Monday, July 30, 2007

Tired of Incompetent Government Harassment

I am getting tired of all the reported instances of police officer harassment of people going about their own business. If police officers, federal law enforcement officers... don't put a stop to these repeated ridicules actions by their co-workers they are going to deal with having lost the respect for their positions. On the other hand in this case it provided an example that legislators do actually have a role in society (little used to serve as a check on unrestrained police powers) thanks to Congressman Rick Boucher for putting a stop to the abuse in this instance. Abuse of power by National Park Service police:

I pulled off the road ahead of the second NPS patrol car, grabbed my camera and headed back to take a photo of the police action. As I approached, the Park Service officer wheeled around and pointed at me.

"Sir, if you raise that camera to take a photograph I will place you under arrest," he barked. I identified myself as a working journalist on assignment and said I was simply covering a news event.

"Sir," he retorted, "this is U.S. government property and under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act you cannot take photographs of official government activity without authorization. Put your camera down now!"
...
he National Park Service recalled their CIT unit and ordered them back to Asheville after Congressman Rick Boucher, who represents the area, intervened on behalf of the festival. Boucher's office received numerous calls of complaints about the NPS police activity on Thursday and Friday and called the director of the National Park Service. Security for the remaining two days of the festival was turned over to the Virginia State Police who patrolled the Parkway but did not harass festival attendees.


It is critical to use police force in a responsible way. Authority given to restrict the rights of others is not something that a society can afford to leave in the hands of people that abuse that authority.

Related: Failure to Address Systemic SWAT Raid Failures - The Photographer’s Right

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

7 Clever Google Tricks Worth Knowing

There are lots of these list of tips. Some are good some are not. Here is one with some good ideas: 7 Clever Google Tricks Worth Knowing:

Find the Face Behind the Result... appending the code &imgtype=face to the end of the URL address after you perform a standard Google Image search.
...
Google + Social Media Sites = Quality Free Stuff... Examples: site:reddit.com free "wordpress templates"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alexa for Firefox

Alexa toolbar for Firefox - I can't really understand why it took Alexa so long but they finally have a toolbar for Firefox users. Alexa is far from perfect but it provides the best data available for free (so even though the data is highly questionable it is used to gage the traffic to sites).

curiouscat.com report on Alexa

Curious Cat blog report on Alexa

Related: Compete Toolbar

Share a virtual Desktop Between Two Computers

Matt Cutts details how to share a virtual desktop between two different computers using Synergy.

Do you wish you could cut and paste between computers? Now you can! ... It's as if all your computers shared a single clipboard (and separate primary selection for you X11 users). It even converts newlines to each computer's native form so cut and paste between different operating systems works seamlessly. And it does it all in Unicode so any text can be copied.
...
Synergy also understands multiple screens attached to the same computer.


Looks very cool.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Economic Benefits of Walkable Communities

The Economic Benefits of Walkable Communities. Examples of walkable design leading to higher property values, increased private investment, tourism, etc.. This is an example of positive externalities and the economic gain possible to all through proper regulation.

Related: Urban Planning - Designing Cities for People, Rather than Cars - Car-free zones

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Grandcentral and Spock

Grandcentral is a personal phone management system that manages voicemail messages, lets you listen to voicemail messages while they are being left, switch an active call from your cell to your landline phone (or the reverse), have different callers routed to different phones, have calls routed to different phones depending on the time of day, filter to weed out unwanted telemarketer calls automatically... Google bought the company yesterday

Spock helps users find and discover people. Over one hundred million people already indexed and millions are added every day.

Both of these sites are in invitation only beta release. Please let me know if you are interested in an invitation by adding a comment.