Bill's Blog

Friday, August 26, 2005

I Was Wrong

Previously, I posted regarding Jean Charles de Menezes, the man killed by British police after the subway attacks there. I argued that police did have justification for shooting the suspect and pointed to reports that listed behavioral anomalies and heightened tension as proof. It now turns out that those reports were inaccurate. There is still some debate as to what happened and the reason for it, but an investigation is underway. Hopefully, the investigation will yield fruitful answers and measures can be implemented to keep this from happening again.

Innocent people should be protected, not shot and killed. According to the most recent reports, de Menezes was innocent and acting completely normal. The reports outlining him as running from police, jumping turnstiles, and wearing a heavy jacket all appear to have been false. The police officers involved in this case were mistaken and action needs to be taken. What action is deserved should be determined following a complete investigation. I do not think all the information is out in the open yet and I think it will take a while for officials to make any sort of conclusion.

I was wrong. To those I argued with (both on this site and on a few others), I am sorry. My arguments were made based on mistaken reports that I now know were false. I believe my reasoning was sound, but the facts I was using to support the argument were inaccurate. I think this is one of the problems with blogging. When I write about what I know, about what happens to me, I can be sure of the facts (at least as I see them). In cases like this, however, I am forced to rely on other media outlets to get the facts and then I can comment on it. If I rely on reports that are inaccurate, then I will be wrong. I think this is something to consider.

BBC: Timeline - Tube Shooting - An updated list of events regarding the Tube Shooting and the aftermath.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Yeah, It's Digital

A few weekends ago, the family was heading out to visit my parents in Central PA. Our daughter had been out there visiting with Grandmom and Poppop for the week and we wanted to see my brother home from college. Anyway, we loaded the van and piled in early Saturday morning. I guess both Kris and I were distracted, because just as we reached the end of our street, David starts shouting from his seat. Both of us had assumed the other had buckled him. I was proud that he actually said something. I know he has stayed quiet in the past. It was good to see him notice that something was wrong and tell us.

About half an hour later we're cruising down the turnpike, burning up our gas, when more screams erupt from the back of the van. This time after the initial scream, David calms enough to start shouting "The clocks aren't moving! The clocks aren't moving!". He's pointing out the front windshield. Both Kris and I were dumbfounded. There wasn't a clock in sight. Well, like any 2-year old, he wasn't really pointing where he was meaning to. Turns out he had been monitoring our progress via the dashboard gauges. The engine temperature, tachometer and speedometer were all staying relatively the same. He associated the gauges with the only thing he knows that looks like that and knowing that clocks are supposed to progress as time passes, sensed something was wrong.

Once we figured out what he was talking about, I explained what they were and pointed him to the clock built into the radio. He looked a bit confused, so I explained "it's not an analog clock; it's digital". Satisfied, he looked to the clock and said proudly "Yeah, it's digital!"

Kris and I both had a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stay Away From Those Star Wars Conventions

That's right, dangerous people are lurking at the Ramada Inn in Janesville, WI. One of the vendors found himself surrounded by police after an anonymous caller reported an armed robber had entered the building. A few possibilities for the anonymous caller:

  • Didn't see Star Wars (any of the 6 movies - what rock were they living under?)
  • Thought it was a real robbery ala Point Break, where bank robbers where masks of past presidents.
  • Thought He's have some fun at the expense of the Star Wars freak and see what chaos he could cause.

Janesville Gazette: 'Armed robber' was really a Stormtrooper at JVL-CON

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Open Source DRM?

It seems to me that someone over at Sun has not fully thought this one through. DRM (Digital Rights Management), by definition, cannot be open source as it would allow users to alter the protection and thus negate the DRM, which would be used to protect digital content such as music and video files. Unless, they have some new fangled definition of 'open source', I think this project will be dead on arrival.

I guess they have too much money and need projects to work on.

Boing Boing: What the *&^%#!? is an "open source DRM?"

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No Patent Problem?

With all the posts I've been doing about Patent problems and the need for reforming the system, here's an article that quotes a former Microsoft Executive as saying the patent problem is a myth.

I think it is clear that Myhrvold is just furthering his own ends by saying this. He runs one of the patent hoarding companies. It is in his interest to keep the system broke as it is. If true reform of the USPTO takes place, he'd be out of a job, or it would at least make his job harder. I think its too early for the refutation articles to start hitting the web as CNET didn't post the story but 20 hours ago. I think in the next few days we'll see a half-dozen articles calling Myhrvold out for what he really is.

CNET: Ex-Microsoft CTO Claims Patent 'Problem' is Myth

Techdirt: Patent Hoarder Says Patent System Is Just Fine

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Last week's News Roundup

Here's some things that I missed while I was away last week:

BBC: Olympics Bill Comes Under Attack - A bill aimed at curtailing non-sponsors from profiting off the Olympics could do more harm than good.

Wired: Kutztown 13 Face Felony Charges - I can see both sides of the argument on this one, but I think this is overkill. The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.

CNN: Cures for Humans in Crocodile Blood? - Crocodile blood fights the HIV virus and bacteria resistant to penicillin. I pray they can adapt this to work in humans.

The Register: AOL Techie Jailed for Selling Email Database to Spammers Las Vegas Cheat-Busting - The Truth About Tech Detection - Interesting article on how Casino Security operates.

BBC: Student Unearths Einstein Paper - Student finds 1925 manuscript in the university archives. Amazing it wasn't found before.

Daily Local News: Book Barn Makes a Great Discovery - These guys are not far from where I live. They found a 1st Edition "The Great Gatsby" estimated to be worth $50,000. I love poking around this place. They always have such a unique selection.

I know there were many other events last week that deserve attention, but who has the time. I'll move forward from here unless I find something really interesting.

Vacation at the Shore

Well, we're back. We had a great time down at the Jersey shore visiting with family and enjoying the beach and boardwalk that Ocean City offers. The kids loved playing in the surf and sand though I'm sure they would have loved a few more days of hitting the beach. Here are some pictures (though I don't have any of the beach yet - didn't want to get the digital camera sandy):