In The Guardian, Frank Pasquale and Siva Vaidhyanathan see a precedent for Uber etc.

It’s not the precedent you would expect. Here’s a snippet (emphasis added):

The analogy is most obvious in the case of an American civil rights law itself. Uber has ignored advocates for the blind, and other disabled persons, when they claim Uber’s drivers discriminate against them. In response to a lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind, Uber bluntly asserts that it’s merely a communication platform, not the type of employer meant to be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some judges and regulators accept that reasoning; others reject it. But the larger lesson is clear: Uber’s aggressive efforts to avoid or evade disability laws are nothing less than a form of corporate nullification, as menacing to the rule of law as defiance of civil rights laws in the days after courts ruled against racial segregation in the US.

Follow the link for the rest of the article.


Editing audio in audacity

I have another podcast up at Hacker Public Radio.

Now it’s your turn.

22 July 2015 · Comments Off on Droning On · Categories: Geek Stuff, Too Stupid for Words

Boys and their toys.

The CAA said it had recorded six other incidents between May 2014 and March 2015 at airports around the UK in which drones and piloted craft almost collided.

“Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world,” said Tim Johnson, director of policy at the CAA, in a statement.

Drone owners must be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding the flying of their craft, he said.

Recklessly endangering an aircraft is a criminal offence, said Mr Johnson, and those convicted could face a five-year jail sentence.

It’s won’t be long until some bozo brings down an airliner while playing with his masturbatory mechanical aero-vibrator.

22 July 2015 · Comments Off on Sauce for the Goose · Categories: Geek Stuff

Newscaster:  A website for cheating spouses has been hacked.  Husband and wife both think:

Click for a larger image.

My brother and I exchanged some emails about this. However much we both disapprove of cracking into databases, neither one of us can find in ourselves much sympathy for AshleyMadison’s clientele.

You dance to the music, you must perchance pay the piper.

22 July 2015 · Comments Off on “Attack of the Killer Passwords” · Categories: Geek Stuff

Reg Henry pens a modern horror story.

More »

18 July 2015 · Comments Off on Naked Browser for Android · Categories: Geek Stuff

I’ve started using a new browser on my Android HTC One M7: Naked Browser.

No, it’s not for naked pictures (go wash your mind out with soap)–the idea is that it doesn’t have a lot of cruft and useless eye candy to louse up performance.

I won’t use Chrome on a bet. Google probably knows everything there is to know about me, but, by God, I’m not going to help. and I’ve stopped using Opera, my go-to browser on all platforms since it was first released over a decade ago, because I don’t like the direction the company has taken for the past two years.

I tried Dolphin for a while; it was reasonably fast, but the ads got real obnoxious real quick.

I have been using Firefox for Android, which has some nice features, but the interface is a kludge and it is painfully slow; my brother, whose phone is not as powerful as mine, tried it and gave up.

I must say that, so far, I’m quite impressed with Naked Browser. It’s as fast as any other browser I’ve tried and faster than most, and it’s reasonably configurable and versatile.

The interface is quite basic, not all dressed up, and doesn’t get in the way. It allows you to sort your bookmarks into folders, but it did take me a little while to figure out how that works. It also doesn’t do plugins, but I was able to configure it to use Startpage search by default, because it allows you to enter a custom search string to be called when you enter a search term in the address bar. It doesn’t have as many configuration options as Opera Mini, but it has enough to keep me happy.

The Startpage basic search string is

A web search for “Naked Browser Android” will turn up a number of favorable reviews. Naked Browser has its quirks, but, after a week of use, I am satisfied with it.

Naked Browser is free from the Play Store.

10 July 2015 · Comments Off on And Now for Something Completely Different · Categories: Geek Stuff


04 July 2015 · Comments Off on Easy Editor: It’s Not Just for BSD · Categories: Geek Stuff
Easy Editor running in FreeBSD VM on Slackware --Current.

Easy Editor running in FreeBSD VM on Slackware –Current.

I have lately been playing with BSD, particularly FreeBSD. (As an aside, the BSD documentation is excellent; the FreeBSD Handbook is one of the best documents of its type that I’ve seen.)

The BSD Handbook suggested that new users use ee (“Easy Editor”), a program I had not heard of before, though the far more powerful and complex vi editor is also included out-of-the-box (in *nix, configuration is generally accomplished through plain text, at least for those distros that have not yet fallen for the seductive blandishments of SystemD).

Just for grins and giggles, I went looking for ee yesterday, and it is surprisingly hard to find. For one thing, search results are flooded with links that promise to provide an “easy editor” for your drag-and-drop (pfui!) web site. As near as I can find, it hasn’t been updated since 2005.

I did find an online copy of the man page and a download page at Softpedia. Its home page, according to Softpedia, is a university in the UK, and said University doesn’t seem to want to talk about it any more.

I downloaded the sources from Softpedia and it did compile and install on SlackwareCurrent. The *.tgz was less than 70kb in size.

A screen shot showing the pop-up menu, which is invoked by ESC, is below the fold.

More »

03 July 2015 · Comments Off on Stray Thought · Categories: Geek Stuff

It takes a long time to install kde4-baseapps to a VM of FreeBSD using BSD ports.

02 July 2015 · Comments Off on Your Innermost Thoughts · Categories: Geek Stuff

Not any more.

A host of new companies founded or staffed by brain researchers have some advice for advertisers: Read your customers’ minds. In a world of ever-shrinking attention spans, where consumers flit through social media sites and skip right past online ads, advertisers are turning to neuroscience to better understand how to steer buyers toward their products.

30 June 2015 · Comments Off on Make TWUUG Your LUG · Categories: Geek Stuff

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Learn how to use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

What: Monthly TWUUG Meeting.

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

When: 7:30 PM till whenever (usually 9:30ish) on Thursday, July 2.

Lake Taylor Hospital
1309 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, Va. 23502 (Map)

Pre-Meeting Dinner at 6:00 PM (separate checks)
Uno Chicago Grill
Virginia Beach Blvd. & Military Highway (Janaf Shopping Center). (Map)

30 June 2015 · Comments Off on Cutting-Edge Technology · Categories: Geek Stuff

Er, yeah.

25 June 2015 · Comments Off on A Singularity Sensation · Categories: Geek Stuff

At Hacker Public Radio, mirwi interviews Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ertel at the 2014 MakerWorld in Germany on the topic of creating service robots capable of learning.

19 June 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

How’s that “real name” policy working out for you?

Via Bruce Schneir.

17 June 2015 · Comments Off on Meta: Travel Plans · Categories: Geek Stuff

My hosting provider tells me that it is migrating my site from a Parallels Odin backend to cPanel (which, frankly, is much more user-friendly). They assure me that the migration will be, as is said, “transparent to the user” and completed within the week.

In the five or so years that I have used my hosting provider, I have found it to be competent and reliable and I nothing but good words for its tech support.

If there is any interruption in grumpiness, please be patient. Regular grumpiness should resume in a timely fashion.



15 June 2015 · Comments Off on TOS · Categories: Geek Stuff

Alex Hern reads the fine print. A nugget:

The biggest lie on the internet is ‘I have read and agree to the terms and conditions’,” says security expert Mikko Hyppönen. Setting out to prove his point, Hyppönen’s company F-Secure set up a free WiFi hotspot in the heart of London’s financial district in June 2014.

Buried in the terms and conditions of the free network was a “Herod clause”: in exchange for the WiFi, “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”.

Six people signed up.

13 June 2015 · Comments Off on Wok’s Cooking? · Categories: Geek Stuff

Editing audio in audacity

I have a new podcast at about learning how to cook with a wok.

Do you have an interest you want to share?

Create your own podcast. HPR makes it easy.

08 June 2015 · Comments Off on A Case of Selfie-Incrimination? · Categories: Geek Stuff

Bruce Schneir thinks it’s quite possible.

06 June 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Facebook tries to claim the word, “book,” as its own.

06 June 2015 · Comments Off on The Snaring Economy · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

She left her phone in the Lyft. Then she was asked to share.

The victim told police that the driver dropped her off at her home on Capitol Hill around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. When she realized she had left her phone in the car, the woman called it and the driver answered.

When she asked if he would return her phone, the driver told the woman he was busy working and that she didn’t “deserve” her phone back, according to the police report.

After the woman called back repeatedly, the driver “said he would bring it back to her if she would have sex with him,” police said in a separate news release.

“Sharing.” Yeah.