Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shame on me for missing this one! For my Disaster Recovery/Business Continuation class

Computer Crashed New Orleans Real Estate Market

Posted by timothy on Wednesday November 24, @12:08PM

"For a month now the New Orleans real estate market has been crippled by a computer crash that caused the loss of online data from the late 1980s that should be researched prior to the closing of any real estate transactions. 'The clerk of Orleans Parish Civil District Court said Tuesday that her office continues to make progress in resolving the computer problems that have been holding up real estate transactions in New Orleans for the past month, but there still was no indication of how soon the crisis might end.'"

[From the article:

Researchers do a 30-year check to determine whether a piece of property is burdened with any liens, lawsuits, court judgments or other legal impediments to a sale.

"Without full restoration of this data, buyers will not be able to receive title insurance, nor a clear title on any property in Orleans Parish, which in effect completely halts real estate sales," the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors said last week.

… Most of the lost files have since been recovered, but the indexing system for the records was lost when the computers crashed, and without that system researchers don't know how to find information even in the restored records, experts said.

[My favorite SlashDot comment:

So, when did your data become important to you? Before or After you lost it...

Implications for School cameras and laptop video cameras and random drug testing?

The Supreme Court on School Interrogations and Parental (Dis)empowerment

November 25, 2010 by Dissent

Craig Livermore writes:

The Supreme Court has in the past several weeks granted certiorari in two cases involving the rights of juveniles in police interrogations in the school setting. In Greene v. Camreta, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interrogation of a juvenile by police authorities in the school setting in the absence of a warrant, court order, exigent circumstances, or parental consent, was an unconstitutional seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In the Matter of J.D.B., the Supreme Court of North Carolina held that a 13 year old burglary suspect who was interrogated by police officials in his school without parental notification and consent, was not in custody, and thus he was not entitled to have Miranda warnings read to him. By agreeing to hear both J.D.B. And Greene in this term, the Supreme Court is undoubtedly seeking to clarify the legal standards surrounding the increasing law enforcement presence in public schools. However, on a broader level, the Court is also entering into the societal discussion regarding the role of the public school in American democracy. As it is increasingly accepted that the school is becoming the central societal institution, the lack of parental notification for the interrogations in Greene and Camreta is of particular concern. The marginalization of parental involvement in such issues of morality and law may stem from a growing suspicion regarding the rearing abilities of parents. [If you don't send your kids to Private School, you are a bad parent? Bob] If the Supreme Court does not elevate the right of parental involvement in school interrogations to Constitutional concern, then it will be throwing judicial weight to society’s growing cynicism toward the ability of parents, especially in challenging urban contexts, to manifest parental responsibility.

Read more on Concurring Opinions.

Now this is depressing... Perhaps it explains the “if you opt out of scanning, you must be a terrorist” mentality at TSA.

Opting Out Isn’t Socially Neutral Anymore

November 24, 2010 by Dissent

Scott Peppet writes:

Various news outlets are reporting that Google “fans” in Germany have been egging the roughly 3% of houses whose inhabitants have chosen to opt out of Google’s Street View mapping feature.



What’s next? If you won’t stream real-time data about your health (do you have the flu? other communicable diseases?) into your vicinity to warn others to walk on the other side of the street, will people heckle you? If you won’t display your criminal record prominently in digital form so that others can “see” (using their digital devices) whether you’re a sex offender or felon of some sort, will they assume you’re a criminal (unraveling) or harrass you for your “privacy” (like the German eggers)?

Read more on Concurring Opinions.

Speaking of TSA, perhaps we should consider their “Security” a myth? (Video is NSFW)

Mythbusters' Savage: I got past TSA with razor blades

… like "Mythbusters" presenter Adam Savage, in the rush to leave the house, you may have forgotten that you have a couple of 12-inch razor blades secreted about your person.

Savage, in the highly entertaining monologue that I have embedded, describes how earlier this year he was flying and happened to forget to remove potentially dangerous objects from his belongings.

Is there a similar regulation in the US? (why would we need one?)

Ca: No breach of privacy in Calgary grow-op case, Supreme Court rules

November 24, 2010 by Dissent

Kirk Makin reports:

A man’s home may be his castle, but records that show its electricity usage can become the property of the police, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today.

In an important ruling delineating limits to the right to privacy, a 7-2 majority said that police can obtain utility records to determine whether a home may conceal a marijuana grow operation.


Mr. Justice Ian Binnie, Mr. Justice Louis LeBel and Madam Justice Rosalie Abella concluded that while the technology can breach the right to privacy, it did not do so in the Gomboc case. They said that Mr. Gomboc had chosen not to avail himself of a regulation that would have permitted him to ask the utility to keep his records private.

Read more in the Globe and Mail.

Okay, all you Canadian lawyers: what regulation are they referring to, and if he had availed himself of it, couldn’t police still get some authorization or court-approved order to obtain his records?

No Privacy concerns here! (Eventually, TSA will require bar codes to fly...)

Scientists Attach Bar Codes To Embryos

"Fans of the film Blade Runner may remember a scene in which the maker of an artificial snake is identified by a microscopic serial number on one of its scales. Well, in a rare case of present-day technology actually surpassing that predicted in a movie, we've now gone one better — bar codes on embryos. Scientists from Spain's Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon."

Oh goodie, now every one can be France.

Once-Secret ACTA Copyright Treaty Approved By EU

"By a vote of 331 to 294, the EU Parliament has approved the controversial and once-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). According to an ITworld article, 'the most controversial paragraph in the final text leaves the door open for countries to introduce the so-called three-strikes rule. This would cut Internet users off if they download copyright material as national authorities would be able to order ISPs to disclose personal information about customers.... The proposed agreement would also place sanctions against any device or software that is marketed as a means of circumventing access controls such as encryption or scrambling that are designed to prevent copying. [Because our software doesn't work, we need sanctions against everyone... Bob] It also requires legal measures against knowingly using such technology.'"


Judge Bars ‘Fair Use’ Defense in Xbox Modding Trial

A California man charged with violating the DMCA by installing mod chips in Xbox 360 consoles won’t be allowed to claim “fair use” at his scheduled jury trial next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday — a decision potentially devastating to the defense, and not particularly favorable to anyone who thinks they have the right to tinker with hardware that they’ve bought and paid for. [“Sale” and “Own” don't mean what they used to... Bob]

… Crippen’s lawyer hoped to convince that jury that Crippen’s alleged modifications weren’t intended to enable piracy, but to allow Xbox owners to make lawful “fair use” of copyrighted material, or for other non-infringing purposes. The lawyer compared installing a mod chip to jail breaking an iPhone, an activity explicitly permitted under a recent DMCA exception approved by the U.S. Copyright Office.

… But U.S. District Judge Philip shot down that argument Tuesday, noting that the DMCA makes it a crime to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access” to copyrighted material, even if there’s no proof that the circumvention was intended to facilitate piracy.

… “[A]lthough the government will have to establish that the technological measure that Mr. Crippen allegedly circumvented was used to control access to copyrighted work, the Government need not show that the modified Xbox’s were actually used for infringing purposes,” (.pdf) wrote Gutierrez. [Because the potential to commit crime is enough – just ask the Thought Police. Bob]

I'm gonna watch this one...

Righthaven To Explain Why Reposting Isn't Fair Use

"TechDirt reports that a judge has asked Righthaven to explain why a non-profit organization reposting an entire article isn't fair use. The case involves the Center for Intercultural Organizing of Portland, Oregon, which was sued by Righthaven in August after an entire 33-paragraph Review-Journal story about Las Vegas immigrants was posted on the center's website, crediting the Review-Journal. The nonprofit says it was founded by Portland-area immigrants and refugees to combat widespread anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11 and it works to strengthen immigrant and refugee communities through education, civic engagement, organizing and mobilization and does not charge subscription fees or derive any income from its website. The interesting thing is that the defendant in this case didn't even raise the fair use issue. It was the judge who brought it up, suggesting that the Nevada judges are being inundated with hundreds of Righthaven cases, and that Righthaven has already lost once in a case that was found to be fair use so judges may want to set a precedent to clear their dockets."

Will this version of “Cloud Computing” kill the Kopyright Kops? Isn't it just an extension of TV over the Internet?

Zediva Streams You Movies From Actual DVD Players, Argues It’s Legal

New startup Zediva attempts to circumvent all the licensing hassles experienced by streaming video services like Netflix, iTunes and Hulu through operating more like a traditional movie rental store, except online.

The catch? “We don’t rent digital copies of a movie,” founder Venky Srinivasan told Rotten Tomatoes, “Our users rent a physical DVD, along with a DVD player from us for a fixed amount of time. They then control that DVD player remotely over the internet — and stream the movie privately to themselves. Think of it as a really long cable and a really long remote control.”

...and one for you Lawyers. (And my Business Intelligence class)

Federal Prosecutors: Supply Line Leaks May Constitute Insider Trading

A new federal investigation is focusing on the legality of supply line leaks and their consequences on Wall Street. The poster boy for this would have to be Apple, around which an entire manufacturing and distribution channels has grown, and which is now too big to plug every leak — especially now that memetically propagating news magnifies every murmur into a clamor, for better or for worse.

[From the WSJ Article:

Wall Street analysts have been left bewildered in recent days, as federal prosecutors begin to home in on insider-trading cases that appear to involve routinely published information about public-company supply chains.

Backup: When you absolutely, positively want a copy to survive... - Upload Your Files Everywhere At Once

Need to back up some files and you want to take the safest way around? If so, this is a service that will certainly fit the bill. It goes by the name of ShareJoJo, and it basically enables you to have files uploaded to all the major file hosting services available on the Web today. These include not only MegaUpload, Rapidshare and DepositFiles but also other sites that are not that widespread like KickLoad, EasyShare and Cramit.

All you have to do is individualize the file that you want to store online, and check the boxes of the services you want it to become hosted on. In no case must the file be larger than 400 MB, but that is the one and only thing you should watch out for.

If anything ShareJoJo stands as one of the fastest ways to store data online, and have it become retrievable from a literal wealth of locations at the same time. Backing anything up hardly gets any more practical than this.

For my studious students Launches A Directory Of 12,500 Academic Journals

As any scientist can tell you, there are thousands of scholarly journals out there. Some, like Science and Nature, are broad in scope, covering everything from human genetics to space. Others, like the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, are a bit more specific. Unfortunately, the huge volume of research that gets published can made it tedious to keep track of the articles that are relevant to you., a social network for researchers and other academics, thinks it has a fix.

Now, journal articles aren’t exactly hard to come by on the web. You can always search Google Scholar for whatever you’re looking for, some universities offer their own search tools, and there are plenty of topic-specific sites that can help you find relevant material. The problem, according to founder Richard Price, is that this content and the communities around them are very fragmented. So built a directory of as many journals as it could find.

… You can opt to ‘follow’ your favorite publications, and relevant stories will start popping up in your news feed, so you don’t have to worry about looking them up yourself every month.

It’s worth noting that many of these journal articles are not free; you’ll either have to pay for them (fees are often around $20-40), or you’ll have to be accessing them from a university campus that pays for a subscription to the periodical in question.

It’s also worth noting that a UK site called Tictocs has built a database of journals, though Price says that the site doesn’t have a social graph component.

'cause I need to get more ed-ju-ma-kate-ified - A Directory Of Webinars

Peelon is a directory of webinars that you can consult for free, and filter in a wide variety of ways.

Almost 40 different industries are already featured - accounting, education, banking, legal services, marketing... the list goes on and on.

Additionally, the site will let you choose the type of event you intend to attend. You can have your choice from conferences, fundraisers, meetups, conventions, tradeshows...

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