Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Ok.. I finally got around to it.
Agent M: You've been reposted in all your glory --> See Right NavBar
BigWill: Congratulations... since you've actually MADE a post on your own, that in itself deserves photo-op. --> See Right NavBar.
Tom: Since YOU want to ride my case this week, you get to be the one I doodle with whenI can't sleep... wait, that sounded really wrong.....
Anyway, I'm gonna pick some of your more Buff shots and let the group decide which one to post up there on your profile! You get to vote too...and you can't sway April's vote with overtime pay... well, maybe you can, but you shouldn't.. it's wrong! Ok.. you guys tell me which one of Apollo the Great gets to make the cut.
Hey.. I don't pose for 'em.. I just take 'em when I see 'em.
God it's been a long day. I went in at 8 this morning and didn't get home until 10 tonight.... and now it's 11:30 and I'm still not really done, but I'm too burnt to continue at this point. Well, not a whole lot to say about the day today. I spent all day on the phone with manufacturer's and I learned what a core drill is... and that I'm going to have to learn to use one. Kind of cool actually, it looks like the drills they use to drill out bank vaults. Oh yeah... I can see me trying to get off the plane with THAT in my checked luggage.
"Hi.. I'm Tommy.. I'm going to Libya with a safe-cracking drill and diamond-tipped blades. What for you ask? Oh.. no reason. What? Sure, Sir. I'll take a ride downtown with you..."
I was lookin around on MySpace tonight and found an interesting picture of Ed (shown below) on his Backseat Romeo profile page. It inspired me to provide you all with a challenge. I want to see who can come up with the best caption for this photo.... be creative, but try not to be TOO crass. Maybe this will start a new blog campaign for me..... dunno. I'll take random photos of the group that are "caption-worthy" and put them up for caption contests. Sure, contests are supposed to have prizes, but one step at at time people, one step at a time.
So, go comment. What does this picture "say" to you?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Again, yet another national news agency takes hits at myspace, and again no one sees this as a bad thing. I just dont' get it. MSNBC released news this morning detailing that MySpace did indeed begin to take steps to remove registered sex offenders from it's site, going to far as to actually hire a company, Sentinel, to poll through it's user database and remove all registered sex offenders they could locate. Ok.. this seems like a good step in the right direction, right? Wrong!
Not only did that NOT make the state adn federal authorities happy, but they find even MORE to get on them about. This is ludicrous. If this were my company, I would spend some serious money to take my argument to the public on a televised event... it's not like they don't have the money to do so.
Again, I don't see AOL getting hit with these complaints from it's messenger service, YAHOO people directory doesn't seem to be underfire, why then is MySpace the culprit? It's real easy people! If you can't monitor your own damned children, then get rid of their computer! Don't hold a social networking company responsible for your failure to be a decent parent!
If myspace allows sex offenders on their site, they get sued. If they remove them without notifying the police, they get sued. How about this.. here's an idea for you. Why doesn't myspace send an invoice to all 50 states demanding payment for tracking down their repeat sex offenders for them? Apparently the government can't actually bother to track them down on their own, so they should have to PAY myspace for providing a nice little convenient place for them to all hang out so they can be busted again. Rather than blame myspace for the inactions of parents and government to protect it's citizens, how about DO YOUR DAMNED JOBS YOURSELF and then you won't need to worry about your kids on the web.
What a sick culture we have when people just look for who they can sue, who they can blame, and who they can pass the buck to.
In October, Wired News reporter Kevin Poulsen ran a simple experiment that produced some disturbing results. He wrote a computer program that matched databases of registered sex offender with MySpace profiles and found hundreds of matches.
On Poulsen's list: A thrice-convicted sex offender who had recently finished a nine-year jail term for sexually abusing two young boys. It turned out he was using MySpace to approach and proposition young boys. The offender was soon arrested again.
Two months after Poulsen's story was published, MySpace announced it had hired an outside company, Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., to compare registered sex offenders rolls with MySpace profiles and root out sex criminals from the site. Until earlier this month, though, it appeared little progress had been made.
Then, a public spat erupted between a group of state attorney generals and MySpace, with the AGs demanding to know how many offenders the review had uncovered. After about a week of public jousting, MySpace said it had removed 7,000 profiles that might have belonged to registered sex offenders.
The controversy has raised questions about MySpace's diligence in trying to keep predators off its service and its ability to work with some law enforcement officials.
That so many registered offenders were attracted to MySpace, largely a haunt for young Web users, is disturbing to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
"It is a very, very frightening number when you consider they ... are using their real names,” he said. “One would think a convicted sex offender would use an alias. This number is just the most visible tip of the predatory problem on MySpace and other social networking sites."
Why did this rather public controversy over sex offender MySpace pages erupt this month? Curiously, it began when MySpace – often criticized for inaction on child safety issues – took a strong action against registered sex offenders.
The initial spark flew on May 2, when MySpace unceremoniously turned on the product developed by Sentinel and began removing profiles from the site.
Within days, the group of attorney general offices already eyeing MySpace policies found out about the deletions and became concerned that evidence of crimes might be destroyed.
"We were rather concerned that we were hearing back channel information about profiles being removed and deleted without us receiving that information," said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett. "We need to know which Pennsylvania residents have been identified because of possible terms and conditions of their release that may have been violated."
Some probation agreements prevent sex offenders from using computers at all; others prevent them from any contact with minors. The offenders’ MySpace profiles may have included clear evidence that such provisions were being violated, Frederiksen said.
"Along the way we were hearing that this was a work in progress, that it wasn't ready," he said. "Then in the spring we found out they'd already deleted profiles. That was what motivated the public call to action."
On May 15, eight attorneys general sent a letter to MySpace demanding more information about registered offenders on the site. The next day, MySpace refused to provide the data, saying it could only do so if compelled by a court order. Several states began seeking court orders to obtain the data, but five days later MySpace announced that an agreement had been reached to share the information.
To MySpace officials, it was all a misunderstanding. The new system was still being tested when the suspect profiles began being removed, so the company believed there was no need to notify law enforcement, said one MySpace official, who agreed to discuss the matter on condition he not be identified.
And the profile removal process was designed to preserve any evidence law enforcement might subsequently need, the company said.
"In addition to immediately removing registered sex offenders from MySpace, our plans have always been to provide the information collected by Sentinel … to law enforcement, including the attorneys general,” Mike Angus, executive vice president and general counsel for Fox Interactive Media, which owns MySpace, said in a statement.
But the spat likely signals more than concern about deletion of evidence. There is obvious sentiment among law enforcement agencies that MySpace was acting too slowly to remove known sex offenders from the site.
"We were disappointed it’s taken a year to get to this point," Frederiksen said. His office had approached MySpace about the sex offender issue even before the Wired story was published. "We would like to see things move forward in a faster pace."
No national sex offender registry
But company officials say government sex offender registries are to blame for the hold-up.
Because most registries are maintained by state offices and there is no national database, Sentinel had to build a tool that collected information on 600,000 offenders from more than 50 sources, the company said. Because the data couldn't be downloaded from registry Web sites, collecting the data was a complicated project. Building the tool took about 6 months, the official said.
Still, some officials in the various attorney general offices suggested MySpace had another motivation for moving slowly and deleting profiles without informing public officials: quietly removing the offender profiles without drawing attention to the number of convicted sex criminals who lurk on the site.
"In fairness to MySpace, it did take the step of hiring Sentinel … but they are ambivalent about releasing the results," Blumenthal said. "Perhaps they feel it may reflect badly on this site and other sites."
In his October story, Poulsen concluded that matching sex offender registries to MySpace profiles was hardly the most effective tool for improving the site's safety. After all, would-be predators could easily foil such filters by registering with fake names and other information. Blumenthal and other attorneys general are pushing for additional measures, such as mandatory age verification to keep kids off the site altogether.
But the presence of 7,000 registered offenders on the site -- and the time span required to remove them -- raises inevitable questions about MySpace's ability to keep its neighborhood safe.
"The measures taken by MySpace have been baby steps when giant strides are needed," Blumenthal said.
Monday, May 28, 2007
I thought this was cute, so I'll share it. I'm really on this anti-anti-smoking thing right now, but I don't have the time to put into researching my facts before posting about it, so I'll repost this one about guns which I found myself in agreement with!
1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
3. Colt: The original point and click interface.
4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.
8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.
9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights reserved. (I LOVE this one!)
11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.
13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
14. Guns only have two enemies: rust and politicians.
15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.
16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their jobs safer.
20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.
21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control their guns.
22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't make more.
24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.
25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.
26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."
27. Malpracticing doctors kill millions more people world wide than legitimate gun owners kill.
God bless the USA!!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Well, it's the first decent 3-day weekend of the year, and my sunburn attests that it got off to a good start. We went out to BJX today with Tom and put the boat in at Washington... 5 hours later we were nicely baked and windburned.. it was a great day. I just wish Doc could have been here. It was perfect Skiing water today... well, minus the jellyfish. Doc gets a little girly about jellyfish.. lol. (inside joke)
Tomorrow, if any of you are interested, April and I plan to spend the day celebrating the opening of the Breezewood pool. I think Marisa is coming by sometime to hang out with us as well. Any of the rest of you who are in town are more than welcome to come spend some pool time with us. I'll be easy to spot.. I'll be the one NOT in the sun. lol.. I've got enough of that for one day.
PS: Congrats for making it to the blog, Will. Don't worry about being new to the blog world. Some of the Scoobs have been on here for years and can't figure it out. Just post often and share your thoughts as they arise.. that's what I do.. and it makes for some interesting conversation sometimes. Share some Atlanta highlights with us... (and you can be the official UNC score keeper and chronicler of the game schedules!.. lol)
See you all soon!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Ok, so sleeping in my bed again has been the nicest part of the last 24 hours! lol. I planned to get up with April this morning at 7 AM and get cracking on the work I need to do, but when 7 came and I realized I still felt like I'd been hit by a truck, I decided to go a little longer before facing the world again. Now I've had 12 hours sleep and I feel wondermous! I think I slept 5 hours on Sunday, 3 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, and little to none on Wednesday, except for the plane ride home, so I guess I needed it.
What am I doing now? Right this minute I'm sitting here working on my first pot of coffee for the day and reading the blog comments from the week. I try to say it often, but it bears repeating again. Thanks to all of you who take the time to read this blog and to those who spend the time to leave thoughtful comments. I sincerely appreciate the input.
Now, what else do I have to do today? Ugh.. lots of minute details to cover. I have to go the shop and pay rent for the month, get child support straightened out, get my court date straightened out, get my interior design costs figured out to see how much I'm going to be paying out for that over the next month.. ugh.. it's all financial crap. Not fun.. basically I just determined that I'm going to be spending the next four hours in quicken... joy.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I thought I'd take a moment to let you all know I'm back home again, safe and sound. It made my day to get home and see April this afternoon. I missed her face these last few days. I've missed you all too! Thanks to all of you overseas who have been visiting the blog and especially thanks to those who leave comments. Having the user interaction is what makes me want to write more often... getting comments and feeback on my thoughts is the fun part.
Kudos to those of you who post! Poo on those who don't! (and you know who you are!... lol.) I have some of the most opininated friends in the world, yet they never post anymore... That's ok, anyone who knows me can tell you I can speak enough for all of us and still have some to spare.
As far as the success of the overseas venture is concerned, I'm not sure of it yet. After meeting with the client's engineers for 10 hours straight and getting to battle out some of the more precise issues involved in the project we are working on, I felt more and more comfortable with the implementation plans we had laid out. My confidence was boosted by their attention to detail and the pointedness of the questions they fired at us.
Basically, I got to sit there and have all the thoughts I've been running through my head for the last 12 months vindicated. I've been approaching this project with a certin kind of foresight that I feel is appropriate for the kind of project we are doing. Others above me have been aproaching it from a purely monetary angle with little consideration for the client's wishes, even when those wishes are explained in detail and delivered in forty-page narratives.
How do I feel about all of it? I'm not sure. I feel that if I were given the leeway to setup this project "my" way, then the client would be more than happy and more than willing to consider our company for the future phases of the project. I really thought the aftermath of this meeting would sway "our" side more to my way of thinking, especially since the client requested things I've been trying to deliver for months and months. However, after the successful conclusion of the meeting, I was pretty much told to ignore everything the client asked for and do what I was told to do originally... So in that respect, I feel really let down. The client was so impressed with what our ideas were that they gave me their card and asked me to call them regarding implementation ideas... they my company turned around and chewed me out, questioned my abilities, attacked my dedication to the project, questioned my lotalty, and then further told me to pretty much shut up and do as I'm told to do, and to forget what the client asked for.
Then they wonder why I lack the motivation lately to improve the project?
Basically, my company tried to promote me back to my old position (no one ever mentioned if I'd get my pay grade brought back up) and then blamed ME for the decisions they made in demoting me a month ago! I actually got told that it was MY fault that things were in the state of affairs that they are in... when I am the one who got demoted and am NOT in charge...? Ok, so when I'm in charge, I get my authority removed and then I get told that mistakes and oversights are my fault, when I have hundreds of emails to the contrary. So, now I'm just a peon in the greater machine that is our team, and somehow I get pulled aside and asked to take charge again... then when I refuse to step in and save the day I get told AGAIN that it's my fault and that my attitude is responsible for everything that has been done incorrectly... what a joke.
Honestly, if given 30 days with my team without my superiors screwing up the project over and over again, I could have this entire thing on track and moving towards a successful conclusion. That, however is not going to happen... I know this. I accept it and I just move on and wait to do as I'm told.. that's my motto at this point.
Well, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about my job, but I guess it turned into that. Sorry for the tirade... there's so much I can NOT say on here (due to much of the information being priveleged) that I can't exactly make my points to you, the blog-o-sphere, anyway so I might as well get on to a new topic. I feel it's ok to rant and rave about my "job" because this is MY blog and that's part of what it's here for, but I can't in any professional manner, start calling out names and companies because that crosses a boundary that would be very close to mutiny and even I would fire me if that were the case... so that's the reason that much of this probably doesn't make sense. Just trust that it made me feel a little better to write it and get it out of my system.
Now, I'm going to play some COH while April heads off to dreamland. See you all soon!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
While reading the blogs of some of my overseas friends, I came across something that will show you a little of what we contend with we go over to the third world countries. You've all heard me mention food and water issues in Libya and other poorer nations. Well, take a look at this link below. This isn't a sign of poor food quality.. this is just a sign that companies need to be better regulated that are transporting food-services to other countries.
Forget the FDA, the EPA, and the other agencies who protect us here in the USA. These people don't have that.
In related news, I found another article, which I first thought was overseas as well, but apparently I didn't read well enough... one of the readers corrected me and informed me that this next link is an American McDonalds.
PS: I was reading a Libyan blog when i read the link above, and the comments were in Arabic, so I didn't catch that it was an American McDonalds... wow.. even worse! Now here's my thought on the matter: The lady a few years ago sued McDonalds for three million dollars because her coffee was too hot and the cup wasn't properly labeled as "Hot Coffee". THIS poor lady almost ate a CHICKEN HEAD and she only got 100,000.00? Oh hell no... if I was her, I would have personally owned my own new McDonalds chain when this fiasco was over.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Thanks to April helping out today from the US, Mani was able to get intouch with me over here tonight and we were all able to go out to dinner and meet in person.
You have to understand the random associations that made this possible to be able to grasp the pure chance involved in our getting to know each other. A few months ago, some time last year, I made a post on the scooby site about the cultural and ethical influences in Libya that affect their current economy and, in general, their daily lives.
Well, three months or so later, a Libyan (Anglo-Libyan) finds my blog through another american woman (Khadija-Teri) and stops to see what I have to say. He read the post and copied it to his blog, starting a fairly lengthy discussion about the materials I'd written. All this happened completely unbeknownst to me. A month or so later, someone takes the time to stop by my site and mention the post, which I go and check out.
Now, from THERE, this guy (Mani) makes a comment about my post, and he and I start talking fairly regularly. Mani is a Libyan national, raised in the UK, with a Scottish accent. He's absolutely entertaining when he gets rolling on a his political mantras because the more he starts fomenting, the more his brogue comes out. It was a hilarious hour long dinner conversation. Basically, we walked around London for a bit and then had dinner.
All in all, it was just really cool to meet someone in London (where I never thought I'd be) who found me on an african blog, referenced from another african blog, referenced from an archived comment made by me months earlier, and then to be having dinner together in a different country six months later, talking about the people from the Blog-s-sphere that we have in common. So, before I forget, "hello's and salam's" go out to Khadij, and Tara, and RoseBud, and all the rest of you over there in Libya. Conversely, greetings from England are below in the video to you in America, from Mani.
I have a comical note I'll share with you all that Li'l Bit will find particularly humorous. Apparently, Mani was trying to remember what I looked like so he could more easily spot me when he got to my part of town. Well, the only apparent picture he saw of me that would show my full proportions was one of me standing beside Marion. Well, if you don't know Marion, then you don't know she's unbelievable short.. as in like less than 5 feet tall. She's a little hobbit-like person almost. (love ya honey). So, since he didn't know that, he saw me standing beside her and got the impression that I some monolithically gigantic person. Actually, I'm 6'3", but if you assumed she was the standard height of most women, it makes sense that he'd be looking for Sasquatch! When we met the first thing he said was "my, you ARE quite the big brutish fella aren't ya?" in that awesome-I-wish-I-could-imitate-scottish accent.
Anyway, it was an interesting night and it was a real pleasure to meet him. I've included a few pics below for ya folks at home.
Look.. I had dinner with William (Mohamed) Wallace AND Carrot Top!
Thanks for reading, as always. I'm back to the grind now!
Well, I'm back in my hotel room at 7 PM and GOD I'm tired. We've been in meetings with the client for 10 hours today. We accomplished a lot, but most of it is covered by the "do not tell under penalty of death" clause, so I'll just say it was a long, but productive day.
I'm exhausted as hell. Over here the meeting started at 9 AM, but to my clock, it started at 4 AM in the morning. Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to get up at 2 AM, go get breakfast, and then go have a ten hour meeting starting at 4 in the morning? Ugh!
Well, I'll take a moment to share a few of the experiences I've had since I got here.
This is the view across the street from my hotel. Pretty beautiful architecture in this town. I love it.
Just a view down the street from the intersection. These are two story above-ground apartments, and they also have a below ground level as well. Talk about conservative real-estate!
Just another shot I took while walking down the street.
Ok, yeah I know it sounds stupid, but I REALLY want to take a ride in one of those taxis. They look so neat.
More London architecture, yet again squeezing the maximum amount of people in the smallest available space.
And yeah the pigeons are pretty tame. This one is pretty much walking on top of me at this point. Tim mentioned.."Umm Tommy, bird flu..." so I quickly shoo'ed fluffy away!
It's 40 bucks to get an all day pass for these busses, so I think I want to try that one time before we leave. Just to say I did...
A gay rabbi on the catwalk? Look at that strut!
I love a country where it's completely acceptable to walk hand in hand down the street in my PJ's... I'd be perfectly at home here!
Tom Harris and I at the Italian restaurant we ate at on the first night in town.
Ok... I get it, but do you?
I took this picture at 9:40 at night... can you believe how bright it still is here at this time of day?
Dude, talk about clown car! That entire car is only about three and a half feet tall!
Yeah, I'm posing with the Lotus, cause let's face it, when am I gonna be this close to this kind of car again? Awesome automobile!
And you thought that other car was small. This car takes up LESS than half a parking space!
Just a shot of Westminster at night with the moon in the sky. I thought it was pretty neat!
OK. I'm zonked at the moment. I'm going to go shower and see about some dinner or something. I'll be back to write more later if I'm up to it!
Lova ya !
Pip pip, Cheerio!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Well, I'm still not sure of my filght information because I've yet to have that delivered to me, but it seems assured that I'm leaving tomorrow for another trip, although this will be both short and welcomed, compared to the others. I'll only be gone for four days this time, and it's not to the third world!
ATI is sending Tim and I to London to present the outline and technical implementation details to the client company we are serving in Libya. As much as I'd like to enjoy the trip, I can imagine that we'll be pretty much tied down with working on crap for the project the entire time we're there. I do plan to do a little sight-seeing on my free time, if I can get any of it.
As far as where I'll be, I do at least have my address. I'll be staying at the Best Western, Paddington Court, 27 Devonshire Terrace, Westminster, London, W2.
Hey.. update! I got my flight schedule! I had to call the travel agency and lie a little, but I got it faxed in my email! So, here's the news, for those friends and family who were asking:
RDU TO PHL
Flight 954 (1HR, 20MIN)
PLH TO LGW
Flight 730 (7HR, 15MIN)
Arrive 052007-0910HRS (GMT)
LGW TO CLT
Flight 733 (6HR, 50MIN)
Depart 052307-1030HRS (GMT)
CLT TO RDU
Flight 893 (55MIN)
Ok. I'm a little tired at the moment.. I just finished painting the trim in the house. Now that I switched to Cingular, my cell phone WILL work in London, but I won't be answering it much if you call me. The cost per minute is a little high since I don't have a regular international package. (I already have a high enough bill without adding that feature to it!)
If you want to try to reach me on my european phone, you MIGHT be able to do so, pending I can get my stupid SIM card unlocked again.
The number is 011-423-663-211262 (that's exactly as you would dial it from an american land line)
Ok.. enough for now.. I have to start getting ready for the trip.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Ok.. so I'm draggin' ass this morning. For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep last night, so I'm walking around today like a zombie. I've been sucking down coffee while reading the news today and thought I'd share something that might impact you guys. I know you're all hard-core music fans and most of you who are savvy enough are also LimeWire or P2P fans as well. If you ARE downloading music from the net, take a look at this: (excerpted from Yahoo news top story this morning)
Music piracy crackdown nets college kids
By ANNA JO BRATTON, Associated Press WriterSun May 13, 4:50 PM ET
At first, Sarah Barg thought the e-mail was a scam. Some group called the Recording Industry Association of America was accusing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln sophomore of illegally downloading 381 songs using the school's computer network and a program called Ares.
The letter said she might be sued but offered her the chance to settle out of court.
Barg couldn't imagine anyone expected her to pay $3,000 — $7.87 per song — for some 1980s ballads and Spice Girls tunes she downloaded for laughs in her dorm room. Besides, the 20-year-old had friends who had downloaded thousands of songs without repercussion.
"Obviously I knew it was illegal, but no one got in trouble for it," Barg said.
But Barg's perspective changed quickly that Thursday in March, when she called student legal services and found out the e-mail was no joke and that she had a pricey decision to make.
Barg is one of 61 students at UNL and hundreds at more than 60 college campuses across the country who have received letters from the recording industry group, threatening a lawsuit if they don't settle out of court.
"Any student on any campus in the country who is illegally downloading music may receive one of these letters in the coming months," said Jenni Engebretsen, an RIAA spokeswoman.
Barg's parents paid the $3,000 settlement. Without their help, "I don't know what I would have done. I'm only 20 years old," she said.
At least 500 university students nationwide have paid settlements to avoid being sued, Engebretsen said. Students who don't take the offer face lawsuits — and minimum damages of $750 for each copyrighted recording shared if they lose.
UNL officials have been told 32 more letters are on the way. At least 17 UNL students who did not take the settlement offer have been sued, according to the RIAA, although the university has been asked to forward only five subpoenas.
But the students coughing up the cash question why they're the ones getting in trouble.
"They're targeting the worst people," UNL freshman Andrew Johnson, who also settled for $3,000. "Legally, it probably makes sense, because we don't have the money to fight."
Johnson got his e-mail in February, with the recording industry group's first wave of letters targeting college students. He had downloaded 100 songs on a program called LimeWire using the university network.
The money to settle came from the 18-year-old's college fund. He'll work three jobs this summer to pay back the money.
Johnson compares what he did to people driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.
"It's not like I downloaded millions of songs and sold them to people," Johnson said.
But just one song can bring a lawsuit, Engebretsen said.
"It is important to send the message that this is illegal, you can be caught, and there are consequences," she said.
The industry realizes attitudes need changing, and money from the settlements is reinvested in educational programs schools and other groups can use to spread the word that song sharing can have severe consequences.
Some of the programs are tailored to start with third-graders.
"We do recognize that by the time students reach college, many of their music habits are already formed," Engebretsen said.
Earlier this month, members of Congress sent a letter to officials from 19 universities, including UNL, asking for information about schools' anti-piracy policies.
According to the letter, more than half of college students download copyrighted music and movies. The information requested is intended to help assess whether Congress needs to advance legislation to ensure illegal downloading "is no longer commonly associated with student life on some U.S. campuses," the letter says.
Barg is still angry about her letter from the recording industry group, which she calls bullying. But she agrees sharing music is common, and that other students don't understand the consequences.
"Technically, I'm guilty. I just think it's ridiculous, the way they're going about it," Barg said. "We have to find a way to adjust our legal policy to take into account this new technology, and so far, they're not doing a very good job."
Barg thinks the university should send an e-mail to all students, warning them that the recording industry won't look the other way.
As campus clears out for the summer, UNL officials are considering launching a new educational campaign in the fall.
"If we can do anything to help educate students about what illegal file-sharing is, we're willing and interested in doing that," said Kelly Bartling, a university spokeswoman.
Bartling said no one wants students to have to worry about how to pay tuition because of an expensive settlement. "It is a hugely expensive lesson," Bartling said.
Johnson, the UNL freshman, doesn't think the threats from the recording industry group are going to solve the problem. Friends who know he got in trouble still share music online.
"People are still going to do it until they get caught, and they can't catch everyone," Johnson said.
I thought some you might find this interesting. I also looked up the RIAA's web site this morning to see their top headlines. In case you're wondering, they are:
- RIAA Welcomes Bipartisan Push For University Accountability on Campus Piracy (Click for Link)
- New Wave of RIAA Pre-Lawsuit Letters Targets Music Theft on 13 Campuses (Click for Link)
Big deal, so what? What does it mean?
Well, basically it means the RIAA (whom you can best describe as the Music Industry Police) aren't playing games any more. Don't think that because they targeted college campuses and you aren't a college student, that it means you're ok. All it means is that College Campuses were really really easy test-beds for this new lawsuit program. Any student connected to a college campus LAN or WAN is going to be trafficking throughthe campus firewalls and routers. To give you a local example you can understand; it's really inconvenient for the government to track down all the indivuduals in pitt county who download illegal music, because we all use different providers, different routers, different gateways, etc. However, approximately 38,000 people can be tracked by requestinga subpoena for the campus internet logs and scrutinizing those. That's why they went after college kids first. Additionally, college age kids are also probably the largest portion of the population that's responsible for illegal downloading, but they have a good point when they state that most internet and music habits are formed at this point in life, so if you "were" a downloader of music in college, then chances are you still are, so they WILL be gunning for everyone within couple of months to a few years in the near future. I don't know when, but mark my words when I say it's coming.
If you insist on downloading, by all means learn to use a bit-torrent client as opposed to Limewire. I've had to fix hundreds of computers due to programs like limewire and frostwire, and all that other crap-ware that's out there. 2007 is here and P2P is dead. Limewire is dead.. let it die. Bit-torrents are currently where most of the music is now, which is why limewire results keep getting less and less over time.
Anyway, that's another rant.
On a similar topic, check this news out:
Relax.. that's not a complicated term. Basically it means that in the coming years, they are going to install a chip in your cell phones, desktop computers, laptops, etc that can detect music played on your PC. Then It will check to see if you've purchased a license for it. If not, you can't play it. Fun, huh?
Anyway, back to work. I just thought this was blogworthy. Comments? Thoughts?
Friday, May 11, 2007
I'm still missing some photos from Bridget. I was too busy picking apart Pig last weekend to take any photos, but these two were captured on April's camera.
"Most" of the original Scoobies together for the first time in almost a year. It's a shame we don't get together more often. In this last month I've been able to see almost all of us at one time or another, even Jimbo, Harry, and Desmond. The only ones I haven't seen are Todd and Sameena... (if you guys read this, I miss you guys.. come see us! Bring the baby!)
No summer is complete with someone throwing Marion around. She's just so tiny!
Yes, it requires a lot of turning around, squatting, and moving things from one place to the other on a fairly frequent basis, but I managed to get in some garden time this afternoon on my porch. I decided to take a few photos to show those who may be interested, what I've got going so far this year. Once I was done I sat back with a cup of coffee and relaxed a few minutes, taking in the scents of the plants and the air, and then finally thought to count the plants on my deck.... I have 32 different "sets" of plants going on right now. Every single seed bed I planted rooted and took off and now I've got to find someone to give all these plants to. I don't even like tomatoes.. what in the hell do I want with 8 or so tomato bushes? Tomatoes anyone?
Anyway, I'll get on with it because I have still yet to post the other photos from this weekend that I just found, so I'll do that next.
This is the planter I filled today when I moved all the miniatures from their seed beds. I've got two variations of marigolds in here as well as a Zinnia. The zinnia's all did very well until we kept dropping the pots and breaking them. Somehow, during the gardening, only 1 out of 5 managed not to get broken.. and this was the ONLY plant that got dropped.. we never dropped any other one..just all of these.. and all at different times in different planters. I was apparently not destined to have Zinnias this year. However, I beat the odds and now I have one.. at least so far. We'll see how long this one lasts.
On to more tomatoes. I moved all the tomato seedlings to their own pots, with plans to give most all of these away once they are hearty enough to be transplanted again. Anyone want beefmasters? I got a few that need to go...
These were my freebies. I spent so much money on the online nursery that they kept throwing in free plants. These too will need to be spread out before they get too big, so I'll have peppers for anyone who like to grow them. I'll probably keep one of the plants for myself, just to see if I can tweak it's natural cycle a little. I seem to have pretty good luck with most plants. I was growing tomatoes on an eight foot bush in the dead of December last year, so we'll see what happens this year.
This, my dear friends, is Cat Mint.. designed to keep the cats away from my other garden plants. It's supposed to have that effect on squirrels too, or so I've been told, but we'll see. I tried seeing if Cordy would dislike it, shy away from it, or just plain run to the other side of the room. As with all the other natural deterrents that are supposed to make cats run away.... she licked it and started chewing on the leaves... Stupid animal. She's immune to evertyhing. There's nothing out there that is supposed to work on cats that works on her. Luckily, she seems to have grown bored in her older years with destroying my gardening efforts and now seems content to watch me from the window as I labor at my hobby.
This is a Lantana, surrounded by two more marigolds. I'm really interested to see how the Lantana looks as the season grows. It just came in yesterday but all its leaves were damaged during shipping, so I hit it with a little dolomite, a little rooting hormone, some coca-cola, and a cigarette ash that fell in by mistake.. we'll see what we get in a week or so.
That's my tomatoes there onthe left, tied up against the arbor for the cucumbers, zuchinni, and squash. The cucumbers are finally starting to fight for sunlight against the other two. For a few weeks there I was worried. The Squash are doing fine and the Zucchini (far right) is trying its best to dominate the entire planting box. It's going to be interesting to see who comes out on top with this planter.
This is one of my prize plants this year. It's a mild-climate Japanese fern that starts out green. As summer starts it will turn purple with silvery grey edges, and as the season get later the purple will start fading at the top to a dark red outlined in silver.. so I'm really interested to see what this one does.
Ok.. that's it for my gardening today. I'm off to post the pictures Marisa was asking about, and then it's shower time for me before heading out to the club with Doc and the gang.
I've often wondered what's taken Yahoo this long to start taking big hits on it's services line, and I guess it was just time. As of today the news was released that Yahoo is closing Yahoo Auctions, with no new auctions being accepted after June 3rd, and it will be completely closed by October 16th of this year. Surprisingly, in my opinion, it wasn't google that slammed them this time. According to the results for 2006 search results, 97% of all auction search traffic last year went straight to ebay, with only.19% going to yahoo, even on their own search engine.
Lesson of the day: If you're gonna run auctions, you have to go to ebay.
Yahoo Photos takes the hit too:
They also released today that they are going to be closing yahoo photos, which I hate to see. I've been using Yahoo photos so share some of my photos with friends for years, but I guess it's time. With all the sites out there such as Flickr and PhotoBucket, I can't say I'm surprised. Even MySpace is now offering massive photo uploads in an effort to draw more users from the other competing sites. When I first signed up for myspace, I could only load 12 pictures on my account. Now, I just uploaded almost 100 last night and didn't see any sign of having any kind of limit. The only thing I dont like about using myspace for picture hosting is that you have to have an account and be signed in for people to see your photos, so I can't just email anyone a link and expect them to be able to see it.
For anyone that's interested, MySpace is apparently trying to stop losing video traffic to YouTube as well. When I checked last night, you can upload videos up to 100 MB on your MySpace account as well, which is pretty neat. Videos are the new photos this year it seems. I wonder what the next upload format is going to be that's going to take the market head on?
Anyway, I just thought you might want to know. I know a few of us, like Agent M, used to use Yahoo photos a lot in the past, so you need to look for alternative solutions in the near future. It seems that Yahoo is going to offer a free month of Flickr to people who want to transfer their pictures over to that network.
With Google taking over the document and communications platform (Gmail, Google Docs, GoogleChat, GooglePages) and Myspace taking over the user connectivity users, and YouTube holding tight to the video users, I wonder how much percentage those three sites account for in the personal internet use world...
It seems again that the local news is attacking MySpace yet again. Between bad news media and lawsuits, I'm amazed they can afford to stay open. In case you've lived in a cave sans internet for the last 18 months, MySpace is getting sued left and right by parent groups who say that it's making their kids open to cyber-stalkers. Without making a big to do about the whole situation, I'd like to make a few points on the matter.
- If your kids can't be trusted not to talk to strange old guys online, then dont put the computer in their bedroom where you can't see what they're doing on it.
- Don't be an idiot and blame myspace for your bad parenting. Put an internet filter on your computer to stop them from visiting myspace if you don't like them doing it.. it takes about 10 seconds to set it up.
- MySpace isn't even the first to do this. Yahoo has has free user profile generation AND allows anonymous users to view profiles, where MySpace MAKES you register to see profiles. So, of the two, Yahoo is and always has been more dangerous in terms of online stalker capabilities.
- Those of you who support the myspace lawsuits are idiots. It's the exact same thing as you suing a shopping mall because your kid got fondled in a shopping mall...you cant sue the mall for being in existence. Myspace is 18 and older only. Your kids are guilty of fraud by signing up, which means you're lucky MySpace hasn't sued you in retaliation for violating its terms of service in the first place.
- You don't want your kids playing in the neighborhood I guess, because of strangers, so you let them play online. Now they can't play online because of stalkers too apparently. How about taking five minutes out of your day, take your fat pasty-skinned kid off the computer, and take him roller-skating or something. Hell, if he's lying about his age online anyway, might as well get them a fake-id and take them to a bar while you're at it.
Ugh.. ok.. need more coffee.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Sorry I've been away from the PC and the blogging world these last few days. Most of you know that Doc, my best friend, just returned home for a brief hiatus from Iraq. He's only home for about 10 days, so we're trying to enjoy as much of what north carolina has to offer as we can in a very limited time. To kill two birds with one stone, I'll let the pics tell the story...
It started with a few drinks... lol. We all went to On Cue (now called Live) and had a few drinks for the first time quite a while. It was nice to have some of the irregular crowd out there with us that night. Coon Dog and Lil' Bit got to make an appearance for awhile and we drank and danced most of the night, well pretty much until the bar closed and threw us out if I remember correctly.
Coon Dog looks great, like usual. I look like hammered kafta! (Mani will get that if none of the rest of you do.)
The two Allen girls sneak off the compound for the night! As usual, we had to drive them home in the cover of darkness, with the lights on the truck out, so as not to get shot by any of the dozen gun-toting relatives that fiercely watch out for these two great girls. If a war ever comes to NC, it's a hard choice between whether I go to Doc's daddy's house or to the Allen Compound.
He's drunk.. I'm just patiently waiting to get him to IHOP at 3 AM for breakfast.
The dynamic duo and the interlopers! Where are our girls? They were quite unselfish and let us catch up with the old gang most of the night. Of course they were flirting around the bar themselves... well not really. April's not much of a bar-flirt. She's more of a gimme-a-hug and buy me a drink type.
Bridget.... trying to think of a nickname that fits her... cause she HATES "fridget". I got it! Eureka! Well get her a tight-fitting green costume and put a giant GG on the chest for "Glamour Girl"... fighting bad hair days wherever they may appear! Heroine to fashionless gooberesses everywhere... too bad she can't fly... she could quit her job and be the female super-woman-fashion-model-police!
Saturday was next, and it was off to a fish fry at Doc's place. With 4 hours of sleep, we were toasted by the end of this next day!
What? Yes Doc.. fish.. your house.. food... Good boy!
The poor girl couldn't eat because Doc spent the day trying to "teach" her how to debone a pickled-herring.
Doc called this the "redneck Godfather" sequence.
By now, lunch is over and we're off to the backyard to do what we like to do most... blow stuff up! Out came the guns!
Doc teaches his five year old nehpew how to hold and fire a converted Ruger .45 cowboy pistol!
My Mom takes a few cracks with the .22 revolver and then moves on up to the big guns later.
Yeah.. that's all of us.. lined up and unloading on that poor tree target back there.
Doc and I back up the hill and work on our marksmanship skills a little while the rest relax under the trees.
My brother and I take turns unloading from a sitting position for awhile. We're a little tired, but there are still bullets left!!!
Dude.. look at that? Me and my women! This was a great shot of the three of us.
That's it for now. There are more pics from Sunday, but I need to get those off the camera and upload them before I can put them on here.
Hope you enjoyed.. more real "content" to come in the near future.