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Month: November 2007

Aerial Photos

Aerial Photos

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve posted some decent photos I took on my return flight this past Thanksgiving weekend. I even managed to get a photo of my apartment in the photo above. If you look closely enough you can also find my previous residence, and the building I work in at school. I tried the 500mm mirror lens my father gave me, but the airplane window was too dirty and nothing came out looking focused.

Identityright

Identityright

There are two stories that are big in the news right now, the Hollywood writers strike and identity theft. They aren’t related, but I see them as almost the same issue.

Hollywood writers are striking to force the producers of scripted shows to share online revenues with them. As long as you agree that the writers are due residuals for their work, it makes sense for them to demand their fair share. The producers say that there isn’t any money online and therefore are standing their ground. (Side note: If there isn’t any money online, why are the producers not willing to give a percentage of nothing?)

Copyrights are a big deal, that’s the base of Hollywood’s riches. Hollywood has fought hard to preserve these riches by convincing Congress to pass questionable legislation to protect these rights. Recently a professor at the University of Utah calculated that over a normal day he commits $12.45 million in liability – and he doesn’t even use P2P software. The point of the study is that copyright laws are so ridiculous that ordinary, everyday activities that everyone feels are fine are illegal, so the laws should be changed. Simply making a copyrighted work available for infringing is illegal. My point is that congress has agreed with the content owners enough to enact these highly punitive laws that nearly everyone agrees are insane and no one respects.

Over the last few years there have been numerous cases of personal information being lost or stolen from governmental or private sources. Hard drives and laptops are lost and websites cracked. There are also the simple cases of dumpsters with unshredded confidential information. People are having their identities stolen every day which costs them time and money.

The parallel between copyright and what I’m calling identityright is this: we need laws to punish those who lose confidential information to the same extent we punish copyright infractions. Just like a person is criminally liable for simply making works available for theft, companies (and the government) need to be criminally liable for making identity information available, even if no harm has befallen the individual. If the CEO of a company was personally liable for any lost information, you can bet identity theft would decrease almost overnight. Just like the Hollywood writers feel any use of their creative work deserves compensation, I feel that any misuse of my identity gives me cause for redress.

Is this idea any more ridiculous than the current copyright laws?

Miramar One

Miramar One


Quicktime movie, 26.23mb, 10:36 playing time
7629 frames, 41h41m, ~20s between frames
looking south-west from a friends apartment
as of posting the aerial image does not show the new apartment building
here is a streetview of the location
Nov 14-16, 2007
recommended: large version 752×500, 87.02mb

This is the first time lapse that I’ve time-stamped. I felt it was useful as without the time-stamp, it’s hard to tell exactly what time it is, especially at night. It also allows you to see how traffic changes with each rush hour.

I think this time lapse would have worked pretty well with a very short interval, perhaps a second or less. Obviously, I couldn’t have run it for nearly two days, but it would have converted the traffic from random noise to the main subject. The most interesting stuff happens in the second evening when various mists and clouds come in, so feel free to fast-forward to that.

The biggest problem with this time lapse is the huge number of frames don’t actually contribute to the study. I could shorten the 10 minute running time by increasing the frame rate (or by not including all the frames), but at higher rates the traffic just looks even more random. Things would work better if the view changed much more smoothly.

Gimme Xmas 2007

Gimme Xmas 2007

My birthday wish list was a bit excessive, I know, so here’s a much more reasonable xmas list. Some of these items will need to be mail ordered if you want to get exactly what I link to.

  • ($10-$20) I have a fairly useless 64 MB USB dongle. Something with 1GB or more would be much more useful and not very expensive.
  • ($35) I like helicopters. I’ve heard that the super micro helis like this are kind of fun and nearly indestructible. They’re also not very expensive. I don’t need this exact model, of course.
  • ($25-$200?) I want a really cheap and compact digital camera to strap on my helicopter to take aerial images. Ideally it would have a built-in intervalometer (like this one, but it is too much for what I’m thinking). I’d like it to have a movie mode, too. Otherwise, I’d like a really, truly cheap digital camera that I can strip down and wire it for remote trigger (I have a spare channel on my radio).
  • ($20) If you’d like to buy me a book, I’m getting interested in the Cold War. I’m currently reading a book about Nikita Khrushchev.
  • ($35) I’d like a cheap, durable foam flying wing. I actually already have nearly all the parts needed to put one together.
  • ($20) I’d like a new Cal baseball cap, size 7 1/4. My current one is getting old and grimy. Here is a picture of it from five years ago looking a bit cleaner (naturally).

There ya go. That ought to get you started.