Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/5/2003; 11:08:47 PM.


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Saturday, February 22, 2003

Armed & Dangerous - An inside Pentagon source has given me some scoop on a secret technology that will help us in our upcoming war effort.
5:44:58 PM    

Konfabulator is here, Konfabulator is here!!! - Konfabulator is a Macintosh program-thing that works in OSX and was created by some Sun engineers.  It's javascript, and it works with XML.  If you have a Mac with OSX then go to the site now.  HURRY!.   You can try it for free, and then it's $25.  Konfabulator lets you create desktop widgets, which can do anything you want (i.e. have a little clock, or calender, or news).   The site already has a bunch of free widgets that you can download and try out.

Leo Laporte of TechTV says these widgets are like what Active Desktop was supposed to be for Windows, "except this works."  Konfabulator uses quartz technology (which is built into OSX, which allows the widget to be semi-transparent, or to fade out and other really slick looking stuff).

Oh did I mention that it uses XML and can do news feeds?  Let's see, what could that mean? I wonder how long it will take before someone creates a widget for news feeds?  Not long, because it is apparently pretty easy to write the widgets, even if you aren't a programmer. Goddammit.  I need a Macintosh!

11:15:50 AM    

Haranguges that make sense - that's the tag line of Patrick Frey's weblog, which is called Patterico's Pontifications.  Patrick is a practicing attorney, but his blog is more about...well, harangues that make sense.  His site only has four links, but those are the four links that every lawyer needs to have handy:

          • How Appealing
          • The Onion
          • Dave Barry's blog
          • Cursing in Swedish

I'm adding him to the Law Blog Outline.  I wish he had an XML/RSS feed.

10:22:12 AM    

Of cellphones and cameras - Jenny is quizzical about phones with cameras.  What will it mean I can take a picture of anything that I happen to see with my camera/phone, she asks?  She could immediately post the picture to her weblog, but are there privacy concerns?  Will legal rules intervene and dictate her use of the camera/phone?

These are interesting questions, and I suspect they are just the tip of the camera/phone iceberg.  Thinking about this after reading her post, I see additional problems.  Many places that allow cellphones don't allow photography.  For example, museums often don't allow photography because it is disruptive.  Some ban the presence of cameras altogether.  But can you ban the presence of a camera/phone?  The camera part of the device is whimsical.  The phone part, however, is indispensible.

Many courtrooms have an absolute ban on cameras, and some still ban cellphones too.  The ones that allow cellphones, but not cameras, will increasingly be hard-pressed to ban a device that includes a phone.  People are becoming too reliant on their cellphones as a way of keeping in touch with their relatives.  Even young kids now carry cellphones to school and use them to call their parents when they are ready to be picked up.  Parents quickly learn to appreciate this convenience.  Well, let's not call it a convenience.  Many parents, if they can afford to give their child a cellphone, would call the ability to always get in touch with them a necessity.

So what's going to happen as cellphones become more pervasive, and more indispensible, and yet...more multi-purpose?  I don't know.  But I think that some rules will have to bend.  And some rules will simply break.  And, as a lawyer, I find this effect of technology on rules infinitely fascinating.

9:48:09 AM    

When the Blizzard hits you can't go to work, or can you? - seven years ago N.Y Times writer Joe Sharkey boldly proclaimed that the Internet was vastly overhyped.  The blizzard that struck the Northeast also struck a chord of awareness in Joe Sharkey that caused him to rethink his dismissive statement about the Internet.  Here's how he describes waking up the morning after the blizzard hit:

The morning paper wasn't out front by 6 a.m. as it usually is, but the cable modem was humming; the broadband links to e-mail and news worked fine...

He then goes on to describe the deployment of high speed Internet access in hotels, airports, and even in airplanes.  Yes, he has realized that not only is the Internet a big thing to him, but it is a big thing to business travellers.  And having easy access to the Internet is a boon to business travellers (which, hint, hint, is why wireless Internet access is going to explode).

I don't have to read Joe's article to see this happening.  I see it happening already, even down here in New Orleans, the City That Care Forgot.  Right here by the lazy Mississippi.

Okay, I'll admit wireless broadband internet not taking off like wildfire here.  We are busy preparing for Mardi Gras (which is pretty much like preparing for a hurricane, except you buy more liquor).  The point is, though, having pervasive access to the Internet is something people who do business have a huge need for.  They just don't realize it.

But just like Joe we are starting to wake up and realize that access to information is power.  If all of my files are in digital form and available to me through an Internet connection (which it goes without saying has to be high-speed) then I can work from wherever there is such a connection.  If a blizzard prevents me from going to my office, I can work.  If I'm stuck in a hotel room in a distant city, I can work.  If I'm cooling my heels at the airport after having cleared a litany of security checkpoints, I can work.  All I need is a high-speed (preferably wireless) connection.

9:17:16 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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