A threat of Federal preemption? Privacy Laws Slow Efforts on Gun-Buyer Data
Momentum is building in Congress behind a measure that would push states to report their mental health records to the federal database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers.
But a thicket of obstacles, most notably state privacy laws, have thwarted repeated efforts to improve the reporting of such records in the past and are likely to complicate this latest effort, even after the worst mass shooting in United States history at Virginia Tech last month.
New Patent Trial Sought by Vonage
Vonage said that it had filed a motion with a federal appeals court asking it to vacate a March 8 patent infringement verdict that went against the company and in favor of Verizon Communications and to send the case back to a lower court for a new trial.
The Supreme Court ruling on Monday loosened a crucial legal standard making it easier to invalidate some patents on the ground that they were obvious inventions.
Later [2007 May 02]: no such luck – Court denies Vonage bid for patent case retrial – pdf. Although:
The appeals court said Vonage can cite the new Supreme Court ruling as part of its pending appeal of the case.
Writers Guild unhappily sits on $20 million – pdf
The Writers Guild of America, West has $20 million in a trust account in Hollywood, which is not the good news it might seem to be.
The money belongs to hundreds of writers, or their estates, whose movies or TV shows were viewed in foreign countries that levy special taxes to compensate authors for the reuse of their work.
The guild’s failure to distribute such a big stockpile of cash has raised hackles in Hollywood, turning what might have been an arcane accounting matter into an embarrassing and potentially costly dispute for the union, which is just about to enter crucial contract negotiations with producers.
A chilling statistic to me (though I’m sure it makes EMC happy) from an article on the challenges facing firms: Report: E-Mail Archiving Becoming a Must
People are sending and receiving moreâ€”and digitally heavierâ€”e-mails now as opposed to past years, the study says. According to Radicati’s research, in 2007 a typical corporate account generates about 18MB of mail and attachments per business day, or about 4.3GB of electronic data per user/per year.
This number is expected to grow to over 28MB per day (or 6.7GB per year) by 2011, Radicati said.
With a little thought, it turns out that that number is not as crazy as it seems. I’m actually afraid to calculate the number from my archives; I’m sure I’m on the heavy end, and I’m not really a corporate account.
Google expands personalization with iGoogle – pdf
The world’s top provider of Web search services is bringing together the more idiosyncratic approach to finding information on the Internet under the umbrella term “iGoogle,” the new name for its enhanced personalized home page services.
“We want to personalize the traditional notion of search,” Sep Kamvar, lead engineer for the personalization push, told reporters. “I am an eclectic person. But everyone is. We can’t go about designing products for the average person.”
Reinventing the classic Google.com home page — with its simple, uncluttered design — the company is introducing features that range from colorful new Web page designs to helping users publish their own creative content.
[…] To help users create personalized features on iGoogle, the company introduced “Gadget Maker,” which allows any user who knows how to upload a photo and fill out a simple Web form to publish their content without knowing computer coding.
Related from Slashdot: Google pushes U.S. states to open public records – pdf
By providing free consulting and some software, Google is helping state governments make reams of public records that are now unavailable or hard to find online easily accessible to Web surfers.
The Internet search company hopes to eventually persuade federal agencies to employ the same tools — an effort that excites advocates of open government but worries some consumer-privacy experts.
It’s hard to imagine that we’re all going to adopt this, but we’ve done goofier things (although possibly not ones as dangerous): Social Networking Leaves Confines of the Computer
Mr. [Walter] Zai, a 37-year-old Swiss engineer, used his mobile phone to send out constant updates and images from his safari for an online audience.
â€œYou feel like you are instantly broadcasting your own life and experiences to your friends at home, and to anyone in the world who wants to join,â€ said Mr. Zai, who used a new online service called Kyte to create his digital diary.
The social networking phenomenon is leaving the confines of the personal computer. Powerful new mobile devices are allowing people to send round-the-clock updates about their vacations, their moods or their latest haircut.
[…] John Poisson, chief executive of Tiny Pictures, said the service was explicitly intended to be private because mobile social networking works best and will be most lucrative if users know the people they are sharing with. â€œExhibitionism will exist as long as there is voyeurism,â€ he said. â€œBut we are in the business of helping people stay in touch with the people who are close to them.â€
Of course, there is such a thing as being too in touch. Mr. Zai was disconcerted by the instant feedback to his safari photos that popped up on his phone.
â€œGetting all kinds of communication in such a remote place is a bit confusing,â€ he said. â€œI kept responding, â€˜I donâ€™t really have the time to talk to you now. I have to make photos of these elephants.â€™ â€
Google Calls Viacom Suit on YouTube Unfounded
In its response to the lawsuit, filed Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Google said that Viacomâ€™s claims were unfounded and asked for a judgment dismissing the complaint.
[…] Googleâ€™s court filing gives few new details of its legal thinking, which relies heavily on the so-called â€œsafe harborâ€ provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, enacted in 1998. Those provisions generally hold that Web sitesâ€™ owners are not liable for copyright material uploaded by others to their site as long as they promptly remove the material when asked to do so by the copyright owner.
The 1998 law â€œbalances the rights of copyright holders and the need to protect the Internet as an important new form of communication,â€ Google said in its filing. â€œBy seeking to make carriers and hosting providers liable for Internet communications, Viacomâ€™s complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression.â€
Viacom said Googleâ€™s response misses the mark. â€œThis response ignores the most important fact of the suit, which is that YouTube does not qualify for safe harbor protection under the D.M.C.A.,â€ Viacom said. â€œIt is obvious that YouTube has knowledge of infringing material on their site, and they are profiting from it.â€
This story is particularly apt after yesterday’s Supreme Court rulings: The fine art of making a point – pdf
A few days later, the 20-year-old met them at a North Hollywood park where coaches with clipboards barked at dozens of teenagers doing push-ups, part of a regimen preparing them to spin arrow-shaped signs for tanning salons and new homes. Four days later, White quit his Little Caesars gig to join the men’s company, Aarrow Advertising of San Diego.
[…] White is part of the competitive world of “human directionals,” an industry term for people who twirl signs outside restaurants, barbershops and new real estate subdivisions.
Street corner advertising on human billboards has existed for centuries, but Southern California â€” where the weather allows sign spinners to work year-round â€” has endowed the job with style.
Local spinners have cooked up hundreds of moves. There’s the Helicopter, in which a spinner does a backbend on one hand while spinning a sign above his head. In the Blender, a spinner twirls the sign behind his back. Spanking the Horse gets the most attention. The spinner puts the sign between his legs, slaps his own behind and giddy-ups.
[…] SPECIAL spinning moves are guarded fiercely.
Aarrow keeps dozens of moves in a “trick-tionary,” which only a handful of people have seen, said co-founder Mike Kenny. The company records spinners’ movements and sends them in batches to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “We have to take our intellectual property pretty seriously,” he said.
A profile of the YouTube Multi-National Force – Iraq channel: U.S. military shows its side of Iraq war on YouTube – pdf
The U.S. military has opened a new front in the Iraq war: cyberspace.
Moving into a realm long dominated by Islamic militants, the military has launched its own YouTube channel offering what it calls a boots-on-the-ground perspective of the conflict. The move recognizes that the Internet is becoming a key battleground for public opinion at a time when domestic support for the war is dwindling.
[…] The channel was the brainchild of the U.S. military’s “Web masters”: Brent Walker and Erick Barnes, two former Marines contracted to maintain the Multi-National Force-Iraq website from a small office in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.
Crossing my fingers….
Spending time last night tracking processes and queries in the OS and MySQL led me to an amazing discovery — Adobe Acrobat spawns its *own* MySQL process (using its own version of mysqld and mysqladmin) to handle something called “Organizer.” I think the problem has been the fact that there were too many MySQL servers out there listening, and any sort of serial process was getting interrupted because I’m just betting that the Adobe process was not configured to be responsive to any number of things (a port conflict, perhaps?).
After hiding the executables from Adobe, the system seems more responsive. Today will be the test of the fix. If it works out, then I can start looking into figuring out what I would have to do to make the two happily co-exist.
Thanks to those who offered suggestions and advice!