June 30, 2004

Photographer Abuse

My hometown's in the news as a local teacher faced charges that she had sexual relations with a fourteen year old student. The teacher in question is highly photogenic and recently got married, so naturally, her wedding photographer has used some of those pictures on his web site for promotional purposes.

Unfortunately, some news outlets have republished his pictures. (and one radio show, which has since taken them down) The poor guy had to put a warning on his site:


Just a reminder to media folks... if you're tempted to run a picture that you haven't paid for, better check with your legal department first. Or get permission.

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Codename for 10.5 Revealed?

With this week's preview of Tiger, the next version of OS X, Apple fans and Apple developers have criticized the company for including imitiations of popular independent web apps.

Some have even ventured to guess the "big cat" codename for 10.5, Tiger's successor: "Copycat."

UPDATE: Gruber says that the Dashboard/Konfabulator imbroglio is really no big deal:

Yes, no argument about it, Dashboard is a Konfabulator-killer. Their gadgets and widgets are serving the same exact purpose. I.e., the answer to the question What do they do? is the same. But the answer to the question How are they doing it? is completely different.

And since the concept of what these apps do has been around for literally decades, the Konfabulator folks don't have a legal or even a moral leg to stand on.

Winer opines: "So there are worse things than Apple stealing good ideas from developers, it's Apple *not* stealing good ideas from developers."

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June 27, 2004

Poker With the Dictator

Jamie saw the whole thing:

DC: (lays cards on the table) I've got a straight flush.
SH: (lays one card on the table and crumples up the other four before throwing them into Syria) I have a queen of hearts! I win! You must fear me and my bushy beard!
DC: Right. The odds are astronomical that you have a higher hand than mine if you only showed me a queen and threw the other cards away. I'll just go ahead and take that pot.
SH: Stop that! I won! You have no proof! I had five aces in my hand! This is a trick of the Joooooos!

It goes on, featuring appearances by the New York Times and Colin Powell.

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June 25, 2004

Photographer's Rights

The Photographer's Rights primer (or "Photographer's Bust Card") is making the rounds again thanks to Boing Boing.

I think it's important to repeat the warning from last year: this card covers only the act of taking the picutre and has nothing to do with the photographer's rights in publishing the picture. If you're taking pictures of someone else's kids, for example, get a model release or risk getting sued.

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June 24, 2004

Hillary to Run... Eventually

Bill Clinton said that Hillary almost decided to run for President this year but instead chose to "honour her commitment to the people of New York" that she would not.

This means that the idea of a Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 (or 2012) is a virtual certainty, rather than the hyperactive rantings of right-wing radio hosts. Now, conservatives who think the federal government should have broad powers to surveill and detain American citizens, stop and think. Do you want President Hillary Clinton in charge of law enforcement under the PATRIOT Act?

Me neither. Think Repeal.

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CSS Standards Uber Reading List

A whole mess of articles regarding CSS standards. Via WASP.

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June 23, 2004

Your Mouth Keeps Moving...

But All I Hear Is Blah, Blah, Blah.

Apparently, this happened last December.

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Rannie put up a pretty good photo of me as part of his "Blogger Week." We did a photo shoot in Austin during SXSW.

I've never had anyone call me "jolly" before, and although it's clearly meant in a good way, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

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The Masses Grow by One

Looks like a friend of mine, Amy, has a journal.

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June 22, 2004

Animals Execute Kim Sun Il

Just hours ago, we saw the videotape of civilian Kim Sun Il begging for his life - crying and pleading. He was a civilian, a translator, someone whose job was to foster communication between those who had no common tongue.

Despite his begging, the animals have beheaded him.

Earlier this year, Pat Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the Army Rangers and fight for his country. He lost his life. His example is just one of thousands of tales of courage and sacrifice that our people have made in the call of duty.

Al-Quaeda kidnaps and executes crying civilians. I'm sure when they snatched Kim he was greatly outnumbered and grossly unprepared to fight for his life.

What happens when the animals meet some of our Army Rangers? Our Marines? Our Navy Seals?

The perpretrators of this and the other beheadings before are not fighters. They are not warriors. They are cowards, preying on innocents, and no God, no Allah, no Jehovah, calls for that and none would reward it.

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June 18, 2004

A Libertarian Plays in Traffic

Traditional traffic calming requires lots of rules. Stop signs, speed bumps, choke points, and the like. Sometimes it gets high tech - the new stoplight two blocks from my house only turns red if oncoming traffic goes faster than the posted limit.

Second generation traffic calming turns that paradigm on its head. Fewer, not more rules, require greater involvement and discreation by drivers.

I've observed this phenomenon in NYC as well, especially in dense areas of Manhattan like Midtown. People are always in the street, crossing against the light or jaywalking across even busy avenues or through stopped traffic. Cyclists run red lights, charge through busy crosswalks, and barrel down one-way streets the wrong way. Everyone pays a lot of attention to what they're doing, regardless of what the signs say or where the crosswalk is marked. And for the most part, it seems to work.

Spontaneous order, where official rules don't apply. Sounds like paradise.

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Not Enough To Do

Maybe Kottke has too much time on his hands.

After lunch today, I ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, which came individually wrapped in a surprisingly thin tin foil wrapper. Using the back of my fingernail, I smoothed the foil out into a perfect square with only the tiniest wrinkles remaining. Then I started folding the foil repeatedly in half, flattening it out between each fold. After 7 foldings, a tiny rectangle remained, unwilling to be further folded.

Someone get that man a freelance project, quick!

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Don't we all do this?

About two out of five Tivo users skip all commercials, according to the new Lyra Research study. But they skip them in an interesting way: many wait ten or twenty minutes after a show has started to begin viewing the recorded version. By skipping commercial pods, they eventually catch up by the end of the program, watching the big ending live with all the broadcast viewers.

Heck, for football games, I wait a full hour to start watching.

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June 09, 2004


I pushed Alex's stroller up to the Metro elevator. Three women approached as the elevator arrived. They wore standard tourist fare: mismatching t-shirts and baseball caps, shorts, sneakers, and cameras.

She spoke with a thick accent. "Are you going to say goodbye to Mr. Reagan?"

"Yes. We are." I pushed the stroller into the open elevator door. "What do you think of him?"

"He freed our country."

"What country do you come from?"


I know Mr. Reagan would have been pleased to hear her response. I said nothing, thinking about the former President's controversial record with our neighbors to the south.

I got off the train much later and found a shady spot along Constitution Avenue, the people six-deep between me and the street. We had about an hour to wait in the sweltering, muggy D.C. heat.

On the street, soldiers and sailors stood in formation waiting for the procession to begin, many in dark wool uniforms. Before long, several had fainted in the heat. The crowd applauded, sincerely, each as they stood back up and returned to the formation. We spectators watched in shorts, cowering under a tree, quenching our thirst from plastic coolers. They were stood at attention, on blacktop, in fiercest June. They deserved our gratitude.

It felt as if the procession came sooner than it should have. We should not have had it so easy, to wait mere minutes so that we could step into history. The caisson came, bearing the casket we had come to see, and passed all too swiftly.

Behind it came the limousines, waves of them. I did not expect to see Mrs. Reagan through the glass, bravely acknowledging the adoration with a simple wave. I did not expect my heart to break when I saw the grief in her eyes.

After they had passed, we lingered a while, like much of the crowd, not really knowing what to do next. We were still walking slowly back to the Metro when the planes came, first one, then four, than four, then just three with a gap in the middle.

We stopped to observe, and then we kept going.

I have posted some pictures. Bare-bones pages because it's late and I'm exhausted.

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June 08, 2004

My First Time

Today I voted for a Democrat. I think it may be the first time ever.

The kicker? It was an open primary. Now, I would have cast a fully principled vote, but in the primary, write-ins are not allowed.

Posted by wasylik at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Gizmodo tells the tale of the Autopen, a "retro gadget" that uses mechanical arms to reproduce a given signature onto a sheet of paper, using a regular pen (although Sharpies work best).

The Autopen, as recently as 1996, was still in heavy use in the U.S. Senate. Congresscritters place a heavy emphasis on responding to constituent mail, apparently because their constituents, laboring under the illusion that their letter comes to the personal attention of their elected official.

It does not.

Each Congressional office has a staff of several people whose job is to receive and respond to constituent mail. On the House side, that staff might number just a handful. On the Senate side, where volumes of mail are much higher, mail operations might consume a dozen or more.

The reponses are usually form letters.

Dear Ms. Quimby,
Thank you for contacting my office about the CIA's use of microwave radiation to detect anti-American attitudes in newborn children. I feel very strongly about this issue and will work during the 119th Congress to ensure adequate supervision of CIA mind-reading initiatives.

...and there it is, the kicker. John Q. Public, junior Senator from West Dakota, has signed this letter himself in flowing blue ink. The voters back home eat it up, and since the franking privilege makes it absolutely free to send mail on public business, it's the best propaganda in terms of bang-to-buck ratio any public official could produce.

But that signature? It's not his, anymore than the words are. On the House side, where volumes are lower, senior staff simply sign the boss's name themselves. During my time in a Congressional office, I got pretty good at signing the name of a now-retired Illinois Congressman.

On the Senate side, the volume is just too high to sign by hand. Although the advent of cheap laser printing has probably changed this, as recently as 1996 almost every Senate office had an autopen. Every day, some lowly intern or staff assistant would take a stack of letters over to the autopen machine and grind away until the whole stack was signed.

Link via Boing Boing.

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June 07, 2004

Lightning Win Stanley Cup

I have watched one period of hockey this season and probably the three or four preceding. It is fitting that the period I watched was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals as the Lightning brought the Cup home for the first time in franchise history. Not only did they win, they won thrilling. Only four times in history has a team come back from a 3 - 2 deficit to win the series.

The Lightning did that by tying the series in overtime of game six. They won game seven 2 - 1, leading by two goals into the third period. The Calgary Flames roared back in the third period, scoring their first goal of the game, and making all onlookers wonder if they could tie it up or even pull ahead in the few minutes left.

It was not to pass. With one minute left, the Flames suffered a penalty which gave the Lightning a manpower advantage and effectively snuffed their chances of pulling even.

Tampa sports teams are starting to see remarkable success. The Buccaneers won the Superbowl a year and a half ago. The Lightning have now won the Stanely Cup. If I were part of the Devil Rays franchise, I'd be feeling some pennant pressure.

Posted by wasylik at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another View of Reagan

Steve Gilliard presents a different view of Ronald Reagan.

He faults Regan for pandering to racists, for mishandling foreign policy, for breaking the power of unions, for failing to provide government funding for health care, curtailing abortion, and myriad other sins of comission and omission.

Like those who would deify Reagan, Gilliard is guilty of oversimplification and sins of omissions. None of what happened in the 80's was solely due to Reagan, good or bad, and not everything turned out the way Gilliard describes it, and not everything that did happen is as evil as Gilliard would like to think.

Of course, Gilliard isn't looking for converts, he's preaching to those who already share his convictions.

Link via George.

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WiFi: The Next Level

Apple takes wireless to the next level with Airport Express. Features:

  • AirTunes. Plug the Airport Express into any outlet, plug any pair of powered speakers into teh headphone jack of the Airport Express, and your iTunes Library pumps right out
  • Printer Sharing. Plug a USB printer into the USB port of AirportExpress and any wireless client on the network can share it.
  • Wireless bridging. Power it up and with no muss, no fuss, you've extended your existing wireless network
  • Portable wirelss networking. Pack this 7oz baby in your laptop bag, and wherever you've got power and wired access, you've got a new wifi node. (I foresee TONS of these at SXSW next year)

So, that's my Apple fanboy quota for the day. I hope it works half as well as it sounds, because for $129, it seems like a great deal.

Posted by wasylik at 06:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2004

What Ronald Reagan Said

Ronald W. Reagan

We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.

September 29, 1981

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

June 12, 1987

We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.

March 28, 1982

I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen.

New Hampshire, 1980

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June 05, 2004

President Reagan at Normandy, 1984

President Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984. Normandy, France

We stand today at a place of battle, one that 40 years ago saw and felt the worst of war. Men bled and died here for a few feet of - or inches of sand, as bullets and shellfire cut through their ranks. About them, General Omar Bradley later said, "Every man who set foot on Omaha Beach that day was a hero."

Some who survived the battle of June 6, 1944, are here today. Others who hoped to return never did.
"Someday, Lis, I'll go back," said Private First Class Peter Robert Zannata, of the 37th Engineer Combat Battalion, and first assault wave to hit Omaha Beach. "I'll go back, and I'll see it all again. I'll see the beach, the barricades, and the graves."
Those words of Private Zanatta come to us from his daughter, Lisa Zanatta Henn, in a heart-rending story about the event her father spoke of so often. "In his words, the Normandy invasion would change his life forever," she said. She tells some of his stories of World War II but says of her father, "the story to end all stories was D-Day."
"He made me feel the fear of being on the boat waiting to land. I can smell the ocean and feel the sea sickness. I can see the looks on his fellow soldiers' faces-the fear, the anguish, the uncertainty of what lay ahead. And when they landed, I can feel the strength and courage of the men who took those first steps through the tide to what must have surely looked like instant death."
Private Zannata's daughter wrote to me, "I don't know how or why I can feel this emptiness, this fear, or this determination, but I do. Maybe it's the bond I had with my father. All I know is that it brings tears to my eyes to think about my father as a 20-year old boy having to face that beach."
The anniversary of D-Day was always special to her family. And like all the families of those who went to war, she describes how she came to realize her own father's survival was a miracle: "So many men died. I know that my father watched many of his friends be killed. I know that he must have died inside a little each time. But his explanation to me was, `You did what you had to do, and you kept on going."
When men like Private Zannata and all our Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy 40 years ago they came not as conquerors, but as liberators. When these troops swept across the French countryside and into the forests of Belgium and Luxembourg they came not to take, but to return what had been wrongfully seized. When our forces marched into Germany they came not to prey on a brave and defeated people, but to nurture the seeds of democracy among those who yearned to bee free again.
We salute them today. But, Mr. President [Francois Mitterand of France], we also salute those who, like yourself, were already engaging the enemy inside your beloved country-the French Resistance. Your valiant struggle for France did so much to cripple the enemy and spur the advance of the armies of liberation. The French Forces of the Interior will forever personify courage and national spirit. They will be a timeless inspiration to all who are free and to all who would be free.
Today, in their memory, and for all who fought here, we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic people who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished in a firm resolve to keep the peace.
From a terrible war we learned that unity made us invincible; now, in peace, that same unity makes us secure. We sought to bring all freedom-loving nations together in a community dedicated to the defense and preservation of our sacred values. Our alliance, forged in the crucible of war, tempered and shaped by the realities of the post-war world, has succeeded. In Europe, the threat has been contained, the peace has been kept.
Today, the living here assembled-officials, veterans, citizens-are a tribute to what was achieved here 40 years ago. This land is secure. We are free. These things are worth fighting and dying for.
Lisa Zannata Henn began her story by quoting her father, who promised that he would return to Normandy. She ended with a promise to her father, who died 8 years ago of cancer: "I'm going there, Dad, and I'll see the beaches and the barricades and the monuments. I'll see the graves, and I'll put flowers there just like you wanted to do. I'll never forget what you went through, Dad, nor will I let any one else forget. And, Dad, I'll always be proud."
Through the words of his loving daughter, who is here with us today, a D-Day veteran has shown us the meaning of this day far better than any President can. It is enough to say about Private Zannata and all the men of honor and courage who fought beside him four decades ago: We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.
Thank you.

Text found at TownHall.com.

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June 03, 2004

Bizarre Spam

I just got spam addressed to "Jessica Cutler." The email included quotes from the infamous weblog, interspersed with links to whatever the huckster was selling.

Now that's an interesting pitch. Take a hot topic, find all the blogs posting on that topic, and then bury spam links in an email putatively about the topic.

If SpamSieve were a little less aggressive, that might have made it through. Fortunately, it got dumped into my Spam folder. But it still caught my eye because of the topic.

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June 02, 2004

60 GB iPod?

iPodlounge reports that Toshiba is shipping 60GB hard drives to Apple for iPods.

60GB? Really? That's 15,000 songs. Something near 43 days of music - if you never sleep.

But here's the realy trick. My iBook only has a 20GB hard drive. With the OS and applications, about 10GB of that is consumed. How am I supposed to load this iPod if iTunes can only keep a few gig's worth of songs?

And where will I ever find the time to rip that many CD's?

Posted by wasylik at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Congress Killed Internet Radio - the Bastards!

Looks like the death of internet radio was not exaggerated.

Believe it or not, it would cost more to run this Internet radio station (with half the staff) than it ever did to run our terrestrial radio station. The main reason is the costs of music performance royalties and bandwidth for our audio streaming. Unlike traditional AM and FM radio where the cost of operating the transmitter is fixed no matter how many people listen, on the Internet our costs go up for each additional person that tunes in. With our online audience approaching 50,000 unique listeners and growing every month, the already substantial costs continue to rise with no significant revenue stream to pay for them.

WOXY sold its broadcast license to one of the "big boys" and expected to keep operating online. But it just doesn't work that way anymore.

WOXY link via Missy.

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June 01, 2004

Gun Used to Prevent Violent Crime and Further Employment

News flash for Pizza Hut: If you changed that rule to require your drivers to carry guns, instead of prohibit it, you would never have another dirver robbed again.

When confronted, Honeycutt pulled his own 9 mm from the back of his pants and fired until it was empty. He says he fired 15 times in about eight seconds. An autopsy revealed Brown-Dancler was hit at least 10 times.

Now that kind of markksmanship will made a would-be robber think twice. But here comes the creepy part:

Ronald B. Honeycutt, 38, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, says he's been delivering pizzas for 20 years and has always packed heat on the job.

Dude's been delivering pizzas for 20 years. Since he was 18. And apparently, never got a promotion.

Maybe a career as a shooting instructor awaits.

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LP Nominates Badnarik

Donny has been at the Libertarian Party's National Convention this weekend, and he's "excited" that the party has nominated Michael Badnarik to run for President of the United States.

Here's what I had to say about Badnarik in January:

[He] advocates that prisoners should be confined to bed rest instead of being allowed to exercise, and should be required to submit regular book reports. Sheer genius, in a Dave Barry kind of way.

Samizdata explains how Badnarik got the nod:

Badnarik entered the convention as a distant challenger to two better-financed candidates, Hollywood producer Aaron Russo and Ohio-based talk show host Gary Nolan. But acrimony between Russo's and Nolan's camps led Nolan, who fell behind in early balloting, to withdraw and endorse Badnarik, with the intention of tilting the election away from Russo. Badnarik finally carried a majority on the third ballot and became the LP's unlikely nominee.

There's a little more about Badnarik's ill-advised rhetoric, which convinces me even further that this fall's election is going to require a write-in.

One last item: Badnarik's campaign photo seems hopelessly out of date.

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A Beautiful Pairing

Congratulations to Mike and Christine on the occasion of their wedding!

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Day After Tomorow

Julian thinks the Day After Tomorrow is a howler:

But the effect is not to deliver some kind of chilling, potentially mobilizing warning about the perils of our current environmental policy. Instead, the fantastic and sudden global catastrophe turns a genuine issue into a sci-fi threat: It puts global warming in roughly the same category as attacks by Godzilla or The Blob. In the film's context, a debunking of the film's "bad science" comes off like one of the Comic Book Guy's cavils about the use of polarity-reversal on a Star Trek episode, or a fervent insistence that radioactive spider bites are not, in fact, likely to imbue people with a quasi-psychic danger sense. In short, the movie makes a genuine (if tractable) problem into high camp. It's about as likely to spur political pressure for more environmental regulation as the X-Files movie was to prompt demands for an alien invasion defense force.

Or earthquakes! We need nuclear forces on guard to prevent earthquakes!

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