June 16, 2006

Innovation: Unpredictable [1:29 pm]

Video iPods help Rockies ready for game - pdf

Jennings is doing some last-minute cramming: The Rockies’ video staff has downloaded every Marlins hitter into his iPod, and Jennings is figuring out how to pitch to them. He watches frames of himself delivering the pitch, followed by the result of the play. Everything else is weeded out.

“It’s a good way to refresh yourself on how you got guys out,” Jennings said. “It’s an amazing concept.”

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Relaxation, Competition and Telecom [12:58 pm]

The DC Circuit concludes that the FCC split the baby just right: Appeals court backs FCC on Bell network access - pdf

A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s latest attempt to ease requirements that the large telephone companies lease their networks to competitors at government-set rates.

A divided FCC ruled in December 2004 that companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications should only have to continue providing discount rates for rivals to serve business customers where competition is lacking.

[...] “Because we conclude the commission’s fourth try is a charm, we deny all of the petitions for review,” a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Opinion: Covad Corp. v FCC. It includes this closing paragraph as to why there was no ruling on state regulatory preemption:

Again, the Ratepayer Advocate’s argument is meritless. NJDRA’s claim boils down to the proposition that the Act’s preemptive force is unconstitutional as applied, notwithstanding the fact that the Act has not been applied. Given that we have already held that any preemption challenge must be raised (if at all) only after the FCC attempts to preempt a state commission’s unbundling authority, see USTA II, 359 F.3d at 594, and given that the Order under review does not contain any reference to the Commission’s preemptive authority (much less does it actually preempt anything), NJDRA’s legal arguments are unripe at best. NJDRA’s forbearance claim suffers from similar shortcomings: Because the Order did not forbear from enforcing a statutory requirement any more than it preempted a particular state action, NJDRA’s petition for review is not ripe.

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Monocultures and Vulnerability [12:52 pm]

Microsoft Confirms Excel Zero-Day Attack Under Way

Microsoft June 15 confirmed that a new, undocumented flaw in its widely used Excel spreadsheet program was being used in an attack against an unnamed target.

[...] The back-to-back zero-day attacks closely resemble each other and suggest that well-organized criminals are conducting corporate espionage using critical flaws purchased from underground hackers.

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SomethingAwful’s Awful Link of the Day [11:36 am]

Captain Copyright [via SomethingAwful last entry in the day's posting]

One of the favorite propaganda methods of North Korea’s peculiarly xenophobic brand of communism is to transform everyday people into heroes of the nation. Workers, teachers, farmers and even animals and inanimate objects can be declared as heroes of North Korea. Those chosen serve as representatives of the communist ideal in North Korea and they have their face plastered all over billboards and appearing in newspapers. Meet the pathetic capitalist equivalent (from Canada of all places) of one of North Korea’s propaganda heroes: Captain Copyright.

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Reuters Reports a Rumor [11:25 am]

Is it really possible that the content industry is ready to be *this* convivial with MS? Microsoft readying Apple iPod rival: sources - pdf

Software giant Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) is laying the groundwork to compete against Apple Computer Inc.’s (Nasdaq:AAPL - news) iPod digital entertainment device and iTunes service, sources familiar with the discussions and plans said on Friday.

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OT: From My Other Job [10:00 am]

A discussion of the late, belated EV1 and an upcoming movie: An Electric Car, Booted [pdf]

In the movie, which premieres June 30 and goes into wide release July 21, writer-director Chris Paine celebrates the creation of the EV1, a nonpolluting car that generated so much passion among its fans that drivers staged a public funeral to say goodbye. Paine also excoriates GM for halting an experiment in gasoline independence under pressure from Big Oil in “one of the biggest blunders in the history of the automotive industry.”

[...] GM’s Barthmuss compares the launch of the EV1 with the debut of the iPod, only with far fewer customers. “We, in our heart of hearts, believe we did the right thing,” he says. “The EV1 experience demonstrated to California regulators that battery technology was not going to advance further. It was only going to appeal to a small number of people.”

GM needs “extremely large numbers” to survive, Barthmuss added.

“We lost well over a billion dollars,” he said. “We simply could not afford to lose that kind of money. I very much regret that people are so angry.”

[...] “When you look around and wonder why are we in this mess these days, depending on highways, depending on oil, who’s the guilty party,” said curator Bill Withuhn, the museum’s EV1 expert, “look in the mirror. It’s me, it’s you.”

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Inexorable Spitzer [8:48 am]

EMI Settles Spitzer’s Payola Allegations - pdf

EMI Music North America on Thursday became the fourth major record company to settle with New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer over “pay for play” allegations.

EMI, a division of London-based EMI Group, agreed to discontinue certain promotion practices and to pay a $3.75-million fine — the smallest of all the companies to settle. The company acknowledged that some employees pursued inappropriate practices but did not admit or deny Spitzer’s allegations.

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Depressing Trends in Privacy [8:34 am]

It’s not just the online world: Court Limits Protection Against Improper Entry

Evidence found by police officers who enter a home to execute a search warrant without first following the requirement to “knock and announce” can be used at trial despite that constitutional violation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

A Times editorial: The Don’t-Bother-To-Knock Rule

For those who worry that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will take the court in a radically conservative direction, it is sobering how easily the majority tossed aside a principle that traces back to 13th-century Britain, and a legal doctrine that dates to 1914, to let the government invade people’s homes.

The opinion: Hudson v. Michigan

And, of course, there’s this demonstration that “state’s rights” are only something the Administration supports when it gives the social conservatives cover: New Jersey Demands Data on Phone Call Surveillance and Is Sued by U.S.

The New Jersey attorney general has issued subpoenas to five telephone companies to determine whether any of them violated the state’s consumer protection laws by providing records to the National Security Agency. Experts say it is the first legal move by a state to question the agency’s program to compile calling records to track terrorist activities.

On Wednesday, the United States filed a lawsuit to block the subpoenas, setting up a legal showdown pitting the state’s authority to protect consumers’ rights against the federal government’s national security powers.

“People in New Jersey and people everywhere have privacy rights,” the state’s attorney general, Zulima V. Farber, said on Thursday. “What we were trying to determine was whether the phone companies in New Jersey had violated any law or any contractual obligations with their consumers by supplying information to some government entity, simply by request, and not by any court order or search warrant.”

On top of yesterday’s posting, it’s hard not to believe O’Harrow’s assertion that there’s No Place To Hide (although Solove’s book is more scholarly, it’s chilling to realize that he uses most of the same examples/cases as O’Harrow does in his screed.)

Later: On the upside, Fafblog is back in action - see 6/10 Changed Everything

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