May 29, 2003

An Etymology: Asshat

Ever wonder where Krempasky and Tepper got that wonderfully colorful term from? Wonder no more.

Link via DECAFBAD.

UPDATE: Here's a button:

I love the web.

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A Photographer's Rights

Via Kottke, an an excellent primer on Photographer's rights. The author, attorney Bert Krages, (like me, a Northwestern alum) covers all kinds of issues photo buffs are likely to encounter in the field.

One important issue to keep in mind - only alluded to in the disclaimer - is that this primer covers only the picture taking process and does not address publication rights. For example, Krages correctly states that one may take pictures of children in public places; however, it would usually be advisable to get a release form before publishing a picture of someone's child.

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May 28, 2003

Take A Peek

Every once in a while I follow a link on someone's blogroll and discover a fun new site. Take A Peek is a brand new blog with promise. And next time I'm in Texas, I'm definitely going to give a shout-out.

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May 27, 2003

Baby's First Blog

We're just a few days away from welcoming our little one to the world - we're almost counting days on our fingers.

While I'm not sure if I'll ever be quite ready, there's one thing that's prepared ahead of time for our child: a weblog.

Dineen's been writing for months now, and the story is ready to be told. Congratulations, it's a bouncing baby weblog.

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May 06, 2003

Peering Out Over Bunker Hill

Jury trial tomorrow.

I'm busy loading my weapons of choice.

And I'm looking for the whites of their eyes.

UPDATE: Tepper tells the tale.

Unfortunately, we did lose. Not in the jury box - I think I did a pretty good job of explaining the case to the jurors. As Dave has already explained, the judge didn't let the jury decide the case because, as a matter of law, the defendant couldn't be held liable for the acts of his independent contractor. (At least in this case).

I felt at least a little bit better when the attorney for the Defendant told me that my examination of the witnesses - David and the defendant - scared the daylights out of him. Like I said, I think the jury got the picture.

So we lost this time, but I think this loss is limited to this case. First of all, the Virginia legislature has significantly revamped the anti-spam laws. I don't necessarily think they are written any better this time around - they're just a s byzantine - but they are definitely tougher. And unfortunately, they make it harder for small ISP's to go after spammers, and weaken the "bounty hunter" effect the soon-to-expire law has. Of course, when the driving force behind the law is AOL, big shock that it's written to favor large ISP's.

This was my first jury trial in Virginia. One thing I found interesting about the process is how Fairfax County Circuit Court handles jury selection. When the parties first enter the room, each counsel table contains a list of the jury pool. That list contains information about each potential juror - name, address, occupation, spouse's name and occupation, and - here's the kicker - landowner status.

Yes, in a jury trial in Virginia, you are entitled to consider whether the potential juror is a landowner when selecting a jury. It makes my old joke about gaining the franchise when we bought the house a little more real.

One last interesting note about the jury pool in Fairfax County - of the occupations listed, roughly half were tech-related. Network administrator. Programmer. Computer consultant. Two of the jury pool - one of whom actually made it on to the jury - actually admitted to being regular readers of weblogs. All but one - who we didn't select - used email on a regular basis. Now you know why I said I thought the jury got it? If the rest of Fairfax County looks like this jury pool - and I have no reason to believe it won't - then Fairfax is death to the spammer whose fate rests in their hands. I look forward to trying that case next time around.

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May 04, 2003

Move-In Day

When I went off to college, my parents came up with me to help me move in. Mom had all the nifty ideas for decor - and since it was the 80's I won't reveal what they were - and Dad and I did a lot of lifting boxes and suitcases full of my worldly possessions. When my sister went to college a few years later, we repeated the scene - the whole family hopped in the car and spent the weekend creating the perfect environment for her to live. I'm sure there were lots more examples of my parents doing this over the years, but these are the two that came to mind today.

This Sunday, Dineen and I - with her mom's substantial help - spent much of the day starting to prepare the perfect living environment for our own child. I found myself with a roller of yellow paint, standing on a stepladder, realizing how I'm coming full circle, from being coddled and cared-for to doing manual labor for a little person I haven't even met yet.

The room is coming along nicely, but with move-in just over a month away, we've still got a lot of work yet to do.

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May 02, 2003

New York Attorney General to Investigate VeriSign

Some of you are already familiar with the Great Domain Name Robbery of 2002 and the subsequent aiding and abetting by certain evil clowns in North Carolina. Yesterday I received a phone call from the office of the Attorney General of the State of New York. It seems that enough New York residents have complained about VeriSign's business practices that the NYAG is opening a consumer protection investigation.

This is just a preliminary step, and action, if any, may be a long time coming. But the AG's office is very interested in hearing from New York residents who have had similar experiences with VeriSign. If New York residents have been impacted in large enough numbers, the AG's office may take this very seriously indeed. The assistant attorney general I spoke with could not indicate what they might do in this particular case, but she did advise me that the AG is empowered by New York law to sue wrongdoers on behalf of New York consumers, asking for damages and - cross your fingers - possibly injunctive relief.

If you are a New Yorker or know one who has lost a domain name due to VeriSign's neglect or indifference, please contact me at the office and I will put you in touch with the investigation team.

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May 01, 2003

Pissed Off

The MIT folks who developed this game-oriented urinal may run into trouble since a very similar idea was patented just two years ago by a fellow I know.

UPDATE: Heh... they said "piezoelectric." Heheheh.

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