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Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 18:40 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Intellectual Property


Jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation, says Apple in comments filed with the Copyright Office as part of the 2009 DMCA triennial rulemaking. This marks the first formal public statement by Apple about its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking.


Apple’s copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple’s bootloader and operating system software. True enough — we said as much in our technical white paper describing the jailbreak process. But the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

As for the DMCA violation, Apple casts its lot with the likes of laser printer makers and garage door opener companies who argue that the DMCA entitles them to block interoperability with anything that hasn’t been approved in advance. Apple justifies this by claiming that opening the iPhone to independently created applications will compromise safety, security, reliability, and swing the doors wide for those who want to run pirated software.

If this sounds like FUD, that’s because it is. One need only transpose Apple’s arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity. Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car. And Mazda could say that those who throw a supercharger on their Miatas frequently exceed the legal speed limit.

But we’d never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages. After all, the culture of tinkering (or hacking, if you prefer) is an important part of our innovation economy.

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David Merrill demos Siftables, the smart blocks

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 18:13 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Cocaine cheaper than lager and wine as drug price falls by half

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 14:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Home Office has admitted that the street price of both cocaine and heroin has fallen by nearly half in the last ten years, making the most dangerous illegal drugs cheaper than they have ever been.

Based on reports from police forces, the Home Office said that cocaine is now being sold for as little as £20 a gram in some parts of the country.

The most common price for the drug is £40 per gram. Home Office figures for 1998 show the average price was £77.

A gram of heroin can now be bought for as little as £25, with the average price somewhere between £40 and £50 per gram. In 1998, the average was £74.

The Home Office figures are based on data collected from police forces and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

According to DrugScope, a charity that provides research and advice on drugs policy, gram of cocaine can make between 10 and 20 lines for snorting, depending on its strength.

That means a line of cocaine can cost as little as £1, with an average price per line of between £2 and £4.

Okay, time for a back-of-the-envelope.

First, some old statistics:

On the other hand, cocaine as the second most frequently used drug, has seen a rise by around a million users over the past year, with an estimated 4.5 million Europeans reported as having used cocaine in 2006.

Let me count that as 1% of the population. It probably differs a bit by country and such, but since we’re only doing rough calculations, that’s fine. The Netherlands has about 17 million people living in it. The Netherlands has also read the news today that the government has an extra budget shortfall of 20 billion euro for 2009, thanks to the economic crisis. If you can tax cocaine usage to the amount of a bit over 1000 euro per drug user per year, the shortfall is gone.

Making drugs legal and taxing it isn’t likely to impact current legal business very much, apart from prisons and such, and that’s a government function anyway.

If you assume more people do pot than coke, taxing pot as well suddenly makes a lot of sense.

And that’s before you count the savings you can make in law enforcement. It’s time for radical change.

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  1. lol…I’ll drink to that!

2008 World Press Photo Winner

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 14:28 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



The picture shows an armed officer of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department moving through a home in Cleveland, Ohio, following eviction as a result of mortgage foreclosure. Officers have to ensure that the house is clear of weapons, and that the residents have moved out. The winning photograph, taken in March 2008, is part of a story commissioned by Time magazine. The story as a whole won Second Prize in the Daily Life category of the contest.

Jury chair MaryAnne Golon said: “The strength of the picture is in its opposites. It’s a double entendre. It looks like a classic conflict photograph, but it is simply the eviction of people from a house following foreclosure. Now war in its classic sense is coming into people’s houses because they can’t pay their mortgages.

Fellow juror Akinbode Akinbiyi commented: “It is a very ambiguous image. You have to go into it to find out what it is. Then all over the world people will be thinking ‘this is what is happening to all of us’.”

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Obama Dumps Gregg — Hard And Angry

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 14:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here is the statement the White House just put out on kicking Judd Gregg to the curb, in full:

“Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda. Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways. We regret that he has had a change of heart”.

Translation: Gregg asked us for the gig and lied to us, so eff him, this is his fault.

As one longtime White House correspondent just told me, “I have never seen a White House statement that kicks someone in the balls that hard before.”

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Why do we love children

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 14:03 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, Great Picture



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Johann Hari: Despite the Riots and Threats, I Stand By What I Wrote

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 14:01 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Last week, I wrote an article defending free speech for everyone — and in response there have been riots, death threats, and the arrest of an editor who published the article.

Here’s how it happened. My column reported on a startling development at the United Nations. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has always had the job of investigating governments that forcibly take the fundamental human right to free speech from their citizens with violence. But in the past year, a coalition of religious fundamentalist states have successfully fought to change her job description. Now, she has to report on “abuses of free expression” including “defamation of religions and prophets.” Instead of defending free speech, she must now oppose it.

I argued this was a symbol of how religious fundamentalists — of all stripes — have been progressively stripping away the right to freely discuss their faiths. They claim religious ideas are unique and cannot be discussed freely; instead, they must be “respected” — by which they mean unchallenged. So now, whenever anyone on the UN Human Rights Council tries to discuss the stoning of “adulterous” women, the hanging of gay people, or the marrying off of ten year old girls to grandfathers, they are silenced by the chair on the grounds these are “religious” issues, and it is “offensive” to talk about them.

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Pray Your Members of Congress Took Speed Reading Lessons

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 13:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


Today’s version of the bill clocks in at 1,434 pages and that’s not the final version. What Congress will likely vote on tomorrow (because President Obama has practically demanded that he sign it on Monday) is likely going to be larger.

There is no chance in the world that any member of Congress is going to be able to read the bill by morning unless they are a trained speed reader. Even then, they’re not going to know the full ramifications of what the bill contains. I’ll do some back of the envelope calculations to prove it.

Let’s start with two generous assumptions: that the bill remains at 1,434 pages, and it gets in the hands of your member of Congress at 8 PM. Let’s also assume that there are about 350 words on each page

In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating.


Just know, as you’re at work tomorrow, that the Democrats will be voting to spend about $800 billion dollars without having the foggiest idea what they’ll be spending it all on. Oh, to be sure, they know how much money they’ll spend on their little pet projects but that’s it. They are taking on faith that throwing all that money at our economy is going to be good for us, even though they have no good idea where all the money is going to land.

Supporters of this bill have said that they have to “do something” fast. Well, that’s exactly what they’re going to do – “something”. I suggest that we stop them from passing this bill until they can at least tell us exactly what that “something” is.

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“Schizophrenia can’t hold me down, Thank God for Jesus!”

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 13:46 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Pastafarian News


A father accused of killing his 5-year-old son and wounding his wife inside his home was arraigned this morning in a Virginia Beach court.

Joseph Henry Hagerman III, 33, said late last night in media interviews that he decapitated his son that morning.

“If I didn’t take my son’s life, he would have lost his eternal salvation,” Hagerman said in an interview with WVEC-TV. “I know it’s a horrible thing.”

“I didn’t want him to lose his salvation,” Hagerman said. “I wanted him to go fast. I didn’t want him to be tortured.”

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How To Sort By Average Rating

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 12:18 by John Sinteur in category: Software



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Broken Hill Dust Storm Australia

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 12:16 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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U.S. Court Finds No Link Between Vaccines, Autism

Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


A special federal court ruled yesterday that vaccines do not cause autism and that thousands of families with autistic children are not entitled to compensation, delivering a major blow to an international movement that has tried for years to link childhood immunizations with the devastating disorder.

The ruling closes one chapter in a long feud that has pitted families with autistic children against the bulk of the scientific establishment. Those who believe passionately that routine childhood shots are to blame for the rising toll of autism feel they are locked in a David-and-Goliath struggle against vaccine manufacturers, corrupt scientists, federal agencies and the mainstream media. It remains to be seen whether yesterday’s ruling will end the controversy — or be seen as just more evidence of what some call a conspiracy.

The vast majority of credible scientific studies have shown — and all federal health agencies have strenuously argued — that there is no connection between vaccines and autism. And public health officials have repeatedly warned that fewer immunizations will endanger children’s lives.

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Posted on February 13th, 2009 at 7:34 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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