The Violence in Burma

At the risk of confusing Miss Teen South Carolina, I am going to continue to refer to Burma by that name as opposed to favored junta brand Myanmar. All jokes aside, the violence being perpetrated against unarmed civilians is horrifying, it is as bad as anything happening in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba, and a thousand other thugocracies around the world. No 2nd Amendment in these places.

This website has a good roundup of the news trickling out of that country, one feature on the site I found interesting in the breakdown of what countries visitors were coming from. I would caution anyone from making judgements from the raw numbers without taking into account population stats, per capita internet access, and a bunch of other factors, but having said that, it is rather obvious that countries that censor and suppress information access to their citizenry have disproportionately low representation in this table (hint, look up China and Iran on this list).

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When Local Backups Are Not Enough

Here’s one reason why online backups make a lot of sense, thiefs steal your computers and portable backup devices. The popular backup hard disks that many of us have (me included) only protect you from one kind of event, computer failure.

Speaking with Argentine broadcaster Todo Noticias, Coppola appealed to the bandits to return the small computer backup device, which was taken along with computers in the raid Wednesday night.

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Apple Sued for iPhone Price Cut

I think someone should sue Apple not for the price cut but for maliciously disabling iPhones that don’t belong to them. At any rate, this lawsuit over the price cut seems pretty thin.

Among her many claims are that Apple unfairly deprived her of the chance to sell her early-bought iPhone at a profit, and that the $100 store credit Apple offered early buyers was inferior to the full refund they could have obtained if they decided they didn’t like the produce right away.

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More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Apple, IPhone at Wikinvest

The Follies of King County

“It’s not that we didn’t take him seriously,” Deputy Rodney C. Chinnick said. “We don’t take every missing person report on adults. … If we did, we’d be doing nothing but going after missing person reports.”

This should make you feel safe and secure if you are in King County in Washington state. I heard an interview with the husband of the woman involved in this case, and an official from the Kings County sheriffs office. Tom Rider’s account of his interactions with authorities was devastating to the King County officials involved in this case. He highlighted the roadblocks he faced in his attempts to find his wife, first from jurisdictional red tape between agencies and later through nonsensical search warrant questions.

He offered the police access to the family’s cell phone account in order to triangulate the signal from his wife’s phone. The official, Bob Connor, was still insisting that they didn’t have a warrant for accessing the cell phone account, to which Rider interrupted him to again insist that they didn’t need a warrant because it was his account and he was giving them permission to access it. Verizon officials confirmed that such requests are routine.

Rider has every right to be indignant about the treatment he received at the hands of the police in King County, he clearly was making every attempt to find his wife after she didn’t return home from work, while the police were making every attempt to implicate Rider in her disappearance before attempting to find her.

 

Blog Bling v2

A couple of days ago I added a widget to my sidebar that published out my feed. I just took that to a whole new level, I took the OPML from the Enterprise Irregulars and created a widget around that. That widget is currently residing in the far right sidebar over there —–>

Using the NewsGator Editor’s Desk I am able to remove posts that aren’t topical, and the widget is configured to display 1 post from each author and then cycle every 10 posts. This ensures that the widget doesn’t penalize authors who post with less frequency… everybody gets an equal turn.

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Coalition for Peace

I almost wish I could make stuff up like this, but after watching The War I find little humor in it.

The government in Harare confirmed President Robert Mugabe and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the formation of such a coalition on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"Our leaders are saying there is a need for like-minded countries to come together and form a coalition that will discuss constructive developmental issues."

I’m positive that Burma now has the necessary credentials to join, and Sudan will no doubt be in the leadership’s executive council. Mugabe can host a bar camp style sleepover discussing such pressing topics as "cost effective currency printing when inflation hits 9,000%" and "how to ruin your economy in less than 5 years".

The War – Part 4

Tonight I watched the 4th part of The War. Quite honestly I almost could not because after watching the images and hearing the interviews in part 3 about the Anzio Operation I really didn’t think I could watch any more of the series.

I almost turned it off again tonight, which covered the D-Day invasion, Saipan in the Marianas, and Philippine Sea battles in the Pacific, but thought that if the men of that generation could fight then the least I could do was honor their memories by watching it.

Ken Burns is without doubt one of the most significant film makers of any generation. While his subject matter provides him much to work with, and without special effects or blockbuster budgets, he brings something out of these subjects that is difficult to describe. It’s soulful, almost as if a new emotion has been created in the process.

"The biggest thing I ever did in my life was get those 12 men off that beach."
- Staff Sgt. Walter Ehlers, U.S. Army 1st Division

Ehlers was wounded 4 times on D-Day at Omaha Beach and in the weeks following, his actions earned him the Bronze Star and Congressional Medal of Honor. He learned 5 weeks after D-Day that his brother Roland, who had fought by his side from North Africa to Sicily, was killed in his landing craft on Omaha Beach. When sent back to the U.S. following his CMH citation, Ehlers requested and was granted permission to return to Europe and finish the war with his batallion.

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Blog Bling

Check out my new widget in the far right sidebar. I used the free NewsGator widget maker to build it from my existing feed. A couple of things worth mentioning, first being that I can build a widget from multiple feeds, which quite honestly I think it more useful than having a blogroll. I think if I were to have a blogroll widget I would probably want it to be some kind of scrolling widget that rolls up posts in my blogroll on a continual basis.

Secondly, one of the consequences about aggregating feeds is that there is a lot of stuff that I want to filter out. For example, maybe I want my widget to just feature the tech posts I write and not the public policy stuff, which I know a lot of people don’t want. Using the Editor’s Desk app that is part of the service I can select items to feature in the widget by simply checking off the post items.

The widget maker also has a pro version, which I am embarrassed to say I don’t know the cost of, that gives you complete control over the javascript, css, and html rendered version, and I know the team is working on a Flash capability. The widgets that we built for USAToday are all done in Flash and are as good as any widgets I’ve seen from anyone.

This is one of the lines of business that most people are unaware NewsGator offers, and given my interests over the last couple of years I don’t imagine you will be surprised to learn that it is one of the most interesting to me.

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Mobile Web Kinda Sucks Now

Scott Karp details a list of reasons why the mobile web sucks. For the most part I am inclined to agree with him… however, my iPhone experience over the last couple of weeks has brought me back from the edge of completely abandoning the mobile web. Following Scott’s list, here’s why it’s not so bad now for me:

  1. EV-DO is faster than EDGE, a lot, and EDGE definitely sucks. The iPhones preference for wifi makes it bearable, of course only when wifi is available.
  2. Pubic wifi is a mixed bag. I have to admit that I found myself using Starbucks wifi a lot in recent months and because I had T-mobile it was a breeze. I gave that up when I switched to the iPhone and I definitely miss it. However, I have had surprisingly good luck finding free wifi. Face it Scott, everything in NYC costs bank.

    JiWire’s free wifi directory service for the iPhone is a must have bookmark. Clearly the free wifi in the Valley is abundant but during my recent trip to Denver I was surprised at how many free hotspots the little iPhone discovered. When in Palo Alto you can also pull up in front of Socialtext’s office on High St. and connect to their guest network without even getting out of your car. :)

  3. Too many websites still suck on the small screen, even with the iPhone’s slick landscape mode. Here I can report a little progress but it would be better if companies invested in mobile friendly sites, like m.newsgator.com!
  4. Scott says mobile device screens are too small… which seems to be redundant against his #3, websites suck on the small screen. The iPhone has by far the best screen on any device I have had, and given that it is pretty much the same size as the overall device I’m not sure that I’d want to have a bigger device just to have a bigger screen. Perhaps something like an LED projector that you could turn on would make it workable?
  5. Advertising gets in the way… but to me that’s just a problem with websites in general, but one I’ll live with because someone has to pay for it. I will suggest that if sites adopted mobile versions as an option they could either strip out the advertising or make it less obtrusive.

All things considered, the mobile web is still not my primary method of interacting with the web but thanks to the iPhone it is a much more productive backup for me.

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