Texas to Ban Traffic Cameras

Texas is a progressive state in some respects, certainly so with regard to the scam that are traffic cameras.

Texas lawmakers have laid the smackdown on red light and speed cameras in a large manner. HB.922 states "A municipality may not implement or operate an automated traffic control system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction," which means that cameras, automated radar or laser, or anything else designed to snag an image of a car, driver, or license plate and record its speed is now forbidden.

Traffic cameras, especially red light cameras, are nothing more than a cynical attempt to increase local revenues while at the same time increasing risk and danger at the intersections these things are supposed to protect.

In California there is a stubborn attempt to circumvent the "speed trap" law through the use of third party cameras (recently declared illegal in San Jose) or through the legislature attempting to rewrite the law to allow for the posting of speed limits that are lower than what engineering standards recomend for roadways and the use of radar or laser enforcement. Basically, the attempt is a thinly disguised attempt to allow for the ongoing use of speed traps not for public safety but for revenue generation.

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to Unauthorized Wifi Access

The thing that is troubling about this story is that this guy did what a lot of us do on a regular basis, use someone’s free wifi (in a business) without actually patronizing the business

A Michigan man who used a coffee shop’s unsecured Wi-Fi to check his e-mail from his car could have faced up to five years in prison, according to local TV station WOOD. But it seems few in the village of Sparta, Mich., were aware that using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection without the owner’s permission–a practice known as piggybacking–was a felony.

According to Volohk, the Michigan law has a particularly unique approach that sets it apart from most other states and may in fact be unconstitutional.

And finally, the access was not unauthorized or in excess of authorization because the coffee shop intentionally made the wi-fi available to anyone. What’s the rule — no hopping on wifi from a coffee shop unless you enter the shop? Unless you actually buy something? What if you’re outside waiting for a friend to join you for a latte, but you haven’t gone in yet? Where do such rules come from, and what notice does a defendant have before being held criminally liable? I’ve written before about how unauthorized access statutes threaten to punish an incredible amount of conduct online, and this seems like the latest evidence in support of the point.

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Welcome To Kayak!

"Welcome aboard! You are member 1,378,039!"

Kayak rocks. Not only does their search enginer deliver solid results with a compelling user experience, but they don’t ask you to sign up for anything and even then they only ask after you have done something through the service. Nice.

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Jeff Barr’s Google Recruiting Driveby

Jeff Barr posts about his experience with Google’s recruiters:

Last year Google tried to convince me to join their ranks. I had a nice trip to Mountain View, a pleasant day of interviews, and a glimpse inside of their campus. All pretty cool. I ended up shutting down the process between the “we really want to hire you” and the “here’s the offer” phases, for any number of reasons that I won’t get in to tonight. Ok, just one of them.

I have heard a couple of interesting accounts of Google’s internal systems that paint a less than flattering picture of the company. First and foremost, they spent a lot of time with Workday only to pass on them because they wanted their operational systems to be on-premise… imagine the irony of Google not selecting a vendor because their solution is hosted.

Next up was Successfactors and Google passed on them for the same reason and then built their own talent management system that is leaving the Googlers who have to use it less than pleased. It would appear that their recruiting system, based on Jeff Barr’s account and those of the commenters on his post, similarly disappoints.

It’s not uncommon for high growth companies to play catch up in the back office, even if they are a 10 year old company, so I don’t have much reason to discount these anecdotes, but anecdotes they are and I can’t corroborate them.

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Pork Addiction

This is outrageous, really. It’s not a Republican vs. Democrat issue, it’s Congress vs. the American People. Representatives and Senators talk nonstop about accountability and transparency but the fact is that they act to reduce accountability and transparency rather than increase it.

What is worse is that Congress’ job approval ratings are shockingly low and falling as a consequence of the American people seeing Congress for what it is, yet Members of Congress just don’t care.