Apple Quietly Releases New iPods
My employer provides a "smart" phone - a BlackBerry Bold. It's... terrible for anything other than very light browsing and, of course, its core business functions (not that it performs many of these terribly well, either, but that's for another post). The phone's best feature, by far, is that it's free. And, as I have a free smart phone with the basic necessities, I'd rather not shell out my own cash just to have a second phone to carry around. In my case, an extra $75/month+ is a lot to pay for a better interface and some additional capability.
Enter the iPod Touch. For $300 and no monthly bill, I get access to all of the apps I wanted, a pocketable device I can use anywhere there's WiFi, a lot of music, a few videos, a decent point 'n shoot camera, etc.
It's not that I haven't considered tablets; I like my Nexus 7 a lot, but the iPod Touch is far more portable.
Torvalds Uses Profanity To Lambaste Romney Remarks
Well, as a Mormon and generally conservative-ish Linux user, my response is *yawn*.
A liberal Atheist attacks a conservative candidate and his religious beliefs during a major election cycle.
Didn't see that one coming.
Oddly, it doesn't seem to affect my ability to use of Linux. Huh.
It looks like my Windows and OS X machines may have been developed, at least in some part, by people with beliefs similar to those of Mr. Trovalds. Those seem to keep working, too. Weird.
I guess the main feeling I have on the matter is one of disappointment. I expected much more sophistication out of Mr. Torvalds' arguments rather than bringing up what was quite clearly a joke (granted, one delivered with Romeny's android tendencies) and making this a point of argument. Of course, it's not like the Romney campaign doesn't deserve such attacks given its ridiculous focus on the "you didn't build that" line (sorry, Romney - while Obama was inelegant, I believe his intent was pretty clear, and it wasn't to say that business owners did not "build" their businesses).
Mr. Torvalds doesn't come across as the brilliant man he is - he looks just like any other partisan. An unhealthy portion of the American population already seems to be basing its vote in this election on stupid little soundbites. I hate to think that someone who I otherwise have great respect for would go for such a cheap shot.
US May Issue Terror Alerts On Facebook, Twitter
I realize the issue here is alerts regarding terrorism, but the broader issue is the Emergency Alert System.
If a message ever did go out on the EAS as it stands today, I'd probably never know about it. I don't have cable TV and very rarely watch any TV over the air (thank you, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon video). I don't listen to the radio unless I happen to be in the car and without my iPod. I spend far more time on Facebook on any given day than I do plugged into any medium which uses the EAS - and I really don't spend much time at all on Facebook. Reverse 911 is a step in the right direction but I frequently leave my phone on vibrate or silent in the evenings.
While there are certainly opportunities for abuse, this is a step in the right direction. But a fairly small one.
Zephyr Solar Plane Tops 7 Days Aloft
Loitering aircraft like this can have a lot of uses. A close cousin of my wife did a great deal of his graduate work on the use of unmanned aircraft for the purpose of fire spotting. The idea was to keep a small fleet of cheap, low maintenance, long-life aircraft over areas that experienced frequent forest fires in the summer months. The quicker you spot the blaze, the easier it is to fix, and a few cheap UAVs outfitted with sensors (the version they were working on actually didn't require any human interaction) is a lot cheaper and potentially more effective than manning ranger stations.
How Smart Are You?
Where all the posters are above average... or Chewbacca, apparently.
Network Security While Traveling?
I've lived (not backpacked, lived) in South America for about two and a half years - the slums on the outskirts of Buenos Aires for two years, a couple of months in Lima and three months in a nice spot in Santiago.
The IT issues have been covered well enough. Here are a few additional ideas:
- Ditch the nice, expensive backpack and luggage. Go to the Army surplus store and buy your luggage there. Or something like this for walking around and day to day use. Avoid military emblems, but definitely go for that "beat to hell" look. Big expensive North Face bags draw the eyes of thieves. Dusty old rucksacks don't. The same goes for looking like a walking, talking North Face commercial with your clothing.
- Learn the language. Spanish and Portuguese are the obvious two. Know the basics, and be sure you can ask directions.
- Check visa requirements for each country and register with the State Department to receive travel and security updates on each country. These are immensely useful for avoiding difficult situations.
- Understand what the embassy can do for you. If you get arrested, mugged, or run into most problems overseas, the answer is "not much".
- Be VERY careful with taxis. "Express" kidnappings are quite common through most of South America - haggle for taxis and always, always use a service if you can, just to be on the safe side. Most major shopping centers and many big commercial bus stops have their own services. They cost about double what others charge, but it's worth it to avoid getting robbed.
- Ignore touts and always make your lodging arrangements in advance.
- Keep your eyes open and, if you can, travel in a group.
Have a lot of fun and do me a favor - walk down 9 de Julio while eating a good Havana alfajor ;-)
US Government Using PS3s To Break Encryption
Aside from the fact that adequate grounds exist for military jurisdiction based on the Pentagon portion of the attack - and the fact that the act KSM is most likely to be charged with conspiracy, which certainly occurred outside of the U.S. - the analysis is far more complex if one has a basic understanding of criminal procedure. The very high standard of proof required to convict in a criminal court, and the complexity of the rules of evidence - particularly when considering the difficulty of trying a conspiracy charge. Hell, as a law student, I spent untold hours just looking at hearsay and its numerous exceptions. Not to mention the issue of evidence extracted during and after water boarding sessions and other interrogation
I obviously haven't seen the prosecution's evidence in full, but if this were a more traditional criminal charge, I'd wager that they would have one hell of a tough row to hoe. Keep in mind that, if the law is applied as it should be, a jury may only consider evidence that has been admitted before the Court. If vital bits of evidence are excluded--a scenario that is certainly feasible--can the prosecutors successfully prove the elements of the crime KSM is charged with? If not, in a real trial, he would have to be let free.
Of course, this isn't going to be a real trial.
Assume that KSM is acquitted. There is obviously no chance he'll ever be released, nor could he be released onto U.S. territory at all, of course, under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. A real criminal trial would carry with it the vagaries and risks associated with any criminal trial, no matter how "air tight" a case is (e.g., O.J. Simpson), and the possibility of an acquittal and release.
I fear what we have here with the upcoming KSM trial is more of a show trial. The conviction, execution, and virtually pre-determined, or at least that is how Obama is treating it in statements to the press (as a lawyer and former law professor, he should know better, as he acknowledged with his subsequent ass covering).
Aside from some of the more obvious questions (Why a criminal trial for only this handful? Why are military tribunals "good enough" for the rest? Why has Obama shifted support from the military tribunals he once supported specifically for KSM to the civilian courts? How will classified evidence be handled? Will KSM truly be given full access to all the evidence against him, including names of informants?) are the more larger concerns. Why a show trial for this person? Why now? Will show trials become the norm for the particularly loathsome among us? For those it is more politically convenient for the president to try via show trial? Is this the direction we would like to go in?
If this were to be a real trial, it would be a demonstration of the Obama administration's willingness to take unacceptable risks on national security, particularly since a much friendlier venue is allowed under law and some of the trickier, thornier aspects of the law can be avoided. Instead, it may prove to be a perversion of the criminal justice system, which has rules that are much better established and protect every single American citizen. Why open the door to show trials?
A History of Wiretapping
Only at Slashdot would parent be marked "insightful".
You do realize, of course, that there are a wide variety of situations wherein a LEO is allowed by the law to enter a home without a warrant, I assume.
Probable cause, for one. If the police follow a person fleeing a crime into a residence - or virtually anywhere else, for that matter - they're acting well within their rights and duties and no warrant is needed.
An Arrest Warrant - No search warrant is needed if officers have an arrest warrant and the reasonable belief that the fugitive is inside. Even if they find evidence for crimes unrelated to the search warrant, the evidence is still admissible. See e.g. Gaskins v. U.S., 218 F.2d 47
Consent is another. If the homeowner has provided their consent, then the Police are well within their rights and duties.
The Open Fields Doctrine is another. If objects are left in plain view in an area not traditionally secured as private, the police are well within their rights to search these areas. See Oliver v. U.S.
And the list goes on. And on. And on. Contrary to what you saw on TV or what your high school civics teacher improperly told you, a search warrant isn't always necessary. In fact, interfering with the police in the above situations can easily get you arrested, but you'll at least give the judge a good laugh as he hears you argue the 4th Amendment as a defense.
And what if the search or wiretap is illegal? If you're truly a criminal, if you've truly done the things you are accused of doing, then you may have just hit the jackpot. Under the exclusionary rule (subject to its exceptions, of course), the evidence is tainted, the "fruit of a poisonous tree," and likely inadmissible as evidence against the target of the search in any case.
IANAL - just a 3L (and I haven't taken Crim Pro yet, so don't be cruel, but if you have an actual understanding of the law, please correct me where I am wrong). But of course we have internet lawyers here like parent who just love to make these ridiculous arguments.
Look, I'm not fond of cops. I can't think of anyone who has ever been to law school actually worked with attorneys and seen what the police often do could be fond of them. But following suggestions like parent's is foolishness indeed. Want to support your local public defenders in making illegal search arguments? Please do. chip in some cash, they could use the money. But don't run about harassing the police as parent suggests.
What the DHS Knows About You
The US already collects vasts amount of information as part of the visa application process for any foreign national, all paid by the applicant.
This is the result of federal statute, not some evil recent regulation.
Federal law requires that immigration costs be funded by the immigrant rather than the U.S. Taxpayer. On the one hand, it is very off-putting to many potential immigrants. On the other hand, one must ask why American citizens should be forced to pay the immigration costs of some non-citizen to which the U.S. owes no obligation and has yet to receive any benefit from. It also serves as a valuable tool for weeding out those who could never afford to go in any case.
And, as to Chile, it's noteworthy that U.S. citizens arriving in Chile are charged a reciprocal tourist visa fee of exactly that $131 as well. Chile believes in reciprocity, and that's fine - Chile's a great place to live and visit. I've lived there myself.
88% of Electronics Exports Reused, Not Dumped
(Forgive the randomness) I was in Lima for 6 weeks about a year ago, and the reuse/recycling of old computer equipment is absolutely true - especially old printers and copiers.
Walking through the streets of Lima, even right around the Plaza de Armas but throughout the entire district, you can find dozens of shops that only sell used printers and copiers. They advertise them as new/refurbished from the U.S. and they seem to go for fairly decent prices. I'd never really seen such a sight before in my life - stores absolutely brimming with big, heavy duty copiers.
Making a Game of the News
Government supervision of news will keep it clean and pure.
The government controlling what you read, hear, and see about the world?
What could possibly go wrong?
Making a Game of the News
Proofreading is my friend.
And I have neglected my friend...
Scope = scoop... and... yeah, there's a lot in there.
Making a Game of the News
As if the profession weren't largely "trivial" enough.
A Journalist is essentially this: a person with no education on a topic whatsoever and who likely already possesses an opinion of it is supposed to go out and write an informed, accurate, and neutral (or objective, whatever the standard is now) article on it for all the world to read.
To say that "journalists" screw this up more often than not would be far too kind. Ever read a science article written by a "journalist"? I mean, how many miracle AIDS cures have journalists written about, all hoping to get the big scope, with nothing at all behind them? How often do run of the mill journalists get tech news even remotely right? As a law student, every time I hear a journalist covering any legal news I groan deep inside because the odds are quite strong that at least half of the time they will get things wrong. And heaven help them if they ever, ever have to quote a statistic or challenge a claim of a remotely scientific nature.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that this is the case - journalism school is little more than half of an English degree with a few "ethics" and "media" classes thrown in. People don't make fun of Communications majors for nothing. How about a basic class on statistics so they could actually, you know, challenge someone on things like sample size or ask if an economic indicator is quarterly or annual? A basic introduction to jurisprudence so a reporter working in the legal field actually knows about procedure and the function of appellate courts?
Journalists want to be the conduit of information to the world, and for a long time they were simply because real, qualified experts weren't easily accessible. Now, if I want to read up on legal news, I'll read the blogs of a few law professors, who are often kind enough to point to other blogs holding different viewpoints. If scientific news interest me, I'll look to blogs by experts in a field for more information. And if I want to know about politics, I'll look to bloggers in general. That there is a bias in their reporting doesn't bother me one bit - most are entirely open about their bias, and finding the other side(s) of the argument is a trivial task. Journalists, on the other hand, retain or attempt to retain a false, ridiculous "neutrality" - a bizarre, mostly American, concept in a world where most major papers freely admit to their slant.
Now there are some great journalists out there, don't get me wrong. But good reporting is the exception, not the rule.
Journalism was a trivial affair long before bloggers came on the scene, and journalists have only themselves to blame.
Amazon Culls "Offensive" Books From Search System
The are mega book outets that tend to put smaller, more service oriented outlets out out of business.
Dude, present hyperventilating over something that appears to have already been fixed, I'm having a HARD time thinking of companies that are better to work with than Amazon.
Ordering? Easy. Very, very, very easy.
Inventory and convenience? You name it, they've got it. I can order a few paperbacks, a couple of CDs, an iPod, some deodorant and a pack of razor blades all at once, and they'll be at my door in two days thanks to prime. And all at a lower price than local stores offer.
Reviews? Generally plentiful.
Shipping? Quick, efficient, almost always "same day" if you get it in before 3:30 Pacific. And as a Prime member, free two-day shipping on virtually everything Amazon sells is a life changer. Fewer trips to the store, lower prices, and easy, quick, reliable ordering.
Have a problem? Drop them a line and they have an option to either call you back immediately (or at a specified time) or extremely quick email responses. Granted, I've made over a hundred orders from Amazon and had to use this service precisely twice (both due to carrier screw-ups).
I'll take Amazon ANY day over the "independent" bookstores around town. Better service, less time rummaging through poorly organized books, and no sales staff whose sole purpose in life seems to be to remind you to "buy local!" so they can continue to eek out a tiny living because they "love books".
I've seen a few nice little indy bookstores, don't get me wrong, but they're either a) institutions (Shakespeare & Co., Paris) or b) have something else going for them (a great little restaurant/hot chocolate/coffee place that also sells good used and new books). These can work.
Conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens Is Thrown Out
But clearly, I view the subject of the assertion a bit differently...
Procedural mistakes should not overturn convictions that are this overwhelming.
So, what standard do you propose? Is it OK for the prosecution to withhold evidence because the other guy is "really bad" and it would be a shame if he were acquitted?
I could've sworn we had juries for some reason...
The prosecution in this case withheld evidence from a defendant. They could be - and, if I had to bet money, probably will be - disbarred for this.
Why? Because this little thing called the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (the "one book" I imagine you alluding to) grants defendants the right to confront their accusers. That's pretty damn hard to do when the prosecution does not hand over its evidence as it is required to do by law and as the attorneys are required to do by their ethical obligation.
Now, why would this be important? Oh, I don't know. Let's say you get accused of a murder you didn't commit. Sadly, you have no alibi for the night in question and an awful lot of circumstantial evidence just happens to point your way. But, in the course of its investigation, the prosecution happens to turn up a piece of evidence that demonstrates you could not have possibly committed the crime (say you happen to have randomly been caught on a security camera somewhere, whatever, it doesn't really matter what the evidence is). Now, what should the prosecution do? Drop the case. Immediately. But Mr. Prosecutor has an awful lot riding on this case, you know. A promotion. Some political concern. He doesn't want to just walk away from it - he's invested too much, and maybe he thinks you're just a bad guy and should go to jail anyways. So he goes forward with it, and just conveniently "forgets" to hand over that one piece of exculpatory evidence you so desperately needed. You get convicted. Sorry! You're in jail!
Failure to hand over evidence is not merely a "procedural mistake". In this case, it was the result a conscious effort by the prosecution to keep evidence out of the hands of the defense. This is no mistake - this is keeping important information out of the hands of the finder of fact (the jury) so the prosecutors can put someone in jail. This is very, very, very bad. It games the system, it runs the risk of imprisoning the innocent, and it simply should not be allowed.
Now here, to be quite frank, we have a case of a scumbag getting out because the attorneys trying him were also scumbags. But I'd rather this scumbag got off than allow this sort of misconduct to continue. Someday I might find myself as a defendant, and the possibility that the prosecution, which has access to far more investigatory resources than I ever would, could withhold evidence from my attorney that could be used in my defense. There's a reason for the confrontation clause and the proper cross-examination of a witness is simply impossible without full access to evidence.
The practice of law used to require one book, when we found this nation maybe a 100 now there are 10's of thousands of books involving the law in various aspects and it has gotten to be too much.
When, pray tell, did the practice of law - an actual system of laws, not simply a dictatorship - ever require just "one book" in the last thousand years? Hell, look at Roman law, Rabbinical scripts, you name it. Are you thinking about Hammurabi's Code or something?
As to "maybe 100" books when this nation was "found" [sic]? Please. American law is based on English Common Law, which by 1776 was quite voluminous and filled libraries. There was far more to it than a mere "100 books".
As to the "10's of thousands of books" dealing with the law now, it's true. There are lots of books dealing with the law, including uncountable volumes of case law. That's just how it works in a common law system - each year, people seem to piss other people off and do each other wrong, so they keep going to judges who keep ruling on things.
But forget about the quantity of books for a moment. Your argument isn't truly based on quantity, but supposedly on complexity. This makes your argument only more wrong.
The legal requirement that prosecutors hand over evidence of this sort is one of the most basic things they teach you in law school. It's obvious. It's common sense. It's required by the Constitution. That any attorney would screw it up shows that that attorney is either a) too saliva-dribbling-from-his-gapping-mouth-dumb or negligent to practice law or b) that the prosecuting attorney is purposefully hiding the evidence from the other side. Either act - even negligence of this magnitude - could well end a lawyer's career for breach of ethics. Remember the prosecutor in the Duke case, for example? There is a reason that the judge lectured the prosecutors in this case by reading from a first-year law school book. When a judge does that to you, you cannot possibly doubt that you have not only screwed up, but completely, irrevocably, embarrassingly screwed up.
This isn't a minor screw up. This isn't a mere "procedural" issue. This isn't some obscure regulation. The prosecutors on this one completely missed their obligations and might have done so with malicious intent. That a scumbag gets off because they did this is unfortunate, but it is also required in order to maintain an honest system of justice.
Is That "Sexting" Pic Illegal? A Scientific Test
No case has yet hit the court and, as such, there are no charges to defend against - only "threatened" charges.
Once the charges are made, the prosecution will be required to furnish the photographs. As it is right now, they may be required not to do so under dissemination laws. This isn't terribly sinister, perhaps simply a stupid law.
Photog Rob Galbraith Rates MacBook Pro Display "Not Acceptable"
I hadn't noticed, and probably won't.
But, as an vaguely OCD person, I now know that I will.
Thanks a lot, Photogs!
In the next 12 months, the Middle East will be ...
Should Israel return fire with unguided rockets into Palestinian civilian areas on a 1 to 1 basis? Maybe an artillery shell?
Should Israel just randomly round up and kill a few Palestinian civilians and execute them every time a Palestinian rocket randomly kills one of its civilians? Is this justice?
A body count is a lousy way of measuring proportionality. Even the means used aren't a reliable method.
As to what a "military target" is, it is, of course, part of the law of war that once a building is used for the purpose of making war on an enemy, it loses any and all protection. If HAMAS uses a hospital as a weapons cache, a mosque as a command post, or a school as a firing position, the building becomes fair game. The purpose of these laws is to encourage reciprocity and to protect civilian populations from unnecessary harm. It's a shame HAMAS has decided not to follow the law.
The HAMAS government has supported and sponsored these attacks for years. That they are now getting their just deserts will hardly cause me to shed a tear. It is unfortunate that civilians are caught in the crossfire, as is almost always the case in war, and I do hope that civilian casualties are minimized. But HAMAS' own decisions to mix among civilian populations and ignore the laws of war have placed their own civilian population in grave danger. Should the Palestinian people ever have the opportunity to vote again, I hope they remember that.
Karl Rove's IT Guru Dies In Small Plane Crash
Conspiracy theory angle? Check.
Coming from the crazy wing of the left? Check. (Why can't we have more crazy wing of the right stories on Slashdot? Where are all the stories concerning the gold standard? Where?)
Write-up worded in a way to encourage crazy conspiracy talk? Check.
Good ol' kdawson. So dependable.
Karl Rove's IT Guru Dies In Small Plane Crash
kdawson posted this story.
Isn't that shocking.