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Comment: My judge throws these out automatically (Score 4, Informative) 254

by Mad-cat (#35320910) Attached to: Smart Phone Gets Driver Out of a Speeding Ticket

If an officer testifying in my jurisdiction's traffic court can't say when they were trained in radar, when their radar was calibrated, and what model of radar they use, the citation is automatically dismissed. I have certifications for all three of those that I present in evidence immediately after giving general testimony. The smart phone is completely irrelevant to this case.

Essentially, lacking the predicate to introduce the radar into evidence, the officer was saying "he was speeding because I said so, and therefore I wrote him a ticket." Of course the judge threw it out.

Comment: The actual letter is fairly reasonable (Score 2) 203

by Mad-cat (#35097476) Attached to: 1948 Mayor To MIT: Use Flamethrowers To Melt Snow?

While it sounds funny, when I actually read it my thought was "he seems like a reasonable man."

He saw something happening, used his past observations to predict a likely outcome if no action was taken, realized this outcome would be dangerous to the people he was sworn to protect, and then asked people who are smarter than he is what he should do to prevent or reduce the bad outcome.

He gave them some ideas that he had come up with and asked if they were worth investigating. While they may have been silly ideas, at least he had the common sense to ask smarter people for help figuring out what to do instead of just pursuing whatever boneheaded idea he came up with. Does anyone remember the recent "possums released into NYC to deal with rats" story?

I think we could use more public officials like this guy.

Comment: Excellent idea (Score 2, Interesting) 70

by Mad-cat (#34029578) Attached to: FBI and NYPD Officers Sent On Museum Field Trip

Observation is a learned skill, and anything that makes police better observers is great in my book.
I train my fellow officers in some simple observation exercises. My favorite takes place during meal breaks.

When sitting down at a restaurant, I instruct them to maintain eye contact with me, but describe every article of clothing the person at the table next to us is wearing. By forcing them to use their peripheral vision to gather details, they slowly learn to better use their unfocused vision and not get easily distracted. It's also a lot of fun.

For the less-than-willing male officers, I tell them it means they can check out women without actually looking at them...

Comment: If it's actually tasteful, I wouldn't mind so much (Score 4, Interesting) 219

by Mad-cat (#28576395) Attached to: Amazon Wants Patent For Inserting Ads Into Books

I wouldn't mind a tasteful, text-only add in its own table that doesn't interrupt the flow of the text I'm reading. I would mind full-image or full-page ads.

I suggest doing it the way authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams used footnotes. Put an asterisk, add a footnote advertisement, and make it funny and in context with the text. Then I might actually buy whatever crap they're hawking.

Comment: Re:Gamestop -- pushing used games over new (Score 1) 664

by Mad-cat (#28218057) Attached to: Publishers Want a Slice of Used Game Market

Gamestop's prices when buying used games aren't that great. Personally, I go to Gamestop because my local Gamestop gave me some of the best customer service ever a few years back. I know the staff personally and am glad to give them my business.

I don't care much for the corporation, but the local guys are A-OK in my book.

Comment: What I want to know (Score 1) 520

by Mad-cat (#26472191) Attached to: Breathalyzer Source Code Ruling Upheld

What I want to know is why CMI has been allowed to be in contempt of court for so long. There have been past court orders demanding the source code, which they have ignored without consequences. They should have been raided by Federal agents with search warrants empowering them to execute the earlier court orders.

Software

+ - Is Microsoft getting paid for patents in Linux?

Submitted by
kripkenstein
kripkenstein writes "In an interview, Jeremy Allison (of the Samba project) implies that Microsoft is secretly getting paid for patent licenses on Linux-related products:

[Interviewer:] One of the persistent rumors that's going around is that certain large IT customers have already been paying Microsoft for patent licensing to cover their use of Linux, Samba and other free software projects.[...]

Allison: Yes, that's true, actually. I mean I have had people come up to me and essentially off the record admit that they had been threatened by Microsoft and had got patent cross license and had essentially taken out a license for Microsoft patents on the free software that they were using [...] But they're not telling anyone about it. They're completely doing it off the record.
If true, is this slowing down Linux adoption? Or are these just rumors — which may accomplish much the same effect?"

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson

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