.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Monday, 24 November 2008

Testing the ‘Broken Windows’ Theory of Crime

Testing the ‘Broken Windows’ Theory of Crime: "

Interesting experiment testing the theory that signs of visual disorder, such as litter and graffiti, encourage crime and other acts of disorder. (Via Gus Mueller.)

(Via Daring Fireball.)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

From basketcasecomix.com


Monday, 17 November 2008

Feds Can Locate Cell Phones Without Telcos

"schwit1 sends along an Ars Technica report covering the release of documents obtained under the FOIA suggesting that the Justice Department may have been evading privacy laws in their use of 'triggerfish' technology. Triggerfish are cell-tower spoofing devices that induce cell phones to give up their location and other identifying information, without recourse to any cell carrier. 'Courts in recent years have been raising the evidentiary bar law enforcement agents must meet in order to obtain historical cell phone records that reveal information about a target's location. But documents obtained by civil liberties groups under a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that 'triggerfish' technology can be used to pinpoint cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all. The Justice Department's electronic surveillance manual explicitly suggests that triggerfish may be used to avoid restrictions in statutes like CALEA that bar the use of pen register or trap-and-trace devices...' The article does mention that the Patriot Act contains language that should require a court order to deploy triggerfish, whereas prior to 2001 'the statutory language governing pen register or trap-and-trace orders did not appear to cover location tracking technology.'

(Via Slashdot.)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

As always, Ballmer doesn't get it....

Steve Ballmer Dismisses Google Android: "


Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Thursday dismissed the Android mobile operating system, saying he believed that building it was financially unsound for Google. […]

He questioned Google’s ability to make money with Android. ‘I don’t really understand their strategy. Maybe somebody else does. If I went to my shareholder meeting, my analyst meeting, and said, ‘Hey, we’ve just launched a new product that has no revenue model!’… I’m not sure that my investors would take that very well. But that’s kind of what Google’s telling their investors about Android,’ he said.

Just like how Google’s search engine has no revenue model. And just like how, according to Ballmer, there was ‘no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.’

(Via Daring Fireball.)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

From JoyOfTech....


★ A Fantastic Monument

Hunter S. Thompson, September 1972:

"The pools also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority
of the Youth Vote. And that he might carry all fifty states.

Well… maybe so. This may be the year when we finally come face to
face with ourselves: finally just lay back and say it — that we
are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all
the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing
anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his
mistakes and all his imprecise talk about ‘new politics’ and
‘honesty in government’, is one of the few men who’ve run for
President of the United States in this century who really
understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of
the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept
it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.

McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem
almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every
day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect
expression of everything he stands for.

Jesus! Where will it end?"

It ends here, today.

I love this country.

(Via Daring Fireball.)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A vote for broadband in the "white spaces"

A vote for broadband in the "white spaces": "All eyes are on the presidential election today, but another important vote just took place at the Federal Communications Commission. By a vote of 5-0, the FCC formally agreed to open up the 'white spaces' spectrum -- the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels -- for wireless broadband service for the public. This is a clear victory for Internet users and anyone who wants good wireless communications.

The FCC has been looking at this issue carefully for the last six years. Google has worked hard on this matter with other tech companies and public interest groups because we think that this spectrum will help put better and faster Internet connections in the hands of the public. We also look forward to working with the FCC to finalize the method used to compute power levels of empty channels adjacent to TV channels (we have a number of public filings before the commission in this area and it is a vital issue in urban areas).

I've always thought that there are a lot of really incredible things that engineers and entrepreneurs can do with this spectrum. We will soon have 'Wi-Fi on steroids,' since these spectrum signals have much longer range than today's Wi-Fi technology and broadband access can be spread using fewer base stations resulting in better coverage at lower cost. And it is wonderful that the FCC has adopted the same successful unlicensed model used for Wi-Fi, which has resulted in a projected 1 billion Wi-Fi chips being produced this year. Now that the FCC has set the rules, I'm sure that we'll see similar growth in products to take advantage of this spectrum.

As an engineer, I was also really gratified to see that the FCC decided to put science over politics. For years the broadcasting lobby and others have tried to spread fear and confusion about this technology, rather than allow the FCC's engineers to simply do their work.

Finally, I want to applaud and thank FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the other commissioners, and the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology for their leadership in advancing this important issue. And, thanks to the more than 20,000 of you who took a stand on this issue through our Free the Airwaves campaign, the FCC heard a clear message from consumers: these airwaves can bring wireless Internet to everyone everywhere.


(Via Official Google Blog.)

Monday, 3 November 2008

The Economist: ‘It’s Time’

The Economist: ‘It’s Time’: "

Another good example of conservatives making a strong case for electing Obama. Their previous endorsements are rather interesting (e.g. Bill Clinton in 1992 but Bob Dole in 1996).

(Via Daring Fireball.)

A Conservative for Obama

A Conservative for Obama: "

Some of the most interesting and thoughtful endorsements for Barack Obama that I’ve seen are those from conservatives. My favorite is this one from Wick Allison, former publisher of The National Review.

Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian
schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and
always ready to test any political program against actual results.
Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of ‘oughts.’ We
ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do,
regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on
intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to
political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax
cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he
refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge
deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt.
Facing this, John McCain pumps his ‘conservative’ credentials by
proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once
fought for limited government has presided over the greatest
growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it
is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

(Via Daring Fireball.)