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Comment: Re:Bad Ruling (Score 1) 433

Does that map aid in your ability to safely drive your car?

It is a tool that can do this, yes. I am a safer driver because I have the right information in the right amount of time. It informs me in advance where I will have upcoming traffic lights, traffic, road hazards (such as stopped vehicles). It informs me of 1-way roads and advises me on which lane to be in.

And don't try to claim that not getting lost or missing a turn is unsafe and that your cellphone map is helping you to be safe.

Why not? If I can reasonably ignore street names and other bits of information that are not worth me knowing, doesn't that mean I'm able to pay attention to things that are more important? If I can spend less time driving because I get to my destination efficiently, doesn't that mean I'm driving less (and less likely to be involved in an auto accident from that alone)?

Even though IANAL, IMHO that was the intent of the law when it was passed

The congressional record doesn't agree with your reading and the judges that decided this case disagree as well too.

As for eating? If you have to look at your food? Yeah, it's a distraction. But most people don't need to look at their quarter pounder to eat it.

You are taking at least one hand off the wheel. Your concentration is divided between two tasks. And, yes, you will almost certainly glance at what you're eating.

Listening to music? I fail to see how that's a distraction.

Distractions are not only visual. As you point out, sound cues (such as sirens, horns, etc.) are useful too. Hearing sound over another is no different than a "heads up display". Yes, it's illegal to wear headphones in both ears while driving in California. Further, dividing your focus is what is distracting. It doesn't matter whether that is something you're looking at or hearing or tasting or smelling or just thinking about.

Comment: Re:Bad Ruling (Score 2) 433

No. The judge isn't allowed to consider those other pieces of legislation and non-legislation that you provided.

Not only can he, but he did. See pages 5-6 of the ruling, where the judges state (among other things):

Section 23123 applies only to use of a “wireless telephone” while
driving. Section 23123.5 more broadly applies to use of an “electronic wireless communications device,” which would include a cellphone, but would also apply to other wireless devices used for communication.

The judge then goes on to use the example of a Blackberry when considering devices that "could
not accurately be identified as 'wireless telephones'". This is laughable! We have an anti-texting statute because things like smart phones aren't phones? Well then, my map app is on a "handheld computer" and not a "wireless telephone" so 23123's prohibition on use doesn't apply to me.

The text of the ruling shows a flagrant ignorance for technology.

Comment: Bad Ruling (Score 5, Insightful) 433

If the judge's interpretation was the one the legislation intended, why would we have CVC 23123.5, that explicitly forbids texting. Why would the DMV note that it does "not prohibit reading, selecting or entering a phone number, or name" or the CHP advise safe ways to dial? The judge over-stepped in this case & is legislating from the bench.

In 2010, I was written a citation for using my phone when I had passed it to a passenger. I was (rightfully) found not guilty. Because merely "touching" your phone is not using it as a communications device. Nor is the cell phone magically more distracting than other objects in a car.

A stand-alone GPS or a paper map can be at least as distracting, so why is there no provision banning their use? Because, while distracted driving is a problem, navigation aids do more good than harm. It is easier to defend them than eating, applying makeup, listening to music, etc. that we permit.

Comment: Yes, demonstrators ARE loony. But so is BART. (Score 1) 196

by Noksagt (#37112598) Attached to: BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

Why are people presenting the false dilemma of having either no cellular service or station/service interruptions?

"Protesters" have zero right to vandalize websites or physical property, steal personally identifying information, or cause service disruptions. They should expect to be caught when CCTV and cell records are subpoenaed & should look forward to felony conspiracy charges.

These demonstrators were doubly stupid because they alienated people who agreed with them. The transit union and mayor came out against the cell shutdown, as did many riders. Why infuriate those who agree with you? But just because the messengers are in the wrong does not mean their message is.

BART is not a private company that can do whatever they please. The California Public Utilities Commission regulates BART, and BART is partially funded by taxes. The public (and the transit union) have been supportive of cell phone coverage due to the safety benefits they bring (this was particularly true after people learned of the cell use during 9/11). I'm unconvinced that cell shutdowns disrupt protesters so much that it is worth losing this piece of mind. Any communications disruption has real financial costs & nobody has shown the math that shows those costs were lower than alternative actions that could have been taken.

BART receives $6.7M a year in telecommunications revenue ($2M from cell service). You take that away because you cut service & you have to make it up some how. That'd be a 2% fare hike (not including FCC-imposed penalties or fees for breaching the telecom contracts).

Comment: Zotero Donations (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by Noksagt (#28225591) Attached to: Zotero Lawsuit Dismissed

Trevor's blog also had this post:
which says that all tax-deductible donations made in June will be matched twice-over. This seems like a good opportunity to congratulate the team for making it through their legal hurdles & to support the development of great free/open source software.

Comment: Sharing ENS Styles (Score 4, Insightful) 60

by Noksagt (#28223599) Attached to: Zotero Lawsuit Dismissed

Now it seems they have corrected the license statement to allow such sharing.

Kind of. Their terms of use state:

EndNote includes customization options that licensed individual and institutional customers can use to create new and modify existing EndNote style (.ens), filter (.enf), and connection (.enz) files for their personal use and to share with other licensed EndNote users for use only in conjunction with EndNote.

(emphasis mine). In other words, they claim that you can't use the files that you create using their software in third-party software, such as Zotero. This would be like saying you can't open an MS Word Document in Writer.


+ - What is a Good Programming Font? 1

Submitted by Jhyrryl
Jhyrryl (208418) writes "My new laptop needs a good font for programming. While I prefer small, I'll sacrifice some size to maximize readability. Obviously each character need to be unique to avoid mistaking O for 0, an l for 1, but it can't be too busy either. Oh, and free (as in beer) is a requirement."

+ - Microsoft tries to takeover Open Document Format->

Submitted by what about
what about (730877) writes "If this is true, as it seems, it is makeing me angry !

Groaklaw writes if the takeover were to succeed, that SC 34 would get to maintain ODF as well as Microsoft's competing parody "standard," OOXML. How totally smooth and shark-like. Under the guise of "synchronised maintenance", without which they claim SC 34 can't fulfill its responsibilities, they get control of everything. So utterly Microsoft. Microsoft yearns for interoperability, it seems. More like yearning for ODF's air supply to be ... well, you know. Microsoft never seems to change, does it? Yoo hoo! EU Commission! Are you watching? You can read all the public resolutions of the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Plenary Meeting, 2008-10-01, held in Jeju, Republic of Korea. It will either make you laugh or throw up. I did both. Sequentially."

Link to Original Source

An Open Source Legal Breakthrough 292

Posted by kdawson
from the gpl-means-what-it-says dept.
jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens writes in Datamation about a major court victory for open source: 'An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux.' The case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, revolved around free software coded by Bob Jacobsen that Katzer used in a proprietary application and then patented. When Katzer started sending invoices to Jacobsen (for what was essentially Jacobsen's own work), Jacobsen took the case to court and scored a victory that — for the first time — lays down a legal foundation for the protection of open source developers. The case hasn't generated as many headlines as it should."
United States

+ - Orphan works bill passed by the Senate->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, the visual arts community was buzzing with news that the Senate was "hot lining" the Orphan Works Bill (S2913) for a vote that afternoon, and that the House was expected to follow suit. We've now learned that the Senate bill was passed. It is troubling indeed that this legislation was pushed through in this manner, the last day of the Congressional term, and a time when the Congress is embroiled in responding to an economic crisis. As our colleagues at the Advertising Photographers of America (APA) have declared, in their email alert posted at Friday midnite: "Passing controversial legislation by this process, i.e. under the radar, is deeply troubling to say the least and every Senator needs to be held accountable.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Senate passes Orphan Works Act of 2008 on to House->

Submitted by pope523
pope523 (1373721) writes "The Orphan Works Act of 2008 (sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah) has been looming over us for a while now, and has been passed by the US Senate on to the House of Representatives. If made law, it will allow anyone to take any copyrighted material they find, and after "a thorough and documented good-faith search, they are unable to locate the copyright owners" they can "exhibit" it. This means any company that wants to use material they've found on the Internet (like a photograph for instance) can make "a thorough and documented good-faith search" and then use it without paying the creator and copyright owner.

US citizens can e-mail their Representatives and let them know they're opposed to this."

Link to Original Source
The Courts

+ - Thomson Reuters (Endnote) Sues Open Source Zotero->

Submitted by
Noksagt writes "Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Endnote reference management software, has filed a $10 million lawsuit and a request for injunction against the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia's George Mason University develops Zotero, a free and open source plugin to Mozilla Firefox that researchers may use to manage citations. Thomson alleges that GMU's Center for History and New Media reversed engineered Endnote and that the beta version of Zotero can convert (in violation of the Endnote EULA) the proprietary style files that are used by Endnote to format citations into the open CSL file format."
Link to Original Source

+ - Academic applications of OCR 4

Submitted by
kg1794 writes "In my recent PhD research, I've been looking at a 1,200 page typed but unpublished manuscript from a (unfortunately now deceased) political science professor. The end goal is to eventually bring this work to publication, but I don't have the original file he created this manuscript with (it was completed back in 1979). The document needs a degree of editing and re-arranging, but what's the best way of getting these pages into digital form that doesn't involve typing the whole lot out? How and who can do such a large scale OCR task for a nominal (read: university humanities research grant) fee? How feasible is a home-brew system with some kind of auto-document feeder? Any academics or researchers who have digitized source collections in the past would be very welcome to assist. I'm in the UK, but understand solutions for this may be more efficient from across the pond. Thanks."

+ - Chandler 1.0 released - vision neutered->

Submitted by ruphus13
ruphus13 (890164) writes "What was once touted as the next best Personal Information Manager that would fix the woes of all past and present information management systems has finally launched version 1.0. Released on Aug 8, the product is positioned as a " a 'Note-to-Self Organizer' designed for personal and small-group task management and calendaring. Chandler consists of a desktop application and Chandler Hub, a free sharing service and web application. You can also download and run your own Chandler Server." From the article, "Certainly, the original vision for Chandler, back when it was started as one of Mitch Kapor's projects, hasn't come to pass: "a new application to manage personal information including notes, mail, tasks, appointments and events, contacts, documents and other personal resources" What they've delivered instead is a combination online/offline to-do list and scheduling application, with some interesting synching hooks and connections to other projects. But this doesn't make the project a failure.". A great concept when originally launched 5+ years ago, the emergence of services like Google Docs result in mainly one reaction today — meh."
Link to Original Source

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.