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Teachable Robot Helps Assemble IKEA Furniture

mhollis Hurray! (88 comments)

I'm glad someone can assemble Ikea furniture!

about a year ago
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How Old Were You When You First Got a Cell Phone?

mhollis We had rocks (330 comments)

I'm old. incredibly old. In fact, I wonder how it is that my old corpse is still walking around among you folks.

Why, back in my day, we had rocks. And we pounded them together to make sounds. And those sounds were used to communicate over long distances, like 100 feet or so (but we didn't have feet yet, so we used rocks).

And we liked it!

about a year ago
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Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

mhollis Re:How will this affect the industry? (385 comments)

The GIMP dead on Windows?!

The following was posted on the GIMP Website:

It's been a long time since we last had an active Windows-based developer. Consequently, GIMP has accumulated a plethora of bugs specific for that operating system. As much as we'd like to provide a smooth user experience for Windows users, we simply do not have the required human resources.

Hence, if you are an experienced Windows-based developer who is interested to help GIMP become a first-class citizen in the Windows world, please get in touch with us. Our main communication channels are the gimp-developer mailing list and IRC.

I received a copy of Photoshop Elements with a drawing tablet sold by Wacom for my daughter recently. It does seem to work. Perhaps Adobe is not improving it, but one does not expect Elements to do everything Photoshop does.

I think that Paint.net may have given way to PIXLR Editor for simple tweaking and enhancing.

There are a few Mac-only apps as well, but I gather you may not have a Mac, based on your statement about The GIMP.

about a year ago
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Adobe's Strange Software Giveaway: Goof, Or Clever Marketing?

mhollis What I use (385 comments)

I'm still using Photoshop CS3 (version 10), which I only upgraded because Photoshop 7 was so seriously out of date that it would not work on my new computer. I did download Photoshop CS6 when it was in Beta and I do like many of the capabilities of it, but nothing there was make or break for me.

I am using Dreamweaver CS 5.5 because it actually does more. I can see how web pages will look on iOS as well as Android smartphones. I also can work much more easily with HTML5 and CSS3. It also does a lot better work checking my php and JavaScript. So that upgrade was actually useful. I am very pleased with the fact that I have not paid every one to two years for the upgrades, which would have cost a lot more than simply buying new versions as I really needed to upgrade.

Adobe's upgrade policy, until December, was that if anyone still owned CS3 applications they would have to pay full price and get new software. They have since modified that stance because someone who is really smart must have told them that the upgrade path is an actual incentive.

Adobe's correct stance should be crystal clear: They ought to offer an upgrade path from the CS2 applications that is time-limited. There are always people who are going to buy gray-market or "used" software who will never pay what Adobe wants and never properly register their software. But there are people who may well be very attracted by an upgrade path.

about a year ago
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SOPA/PIPA Would Directly Affect...

mhollis SOPA and PIPA would end my business (290 comments)

I make websites. It would end my business. My clients would be placed into black holes by their competitors who would use SOPA or PIPA to claim infringement just to be rid of them. And to get out of the black hole, you have to prove that you do not infringe and have never infringed.

No due process. No prior proof needed. No judge, no jury. Pretty neat for the RIAA, which has been stymied by these things lately and the MPAA. Maybe if they're having problems with profits they can decide to release compelling content for a change.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Can You Do About SOPA and PIPA?

mhollis Re:Here's what (1002 comments)

And he would cause the US to allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. (Not our problem.)

Oh, and that Social Security withholding you have been paying for all along that allows my disabled sister to live? Gone. And the sons and daughters and spouses of soldiers who die in the service of our country—their Social Security checks? Gone. And the healthcare our soldiers get because they served our country with distinction? Gone. The ability of the United States to recover after a disaster like Katrina? Gone.

Personally, I'm looking forward to an America under Ron Paul, so that half our nation goes hungry. They're all lazy anyway.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Can You Do About SOPA and PIPA?

mhollis Called my senators today (1002 comments)

I have previously written my Congressman and my Senators, but today I called the office of Senator Joseph Leiberman and found, to my disgust, he is a co-sponsor of the awful PIPA bill (the Senate version of SOPA).

I told Senator Leiberman's aide, who was handling phones this afternoon, that this bill would run me out of business. I design and build websites and the law is written in such a way that it would cause me to have to police my own clients, including any link they posted on their own websites. Also, any of their competitors could, with a complaint and no due process, demand that their websites were shut down. I also said that if the MPAA and the RIAA, who wrote this awful bill, were to start producing content that was compelling, they would not be experiencing the loss of revenue that they are blaming on the pirates.

I called Senator Blumenthal's office and found, to my relief, that while he initially was for the bill, he would not vote for it unless it was radically changed. I told the aide on the phone that I was an expert on the Internet, that I design websites and that this law could, effectively, end my business. I also told the aide that I had met the Senator when he was the Attorney General for the State and that I liked him, trusted him and hoped that he would listen to my concerns and never vote for any bill like this.

In both cases, I gave the Senators' offices my zip code and any other information they requested.

This kind of telephone call from an intelligent person who actually knows what's in the bill and what kinds of problems it could cause really gets the attention of these people in the Senators' offices and I would encourage all Slashdotters in the United States to do this. Senators are not experts on the Internet. They really need our help to let them know why the law that was written by the record industry and the film industry destroys our freedom.

more than 2 years ago
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White House Opposes Key SOPA Provisions

mhollis Re:Ron Paul's largest supporters are military. (175 comments)

Dupes?

Seriously, I was at a commuter rail station back when we were placing lots of National Guardsmen and women in them in order to encourage Americans to be afraid all of the time of Terrorists—but go shopping. I got into a conversation with a very nice gentleman who was just back from Iraq. He told me that "we need to reform all of these entitlements." I asked him for a definition of entitlement and he thought about it for a minute and said, "well, they're bad."

"Really?" I asked, "Where did you get this nice uniform?"

"It was issued to me," he answered.

"That's because you earned it and you are entitled to it because you did."

"An entitlement is something you earn?"

"True. you have earned the right to wear that uniform, you are entitled to it and the US Military gives you that entitlement as well as the uniform as an entitlement."

"So what is all this about these other entitlements, these bad entitlements that we cannot afford?"

"They were earned, too. In fact, you are entitled to go into a Veteran's Administration hospital to get checked out any time you feel you need to. That's another entitlement, and it's one they have their eyes on."

"That's just wrong," he said.

"Additionally, you've been paying into the Social Security and Medicare system. If you die in service, Social Security gives your survivors a check. You don't want them to get that?"

"No, I don't think so."

"You get disabled and you're entitled to a Social Security check for disability. You think that is wrong?"

"No."

Frankly, I think that the United States Military has become one great big huge "political re-education camp." They get our boys overseas and they start lecturing to them about all of this nonsense and they haven't a clue as to what they're talking about and how, what they're espousing would really look once it hit them. I know it went on in Iraq, because I have spoken to dozens who have returned, spouting exactly the same talking points. I am also smart enough to know who proposed this war in Iraq. For much of the time after the invasion, our men and women were in camps with nothing to do. And I think the political operatives made sure they had a lot of "educational materials."

If Ron Paul were actually elected, here is what would really happen:

We would downsize our military at a level that we have not so done since WW I and that would throw many of these fine men and women out of work in an economy that is not great.

Oh, but Ron Paul's largest supporters are military.

until they realize what he says really means.

This is exactly what happened under Shrub. He told everyone we needed to starve government of the money we needed for social programs. And the end result of that is a country that is having trouble digging its way out of a recession because we didn't have the money for the social support necessary to build back an economy that the bankers ruined.

Oh and we "couldn't afford" to rebuild New Orleans.

But we could afford to pay Halliburton over $1 million weekly to "rebuild Iraq."

more than 2 years ago
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Wikipedia Still Set For Full Blackout Wednesday

mhollis Re: Citizens United (291 comments)

Well, actually

Citizens United became a front group for giant corporations, both within and without the United States when our Supreme Court decided, as Mitt Romney said, "Corporations are people, too." And thus, they have a right to free speech. And that right ought not to be abridged, especially in politics (except we do abridge individuals right of freedom of speech by calling it a "verbal act.").

This is wholesale misuse of the 14th Amendment, which was actually written to give persons of African and non-European ancestry full citizenship in the US. It has been interpreted by people who ought to have their heads examined as "Corporations are people, too and, because there are more people, they are deserving of extra protection.

Of course, in their infinite wisdom, our Supreme Court did not consider the fact that many big Corporations are multinational now and, since they are permitted to use any amount of their money for "free speech," much of that money can come from overseas.

Which suggests, for example, that Ron Paul's SuperPAC is actually run by Iran, who would really like for the United States to be ultra-isolationist. I'm not in possession of any certain knowledge that it is, but since there are no laws requiring any reporting and since Ron Paul did vote to prevent any reporting, this makes him suspect.

So Citizens United might have initially been a well-intentioned group, but it has morphed into the single worse Supreme Court Decision in this country since the Dred Scott Case.

more than 2 years ago
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White House Opposes Key SOPA Provisions

mhollis Re:Oh wow. Watch what they DO, not what they SAY. (175 comments)

I note all the numbers from donors this year to Romney are lower. But it's early yet.

Problem is, you're leaving out the SuperPAC money that may very well determine the election. And, of course we cannot trace that. In the case of Ron Paul, we're probably looking at Iran, China and Russia. They would love to see the ultra-isolationist country he's espousing.

With respect to PIPA and SOPA, these are really bad bills. I have talked to two Senate offices and one Representative in person. My Representative was particularly interested in the "no due process" part of the bill, and told me he cannot support it. That is one that has been convinced.

more than 2 years ago
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Net Companies Consider the "Nuclear Option" To Combat SOPA

mhollis Re:Such an option is going to cause panic... (507 comments)

From the companies' perspective, a lowered minimum wage decreases the buying power of the potential consumer to the point where there would be no reason to hire the 8 additional employees.

EPA regulations, when finally allowed to go into effect to stop acid rain from destroying the New England forests by the Clinton Administration, created hundreds of jobs building and installing the scrubber systems to reduce sulpher dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants (who opposed such EPA rules, saying they would kill jobs).

I wholeheartedly agree that corporate money distorts the process of democratic elections in the United States. Because the Supreme Court (in Citizens United) threw out all legislation pertaining to corporate speech, we now have a system that encourages foreign money to influence American elections. The whole idea of "Freedom of Speech" has been turned on its head, with Capital and the moneyed interests being given the largest megaphone with no requirement that they prove that their political speech is not funded or controlled by foreign interests.

I look at the ads on television today in the early primary states and wonder why China is helping Romney. I can completely understand why Iran would want to help Ron Paul, who would agree with their Defense Minister that we ought not to send our aircraft carrier group into the Strait of Hormuz. Of course we cannot know how much of their money has supported those campaigns and those of their Super-PAC allies.

more than 2 years ago
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Competing Contests To Create Pro- and Anti-Piracy PSAs

mhollis Honesty and piracy (220 comments)

The real issue here is that NBC Universal started a contest in the schools, and created a "front" to divert everyone's attention from the fact that this is a corporately-sponsored contest, where the only winners will be those who agree with the corporation's goals.

That's dishonest and this is why this contest is seen as "evil." Presumably NBC Universal will benefit from a whole bunch of free Public Service Announcements made by these people who were duped into thinking this contest was honest.

With respect to piracy, the real danger to the studios is not in the home user burning a copy of a DVD. The real danger is from organized criminals who will literally pull up to a duplication facility loading dock with a semitrailer and steal the duplication apparatus to make copies from the original master disc. Or the Chinese government officials, sworn Party members all -- and "untouchable" because of that -- who reverse-engineer the original master and crank out millions of copies that can undersell the official studio version (because they're not paying the studio). Go down to Chinatown or Canal Street in NYC and you'll see these pirated copies all over. And these illegal copies often come out before the official release date from the studios.

But now, the studios see the writing on the wall. DVD player-recorders did not have "sufficient" copy protection built in, so home "piracy" was fairly simple. So the studios all refused to allow for a high definition system without "sufficient" "safeguards." And the studios were so intransigent that we did not have a standard for high-definition DVDs until very recently. Meanwhile, the Internet has gotten faster (despite the fact that cable and telco companies have done everything they can to not increase speeds in the United States because they like collecting money without needing to create better infrastructure) and most people will simply bypass the new Blu-Ray standard by acquiring their media through electronic delivery, instead of by buying some soon-to-be obsolete player and the media it plays.

So all of the studios' dreams of being able to lock down their content (with Blu-Ray) have been for naught. Home hard drives are big enough to contain many high-definition films and consumers can build their own libraries of the films they like without needing to rip (and bypass copy "protection" schemes) from discs. Delivery is now digital and over the Internet. DVD stores are going the way of the record store. And companies like Apple and Netflix will be the distribution channel and the studios don't control them. These studio executives all sit around their offices and meeting rooms and worry about Mom and Pop, Timmy and Mary sharing their movies with their friends who have not paid for the movie.

But the real threat is elsewhere. Right now, in Romania, Ukraine, Russia or China, there is an organized criminal who has hacked into their computer system where the unprotected film is sitting. And they are downloading everything on the computer they have hacked into. And I would not be surprised that the computer in question is actually editing the studio's film. This criminal will certainly be able to release the film as soon as it hits the theatres to consumers as pirated downloads.

So what NBC Universal is trying to do here is to find a way to get Mom, Pop, Timmy and Mary to not share their movies with Dick and Jane across the street.

Pathetic.

more than 2 years ago
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The Tablet Debate: 3G Or Wi-Fi?

mhollis WiFi doesn't cut it (395 comments)

For what I am doing, some kind of data over cellular is a must. I build and support websites and sell to small businesses. Many of these small businesses simply don't have WiFi access, most have minimal computer knowledge. I find myself whipping out my iPad and showing them websites I have all ready delivered as proof-of-concept and so I can get a better handle on what their design sense is.

Personally, I would like something faster, and Sprint does have a 4G-based WiFi hot spot you can carry around with you and have up to five things tethered to that is really affordable. I do agree with those who don't like the fact that they have to pay a telco twice for, essentially, the same data.

For the plan I use, my business pays $15.00 monthly for the small amount of data I actually use in showing websites to clients as well as receiving and, occasionally, sending email from my iPad while not near a hot spot. It more than pays for itself in closed deals.

If you are using cellular data just for personal jollies or to "impress chix" it is a waste of funds that would better improve your life deposited in your 401(k) account. but for people who are in the field like I am, it closes deals and makes money.

more than 2 years ago
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Google ReCAPTCHA Cracked

mhollis Simple Block 'em (211 comments)

I use a script for emailing the addresses of my clients and the script is server-side code. And since that does not load unless the form (for an email) is completely filled out, nobody can pre-look at my code and figure out anything.

Client's email address is in a lookup in an SQL database, so nobody can see that, either.

Solution is to capture then BLOCK the IP address of anyone sending spam through the form. So far, I have seen two messages from Belize and one from India. And now those people can no longer even load the websites they spammed. As their world gets smaller and smaller, maybe they will have so few people to email, they'll quit.

This may not work for someone as big as Google, but it certainly works for me and my website clients.

more than 3 years ago
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The 10 Best Android Hacks

mhollis Re:In this war (134 comments)

Mod this up!

And hopefully RIM will get a clue.

Their server technology is so secure that certain rather paranoid countries want them to give officials "back door" keys. And in this day of business espionage, that is a real plus.

more than 3 years ago
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The 10 Best Android Hacks

mhollis In this war (134 comments)

In this war between Android and iPhone, the customer wins.

The "Droid Does" (multitasking) ad campaign spurred Apple to develop iOS 4.x, which allows multitasking. The first Droid smartphones got Apple off the dime with cut and paste. Customers continue to win here, no matter which phone they purchase

Personally I have an iPhone (4) and I like it. I had the original iPhone and retained it well past my contract with AT&T. I have a client who purchased a Droid Incredible and asked me to set up his email (from my server) on it. Took all of about a minute. I was very impressed by the phone and shall always retain that impression.

I think the real losers here are RIM with the Blackberry and the Palm WebOS smartphones. While Palm has innovated, they have been passed by and are now in a niche. RIM is trying to play "catch up" and the only real difference they offer in their phones is complete integration with secure Exchange Servers. They have lost utterly in the easy app purchase field.

Apple's biggest mistake so far in the United States has been the exclusivity contract with AT&T. Initially, it was a boon for Apple, but the Android smartphones are selling faster than the Apple smartphones because they are available on more networks. To the extent Apple stays with the phone company we all love to hate, they will lose market share versus the Android smartphones.

more than 3 years ago
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World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Thought

mhollis Re:Typical of Fox (338 comments)

Fox is not apolitical and that is the problem with your statement. If you see that NYT, CNN, BBC and Fox are "random crap" you are completely deluded about what Google is doing.

The stories Google posts on their news site are the top hits for the particular stories listed. Choosing Fox over any other source gives them legitimacy in the eyes of Google—false legitimacy, because of Fox's rather nasty political agenda.

And I'm not saying that their right-wing sloganeering is nasty. The "nasty" issue with Fox is that they simply do not read, nor do they fact-check, nor do they error-correct for the purpose of informing viewership and readership. There isn't anyone sweating bullets about accuracy, double-checking name misspellings, making sure the geography is correct and trying—mightily—to not lie with statistics.

Having actually worked news gigs, these are things I did and did regularly, trying to do more than my job to make sure that what we reported was accurate—even to the point of risking my job by asking an anchorperson right before the news aired about the correctness of a tease he wrote to promote the show. Everyone in the real news media knows that, once you take a job with Fox, you're never going to be considered legitimate and you have blown any hint you may have had of integrity in reporting. And that's sad, because reporters seek for all of their working lives for that stamp of integrity and know that if they lose that, they have lost everything.

There is nothing random about the selection of Fox by Google. It is entirely based on the fact that people, not knowing that Fox does not check facts or even care about facts, click on the link because the source is topmost. And it's topmost because they sensationalize everything, rather than take the time to verify accuracy.

more than 3 years ago
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World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Thought

mhollis Re:Typical of Fox (338 comments)

People are busy these days and do not always have enough time to take in enough news and current events to be properly educated about the facts around them. Those who chose faux news as their sole source of information will find themselves missing out entirely from facts that ought to inform the decisions they make in their lives.

My credentials? I worked for two of the three major news networks in the United States. For over ten years. And nobody at MSNBC or CNN limit their news intake to just faux news. This would be tantamount to never looking into any report about anything at all happening in the world. One would have come away from September 11, 2001 thinking that Saddam Hussein personally flew three planes into three buildings and followed that act up with ditching a plane in Pennsylvania -- and then lived to protest that he had no WMD, as he juggled three nuclear warheads while talking to the press.

CNN regularly and routinely aired the footage that the NBC Network produced from "Ground Zero" in New York (NBC's Rehema Ellis was the only reporter actually on the scene from any news agency and, to their shame, CNN used that footage to promote themselves as a news channel.

All of the news organizations' executives agreed to pool all footage from everywhere on that day and, for NBC, that was a very bad decision.

While working in news, I read three different news wires pretty much all of the time during the day, listened to NPR on my way in to work, read the New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Daily Tribune. It wasn't enough. One newspaper I found important post-Clinton was the Cairo Journal, though the English version doesn't have the same "spin" as the Arabic and I would usually consult a translator at least two times a day.

I'm going to guess that the people who work at faux news read the Wall Street Journal as if that Murdoch-owned paper is a "newspaper of record." It is not. Prior to Murdoch's purchase, it was a newspaper that was full of corporate PR, hastily rewriting press releases churned out by the big corporations whose executives read it.

If you don't work in news, you should regularly read a "newspaper of record" (and none of the Murdoch-owned ones are) and you should alternate these sources. So if on Mondays, you read the New York Times, you should read the Chicago Tribune on Tuesdays, switch to the Washington Post on Wednesdays, read the Los Angeles Tribune on Thursdays and hit the BBC on Fridays. All of these outlets will be available on the Internet and all are pretty comprehensive. If you really like crosswords, you should pick the New York Times on the day you find it hardest -- but still possible, understanding that the easiest is published on Mondays, with the hardest on Fridays.

I don't think anyone is actually home any more for the 6:30 PM news on television.

more than 3 years ago
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World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Thought

mhollis Re:Typical of Fox (338 comments)

Zenin's reply is perfect, but I will add this false news story that was heavily reported on faux news as yet another example of how they do no fact checking at all, preferring to sensationalize anything that fits their political aims.

As I said before, if faux news is the only "news" you take in, you will not understand the world around you. You will be regularly and routinely lied to and you will not comprehend correctly what is truly happening in the world.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is discovering a small minority of species are "discovered" more than once and genetic sequencing is helping to clear that up. Faux news is reporting that biodiversity is not important because most of the diversity is really false.

The difference here is spin. The Royal Botanic Garden will tend to prefer that we not destroy species. Murdoch and company would prefer that we pay no attention whatsoever to people who are saying that killing off massive quantities of our species from this planet could, in the long term, be very detrimental to life on earth.

I wholly disagree with your statement that what they report is rarely flat-out false and would refer you to any story originated by Breitbart as well as the above link to the Los Angeles Police jet pack purchase.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Verizon iPhone

mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mhollis (727905) writes "I just received a telephone call from Verizon monents ago. They were interested in trying to get my wife to extend their contract and I told them that I do know that my wife is interested in extending her contract if they offer the Apple iPhone. The woman told me straight out that they are getting the iPhone and that it was not out yet — but it would be out in the next year."
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Kepler Telescope begins hunt for extrasolar Earth

mhollis mhollis writes  |  about 5 years ago

mhollis (727905) writes "Kepler, which launched on March 6th into a solar orbit has successfully jettisoned its dust cover. The planet-finding telescope contains the largest camera ever flown in space. NASA is offering an artist's animation of the dust cover procedure. Kepler is to be the first in a series of extrasolar planet finding telescopes and is slated to have a three-year mission."
Link to Original Source
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San Francisco Admin locks out city officials

mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mhollis writes "San Francisco municipal emplyoyee Terry Childs, a computer network administrator has the admin passwords and he's not giving them up. He is being held by the city on $5 Million bail while murder suspects are typically held on $1 Million. He is refusing to give up real asministrator passwords to city officials apparently because he has a beef with his boss.

Authorities say Childs created a password that granted him exclusive access to the city's new FiberWAN (Wide Area Network), where records such as officials' e-mails, city payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and jail inmates' bookings are stored. He initially gave pass codes to police, but they didn't work. When pressed, Childs refused to divulge the real code even when threatened with arrest, they said."
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mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mhollis (727905) writes "Gizmodo is featuring a subjective HDTV quality test from the five networks that were sending an HD signal of the President's State of the Union speech. This speech was broadcast using a pool feed, so everyone was deriving their signal from exactly the same source.

According to Gizmodo, CBS won the contest with the highest quality signal. Fox lost, as they did not have an HD feed at all — just widescreen — so their picture looked fuzzy as compared to the other networks. Also judged was sound quality.

And you thought NTSC standard definition television stood for Never Twice the Same Color!"
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mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mhollis (727905) writes "NASA's Cassini spacecraft has seen something never before seen on another planet — a hurricane-like storm at Saturn's South Pole with a well-developed eye, ringed by towering clouds.

The "hurricane" spans a dark area inside a thick, brighter ring of clouds. It is approximately 5,000 miles across, or two thirds the diameter of Earth."
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mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mhollis (727905) writes "Some time ago, Palm announced the Treo 680 but released nothing more than a photograph. Today, someone with inside information has released full details in the form of a Power Point presentation for internal use only by Cingular, who will have an exclusive on the device for a while. Pricing options are also available

The Treo 680 will have marginally more RAM than any of Palm's current crop of smartphones, though will have a lower-resolution camera. It has a slower data rate than the Treo 650 and 700 series but it will have a push-to-talk walkie-talkie feature planned as an upgrade.

The 680 does not feature an external antenna, which is a source of frustration for many Treo users."

Journals

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mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Tomorrow is another anniversary of September 11th and a particularly meaningful day for me. I lost a number of good friends on that day (though I didn't know it at the time) and witnessed the second plane hitting the South Tower in NYC. I had previously heard the first plane passing over my apartment in Greenwich Village and heard the explosion.

Despite the fact that it was a day off for me, I went in to work. You see, I work at NBC and I knew that it would be very important that I help tell the story of an unprecidented attack on America to the world.

Every year, I find we tend to reopen the wound by rebroadcasting the events of that day. What we don't do is any analysis.

One of the first, and most vital things that a nation has to do is to secure its own borders and establish a common defence of its population. The US failed to do that, despite warnings, on September 11, 2001. If attacked, it is the duty of a nation to respond to the attacker. The US has failed to do that, as Osama bin Ladin is still at large and his terror network is larger than ever, thanks to the training camp we have provided Al Qaida in Iraq.

In the meantime our government has created whole new bureaucracies that have helped to prevent it from providing necessary services. Since FEMA has been subsumed by the Department of Homeland Security, it is no longer capable of responding to emergencies and Coast Guard Admmirals must step in because political appointees cannot figure out how to do their jobs.

And our government is spending money like water on these new bureaucracies as well as the the terrorist training camp that is Iraq. We seem to have learned nothing, save how to impart political spin on misdeeds and misappropriation of taxpayer funds.

I wonder if I will ever see any meaning in my friends' deaths. If the past four years are any indication, it's doubtful.

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mhollis mhollis writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Recently there has been a certain amount of discussion about whether or not State legislatures ought to keep municipalities from offering WiFi access using their tax money to do so.

There is some question about what the role of government ought to be and this question has been at the heart of political debate for centuries. US Presidents have refused to sign bills that would use federal funding to build roads. Towns used to only rent or lease lots and were wholly owned by large landowners who used rents to improve the town (building roads, storm sewers, wastewater treatment and so on).

Obviously, what constitutes a good model for community government changes with the times and the perceptions of the people and that is a mark of a good democratic society.

I have mentioned that I am bothered when State or Federal governments restrict what services a locality may offer because it keeps the local people from running affairs as they see fit and as they are willing to pay for in taxes.

Part of the essence of the American Revolution was an insistence that local affairs were best governed by local councils and people closest to the issues. Government from afar, especially government that did not represent or consider local issues was what we were declaring their independence from and I think that, to a certain extent, this principle has been forgotten.

Ought municipalities to provide this service as well as the other services they provide? I don't know. But they should not be prevented from offering any service that the majority of a local community wishes to pay taxes to support.

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