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Comment Re:Not a Bug (Score 1) 225

When I first saw this, my first reaction was "Wow, maybe a good programmer could fix the horrendous interface used now". This voting machine was changing votes by poor design, not malice (I hope...). It wouldn't take much for a decent programmer to fix it up a bit. Maybe the open source voting machine that everyone wants is already here!

Comment Re:Fast walk? (not run?) (Score 1) 216

I did read that, and watched the clip. Clearly both feet aren't off the ground for ~1/3 of the time, so the article text is suspect to me. I agree that both white feet are off the ground at 52-53, and no significant load is on either foot at this point. What I am referring to is that it looks like there is an additional part below the foot (perhaps some black shock absorbing/traction material) that remains in contact longer on the back foot, and makes contact sooner on the front foot, with the back foot making full separation after the front foot makes initial contact. This could also easily be a video artifact, shadow, compression error, etc. Either way, if I was the engineer that pulled this off, I would have no hesitations calling it a run, and perhaps my last post was a bit nit-picky (and maybe not justified).

Comment Fast walk? (not run?) (Score 4, Informative) 216

It looks to me like their is something below the foot that makes contact before the white part of the foot makes contact. From the high speed camera, it looks like this make contact on the front foot before the back foot leaves the ground. I thought to be running, both feet need to be in the air at once. Otherwise you were walking. Maybe I am just seeing the video wrong? Regardless, it looks very impressive.

Comment Re:The US needs a modern system (Score 1) 217

you'd have to miss by an awful lot (meaning ~40% of the entire screen

I just used the ES&S automark last week (A slightly different machine from the same company). The tolerance of where you need to press is less than the width of my finger. I took a video of this to prove it. In the video there are only two candidates, yet they are still right next to each other, and in the video you can clearly see the calibration is off enough to incorrectly select the wrong candidate. You cannot argue that this interface is unacceptable.

Comment Re:Calibrate Per Use? (Score 4, Informative) 217

The calibration was so far off when I voted this week (on an ES&S automark), that I talked the election official about the calibration. More or less it is done the same way you used to with the palm pilot (touch 4 corners). The problem is that there is also some parallax issues as the screen is about 45 degrees off vertical. The result is the calibration can be a little off. A little off is fine and normal if the interface is good, but on the automark machines, they put the candidates names right next to each other so even a small error in calibration will result in the wrong candidate being selected. I took a video of my self voting, (it's here: ). in the video is is clear that not the person I am pressing is selected, and that a candidate only 5mm away is selected.

Comment Re:Calibrate Per Use? (Score 0, Redundant) 217

This is also how it work for me. I always use the automark machine because I am interested in it. Last week when I did use it, the calibration was so far off that pressing one candidate would select a different one. I was so surprised I took a video of the process. It is online here The idea behind the automark is to help people who have a hard time voting with paper and pencil. These are the exact same people who would have a hard time telling that the wrong person was chosen. I don't worry about intentional vote rigging, as it is easy to detect a problem for most people when the ballot is printed, but I still expect that every vote should count properly.

Comment Re:Calibrate Per Use? (Score 2, Interesting) 217

I used the ES&S automark this past week. The calibration was so far off that I got the vote flipping talked about. I was so alarmed that I took a video with my cell phone. You can see it here. I was so upset that I talked to the election officials, and went to the clerks office a few days latter. More or less I found out that all these machines are pieces of crap. A simple solution would have been to add a little space between the names (like they do on ATM machines) so that a small miss calibration would not have been such a serious deal.

Submission + - Implications of Peak Oil for Atmo CO2 and Climate

Prof. Goose writes: "James Hansen is a physicist, adjunct professor: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University and director: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science. Outside the scientific community Hansen is probably best known for accusing the Bush administration of trying to silence him after he gave a lecture in December 2005 calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

In this paper Hansen and Kharecha consider "realistic" (they use EIA data) reserves for oil and gas and conclude that due to approaching peaks it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding approximately 450ppm as long as coal and unconventional fossil fuels are used responsibly. This article is a discussion of their findings."
User Journal

Journal Journal: [retrocomputing] Surface mount devices

SMD doesn't seem like a term that goes together with 'retrocomputing'. But I finished the hardware for my Spectrum add-on board today, which included three surface mount (SOT-23 packaged) transistors.

Feed Muni Wi-Fi Powers Hope at San Francisco Housing Project (

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Westside Courts is a bleak concrete housing project in the city's Western Addition where violence is closer than a high-speed net connection, and one resident's first steps online include plans to create a memorial for the people who've died here.


Submission + - New Royalty Rates Could Kill Internet Radio

FlatCatInASlatVat writes: Kurt Hanson's Radio Internet Newsletter has an analysis of the new royalty rates for Internet Radio announced by the US Copyright Office. The decision is likely to put most internet radio stations out of business by making the cost of broadcasting much higher than revenues. From the article: "The Copyright Royalty Board is rejecting all of the arguments made by Webcasters and instead adopting the "per play" rate proposal put forth by SoundExchange (a digital music fee collection body created by the RIAA)...[The] math suggests that the royalty rate decision — for the performance alone, not even including composers' royalties! — is in the in the ballpark of 100% or more of total revenues." Clear Channel, in the meantime, pays nothing. So long Radio Paradise, and all the other wonderful internet stations.
The Courts

Submission + - Politicians wising up on game legislation?

Blackjack writes: Ars Technica looks at recent failures to pass laws regulating the sales of violent video games and asks whether politicians are finally wising up to First Amendment issues and the costs associated with lawsuits resulting from the laws. Recent attemps to pass video game legislation in Mississippi, Utah, and Indiana have either failed or been put on indefinite hold. 'Now, state lawmakers are more cognizant of the constitutionality issues at stake. The judicial landscape is littered with the charred husks of laws passed by Illinois, Washington, Michigan, California, Louisiana, and others. All of them tried in some way or another to regulate the sale of violent video games to children, and all of them were struck down on First Amendment grounds.'

Submission + - Egyptian blogger sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anonymous reader writes: 22-year old Egyptian blogger and former law student Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (aka Kareem Amer) was sentenced by an Egyptian court on Thursday to 4 years in prison, three years for "disparaging religion" and a fourth one added for "defaming the president." Amer, whose blog is still online, has become a cause celebre for human rights activists in Egypt and around the Arab world, who have set up a "Free Kareem!" campaign calling for his release online. Amer's case is interesting in that almost everything, from the crime itself to those rallying to Amer's aid, has been conducted in large part over the Internet. At one point, the legal defense team even tried to force the court to bring in a computer expert who could testify that the blog was hosted outside of Egypt and therefore out of the court's jurisdiction. While for an increasing number of individuals like Amer, blogging has become another form of regulated expression, it is also "an essential communication strategy for many frustrated Arabs who use blogging as a tool to promote democratization," as this editorial by one of the leaders of the "Free Kareem!" campaign claims.

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