the gauntlet is thrown

This judge needs to Get Over It. Or perhaps Rise Above It.


"game of lighter fluid tag ends badly"

Really, the headline tells you all you need to know, but the rest of the article is here.

How else could a game of lighter fluid tag possibly end?



Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Scott Silverman declared a mistrial in a civil fraud case Wednesday after being informed a witness on the stand in his courtroom had engaged in text-messaging while the judge spoke with attorneys during a sidebar conference. The dispute is over the sale of condo tower in North Miami Beach.

While the judge and attorneys conferred, a courtroom spectator passed a note to a defense attorney saying the witness, Sky Development chief operating officer Gavin Sussman, appeared to be text-messaging Sky chief executive Yizhak Toledano at the plaintiff table.

Yup, he was texting about his testimony.

This was a really, really bad idea.


never heard of this one!

New York preserves a "unique" cause of action for loss of right of sepulchre, or the immediate right to bury your own loved ones.

It is a sad case, and one that I would have bet money would not succeed. The hospital, however, argued that the claim was time-barred, and the A.D. held (quite sensibly) that the plaintiff's injury did not occur until he became aware that his brother had died and was buried in a potter's field (another fine old term). I am fascinated by the discussion in the case. Melfi v. Mount Sinai Hospital, 122974/02 (A.D. First Department, April 28, 2009).


why i think twitter is stupid

How to lose a job with one tweet. It's not even that I think the applicant is "stupid" (naive, unwise, yes). The very application lends itself to this kind of unguarded naivete.


virtual buddha machine

I have no explanation for why I love the Buddha Machine so much. I don't even own a physical one yet, either release 1.0 or 2.0, although I come pretty close with looping the tracks on my Zune. I like the idea of having something that is like a cheap transistor radio, not the sleeker-than-sleek Zune. But I am utterly fascinated by the wall of Buddha Machines. When I get all 21 going at once I feel like a meditative Phil Spector (a contradiction in terms, that). It sounds really cool. And as much as I like the Buddha Machine I'm not going to purchase 21 physical units.

ETA: I put a Buddha Machine as a widget on this very blog. Now how about that.


how does it DO that?

It's a standard feature of social networking sites that they offer you suggested new connections based on the connections you already have.

LinkedIn is starting to freak me out. It has suggested to me several out-of-state individuals to whom I have no openly-discernable connection but who are, in fact, actual clients of mine. Who might not want that broadcast on a social networking site.

How does LinkedIn know?


holding my breath

One of the biggest mental shifts that I've had to make over the years as I think about computers--which I do a lot--is learning how to think about networks. Way back in the day--and I mean waaaay back in the day--my law firm put a box on my desk (it was a 286! w00t!), connected it to a network, and that was it. It ran or it didn't, and no one ever explained why to me. This was a big firm.

Twenty-one years later, my main business machine is a laptop (my beloved Thinkpad T61, still a classic) that travels largely between the wired network at my office over which I have some control, and a wireless network at my house over which I have complete control. It also trundles around from time to time to hook up with public networks from SeaTac to Aruba and parts in between (I'm particularly fond of the wireless network at the Satellite Cafe in Albuquerque, New Mexico).

I've always been able to make the laptop's connections work. But. In doing a little end-of-the-month maintenance on my system this morning, I focused for the first time that I have the following software running simultaneously on my Thinkpad:

(1) The Windows Vista Network and Sharing Center (part of the OS AFAICT);
(2) Lenovo's Access Connections (which has always worked really well); and
(3) Network Magic, which I used to set up my Rube Goldberg system at home that links a Win XP Home machine, a Windows 7 beta machine, a Windows 2000 machine, an XBox 360, a Zune, and, from time to time, my laptop (Vista Business SP 2 beta RC).

Now, I still know next-to-nothing about networks. How is it that I have been able to persuade these three pieces of software to peacefully coexist (and to split infinitives)? Is it time for dialectical bootstrapping?

I'm holding my breath.


data rot

New nomenclature, old concept. Along with global warming, something else to worry about.


the minimalist workspace

I'm working towards this. I have noticed, however, the peculiar phenomenon that as my workspace grows ever less cluttered, the desks of my staff get more cluttered. Are they less committed to miminalism than I, or simply in no position to complain about me dumping my crap on their nice clean desks? Hm.


dialectical bootstrapping

I'm all about making better decisions, so imagine my delight when I stumbled on research by Stefan M. Herzog and Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel about a decisionmaking technique with the added benefit of a delightfully jargon-loaded name.

According to the article,
Dialectical bootstrapping is a method by which an individual mind averages its' [sic] own conflicting opinions, thus simulating the "wisdom of the crowd." In other words, dialectical bootstrapping enables different opinions to be created and combined in the same mind. For example, in this study, participants were asked to identify dates of various historical events. After they gave their initial answer, the participants were asked to think of reasons why the answer may be wrong and were then asked to come up with an alternative second (dialectical) answer.

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that the average of the participants' first answer with the second answer was much closer to the correct answer, compared to the original answers on their own. In addition, the dialectical bootstrapping method (that is, thinking about why your own answer might be incorrect and then averaging across estimates) resulted in more accurate answers compared to simply making a second guess without considering why the first answer may be wrong.

These findings suggest that dialectical bootstrapping may be an effective strategy in helping us come up with better answers to many types of problems.



how not to use a lawyer

You never know when your snotty letter is going to be posted on the Internet.


strange bedfellows

Because of XM Radio's well-publicized financial problems, I haven't been surprised to see changes in their radio lineup (wreaking havoc with my preset buttons, but it's not all about me). So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that the traffic and weather channels would change.

But what a change! Looking for the channel with Seattle traffic while stuck in same last night, I found that it now combines Seattle and San Francisco traffic and weather. Well, that would be quite a commute.

Curiosity led me to listen to the other traffic stations and discover additional weird combos:

Atlanta and Miami
Phoenix and San Diego
Chicago and St. Louis
Pittsburgh and Minneapolis
(my favorite) Las Vegas and Detroit

Not to mention the fundamental weirdness of listening to a traffic report for San Francisco while driving in the dark in Seattle.

Yes, I can see that broadcasting the Calendrier Sportif reduces the number of weather and traffic channel space available. Did XM acquire this along with Howard Stern when they combined with Sirius? I hope they received something more useful.


the real reason that dinosaurs became extinct

Their eyesight was too #*%*% crappy to use text messages effectively.


I have been trying to use this thing called Twitter (where I am, creatively, "tdgor"), and my texting ability is severely limited by my inability to see the buttons on the damn phone.

This is sad.


what ARE they teaching them in school?

I believe I understand what the school is getting at here, but I'd like to see schoolteachers speak more clearly than this.


col. mustard, in the pantry, with a lead pipe

I actually am beginning to think that it would be interesting to be a network administrator.

Nothing in my training or experience to date has given me the tools to solve this conundrum:

Our server has Windows Server 2003, which is (of course) not quite the same thing as Windows Small Business Server 2003. SBS 2003 has Windows Server 2003 as one component, but it also has added stuff (if you trust the word of Wikipedia). SBS 2003 is not automatically compatible with Windows Vista on the client OSes (speaking of clients in the network sense and not the legal sense here). There is little material available on Server 2003 compatibility with Vista, but by inference it might need the same patch. But I'm not sure.

Our server also has SQL Server 2000, which is apparently also not compatible with Windows Vista for client OSes (if you trust the word of Microsoft).

Our network includes at least four Windows Vista machines, one of which is Home Premium and not Business, a bunch of XP machines, and a Mac running Windows on a VM. I sincerely hope no one is still using Windows 98, but I wouldn't be too surprised.

If we upgrade SQL Server too much, I'm concerned it will not be compatible with Windows Server (is anyone still following me?).

And what's going to happen when people start upgrading to Windows 7?

Maybe I should just quietly switch the server over to Ubuntu.

May I please go back to practicing law now?


full circle

First, there was the Walkman (circa 1979 or so). It was cool. But I owned a turntable (and an 8-track tape deck). I was in law school and poor. So I didn't buy one.

Next, there was the Discman. It was cool. But by then I had replaced my turntable with a cassette tape player, and I didn't want to replace all my replacement cassettes with CDs. So I didn't buy one.

Then, there was the iPod. It was cool. But I had started buying replacement CDs, and hadn't emotionally accepted the notion of buying my music in electronic format (because I didn't have the capability to rip CDs at the time). So I didn't buy one.

This Christmas, my family gave me a 120 GB Zune, which I might note has more storage capacity than my workhorse office computer (and probably is close to the capacity of our server). It is way cool.

Fry's is now advertising a turntable that plugs into one's USB drive to enable one to convert one's vinyl records direct-to-digital. (Meanwhile, thirty years have passed.)

Now, where did I put that copy of Tommy?