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Privacy Violation

Mid 2006 AT&T, Bell South (soon to be part of AT&T), and Verizon all turned over their phone call database to the National Security Agency just because they ask.  Qwest refused, indicating to the NSA that they were required to obtain a subpoena before such information could be release.

Section 2702 of Title 18, part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, provides that “a provider of … electronic communication service [including telephone service] to the public shall not knowingly divulge a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service … to any governmental entity” without the customer’s consent or a subpoena or court order. Under section 2707, carriers face civil liability, including minimum damages of $1,000 per violation, punitive damages, and attorneys fees. Government employees who participated in a violation also may face administrative discipline.

My questions is, since the NSA obtained such information illegally, why haven’t the telcos been fined, the information obtained by the NSA been destroyed, and the NSA employees who requested (and authorized the requests) been terminated?

I personally am tired of waiting for the restoration of my civil rights; the new administration has been in the White House for a year now, the honey moon is over — let’s stop hearing rhetoric, and start seeing action.

Originally posted 2009-12-31 02:00:15.

Microsoft Office 2007

Today a new version of Microsoft Office 2007 should be available.

One 22 December 2009 Microsoft got an early Christmas present; and injunction on the sale of Microsoft Office 2007 went into effect with the loss of a patent case involving a company named i4i located in Toronto, ON, CA.

The patent in this case, No. 5,787,449, was issued in July 1998.

i4i alleged, and successfully defended the assertion that Microsoft infringed on a patent by including a custom XML feature in Word 2007 which allowed it to open .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM files.

An injunction issued in August 2009 was delayed until the ruling was issued on 22 December 2009.

Reuters estimated that Microsoft will have to pay about $290 million US ($200 million awarded in damages by the jury, and about $90 million in fees and interest).

Microsoft responded to the court ruling in a public statement:

While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also considering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kevin Kurtz, director of public affairs for Microsoft

In separate announcements, Microsoft confirmed that the code used in Microsoft Word 2007 would be changed, and a new version would be available on 10 January 2010.

Ruling

Originally posted 2010-01-10 01:00:27.

Obsolete

ob·so·lete [ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet] adjective, verb,-let·ed, -let·ing.

  1. [adj] no longer in general use; fallen into disuse: an obsolete expression.
  2. [adj] of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date: an obsolete battleship.
  3. [adj] (of a linguistic form) no longer in use, esp., out of use for at least the past century. [archaic]
  4. [adj] effaced by wearing down or away.
  5. [adj] Biology. imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of the opposite sex or of a related species.
  6. [v] to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate: Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.

Origin:
1570–80; < L obsolētus, ptp. of obsolēscere to fall into disuse, perh. equiv. to ob- ob- + sol(ēre) to be accustomed to + -ēscere -esce

As it pertains to occupations, have a look at an NPR photo story of endangered professions…

The Jobs Of Yesteryear: Obsolete Occupations

Originally posted 2010-04-02 02:00:46.

Religious Intolerance or Insensitivity?

One has to ask the question, why would a US Congressman choose to use a facility with a religious affiliation when a public facility is only a few blocks from the chosen site and many public facilities exist within a short distance from the chosen structure?

While this is not a violation of the US Constitution (Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article VI) it is an extremely poor choice and one can only conclude that the intent is for it to be a public endorsement of a single religious belief and a rejection of the beliefs of those whose are different.  My guess is the congressman would never ask a christian to step foot into a mosque (there is a mosque not far from the church that was chosen — perhaps he might decide to hold another meeting there soon).

It’s easy to see how hate is promoted in American society when elected official either actively feed it or are just insensitive to the differences that once made this country strong…

I object to any pandering of intolerance.


Congressman Miller Townhall Meeting
Tuesday, August 16
7:00 p.m. CT

Marcus Pointe Baptist Church
Main Worship Center
6205 North W Street
Pensacola, FL 32505

 

Original Link: http://jeffmiller.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx?ID=KV2BK2PRUC2HK6XTHVVK6ONOY4

Originally posted 2011-08-12 02:00:36.

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular is a “discount” cellular provider (apparently a Verizon Wireless MVNO) that offers no-nonsense plans with no contract and low rates for users who only occasionally use their cell phones and the ability to change your plan at will.

Let me underscore that I don’t have any personal experience with Consumer Cellular, so I can’t vouch for their service — so my recommendation is keep a copy of the information from their web page in a PDF and pay with a credit card; that way if you find they don’t live up to their end of the “bargain” just work with your credit card company.

http://www.consumercellular.com/

Originally posted 2010-04-28 02:00:11.

All over the map…

Yep, that’s a good description of my BLOG — and it’s intended to be that way.

While most of the time I focus on posting articles that convey information on technology, I certainly don’t shy away from the opportunity to rant or rave on something that’s on my mind.

That’s really the great thing about a personal BLOG; it allows you to share who you are, and what’s important to you.

Be assured that most of my posts are focused on technology and sharing what I know and learn… but from time to time you’re going to find a quote or some biting political or social commentary (I’ll try and hold my personal views to a minimum and just hope for getting you to think — but I do have my convictions, and they are strong).

Let me close this post by encouraging each and everyone to start a BLOG — there’s tons of places where you can get a BLOG for free, and it’s a wonderful place to record the thoughts and ideas that make you who you are and share them with the world if they choose to look!

Self awareness and open sharing may well be the foundation for a much brighter future — and certainly free though and free speach are values that we should not only fight to protect, but take advantage of every moment of our lives.

Originally posted 2010-01-03 01:00:03.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Thus far the collapse of the US housing market and [near] failure of Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac have cost US tax payers $145B… and it’s far from over.

The New York Stock Exchange have announced that the two companies will be delisted from the exchange next month (the stocks had been trading at the $1 per share mark — the minimum threshold to remain on the exchange — for over two years (since before the federal government took control of the companies).

The Federal Housing Finance Agency states that the delisting “does not constitute any reflection on either [company’s] current performance or future direction.”

Right…

Fannie and Freddie were created by an act of Congress decades ago… as private companies.  They buy mortgages from banks, re-sell them to investors, and guarantee to pay off the loans if borrowers default.

And, of course, for the last decade they’ve been buying junk mortgages that banks irresponsibly made to people who couldn’t possible afford them on vastly over-valued property.

Of course, the bank’s weren’t the losers; the shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largely lost their proverbial shirts — but the tax payers bailed out the banks (and continue to fund Fannie and Freddie — and they continue to lose money).

Congress will have to decide how to handle this mess.  A GAO report last fall included these points.

  1. Create a government agency to buy mortgages and re-sell them to investors. This would eliminate the profit motive that, some critics say, drove Fannie and Freddie to take the risks that led to their demise. It would also continue to subsidize the mortgage market, making it easier for Americans to buy homes. On the other hand, the government would still be putting lots of taxpayer money at risk to subsidize the housing market.
  2. Reconstitute Fannie and Freddie as government-sponsored enterprises, similar to the way they were before. This might be accompanied by new rules limiting the risks the companies can take. Still, this would bring back the problematic ambiguities of having private, government-sponsored companies.
  3. Dramatically reduce the government’s role in the mortgage business. In this model, there would essentially be no replacement for Fannie and Freddie. But the government might still take some role, such as selling insurance to cover mortgage default. This would reduce (but not eliminate) the risk to taxpayers, but it might also make it more difficult for people to get mortgages.

Originally posted 2010-06-18 02:00:20.

Vocabulary Lesson: Utopia

Utopia or Eutopia; homophones and a double entendre for sure…

  • Utopia is a term for an ideal society.
  • Dystopia is a negative utopia: a totalitarian and repressive world.
  • Eutopia is a positive utopia, different in that it means “perfect” but not “fictional”.
  • Outopia derived from the Greek ‘ou’ for “no” and ‘-topos’ for “place,” a fictional, this means unrealistic or directly translated “Nothing, Nowhere” This is the other half from Eutopia, and the two together combine to Utopia.
  • Heterotopia, the “other place”, with its real and imagined possibilities (a mix of “utopian” escapism and turning virtual possibilities into reality).

__________

  • Utopia: from Greek: οὐ, “not”, and τόπος, “place”.
  • Eutopis: derived from the Greek εὖ, “good” or “well”, and τόπος, “place”.

Most modern usage of the term “Utopia” incorrectly assumes the latter meaning, that of a place of perfection rather than nonexistence.  You can thank Sir Thomas Moore for this.

Originally posted 2011-10-14 02:00:45.

HOW DO YOU LIVE YOUR DASH

HOW DO YOU LIVE YOUR DASH
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he-said what mattered-most
Of all Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth…
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars…the house…the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Originally posted 2017-04-06 12:00:03.

How serious is Obama about his own policies???

If in fact President Barrack Obama is extremely concerned about health care for US citizens, and raising the minimum wages… explain why:

  1. Many (full-time) federal employees make substantially below the proposed minimum wage; and
  2. Many (full-time) federal employees are not eligible for health care through their employer.

How much more disingenuous can you be than not “fixing” your own “house” before looking to force businesses to raise wages and provide (health care) benefits?

In the computer industry we have a phrase “eating your own dogfood“… or more colloquial, “what’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander“. 

But then again, this isn’t the first nor will it be the last time the government of the United States exempts itself for it’s own rules (laws)…

Originally posted 2014-03-18 10:00:33.