Archives for the Month of December 2007 on Through the Magnifying Glass
Say Goodbye to Netscape
AOL will cease supporting the Netscape Navigator, currently on version 9, on February 1, 2008.
At its height, Netscape controlled over 90% of the browser market in the 1990's. Today, it currently has 0.6% market share, compared to IE's 77.35% and Firefox's 16.01%.
U.S. loses GPS dominance
Reuters reported that Russia has successfully launched a rocket on Tuesday carrying the last three satellites to complete a navigation system to rival America's GPS.
The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.
In addition, the European Union and European Space Agency are building their Galileo positioning system. This 3.4 billion euro project of 30 satellites is scheduled to be operational by 2013. Galileo will provide more precise measurements than GPS or GLONASS. China, Israel, Ukraine, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea have also joined on this project.
India is also taking part in the project and will establish a regional augmentation system based on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).
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Both GLONASS and Galileo represent independent moves by those countries to wean themselves off the US GPS system.
It is probably true that the U.S. Department of Defense still maintains a Selective Deniability (SD) ability within the network which may still be used to effectively jam civilian GPS units in a war zone or global alert while still allowing full functionality for military units.
Of course we know the implications of Russia having their own satellite system.
Opednews: Smearing of Dr. Ron Paul
Here's an interesting article by Anthony Wade (opednews.com)
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” - Gandhi
The Anti-Bake Police of Salem, MA
This year's Christmas grinch comes in the form of Salem Health Agent Joanne Scott and the town government.
They have decided to ban bake sales at schools, churches, and senior centers.
In the words of Joanne Scott, it's her job "to interpret the food code for the city and she exempts only places serving baked goods within their own closed community, not to the general public." Basically, she has declared that private citizens and their baked goods are not safe for general public consumption.
If you want to have a bake sale, you must purchase a city-issued food permit. As a further condition, all the food must be prepared in a city-licensed kitchen.
It has been heard that when Scott learned about a bake sale at a local senior center, she ordered them to either comply with the proper government authorization or shut down. Since the senior center did not have a kitchen, the bake sale was cancelled.
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A bah humbug to Salem's government for being naughty. What a nice way of being a bake 'Nazi.' I did not realize Christmas cookies and brownies are a threat to public safety.
Maybe we should encourage secret bake sales. Resistance La Cake!!!
Don't Tase Me - MC Hammer
Ron Paul on Meet the Press - 12/23/07
If you have a death in the family, don't look towards Hawaiian Airlines for a full refund
Monrovia resident Jane Wilkens, 48, was looking forward to a getaway to Hawaii's Big Island this coming April with her 77-year-old mom and one of her mom's friends. In August, she booked three first-class tickets to Kona on Hawaiian Airlines for $4,287.
But in September, Wilkens' mom underwent surgery for a back problem. Three days later, she unexpectedly died from a blood clot.
"It was horrible," Wilkens recalled. "She was my best friend. We were very close, and this was devastating to me."
After dealing with all the things that arise under such circumstances, Wilkens finally got around to canceling various travel arrangements. She contacted the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where she'd booked a suite for about $600 per night, and explained what had happened.
"Just like that, they canceled the reservation," Wilkens said.
She contacted Delta Air Lines, on which she'd booked a separate first-class trip for a "girls' weekend" in Maine after she and her mom returned from Hawaii. "They fully refunded the tickets, no questions asked," Wilkens said.
She contacted Hawaiian Airlines, which, like Delta, requested a copy of her mom's death certificate. About a month later, Wilkens received a letter from Paul Whitaker, Hawaiian Air's "resolution coordinator."
He said the airline would refund each of the three first-class tickets but would deduct a $75 "service fee" per ticket, or $225.
Whitaker wrote that Hawaiian Air understood that the death of Wilkens' mom was "an uncontrollable event," but nevertheless believed its fees were "fair and reasonable." He said the carrier now considered the case closed.
"I thought that was ridiculous," Wilkens told me. "I bought those tickets nine months in advance and canceled seven months in advance. It's not like they wouldn't have time to resell them.
"It wasn't the money," she added. "It was the principle."
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We all understand about the "service fee" for refunding the ticket, but given the advance warning and the exceptional circumstances involved, it would have been a bit of good PR for the airline to forgo the fee.
Use a bit of courtesy!
Iceland complains about treatment of tourist
Iceland's government has asked the U.S. ambassador to explain the treatment of an Icelandic tourist who says she was held in shackles before being deported from the United States.
Erla Osk Arnardottir Lillendahl was arrested when she arrived at JFK airport in New York because she had overstayed a U.S. visa more than 10 years earlier.
She contended she was interrogated at JFK airport for two days, during which she was not allowed to call relatives. She said she was denied food and drink for part of the time, and was photographed and fingerprinted.
On Monday, Lillendahl claimed, her hands and feet were chained and she was moved to a prison in New Jersey, where she was kept in a cell, interrogated further and denied access to a phone.
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Overzealous security personnel? Did she have terrorist links? Conspiracy against the government? Nah, she overstayed her visa 10 years ago....10 years!!!
It's immigration's fault for not even stopping her when she left 10 years ago.
Were they that bored? If they catch an actual terrorist at immigration, they can use the dogs, their tasers, and some mace/pepper spray, and a few kicks to the head.
Thumbs Down: Fox News - Ron Paul
So Ron Paul appeared on Fox & Friends today, and it was so disappointing. The woman was kinda playing dumb asking Ron Paul about his fundraising record and he was still lagging in the single digits. Then she comes up with this questioning: I will give you a topic or issue, and you give me one word to describe it.
How can you give a one-word response on immigration? On war on terror? On Iraq? You bloody can't!
It was a waste of time for Ron Paul to appear on that show. Perhaps they can find a better interviewer next time.
MSNBC talks about Ron Paul's blimp
In today's news: CNN - Paul 'pleasantly surprised' at $6 million fundraising haul
Paul Potts - A Success Story
Paul Potts won Britain's Got Talent competition and the winner got to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen.
His first album has sold over 2 million copies in the UK, and is #1 in fifteen different countries.
Guy sues NYC clubs "Ladies' Nights"
Roy Den Hollander has decided to become a defender of all men in NYC by lodging a discrimination lawsuit against Lotus, China Club, and other clubs in the Big Apple for their "Ladies' Nights," which offer women free or discounted admission and drinks.
In his lawsuit, Hollander has sought to represent all men over age 21 whih had entered one of the nightclubs since June 21, 2004, and been subjected to policies that provide discounts to women of the same age. Such policies violate the Constitution.
Club lawyers have called the lawsuit frivolous.
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Is it really unfair for men to pay more for entering a dance club? Of course we want to have a good time, but it would be even better if a club had more ladies to mingle with or to ogle at. What can you do if you see more men than women? Leave, and find another club.
If you do not want to pay more, then I guess you're a cheapskate, and this does not make any real difference especially in a city like New York. So what if the lawsuit was successful, one result is that it will hurt couples because the guy would have to pay full price for two people, rather than one and one-half.
It could lead to the end of "Happy Hour" because that would discriminate folks who come to the clubs late at night. Or maybe it will get folks to start filing lawsuits against "early bird" specials at restaurants, or against "senior citizens" discounts.
Come on here, these are promotions designed to attract attendance (customers). It will not cause any undue emotional or mental strain.
It's a dumb lawsuit. I know the guy was trying to help, but I think he is going to hurt his chances with the ladies.
Ron Paul - Fundraising surpasses $18 million in Q4
Ok, the liberal bloggers and anti-RP folks are basing that Ron Paul is a racist because he refuses to return donations coming from white supremacists. In this Yahoo AP article, Don Black contributed $500 to Ron Paul's campaign. If you check his background, he runs a web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." So yes, he is a white supremacist.
Ron Paul's campaign is not going to give his $500 back. In fact, They will take his money and use it for the better good of the country, and that is to spread the message of freedom.
If folks think they can easily persuade Ron Paul to become a racist with thousands of dollars are sadly mistaken.
What if folks donating to Hillary Clinton are found out to have pro-life or anti-illegal immigration links? Will her campaign return the money? Or what if they found the person's political affiliation to be "Republican?"
Take the money and put it to better use.
Anti-RP's, try again.
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In primary news, the Ron Paul 2008 campaign has turned in 20,000 signatures to guarantee a place on the Virginia state GOP primary ballot on February 12.
Well, it's hard for folks to label Ron Paul as a fringe candidate when his campaign has raised over $18 million in the fourth quarter. This is more than the $12 million that was set as a goal by his campaign. Over $6 million was raised on Dec. 16th, another record.
More Americans are going over to Ron Paul's side as we try to change the current political establishment.
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Nolanchat.com - How Ron Paul Has Already Won
Boston.com - Ron Paul's tea party for dollars
Theconservativevoice.com - Reasons for Republicans to Vote Paul
TheAtlantic.com - Paul's $16M Haul... Impressive. No Buts.
LA Times - Ron Paul campaign donors set new record
Sure, I want to wait several hours for an Apple store to open
I am calling out the nitwits who waited in line for several hours just to get into a brand new Apple store in NYC's West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District.
Even CNET.com's authors did not find anything shocking about this latest store. The trademark glass staircase extends for three stories rather than the usual two. I guess that must be sufficient reason to start waiting at 1AM (yep, the store's grand opening was scheduled at 6PM). It's not even the largest Apple store. That recognition goes to the one on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, but wait, Apple says that this NYC store is the only one with 3 stories, and is the second largest. Hmm, I guess tallest sounds better than largest.
But really, waiting in line for a grand opening? There's no big grand product release. No new gadget exceeding the iPod Touch or iPhone. Maybe a chance to boast to your fellow techies that you were the Xth person to enter the store on that day. Let's see how many times your girl roll her eyes when she hears that one, oh wait, you may not have a girlfriend...snap!
Perhaps waiting for 4-5 hours for that free t-shirt or limited-edition poster was enough incentive. Or maybe that possible surprise of a free Mac, MacBook Pro, or an iPod Touch was too tempting.
Maybe throw in a Panasonic plasma screen would be enough for me. Or what if you got Steve Jobs to open up the doors? The store is the only one with three stories, come on here. Where is he?!?!?!
Go ahead, and wait. You're just gonna get a few seconds of fame, then it's off waiting for iPhone 2007, 2008, and so on. The next time I visit the store, the wait time for me will be practically zero. =) I look forward to that.
After a train beating, a bus beating
Link (Baltimore Examiner)
This reminds me of the youth problem in the UK. Of course, the newsies refer them as "yobs," they are become quite an annoyance to public safety.
In this case, a bunch of middle school kids beat up a woman on a Baltimore city bus. What did she do to provoke them? She sat down.
Sarah Kreager, 26, was attacked by nine students -- three females and six males -- from Robert Poole Middle School. She sustained "serious injuries" which included two broken bones in her left eye socket.
All nine suspects, ages 14 and 15, were arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Their bus tickets -- provided by the school -- have been revoked.
Was it race-motivated? The attackers were black. The victim is white.
There were no racist remarks or comments made. Apparently, the kids refused to let the lady sit on the bus.
Ron Paul - censored from telephone polls
Passenger beat down on NYC Train, Caught on Camera
Watch the video (The Smoking Gun)
A videotape of a subway rider getting attacked on the NYC A train by a pack of unruly teenagers has been spreading through the Internet.
The 4 minute, 18 second film (on The Smoking Gun web site) shows some foul-mouthed girls taunting the man, who can be heard telling them, "Why are you arguing? Stop. Stop."
As the train pulled into Broadway Junction, a girl off-camera could be heard predicting, "They gonna hit him, I know it."
Within moments, the man, who had stood up, was shoved down and pummeled by members of the gang.
As the tape ends, the victim--who was also struck in the face with a plastic soda bottle during the assault--is continuing to be struck by two of the girls.
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The video was initially uploaded by a high school student named Kadejra Holmes. She has denied being part of the girl gang that attacked the male rider. Of course, her credibility cannot be judged to be truthful when after being interviewed by The Smoking Gun, she deleted the footage and her entire page from YouTube.
According to TSG, she initially labeled the video as "jump up to get beat down."
Fortunately, TSG managed to snag a copy of the video and has posted it on their web site.
It is not known if the police were aware of the attack or whether the victim was badly hurt. The attack allegedly occurred last month.
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I would guess Kadejra, who wants to be a filmmaker, and found a niche... taping violent attacks and practicing her camera angles and balancing shots.
It is not known if she called the police after the attack was over. Isn't there anything we can charge this person with? Being an accomplice to this brazen attack? Being a coward and staying behind the camera?
Shame on these rabid teenagers who have nothing better to do. Shame on those that want to create some sort of mini-fame and post them to YouTube. Shame!
Golden Compass: Heresy they cry
Christian groups are up in arms over a new children's film starring Nicole Kidman and based on an award-winning novel by British author Philip Pullman, accusing it of being anti-religious.
"The Golden Compass" is the film version of "The Northern Lights," the first book in Pullman's "Dark Materials" fantasy trilogy aimed at teenage readers.
The movie opens in theatres this Friday. It will be released in some 3,000 cinemas and only 60 have so far refused to screen it.
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It is kinda strange why most secular folks do not complain about the Left Behind series and their movies on the Christian eschatological viewpoint of the end of the world. There are the books plus three movies based on them. I have read the first book and watched the films and they were quite interesting. It does not make me into a religious fanatic but I have no problem looking at their viewpoint.
However, it seems ridiculous, even crazy, for these same groups to denounce the "Harry Potter" series of promoting witchcraft. It's the same thing with the "Lord of the Rings" series too. Even the movie, "The DaVinci Code" was criticized by the Catholic League for suggesting that Jesus Christ had a child by Mary Magdalene.
If you do not like it, then you do not have to watch it. By even suggesting there is some sort of controversy, it will encourage moviegoers to see these movies. Some would love to see an adventure/fantasy story with a traditional struggle between good and evil, that's the bottom line.
One good thing with "Harry Potter"...it actually got children and adults curious and got them back to reading. Witchcraft? Bah!
Another Patent Troll: Klausner Technologies
It seems they are popping up everywhere. Klausner Technologies has filed a patent lawsuit against Apple, Inc. on the iPhone alleging that the company has infringed on their patents covering visual voicemail. The patent trolling company estimates that Apple owes them about $360 million in damages and future royalties.
The lawsuits asserts that Apple's iPhone Visual Voicemail feature violates Klausner Technologies' U.S. Patents 5,572,576 and 5,283,818. These patents have already been licensed to various other companies that provide visual voicemail, including Time Warner’s AOL for its AOL Voicemail services, Vonage Holdings for its Vonage Voicemail Plus services as well as others, under the Klausner Patents. Of course, note that Klausner sued both Time Warner and Vonage before settling.
The iPhone violates Klausner’s intellectual property rights by allowing users to selectively retrieve voice messages via the iPhone’s inbox display.
Why is Klausner a patent troll? Because it owns U.S. and international patents covering visual voicemail products and services which allow users to selectively retrieve individual voice messages via their cell phones and PCs. It does not offer any actual products and/or services. All they get is royalties for having a patent.
BTW, they also sued AT&T because they are offering wireless service for the iPhone. Plus eBay Inc.'s Skype unit, Comcast Corp., and Cablevision Systems Corp. For these companies, Klausner alleges that they are violating its patents covering VoIP. (link)
And yes, Klausner filed their lawsuit in the friendly courts of Eastern District of Texas. Another blackmailer on the warpath.
Ron Paul hits back at CNN and other candidates
Read this - "Please Ignore Ron Paul" (title is misleading :P)
This TSA screener - good or bad judgment
Soldiers from Fort Lewis were escorting the remains of a colleague home to Virginia earlier this month.
At Seattle-Tacoma International airport, an honor guard consisting of Port of Seattle Police, airport fire and rescue, and military personnel helped placed the body on the plane.
A police officer then took the escort soldiers up to security.
The TSA screener checked everyone's ID, including the police officer, and then had the soldiers go through the metal detectors.
Their combat ribbons and medals set off the alarms.
The TSA screener then instructed the soldiers to strip off their uniforms, down to their tee shirts, pants, and socks.
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Clearly, were the actions of the screener inappropriate? Was there a supervisor at the checkpoint? Should the soldiers be waved through security since everyone knew that the combat ribbons and medals sounded the alarm?
Most of us would probably feel that the honor guard should not have been subjected to this. Some may feel that no one should be accorded special treatment. Would it be just courteous to take the soldiers through the crew-only line or some sort of special line, do a check on the medals and ribbons, and allow them through? It would only take a few minutes longer.