, adware, dialers and computer viruses on unsuspecting PC users.
Hackers Tune In to Windows Media Player

As if users don’t have enough problems with immoral restrictions on use of purchased media, now the licensing system itself is being used by the bad guys.

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EFF: Apple Can’t Strongarm Bloggers

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:52 am

From the EFF: Apple sent legal threats to the publishers of the Mac-centric weblogs AppleInsider and PowerPage for posting information about a product code-named “Asteroid.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing the publishers to protect their right to keep confidential the identities of the people who supplied them with the information.
Apple Can’t Strongarm Bloggers

Geez, Apple, no wonder you’re down below linux on the desktop. You are just way too much like Microsoft.

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Podcasting and On The Media…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 6:32 pm

Those of you who follow this blog know my friend Jim Widner is a “pod-head,” seeing podcasting as the death of radio as we know it. You also know that I am somewhat…blasť…on the whole thing, maintaining there’s nothing earth-shattering here, just a lot of noise from johnny-come-latelies.

But for the first time, I thought for a few minutes that I actually saw some advantage to podcasting. It didn’t last, though.

I listen to a public radio program, produced by WNYC (and unfortunately distributed by NPR instead of a more responsive organization) called, On The Media. Each week, Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield review the media itself; not always successfully, but I usually enjoy the effort (unless they’re replaying for the bazillionth time an old piece of Garfield’s to eat up time). This is one of the very few public radio programs to make available a downloadable version of their show, in MP3 format - what’s better, it’s a pretty good-quality 96kbps file. I wrote a pretty ugly shell script designed to download the show each week automatically (if that sounds like what podcasting does…well, duh), which has been working pretty well for quite a while now, although their rather strange naming scheme (otmMMDDYY.mp3) makes life interesting, and they occasionally move the directory of the file requiring an alteration to the script.

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