December 28, 2003

Faces of the Fallen

Greetings. The Washington Post now has an excellent page called "Faces of the Fallen" that provides individual photos (where available) along with other information relating to U.S. fatalities in Iraq. It effectively layers humanity onto the dry statistics of coffin counts issued by the Pentagon (note that "Flash" functionality is used for the page's display).

I recommend this page very highly (though I'd much prefer it wasn't using Flash).


Posted by Lauren at 09:44 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

December 20, 2003

Welcome To the Police State

Greetings. Many of the freedoms and rights being cheerfully erased by the government in the name of "public order" and "protection against terrorists" may not be obvious to the casual onlooker -- not yet anyway. But when the beatings and false arrests reach a fever pitch it's difficult for anyone not to take immediate notice.

The Salon article "This is Not America" details recent events in Miami, where peaceful demonstrators, journalists, and the innocent elderly alike were swept up in a frenzy of abuse by the Miami police and affiliated law enforcement agencies, now being touted as a draconian and horrifying model for other cities to emulate.

If we allow such abuses to become the norm, we'll have nobody but ourselves to blame.


Posted by Lauren at 10:08 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

December 16, 2003

Adobe's Demo Trap

Greetings. Adobe Systems produces some grade-A software. But when it comes to the sophistication of the demo/copy control systems they employ, and their customer service responses to related problems, Adobe rates an "F" without a doubt.

As I've detailed elsewhere, I discovered that a small clock adjustment (necessitated by an NTP problem) rendered a "30 day" demo of Adobe's new "Premiere Pro" program useless after a few hours (most of this time spent looking over the help docs and less than 20 minutes actually using program functions) -- and of course reinstallation is impossible.

Adobe's suggestions for proceeding with my evaluation? Either use another machine (I don't have another suitably configured system available) or reformat my disk and reinstall XP (thanks, but no thanks!)

Since my most recent experience with Premiere is my registered copy of 4.2, I had hoped to use the Premiere Pro demo to help evaluate the wisdom of recommending upgrades.

In subsequent communications, an Adobe spokesperson suggested that they had to consider anyone who touched the PC clock as a potential software crook -- too bad if honest folks get burned. This of course is an incredibly simplistic view -- there are any number of effective mechanisms to detect demo abuse that would not erroneously trigger "self-destruct" after a very short period of use and a single clock adjustment.

By the way, I've now also heard from other persons with additional horror stories regarding Adobe's copy control systems and their effects on honest customers.

I've been a fan of Adobe for many years -- it's unfortunate that their poor design decisions in this area, and their reaction to resulting problems, will so badly sour that relationship.


Posted by Lauren at 09:29 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

December 09, 2003

The Sorry State of Arnold's Ethics

Greetings. It appears that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger here in California is already showing his true colors when it comes to both ethics and promises.

Before the election, he promised that if elected, he would make sure that the sexual harrassment/abuse allegations against him were fully investigated. After the election, on Nov. 6, his team announced that a respected investigative firm would be hired to fulfill this promise.

Now comes word today that Arnold has decided that "it's time to move on" and no investigation is necessary.

This follows by one day the filing of a defamation lawsuit against Arnold by one of his female accusers. After she went public with her particularly disturbing accusations just before the election, Arnold's team sent an e-mail to the media suggesting that they search on her name in a criminal records database. When this search was performed without the use of a birthdate, it revealed what appeared to be a long criminal record, and Arnold's campaign proclaimed that her background should have been checked in advance.

But it turned out that this was not the same woman -- the accuser had no criminal record at all. And apparently Arnold's folks knew it all along. They later claimed that they had worded that e-mail "very carefully" and that nowhere did it explicitly say they were talking about the same person!

After that kind of dishonest approach, it's not surprising that Arnold is now retreating from his earlier promises to shed some light on what he calls his "playful" behavior with women.

No wonder many members of the California legislature apparently -- and seemingly wisely -- don't trust him.


Posted by Lauren at 08:55 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

December 05, 2003

Bush/Cheney to the Moon?

Greetings. The rumor is that the Bush White House is hard at work thinking of "big projects" to inspire the masses. One that keeps coming up is a return to the moon (that is, Earth's moon) -- maybe 15 years from now. There's even talk of establishing a long-term lunar base.

It's nice to know that the untold billions for such a project are just sitting around begging to be spent, while so many critical terrestrial needs go unmet. However, I might consider supporting a permanent moon base -- so long as it can be established immediately, and of course if I get to choose its permanent inhabitants...


Posted by Lauren at 09:05 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein