Condensed knowledge for 2007-06-01

Here are the weekend-ready goodies:

  • MS releases the Surface touchscreen computer. Previously code-named Milan, this puppy is manipulated using our hands — no mouse, no keyboard. You might say, whoopee, these displays have been around for years. True, but this is the first time they’re coming to the mass market, and what sets this device apart is that it interacts automatically with other wireless devices. If you put your wireless camera on the Surface, it’ll know to download all of the photos from the camera, wirelessly. If you put your cellphone on it, and it’s got a wireless connection, you can then drag that same photo to your cellphone. Same thing with videos. The built-in, automatic interaction is really, really cool.
  • Have you heard about the MINI Cooper D? It’s a sweet little car! (I have the Cooper S myself, but I’m already drooling for the D). The revised model will get up to 72.4 mpg! Wow!
  • Xerox has developed paper that you can re-use up to 50 times. You can print on it using UV rays, but the characters will start to fade after 24 hours, and when they’re completely faded, you can use it again. Now that’s what I call recycling!
  • A completely innocent American was arrested, handcuffed to a pillar, his feet were chained, and he was interrogated by the Secret Service, all for trying to pay with legal, new $2 bills. The man went to Best Buy to pay an outstanding balance for a stereo installation on his son’s car (after the store promised him it would be free, but charged him regardless), and when he decided to pay it with $2 bills, the clerk called the police, who then took him into custody and interrogated him. What’s more, he was handcuffed inside the store, in full view of everyone! Here’s my take on this… First, I don’t like Best Buy, because their prices are always higher than Circuit City and CompUSA. Second, their employees are rude and haven’t got a clue about the technology they sell. Third, that pathetic cashier owes the man a huge apology. Fourth, that cop who hancuffed and arrested the man shouldn’t be on the force. His powers of judgment are obviously subpar and he has no common sense. And fifth, the excuse of the police spokesman, Bill Toohey, is absolutely inadequate: “It’s a sign that we’re a little nervous in a post 9/11 world.” Just what does a $2 bill have to do with 9/11? That was their apology to the man? That’s it?!
  • The Rattlebuster is a really cool CD that plays vibration-inducing sounds at certain frequencies, helping you pinpoint the annoying rattles and vibrations in your car’s interior. As a MINI owner who’s had a persistent rattle in his dashboard for the past four years, a rattle that countless trips to the dealership couldn’t resolve, I can safely say that every MINI dealership ought to make this product a standard part of their diagnostic procedures.
  • Richard Marcus wrote a really nice piece for BlogCritics detailing what happens to the water in our environment when all of the medications that we take pass from our bodies into the sewers, then into lakes and rivers. The effects of the metabolized drugs on wildlife are shocking, and do not bode well for us, either.
  • Want to know the top ten passwords people use? Have a look at this, and try not to use one of them yourself, eh?
  • It pays to know your photographer’s rights!
  • Steve Jobs and Bill Gates met on the same stage and talked publicly for the first time in decades. What’s more, they complimented each other! 🙂
  • This is why I think public education is getting to be rotten to the core. The public school system endorses events like the one where Joel Becker (irresponsible dolt extraordinaire) from UCLA speak their dirty minds. This dude actually advised kids as young as 12 years old to have sex, do drugs and masturbate… Kids were forced to attend this event by their school, and it was only months after the fact, when pressed repeatedly by parents for an explanation and apology, that they admitted the subject matter was inappropriate. I have to wonder, where is our responsibility as adults to educate our children properly? How can we let the school system continue to chip away at the values we try to instill in our kids? How screwed up is this world when a person as irresponsible as Joel Becker is not only allowed to hold a professorship at UCLA, but also allowed to expound on the virtues of sex and drugs to young, impressionable children?
  • Hey, look, Screaming Beans! 🙂
  • A new spoofing/phishing technique has been spotted in the wild, where some sort of DLL attaches itself to IE, and when people surf legitimate URLs (like their bank website or PayPal), they get asked for unusual extra, private information. This thing isn’t yet detectable by anti-virus/anti-spyware programs, so be sure to follow this story as it develops. And if you get asked some strange questions the next time you visit your bank’s site, don’t answer them, call the bank to verify why they need that information.

6 Comments

  1. I have to thank you for correcting me, Trevor. But my God, how awful it is to have that term apply to an innocent man! It strips him of any personality and any rights and labels him as guilty! The man is gone, and instead we have a face, probably numbered. While a “man” may still be innocent, an “inmate” belongs in a prison or a jail. I loathe that word…

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  2. Raoul,

    In America, we have two basic types of correctional institutions.

    1) Prisons. Prisons are primarily operated by states and are for prisoners, those convicted of crimes and sentenced to serve time.

    2) Jails. Jails are primarily operated by counties. Jails are for housing persons who are in the custody of the county sheriff. Each state charges their county sheriffs to hold in custody all persons who have been arrested and/or charged with crimes. Basically jails keep persons who are considered “pre-trial” and “sentenced”.

    Most of the time you will hear a person incarcerated in a prison described as a prisoner. Those in a county jail are not referred to as prisoners because they are not in prison. They are usually referred to as inmates. No matter one’s guilt, being incarcerated in a county jail usually brings on the term, inmate.

    As uncomfortable as the term may be, inmate is the correct title afforded one in the custody of the local sheriff.

    Your own reference states,
    Inmate “means a person incarcerated in or otherwise confined to a correctional institution.”

    This is a vague definition, yet accurately applied to the man in the news story. He was incarcerated in a correctional institution, a county jail.

    In California, where I am a corrections officer, working for my local county sheriff, our Penal Code defines an inmate as…

    “‘Inmate’ means a male or female offender who is committed,
    under sentence to or confined in a penal or correctional institution.

    ‘Institution’ means any penal or correctional facility,
    including but not limited to a facility for the mentally ill or
    mentally defective, in which inmates as defined above may
    lawfully be confined.”

    To clarify. When the man was being detained by the security personnel, he was simply a man having his rights violated, based on the limited information.

    Once the real law enforcement personnel took him into custody, read: arrested him, he became an arrestee. Once he was booked into the county jail, he became an inmate. I only assume that he was booked into the jail, because the story indicates that he was secured against the pole after being taken to the “lock up”.

    At this point, the innocent man, was an inmate.

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  3. About that Mini Cooper D. I’d keep that Cooper S if you like the power. The 2nd gen diesel only has 110 hp. Of course it eats less fuel and probably has more torque than your 163 hp 1st gen Cooper S. But really, that car deserves that engine 🙂

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  4. Trevor, I have a bone to pick with the way you use the term “inmate”. It implies that a man has been convicted and sentenced, whereas this man was alleged (suspected) of a crime, and was taken into custody for further investigation. Here in America, we’re innocent until proven guilty. This man was most certainly NOT an inmate, no matter what you may think. I’d double check the books and the dictionary if I were you. The definition of an inmate is pretty damning, and certainly doesn’t apply to this man.

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  5. Couple of things on th $2 bill post…

    The original article is from 2005, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43685

    Also, from how the article is written, the store security placed him in handcuffs, which is lawful, if they have a safety issue related to a possible crime committed. If he had given them $14 dollar bills, they still would not have had the legal right to detain him, based on the given information. If in fact he had been physically intimidating, yelling and displaying questionable behavior, then they could have detained him with handcuffs.

    What’s a real bummer here is that any store clerk could have grabbed one of the “connected” computers and googled, “$2 bill legal tender” and be given the accurate answer, from the US Treasure Department’s website.

    A real shame that this man was treated this way. On the surface, he HAD a possible law suit against Best Buy.

    Side note: It is legal to secure an inmate (which is anyone taken into custody by law enforcement) against a “pole”. As long as correctional personnel are checking on the inmate regularly, in person, about every 15 minutes.

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