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Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case

MichaelCrawford Can I prosecute Sergeant Sousa for harassment? (202 comments)

Sergeant Sousa of the San Jose, California Police Department rang me up at work then shouted at me for a solid hour about how he would arrest me for making terrorist threats, when in reality I had but pointed out to the opposing counsel in a civil lawsuit that I was bound to prevail, and further, that I would work to overturn the law behind IRS Section 1706 as being in violation of our constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

He threateningly pointed out that our call was being recorded, so anything I said could be used against me in a court of law. but I had a hard time incriminating myself because every time I tried to speak he angrily shouted at me to shut up and would not let me speak.

I grew weary of his abuse as I had a lot on my plate, so whenever he would pause for breath I would demand that he tell me whether I had committed a crime. if I had, he need not send someone after me as I would drop what I was doing RIGHT NOW so I could drive to his station and have him arrest me.

Despite that it is my right as an American to represent in both civil and criminal court, he threatened to arrest me if I did not retain counsel with the week, then hung up on me.

I continued to represent myself but never heard from him again.

now I'm not so stupid as to actually do without counsel, but I wasn't born yesterday. our dispute simply had not reached the point that I required a lawyer.

It has been about 22 months so even if he could be prosecuted, the statute of limitations may apply. even so, if he would do that to me he would do it to others, so I'm going to find some way to obtain that recording, post it on my site then blast it's link all over Creation.

I do not yet provide full details but you can read more at


I'll be posting another essay soon that discusses this in more depth.

if you'd like to drop Sgt Sousa a dime the SJPD nonemergency number is 408 277 8900. from outside the US our country code is 1.

Be sure to let my dear friend now that if my new gig works out I'll be making a generous donation in his name to the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

about 3 years ago

Is it just to hard to only ever pick free (as in f

MichaelCrawford PayWare Can Be Free As In Freedom (1 comments)

A quite common, quite angrily stated misconception is that Free Software cannot be sold for non-zero monetary charge.

  The most casaul reading of the GNU General Public License as well as most if not all the other licenses that comply with the Free Software Foundation's Free Software Definition makes clear that one can charge whatever one wants for Free Software. Consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is collosally expensive, yet largely GPL or LPGL, and all Free Software.

Neither is charging money for the source code forbidden. The GPL specifically provides that one may charge a reasonable fee for duplication and shipping of the media, as well as the labor involved. For many years, the FSF raised much of its money by charging a premium for source tapes as well as binary tapes for various platforms.

One is not required to provide source over the Internet. Posting one's source on the Internet but not making it available through other means upon request violates not just the spirit but the letter of the GPL. One isn't actually required to openly release the source, but to make a written, legally binding guarantee that one will provide source upon request, as well as of course to actually provide the source upon receiving an actual request.

What one cannot do is retrict distribution of source by others, or to require those who redistribute source or binaries to pay a fee to the copyright holder.

about 3 years ago

World-Renknowned Baseball Player Fidel Castro Not

MichaelCrawford Sorry 'Bout Borking the Title (1 comments)

That was meant to be "World-Reknowned Basebell Player Fidel Castro Not Dead Yet, Feels Happy".

Perhaps some Slashdot editor could shorten that to just "Baseball Player Fidel Castro Not Dead Yet".

A couple of the other pages I linked to are broken because my server fell over. I'll fix that in the next hour or so.

about 3 years ago

The Looming Library Lending Battle

MichaelCrawford Mom was a librarian; my sister is one now (390 comments)

My sister calls herself the "Fat Witch With A Gun". Besides being heavily into books, one of her missions in life is to convince other women to learn how to use guns and to carry them around should the need to use one in self defense ever arise.

Should she ever hear you teasing your cute girlfriend about her love handles, the best that you can hope for is that you'll be turned into a newt then released into a cold yet refreshing Idaho mountain stream. Your only alternative would be puzzling over how to put your brain back together after you found it spattered all over the wall.

Don't Piss Her Off.

I sent my sister, my mother and my mother's twin sister this email just now. My sister is heavily into computing but Mom and Aunt Peggy are quite computationally challenged. However all three of them as well as myself regard libraries as one of the most valuable public services any government or school could ever hope to provide.

If you feel as I do that the word needs to be gotten out about what follows, please forward this email to anyone you might feel would be interested in or would benefit from it.

Something came up on one of the web sites I like to hang out on that is of vital importance to anyone that cares in any way about the continued existence of public libraries.

      The Looming Library Lending Battle

      Publishers vs. Libraries: an eBook Tug-of-War

Book publishers have NEVER thought highly of public libraries, but it is only recently that they've gotten the idea of getting every public library in the land completely shut down. This isn't the first I've heard of that effort, but is the most serious threat to libraries that has come up since the publishing industry started working to put a stop to the free lending of books.

When a library purchases or is given a book printed on paper - what computer geeks call a "dead tree book" - it has the perfectly legal right to lend that book out as many times as readers want to check it out. If we could come up with books that never wore out, in principle every library book could be repeatedly lent out until The End of Time.

However I am sure you have heard that with the widespread availability of reference information, entertainment and reading material available on the Internet, traditional printed book libraries have suffered. When I was in school and was assigned to write a research paper, I would perform all that research from "dead tree books" in a library.

Today's students do the vast majority of their scholastic research on the Internet, at websites such as Wikipedia, without ever setting foot in a library. That has resulted in the loss of public support for libraries, as well as fewer people ever visiting one. Because libraries, like most government services, argue for the continuation of their funding by keeping records of the public's use of their services, public funding to libraries has been cut back drastically. Branches are being closed everywhere, with those that do remain open having to cut back on hours, staff and the purchase of new books.

However, just in the last couple of years libraries have found new relevance by - among other ways - lending out what are called "eBooks" or Electronic Books.

They aren't books in the traditional sense, but they are electronic documents just like the documents you save on the Desktop of your iMac. One always requires some kind of electronic computing device to actually read them.

One can read them with a traditional computer. I can use my iPad as an eBook reader. The Amazon online shopping website sells a popular eBook reader called the Kindle, as well as a wide selection of eBooks that can be read by the Kindle. The Barnes and Noble bookstore sells a competing eBook read called the Nook. The main advantage of the specialized eBook readers over computers like your iMac is that they are much smaller, lighter and so easier to carry, and can be powered just by batteries for quite a long time rather than having to be plugged into the wall.

Because eBooks are data files, and so are not subject to wear, tear, soiling, water damage or mechanical stress, they NEVER wear out and so really could be lent out repeatedly until The End of Time.

Unfortunately, while Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell eBooks, they are actually published by the same companies as publish dead tree books. eBooks are wildly popular these days, so all the publishers are coming out with new titles every day, but they are easily able to see that eBooks cut into the sales of traditional print books.

The traditional book publishers have come to regard eBooks in much the same way as buggy whip manufacturers regarded the automobile. Rather than finding some way to work with the new technology, to embrace it and to make the most of computing, readers such as the Nook, Kindle and iPad, and so to make a lot of money from eBooks in the same way as software publishers make money by publishing software, the traditional publishers are struggling to restrict what one can do with eBooks.

One such proposal that is being widely promoted among the traditional publishers is to forbid libraries from freely lending eBooks. Instead they have the idea that after an eBook has been lent a specific number of times, the library ought to be required to pay the full purchase price of that eBook, as if it had just purchased an additional copy from a bookstore.

That's Just Wrong. That's not why we have libraries.

Ever Faithful,


more than 3 years ago

Russia, Europe Seek Divorce From U.S. Tech Vendors

MichaelCrawford The Soviets once reverse engineered our chips (201 comments)

But that got harder when we shrunk our processes. That had the result of forcing them to learn how to design their own chips, thereby boosting their economy.

My cousin speaks fluent Russian. There is no room to stand let alone sit in his apartment because of all the giant stacks of books. I know enough Russian that I could tell what the books were about. All of them were advanced physics and electrical engineering texts.

The Russians are no fools. Their educational system is excellent. It had to be under the soviets to have any hope of them surviving the cold war.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford Are You Saying Private Business Is Efficient? (630 comments)

You must not have ever worked for one.

A government-funded agency called the Manhattan Project avoided the need for one million American troops to give their lives by having a few hundred thousand residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki give theirs instead.

NASA put a dozen men and a few dune buggies on the moon in a government operation.

But on private industry's side, Enron manipulated what was intended to be a free market for electrical supply by creating rolling blackouts in California during its notoriously hot summer. I expect that more than a few elderly or sick people died when they couldn't run their air conditioners. It didn't work out so well though, as Enron when tits up after getting caught.

Or take the current economic crisis. created largely by "The Invisible Hand" developing a new form of investment vehicle that anyone with half a neuron knew was impossible to reliably valuate, with the result that Silicon Valley alone how has twenty-four thousand homeless people.

I don't live there anymore, but when I did, I used to see those poor fuckers all the time, smartly dressed and toting those rolling suitcases that are so popular, all night long on empty streets, because they had nowhere else to go. At least they were able to keep their fine luggage after their homes got foreclosed.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford Lower taxes lead the rich to export jobs (630 comments)

For the life of me I cannot understand why the Capital Gains Tax Rate is any less, let alone in any way different from the Income Tax Rates.

If one has the means to provide for oneself by investing in the stock market, why should one be required to pay significantly less taxes than those of us who provide for ourselves by working regular jobs?

Making more money available to the rich, or to large, powerful and highly profitable corporations, only enables them to build facilities in other countries.

My MacBook Pro was labeled as having been "Designed by Apple in California". But it was actually MADE in China. The very first Apple computers were made in Silicon Valley. It has been many years since Apple has had a manufacturing plant of any sort in the United States.

I'm self-employed, and hope to grow my business someday, but I am still of quite modest means. When I get to the point that I can hire employees, there is no way that I'll be contracting with an outsourcing firm in some other country. Instead I'll hire my employees from my local community.

It has been quite well established for DECADES that most new jobs are created by small businesses such as my own. All that making things easier for large business does is to make it easier for them to lay off their American workers when they move our jobs to other countries.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford Take the Bahamas. They don't have taxes there. (630 comments)

Of course the Bahamian government has to have some money for what few services it provides, so the only tax is an incredibly steep import duty. But many of the Bahamian people work around that by just not importing anything. Provided you live modestly and you enjoy seafood, you could live there your whole life without paying any taxes at all.

The Bahamas is one of the Caribbean Tax Havens. There are many financial firms that operate there to avoid the taxes they would pay in other countries. I wrote some quantitative investment software for a hedge fund there a while back.

The company owner wanted me to hire on as a permanent employee, and offered quite generous compensation, a housing allowance, a company-paid car and so on. My ex was quite excited at the prospect as she was an avid SCUBA diver.

But I took one look at the place and decided right then and there that I would not only never live in the Bahamas, but I would avoid even visiting it to the extent I possibly could.

The divide between rich and poor in the Bahamas is absolutely appalling. Very basic public infrastructure that most of us who live in industrialized countries take for granted is absolutely thrashed in the Bahamas because there is no money to maintain it. But here and there are completely private real estate developments where the infrastructure looks like its right out of Beverly Hills.

Even in the United States there are some communities where the Fire Department is not funded out of regular taxation. Instead one must pay a fee specifically for fire protection.

Not long ago I read quite a horrible news story about some guy who had not kept his fire protection fees up-to-date. When his house burned down the fire crew did show up, but only to prevent the fire from spreading to his neighbors home. Despite his desperate please, they made no effort at all to douse the flames that consumed his home, his possessions, and his memories.

That man's fate is what would befall us all if Ron Paul wins the presidency, and America loses all willingness to tax ourselves to provide for the common good. Rather than a nation whose prosperity is ensured in part by a well-maintained and extensive system of roads, the vast majority of us will live in horrible poverty, riding horsecarts perhaps on dirt roads, while only the very wealth can afford to pay road tolls.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford One cannot call oneself a Software Engineer... (630 comments)

... in Canada, unless one has the very same kind of background that Professional Engineers in the US do, with a different kind of education - Software Engineering is NOT the same as Compute Science! - and having served an appenticeship, taken exams, and been accepted by a professional engineering society.

The Ontario Society of Engineers maintains a website about their many lawsuits against Microsoft and the various "certification" companies for violating Candian Law by issuing Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer certifications. The OSE always wins those suits, and Microsoft always loses them, yet Microsoft persists in issuing MCSE certs. I would not be at all surprised if the OSE were to eventually obtain an injunction that forbid MS from doing business in the province at all.

Even so, despite being completely self-taught and having neither a software engineering nor computer science degree, I persisted in advertising myself as a Software Engineer the whole time I was in Canada. I awaited with glee the first time I was challenged for this, but no one ever did. I even did a human-life critical gig for a Canadian government agency, and got a job as a "Computer Programmer" - but NOT "Software Engineer" - for an engineering firm.

At that firm I persisted in calling myself an engineer, despite their being a clear line drawn between who were the computer programmers and who were the engineers. Our engineers were mostly mechanical or electrical engineers. My whole point in being such a jackass about that distinction the whole time I was there was that, despite our consulting engineers being very good at their work, our Computer Programmers did not have the first clue as to how to code themselves out of a wet paper bag.

Human Machine Interface / Software Control And Data Acquisition software is some of the most human-life critical software there is. The Iranian Stuxnet worm that destroyed all those Uranium centrifuges attacked an HMI/SCADA product made by Siemens, one of our competitors.

I resigned in furious protest from the place because I was completely convinced their lax development practices were going to get someone killed someday. I remain convinced of that, but I'm not completely clear how to warn the authorities that they need to hunt down and destroy every installation of this company's products before the Iranians figure out how to get even with us for Stuxnet.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford How much is spent on weapons development? (630 comments)

Do you have any concept of how much the American taxpayer still spends on missile defense research? This despite the fact that every single time there is an actual field test, they fail to shoot down the incoming target?

Do you have any concept of how much was spent to develop the B-1 bomber, which is such a poor weapon that it did not see action in any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The latest news is that America's latest development fighter jet kills its own pilots by cutting off their oxygen supply. The account I read of one such death was quite chilling. That plane is equipped with emergency oxygen, but to deploy it, the pilot has to pull on a metal ring with forty pounds of force. That's quite hard to do when your oxygen supply has been cut off.

A woman I once dated was a US Air Force Brat. Her father told her that USAF once got the idea that they could improve flight crew morale by issuing them all real sheepskin jackets just like in The Good Old Days. They issued a request for bids, but were dumbounded at how much those jackets would actually cost.

It seems that they dug up some manner of MIL-SPEC leather tanning process out of an old archive somewhere, that turned out to be from the United States Civil War. Back in those days you tanned leather by burying it under big heaps of cow manure then leaving it there for weeks.

Happily they revised the specification, but the fact that the USAF would issue such a specification when soliciting bids indicates that something is fundamentally wrong with the US military's procurement process.

Don't even get me started about all the contracts that were let to Halliburton and the like without any manner of competitive bidding. Just don't.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford Many of those loans were outright usury (630 comments)

There is a damn good reason that at one time it was forbidden to lend money for interest, no matter how small that interest might be. That was considered the Sin of Usury.

Many who received subprime loans did not have the means to pay anything down at all on their principle. To enable loan approval, their payments were so small that with the usual interest rate, their principal was actually steadily increasing, rather than decreasing.

Of course that cannot go on forever, so eventually their promissory notes called for much larger "balloon payments" that only at that later time would reduce the principle.

Variable-Rate Mortgages were created for the purpose of allowing people who were just starting out to get into a home of their own, with the interest rate increasing after they had been working in their careers long enough to receive raises in pay that would then enable them to afford the balloon payments. But those kinds of Variable Rate Mortages do pay down the principle. It's just that the interest rate is reduced for a few years.

There's a proper name for the kinds of loans where the principal grows, but I don't recall what it is.

The people to whom those loans were made were not financially sophisticated enough to know what they were getting into. I know from my own experience of Beneficial Finance being bound and determined to give me a usurous second mortgage so they could foreclose on my home, despite having already been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for that exact kind of behaviour, that lenders are not always honest.

Lenders are required to provide loan recipients with disclosure terms documents, but the two that I received from Beneficial required quite close examination for me to be able to determine that if I signed them, I would lose the only home I ever owned.

Those kinds of increasing-principal loans, if not already illegal, absolutely should be. Most of not all who purchased homes with that kind of fraudulent financing are now homeless and on the street.

Why aren't the responsible financiers doing hard time in Federal ass-pounding penitentiaries?

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford Regarding Your Signature (630 comments)

I don't think noscript is available for Mobile Safari. Is there some way I could prevent some newbie Slash coder's half-baked idea of Javascript from totally borking my Slashdot experience on both my iPhone and my iPad?

I'd be happy to file proper bug reports, but most of these bugs have persisted for so long I have a hard time accepting that they have not already been reported.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford What could we do to change this? (99 comments)

An idea I've had for a long time is that corporate executives shouldn't be paid based on the quarterly stock price, as is so often the case, but the stock price five years from now.

One way to do that would be to still pay them with options, but they would be contractually forbidden to sell the stock until five years after each vesting.

If they had exercised their options in the meantime, they would still get dividends. That's the way it should be - companies should drive investment by actually earning profits, not through market manipulations that drive up short-term stock prices.

I once worked for a privately-held hedge fund that had a software package that I referred to as "A License To Print Money". While not perfectly accurate, it did a pretty good job of predicting the commodities futures market.

There were just two dozen employees of that company which invested just one very wealthy guy's cash, but even so they traded in ONE THOUDAND different commodities. They got real-time quotes via a high-speed point-to-point wireless link to an ISP in a nearby city, which I imagine was tied into the Internet via either satellite or optical fiber.

That's not what the commodities futures markets are for! That kind of "investment" is not investment at all. It's Just Wrong.

The commodities futures markets were created to provide financing for farmers to grow their crops, for livestock herders to feed their cattle and so on. When one bought a contract for pork bellies, for example, when a pig farmer's pigs were eventually slaughtered, one's meat-packing plant would receive a bunch of refrigerated boxcars full of pork.

The guy I worked for "invested" in pork bellies as well, but to prevent a bunch of pig carcasses from ever showing up on his doorstep, one of my tasks was for my code to perform what is called a "roll", in which it would keep track of the delivery date of the contract, then sell it back on the Chicago market.

I don't know what can be done about the stock market, but perhaps one way to control the wild gyrations in the commodities market would be to forbid participation by parties who have no actual use for the physical commodities.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford I Once Invented A Lossless Image Compressor (99 comments)

It was the result of a long commute.

The compressors we were using made the image files small enough but the decompressors were pathetically slow on the 20 MHz CPUs of the day.

One reason for that is that most compressors are designed to eliminate the redundancies resulting from frequently repeated sequential patterns. Zip, GZip, LZW and so are on great for compressing natural language text, but it's a totally dumbfuck idea to compress two-dimensional graphics with them. I was totally appalled when I learned that PNG used Zip compression.

My whole invention was the result of nothing more than whiling away a long drive home while contemplating what about a picture is the really essential part of making it a picture and not something else.

I'm sorry but I don't have space in the margin of this book to actually explain it. But I do intend to write it up sometime soon rather than leaving it to future generations to figure out. :-)

Sometime after this I asked around for a good tool for losslessly compressing audio files. Everyone responded with clueless answers like "Why don't you just used Zip?" The reason that Zip is a poor audio compressor is that the compression algorithm does not in any way take into account what it is about digitized audio that makes it digitized audio and not something else.

Now we have FLAC and the Apple Lossless Encoder.

A really good way to do purely theoretical research is to have a really long and really boring commute to and from work.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford An attractively framed patent engraving. (99 comments)

My manager at Apple had two such plaques on the wall of his office at Apple. The first page of each of his two patents were attractively engraved in bronze then mounted on I think walnut.

I expect he got some manner of bonus, but it was Apple who got the royalties on his contributions towards wireless network encryption.

I'll be damned if I ever sign away the rights to any of my inventions ever again. I've made a whole bunch of merely well-off people spectacularly wealthy, but all I've ever gotten is shafted. That's why I'm self-employed despite the incredible difficulty of it.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford And the mouse was invented in the 1960s (99 comments)

I don't recall who invented it but I think it was someone at Stanford rather than at Xerox PARC.

I expect that at the time they would have used it to drive glass TTYs. That's not as dumb as you think; one of the original Bell Labs UNIX developers created a purely textual mouse and keyboard driven GUI that was incredibly lightweight compared to today's graphics-heavy desktops.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford The Right failed to regulate the banks (630 comments)

The Republicans damn well knew that subprime loans were being repackaged into derivatives, but did nothing to stop that nonsense because the big investment firms were making money hand over fist as a result.

Do you have any concept of how many suicides have resulted directly from the subprime meltdown, or how many have died from exposure or from inadequately treated illnesses after having lost their jobs and homes?

If I were to knock over a liquor store for a couple hundred dollars, I'd be spending time behind bars and because of the popularity of background checks today, I would forever find it difficult to get any sort of decent paying work or housing.

But the people who caused the subprime crisis are still running the big investment firms. How many of them have been prosecuted? The closest one I can think of is Bernie Madoff, but that was for running a Ponzi Scheme, not for defrauding investors.

more than 3 years ago

Democratic Super PAC Buys Newtgingrich.com

MichaelCrawford My ex is Canadian. Taxes are very high there (630 comments)

Her very first impression of the United States upon her very first visit here was the appalling condition of our roads. I was surprised at this, as I had always figured our roads were just fine, but upon my next visit to her home in Nova Scotia, I just had to agree. I later lived in Canada for several years and just had to agree that the roads everywhere I went were in immaculate condition.

Contrast this to the United States: in the October 1989 Loma Prieta quake, the top deck of the two-deck portion of Interstate 880 through Oakland collapsed onto the bottom deck, killing I think sixty-nine people. Some poor woman had her legs pinned under many tons of concrete. The only hope of saving her life was to use a power saw to cut both her legs off without the use of any anesthesia of any sort.

More recently the bridge on an Interstate highway between Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota collapsed, killing I think eleven people in an incredibly cruel way by dropping their cars from a great height into a deep river.

The authorized widely broadcast requests that anyone that had ever taken photos of that bridge turn them into the civil engineering authorities for their post-mortem. Careful examination found that some of the bolts in that bridge had been stretched noticably out of place as long as five years before!

I mentioned this to a friend who is a Professional Engineer - that's the proper term for a Civil Engineer. The fact that people get killed when people like him screw up is the reason that it would be a criminal expense for him to even claim to be a Professional Engineer without the proper license.

"That's impossible," he said. "Every bridge is inspected every two years."

I don't doubt that bridge was inspected every two years, but nevertheless it did fall down and kill a bunch of people.

If America were willing to tax itself enough to properly maintain its infrastructure, all those deaths and permanently crippling injuries just never would have happened.

I vastly preferred living in Canada for the specific reason that the Canadians are only too happy to tax themselves to provide for the common good. I always told people that Canada was the way America should be, and could be, but isn't.

I lost my immigration when Bonita divorced me. For quite a long time I wanted to return, and there are other ways I could still become a Canadian Landed Immigrant, and eventually a Canadian citizen.

One reason I don't, and chose eventually to remain in the United States, is so that I could work towards someday putting a stop to damnfool ignorant people such as yourself who are driving my Mother Country into the ground.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford The Apple Lisa had that same problem (99 comments)

I remember like it was yesterday when I saw one demonstrated at a computer store. But because I was but a starving student, and the Lisa had a whole megabyte of memory and what for the day was quite a large, bright monochrome graphics display, I knew that I wouldn't have the ten grand to actually buy one any time soon.

The original Macintosh was a largely successful attempt to fix the problem of the Lisa's exhorbitant retail price. The "1984 Superbowl Ad" Macintosh just had 128 kb of RAM and a 512 by 342 monochrome display. The model I eventually bought used had just a single-sided 400 KB floppy and no hard drive.

It was not possible to develop real software on the original Macintosh. Instead developers used cross-compilers with Lisas as the host.

more than 3 years ago

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker

MichaelCrawford A friend worked for Xerox in 1984 (99 comments)

Not at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, but in Pasadena. He was a fellow Caltech student.

They had a color photocopier under development that printed on paper the size of an unfolded newspaper.

Now of course he wasn't supposed to, but just for grins he photocopied one side of a twenty dollar bill. He showed me both the original and the photocopy. I was completely unable to tell the difference between the two.

Now this was in 1984. How many of you are old enough to recall what photocopiers were like in 1984? I don't think color copiers even existed outside the laboratory.

Xerox could be bigger and richer than Microsoft, Intel and Apple all put together if they had ever gotten products like that into the market.

When was Xerox PARC founded? In the 1960s? And only just now they're thinking they should make a profit with it?

Apple's ATG - Advanced Technology Group - was well-known for just the same kind of nonsense. They were always showing off incredible new products at developer conferences, such as tablet computers with handwriting recognition, but they were reknowned for never actually bringing any of those companies to market.

Contrast this with Bell Labs that among many other valuable, money-making products, invented the Transistor.

more than 3 years ago



World-Renknowned Baseball Player Fidel Castro Not

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  about 3 years ago

MichaelCrawford writes "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Truly a Latin American icon, attempted, yet strictly speaking, failed Washington Sentator's pitcher Fidel Castro won't actually be missed quite yet as recent reports of his death are not merely premature, but a hoax propagted by an email Trojan.

Che was completely correct regarding true revolutionaries.

Consider that Karl Marx, far from hurling Molotov Cocktails from behind hastily improvised street barricades, lived in desperate poverty for decades, while performing quiet, scholarly literature research in the reading room of the British Library in hopes of finding some way to end the incredible cruelty of government through royal inheritance as well as the what at the time was the profoundly dehumanizing Industrial Revolution.

My name is Jonathan Swift. I am to Solve what I call the Software Problem. But the software I aim to debug does not run on a computer made of Silicon, rather a computer made of meat, that being the human brain.

The Social Software Problem concerns humanity's history of endless conflict, the primary danger of which arises from Milleniarian Movements such as Stalinism, the Heaven's Gate UFO Cult mass suicide in San Diego in the Spring of 1997 as well as former US President Ronald's Reagan's publicly-stated purpose for having been sent to Earth by G-d Almighty Himself, that being to initiate the War against Gog, consuming it in fire as prophesied by by The Book of Revolation. Reagan was completely convinced that meant he was divinely appointed totally vaporize Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in order to bring about The End Times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior."

Link to Original Source

ViaCom to Get YouTube User Histories in Lawsuit

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Creative Commons Music writes "During discovery in the ViaCom v. YouTube lawsuit, ViaCom asked for the source code to Google's search engine, as well as the source to the software that ferrets out copyright infringing videos. Google successfully argued that releasing its search source, even under non-disclosure, would put its whole business at risk.

However, despite Google's concerns about privacy, the judge is willing to give ViaCom the YouTube user histories:

Defendants argue that the data should not be disclosed because of the users' privacy concerns, saying that "Plaintiffs would likely be able to determine the viewing and video uploading habits of YouTube's users based on the user's login ID and the user's IP address". But defendants cite no authority barring them from disclosing such information in civil discovery proceedings, and their privacy concerns are speculative.

Now, we all now that the date, time and IP address can be used to find an ISP's specific user. Are ViaCom's heavy bootheels coming to kick down the doors of infringing YouTube uploaders?"
Link to Original Source


Corn Genome Sequenced

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Certifiably Insane writes "Researchers led by Richard Wilson of Washinton University in St. Louis have unraveled the DNA sequence of corn, also known as maize. The sequence is to be made freely available from GenBank as well as from maizesequence.org.

Corn is one of America's most important crops, being used not just for food but also for fuel. The sequence will aid in the breeding of varieties that are more resistant to disease and drought."

Link to Original Source

Database Stolen From Pornsite Accounting Business

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  about 7 years ago

Creative Commons Music writes "Hold onto your... hats... gentlemen: the database of customer site webmasters was stolen from Too Much Media, which makes an accounting package called Next-Generation Administration and Tracking System, or NATS, which tracks affiliate payments for referrals to adult sites. The breach allowed the operators of competing porn sites to download many membership lists, which were then used to send spam advertising their sites. This deeply troubles the adult webmaster community, because the privacy breach risks embarrassing their members if friends and family members find the skanky spam. (Me? I just read Slashdot for the articles!)"
Link to Original Source

Antitrust Suit Against Record Industry Dismissed

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Michael Crawford writes "Federal District Judge Gerard E. Lynch in New York has dismissed the lawsuit filed by LimeWire publisher Lime Group LLC against the big record labels for refusing to license their music for Lime to sell. Its suit claimed that the record labels illegally sought to monopolize online music distribution.

In his 45-page opinion, Lynch wrote that the labels' refusal to license their music to Lime didn't amount to "anything other than independent decision-making by each company to refrain from doing business". The judge also concluded that none of the labels' actions had any adverse affect on competition. He responded to Lime's complaint that they engaged in price fixing by stating that Lime failed to established that such price-fixing had harmed it.

However, some of the complaints brought under state laws were dismissed "without prejudice," thereby allowing Lime to pursue the case in state courts."

Link to Original Source



Please Critique My New Web Design

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 6 years ago Please critique my website's new design. You can post your comments in reply to this journal or email them to michael@geometricvisions.com.

I just completed the first phase of what will be a two-phase redesign of the website I use for my creative activities - music, writing, art and photography. I'm taking the site a lot more seriously than I used to, as I'm working hard at making a career change from software engineering to music. My site is:

My work so far focusses primarily on improving brand-name recognition of my stage name: Michael David Crawford. I include my middle name to avoid confusion with a famous actor who is also named Michael Crawford. Just in the last three months, analysis of my log files tells me that people are starting to find my site by entering my stage name into search engines. I want to encourage that.

It's a lot better than it was, but could still be improved. I'll do the second phase of the redesign after your critique. I also emailed all my friends and family about it, and will be asking for comments at Kuro5hin, where I'm a prominent member, as well as at Webforumz.

The site will be at a new domain when I roll out the second phase: michaeldavidcrawford.com. I'll put a redirect at the old domain so old links work, and (hopefully) so I can preserve my search engine position. My current domain is named after my first piano album, Geometric Visions, but I hope to have many albums someday.

All but four of the sixty-eight pages are XHTML 1.0 Strict. Two are transitional, because of a Google search form and a web ring navigation pane. Two of the pages are XHTML+RDFa; I had to do some hacking to get the RDFa pages to validate while still working in Internet Explorer. (The RDFa is used for Creative Commons license metadata - I've been placing a lot of my work under CC licenses.)

Internet Explorer also required a javascript hack to support captions inside of the frames I've placed around all the images; the hack replaces the frame's div with a one-cell table. Otherwise the frame would stick to the right and left sides of the window. My CSS and all but one of my pages are valid. The one invalid page is my custom 404 page, and it's because of the Google search form. The AdSense Terms and Conditions don't allow me to alter their markup, so I'm forced to be invalid if I use AdSense for Search!

I'd like advice as to how I could best place an AdSense for Search form on every page - but I won't actually do so until Google revises their markup so it's valid. I've had some conversations with AdSense support about it; I think it will happen but probably not soon.

There are just two tables on the whole site: the alternating left-right index on my homepage is a two-column table, as well as the web ring navigation pane on my telescope making page. I realize I could implement the homepage index as a bunch of divs, but the current implementation seems to make more sense to me, as well as being more reliable for older browsers.

I plan to add more items to the navigation in phase two. To provide the needed real estate, I'm going to replace my explicit email address with just the word "Contact". It will still be an email link, but will be spam-protected by implementing it in javascript. The Contact link will lead to a contact form page if you have Javascript disabled.

I'll be making my site fully accessible, as well as improving SEO in phase two. I have some experience with SEO but I'm by no means an expert. All the pages that I've worked to optimize so far have meta description tags, but most others don't.

My music pages will be reorganized, with my main music page being replaced with a bio, some photographs, and links to all the other music pages. My album Geometric Visions will be placed in a subdirectory (music/geometric-visions). Each of my new albums will have their own page. I'll also place my sheet music on its own page.

There's not much content on the drawing, painting and photography pages yet, but I'm finding that the few images I do have are getting a lot of referrals from image search engines. I'll be adding a lot of photos in the coming weeks. I won't be able to add my other drawings and paintings until I can get them out of storage on the opposite coast, which won't be for a long time.

I have a print-specific stylesheet. It hides the navigation, and makes links look like regular text. On most of the pages that use it, it adds a header to hardcopies explaining where the original can be found online. Try a Print Preview of this page for an example.

I didn't think of it until just now, but the printing code for phase two will keep my logo on hardcopies, while hiding the rest of the header. The print logo will have a white background - the screen logo has a gray background to match the body color; I don't use transparency because it's a PNG, and old Explorer versions don't render PNG transparency correctly.

The navigation in phase two will be implemented as Server-Side Includes; the current navigation was pasted into every single page. Having five websites, I've done site-wide navigation changes the hard way so many times that I finally decided to get help on how to do it the easy way.

Well that beats the subject completely to death . Thanks for your help!

-- Mike


The Way of the White Hat SEO

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 9 years ago New: AdSense Tips and Tricks that aren't what you expect, or "Earn High by Playing it Clean".

It's how I'm able to earn half my income through advertising published in articles I wrote for my website, whose traffic I built to over a hundred thousand hits of month over a period of seven years. As I write this, my resume and homepage are Google's #1 and #2 hits for software consultant.

I didn't resort to anything underhanded to build my site. Instead I built traffic and search rank by writing articles such as my programming tips.

I never intended to make any money directly from my website though; instead, I published the articles as a way to attract potential clients. Sometimes someone who came to read one would follow up with a sales inquiry. It's worked very well for me: I stayed working throughout the downturn, and these days I have to turn away clients.

CheeseburgerBrown called my article "The Way of the White Hat SEO".


-- Mike


Help Me to Help the Mentally Ill

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 10 years ago I have received many emails from people who read Living with Schizoaffective Disorder. I get mail from the mentally ill, their friends, their family, from mental health specialists, and those studying to become one. Overwhelmingly their email tells me that they found my article helpful.

Many tell me that my article is the only material they've found that helps them understand what schizoaffective disorder is really like. Most of the web pages about it, and most books, consist only of terse clinical descriptions.

More than a few have told me that they thought no one else experienced what they did. My article helped them to understand that they are not alone. They told me that my article gave them hope.

But my article is not helping as many as it could. My web server logs tell me that about 2000 people access one or another of its pages each month. I estimate that only about 300 of them read the entire article. That's not very many, considering that there are about two million schizophrenics, two million manic depressives, and a million schizoaffectives in the US alone, and far more worldwide.

You can help me to help the mentally ill by linking to my article from your website, weblog, or from message boards. It would also help to email the link to anyone you think might enjoy or benefit from my article.

Not only would some follow your link, but your link would help my article rank higher in the search engines. My log files tell me that most who read my article find it in the search engines, by searching for "schizoaffective disorder", or one of the symptoms: "depression", "mania", "paranoia", "hallucinations" or "dissociation".

My article ranks well for some keywords but not for others. It's google's #7 hit for "schizoaffective disorder", but only #77 for "paranoia". The #1 hit for paranoia is the CDDA Paranoia Homepage, an open source application for extracting audio data from CDs, which has nothing to do with this symptom of mental illness.

You should know that I am committed never to run advertising in the article. I do have ads on some of my other pages. My psychiatrists suggested that I should offer advertising exposure to the manufacturers of psychiatric drugs, but I think that would be wrong. Many of those who read my article are impressionable and vulnerable. Their ability to think critically is often impaired. It would be inappropriate to advertise to them from an article I wrote to help them.

Thanks for your help.



Geometric Visions

MichaelCrawford MichaelCrawford writes  |  more than 11 years ago While most of you know me from my work as a software consultant, I am also an artist and musician. Examples of my music, photography, drawing and painting can be found at www.geometricvisions.com.

Notably, you can download the MP3s for the complete album of me playing my piano compositions:

I expect to make Ogg Vorbis format available soon as well.

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