If it's not a crime, you'll do no time.
“Everybody hates spamsters, there's no question about that. I'm not prepared
to go ahead, Mr. Siegal. I need to be independently satisfied that a crime
- Judge Alvin Hellerstein of Manhattan federal court
to Federal prosecutor David Siegal
24-year-old former AOL employee Jason Smathers may not be able to plead guilty
to the crime prosecutors have charged him with. The judge felt it
was not clear
anyone — a requirement of
federal “can-spam” legislation that took effect earlier this year.
If he didn't, then there's no crime according to the law that's being applied.
list of 92 million AOL addresses and sold it to a Las Vegas spammer. The list
to be still
circulating among spammers.
I wonder if the “can-spam” legislators are kicking themselves.
Birds, Bees, and the Fruit of Technology's Tree
An A.P. story titled “Sex
Tape on Internet Roils Indian Public” is an interesting tale of how societies
absorb and relate to technology, and how exposure to other cultures produces
unexpected and sometimes unwanted results.
[Let's pause to talk about the title of the article. There was no tape, but the AP editors
must have figured the word “tape” communicated better than what it really was:
a 2:37 digital video clip, probably MPEG. Younger and more adventurous users
internet are completely
comfortable with the concept. Less-savvy folks, it seems, would have been distracted
by any term other than “tape.” But, I digress...]
What's the story? Two 17-year-old students of The Delhi
Public School, one of New Delhi's best known private schools, are in love. During an amourous encounter,
the girl performs fellatio on him, and the ingenious Indian boy (the son of
a rich Indian businessman) subscribes to the brilliant impulse to whip out his cell phone
and capture a vid of the event. The
boy then gives copies
to three of his friends, and before you know it, the “tape” ends up in the
hands of disc sellers in New Delhi. An engineering student at a prestigious
Indian university then offers the disc for sale on the Indian subsidiary of
eBay. The officials get involved. The boy gets sent to Juvenile
Detention for getting his knob polished before
Canada by her parents. But it doesn't stop there. Avnish Bajaj, the American-born
head of the eBay subsidiary, is arrested under an Indian cyber-porn law, and
passport is confiscated...
Major scandal. Bajaj's arrest triggered a diplomatic spat between the United
States and India. eBay has said they might reconsider doing business
in India for scapegoating one of their top managers. And controversy:
“It came to me as a surprise that kids are having sex
so soon... What are we trying to say here?... What do we believe is wrong?
Was it that he had sex? Was it that he sent out the clip? Which part is
the disturbing part?”
- Barkha Dutt, host of India's most popular television
talk show on
“Ultimately we have to see bigger picture. We want to increase
Internet penetration. All this will only happen if you allow service providers
the freedom... The law needs to be more industry friendly
and more pragmatic.”
- Pawan Duggal, cyberlaw expert
It's amusing that Duggal would have chosen the word “penetration” in discussing
this particular scandal. I take what he's saying to mean whatever you do, don't interfere with big business my friend; Indian society's already changed, whether you like it or not. Well scandals generally suck, but this time it seems that sucking was a key ingredient of the scandal! It seems Monica Lewinsky was not alone, or did she somehow inspire the teen-agers? That's it! Clinton has had an adverse affect on Indian society... but I digress again... The other ingredient of the scandal was technology. Science fiction always projects the issues of current society into the context of an imaginary future. If you're looking for the current-day fodder for all that talk of the Prime Directive on Star Trek, you've found it.
As of today, each day will get a bit longer until the Summer Solstice.
PhotoShop + iView = Nice
I think Photoshop has a feature for creating HTML-based galleries, but I like
the browsing and organizing features of iView better, especially since I
to CS yet. I shot a talent show this weekend, and needed to post images from
the show. Processing the images manually would have taken hours longer —
in the end, there were about 140 images to go into the gallery.
Since iView Pro can read .psd files, I was able to set up an action
to apply sharpening
and basic adjustment layers in Photoshop, saving them as .psd's. I processed
the entire folder full of images and dragged
the resulting .psd's
I could drag the
inside the iView window to organize them, and further refine
as needed, using a contextual menu in iView to open selected files with
Once the adjustments had been made, and the final sequence was set, a single
menu item in iView allowed me to generate HTML, thumbnails, and full-size
images (all JPEGs) from the selected .psd's. The results are very good: take
In experiments to build another web gallery, and found that I prefer not to
let iView scale my large images, because it makes portrait and landscape images
sizes when it does. So, Photoshop will remain an important part of the
workflow when I make galleries. My next experiment is to see if I can use iView
to generate image files for SimpleViewer. SimpleViewer's thumbnails are square.
I may need to square off the thumbnail images to get the right appearance.
Good Judge of Character, or Simply a Character?
“I have heard the anguish in his voice and seen his eyes when
we talk about the danger in Iraq and the fact that youngsters are over there
in harm's way,” Bush said at a White House news conference.
This is the same guy who looked into Putin's heart, and saw that he was a
good man. He seems to have changed his tune lately. Aw, heck, maybe he just
needs to take off those rose-colored glasses and leave them off.
Tony Blair, Copycat?
He's just made a surprise visit to Baghdad, just as his good friends Dubya and
Rummy have before. Surprise visits by statemen and surprise attacks by insurgents. Here's a tag line for ya: Baghdad — City of Surprise.
Tyco has been running ads saying they're “a vital part of your world.” The
copy sounds a lot like the text of those run by the plastics industry last
year. I figure this is all damage control on the heels of the very public scandal
involving their former chairman.