Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Scientist Technology - Device warns you if you're boring or irritating

Conlan Press - Peter S. Beagle Fund - You Can Help!

This is very sad. One of my favorite screen-writers and authors, Peter Beagle, who wrote both the animated Lord of the Rings screenplay, and the book and screenplay of the Last Unicorn is not being paid what his contract with Granada Media and Zaentz Films states he should be. He is, in fact, in dire financial straights, while the Last Unicorn continues to be a fanatastically successful film on DVD and free TV, and Zaentz has a very lucrative deal based on his selling the Movie rights to Lord of the Rings to Peter Jackson.

Contractually, at least in the Granada case, he would have a very solid claim to that money (in his contract he is owed 5% of all profits in film and merchandising), Granada's position is that the film has never made money and he is thus owed no profits. His business manager seems to think that ridiculous and I'm inclined to agree, but I don't know the facts of the case.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Recent problems with BATF and Homeland Security for rocketry enthusiasts and garage scientists have inspired a Senator, Mike Enzi from Wyoming, to come out in support of amateurs, saying:

"It's a sad state of affairs when we see a government agency and senators go to such lengths to squash efforts to preserve a constructive, educational and important hobby enjoyed by millions of Americans. This kind of opposition to my legislation serves to discourage innovation and darken spirits. It doesn't make Americans that much safer, but it does make us more fearful and less free."

His proposed legislation to,
"amend title 18, United States Code, to exempt certain rocket propellants from prohibitions under that title on explosive materials."

He's also supporting a concurrent legal case, against NAR and Tripoli Rocketry Association, where the BATF is attempting to prevent the ownership and sale of certain precursers to amateur fireworks and rockets. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals recently sent back a judgement that was particularly pointed, refusing to defer to the BATF's technical expertise on the grounds that an agency action must be supported by "reasoned decisionmaking", and furthermore that the purported BATF expertise could not be deferred to, because there was no such expertise discernible.

Pretty harsh words here in the judgement written by Senior Circuit Judge Edwards.

Hopefully this will reduce the recent spate of injunctions against hobby materials providers.

Friday, March 24, 2006

60% of Windows Vista Code to be rewritten

This is the sort of thing that worries me about becoming a larger company. Although I'm looking forward to having more people and resources, the prospect of larger and larger problems and resource issues gives me the willies.

Here microsoft is hoping that the programmers that did work on the Xbox will improve the team on windows, because the Xbox did so well as a product.

I don't know that it's very good reasoning, but I can understand their sense of time-pressure. Windows Vista is years late already, and they can't afford more delays, unless they want to try to resell XP for another two years.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rob and Elliot: A webcomic updated Mondays and Fridays

More people should bribe with kittens.

Crystal is still here, we're having a good time, in the midst of a lot of hiring activity and my own work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Crystal gets here today.

Interesting how things always seem to pile up on me. I'm on the cusp of one of my personal research projects bearing very interesting fruit, a bunch of applicants for the latest openings in a2i2, and other exciting prospects.

For now, I'll leave you, my neglected journal readers, with my new homepage netvibes which you can use to organize any manner of important things to you, in a single, interactive page. Much better than my previous attempt a personal wiki.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

US Government attempts to ban chemistry

CPSC has asked for an injunction preventing chemical suppliers like United Nuclear from selling, giving away, or otherwise distributing a long list of basic chemicals and materials to people without an ATF explosives license.

To enforce this injunction of course, they also want chemicals supplies to keep detailed records on their customers to provide the CPSC.

This will destroy a lot of things. Most model hobbies will be severely affected, amateur rocketry will be destroyed(the ATF license costs a thousand dollars and many will be turned down). fireworks made by private individuals, even some small manufacturers will be trouble.

This will also severely affect the new and shaky Maker culture springing up on the internet. Amateur robotics, already a difficult field to get started in, will get even harder.

I donated 25 dollars because it's what I had on me. I'll be following this story, I'll tell you what else happens.

Friday, March 03, 2006