Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tracking License Plates

I caved and decided to do my post despite being busy tonight, but I'm going to have to do it quick so I can get enough shut eye. I'm already behind at work (based on my own schedule, I mean), but not from lack of hard work that's for sure. Anyway, we may soon face the threat of having our license plates tracked thanks to new infared technology that can read plates from afar, which has already been around for law enforcement officials but is now making its way into the private sector. These readers sound great for tracking down sex offenders and such, but wouldn't it be just as easy for a stalker to figure out where you are? Granted, that would take a rather wealthy stalker, but it's the principle of the matter. Another problem with this being sold to everyone is that maybe it would be easier to find bypasses for it, which would render it less useful cops. Then again, maybe criminals could figure it out even if they weren't. In any case, this just raises all kinds of privacy violation flags in my head since there's currently no regulation for it. I'm sure that the ACLU will push for more rules on its usage, but who knows how long that'll take. Or maybe these readers will stay expensive enough so that they won't be easy to acquire, but that's not quite a truism in technology in general. I just hope that something is done to keep it in check, and hopefully the good uses of it will outweigh the bad side effects of it now being privately available.

Click to enlarge

The topic is often brought up that cell phones are too complicated now enough, and Motorola actually listened! Their new Motofone is actually a bare essentials phone that allows pre-paid calling, has a GSM version, and it's only 9 millimeters thick! Apparently, it'll have a new revamped UI system as well without a menu button, but no pricing information yet. Still, it's a grand idea on Motorola's part! Another great idea is Apple's marketing scheme on Facebook where you get a 25 song sampler if you join their Facebook group. I'm sure that this is a ploy so that they can send you advertisements via Facebook messages, but I'm cool with that for 25 free songs from independent alternative artists. The OpenDarwin project has sadly shut down after four years of not reaching its goal of developing a standalone Darwin OS. I'm not too surprised since the world of Apple development has always seemed to run into troubles (like the impossibility of cross compiling for Macs on a PC), but at least OpenDarwin helped foster a lot of other neat projects. The Indian government has turned down MIT's proposal to buy 1 million computers for their schoolchildren at $100 a pop claiming that they money can be best used elsewhere and that "intensive exposure" to computers causes worrisome psychological and physical effects. I can understand the monetary concern, but the other one is just outright idiotic. I hope they compromise to maybe just buy 100,000 computers or something. Firefox has released a new build of 1.5 with some security fixes that they recommend that you install, so you should probably go ahead and do that if you use Firefox (which you all should be using). If you ever find yourself having to buy a motherboard, you may like this Tom's Hardware article about it. I'm sure it's irrelevant for many of you, but I'm definitely holding on to it for when I build a souped up machine after I graduate. Lastly, one blogger put up things that users do to piss off IT professionals, and I thought it would be a good tip off for anyone working in a company with its own help desk. Remember, these guys are real people, not machines, so play nice with them.

JoBlo put up some great coverage from the Grind House panel at Comic Con, and I just love what I'm hearing about it. This is really a movie that piques at what both directors really want to do, and I think that you rarely get bad results with that combination. A couple of storyboard clips from The Simpsons movie from Comic Con have appeared on YouTube, and they're not bad but only a couple of parts were even somewhat funny. Oh well, it's still too early to tell how it'll be so we can still hope for the best. My hopes are quite high for Spider-man 3 though, which will actually release in IMAX at the same time as it does in normal theaters on May 4 next year. I will totally pay the extra few bucks to watch it at an IMAX theater somewhere in Austin, assuming that there is one. The greedy bastards at Warner Brothers have decided to put the Harry Potter DVDs in their supposed vault next February to drive up sales this holiday season since there won't be an actual movie release this winter. It sounds like a pretty cheap tactic, but it's not like they're not already milking Harry Potter from all sides anyway. The Fountain/span> has changed its release date once again to November 22 rather than the middle of October, which hopefully is the last change. It hurts confidence in a movie when the release date moves around. Lastly, IGN has a couple of new Miami Vice clips if you haven't seen enough of them already.

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. What's your favorite beverage?
That's extremely hard to say. I'm going to go with the simple answer and say rum and coke, but that's subject to change.

2. Have you ever been surfing? If so, how did you like it?
Nope, but I'm mildly interested. There just aren't any decent beaches near Houston, and the only nice beach I've been to (Pensacola) was when I was much younger and I remember very little other than the white sand and transparent water.

3. What do you like to put on a hot dog?
Just ketchup and hot sauce, but I'll tolerate mustard. My mom gave me so many hot dogs when I was a younger that I've grown to dislike their taste though. They don't sound too nutritional in any case.

4. Who's your favorite Australian?
I'm going to go with Emilie de Ravin because she's so hot on Lost. I do have family there, but they don't count because they're originally Indian.

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