Late last month, we covered the goings on in Santa Fe, NM, and their plans to introduce free WiFi in a number of public buildings. As you may recall, those plans were being challenged by a group of cranky citizens who claimed that the plan constituted discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as they suffered from an alleged sensitivity to electromagnetic radio frequency emissions. Santa Fe’s city council has spoken, and it seems they think the complaint is a spurious as the rest of us.
Santa Fe’s city council voted unanimously to go ahead with the plan to provide free WiFi hotspots around the city in libraries and other public buildings, and rejected a motion to leave city hall uncovered by the plan.
Arthur Firstenberg, leader of the group who claim to be allergic to wireless emissions, calls the decisions both a “disaster” and also invites “a lawsuit.” On the other hand, Frank Katz, the city attorney appointed to investigate whether Mr Firstenberg’s claims held water, came to the conclusion that such a legal challenge would be without merit.
Instead of telling people allergic to WiFi that there’s no such thing as “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”, we should tell them that it exists and can be cured with aromatherapy candles.
A few weeks ago John Mitzel, proprietor of Calamus Books in Boston, was surprised to open his mail and discover he’d been named in a lawsuit filed by an author. The suit, filed by Larry Townsend’s attorney for copyright infringement, stems from a dispute over unpaid fees allegedly owed the author by his distributor, the Oklahoma-based Nazca Plains Corp. Nonetheless, the suit charges that Mitzel, along with over 40 other booksellers (including Amazon and Barnes & Noble), infringed on Townsend’s copyright by selling the author’s books in his store.
But the Los Angeles-based Valerie F. Horn, Townsend’s attorney, said that although the claim is rooted in an issue with Nazca (which is, for all intents and purposes, an individual named Herbert R. Moseley), the bookstores are legally entangled. According to Horn, Nazca, aka Moseley, copied Townsend’s works without permission and then distributed the books to the booksellers. This, she said, results in “liability to all those within the chain of distribution.” Horn also added that whether the booksellers named knowingly or unknowingly sold ripped-off books is irrelevant, as per the copyright statute.
Cement is mainly used to make concrete, and is sort of the “active ingredient” in concrete – it is combined with sand and gravel in roughly fixed proportions. So cement production can be considered a rough proxy for the total amount of construction going on in a country.
During Adobe’s Q2 earnings call Monday, chief Shantanu Narayen said that Adobe had tackled some of the technical challenges to getting Flash to work on the iPhone:
We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date.
The problem is, what runs fine on the emulator may very well be dog-slow on the device itself. Is there any mobile device where Flash is snappy? Anyway, DaringFireball says it best:
The funny part is that when I loaded this page on my Mac, I was presented with one of the most obnoxious Flash-based web ads I’ve ever seen: an ad for Verizon FiOS that, about 10 seconds after the page loaded, “set fire” to the paragraph of text I was reading. The iPhone’s lack of Flash is a feature.
If I can’t show a “McCane” logo, can I show this?
‘People were understandably annoyed at being smashed over the head in their own country at the request of a foreign security service.’
And to think Microsoft used to be popular with the developer crowd…
Not anymore. A recent report from Evans Data shows fewer than one in 10 software developers writing applications for Windows Vista this year. Eight percent. This is perhaps made even worse by the corresponding data that shows 49 percent of developers writing applications for Windows XP.
Such appreciation for history is not likely to warm the cockles of Microsoft’s heart, especially when Linux is getting lots of love from developers (13 percent writing apps for it this year and 15.5 percent in 2009). The Mac? I don’t have any equivalent data via Evans Data. But the Mac OS has rocketed by 380 percent as a targeted development platform, Evans Data told Computerworld.
The numbers don’t get much better for Vista in 2009: 24 percent (compared with 29 percent for XP). That’s a big step up from 8 percent, but is it a sign of momentum to come or just a temporary stopgap while developers wait until Windows 7?
De livestreams van het EK voetbal op de website van de publieke omroep, kunnen alleen met Microsoft-technologie worden aangeboden, omdat dat ondersteuning biedt voor digitaal rechtenbeheer.
Dat schrijft (PDF) minister Plasterk (OC&W) in antwoord op vragen van Tweede Kamerlid Arda Gerkens (SP). De NOS zendt op internet alle EK-wedstrijden rechtstreeks uit. Gebruikers kunnen kiezen uit een Windows Media-stream of een stream via Silverlight, beide technologieën van Microsoft.
Voor Silverlight is gekozen omdat het ondersteuning biedt voor digitaal rechtenbeheer (DRM). Op het gebruik van de EK-beelden zijn allerlei restricties van toepassing, die mede via die technologie worden afgedwongen.
De minister vindt het kennelijk niet erg mijn belastinggeld te verspillen aan een dergelijke besloten omgeving. Als de EK voorwaarden stelt waardoor je het niet uit kan zenden, zend het dan ook niet uit!
On a perfectly related point, all you have to do is look at the current electoral vote projections from the independent groups — versus those by the media — to see how they shamelessly distort the facts to support their own faulty narrative of the race (or inexcusible bad political analysis):
Obama McCain Net
While the four independent groups see Obama leading in the electoral race by an average of more than 50, the two media organizations that have put out their own analysis show the race tied, or McCain even leading narrowly.
Some of the unreleased pages in McCain’s Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency. From day one in the Navy, McCain screwed-up again and again, only to be forgiven because his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain’s sense of entitlement to privileged treatment bears an eerie resemblance to George W. Bush’s.
As I suggested last week, S. 1625 — the Counter Spy Act — takes an anti-spyware approach that’s very similar to the way the failed Can-Spam Act of 2003 attacked spam. Its list of prohibited behaviors – like taking over computers with zombies and collecting information for identity theft — are all already clearly illegal under existing laws. Its various loopholes would allow some bad actors to claim they’re actually following the law. And actual victims would have virtually no recourse but to beg the FTC to take action.
But one aspect of the Counter Spy Act is far more troubling than anything that was in Can-Spam. It’s the “Limits on Liability” provision, more specifically Section 6(a). That says the whole laundry list of prohibited acts in the bill:
“do not apply to any monitoring of, or interaction with, a subscriber’s Internet or other network connection or service, or a protected computer, by or at the direction of a telecommunications carrier, cable operator, computer hardware or software provider, financial institution or provider of information services or interactive computer service…”
These institutions have immunity under the Counter Spy Act when what they’re doing is done for purposes network security, diagnostics, technical support and other mostly innocuous-sounding activities. In fact, with the first nine of these liability exemptions it seems rather odd that they would need to be mentioned at all in the context of the clearly nefarious behaviors prohibited by the bill. But the tenth and final exemption is granted for when the otherwise prohibited acts are done for:
“(10) detection or prevention of the unauthorized use of software fraudulent or other illegal activities.”
Besides the fact that the clause needs a comma or two, what does preventing “the unauthorized use of software” have to do with spyware? Is the Counter Spy Act fighting for privacy or against piracy? To understand the real purpose of 6(a)(10), we need only look at the written testimony of Vincent Weafer, a vice president of Symantec who was representing the Business Software Alliance (BSA) before the committee. The BSA, by the way, was by far the primary lobbyist – some might even say the primary authors — of UCITA and its electronic self help concept.
Those sneaky bastards want to be able to legally take over your computer….
By writing themselves into the law as “above the law”, I no longer feel particularly feel any moral obligation to obey the law.
The Army official who managed the Pentagon’s largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.
The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.
Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”
But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims — approved most of the payments he had tried to block.