Kid Rock needs to do more research
Jun 19th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Kid Rock explains iTunes boy­cott. Kid Rock — Apple gets paid, labels get paid, artists don’t

US musi­cian Kid Rock has gone pub­lic on why he won’t sell his albums through iTunes, argu­ing that while Apple and the labels get paid, the artists don’t.

[Mac­world UK]

He should com­plain to his label, then, because pret­ty much every inde­pen­dent artist I know has their music on iTunes. An artist who uses CD Baby to put his or or tracks in iTunes receives 60 cents of the 99 cent sale price. The arti­cle reveals the real rea­son Kid Rock isn’t get­ting paid–he’s signed to a major label.

Musicians on iTunes
Jun 17th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

This is a good week for musi­cians I’ve pho­tographed in iTunes. Katy Per­ry, Priscil­la Ahn, and Martha Wain­wright all show up on the main iTunes page with vary­ing degrees of promi­nence.

Spam history
Jun 15th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

It’s been just over two years since I start­ed using Spam­Sieve to fil­ter out incom­ing spam. In that time, I’ve received 65,820 spam mes­sages, or an aver­age of 87 per day.

Jury duty
Jun 12th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I got stuck with jury duty for the last cou­ple of days. Usu­al­ly I go in on Mon­day, sit around all day with­out being sent to a court­room, and then go home. This time I was sent to a court­room, but (unsur­pris­ing­ly) didn’t get past the jury tam­per­ing selec­tion process, where they stack the jury in favor of a con­vic­tion.

The defen­dant was charged with eight felonies, some of which were dupli­cates, that trans­lat­ed as “accused of hav­ing drugs that he intend­ed to sell and a pis­tol in his car.” Unfor­tu­nate­ly the LA court sys­tem is very thor­ough about ensur­ing that peo­ple who object to such laws can’t get on the jury with­out lying.

There were at least three prospec­tive jurors (includ­ing myself) who were dis­missed for being too prin­ci­pled to par­tic­i­pate. The first guy start­ed out a bit ten­ta­tive, say­ing he had heard that jurors could use their intu­ition and make a deci­sion one whether the law itself was just and ask­ing if that was true. Inter­est­ing­ly, the judge seemed to be sym­pa­thet­ic, say­ing he wasn’t allowed to answer that and telling the juror what he was “sup­posed” to say. That guy was sub­ject­ed to a fair amount of bad­ger­ing by the pros­e­cu­tor, dur­ing which he stead­ied up and gave answers that showed he had read at least a lit­tle bit about jury nul­li­fi­ca­tion.

A bit lat­er, I got moved into one of the vacant seats. To the same ques­tion, I explained that the laws we were being asked to apply were immoral, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and un-American, and that the very idea of a man being on tri­al for being a cap­i­tal­ist who believed in the Sec­ond Amend­ment was utter­ly repug­nant to me. The judge asked if I could put that aside and vote the way he told me, to which I replied that I was nev­er much for “just fol­low­ing orders.”

Short­ly after me, but before I was dis­missed, anoth­er guy explained that because of his per­son­al expe­ri­ences he didn’t believe in the sys­tem, want­ed no part of it, and refused to vote on the defendant’s guilt or inno­cence.

We left at the same time, so I got to talk­ing to the third guy. He was a black man about ten years old­er than me, and his expe­ri­ences with the legal sys­tem were pret­ty much what peo­ple who pay atten­tion to the news would expect. For exam­ple, he described how a cop had tricked him into sign­ing a piece of paper, and then wrote a false con­fes­sion above the sig­na­ture as he watched. He was in prison for five months before that was thrown out. I didn’t think to ask at the time, but (again based on hav­ing paid atten­tion) I esti­mate the chance of that cop receiv­ing any neg­a­tive con­se­quences for his actions at exact­ly nil.

Time Machine review
Jun 8th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I just bought a 1 ter­abyte hard dri­ve to store my scanned pho­tos, which freed up the 250 GB dri­ve I pre­vi­ous­ly used. Since I have a lap­top with Mac OS X 10.5.3 on it, I decid­ed to try using it for Time Machine back­ups. The result: it turns out that Time Machine doesn’t work. It invari­ably hangs part­way through the back­up, at which point it has cor­rupt­ed the back­up dri­ve to the point that Disk Util­i­ty is unable to fix it. It’s a good thing there wasn’t any­thing left on that back­up dri­ve at the time!

So, any­one who wants to back­up their Mac would do well to stay far, far away from Time Machine, which is not mere­ly worth­less but actu­al­ly is active­ly destruc­tive.

Washington, District B13
Jun 5th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

High­way to the Neigh­bor­hood Zones. This is a great idea!

The Exam­in­er has the scoop on a con­tro­ver­sial new pro­gram announced today that would cre­ate so-called “Neigh­bor­hood Safe­ty Zones” which would serve to par­tial­ly seal off cer­tain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up check­points in tar­get­ed areas, demand to see ID and refuse admit­tance to peo­ple who don’t live there, work there or have a “legit­i­mate rea­son” to be there.

From the sto­ry:

Peter Nick­les, the city’s inter­im attor­ney gen­er­al, said the quar­an­tine would have “a nar­row focus.”

This is a very tar­get­ed pro­gram that has been used in oth­er cities,” Nick­les told The Exam­in­er. “I’m not wor­ried about the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of it.”

Oth­ers are. Kristo­pher Bau­mann, chair­man of the D.C. police union and a for­mer lawyer, called the check­point pro­pos­al “breath­tak­ing.”

Shel­ley Brod­er­ick
, pres­i­dent of the D.C.-area Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union and the dean of the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia’s law school, said the plan was “cocka­mamie.”

I think they tried this in Rus­sia and it failed,” she said.

Or maybe the Rus­sians didn’t do it right! [Hit and Run]

As if the gov­ern­ment wasn’t bad enough, now they’re get­ting ideas from French action movies.

Book recommendation
Jun 5th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

AMY H. STURGIS: Doctorow’s 1984 for 2008.

Cory Doctorow’s new dystopia, Lit­tle Broth­er, deserves the atten­tion it’s receiv­ing. As author Scott West­er­feld says, it’s a “rous­ing tale of techno-geek rebel­lion, as nec­es­sary and dan­ger­ous as file shar­ing, free speech, and bot­tled water on a plane.” 

Read the Pub­lish­ers Week­ly review.
Read Neil Gaiman’s review.
Read the Omnivo­ra­cious review.

Down­load the book for free.

[Lib­er­ty & Pow­er: Group Blog]

After see­ing the reviews I down­loaded the book, ordered a hard­cov­er copy from Ama­zon, and start­ed read­ing. Twelve hours lat­er, I’ve fin­ished it and give it a very strong endorse­ment.

Stupid user tricks
Jun 4th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

From one of the mail­ing lists I sub­scribe to, some­one picks a strange way to demon­strate his illit­er­a­cy:

Do not post admin requests to the list. They will be ignored.
Automator-users mail­ing list (
Help/Unsubscribe/Update your Sub­scrip­tion:

The text below the line is append­ed to each and every mes­sage sent out to the list.

California endorses fascism
Jun 4th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Cal­i­for­nia Vot­ers Endorse Emi­nent Domain Abuse. Vot­ers in Cal­i­for­nia yes­ter­day over­whelm­ing­ly sup­port­ed Propo­si­tion 99, a bal­lot mea­sure that will sig­nif­i­cant­ly empow­er state and local offi­cials to seize pri­vate prop­er­ty via emi­nent domain, and reject­ed Propo­si­tion 98, which would have pro­tect­ed prop­er­ty rights and end­ed rent con­trol. As legal schol­ar Ilya Somin not­ed in the Los Ange­les Times, Propo­si­tion 99, though mas­querad­ing as a defense of pri­vate prop­er­ty, was actu­al­ly spon­sored by groups rep­re­sent­ing coun­ties, cities, and oth­er rede­vel­op­ment inter­ests who draft­ed it specif­i­cal­ly to counter Propo­si­tion 98. Among oth­er crimes, Propo­si­tion 99 will pro­tect only owner-occupied res­i­dences from con­dem­na­tion, leav­ing apart­ment build­ings and oth­er rental prop­er­ties wide open for abuse. More­over, as Somin observed:

Even the pro­tec­tion for home­own­ers cov­ered under Propo­si­tion 99 is like­ly to be inef­fec­tive, because the mea­sure allows the con­dem­na­tion of owner-occupied homes if they are “inci­den­tal” to a “pub­lic” project. This means that homes could still be tak­en for trans­fer to pri­vate devel­op­ers if the pro­posed project allo­cat­ed some space for a “pub­lic” facil­i­ty such as a com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter or library.

Propo­si­tion 98, on the oth­er hand, would have placed sig­nif­i­cant lim­its on such abuse. But while that might have gone over with the vot­ers, end­ing rent con­trol was far less pop­u­lar, even though the law would only affect rent con­trolled apart­ments once they became vacant, thus leav­ing cur­rent ten­ants unaf­fect­ed. Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger came out against Prop. 98, how­ev­er, claim­ing it “would under­mine California’s abil­i­ty to improve our infra­struc­ture.”

Final­ly, as the Pacif­ic Legal Foundation’s Tim­o­thy Sande­fur has warned, Prop. 99 will “make things far worse not only by pro­vid­ing fake pro­tec­tion, but because the courts would inter­pret it as mean­ing that Cal­i­for­ni­ans did not want more seri­ous pro­tec­tions for prop­er­ty rights.”
[Hit and Run]

I’m not sur­prised. I vot­ed for 98, but it was obvi­ous­ly just a gesture–an antifas­cist mea­sure nev­er stood a chance in such a deeply fas­cist state. The real sur­prise is that 39.1% of the vot­ers actu­al­ly sup­port­ed civ­il rights.

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