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I’ve moved
Dec 28th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Last week­end I moved to a new apart­ment. I’d got­ten fed up with the ter­ri­ble man­age­ment at the last apart­ment com­plex, so I left as soon as my lease expired. The new place is about the same size, also has Google Fiber, and has an even bet­ter view–I can see Town Lake from my desk.

It’s amazing how cowardly Americans have become
Dec 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

4 Schools Go into Lock­down, Call Cops on Man with an Umbrel­la. It’s a gun! No, it’s a sword!

What­ev­er it was, two dif­fer­ent peo­ple spot­ted a man car­ry­ing it near Poly High in River­side, Cal­i­for­nia. They saw some­thing, and said some­thing. As a result four local schools went into lock­down mode yes­ter­day.

Police hunt­ed for the men­ac­ing mani­ac and final­ly, accord­ing to The Press Enter­prise, “a cam­pus super­vi­sor at Poly spot­ted a man who matched the descrip­tion given by both callers.”

The weapon he was car­ry­ing?

An umbrel­la.

The lock­downs were lift­ed, but the threat con­tin­ues: Rain is in the fore­cast. [Hit & Run]

That was the high school where I was an inmate in the 1980s. I took ROTC while I was there, which involved about a hun­dred stu­dents march­ing around with bolt-action rifles (albeit rifles which had been ren­dered inca­pable of fir­ing) at least one day a week. No lock­downs were involved.

The end of CityDesk
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP City­Desk – Joel on Soft­ware. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blog­ging plat­forms. I wrote City­Desk. In what turned out to be a mon­u­men­tal­ly wrong bet, I thought that peo­ple would want to blog on Win­dows, with all the slick WYSIWYG edit­ing good­ness that wasn’t yet avail­able in ear­ly ver­sions of HTML. City­Desk kept your entire web­site in a SQL data­base (Microsoft Jet, the back­end of Access) and had a fron­tend like a word proces­sor. Every time you need­ed to pub­lish, it gen­er­at­ed the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then upload­ed to an ftp server for you.

[…]

Over the years the City­Desk code base (VB 6.0, anoth­er bad bet) stopped run­ning on the lat­est ver­sions of Win­dows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a cus­tom ver­sion of City­Desk which only ran on Win­dows XP. So until recent­ly, I had a vir­tu­al machine set up with Win­dows XP run­ning in there, and a copy of City­Desk.

[…]

Matt Mul­len­weg over at Word­Press has been try­ing to get me to move Joel on Soft­ware over to Word­Press for so long it’s not even fun­ny. I final­ly gave in. [Joel on Soft­ware]

I used City­Desk myself to man­age my main web­site for a num­ber of years after the sad demise of User­Land Fron­tier, before final­ly replac­ing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusu­al pro­duct in that it was actu­al­ly bet­ter than any Mac alter­na­tive at the time (some­thing that’s usu­al­ly true only of games).

New job
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve just start­ed a new six-month con­tract as a pro­gram­mer with Integri­ty Dig­i­tal Solu­tions. I’m in Tem­ple for the week for train­ing, but after that I’ll be work­ing from home. It looks like it will be a pret­ty good job.

Watch out for hysterical politicians
Oct 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Clowns, Kids & Satan. The secu­ri­ty expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: Movie plot threat. We imag­ine the threat to our kids is just like the one we’d see, or have seen, in the movies. It’s eas­ier to pic­ture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when mom or dad is con­fused by their GPS (which in our car seems to be about a third of the time), so that’s the threat we focus on…to the point where we start exag­ger­at­ing unlike­ly out­comes, or even see­ing things. [Free Range Kids­Free Range Kids]

Even now there are peo­ple being per­se­cut­ed (espe­cial­ly in New York City) because of laws writ­ten by politi­cians who had con­fused West Side Sto­ry with a doc­u­men­tary. I hate to think what sort of future per­se­cu­tion will result from politi­cians think­ing that Killer Klowns from Out­er Space was a doc­u­men­tary.

Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D printer gun files must stay offline for now The federal civil suit originated three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the "Liberator," the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This letter came despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online. [Ars Technica]

This reminds me of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryption technology away from people using the same tactics. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. Here's a BitTorrent link to download the files in question.

Cops can’t even fabricate charges right
Sep 19th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Cops record them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges with suspect’s cam­era. In a fed­er­al civil rights law­suit, a Con­necti­cut man has shared footage to bol­ster his claims that police ille­gal­ly con­front­ed the pedes­tri­an because he was film­ing one of them. Author­i­ties seized Michael Picard’s cam­era and his per­mit­ted pis­tol, and the offi­cers involved then acci­den­tal­ly record­ed them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges again­st the man.

[…]

The tick­ets Picard got were for the alleged use of a high­way by a pedes­tri­an and for alleged­ly cre­at­ing a pub­lic dis­tur­bance for car­ry­ing an “exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists.” The author­i­ties even­tu­al­ly dis­missed the tick­ets. [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

Note that car­ry­ing an exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists is per­fect­ly legal in Con­necti­cut as long as you have a car­ry per­mit, which Picard did. Not only did the jack­boots get caught fab­ri­cat­ing charges, they were so stu­pid that they couldn’t even come up with some­thing that was actu­al­ly ille­gal for their lies.

Twenty Years
Sep 17th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve now had the orange-road.com domain name for twen­ty years.

The inevitable result of being a good cop
Sep 12th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

West Vir­ginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unload­ed gun. He did what police offi­cers are sup­posed to do — put him­self at risk to save a life. [Radley Balko]

What Mader did upon arriv­ing at the scene is a hell of a lot braver course of action than sim­ply open­ing fire when the sus­pect doesn’t imme­di­ate­ly dis­arm. What Mader did is in fact exact­ly what we want cops to do when some­one is in cri­sis. It’s also pre­cise­ly what law enforce­ment offi­cers say they do on a dai­ly basis — put them­selves at risk in order to save lives. Mader should have been given a medal.

Of course the out­come of this guy being a good cop is com­plete­ly pre­dictable: he was fired. Also, two oth­er cops showed up who were per­fect­ly will­ing to mur­der the guy who Mader wouldn’t.

Apparently his message was heard
Sep 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Fer­gu­son Activist Dar­ren Seals Found Shot and Dead in Burn­ing Car in St. Louis. 29-year-old activist Dar­ren Seals was found dead in a burn­ing car in the Riverview sec­tion of St. Louis this week, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Seals became an anti-gun vio­lence activist after being shot in 2013, and in 2014 was among the first pro­test­ers in Fer­gu­son, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Seals helped found the group Hands Up Unit­ed and was a vocal oppo­nent of African-Americans vot­ing Democ­rat as a bloc. “Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean noth­ing,” Seals told the Wash­ing­ton Post in 2014. “The world is watch­ing us right now. It’s time to send a mes­sage of our pow­er.” [Hit & Run)]

The dan­ger of send­ing mes­sages like that in a police state is that the peo­ple in charge might actu­al­ly get the mes­sage and decide to send back one of their own.

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