"As for second-quarter digital camera sales, we recorded significant growth of 74.5% on a year-on-year basis and also exceeded our projection. We are making steady advancement towards our goal of becoming No. 1 in the world."
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Posted By Allen at 6:03 PM
Digital Photography Review has a short piece that points us to a Canon press release for their financial statement for the first half of 2003. The quote below blew me away:
Posted By Allen at 4:21 PM
According to this article on CNET News.com Linksys is going to start making 802.11 adapters for platform game systems like the Sony PlayStation and the Microsoft X-Box. Here is a quote from the article:
"Linksys, the newly acquired division of Cisco Systems, on Wednesday announced two new adapters that are designed to connect game consoles, including Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube, to each other and to the Internet for online multiplayer gaming. The new adapters are available immediately and are based on the 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networking standards. The 802.11b-based adapter, called the Wireless-B Game Adapter, costs $79, while the 802.11g-based Wireless-G Game Adapter costs $129. The 802.11g standard has a higher throughput--up to 54 megabits per second--than the 802.11b standard, which allows for 11 megabits of data per second to be transferred over a network. "
Posted By Allen at 1:35 PM
The Register is running a story about Japan's plan to include RFID chips in all of their new 10,000 Yen Bills (about $100.00). The official line is that it's to beat counterfeiting, but there are other much more chilling effects of having trackable cash. One thing to consider is that, today, cash is the only way a person can buy something anonymously, (i.e. with no paper trail). An RFID chip in your cash can kill that very easily. Let's say you live in California, and you want to exercise your Voter approved right to use medical narcotics. However, the Federal Government does not recognize that right, and wants to catch you buying your narcotics. With an RFID chip in your money this is really easy. The Bank/ATM that dispenses the cash to you can record the serial numbers for each bill. Then as you move about town other RFID sensors can identify that you are still carrying the bill. When you spend it, the bill can be tracked back to you. And now you have to explain why a drug dealer has your bill.
"New 10,000 Yen bills (worth about £51) currently entering production are to be implanted with IC chips from Hitachi in a bid to combat counterfeiters and money launderers, according to Japanese reports relayed to us by Osaka-based Reg Reader D. Michael Ramirez. Notes will come with Hitachi's 0.3mm 'mew-chip' which responds to radio signals by sending out a 128-bit number. This information could include a serial number with the date and place of origin of a note. Each chip costs around 50 Yen (26p). "Also imagine that a theif can use a portable RFID scanner to determine how much money you have on you. That would make it really easy to figure out which people to mug.
Posted By Allen at 7:58 AM
Techdirt has an article about a fairly recent idea in machine language translation. The idea is that you feed a machine several documents with the same text in different languages, the the machine uses statistical weighting to figure out the translation matrix. This is the same way Bayes SPAM filters work. The Techdirt piece also links to this NYT article for further reading. Here is a quote from the NYT article:
Statistical machine translation - in which computers essentially learn new languages on their own instead of being "taught" the languages by bilingual human programmers - has taken off. The new technology allows scientists to develop machine translation systems for a wide number of obscure languages at a pace that experts once thought impossible. Dr. Knight and others said the progress and accuracy of statistical machine translation had recently surpassed that of the traditional machine translation programs used by Web sites like Yahoo and BabelFish. In the past, such programs were able to compile extensive databanks of foreign languages that allowed them to outperform statistics-based systems.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:18 PM
Reiter's Wireless Data Web Log has a nice article about the Wallflower WiFi picture frame. You might remember that I posted an article here, a few weeks ago after meeting one of the founders of the company.
Posted By Allen at 8:39 AM
When I was in school I went through the sex ed. classes like everyone else. I had been as attentive as a 7th grader can be, and I had learned quite a bit about the biological origin of children. What they failed to tell us in that class, and all the classes that followed it, is where children really come from. We'll get to that in a minute. My wife and I got married last September, and we had decided then to wait a couple of years before we made up our minds to have children. Our goal in this was to get to know each-other, and to make sure we were financially stable before we start having children. We thought that there would be enough stress in our marriage in the first few years, with both of us working (me at a startup), and adding a new baby to the mix would make it incredibly hard to get along. We decided to build a foundation that could support a family, instead of just getting started. Now, however, we've been married for a little over 10 months, and I'm starting to realize where children really come from. It may be love and sex that creates a child, but I'm pretty sure that it's peer pressure that initiates the act. That's right, forget what you think you know, children come from peer pressure. In the last week, I have had five conversations with five different people about the joys of parenthood. None of these conversations were initiated by me. The conversations happened with coworkers, and once a vendor who visited my office. Each time the conversation started with, "So you've been married for almost a year. Is there a baby on the way?" To which i would reply, "I don't think so, do I look pregnant?" With my witty answer given it's due, usually a groan, then the real pressure would start. Each time the parents mentioned the following points:
- You have never experienced love like the love of a child for it's parent.
- Having a child will change your whole perspective on life.
- It's the best thing that can happen to a person.
- You never get annoyed by your own child's screaming and crying.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Posted By Allen at 12:35 PM
This is a gadget that I have been eagerly anticipating. It's an 802.11b card in the SD form factor, so you can use it with a handheld computer or possibly even a cellphone. I've been hearing about these things for, what seems like, ages. Now we have shipping dates, and reviews. It looks like this one might actually be real. Brighthand has posted a review of the SanDisk version, which looks like it will be the first one to ship. Here is a quote from the review:
"We've been testing a SanDisk SD Wi-Fi Card for the past few days along with an HP iPAQ h2210 Pocket PC and were able to easily connect to several wireless networks, including the 802.11b network in our office and the T-Mobile HotSpot at our local Starbucks. The only issue we found with the card is that it protrudes from the device about half an inch (see picture at right), making it succeptible to accidental breakage. Otherwise, it was simple to set up, worked the first time, and provided excellent range while not draining the battery."
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Posted By Allen at 7:55 AM
One of my biggest regrets about my time at Indiana University is that I never went to see the Gutenberg Bible, that is housed in the Lilly Library. I knew the Bible was there, and even passed by the library most days, but I never stopped in. Most people haven't had a chance to see a Gutenberg Bible, but now you can. The Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has digitized their copy, every page. This site is well done, and it's a phenomenal application of the digital library concept.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:00 AM
Marc Schultz has an interesting visit from the FBI last week. Apparently this man was reading in a coffee shop, and another patron was so frightened of him that they called a tip into the FBI. You can read Schultz's account of the FBI interview. Here is a quote from his account:
"'That was my mom,' I tell them. 'The FBI's coming for me.' They laugh; it's a good joke, especially when the FBI actually shows up. They are not the bogeymen I had been expecting. They're dressed casually, they speak familiarly, but they are big. The one in front stands close to 7 feet, and you can tell his partner is built like a bulldog under his baggy shirt and shorts. 'You Marc Schultz?' asks the tall one. He shows me his badge, introduces himself as Special Agent Clay Trippi. After assuring me that I'm not in trouble, he asks if there is someplace we can sit down and talk. We head back to Reference, where a table and chairs are set up. We sit down, and I'm again informed that I am not in trouble. Then, Agent Trippi asks, 'Do you drive a black Nissan Altima?' And I realize this meeting is not about a friend. Despite their reassurances, and despite the fact that I haven't committed any federal offenses (that I know of), I'm starting to feel a bit like I'm in trouble. "
Posted By Allen at 9:41 AM
In this article Charley Reese points out how the President Bush is starting to resemble President Clinton, and not in a flattering way.
"President George W. Bush is more and more resembling Bill Clinton. He's just as eager as Clinton was to avoid responsibility and accountability, and he's just as fond of parsing the English language to confuse the issues. Please note, for example, that the Bush administration now talks about weapons 'programs.' Well, of course, 15 years ago Iraq had programs to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The United States even assisted in some degree. But we didn't go to war because Iraq had programs 15 years ago, we went to war because Iraq allegedly had 'stockpiles' of chemical and biological weapons ready to deploy and use and was actively pursuing nuclear weapons."I have become more and more concerned about our reasons for invading Iraq. President Bush made a very good case early on that the UN inspectors were either inept or just stonewalling. He gave us the impression that the US military would go it and find all of these scary weapons, and that would be the end of it. It's been three months since the end of major combat, and we have yet to turn up any evidence. When I listened to Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations, I had the impression that the US would need about twenty minutes to uncover these weapons of mass destruction. So, my question is, where are they?
Posted By Allen at 9:29 AM
Here is a story that I found particularly unsettling. According to this newsobserver.com article, a guy was stealing passwords from computers installed at Kinko's stores in New York. Here is a quote from the story:
"NEW YORK (AP) - For more than a year, unbeknownst to people who used Internet terminals at Kinko's stores in New York, Juju Jiang was recording what they typed, paying particular attention to their passwords. Jiang had secretly installed, in at least 14 Kinko's stores, software that logs individual keystrokes. He captured more than 450 user names and passwords, using them to access and even open bank accounts online. The case, which led to a guilty plea earlier this month after Jiang was caught, highlights the risks and dangers of using public Internet terminals at cybercafes, libraries, airports and other establishments."When I was working for University Computing Services at Indiana University (several years ago now) we would completely wipe the harddrive on every lab machine on a regular basis. I can't remember now if that happened once a day, or even more often. I'm surprised that Kinko's didn't have a similar policy. This also makes me wonder if Kinko's shares some responsibility for the losses in this case? Generally, I'm opposed to spreading the lawsuits around, but in this case doesn't Kinko's have a responsibility to take precautions against this kind of activity? Finally, this article raises a good point. That is, while internet cafes and other public access sites are convenient, you can't count on your data being private or secure when you use these devices. Anyone who has installed a keylogger can grab your username and password. With that they can get to your email, financial records, and anything else that you may have accessed during that computing session. It's also important to remember that this kind of attack is immune to all of the encryption schemes that people use to make sure their internet communications are secure. That is because this attack happens before your data is encrypted. You might remember Microsoft proposing a new operating platform called Palladium. There were several components to this platform that I didn't like at the time, but it is designed to defeat this kind of attack by encrypting the data from the keyboard to the CPU. It's supposed to also have protections for the data path inside the operating system that would make software keyloggers harder to install.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Posted By Allen at 5:42 PM
A fire broke out today in the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was a minor fire, and was put out quickly. Usually I wouldn't cover something like this, except for one really interesting aspect to the story. Boing Boing posted an article with a link to the live Eiffel Tower web cam about three hours before the CNN story was published. Here is the BoingBoing story posted at 11:48am Pacific Time:
Eiffel tower on fire, watch it by webcam. The Eiffel tower is on fire right now. While you're waiting for CNN to break the Kobegate/Sons of Saddam saturation coverage for live shots, Here's a link to the official Eiffel tower webcam.Here is a quote from the CNN story posted at 3:22pm Pacific Time:
Smoke could be seen billowing from the top of the tower Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out in an area housing television equipment. The tower was evacuated as smoke poured from the third floor Tuesday, police told CNN.This is the way that the internet is changing life in the world. We had this report almost 4 hours earlier than the mainstream newsmedia could produce it. Granted there was a lot less information in the BoingBoing post, but all of the important stuff was there.
Posted By Allen at 7:38 AM
This New York Times Article highlights an interesting issue in the American workforce. IBM is starting to contemplate moving white-collar jobs overseas. They say that it's good for American consumers, but I wonder who in America will be left to consume? We have already seen a mass migration of blue-collar jobs from the US, and if the coming years bring us a migration of white-collar jobs, what will we do? Here is a quote from the article:
"With American corporations under increasing pressure to cut costs and build global supply networks, two senior I.B.M. officials told their corporate colleagues around the world in a recorded conference call that I.B.M. needed to accelerate its efforts to move white-collar, often high-paying, jobs overseas even though that might create a backlash among politicians and its own employees. During the call, I.B.M's top employee relations executives said that three million service jobs were expected to shift to foreign workers by 2015 and that I.B.M. should move some of its jobs now done in the United States, including software design jobs, to India and other countries."
Monday, July 21, 2003
Saturday, July 19, 2003
Posted By Allen at 12:48 PM
John Gilmore was trying to travel to London recently, unfortunately he only made it through security at SFO because of a political button he wore on his lapel. You can read the full story in John's word onDave Farber's IP List. I'll be the first to say that Gilmore's button, which read "Suspected Terrorist" was not in the best of taste, however it was political speech, and should have been legal under the US constituation. Here is a quote from Gilmore's email:
The steward returned with Capt. Peter Hughes. The captain requested, and then demanded, that I remove the button (they called it a "badge"). He said that I would endanger the aircraft and commit a federal crime if I did not take it off. I told him that it was a political statement and declined to remove it. They turned the plane around and brought it back to the gate, delaying 300 passengers on a full flight. We were met at the jetway by Carol Spear, Station Manager for BA at SFO. She stated that since the captain had told her he was refusing to transport me as a passenger, she had no other course but to take me off the plane. I offered no resistance. I reminded her of the court case that United lost when their captain removed a Middle Eastern man who had done nothing wrong, merely because "he made me uncomfortable". She said that she had no choice but to uphold the captain and that we could sort it out in court later, if necessary. She said that my button was in "poor taste". Later, after consulting with (unspecified) security people, Carol said that if we wanted to fly on the second and last flight of the day, we would be required to remove the button and put it into our checked luggage (or give it to her). And also, our hand-carried baggage would have to be searched to make sure that we didn't carry any more of these terrorist buttons onto the flight and put them on, endangering the mental states of the passengers and crew.The US constitution carries with it not just freedoms, but responsibilities. We are not only guaranteed the right to free speech, but are burdened with the responsibility to ensure that others can speak freely. Free speech is spending a lifetime defending the right of someone whose speech makes your blood boil. Of defending the right of someone to say something that is unpopular. Popular speech needs no defense, it is the unpopular speech that is always in jeopardy. It is the unpopular speech that so often can bring about a revolution of the common people. It is unpopular speech that keeps America a vibrant democracy. Should we really start down the path of suppressing unpopular speech? Does BA and the other self-appointed thought-police in our country really believe that people no longer posses the ability to evaluate what the hear and see? When did we, the people, put companies like BA and their spokes-people at the forefront of defending our innocent eyes and ears from speech that might upset us? I would have much rather seen John Gilmore shouted down by his fellow passengers, than escorted off the plane. This isn't what America is about.
Posted By Allen at 12:20 PM
The Current Issue of Discover Magazine has an article about genetic algorithms. This is one of the better simple explanations I've seen of a subject that has fascinated me since college. Here is a quote from the article:
Genetic algorithms make it possible for computers to do something profound, something that looks an awful lot like thinking. And that little animated figure learning how to walk showcases some design developments that permit computers to make their own decisions — without guidance from humans.I remember sitting in one of my first AI classes at Indiana University hearing how people were using genetic algorithms to "grow" complex plumbing and electrical systems for buildings, and how they were being used to create circuits that their inventors didn't really understand, but worked more efficiently than anything we could come up with. If anything in the field of computer science is really going to change our lives significantly, I believe that it's the application of genetic algorithms to everyday problems. We stand on the brink of a transformation from the tool-makers to the tool-definers. When we fully take on that mantel we will leave behind the mundane rules of the everyday, and take up the challenge of defining the visions that, until now, have only existed in our imaginations.
Friday, July 18, 2003
Posted By Allen at 2:26 PM
A little over a year ago, I blogged about a device called the "Bowlingual" which was supposed to translate what your dog means when he barks. The same folks who brought us that device are now coming out with the "Meowlingual" which will do the same thing for cats. I'm not really sure I want to know what my cat is saying, because I'm pretty sure it's not complimentary. Here is a quote from the PCWorld.com story:
"You and your cat could be on the verge of becoming a lot closer. After the success of a device designed to interpret a dog's moods and feelings, Japan's Takara is planning a similar gadget for cats. The Meowlingual is still under development and few details are available. However, Tokyo-based Takara says the gadget will have some of the same functions as the Bowlingual translator. Among them: the capability to 'translate' cat calls into one of around 200 phrases that are displayed on a built-in LCD."I think the thing I find most amazing about this story was the fact that this company has sold over 300,000 of the things in the dog version. Wow.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Posted By Allen at 8:10 AM
infoSync World has pictures of the newest Sony CLIE, the PEG-UX50. This is the first palm-based pda to come out with built-in bluetooth and WiFi. It's also a change from traditional palms because it's a landscape screen with Sony's familiar fold and twist design. Here are the specs from infoSync:
The PEG-UX50 is a "landscape clamshell", with a 480 x 320 pixel screen that runs width-wise rather than vertically, as on nearly every other Palm OS handheld to date. It does, however, use the same "Twist and Rotate" flip design as Sony's previous portrait-oriented handhelds. That leaves room for a new, larger keyboard as well. The entire devices measures 103 x 87 x 18 mm when closed, and weighs in at 175 grams.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Posted By Allen at 8:12 AM
An interesting post on Dave Farber's IP list quotes an LA Times article which details the tactics being using by the MPAA to squash a bill lobbied for by the EFF in the California state legislature. This bill, which I agree with, would help people to keep the anonymity on the internet. Here is a quote from the post:
Still, lobbyists for the movie, video game and retail industries argue that AB 1143 would take away one of the tools they need to ferret out Internet users who violate trade secrets, offer counterfeit goods or steal intellectual property. The battle is the latest in a series between entertainment companies and privacy and consumer advocates. It's a near replay of the fight between the Recording Industry Assn. of America and Verizon Communications Inc. over the RIAA's use of federal court subpoenas to obtain the names of alleged music pirates who used Verizon's Internet services. Verizon released the names on a federal judge's order, but it is appealing the ruling. For the studios' trade organization, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's support for AB 1143 is a main reason to work to block the bill, said Vans Stevenson, MPAA senior vice president for state legislative affairs. Alternatively, the group wants to exempt subpoenas related to intellectual property, a change the EFF says would gut the bill.
Posted By Allen at 8:07 AM
Presidential candidate Howard Dean is guest blogging at Lawrence Lessig's Blog. Dean has shown over the last few months that he is very internet and technology savvy, he has demonstrated an understanding of several issues facing the high-tech world. It will be interesting to see how he handles the questions from Lessig's readers. Dean has his own blog as well, where his posts will be cross-posted. Here is a quote from his first post:
No matter what the issues are that we as individuals care most about-- whether intellectual property, healthy care, the environment Â— I believe that the only way we are ever going to come to a real solution on any of these issues is if we all stand together against the special interests in Washington. There are now 33 lobbyists for every member of congress. How do we change that? By working together. One of the amazing things about this campaign is how the Internet has allowed people to meet and work together in common cause. Only by taking an active part in our democracy will we be able to restore a government of, by and for the people.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:22 AM
I posted a review of Lewis Perdue's excellent book Daughter of God recently. In that review I had commented that Mr. Perdue was not available for comment:
I wanted to interview Mr. Perdue for this article, but he was apparently unavailable. This was odd to me, as well, because when I started this project we had traded several email messages.It appears, now, that it was a simple email mixup. I got an email message from Mr. Perdue last evening in response to my review, and was able to conduct an interview with him this morning. I've updated the review with this email message:
From: "Lewis Perdue"The interview this morning was great. Mr. Perdue gave me some more information I had missed in my earlier research, and I'm planning on writing an expanded article about this issue in the near future, probably this weekend. I have to say, that I very much admire Mr. Perdue for his efforts, and his attention to his readers. It's rare today for authors to be so accessible. This site gets relatively little traffic (about 12,000 individual visits last month), so I was really flattered that he took the time. When I expressed this idea in a message to him, he replied with the following:
To: Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 6:36 PM Subject: your review of Daughter of God Thank you for spending your time and effort here. I thought your review was fair and certainly well-founded on your own research. A couple of points: I am _certainly_ willing to be interviewed, any time, any place. Please call me at the number in the signature below or e-mail be for a time and I will call you. Please don;t give your readers an impression that I'm unwilling to talk with you. My research sources are quite different from Mr. Brown's. My lists can be found at http://www.daughter-of-god.com/, specifically, http://www.daughter-of-god.com/religionbooks.shtml http://www.daughter-of-god.com/arttheftbooks.shtml I'd be indebted to you and grateful if you might find time to include this on your site. I'm eager to talk with you at your convenience.
Any _single_ reader who takes the time to read a book of mine is totally worth my time. The biggest joy I get is finding people who like my writing. Yes, paying the bills is good, but I've done that very well doing other things that don't inspire me. I write to entertain and love it when people like the books.So, go out and read Daughter of God, compare it to The DaVinci Code, stop by Mr. Perdue's www site, and let me know what you think. I'll collect the responses I get and post them along with the expanded article.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
Posted By Allen at 10:02 PM
The digital picture frame market is an interesting one. Most of the companies that have made digital picture frames seem to have shriveled up and died. That's a good thing, since most of these companies had really bad business plans. They did things like requiring the customer to have a monthly subscription in order to display pictures through the frame, or they only supported small amounts of storage, or they had poor quality screens. Sometimes a very talented company would combine all three of those components to produce an extremely crappy product. It was in this state of mind that I attended a talk by one of the founders of Wallflower Systems. It was a double billed event with Wallflower first, and another company going second, and I was actually attending the event for the second company. I was blown away though, and left the event very excited about Wallflower, and not so excited about the second company. Wallflower is recycling old laptops and turning them into beautiful wireless digital picture frames with hard drives. The only cable that comes out of these frames is for power, and the best part is that they run Linux underneath. They have good color, good screens, no subscriptions, and 3GB hard drives. That's enough for me to almost store my entire photo collection (it's around 4GB right now). The wireless part is great too, because it allows you to put the frame anywhere that has 802.11b coverage. To put pictures on the device you just mount it over the network like a windows SMB share. Then you drag and drop your pictures onto it. The only down side that I see is that these things are $640.00 and that's a pretty big chunk of change to hang on the wall. Right now they only display pictures, but the possibilities for these things are huge. It would be great if the company would release an API that would allow third party developers to work with the system. I can imagine applications that would display the current weather conditions or the forecast, you could display stock quotes, news headlines, SpamKu, or even urgent email messages. If they add sound to these things they would also make nice little room sound systems, they could play MP3 files, or stream internet radio. The possibilities are endless, and all the company needs is some cash in the form of orders. So, I say buy one today, and support Linux in innovative applications. I'm going to get one as soon as my wife gives me back my credit card ;-)
Monday, July 7, 2003
Posted By Allen at 11:48 AM
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken up the case of a student at Cal Poly who was punished for posting a flyer in a public space on campus. You can read the Press Release for yourself. Here is a quote from the press release:
"SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA In the spring of 2003, a student at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) was found guilty of "disruption" for posting a flier in a public area that some students found "offensive." The public university placed unequal rights above the Bill of Rights. "Allowing some individuals to veto the protected expression of others is an unconscionable betrayal of Cal Poly" moral and legal obligations, said Thor L. Halvorssen, CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). On November 12, 2002, Steve Hinkle, an undergraduate and a member of the Cal Poly College Republicans (CPCR), posted fliers advertising a speech by Mason Weaver, author of It's OK to Leave the Plantation. In that book, Weaver argues that dependence on the government puts many African-Americans in circumstances similar to slavery. Weaver's speech was sponsored by both CPCR and the student government. The flier contained merely the title of the book, a photograph of the author (who is African-American), and the time and location of the speech."I am constantly amazed by administrators in higher education. How can they belive that while they teach the principals of a free society in their classrooms that they won't be required to grant those same freedoms to the students doing the learning. It seems that this kind of behavior isn't new for the University. In a recent email to Dave Farber's IP list J. Paul Reed says:
I was not allowed an attorney at either the meetings with Judicial Affairs or my hearing (although, this is a requirement of the CSU Chancellor's Executive Order 628, not a Cal Poly rule). On numerous occasions, the Judicial Affairs coordinator blatantly broke the rules set out in E.O. 628. Everything from trying to hold my hearing before she was allowed to, to not serving me with the appropriate paperwork early enough before that hearing, to not providing me with all the evidence against me, and generally being uncooperative at every opportunity. She would state 'rules' as if they were codified policy, and would not be able to produce supporting documentation when I asked for it. When I would ask her again, taped and on the record, regarding these issues, she would completely change what she said. Eventually, she asserted I could not tape our conversations anymore (likely because I would tape them and post them online as evidence of her contradictory behavior and the university's general bad faith in the matter).Mr Reed has also posted a www site detailing his expierence with Cal Poly, in his case. Reed goes continues in the posting to say:
After I began to publish the details of the way I was treated, Cal Poly students began to come out of the woodwork with eerily similar stories of being berated and blackmailed into submission and accepting punishment by the Office of Judicial Affairs.I've been watching FIRE since it started, and I've come to admire the group. Although, I feel, they are a bit reactionary at times; I think they are an excellent watchdog group. While universities like Cal Poly continue their draconian policies towards their students basic rights, it's good to know that there are groups out there doing something about it.
Posted By Allen at 11:36 AM
Here is an interesting article from Sound And Vision Magazine. The author is saying that it isn't really the filesharing networks that are causing the recent dip in record sales. It may actually be the fact that the industry is putting out fewer CDs at a higher price per CD. Here is a quote from the article:
"While few dispute the numbers, some, such as George Ziemann, are challenging the RIAA’s inferences from them. Ziemann, an Arizona-based musician and owner of MacWizards, a music production company, was propelled into the debate when he wasn’t able to sell his band’s CDs via online auctions on sites such as eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo because they were burned on recordable CD-Rs. Ziemann says he was told that because CD-Rs are often used to record pirated material, they’re banned on many auction sites as a result of the RIAA’s antipiracy efforts (eBay allows CD-R sales if the seller stipulates he owns the copyright). As a result of that experience, Ziemann researched the RIAA’s figures and came to very different conclusions, released in a much-circulated article, “The RIAA’s Statistics Don’t Add Up,” posted on his Web site (azoz.com). He makes two key assertions: 1) that the labels raised CD prices during a down economy, and 2) that they slashed the number of new releases by almost 25% during the past three years. He says that these factors, and not downloading, are responsible for sluggish CD sales."
Posted By Allen at 11:26 AM
CNN.com reports over the weekend that a man who spit on a police officer will now receive a life prison sentence. To me this falls under the phrase unusual punishment. Here is a quote from the story:
"An Oklahoma man arrested on suspicion of beating his wife faced year in prison and a fine. But when he spit in an arresting officer's face, he got a life sentence instead, officials said Wednesday."While I'm ranting about sending a man to prison for the rest of his life for spitting on someone, I'm wondering why this law doesn't protect the citizens at large? Why is the state of Oklahoma putting more importance in government officials than it is on regular citizens? Also, is it ok to spit on a government employee when he is not acting in his official capacity?
Posted By Allen at 9:50 AM
CNET has this story about a company that will begin celling software defined cell phones by the end of 2004. If this turns out to be true it can be one of the biggest things to hit the industry in a long time. Here's a quote from the article:
"Sandbridge's chips create chameleon-like radios for cell phones capable of changing from one interoperable wireless standard to the next. The radios flip among Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM), and any of a clutch of other wireless standards using either software stored in the phone or downloaded over the air."In the past a company would have to design hardware to work with each of the different standards. That's why you have to buy a different handset if you move from SprintPCS to T-Mobile. With a software defined handset, however, you could potentially load a new program on your phone and have it work on the new network. Other possibilities exist as well. With a good software defined radio and antenna, you could have a single device that would work as a cell phone, a Wi-Fi adapter, a FRS walkie-talkie, an AM/FM/Shortwave radio, a TV tuner, and HDTV tuner. You get the picture. There has been work on projects like this before. The Gnu Radio project comes to mind. They have already created a software defined HDTV receiver.
Friday, July 4, 2003
Posted By Allen at 7:19 AM
Today is Independence day in the United States. I always like to read the Declaration of Independence to help me celebrate this day.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation. WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great- Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World. HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good. HE has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. HE has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only. HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures. HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People. HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of the Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and the Convulsions within. HE has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries. HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance. HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. HE has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us; FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World: FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury: FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences: FOR abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rules into these Colonies: FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever. HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People. HE is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation. HE has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions. IN every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People. NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends. WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. John Hancock. GEORGIA, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Geo. Walton. NORTH-CAROLINA, Wm. Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn. SOUTH-CAROLINA, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward, junr., Thomas Lynch, junr., Arthur Middleton. MARYLAND, Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. VIRGINIA, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Ths. Jefferson, Benja. Harrison, Thos. Nelson, jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton. PENNSYLVANIA, Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross. DELAWARE, Caesar Rodney, Geo. Read. NEW-YORK, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frank Lewis, Lewis Morris. NEW-JERSEY, Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark. NEW-HAMPSHIRE, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton. MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry. RHODE-ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE, C. Step. Hopkins, William Ellery. CONNECTICUT, Roger Sherman, Saml. Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott. IN CONGRESS, JANUARY 18, 1777.
Posted By Allen at 7:11 AM
Well I just finished my latest book review. Lewis Perdue's Daughter of God. It was an interesting book and I enjoyed reading it. This was the first book review for me where the author actually contacted me and asked me to review his book. He even offered to send me a copy, but I decided to buy it myself so that I could maintain my objectivity. I gave Daughter of God 4/5 stars. Read the review for my take on the controversy between this book and The DaVinci Code. Here is a quote from the review:
"Daughter of God is a book that Lewis Perdue published in 1999. I never would have picked it up, except the author emailed me awhile back and asked me to review his book. It's not a regular occurrence for an author to email me, so I was intrigued. His email also suggested that large portions of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code were lifted from this book. The author pointed me to his www site for further information."
Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Posted By Allen at 5:43 PM
Last week I blogged about distracted driving, then I saw a story in This Is True that fell in line with the distracted driving thread, so I blogged about that. Today, I saw this article in Yahoo which details the results of a German driver having sex while flying down the highway. Apparently he hit a sign, and then fled the seen. He was charged with hit and run, and was fined. However, it looks like having sex while driving is ok. Here is a quote from the story:
"BERLIN (Reuters) - Having sex while driving down a highway at 60 miles per hour is not an offence in Germany. But if you hit something, make sure you don't run off."