Where "Filthy Criminals" = "Commercial Infringers". "Commercial infringers" are the guys who make copies of CDs, or who bootleg concerts, and sell copies out of their car trunks to all and sundry for profit. Sometimes the counterfeit goods are even sold in legitimate stores. The statutory damages are fixed at an amount intended to be punitive, so that commercial infringers cannot figure lawsuit payouts into the cost of doing business. Statutory damages were also intended in part to cover lost sales from all the copies that were sold that the cops *didn't* confiscate as evidence when they busted the crooks. A single commercial infringer could represent hundreds or even thousands of lost sales. If the goal is to deter commercial infringers by making the potential profits not worth the risk of potential lawsuit payouts, then the sort of extreme statutory damages contemplated in the law are reasonable.
When these laws were passed, nobody considered legions of small-time, non-commercial copyright infringers infringing from their homes, with no greater benefit to them than a free movie or free music CD, and receiving no commercial profit therefrom. Each user represents at most one lost sale of a music CD or movie retailing for roughly $10-$25. The statutory damages provided for in the law are, therefore, way beyond what is reasonable.
Disclaimer: I live about a mile from the cordoned-off search area.
I think the response was warranted given the threat level. These guys had an obvious willingness to use IEDs to kill innocent bystanders and there was a firefight with over 200 rounds of ammo expended. Honestly, given that threat level, and the fact that there were legions of nervous, heavily armed cops walking around looking for a cop-killer, I wouldn't have wanted to be out and about yesterday either unless it was a matter of life and death. It's a testament to the professionalism of our local law enforcement people that there were no additional tragedies that went with this, like someone getting shot in a case of mistaken identity.
But now that we've done it once, a precedent has been set, and it will be that much easier to do it the next time. It's also scary how efficiently we turned a medium-density suburban neighborhood into a war zone, how efficiently the authorities were able to put a stop to civilian movement *just by asking*. I don't want to be all "ZOMG THIS WAS A DRY RUN FOR MARSHUL LAW!!!1!!!one!!1!!" like some people but we *have* created a dangerous precedent, and I'd at least like to see some kind of public discussion as to what threat level warrants that sort of lockdown and "How bad do things have to get for us to do this again?"
- Trackpads suck. They're much too easy to actuate inadvertently with the heel of your hand, and I also often inadvertently end up actuating "tap to click" while trying to position the pointer. I much prefer the "pencil eraser" type pointer that used to be common.
- Proper install media in the form of a plain-vanilla Windows install CD instead of a "Recovery partition", please.
- No more goddam bloatware. I don't need your remote diagnosis software, trial versions of antivirus software, and whatever other junk the laptop comes bundled with. Fortunately there's PC Decrapifier, but it's still annoying.
- *TALLER* screen, please. I don't watch movies on my laptop but the number of lines I can fit onscreen in an ssh session really matters to me.
- 1. Run the USPS like a business. This means that they get to charge what the traffic will bear, and drop money-losing services, like closing and consolidating small, low-volume post offices. If it's mandated that they serve all customers, then they are allowed to charge those customers whatever it costs to provide them the mandated service--i.e. no more flat-fee delivery where delivery to some small hamlet in the boonies costs the same as delivering a letter from one side of L.A. to the other.
- 2. Run the USPS like a government agency. This means that we throw enough taxpayer dollars at it to fix it so it works, like every other First-world country on the planet.
As it is, the USPS has the worst of both worlds. They're expected to survive without taxpayer subsidy, yet they're mandated to provide universal service, cannot charge customers what it actually costs to provide them with service, and cannot drop money-losing customers and services. Congress made it even worse by front-loading all their pension responsibilities for the next 75 years, a liability that no other entity, private or public, has ever had to face.
As for you Tea Partiers who are all "But..but...SMALL GOVERNMENT", recall that the postal service is one of the few things specifically called out in the Constitution as being a responsibility of the Federal Government.
The best camera is the one you'll carry with you, because it's the one you'll have available when the opportunity for the perfect photo arises. A cheap cell phone camera that's on your belt beats a high-four-figure DSLR rig that you left at home in the drawer because it was too big/bulky/expensive/theft-prone/annoyance-causing to bring with you.
I also notice that people tend to object to point-and-shoot pocket cameras being aimed in their direction a whole lot less than they do to a (D)SLR with a big honkin' piece of glass on the front. Very important if you're taking shots in public that include strangers in the background, or if you're That Guy walking around a party or a family gathering with a camera taking pictures. The smaller the camera, the less people get annoyed at it.
Me too. When I was 22, it was the 1980s. Cell phones existed, but they were either very large "bricks" or they were permanently mounted in your car. Either way, they were very expensive things for yuppies. (Fake "pigtail" antennas were sold as decorative car accessories, for a time.) Mere mortals like me had to go find a pay phone, which were ubiquitous back then and the prices weren't a complete ripoff either.
I finally got my first cell phone in the late 1990s, when I was 32 and the prices had come down enough that they were a mass-market item. By then I knew one or two people using a mobile in lieu of a landline, especially if they lived in group houses and spent the bulk of their time away from the house.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to adjust the onion tied to my belt.
I get at least one call a day on my landline from Verizon, trying to sell me FIOS. Not to mention numerous calls soliciting for various charities. At this point I just use my landline as a spam trap. I'd consider dumping it altogether but I'm not completely comfortable with not having a phone that'll work in a power outage.
I have my resume up on Monster and Dice, with my cell phone number on it. That gets at least one call a day from someone with some short-term contract gig in a location far away. (No, I'm not relocating. I live near a big city with plenty of work opportunities for people in my field, my SO isn't about to relocate, and I have tons of awesome friends.)
I also get robotexts on my cell phone from various payday loan scammers. And phone calls on my cell phone from "lower your credit card interest rate" scammers.
What I'd love to see is a piece of software that does automatic lookup on 800notes.com or whocallsme.com and blocks calls from known scam/spam numbers.