January 2004

Passing Zone

While we're on the topic of laws to require people to do what they are supposed to. Colorado House Bill 1076 would make it illegal to ride in the left lane. It would return the passing lane to being a passing lane. Imagine.

A Ban on Camera Phones?

There was a story on the news last night about this effort to ban cellular camera phones that is being introduced in the Colorado Legislature. There is however one problem (ok really more than one). But the big one can be found in the Bill of Rights under the section labeled "Amendment 1".

Pommer's bill would make the use of cell phone cameras in areas like locker rooms a misdemeanor. As the bill hasn't been introduced yet I haven't read it yet. However, cellular camera phones are but one of the many small devices that would make it possible to take pictures in a locker room. What if the locker room has no lockers? Shall it be a crime to use your own phone to take a picture of yourself in a new outfit in a changing room at the local department store? There are plenty of PDA's and small cameras that are also capable of taking the picture if not transmitting it instantly.

The problem with technologists

The problem with technologists is often we have a technology and search for an application instead of searching out a problem and figuring out if technology can help solve the problem and then how it can be applied to simplify the situation.

A little surprised

I'm a little surprised that Apple doesn't have something on their site about today being 20 years since the Macintosh announcement.

Things you shouldn't do

I had a call today from someone who had changed their home directory's name in OS X. This is a bad idea. The way permissions are set in OS X you can do this if you are an administrator. Users who have not been given administrator privileges lack the rights to make such a change. It reminds me that I saw a problem a short time ago where users can enter short user names that are longer than 8 characters. This causes problems for the unix underpinnings of the OS. These are things that should be fixed to prevent people having problems with their systems.

From what I've seen users should change the permissions on the /Users/ directory to prevent accidents. The command:

% sudo chmod g-w /Users/

will change it so that users with Admin privileges don't accidently change the name of their home directory. The % is not a part of the command but the end of the prompt where you type the command

CD Labels causing data loss

There is a report on Macintouch today confirming that sticky labels applied to CDs such as those used by the do it yourself labelers are responsible for data loss on archival CDs in some cases.

Lessons from the Don

Paul Jaber has an interesting commentary on fool.com where he talks about the business lessons that are presented in the first episode of The Apprentice. NBC's reality show features sixteen people with business backgrounds of various types, competing for a position running one of Donald Trump's companies. The commentary looks at the first show. The second episode pits the teams against each other in designing television ads for a private jet card. Again, there are some valuable lessons.

Suspension Trauma

Everyone involved in rescue situations should read this article about suspension trauma . It points out great dangers with common misunderstandings about the dangers of suspension trauma and is a pretty good collection of the papers that have been published on the topic. It is not uncommon to hear that there are anecdotal stories of people being fine and not suffering from suspension trauma. There are also plenty of criticisms about the methodologies and whether they apply to climbing harnesses. I'd prefer not to be the ca

The old is new again

I was just reading an article from 20 years ago about the debut of the Macintosh. The reporter in the San Jose Mercury News wrote:

The user also will be able to divide the screen into a variety of compartments, or ``windows,'' that each can be used to perform different jobs. For example, the user could be writing a letter on one part of the screen, then create a window and begin another.

It's interesting to see how something we've come to know so well is described as a new concept. It is also a good reminder of what has happened in 20 years.