chronovore: (furious)
At work we have fingerprint reader locks at the entrances leading to the building's common spaces such as the elevators and hallways leading to the building's restrooms. Unfortunately they are kind of a pain in the ass, because the registration of the fingerprint alignment is quite finicky, and the bond between the glass and finger does not work well if the proffered digit is overly dry, there is no user feedback from the lock while it scans (Is it reading now? Did that go through? Is it active, or is it warming up to read? Do I need to try again?), etc. I've joked that, if these locks were used in a horror movie where the main character is fleeing from the monster or alien, in movies they always open at the last minute but with these locks the character would just get eaten. They are really uncooperative locks.

So it's quite a stroke of when I'm returning from the restroom and someone else is leaving the dev floor. All they have to do is push a button and the door unlocks, but from the opposite side you have to go through Fort Knox procedures to get back on the floor to work.

Sometimes, however, there will be someone standing on the dev floor side, waiting... they can hear the beep-beep-beep of my employee number being entered, they can then hear the long delay after those beeps, while I fumble my finger around on the glass, trying to find a position that the lock accepts my fingerprint. They're planning to open the door, but they're waiting for me to do it. WHY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON AND OPEN THE DOOR. DO YOU THINK HANS GRUBER IS OUT HERE WITH A BAND OF TERRORISTS, ABOUT TO KICK IN THE DOOR? DO YOU THINK HANS FUCKING GRUBER IS GOING TO BE WAYLAID BY A FINICKY FINGERPRINT LOCK? OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR FOR ME, JOHN McCLANE.
chronovore: (furious)
January 2006A nightmarish neighbor: noisy, nosy, now in jail / Police say they hauled guns, ammo, drugs from his home:
For three years, Bertone, who once worked for the city Housing Authority and ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2000, has wreaked all sorts of havoc in an otherwise quiet community in the southeastern part of the city known as Little Hollywood, officials and his neighbors said Wednesday.

Bertone, 54, doesn't just play loud music, authorities say. At all hours of the day and night, he has blasted police radio broadcasts, shrill oscillating tones, Spanish dance tunes and other noise from speakers he installed on the outside of his home at 336 Lathrop Ave. Police said they could hear the racket from 100 yards away.

Bertone isn't just a nosy neighbor, they add.

Police said he hooked up floodlights and six cameras that swept the block. Inside his home, he could monitor his neighbors' movements on four video screens.
Flash forward to November 2006 - SAN FRANCISCO / Blaze guts home of ex-noisy neighbor / Fire called accident -- owner plans to leave neighborhood:
The home of a San Francisco man who once tormented his neighbors by tracking them with surveillance cameras and blaring music from the roof went up in flames Wednesday, in what firefighters called an accidental blaze.

The two-alarm fire broke out just after noon near the water heater in Don Bertone's home at 336 Lathrop Ave., in a southeastern neighborhood known as Little Hollywood. Firefighters believe heat from the appliance ignited fumes from a nearby can of gasoline.

chronovore: (Default)
Luckless Predator Only Attracted to Undercover Cops | Threat Level |
By Kevin Poulsen Email Author |  August 14, 2009 | 2:51 pm |

It’s official. There’s nobody in the chat rooms but pedophiles and undercover police.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court upheld the conviction of an Indiana man whose online efforts to proposition underage girls led him to not one, not two, but three undercover cops, none of whom apparently knew about the others.

The case began in August 2006, when aspiring sexual predator James Daniel started an online conversation with Amanda_13, a fake 13-year-old girl voiced by Sergeant Richard Howard of the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.

After several highly explicit chats, Daniel asked Amanda_13 to meet him at a park in Valparaiso, Indiana, to have sex. When he showed up, he was arrested for inducing an individual under 18 to engage in criminal sexual activity.

When Secret Service agents searched Daniel’s computer, they found logs of chats with two other apparent minors, who described themselves as 13 and 15 years old, respectively. Federal prosecutors introduced the chats at Daniel’s trial as evidence of his perverted motives.

Supposedly, it was only after Daniel was convicted that the feds realized that one of those girls, daisy13_Indiana, was also a cop working the very same Secret Service operation. They informed Daniel’s attorney, who appealed on the grounds that the government improperly withheld information that would have proven entrapment.

The case became even more bizarre when the three-judge appellate panel reviewing the conviction saw the screen name of the third supposed teenager, blonddt, and recognized it from an earlier case.

“To our surprise, the government was unaware until this panel told it at oral argument that the other screen name, blonddt, was also an officer from the Indiana operation,” wrote Judge Diane Wood (.pdf) on Thursday.

Despite the prosecutorial missteps, the panel upheld Daniel’s conviction, ruling that the additional chat logs still showed his intent to commit a crime. Daniel is serving a sentence of 17-and-a-half years in prison, followed by supervised release for life.

There’s no evidence in the record that he ever succeeded in talking with a real underage girl.
chronovore: (magnum)
With Jobs Scarce in Japan, Women Become Professional Flirts -

Even before the economic downturn, almost 70 percent of women ages 20 to 24 worked jobs with few benefits and little job security, according to a government labor survey. The situation has worsened in the recession.

For that reason, a growing number of Japanese women seem to believe that work as a hostess, which can easily pay $100,000 a year, and as much as $300,000 for the biggest stars, makes economic sense.

Even part-time hostesses and those at the low end of the pay scale earn at least $20 an hour, almost twice the rate of most temp positions. (emphasis mine)
Yes, except in the temp positions the job description is not "tolerate encourage sexual advances from the boss or client."
chronovore: (Default)
The wife and I have a tendency to forget our own wedding anniversary. We think it's kind of cute that neither one of us is interested in "marking chalk lines on the prison walls." (I kid. It's love.) The other day I showed her a wedding picture which I'd not looked closely at in a while, and mentioned how it made me feel unusually old. She looked at herself and said, "Yes, wow, I look so young. When was this, 20 years ago?!"I said, "Um... it's our wedding day.  So it's been 12 years. You remember at least that we've not been married 20 years, right?"

We're not big on keeping close track. Or math.

Still, some anniversaries should not be passed without recognition, but I've managed just that, again: As of this week, I've been in Japan for 8 years.
Read more... )

chronovore: (Default)
So the judge in the cyber-bullying case has overturned the jury's "guilty" judgment, acquitting the defendant of the criminal charges. I didn't even know judges could /do/ that. What's the point of the jury trial, then?

The lawyer had this to say:

Steward wouldn’t say how much the case had cost his client, only noting that her parents had taken care of his fee, which was “significantly lower” than what he normally charged.

He said that Drew and her family have since moved out of Missouri, due to the harassment they received, noting that she’s been “an internet punching bag for almost three years” having been “tried, convicted and lynched by bloggers” and others who didn’t know all the facts of the case.

Not the most considerate choice of words, (a) because unlike the target of her abuse Drew is actually still alive, and (b) lynching refers to hanging, which is how her victim killed herself.

chronovore: (mouthy)
The Pirate Bay acquired for $7.8 million // News:
Global Gaming Factory X has acquired file-sharing site The Pirate Bay for SEK 60 million (USD 7.8 million).

Along with the purchase of file-sharing tech firm Peerialism, GGF intends to turn the website legitimate, offering compensation for copyright owners whose content is featured on the site.

"We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site," said Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF

"The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary.

"Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File-sharers need faster downloads and better quality," he added.

Peerialism creates file-sharing technology, which GGF intends to incorporate into The Pirate Bay when the acquisition is completed in August.

"Peerialism has developed a new data distribution technology which now can be introduced on the best known file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay," offered Johan Ljungberg, CEO of Peerialism.

"Since the technology is compatible with the existing it will quickly allow for new values to be created for all key stakeholders and facilitate new business opportunities."

The four founders of The Pirate Bay - Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström - were found guilty of violating intellectual property rights earlier this year, each receiving a one year jail sentence and fines totalling USD 3,620,000.
chronovore: (Default)
Dear Lazyweb,
Though I'm a big proponent of meeting and playing with co-workers outside the office, because playing and talking with other people improves interpersonal relationships, fosters empathy or at least sympathy, and leads to greater acknowledgment of each other as something more than an office drone who can only ask for favors or pile on additional work.

However, when it comes to social networking sites, it seems best to Stay Well Clear of co-workers, not only so they're not scoping the pictures from the family picnic from that day you couldn't work on the weekend, or entries about hangovers when you reported in with "some kind of cold, and maybe a fever."

With those two examples, it seems like exchanging gamertags should be a good idea because it allows for outside-the-office gameplay time,  but on closer inspection it's probably closer to SNS, isn't it?

I mean, co-workers here are frequently talking about their online experiences and we all complain about how the 360 is not selling in Japan -- but no-one exchanges their GamerTag information. Here we have a mess of potential available players, but no dice. Is it the fear of a 3 a.m. gaming session being found out that creates that social barrier? Or are they afraid of dominating co-workers too much, effectively having to take it easy on them rather than being able to just game and release stress?

How does this hold up outside Japan? Are European or North American offices similar?
chronovore: (mouthy)
Popgadget Personal Technology for Women: Privacy protestors block Google Street View "spy" car:
Street View, Google's attempt to index the entire world in 360 degree photographs, hit a snag this week in the small village of Broughton in Buckinghamshire, England.

Residents formed a human wall, stopping Google's vehicle from entering the village or capturing any useful pictures of its outskirts.

Paul Jacobs, who spotted the Street View car and called an impromptu demonstration, says he was motivated by a fear of burglary, as the area has seen three burglaries in the last six weeks: "If our houses are plastered all over Google, it's an invitation for more criminals to strike."

What do you think of Street View? I know I've had fun using it, but perhaps I'd feel differently if my house were clearly visible. Or if I had anything worth stealing.

Via The Guardian.
chronovore: (Default)
Some good news: my next-term contract talks went well today. There was a huge buildup where I thought they were going to tell me they couldn't hire me, but it was about how they can't give me a raise. I hadn't even asked for a raise. I've never received a raise since accepting this position. The Japanese economy has been recessed since my arrival, and is in the middle of tanking, pulling a tragic wingman-follows-the-lead-fighter-into-the-ground maneuver in sync with the USA. (Note: I do not believe we are doomed.) Anyway, between their historic reticence to provide a raise, and the economic environment, I'd not planned to ask for more money -- instead proposing more flexible hours and possible work-at-home time. They seemed open to both suggestions.

They also wanted to reinforce that they like me, but the barrier between contractor-style and employee-style relations needs to be respected, which I had to hold myself back from nodding gleefully at, since it allows even more leverage to get the flexible hours and work-at-home / offsite clauses to be integrated.

Anyway, in short, it looks like I'll be employed here for another 2 year period (though I may request 1 year, and then renegotiate), maybe with more personal freedoms than at any time in the last 8 years.

The mediocre news is that though that went well, it had looked like I might get tomorrow afternoon off to cool my jets in Namba with [ profile] aalfonso and maybe even my first two-day weekend in a while, but we have [DESCRIPTIVE TEXT DELETED TO COMPLY WITH CORPORATE SECRECY POLICY] so I'll be here on Saturday and Sunday, leading directly to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...
chronovore: (mouthy)
Octuplets stun doctors at California hospital | Reuters:
By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California woman shocked doctors by giving birth on Monday to octuplets, believed to be only the second set of eight babies born in the United States.

The six boys and two girls were doing well and were in stable condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, said Dr. Karen Maples at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower.

But two needed some help to breath with ventilators, she told a press conference.

The eight babies were born nine weeks prematurely by Caesarean section over a five-minute period, stunning a 46-member medical team that was expecting only seven babies.

They weighed between 1 pound 8 ounces (680 grams) and 3 pounds 4 ounces (1.47 kg) and doctors initially identified them by the letters A through H as they were born.

"We decided to proceed with the delivery in anticipation of seven babies. We had done some drills, some preliminary dry runs," Maples said.
Read more... )

helmet laws

Jan. 7th, 2009 01:18 pm
chronovore: (mouthy)
BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigeria bikers' vegetable helmets:
In the city of Kaduna, drivers waved palm fronds and rode in convoy to protest at the price of helmets, which can cost up to $29 (£20).

They say passengers often steal the helmets once they reach their destination.

Stories have also appeared in the local papers highlighting passengers' fears that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed.
chronovore: (Default)
UFC 91 Video: Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture Talk to ESPN's Mike and Mike (via MMA FanHouse)
chronovore: (furious)
I was honestly hoping to be graceful in victory, even with as little faith as I'd had that victory was possible, much less assured.

Now that Obama has won, I suddenly find that I want to subject all of the Neocons and all of the republicans who, even though they might not have agreed with Bush and Cheney, have spent the last eight years either smugly confident and supportive of all their crap, or even worse -- silent despite feeling an unease about the course our government has taken -- and subject them to the same behavior.

I remember when the Shrub got up in front of the nation and said something along the lines of, "I'm the President now. I'm the President of America; I'm even the President of those of you who didn't vote for me." That smug, petty, revealing remark about what a power-hungry, selfish President he would become has been ringing in my head for 8 years. Cheney trying to cast the Vice Presidency as some kind of exercise in quantum state logic problem, claiming whatever suits him when he should have been convicted for contempt of court. Rummy. Man, just... Rumsfield. And Rove perhaps more than anyone else: "The Architect." These lying scum had been in charge of the country for too long, and so proud about hijacking our grief over 9/11 and trotting it out whenever we needed to be scared into submission enough to agree to their agenda.

I've grown so sick of it over the last eight years I had no idea how much I've been bottling up. I've been in despair, been angry, and been ashamed over the course of things. And part of me wants to be as graceless in victory as the opposition has been now, for 1/5th of my years on this planet, for a third of my time as a voter. Part of me wants to get all testosterone-poisoned jock on the losing players, and humiliate them. Rub their face in the mess they've made, and put them outside. Begin shouting "America, love it or leave it!" back in their faces. Someone once told me that anger is just another face that fear takes. I'm not sure I agree, but I've been angry for awhile, and afraid that we would not recover, that perhaps the more reasonable among us, those with enough common sense to be conflicted on complex issues, might never have the power in our own hands again. That fear nearly allowed me to become as shrill and intolerant as those that have been in power for the last 8 years.

In the end, people taking the high road are setting enough of an example that I'll try and refrain from teabagging anyone crying into their McCain/Palin commemorative hankies. This article, in particular makes me more hopeful than vengeful: eastside93's Blog | Talking Points Memo | I Didn't Vote For Obama Today
I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I've openly supported Obama since March. But I didn't vote for him today.
chronovore: (Default)
I'd thought to get one of those pre-cut salads at the store today, but when I went past the fish section in the supermarket there were prepared o-bento lunches, including one that had a big hunk of seasonal buri (large catch Yellowtail) grilled teriyaki style, two deep-fried shrimp, head and all, and a breaded deep-fried oyster which has just come into season. In addition, there were boiled Chinese snap peas and sato-imo, shredded gobo root, pickled octopus and seaweed, and a reasonable portion of rice which was topped with pickled plums.

The whole thing was ¥580. Sometimes I forget how nice it is to eat in this country, but today I'm well reminded.


Oct. 17th, 2008 04:52 pm
chronovore: (Default)
Coilhouse » Blog Archive » Resistance is NOT Futile. Please Register and Vote.:
Cynicism will not protect you from disappointment. It will not shield your loved ones from harm or neglect. It will never heal your community, fix the ailing economy, or return any semblance of dignity to this country.

Your indifference is not a safety blanket; it is a shroud.

Your vote is your voice. Say something.
chronovore: (mouthy)
My family, probably like most of your guys' families, are fond of forwarding chain emails to me. I used to ask them to stop, but they never understood why, and I finally just chose to not care about them. I rarely get pissed off at chain emails anymore, but this really irked me:

chain email text, lame-ass formatting intact )
chronovore: (mouthy)
Charlie's Diary: Bechdel's Law:
Alison Bechdel, cartoonist and author of Dykes to Watch Out For, has an interesting observation on movies — a little test she applies to them. It's a very short checklist, viz:

1. Does it have at least two women in it,

2. Who [at some point] talk to each other,

3. About something besides a man.

I bring this up as a point of interest, because of what it says about the blind spots of popular entertainment. Most Hollywood movies fail this test; if you extend #3 only slightly, to read "About something besides men or marriage or babies", you can strike out about 50% of the small proportion of mass-entertainment movies that do otherwise seem to pass the test.


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