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Author Topic: Inadvertent porn possession
snopes
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Comment: I've heard this rumor in several places and I'm starting to
wonder if, maybe, there's some truth in this one....

RUMOR: An employee is asked to do a legitimate web search on an innocent
topic like "bubbles" or "fruit".... Some of the responses contain
pornography that gets downloaded and then forgotten.... Weeks, or months,
later a computer technician discovers the pornography and reports the
discovery to a government agency. The employee tries to defend himself
but the only thing that matters is that he downloaded pornographic
materials. He gets convicted of a federal crime and sent to prison
because of "possession."

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Corwin
I Am Curious Bluefin


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As far as I know, possession of pornography is not a federal crime. Lord knows I'd be in for a stay at Leavenworth if it was.

--------------------
Then lightning struck... Bad lightning.

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Silverbolt
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Replace "Pornography" with "Kiddie Porn". That's the way the story is usually told.

I know it's possible to have kiddie porn in your temporary internet files, cache, etc. without realizing it if you don't know how to clear your cache properly. (It's very easy to click on a seemingly innocent link only to get caught in what I like to call the "Endless circle of porn", where closing one porn popup ends up opening two more.)

However, I'm not sure if anyone's actually been convicted of having a couple of pictures in your cache. Usually, they go after the more obvious cases,

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Once or twice I've searched some fairly innocuous term and found one of the hits to be a porn site. And when I closed it, another one opened, then another one, then another and another...I finally turned off the computer to escape.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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ComicBookGeek
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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whitehouse.com (safe to click now, I jsut checked)) used to go to a pornsite.

I feel for that one in class.

From what I heard, the webmaster shut it down because his daughter was starting school (what level I don't remember) and he didn't want her to have to answer questions.

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Eddylizard
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I've come across legal (adult model) porn when searching for other things, then got caught up in the pop-up-go-round.

A couple of time I've been looking for ROM images of old games to play on an emulator (in itself not legal) and have been directed to lists of links with titles like

Russian teen brother and sister .....
Young 9YO .....

fill in the gaps.

Hardly fecking helpful when you are looking to play Marble Madness for the gameboy.

Apart from that I cannot say I have ever encountered child pornography by accident. Even so, I am referring to links promising to take me to child porn. The links page might be cached, but as I haven't followed the links, then I haven't downloaded or viewed any images.

I don't see how you can get hold of the illegal stuff unless you really want it.

ETA A Google search on 'fruit', 'bubbles' or 'fruit AND bubbles' does not seem to find anything pornographic. Though I haven't ploughed through all one million plus searh results. [Smile]

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Silverbolt
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Eddylizard:
I've come across legal (adult model) porn when searching for other things, then got caught up in the pop-up-go-round.

A couple of time I've been looking for ROM images of old games to play on an emulator (in itself not legal) and have been directed to lists of links with titles like

Russian teen brother and sister .....
Young 9YO .....

fill in the gaps.

Hardly fecking helpful when you are looking to play Marble Madness for the gameboy.

Apart from that I cannot say I have ever encountered child pornography by accident. Even so, I am referring to links promising to take me to child porn. The links page might be cached, but as I haven't followed the links, then I haven't downloaded or viewed any images.

I don't see how you can get hold of the illegal stuff unless you really want it.

ETA A Google search on 'fruit', 'bubbles' or 'fruit AND bubbles' does not seem to find anything pornographic. Though I haven't ploughed through all one million plus searh results. [Smile]

Maybe you haven't encountered it yourself, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Trust me, it's not very difficult to get sucked into the "endless circle of porn", and if you're stuck in there long enough, you will eventually run into some illegal material. All it takes is one misclick.

That said, this is becoming less and less of a problem as time goes by. Between firewall settings, antivirus scanners, popup blockers, and Firefox, getting caught up in the endless circle of porn is becoming largely a thing of the past. However, there are some out there who are still unprotected and using Internet Explorer. I'm a techie. Trust me, people like this keep people like me employed. [Smile]

In short, it happens. It's rare, but it does happen.

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musicgeek
Deck the Malls


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Back in the early days of search engines....

(well, around '96 or so, and before many educational institutions had installed draconian content filters on their networks)

...a few of us in the collegiate MENC (music educators) chapter were searching for a fundraising lollipop company whose wares we had sampled at a recent conference. As I recall, we searched (Lycos or Alta Vista) for "gourmet lollipops" and the THIRD return was a kiddie porn site. We were extremely careful not to click the link -- not a good thing to have cached on a school computer.

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

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pob14
Jingle Bell Hock


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I lost a child porn prosecution for exactly this reason.

The guy (a college student) had deleted child porn - some of the worst images imaginable - on his computer. We wouldn't have prosecuted it, except that he had 24 hours advance notice that his computer was going to be seized, and we figured he deleted all the stuff then. He was a regular on one of the file-sharing sites and claimed all the kiddie porn showed up when he clicked on innocuous-sounding filenames.

The judge believed him, or at least didn't believe that we proved knowing possession beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Patrick

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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You know, it never occurred to me that the popup blocker would stop that porn-trap thing. We have a blocker at school and at home now. Problem solved!

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

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Jonny T
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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British law recognises as a valid defence immediate deletion of illegal images - see here:
quote:
Of the total, 23 had been "embedded" images - which could have been inadvertently downloaded on the back of other computer files - and 21, on the external hard-drive and a Nokia 3G mobile, had been "deleted".

The spokesman said: "To transfer to the phone, the suspect would have to have specialist knowledge.

"There was no evidence that Mr Kahar had possession of, or access to, equipment or the technical knowledge to do so."

There was no certain creation or deletion date for 15 of the 21 deleted images, the spokesman added.

The remaining six appeared to have been quickly deleted, which is a recognised defence in law, she said.

Not sure how it works in the US, but in the UK there appears to be a requirement that the images were proveably deliberately obtained. How this would impact on computer cache I'm not sure - images downloaded to the desktop would be one thing, but if a site was accessed once only I would doubt the images would count as incriminating.

IANAL tho...

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Greetings from the dark side...

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Arriah
The First USA Noel


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Try searching for "rules for twister"

I did that for work (planning games for the company picnic) and didn't read the captions well enough and landed on the rules for naked twister. I don't know how bad it was though, our work porn filter blocked it.

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Conforming meant that everyone liked you except yourself
Rebecca

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I've been surfing a lot and has had my share of porn popups, but I've yet to see any popups with child pornography. No site operator would be stupid enough to try to make money by popping up child porn. They might claim things like "16 year old virgins", but I'll bet that if you go to the site, there will be a statement saying "All models are at least 18 years old".

In other words, popups are a weak defence for child porn, especially if it's found outside the cache. I turn off my cache anyway, especially at work, as I have no desire for any adult material that might pop up to appear there.

The only defences I might believe are:

* Mail. There is some wierd spam out there, and I don't even look at it. Partly because it's obviously spam, partly because of the security issues.
* Mislabeled files. There is really no way of knowing that the Pearl_Harbour.avi you downloaded actually is "Naughty Nurses 2" (Real example. Actually, Naughty Nurses 2 had better story and better acting...) until you watch it, and that might be a long time after downloading.

--------------------
/Troberg

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BluesScale
Deck the Malls


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Ok, I have to admit to a professional interest here as I am studying for my computer forensics qualifications. About 80% of CF is trying to determine how illegal images got on to a system. The remainder is mostly financial fraud cases.

It is pretty rare for popups to show child porn since websites that do that get shutdown fairly quickly even when they are in countries which do not have a good compliance record. What sites still (regretably) exist require a credit card for the most part.

A lot of file sharing networks do contain child porn.

Oh, and the "but malware put it on there" defence? Doesn't work any more. Best not to try it.

Bluesscale

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I just googled the rules for Naked Twister. Number two is "Try not to get caught in the storm cellar with Auntie Em."

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

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RangerDog
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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But being caught in the storm celler with Leftenant Em from our very own snopes community is a very different kettle of fish! [Smile]

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Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

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Em
Happy Holly Days


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How did I end up in a porn thread? [lol] And with a promotion, too.

The joys of a sailor-to-officer changeover; you get to start at the bottom again. While technically a promotion, I can't see going from LS to MIDN (US equivalent E-6 to OF-1) as anything other than being busted back.

It was Midshipman Em, in the storm cellar, with the kettle of fish.

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What the NFBSK does YOMANK mean?

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Lydia Oh Lydia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I remember around 1996, I was in my school's computer lab. I had just gotten (or was going to get) an iguana and I was doing some research. Somewhere within the first 20 hits, "green iguana" led to a porn site. I remember clicking on a hit, having a porn site come up, and being so embarrassed that someone might see me in the very open computer lab and think I was looking at porn! I remember clicking out of that site, only to have a few more pop up.

A mere few years ago, I was researching something at work. I don't recall what, but I had the same thing happen that Brad from Georgia described.

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WingedBear
A View to a Krill


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The way you could get trapped now is with the programs that "make the Internet go faster" as all they usually do is pre-load every link on a page in case you decide to go there. So if you did a search that included a porn site, it would be in your cache without even looking at it.

It's also a fun way to piss off your network administrator and co-workers as you steal all the bandwidth.

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If the sum of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square on the other two sides, why is a mouse when it spins?

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educatedindian
I Saw Three Shipments


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A colleague of mine was working on a cultural history of Wonder Woman for her dissertation. I mentioned to her the old bondage parody comics called Blunder Broad, which involved some pretty graphic stuff.

She was doing a search for them when her advisor walked in the grad students offices. Her search has turned up mostly porn sites. Both of them consider themselves dedicated feminists and my friend had to do some fast talking.

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Jordashe
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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A relative worked for the government.
They found a selection of pinup image files on a network drive, and had to research where it came from.

It turns out to have been installed as demo images for some graphics software they had bought and installed.

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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Something quite similar happened to me. I was looking for information on Hole (a band) the first time I used the internet. It inevitably came up with loads of porn sites and I got stuck in 'the endless cycle of porn'. The computer was a school computer from where my mum used to teach. She was nearly fired because of it until I wrote a grovelling letter to the Head.

One of the worst situations I've ever found myself in.

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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Louise
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I remember when I was in 9th grade (which was only 5 years ago) that the computer teachers told us that if something popped up like that not to start crying and freak out (which someone apparently did) but to calmly close it and explain to them what happened. I've never really frequented websites that have those kind of pop-ups, so it wasn't really a problem.

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"Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain

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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I know some college kids who got surprised by porn on their computers. About five years ago I was at a school with free internet access - you just had to plug into the CAT-5 jack in the wall. Pretty cool.

Problem was that a very large number of students were not very computer savvy and did not realize that most of their new computers had shared folders set up by default. Because of the way Windows and the school network were set up, anyone hooked up to the network could see everyone else that was on and the contents of their shared folders.

Some of it was done knowingly - keeping an open folder was a great way to trade music and it was faster to download from the guy down the hall than to deal with a P2P program. Most of the shared folders were just clueless kids who sometimes didn't know they were sharing anything. I know more than one who ended up with a shared folder full of porn before noticing the sudden change in disk space.

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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There is a certain risk when engaging in certain less-than-legal computer activities -- namely filesharing.

I used to download movies but I had one or two grossly mislabeled files that made me decide that I'd rather not risk it any more. The worst is that most of the full-length files tend to be in AVI format and aren't viewable while downloading (a partially downloaded mpg file can be played).

Now my filesharing is rather strictly limited to attempting to collect a complete set of PDF'd roleplaying games that were released into the public domain a while ago (but the website has since disappeared).

As for the OP, I would tend to think that having a few illegal images in your browser cache does not constitute a crime. Having several thousand illegal images neatly stored by category & file type most definitely will.

I think the authorities only go after the big fish at the moment. All of the non-celebrity illegal porn crimes I've read about, every one has involved the authorities discovering incredibly large stockpiles of CDs & floppy disks filled with the stuff. I could be wrong though, because maybe it's the really large busts that make the news and there a plenty of "every day" busts that don't rate a mention.

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"victory thru self-deception"

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Corwin:
As far as I know, possession of pornography is not a federal crime.

It is if the computer is Federal Property. We've had folks at my office get "in trouble" for going to porn sites accidentally. A while back, NASA.com got you a porn site (it doesn't now).

Note that we had someone ON PURPOSE run a porn image server from a government computer. THAT was an interesting case...

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

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Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


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I would think run a server of any type on a goverment computer that was not authorized would be federal crime.
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Dreams of Thinking Machines
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
There is a certain risk when engaging in certain less-than-legal computer activities -- namely filesharing.

I used to download movies but I had one or two grossly mislabeled files that made me decide that I'd rather not risk it any more. The worst is that most of the full-length files tend to be in AVI format and aren't viewable while downloading (a partially downloaded mpg file can be played).

Now my filesharing is rather strictly limited to attempting to collect a complete set of PDF'd roleplaying games that were released into the public domain a while ago (but the website has since disappeared).

As for the OP, I would tend to think that having a few illegal images in your browser cache does not constitute a crime. Having several thousand illegal images neatly stored by category & file type most definitely will.

I think the authorities only go after the big fish at the moment. All of the non-celebrity illegal porn crimes I've read about, every one has involved the authorities discovering incredibly large stockpiles of CDs & floppy disks filled with the stuff. I could be wrong though, because maybe it's the really large busts that make the news and there a plenty of "every day" busts that don't rate a mention.

I remember downloading the psx emulator for the game Einhander, opening the file, and getting a virus that causing endless popups of the Tub Girl image [Eek!]

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Obi Wan: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes!"
Anakin: "Um, isn't your last statement an absolute?"

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Spikey
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
I got stuck in 'the endless cycle of porn'. The computer was a school computer from where my mum used to teach. She was nearly fired because of it until I wrote a grovelling letter to the Head.

[Eek!] That's awful! Your mum was nearly fired just because of something you did, totally unrelating to her? Unless I'm misunderstanding, and she was teaching the lesson at the time, surely they couldn't have got away with firing her over that!?

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"The fact that "uvula" and "vulva" look and sound similar was just a happy coincidence." - Lainie

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Spikey:
quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
I got stuck in 'the endless cycle of porn'. The computer was a school computer from where my mum used to teach. She was nearly fired because of it until I wrote a grovelling letter to the Head.

[Eek!] That's awful! Your mum was nearly fired just because of something you did, totally unrelating to her? Unless I'm misunderstanding, and she was teaching the lesson at the time, surely they couldn't have got away with firing her over that!?
It was horrible! And it wasn't even something I did on purpose. They saw sense in the end though.

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Singing in the Drizzle:
I would think run a server of any type on a goverment computer that was not authorized would be federal crime.

Yes. The person running the server was fired (and then some). So were the people who should have spotted the illegal use of the governmant computer. It was a big mess.

The other incident (my co-worker getting the "inadvertent porn") happened just after the first incident, so the reaction was much more severe than it should have been.

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And now for something completely different...

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charlie23
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
I used to download movies but I had one or two grossly mislabeled files that made me decide that I'd rather not risk it any more. The worst is that most of the full-length files tend to be in AVI format and aren't viewable while downloading (a partially downloaded mpg file can be played).

avipreview (freeware)

Works great.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
avipreview (freeware)
VLC can also play partial files.

http://www.videolan.org

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/Troberg

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skeptic
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Once or twice I've searched some fairly innocuous term and found one of the hits to be a porn site. And when I closed it, another one opened, then another one, then another and another...I finally turned off the computer to escape.

To get rid of this problem, try the CTRL + F4 combo and it usually works. (ALT + F4 for Firefox tabs)

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I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

Posts: 407 | From: Ireland | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Ah, thank you!

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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