AP steals blogger’s article, doesn’t care to attribute

A blogger, Larisa Alexandrovna, spent scads of time documenting changes in security clearance policies.  She shared this information with others, and after getting it checked by others, released her work.  The work apparently showed a tightening of requirements for granting security clearances.  Since one of the items of interest was guidance on sexual behavior, some GBLT groups picked up on it, shared the story with the Associated Press, and said the AP needed to cover this story.  How AP handled it was not quite professional…

In response, several GLBT groups contacted us and issued a statement. We gave the advocacy groups our notes and article, which they then took to the AP and demanded that the story be covered. The AP was given our article and maybe our notes.

On March 14, 2006, the AP did their own article, left out any attribution to me or my publication and lifted not only my research but also whole sections of my article for their own (making cosmetic changes of course).

We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsmen both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us.

Hmmmm, so stealing from bloggers isn’t plagiarism?  Interesting.

[tags]AP plagiarism[/tags]

From the premise that everything you see in movies is true…

(via Boingboing)

This is just too funny. The author of this page, along with visitors who choose to contribute, has put together a history of everything as told in film. Anything from a movie can get on to the site, provided the date can be narrowed at least to a year.

It can be a real event (eg. the sinking of the Titanic) or a far-from-real event (eg. Marty McFly attending his parents’ school dance) – so long as it’s found in a film. It must be a verifiable date – whether a year subtitled at the start (“1941, France…”), a visible clue in the film (character picks up a newspaper), or some historical backdrop (From Hell’s Jack The Ripper). If you know what year a movie is set in, let me know.

And some history from the page:

2897BC October 10: Bouvet Island, Antarctica – Predators arrive for their feasting ritual on xenomorphs and humans (Alien vs Predator)
2797BC October 10: Bouvet Island, Antarctica – Predators arrive for their feasting ritual on xenomorphs and humans (Alien vs Predator)
2697BC October 10: Bouvet Island, Antarctica – Predators arrive for their feasting ritual on xenomorphs and humans (Alien vs Predator)
. . .

1959 – In one timeline, Biff Tannen named ‘The Luckiest Man on Earth’ (Back To The Future Part II)
. . .

1995 Peter Sarsgaard’s lover’s death becomes the subject of a film (The Dying Gaul)
Four kids, Evan, Kayleigh, Tommy and Lenny, go off the rails, or on the rails, depending on the timeline (The Butterfly Effect)
Nick Leeson causes a financial meltdown (Rogue Trader)
Eminem raps his way to victory (8 Mile)
Judy and Peter join the ‘Jumanji’ board-game started 26 years earlier by Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle (Jumanji)
T-1000 arrives from the future to kill John Connor, now protected by a reprogrammed T-800 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

So much going on. Who knew the world was so hard to figure out.

[tags]Movie timelines[/tags]

Bigger smaller drives

(via TechEBlog)

LaCie has announced a new 30 Gig USB hard drive. That wouldn’t normally be amazing, but this one is pretty stinking small. Called the Skwarim, this drive is handy for it’s portability and storage space, not it’s speed. In fact, speed test performed by The Register were rather disappointing:

The disk itself is a 4,200rpm job with 2MB of cache. I hooked up the Skwarim to Reg Hardware’s test PC, an Athlon FX-60 machine with a 250GB Serial ATA II HDD and formatted the pink ‘un as an NTFS volume. Copying across a 4.01GB test file took, on average, 213.84s – a thoughput of 19.22MBps. Duplicating the same file on the Skwarim itself took a whopping 16m 16.62s. That amounts to a mere 4.21MBps – rather less than the 12.16MBps I got using LaCie’s Rugged drive. The HD Tach benchmark suite measured a burst transfer rate of 35MBps and an average read speed of 19.5MBps.

Before showing the picture, you should know the drive will also be available in blue as well. It is also available in a 60 Gig model.


[tags]USB Drive, LaCie[/tags]

Bless the Danes

(via The Consumerist)

Danish factory owners have been working for years to reduce drinking in the
workplace.  To no-one’s shock I’m sure, workers aren’t as eager to do this.

Last year, Harboe Brewery workers went on strike for two days after being told to stop drinking beer while working.

The strike went ahead even though their quota of six bottles of beer per day would have remained unchanged.

The order merely said they would have to go for a break to enjoy their beer.

This looks to me just a bit over the top, but at least the employees are sticking to their beliefs.
[tags]Danish workers, On-the-job drinking[/tags]

IHOP joy (long rant)

I love IHOP. Great pancakes (and other foods), affordable meals, usually decent service. I would be much fatter than I already am if I were to eat at IHOP as often as I’d like. Given that, it’s a bit disappointing when I have a bad experience there. But when I do, you, my attractive and above-average-intellect reader (both characteristics developed by virtue of reading my work) get to share my pain.

Thursday night after work, several co-workers and I decided to go to an IHOP near the office for dinner/breakfast. We arrived around midnight, went in together, and waited just a minute for a serv-o-tron to offer to seat us. We asked for seating for 5, as that happened to be the number of people in our group, and we didn’t plan on changing seats frequently enough during the meal to need extra chairs. To our surprise, we are informed that seating 5 together will result in an automatic 15% gratuity added to our bill and we will not be allowed to split that bill when it is time to pay.

A quick thinking cow-orker suggested we be seated at two tables, with two at one table, and three at the other. At this, the delightful young lady (hint: look up sarcasm here, folks) turned to the person who would actually be serving us and said “You want to take care of them? I don’t have time for this.” And then she walked off. “Never mind,” said we, and off we went. After all, once any trouble is associated with your party, you are more likely to get the serv-o-tron special sauce added to your meal, and we each preferred to only consume/sample our own saliva that evening.

Had this happened on a Sunday afternoon with the church crowd amassing and leading to a 30-60 minute wait, we could understand. Had the restaurant been busy in any way, we could possibly understand. But this was right around midnight on a Thursday. There were 5 guests at 3 tables. There were 3 visible employees, and likely more out of sight. There was almost no visible traffic outside the IHOP, so a mass of unexpected customers swarming the site was unlikely. The chances that the extra 60 seconds it would have taken to handle our orders separately causing a major back-up for the rest of the serving staff, food preparation staff, or any other staff was so miniscule I’d suggest it was actually non-existant. I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that perhaps this delightful young lady just didn’t want our type. Of course, I’m not sure how to classify our type other than well-paid technology workers who over-tip, don’t ask for much attention during the meal, and try to not disturb others. She might have had a different idea of what we were like.

Normally, I never give additional business to a company that I feel has slighted me. When a BP station failed to compensate me for a broken gas pump that resulted in my getting charged for gas I could not actually get, I stopped getting gas at any BP. After receiving bad service from a truck-rental company when moving one time, I started to always go to a competitor when I need a truck in the future.

But I love IHOP. Shoot, I even mentioned that at the start of this article. Do I just stop going to that location (4725 Showcase Boulevard in Memphis, TN in case you are wondering) and continue going to the others where I have gotten good service? Do I maintain my standard of hatefullness and punish all IHOPs for the misdeeds of one (my typical response to bad service)? Do I pretend it never happened, and just act like 4725 Showcase Boulevard doesn’t exist? I’m not sure. I know I won’t ever go back to that site, even though I’d never had trouble there before. I just don’t know if I’ll stop going to all other IHOPs as a result.

Does it even make sense that a business would make it standard practice to not split checks? I don’t even carry money with me most days. If I can’t pay with debit/charge card, I don’t think I’d be able to eat out usually. I don’t speak out against the added gratuity, but the serv-o-tron gets slighted by automatic gratuities when I eat out, because I won’t add to the required “tip” due to the offense I take at this being foisted upon me. Maybe for 10-12 people and up this makes sense, but at 5, it just seems obnoxious.

Nintendo Revolution to emulate Genesis and TurboGraphx-16

(via TechEBlog)
I hope this DailyTech posting is true.  I love my TG-16.  There were some great games made for that system.  Too bad the company (NEC) didn’t support the system – like so many other failed technologies, it was better than the competitors at the time.

Nintendo of America, Inc.’s, President Satoru Iwata announced that his company’s new gaming console, the Nintendo Revolution, would support not only all NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64 games, but also Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx 16 games by way of emulators.

[tags]Revolution, Nintendo, TG-16, Genesis[/tags]

Internet Explorer exploits in the wild

According to F-Secure, there are now exploits running the ‘net at large for the latest Internet Explorer security vulnerability.  If for some reason you don’t want to run Mozilla, please consider switching to Opera or some other browser.  Just don’t use Internet Explorer.  I know all browsers have security problems at times, but do you really need to keep using the one with the most problems?  In any situation where you control what software you run, please change your browser.  It will make the ‘net better for all of us.

[tags]IE insecurity, Internet Explorer vulnerability[/tags]

Universal loves customers?

(via Engadget)

Now here I go, just minutes after posting my rantish article about Universal hating digital distribution and customers, I find this article indicating Universal won’t downsample their next-gen hi-definition DVDs when displaying on non-HDMI capable hi-def TV sets. At least, not initially. How odd that the movie studioes demand this feature which will force downsampling on non-HDMI sets, and then all but Warner Home Video announce they won’t be using the feature (again, at least no initially). Could this be an indication that movie studios believe fans will use their products legally given the chance? Or is it just a move by the studios to avoid pissing off the hi-def early adopters who are going to be so important in the early success of next-gen optical technology? I’m betting on the latter, but I’m just cynical that way.

New software included on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD releases, however, will automatically slash the image, making it only marginally better than current DVDs, unless consumers have a relatively new connector and cable called HDMI to hook up players to their televisions. Only one in 20 HD sets sold to early adopters over the past few years has the right version of the connector. Only 15% of new sets sold this year will include it, and deliver the full 1080 resolution capable of showing such detail.

Sony execs say a majority of Blu-ray content, at least initially, will play at the highest resolution possible on a consumer’s HDTV, regardless of how the player is hooked up. Four major studios — Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Paramount say they initially will not use the new copy protection on their releases. Universal execs told BusinessWeek on Mar. 21 that they, too, will forego the protection. Execs at Warner Brothers declined to comment, but sources with knowledge of the studio’s plans say “at least some” of the 20 HD-DVD releases planned through April will use the software. “What do you have then? A very expensive DVD player,” says Sony Senior Vice-President Tim Baxter.

[tags]hi-def TV, next-gen optical media[/tags]

Universal hates digital distribution (and customers)

(via The Consumerist)

I will admit to being in love with the “Company X hates blah” general title, but it just seems so many companies don’t want customers, or don’t want customers to have a good experience.  This latest is based on the news that Universal pictures is going to offer movies for download starting next month.  That doesn’t sound bad, until you look in to pricing.  The first movie available will be King Kong, for the amazing price of $35.  The same movie I can get from Amazon.com for $15 and rip to digital format myself using free tools, I can download in a Digital Restriction Mangled (DRM) format for only $35.  I can’t decide if Universal is doing this to show how much they hate consumers, to show the market how “selling downloadable movies doesn’t work,” or if the executives in charge of this just have no clue how this works.  I’m pretty sure those are the only three choices, but I’m willing to entertain other options if my readers have other thoughts. Continue reading “Universal hates digital distribution (and customers)”

Wired – best accidental discoveries

The 10 greatest accidental discoveries, according to Wired magazine.

1. Viagra
Men being treated for erectile dysfunction should salute the working stiffs of Merthyr Tydfil, the Welsh hamlet where, in 1992 trials, the gravity-defying side effects of a new angina drug first popped up. Previously, the blue-collar town was known for producing a different kind of iron.

4. Penicillin
Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was researching the flu in 1928 when he noticed that a blue-green mold had infected one of his petri dishes – and killed the staphylococcus bacteria growing in it. All hail sloppy lab work!

[tags]Accidental discoveries[/tags]