A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for April, 2010

Next Verion of WebOS Coming Soon

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Well according to an e-mail I received today a new version of WebOS is probably on the horizion:

The next version of webOS is coming soon.

You will receive an email alert in early May announcing the availability of an SDK release candidate. Please be prepared to begin testing your apps right away.

Because the scope of the changes in this update is limited, we won’t be going through a full SDK beta cycle:

You will have approximately one week to report show-stopper bugs in webOS before it is released to carriers.

Once the build has been released to carriers, you will have another 2-3 weeks to address app-level bugs before the update lands on consumer devices.

It is especially important to test PDK apps against this release candidate. Developers of non-PDK apps should also test their apps to catch any unanticipated issues.

I wonder if it will have HP’s branding on it by then.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 30th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Technology

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More On Arizona SB 1070

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As I mentioned earlier I do not like Arizona’s new law on grounds that it’s vaguely written and ignores presumption of innocence. Of course with all the screaming, pissing, and moaning over this bill I’ve been trying to figure out why the Hell it was passed in the first place.

Like most issues this one is not black and white. I admit I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the crime rates of other states unless it comes up in an anti-gun article trying to use those rates to promote their campaign of disarmament. Looking further into SB 1070 the main argument appears to deal with the fact that Arizona has a slight crime problem. First and foremost Phoenix kidnapping capital of the country.

This seems to be the main justification for the passing of the bill, crime. But of course the issue isn’t black and white even with that information. See most of the kidnappings appear to be drug and gang related. But most importantly most of the crime committed by these illegal immigrants is against… illegal immigrants:

Police in the desert city say specialized kidnap rings are snatching suspected criminals and their families from their homes, running them off the roads and even grabbing them at shopping malls in a spiraling spate of abductions.

“Phoenix is ground zero for illegal narcotics smuggling and illegal human smuggling in the United States,” said Phil Roberts, a Phoenix Police Department detective.

“There’s a lot of illegal cash out there in the valley, and a lot of people want to get their hands on it.”

Last year alone, Phoenix police reported 357 extortion-related abductions — up by nearly half from 2005 — targeting individuals with ties to Mexican smuggling rings.

So now I have the justification of the new bill. By targeting illegal immigrants specifically Arizona could stand to dramatically lower their overall crime rate. The problem is the implementation still sucks as it’s vague and gives the police the authority to target individuals without anything more than reasonable suspension.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 30th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Another School Attack in China

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Seriously what the fuck is going on over there? This is the fourth school attack in that country this month. This time a man used a hammer to beat down five kids. But according to the anti-gunners if we ban guns from schools no more mass attacks will happen (a China proved yesterday when 28 kids and three adults were stabbed by a man with a knife, which are illegal to carry around in China).

Written by Christopher Burg

April 30th, 2010 at 8:04 am

What Your Politicians Are Really Saying

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Politicians in every country try to put on a good face. Well as Gordon Brown just learned if you’re going to bad mouth somebody when you get into your car you may want to remove that wireless microphone first. Credit goes to this week’s episode of No Agenda for this second a slight humor.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 30th, 2010 at 7:59 am

Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act

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There has been a lot of hullabaloo over Arizona’s new law that has claimed to give police the right to ask for your papers so to speak. With all the hysteria surrounding the bill I decided to go read the bill for myself. I’m not a lawyer but I can generally derive laws from text to an extent. It didn’t take long for me to find the clause that’s causing all the uproar:

B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON’S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

Talk about vague. I found nothing else in this bill that specifies what lawful contact means, what reasonable suspicion means (usually it’s a cheap cop out that gives officers the authority to make up any old reason for searching your person or vehicle), or what they mean by when practicable.

I believe there are always grounds for concern when vague laws are passed. With the wording present seems to make it perfectly legal for an officer to walk up to you and ask for your papers. As no guidelines are in the bill restricting what “reasonable suspicion” is the officer can pretty much make up any old excuse (the suspect was talking in Spanish, etc.). After carousing through the entire bill I can say that yes this is a horrible piece of legislation based on the above mentioned clause.

This law enacts a guilty until proven innocent clause. According the the Supreme Court case Coffin v. United States (and common sense):

The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law.

The entire text of the decision can be read here. It’s a good read as it does go over the history of presumption of innocence. And that is my major quarrel with Arizona’s new law. It violates the basic idea that a person is presumed innocent. Remember no proof of a crime needs to exist for an officer to ask for your papers, just reasonable suspicion (which could be anything really).

Whether you want stronger immigration laws and/or stricter laws against illegal aliens in this country I think you can agree that assuming guilt is no sane way to approach this topic in a free country (and if you think the idea of guilty until proven innocent is a good idea may I suggest moving to China). A person should never have to be assumed guilty without hard evidence collected tying them to the said crime. Having “reasonable suspicion” isn’t hard evidence nor does it constitute an investigation. It just means the officer had a hunch or gut feeling and was able to articulate it well enough to be considered “reasonable” (reasonable of course being different depending on the person you talk to).

Personally I think this is a horrible law that goes against the very ideas this country’s justice system is founded on.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 30th, 2010 at 7:33 am

Second Amendment Enforcement Act

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Good news slaves citizens of Washington D.C. the Second Amendment Enforcement Act has been introduced in Congress. I haven’t read (nor found a copy of at this point) the bill but I’m guessing it’s very similar, if not exactly like, the amendment to the D.C. Voting Rights bill which was pulled (due to the amendment). A copy of the bill can be nabbed over at The Truth About Guns (not Truth About Guns). [Thanks Lee for the notification].

If passed this bill would force the officials of Washington D.C. to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller.

Update 2010-04-29 17:29: Lee down in the comments section was good enough to link to a copy of the bill. The link has been added to the post.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 29th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Intel’s Core i5 and i7 Processors

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OK everybody it’s super geek time here on A Geek With Guns. If you’re doctor has warned you to avoid discussion of computer hardware this post should be ignored. Otherwise proceed with caution.

Intel recently released new processors dubbed the i5 and i7 series. One of the new features of these processors is mandatory integrated graphics core. Needless to say integrated graphics are hated by anybody who does any graphical work so whining has crept up over Intel’s decision. The processors do support switchable graphics units meaning you can seamlessly switch between the integrated graphics core and another graphics processing unit on the system so really it’s a non-issue. But alas people are curious why Intel decided to include integrated graphics as a mandatory option instead of an optional feature. When you look into it having an on board graphics core makes a lot of sense.

Graphics processing units perform better at certain tasks than standard processing units. It used to be GPUs were only used for 3D games and hence only gamers really card what one they had in their system. Alas GPUs are useful for a great deal of things such as video encoding and decoding.

When writing applications generally a programmer writes in a programming language and uses a mechanism (compiler, interpreter, virtual machine, etc.) to convert said language into something the computer actually understands. In the case of compilers a programming language is converted into machine language (simplified explanation). Different CPUs have different instructions available to them and oftentimes developers are forced to compile their applications to the lowest common denominator (an instruction set available on as many CPUs as possible). This means their applications aren’t taking advantage of the best hardware available when it is available.

Having an integrated GPU ensures instructions specific to GPUs will always be there and programming and write their application with this in mind. Granted right now there is no guarantee with all the older processors out there not having integrated graphics, but in time old systems will become the minority and it will be easier to not have to support them.

Intel didn’t include the integrated GPU for monopolistic reasons. If that were the reason I believe they would have made it more difficult to switch to an external graphics card. Intel wanted to ensure the hardware was available on as many systems as possible for doing work made faster by a GPU.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 29th, 2010 at 10:16 am

Body Banks

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I’m guessing most people reading this site don’t remember the ’80’s cyberpunk T.V. show Max Headroom. It was a great, although very short lived, show dealing with all sorts of technological issues. One thing that was prominent in the future were body banks. Body banks were where dead people were shipped to and their organs sold off for sale.

Well Uncle informs us that New York may be going that route. If Assemblyman Brodsky has his way you will become state property upon death and your organs will be dispersed.

Now I’m all for donating your organs upon death but this is outrageous. The state would be laying claim to your body making you property of the government. I’m sorry but if somebody doesn’t want to donate their organs when they die that’s their own damned business.

Kindle 2.5 Firmware Details

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Well it looks like Amazon is going to be pushing out another firmware update to the Kindle (well they are now to “select users” but everybody should get it towards the end of may). The new features look pretty cool.

First the Kindle will finally have a mechanism for organizing books into collections. For me this is probably the best new feature listed on the site (yes I’m easy to please). The problem I currently have is that there are so many books on my Kindle I have to go through five pages just to find the one I’m looking for.

The second coolest feature is the ability to zoom and pan in PDF documents. This may not be that big of an issue for the Kindle DX but the little Kindle doesn’t do well with PDFs unless you put it in landscape mode. The main issue is the Kindle scales the PDF to fit the screen so if it’s a large (as in physical space no file size) PDF the text will be scaled down to a point of being unreadable.

Password protection is also being added to the Kindle. Pretty simply although the Kindle is one of those devices I never really felt a need to password protect. Alas it’s nice to see the feature is there should I change my mind.

Amazon lists more fonts but the description states “enjoy two new larger font sizes…” To me that’s not really adding new fonts, just increasing the maximum size of the ones on there. Seeing as I always have the font size on my Kindle set to the absolute lowest this won’t concern me. They also mentioned improved font clarity which I won’t know what to think until I see it.

Finally the Kindle is going to be getting its social networking on. This will be a wholly useless feature for me but probably a bigger one with you social media addicts out there. You will be able to share passages from your books on Facebook and Twitter. Likewise you’ll also be able to see what passages people find most popular.

It should go without saying (since this was the case with the last firmware update) that if you still have a first generation Kindle you don’t get to come to the new firmware party, sorry.

Overall it sounds like a pretty solid update. Now if Amazon would just hurry up and approve me for their beta Kindle developer program I’d be in very good shape.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 29th, 2010 at 7:24 am

And Palm’s Gone

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No more than a few hours have my little post on Palm appears in your RSS feed Palm gets purchased by HP. And that fell swoop ends an era.

One the upside HP may have decent phones to match with their only other decent product, RPN calculators.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 28th, 2010 at 2:24 pm