The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Bloggers now protected by journalist shield laws in California

The California Court of Appeal, Sixth District, has reversed a lower-court order that blogger Jason O'Grady had to turn over his sources for a story he wrote about Apple Computer:

Online writers are protected by the state's shield law for reporters as well as by the 1st Amendment, the state Court of Appeal in San Jose ruled, reversing a lower court decision.
Apple subpoenaed the e-mail provider of Jason O'Grady, publisher of O'Grady's PowerPage, an Internet site that posted information in 2004 about an unreleased Apple product.
The ruling establishes that Web reporters have the same right to protect the confidentially of sources as other reporters, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


The case is O'Grady v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (184 kB, PDF).

Back in Chicago

It's great to be home. So good, in fact, that I did almost nothing of commercial or professional value for four days straight.

I'm back now. I've got a lot to catch up on, not least of which is a two-week pile of stuff in my office. I also have a collection of photos to go through from the last three weeks or so, like this one of the New Hampshire State Capitol:

But first, I have to pay bills and send out invoices.

Leaving Nashua

I'll be away from the blog for a couple of days while I return to Chicago. I've enjoyed Nashua, and I'm sure I'll come back to visit. Everyone here was friendly; for example, my unexpected dinner companion, Max:

Back Monday. Enjoy the weekend.

More Nantucket pictures

These are from my not-small, not-simple camera. (Note: the photos are shown at half-size; you can see more detail if you open them in their own browser windows.)

The plane that brung me:

Nantucket Memorial Airport, just as it looked in Wings:

House on Washington St., with the harbor behind it:

Nantucket Town. Yes, it is that charming. I suspect things were different when Ishmael bunked with Queequeg:

Another view of Main St.:

The Whaling Museum:

Nantucket flight photos

I have two cameras. One is very small and very simple, the other is neither. Here are some photos from yesterday that I took with the small, simple camera.

Altitude, 7,500 feet (2,300 m):

VFR on top, meaning I was flying in visual conditions on top of this cloud layer:

Nantucket Island:

Also, a bonus shot. As I reported earlier, a tornado touched down about 60 km (40 mi.) east of me on Sunday. As I was getting the Nantucket photos off my camera, I discovered I had a photo of the wall cloud that spawned the tornados:

I once flew a plane to Nantucket...

Today, actually.

I took lots of photos but I'm too pooped right now to deal with them. So tomorrow morning check back for a cohort—nay! a plethora!—of photos. And possibly a limerick.

The flight down went quickly (1.2 hours from Nashua to Nantucket), I had a great landing, and took a leisurely stroll into town.

(A side note: With AVGAS approaching $5 per gallon, the $100 hamburger now costs $320.)

On the way back I encountered (a) rain at Martha's Vineyard that kept me circling offshore for ten mintues and (b) turbulence from New Bedford clear up to Nashua, alternating from a dull thud-thud-thud to some pretty decent up- and down-drafts.

That part was fun in the way that bobbing around in 150-foot increments while moving 100 knots at 4,500 feet above the ground in an aluminum tube is fun.

But at the end of the day, they can use the plane again, and as far as I know I didn't violate any FARs all day.

It was a wonderful ending to my time in New Hampshire. (I leave for Chicago Friday.) I don't know when I'll fly again, but I hope soon. Maybe even before the next time I visit Nantucket.

Microsoft to Contractors: Take a (short) hike

Microsoft has suspended at least 1,000 contracts with developers for a week, just like (*snap*) that:

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said Monday that Microsoft told vendors who supply the contractors that about 1,000 workers globally would not be needed this week. The vendors, whose workers do software development for Microsoft, also were told to schedule two other days off, Gellos said.
Gellos also said the decision was unrelated to a move, announced late last week, to offer new perks to its Redmond employees such as enhanced child-care benefits, access to dry cleaning and grocery delivery services, and better cafeteria food.

Now, it's well known in the industry that Microsoft uses contractors as their primary workforce. This demonstrates one of the reasons. You can't lay off 1,000 employees for a week; it winds up costing more than you save. But contractors? No such restrictions.

It works both ways, however. Contractors rarely have the long-term interests of the company in mind. (I hope the companies that have contracted for my services feel I'm in the minority.) Over the past few years I've gotten increasingly distressed seeing the quality of work that many contractors produce. The simple solution, I think, is to have long-term employees supervise the contractors better on the one hand, and to create a workable system of warranties on the other. If contractors had to maintain their own code, I guarantee you they'd write better stuff.

Those topics will have to wait, however, while I go back to fulfilling the last day of my current contract.

Dionne on English-amendment nonsense

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes today about Sen. James Inhofe's (R-OK) asinine English Language amendment:

There is no point to this amendment except to say to members of our currently large Spanish-speaking population that they will be legally and formally disrespected in a way that earlier generations of immigrants from—this is just a partial list—Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, France, Hungary, Greece, China, Japan, Finland, Lithuania, Lebanon, Syria, Bohemia, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia were not.
Immigrants from all these places honored their origins, built an ethnic press and usually worshiped in the languages of their ancestors. But they also learned English because they knew that advancement in our country required them to do so.

My great-grandmother[1] came from Russia, and about the English language amendment she would say: Ich hob in bodereim.[2] She actually never learned English, though she tried desperately. One of her grandsons went on to win a couple of awards for writing, including two from the Writers Guild and a couple of EMMY nominations. So at least in my family, immigration and speaking some other language didn't hurt. I think our story is pretty typical.

Dionne doesn't mention that foreign immigrants have always strengthened the U.S., and we're better for their contributions to language and to everything else. Imagine if you couldn't eat a burrito with salsa while sipping a margarita in a plaza; wouldn't your life be less enjoyable?

[1] One of them. The other three came from Wisconsin, from the English-language enclaves of Milwaukee and Janesville.

[2] "I have it in the bathtub." I'm not sure what this means exactly, but inexactly it's the equivalent of "je m'en fiche" or "I don't give a [darn]."

Is someone making up names for public officials?

A while ago Anne and I heard an NPR story about East St. Louis, Ill., that mentioned Police Chief Mister and Mayor Officer. Then this morning NHPR referred to a Manchester, N.H., Police Captain Dick Tracy. Now the Chicago Tribune reports on an Illinois State Police Capt. Negro, who no doubt is best friends with Chicago Police Lt. Honkey.

Is there someone out there making up names for public officials? Perhaps inspired by Catch 22's Major Major?