Sunday, October 29, 2006


link



LEGO Mindstorms NXT
Other products by LEGO
(13 customer reviews)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
List Price: $249.99
Price: $249.97 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details
You Save: $0.02


Availability: In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.

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Product Features

All-new NXT Intelligent Brick with 32-bit microprocessor, more memory and FLASH
3 Interactive Servo motors feature built-in rotation sensors to align speed for precise control and new sound sensor reacts to sound commands, patterns and tones
519 specially selected LEGO TECHNIC elements for sturdy and durable building and improved functionality and movement
Intuitive, icon-based drag-and-drop program "building" environment
6 AA batteries required (not included)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Copyrights/Fair Use


link
News
Consumer Groups, Tech Firms Launch Effort
To Defend Legal Uses of Copyrighted Works



Consumer interest groups, technology companies, inventors, and authors groups announced Oct. 25 the launch of a new project, the Digital Freedom campaign, to argue for protection of legal uses of copyrighted works by consumers.

Representatives of the coalition, speaking at a Washington, D.C., press conference, said that over the last few decades, the lobbying efforts of large entertainment conglomerates, such as the movie and recording industries, have succeeded in garnering stronger protections at the expense of consumers' fair use and free speech rights.

"New technologies and consumers' rights to use these technologies and fair use are under attack," according to Gary J. Shapiro of the Consumer Electronics Association. "We think it's time to change this, and it's time to fight back."

Shapiro said that increasing restrictions imposed by regular changes in the law pushed by the entertainment industry are hampering "legitimate use of legally acquired content" and that this result is poor public policy that results in harm to the economy and to free expression, including political speech.

Gigi B. Sohn of Public Knowledge singled out for criticism several recent legislative efforts, including:


- the Copyright Modernization Act of 2006 (H.R. 6052) which would have required incidental digital copies of works to be subject to a compulsory license, but would not extend the license to noncommercial uses (72 PTCJ 501, 9/15/06 );

- the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006 (H.R. 5361), which would have limited the rights of subscribers to digital radio services from time shifting (72 PTCJ 53, 5/19/06 ); and

- the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006 (H.R. 4861), which would have authorized the Federal Communications Commission to set technical standards for digital radio designed to prevent time or place shifting (71 PTCJ 567, 3/24/06 ).


The group also criticized the litigation strategy of the entertainment industry, such as a May copyright infringement lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio. Atlantic Recording Corp. v. XM Satellite Radio, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:06-cv-03733, filed 5/16/06 (72 PTCJ 55, 5/19/0 6).

Technology Makes All Consumers Potential Creators

As an example of a new type of political speech made possible by technological innovations, Harold J. Feld of the Media Access Project cited a June 28 speech by Sen. Theodore F. Stevens (R-Alaska) which analogized the Internet with a "series of tubes." Individuals took clips of that statement and combined it with music and other effects to make a political statement in a way that would not have otherwise been possible.

"Restraints on technologies being advocated would make that difficult if not impossible," Feld said.

Shapiro also criticized a recent announcement by the Los Angeles area Boy Scouts to offer a "copyright protection patch" for scouts who complete a program on copyright infringement.

"We agree that commercial piracy is wrong," Shapiro said. However, he said that the public should also be educated about what legitimate uses can be made of copyrighted works. "They shouldn't only be learning about what they can't do. ... There are rights that you do have and rights that you should have."

The panel proposed Digital Freedom's "Bill of Rights" for consumers, which states five principles, including the right to use digital technology to make creative works, to develop digital technology "without unreasonable restrictions, and to be free of the risk of being subject to lawsuits for personal uses of digital technology. The bill of rights also calls for Congress to refrain from imposing technological mandates and to protect creation and innovation outside the large entertainment companies.

Members of the Digital Freedom coalition include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Media Access Project, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the New America Foundation, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as digital service providers and filmmakers organizations.

Information about Digital Freedom is available at the organization's Web site, http://www.digitalfreedom.org

By Anandashankar Mazumdar

Believe It or Not


link
Police 'banned picture of thief to protect her human rights'
By Amy Iggulden
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 27/10/2006


A jeweller targeted by a prolific thief was told by police not to put up warning pictures because it would infringe the woman's human rights, it was claimed yesterday.

Isabel Kurtenbach, a jeweller in Kensington, west London, lost £2,000 worth of gold and silver this week to a woman posing as a wealthy visitor from Dubai.


The woman believed to be the thief is shown trying on jewellery

The thief, who apparently targets the same row of shops once a year, chooses her jewellery before claiming she has to get her credit card from her driver. She then disappears with the goods.

Mrs Kurtenbach, 38, who captured the woman on CCTV, wanted to give other traders her picture to display.

Police told her that it would be against the Human Rights Act and suggested she wait for the thief to strike again so she could grab her and call 999.

"I could not believe that the police were telling me to get hold of this woman myself, a shoplifter who looks like she is on drugs and maybe carries a knife," Mrs Kurtenbach said.

advertisement"If I tried to stop her, she would probably attack me. When I asked the officer what I should do, he shrugged and said a picture would be against the Human Rights Act."

After jewellers complained to newspapers, four officers were sent to apologise to Mrs Kurtenbach and to start investigating the incident. "They seem to have started caring." Mrs Kurtenbach said.

Another jeweller in the area said she was targeted by the woman four years ago and she stole £3,000 worth of stock.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard confirmed that it was investigating the theft but refused to comment on the claim that the picture would infringe the thief's human rights.

He said victims of crime were advised not to put up wanted or warning pictures until they have been handed to police in case they disrupted legal proceedings.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

From Sabrina Pacifici:


Public Interest Group Relaunches Free Media Tracker Database
Press release: "A cornerstone of the Center for Public Integrity's "Well Connected" project, the Media Tracker is a free, searchable online database...it gives anyone the ability to search out details about the U.S. media and telecommunications companies that control the flow of information in our digital age. By typing in a ZIP code or a city and state, users can retrieve a dossier of information about the television stations, radio stations, cable systems and newspapers serving that area. The Media Tracker database scans more than 5 million pieces of information from governmental sources, corporate disclosure documents and original research."
Topic(s): Government Documents

Google Launches Blog Alert
Via Official Google Blog: "...the new Blog Alert, which notifies you about new blog search results. We've also added a Comprehensive Alert, which can show results from multiple sources (including Google News, the web, and blogs) so you get fuller information whenever your favorite topics appear online."
Topic(s): Blogs, Search Engines

Public May Now Request and Obtain New York Records Via Email
Effective October 25, 2006 the public may request records from state and local agencies ["any New York State or municipal department, board, bureau, division, commission, committee, public authority, public corporation, council, office or other governmental entity performing a governmental or proprietary function is subject to the Law"], via email in New York.
See the Freedom of Information Law - FAQ EMAIL REQUESTS
Topic(s): Government Documents, E-Government, E-Mail, Freedom of Information

2006 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book
"The 2006 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book features more than 1,500 data items for the United States and individual states, counties and metropolitan areas from a variety of sources...topics include age, agriculture, births, business establishments, communications, construction, cost of living, crime, deaths, education, elections, employment, energy, finance, government, health and households. Also, housing, immigration, income, manufacturing, marriages and divorces, media, natural resources, population, poverty, race and Hispanic origin, residence, retail sales, science and engineering, social services, tourism, transportation and veterans."
The 2006 State and Metropolitan Area Data Book
Topic(s): Government Documents

SearchSystems.net Public Records Directory Now Has Category on Legislation
SearchSystems.net Public Records Directory added a category for Legislation in July, allowing users to browse and/or search state legislation and legislators [mix of free and fee-based access].
Topic(s): Legislation, E-Government, Government Documents, Legal Research

Library of Congress Launches Comprehensive New Search Feature
New Search (BETA): "For the first time you can search the largest sections of the Library's site from one search box." Search individually or collectively, the following content: U.S. historical and cultural collections (American Memory); Library of Congress Online Catalog; Prints & Photographs Online Catalog; Library of Congress Web site.
Topic(s): Search Engines, Knowledge Management, Legal Research, Libraries

Prechter commentary for you


link
We're building a Trading Tools page for the site. Check it out. It has daily updated commentary and news.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Expunged Criminal Records Live to Tell Tales - New York TimesExpunged


Expunged Criminal Records Live to Tell Tales
By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: October 17, 2006

In 41 states, people accused or convicted of crimes have the legal right to rewrite history. They can have their criminal records expunged, and in theory that means that all traces of their encounters with the justice system will disappear.
Skip to next paragraph

But enormous commercial databases are fast undoing the societal bargain of expungement, one that used to give people who had committed minor crimes a clean slate and a fresh start.

Most states seal at least some records of juvenile offenses. Many states also allow adults arrested for or convicted of minor crimes like possessing marijuana, shoplifting or disorderly conduct to ask a judge, sometimes after a certain amount of time has passed without further trouble, to expunge their records. If the judge agrees, the records are destroyed or sealed.

But real expungement is becoming significantly harder to accomplish in the electronic age. Records once held only in paper form by law enforcement agencies, courts and corrections departments are now routinely digitized and sold in bulk to the private sector. Some commercial databases now cont. . ."
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/grasso.pdf

This is the 73 page opinion of New York State J. Charles E. Ramos ordering Richard Grasso to repay millions in compensation.

YouTube Deletes 30,000 Files After a Copyright Complaint - New York Times


"October 21, 2006

YouTube Deletes 30,000 Files After a Copyright Complaint

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TOKYO, Oct. 20 (AP) — The popular video-sharing site YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment group complained of copyright infringement.
An official with the group — the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers — said Friday that the organization had found 29,549 video clips like television shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube’s site without permission.
The official, Fumiyuki Asakura, said YouTube quickly complied with the request to remove the copyright materials, made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies.

Most videos posted on YouTube are homemade, but the site also features copyright material posted by individuals. YouTube’s policy is to remove such clips after it receives complaints, though some have suggested that the start-up could eventually be sued, especially with Google about to buy it for $1.65 billion in stock.

Mr. Asakura said the entertainment industry group might ask YouTube to introduce a preliminary screening process to prevent copyright clips from being posted.
YouTube has been negotiating with leading copyright holders and has reached agreement with several letting the Web site post copyright music videos and other content in exchange for sharing ad revenue.

The company agreed to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed clip. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version or remove the material.

YouTube has licensing deals with the CBS Corporation and three major recording companies — the Warner"

Wal-Mart Counteroffers


As Wal-Mart Rolls Out Cheap Generics, Other Retailers Tout Similar Programs

Wal-Mart announced Friday that it is rolling out its $4 generic drug program to 14 additional states, as other retailers announced that they had or would launch similar programs.

The Wal-Mart program, which currently includes various doses and formulations of 143 compounds, started in Florida and will eventually be nationwide. According to the Associated Press, Target, the second-largest discount store in the U.S., has said that it will match Wal-Mart's program in all 48 states where it has stores. And Kmart pointed out that since May it has offered $15-dollar 90-day supplies of 184 generics.

Critics cited by the Associated Press charge that the Wal-Mart program, which is limited both in the number and doses of drugs covered, will not cover most consumers' prescriptions.

Wal-Mart press release (Free)

Wal-Mart list of generics (Free PDF)

Associated Press story (Free)

Physician's First Watch coverage of original Wal-Mart announcement (Free)

Source: Physician's First Watch for October 23, 2006
David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief

Monday, October 16, 2006

Medtox shares soar


Medtox shares soar on Q3 earnings - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:: "Medtox Scientific Inc.'s shares surged in Monday afternoon trading after the company reported its earnings jumped 79 percent in the third quarter.
Medtox (Nasdaq: MTOX), which offers lab testing services, reported earnings of $1.48 million, or 17 cents per share, up from $825,000, or 10 cents per share, during the same period last year.

The company's shares jumped $2.26, or 25 percent, in mid-day trading Monday.
New Brighton-based Medtox also reported that its third-quarter revenue jumped 13 percent to $18.7 million, carried by strong sales of its products and services.
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $17.7 million.
kgrayson@bizjournals.com | (612) 288-2106

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Personal Growth Blog


How to Get From a 7 to a 10: "A frequent question I ask when trying to improve some area of my life is: If I were to rate this area’s current performance on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst imaginable and 10 being the best imaginable, where am I right now?
Very often I find that areas get stuck somewhere in the 6-8 range, usually at a 7. A 7 seems very close to a 9 or 10, but often a 7 is a local maximum — you can’t get any higher by continuing to follow the same path that got you to that 7 in the first place. You’re already at a peak. The only way to reach a true 9 or 10 is to climb back down (sometimes back to a 2 or 3) and take a new path.

How many times do people get stuck at a 7 and remain there for years? Is your job a 7? Your health? Your relationship? Your family life? Your self-esteem? . . ."

Friday, October 13, 2006

What Google's Purchase of YouTube Means


FINDPROFIT PERSPECTIVES (http://www.findprofit.com)

>> InPhonic Gets Financing Offer from Goldman Sachs, Wins Best Buy Deal
-------------------------------

Last night, Google (GOOG, $426.65, -2.35) did what just days ago tech industry exec Mark Cuban said only a moron would do: it bought online video site YouTube.com. In doing so, Google also departed from its usual practice of buying small companies (not market dominating ones), though it could be argued that YouTube is still a startup. More drastically, Google broke from its penchant of buying technology as opposed to traffic. Finally, the cash-laden company surprised the market by using stock to pay $1.7 billion for YouTube. The matter of how it paid for YouTube isn't nearly as important as why it bought the company and what that could mean for Google and its chief rivals.

Google's motive was two-pronged. First, this is an admission that its own online video effort has been a dud -- though it's strange that YouTube will continue to be operated separately. Second, Google bought YouTube so that neither Microsoft (MSFT, $27.69, -0.03) nor Yahoo (YHOO, $24.47, -0.56) could. On those counts, the deal is a win, as Google's own video offerings just got stronger, while those of its rivals grew relatively weaker. Google talked enthusiastically about the social networking potential of YouTube, but Google's own development and integration efforts outside of search have been weak, and we don't expect much on that front.

The deal is going to pose a challenge to Google in two important ways. First, the company has inherited a legacy of copyright infringement. With plenty of cash, those infringed upon now have a viable target to sue. This is why Cuban said buying YouTube was a stupid idea. Beyond the cash involved, however, there's also the matter of securing content going forward. Analysts like the opportunity in professionally made content as opposed to user-generated, and in the run-up to the deal, YouTube did ink some impressive media deals with Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, and CBS (CBS, $28.37, -0.19). These come on top of deals with NBC Universal and Warner Music Group (WMG, $26.94, +0.17). In doing so, however, Google and YouTube will have to be careful not to go too commercial. While YouTube's demographics are changing, with the average age of users rising, at this point, the users most likely to watch a TV show at their desks are the ones who go to YouTube for user-generated content. Social networking sites that have fiddled with their original ideas too much quickly fizzle.

If Google can strike the right balance, YouTube certainly gives the company a heavily trafficked new place to put its search box, and a platform on which to refine its video search technology. Additionally, it gives Google a good roster of content partners and the chance to build a video advertising business -- though notably Google will have to prove that it can succeed beyond text searches.

For aspiring search-competitor Microsoft, this deal obviously makes Google tougher to compete against. Still, at MSN, Microsoft has built one of the most popular video sites online, mainly with exclusive live Web broadcasts and through relationships with premium content providers. The company definitely has the resources to continue to grow this business considerably.

As an Internet pure play, Yahoo has more to lose in this battle, which was reflected in the market today, where the stock gave up -2%. Certainly the company is no slouch in video, but Yahoo is going to have to continue to offer more content, better search functions, and better integration to continue to hold its own against the bulked-up Google.

The migration to online video doesn't present a viable threat to cable TV revenue yet, but longer term, it could present challenges to companies like Comcast (CMCSA, $37.64, -0.02). At present, cable seems to be in the driver's seat when it comes to online video. For starters, cable companies, like DSL providers, provide the pipes to deliver video online. High-speed Internet service has been a huge growth driver for Comcast.

At the same time, cable has arguably been a front-runner in alternative distribution with its on-demand services. These services continue to grow rapidly at Comcast thanks to movies and a growing catalogue of TV programs with many of the same partners YouTube has embraced. Meanwhile, the company has quietly grown its own online video distribution business via both the hugely popular Comcast.net website and its production system known as "thePlatform." We noted last month that there is increasing industry speculation that Comcast is going to launch its own video and music download store. Some of those rumors have since included the suggestion that it will debut this month, and will feature integration with both PCs and portable devices, as well as with DVRs. One of the strengths of this platform would be Comcast's ability to ensure a quality download because, if bandwidth ever became an issue, the company could prioritize bandwidth allocations. The so-called "Net Neut rality" issue is a touchy subject, but in this case, it is an example of the advantage Comcast could have over content-only companies.

Editor's Take: In the wake of the YouTube deal, there's speculation that other acquisitions of startups are to follow. Perhaps. But for both Microsoft and Yahoo, the acquisition route should focus on technology rather than traffic, including technology that can improve video search results. Even better than moderate acquisitions of this sort would be more partnership agreements and/or a big deal. With Yahoo sinking to a new 52-week low today, the issue of a takeover has to be mentioned. With a market cap of about $34 billion, Yahoo could be had relatively cheaply, with Microsoft the most logical buyer -- in spite of its aversion to deals that size. Finally, we have to throw this out there: with Net Neutrality likely to become a bigger issue, what about Comcast buying Yahoo? The market hated the cable company's bid for Walt Disney (DIS, $31.25, -0.14) a couple of years ago, but Yahoo and Comcast are arguably far more complementary in terms of their cont ent and distribution assets, and in their relationships with advertisers. Undervalued at present levels, Yahoo could make Comcast into a powerhouse ad platform. We'll dig into this idea a little more. Watch for more, as well as an update on our Target for Comcast.

Posted by The BullMarket Report - 10/10/06 EST

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Public Records Free Directory: "Free Public Records Directory
This site provides links to criminal records, civil court records, marriage records, divorce records, real and personal property records, recorded documents, jail and inmate records, sex offender records, wanted persons records, and many more free public records.
"
State Legislative History Research Guides on the Web: "STATE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY RESEARCH GUIDES ON THE WEB::

Compiled by Jennifer Bryan Morgan, Documents Librarian
Indiana University School of Law Library – Bloomington

AL - AK - AZ - AR - CA - CO - CT - DE - FL - GA - HI - ID - IL - IN - IA - KS - KY - LA - ME
MD - MA - MI - MN - MS - MO - MT - NE - NV - NH - NJ - NM - NY - NC - ND - OH - OK - OR
PA - RI - SC - SD - TN - TX - UT - VT - VA - WA - WV - WI - WY "
Amazon.com: The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion: Books: Robert Spencer


Irrational violence erupts every day in the name of Islam. Yet politically correct world leaders and diplomats—as well as the mainstream media—refuse to examine what the Prophet of Islam actually taught. How does Muhammad's true character influence terrorists, and average Muslims, around the world?

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that Islam is a religion of peace when warfare and booty were among the chief preoccupations of the Prophet of Islam," says New York Times bestselling author and Islam expert Robert Spencer of his new book, The Truth about Muhammad.

In The Truth about Muhammad, Spencer offers a revealing portrait of the founder of Islam—perhaps the first such portrait in half a century—unbounded by fear and political correctness, unflinching, and willing to face the hard facts about Muhammad's life that continue to affect our world today.

From Muhammad's first "revelation" from Allah (which filled him with terror that he was demon-possessed) to his deathbed (from which he called down curses upon Jews and Christians), it's all here—told with extensive documentation from the sources that Muslims themselves consider most reliable about Muhammad.

In The Truth about Muhammad, you'll learn


How Muhammad's example justifies jihad and terrorism


How Muhammad set legal standards that make it virtually impossible to prove rape in Islamic countries


The truth about Muhammad's multiple marriages (including one to a nine-year-old)


The real "Satanic verses" incident (not the Salman Rushdie version) that remains a scandal to Muslims


How Muhammad's faulty knowledge of Judaism and Christianity has influenced Islamic theology—and colored Muslim relations with Jews and Christians to this day.

Recognizing the basic teaching of Muhammad, Spencer argues, is essential for judging the prospects for large-scale Islamic reform, the effective prosecution of the War on Terror, the democracy project in Afghanistan and Iraq, and immigration and border control to protect the United States from terrorism.

The Truth about Muhammad is crucial reading for every citizen (and policymaker) who loves freedom.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Google buys YouTube


"This Just In

Google (GOOG) just announced that it has agreed to acquire privately held YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. YouTube is the top-rated Internet video-sharing site on the Internet. The deal is GOOG's largest yet, and is regarded as a defensive move as it jumps GOOG into a leading role in online video. This realm is a growing one in the Internet marketplace. YouTube now streams 100 million videos daily to an audience that includes roughly 40 million people per day. This acquisition seems to signal that video is a better way to attract larger numbers of customers and generate more advertising dollars. The boards of both companies approved the terms of the deal today, and it was just announced after the closing bell ."

Source: Schaeffer's Market Recap [enews@schaeffer.com]

Minneapolis ranks 3rd in short lines for customers - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:: "Minneapolis ranks 3rd in short lines for customers


Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal - 11:44 AM CDT Mondayby Katharine GraysonStaff Writer


Minneapolis shoppers spend less time waiting in line than consumers in most other large cities, according to a report issued Monday by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA).

Minneapolis ranked as the third-fastest city when it comes to waiting in line, behind only Phoenix, Ariz., and Portland, Ore.

On average, consumers here wait about 3 minutes and 41 seconds. The researchers studied times at a number of businesses, including grocery stores, clothing retailers, fast food restaurants and gas station convenience stores, among several others.
The report looked at the 25 most populous U.S. cities. 'Mystery shoppers' -- people hired to shop anonymously and report back their experiences -- provided data for the study.
The report was based on information collected by more than 10,000 mystery shoppers, the New York-based MSPA said.

Phoenix earned the top ranking, with an average wait time of 3 minutes and 5 seconds.
Baltimore ranked last, with an average wait of 5 minutes and 13 seconds. "

Friday, October 06, 2006

CORPORATE COUNSEL: "Directory of In-House Law Departments
at the Top 500 Companies"
With free registration!