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Obstructionist Husband

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Some good news on the software patent lawsuit front, also some bad news, then some interesting news [May. 27th, 2016|06:09 am]
Obstructionist Husband
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The good news is that a non-technical jury found that Google's use of Java to create Android was not infringing. Oracle has been suing Google over this for years and the jury came back after three days of deliberation and said Google was OK with what they did. Considering that Sun, who was bought out by Oracle, also thought it was OK even though Sun didn't like it, probably was a key factor.

Revealed in the testimony was that Oracle tried to develop their own phone using Java and couldn't.

I'm not a huge fan of Google. Yes, their products are pretty good, and I use their search engine, maps, and Gmail regularly. It's their original 'Don't be evil' mantra that bugs me because they monetize everything. Now, a business has to make money to survive in business, but why couldn't they be more upfront about it?

The basic standard is that if you're not paying for a service, then YOU (and your information) is the product being sold.

Oracle is, of course, going to appeal the verdict. Had Google lost, it is rumored that they could ask for as much as $9 BILLION dollars, insert your best Dr. Evil voice as needed.


The bad news concerns Apple. Amongst the many lawsuits against it at any given time was one from VirnetX that claimed that Apple was infringing against its patents with its Facetime and iMessage apps. Yesterday they lost the case. VirnetX is a patent troll: they buy lots of patents, wait for a product that is vaguely similar to be successful the go crying to the East Texas courts. VirnetX claims that Apple has done irreparable harm to its brand, even though they've never produced a product and no one has heard of them outside of the patent troll game.

So Apple may have to cough up a heck of a lot of money, or possibly turn off iMessages and Facetime, which would suck in a major way and probably FINALLY! get the attention of Congress and the need for patent reform.

Me, personally, I don't use Facetime but I can appreciate the product. I use iMessages regularly, and I love the fact that my texts, which are all so sexy and top secret, are very strongly encrypted and my cell carrier can't see them since they're shunted through Apple's servers. So I would hate to see them go.

Apple is, naturally, going to appeal the decision.



Apple just hired the co-founder of Silent Circle, Blackphone, and PGP Corp. Jon Callas is an expert when it comes to encrypted communications, so presumably he's going to beef-up Apple crypto and possibly revamp iMessages and Facetime so they're even more secure and perhaps no longer infringe on VirnetX's patents.

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Yep, them Dems are definitely after our guns [May. 22nd, 2016|08:08 am]
Obstructionist Husband
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"Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. She wants to take your guns away."
-- Donald Trump, speaking to the NRA

"You can kiss your guns goodbye...If she could, Hillary would ban every gun, destroy every magazine...and put your name on a government registration list."
-- NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre

I can't count the swarms of government officials constantly pestering me to surrender all of my firearms, it's a full-time job shooting near them to keep them off my property. Yep, full-time job, not to mention the ammunition costs! There are mountains and mountains of guns that the government has taken, just sitting out there, next to the FEMA concentration camps which are run by Obamacare death panels.

I am so tired of this dog whistle being blown. Obama hasn't come for your guns, he's actually loosened some restrictions, which I totally disagree with. And don't give me this shit about defending yourself from criminals, the violent crime rate is the lowest it's been in most places in over 20 years. You're more likely to be defrauded by cyber-crooks and Wall Street bankers than armed thugs, as long as you're white. If you're black, different set of equations.

The reality is that these have been bumper years for gun and ammunition makers, and they make up 70% of the NRA's budget. So how is the NRA talking for hobbyists and hunters? They're the lobbying group for the gun industry, they just don't admit it.
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More pix: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 2.5 meter telescope [May. 22nd, 2016|12:50 am]
Obstructionist Husband
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Sloan Digital Sky Survey 2.5 meter telescope

Sloan Digital Sky Survey 2.5 meter telescope

I shot these about 3 hours ago, got home a little while ago and did a little bit of Photoshop on them. The exposures are 30 seconds at f4: the clouds were moving pretty fast. These were shot with my Canon 6D with the 17-40 zoom at 17mm

The telescope is the Sloan 2.5 meter, not my wife's 3.5.

More telescope photos, and others, at Wayne West Photography.com.
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I wish it were possible to ban people from running for office [May. 18th, 2016|06:32 am]
Obstructionist Husband
"For seven and a half years, this animal we call president -- because he is an animal, okay? -- has surgically and with thought and very smart, intelligent manner, destroyed this country and dismantled the military..."
—Carlos Beruff, FL candidate for the U.S. Senate

I'm so sick of idiots like this. I'm guessing that his buddies in the Klan think he's too mild in his rhetoric?
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Recent Photos [May. 17th, 2016|07:09 pm]
Obstructionist Husband

Omaha Zoo Monkey/Bokeh Example

The first two shots were taken with my Canon Eos 6D, a full-frame DSLR with a 24-105mm zoom at the full 105mm setting. The first photo I'm posting because when viewed on a Windows system, it exhibits really cool Bokeh. Unfortunately on my Mac systems, it's much less evident. I find that curious.

Omaha Zoo/Lonely Monkey

I thought this was cute. Poor little monkey, all alone and sad.

Baby Owl

I shot this on-campus yesterday. On Friday our school photographer told me about spotting an owl nest on-campus and showed me pix, including one of a baby on the ground. The curious thing was its right eye was totally clouded over: it was blind in one eye and our school is the state school for the blind! When Carla photographed it, the baby was lying on its left side. Somehow it got in to the tree, but again was lying on its left side, which makes me wonder if its left leg is injured. I don't know if the bird can fly, but it was not in the tree that the nest was in, it was one over.

This shot was taken with my pocket camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX7 zoomed to the 35mm equivalent of 105mm. I tried the digital zoom which was effectively 190ish mm, but it was a JPEG and the compression just ruined the sharpness of the image.
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I haven't posted about Prince [May. 12th, 2016|08:42 pm]
Obstructionist Husband

mainly because I never really followed his music. I know he was talented, but I'm pretty firmly rooted in '70s/'80s rock. Maybe I'll pick up a copy of 1999 some day.

Anyway, I do have one Prince story that I can relate, not that it's personal. It involves Stevie Nicks song, Stand Back. The bass line was done by Prince, but it was done in a peculiar way. He arrived at the studio and told everyone to get out. He laid down the track and left the mix for Stevie the next day. When she heard it, she was pissed. She expected him to play it on a bass guitar, instead he programmed a synth to play it.

I find that kind of amusing. But to be honest, I much prefer Christine McVie to Stevie.

NPR's Fresh Air podcast had a recent interview with Questlove, the head of the band The Roots who are the band for The Tonight Show. Questlove met Prince on several occasions and told some very good stories. If you're interested, you can find a link to download it here.
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Dentistry going increasingly high tech [May. 12th, 2016|06:38 am]
Obstructionist Husband
moiraj posted in her blog about having a root canal and the doctor talking about robots in Dentistry. I seem to have the weirdest dental luck: it seems that I only have things go weird with my teeth when I'm traveling. September of last year I was in Colorado for a few days, 600 miles from home, and almost a week from when it would be possible to see my local dentist, and a filling cracked and fell out. It didn't cause any problem -- heat or cold sensitivity -- but my tongue wouldn't leave the irregularity alone. At one point I was out doing errands, and while getting in my car and leaving one store I noticed a dental practice. I decided that I had nothing to lose and they might be able to take a look at my tooth, so I went in.

And they saw me immediately. Well, almost immediately, after I did all the paperwork crap.

They did an x-ray, and unfortunately didn't do anything about the tooth as they estimated that I only had about a millimeter of material and if they were to breech that, I'd require a root canal. So they did nothing.

But the tech was cool. They had digital x-rays, which I'd seen before, but they showed them to me on a tablet, which was cool.

But that wasn't the really cool part. They had a computer-controlled milling machine for making crowns. They had blanks about the size of an array of teeth, they'd put a blank in the machine, and it would start cutting out the excess material. I'm curious if they did an impression of the tooth to be replaced and it did 3-D tracing to get the contours right, or what it did.

I'm not sure what I think about actual robots in dentistry, it would have to have some very good fuzzy logic to respond to vocalizations for pain or if the patient twitches or moves.
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Do we have any bakers out there? [May. 8th, 2016|11:06 am]
Obstructionist Husband

I love Madelines. I used to always buy them at Trader Joe's in Phoenix, but they stopped carrying them. A woman there suggested I buy them in bulk at World Market, but I (A) don't want larger madelines, and (II) don't want them in bulk.

So I bought a gorgeous medeline pan from Williams-Sonoma. I found a great recipe from Food Network, and it works quite well for full batches. But a full batch is 40some small cakes, far too many for my wife and I, so last weekend I halved the recipe.

And it failed.

Here's the full recipe, in short:
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature plus 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons plus 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, finely minced

I used a lemon instead of an orange for the zest, but since I'm just grating the rind for the skin and oil, I don't think that would make a significant difference.

The failure was that instead of getting a nice soft small cake, the cakes fell and I ended up with crisps. They still tasted quite good. My wife noticed one difference: larger bubbles in the crisps than you'd see in a proper madeline. She thinks that half a teaspoon of baking powder was too much and that with the lower mass of the mix itself, that I should try a third or quarter teaspoon. I was leaning towards half a teaspoon was too little and I should use two thirds, though I'm leaning towards her observation. Unfortunately I won't be doing any baking today, maybe some evening next week or on to next weekend.

I was wondering if any experienced bakers out there might have an observation?
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I just uploaded photos from my trip to the Strategic Air Command Museum [May. 4th, 2016|09:14 pm]
Obstructionist Husband

It is a very cool place. I uploaded 43 images and did some initial descriptions, I need to apply tags.

Included: the Avro Vulcan bomber, SR-71, U-2, F-111, C-119, etc.

I'll post some photos later, I gotta get to bed.

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ADP Payroll Data Breech [May. 4th, 2016|06:20 am]
Obstructionist Husband

I've kind of stopped posting about these as it's just so damn depressing and never ending, but ADP is different. They handle payroll for SO MANY companies across the USA that it needs to be mentioned.

The method was depressingly simple. ADP had a web portal for its clients, which makes sense. But if a company had not registered on said portal, they were vulnerable: fraudsters were able to siphon confidential info from a variety of sources, create an account for said ADP customer, and all of the client's payroll information was instantly available. And Robert's your mother's brother.


In other hacking news, there's a free web site called Have I Been Pwnd that I've mentioned before. I mention it because there was a similar for-profit business called Pwnedlist that did largely the same thing. They just closed their business as they got pwned, and as their business model was that clients would pay subscriptions and get informed if their data ever appeared in a dump, they would be notified. Well, they got notified because Pwnedlist got hacked through a major bad programming vulnerability that gave anyone who wanted it admin access to accounts that didn't belong to them.

By contrast, Have I Been Pwned only stores the compromised email address and what site's hack it was taken from. Nothing of value. And in the case of sensitive dumps, like Ashley Madison users, you have to register at the site to find out if your email was contained in that dump.

For an interesting read, you should take a look at HIBP's Twitter feed. He describes new dumps received as the number of accounts compromised and the number of emails that are ALREADY IN THE SYSTEM. I've been fortunate: I have three active email accounts, the two used regularly for email were both compromised in the Adobe hack, which is no big deal as those accounts didn't have credit card information attached and they were passwords not used elsewhere. My other email account of any importance is only used for Paypal, and it has not been compromised.
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