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Cell phone eavesdropping? [07 Dec 2006|01:58am]

Catching up on blog posts from the last few days missed while I was roaming NYC. This is not a nice one. Schneier discusses the possibility of cell phones being legally turned into eavesdropping devices without the owner's knowledge -- maybe even remotely via software, and maybe regardless of whether the phone is powered on or not. Seems credible, unfortunately.

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Exit row privilege [07 Dec 2006|02:20am]

I had a similar experience to this Consumerist story. Well, not really, but I ran into it when I was booking my ticket to visit family for the holidays.

Northwest had the most convenient arrival and departure times, and for a reasonable price. I was in the process of buying a ticket, and got all the way to the stage where I should have selected a seat assignment. That's when I saw that there are now no fewer than 8 different classes of seating. They don't all necessarily cost more money -- some of them are available to "premium gold" (I'm making that up, but it's something similar) members, etc. So I closed the tab and bought my ticket on Spirit instead. No way I'm going to support that garbage. The only place they were going to let me sit for the advertised price was in a middle seat. At 6' 3"ish, the middle seat can go to hell.

Also, it seems to me that this is racist and ageist. There are a number of requirements for sitting in the exit row. This used to be fine, because ostensibly there were responsibilities associated with sitting there, and fulfilling those responsibilities required the ability to communicate with the majority of people who are sitting on the plane and the physical strength to do something or other. (Anybody know what language you have to speak to sit in the exit row on a flight from Boston to Brazil with continuing service to Argentina? I don't remember.)

But now, the extra charge is much more conducive to the view that the exit row is just another seat with more leg room. And only people who meet the above qualifications are allowed to sit in it. I guess I'm being a little ridiculous, but still -- if it's a responsibility, have the requirements and let people willing and able to assume it sit there. If it's just about the legroom, then charge more but let anyone sit there, regardless of their native language.

So, I'll be in Michigan from December 17th to December 27th. Let me know if you're one of my invisible Michigan friends reading this and want to make plans.

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In memory of kari edwards [07 Dec 2006|02:42pm]

I learned today that kari edwards died from cardiac arrest. I did not know her as a friend, but I did read and appreciate her work, and I saw her read and spoke with her in person at Naropa a few times. Why does that matter? It doesn't really, just the background for why I want to pass on this information, out of respect and a loose connection. From Kevin Killian on the poetics list:

Fran Blau asked me to spread the word about, well, something you can do in kari's memory if you care to, and that's to make a donation to Cinema Paradiso, the international cinema in Auroville, the visionary community in southern India where kari and Fran had spent a happy year + together.

Checks should be made out to: Auroville Maintenance Fund
and sent to:
Financial Services
Town Hall Annex
Auroville 605101
Tamil Nadu

Please note that it's to support "Cinema Paradiso" and that your gift is in memory of kari edwards.

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Roomba hacking [07 Dec 2006|03:24pm]

The "Roomba-cam" and the "Roomba painter" sound like fantastic ideas. Don't forget to obey the Asimov laws though.

A newly published book includes a chapter about installing Linux on iRobot's "Roomba" robotic vacuum cleaner. Hacking Roomba, by Tod E. Kurt, includes a variety of fun robotic hacks and projects, none of which will void the device's warranty or prevent its operation as a vacuum, according to the publisher.

Via linuxdevices.com

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