Category Archives: Tech

iPhone free unlock finally achieved

If you have (or want) an iPhone, you used to be locked into AT&T’s 2 year contract. However, hackers have released a free unlock which allows you to use T-Mobile as a carrier. Actually, you can use any carrier that is using CDMA, but in America, that is only T-Mobile and AT&T.

Verizon is a no go, because it uses a different technology. But the rest of the world (that use CDMA) is now a very happy place. So if you like T-Mobile and want to buy a nice gadget, go nuts. Oh, and make sure it’s free. Other hackers were trying to charge for it, but the free project released before they were able to effectively mass-market it.

Details (from Gizmodo) are here.

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Filed under Tech, Uncategorized

AltLaw Beta: Free Boolean-searches of SCOTUS/Federal Courts of Appeal Decisions


AltLaw, the newest and one of the more promising internet legal resources to hit the scene, is now up and running and available for free public advanced searches of case law.

It’s a sort of Google for Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal decisions, and clearly holds promise to democratize the availability of relevant and useful case law in the States. LEXIS and Westlaw, of course, have long monopolized the availability of such information in any searchable or useful form, and have charged a pretty penny to those that want to easily search case or other resources (via “Natural Language” or the far more powerful, but underused, advanced/Boolean search engines). AltLaw now makes Boolean searching entirely free.

The catch: at startup, AltLaw’s coverage of SCOTUS case law extends fully only back to May 1991, and the Federal Courts of Appeals in a more irregular spread–the 7th Circuit back only to October 1999, and at best, the 1st Circuit back to 1992. Complete details about AltLaw’s initial coverage are posted HERE.

AltLaw is a joint project of Columbia Law School and the University of Colorado Law School. The site touts, amazingly, advanced searching options akin to LEXIS and Westlaw, including proximity searching, Boolean searches, concentration searches, wildcard searches (my fave), among others. The site also intimates that West Reporter Citations will be added.

Yet another step in making U.S. case law readily available to the citizenry, along the lines of what Cornell’s indispensible Legal Information Institute has done, for example, in making the U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations, among LII’s many other items, very quickly searchible and accessible for free.

Thanks to fellow appellate litigator Greg May at The California Blog of Appeal, and Harvard’s Info/Law for the story.


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Filed under Appellate Law, Criminal Law, Education, International, Law, Supreme Court, Tech

Wikipedia Needs Some Major Changes: So Says the Department of Defense

According Ares users computer users from the DoD are very busy editing entries on Wikipedia.



the Department of Defense, whose .mil account holders have been very busy on Wikipedia. The defense agency with the most edits originating from its .mil address is Army’s Network Information Center, with 43,823 edits. The U.S. Air Forces comes in second with 21,478 edits, while the Naval Surface Warfare Center has 18, 591. The numbers drop dramatically from there with fourth and fifth place going to the Pentagon overall and the Office of the Secretary of Defense at 3,355 and 2,685 edits, respectively.

It appears that the Leathernecks either don’t understand computers or don’t care about what is on Wikipedia, because according to VIRGIL.GRiffith‘s WikiScanner there have been only 30 edits from


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The HD Molehill/Spitwad battle; and, Paramount and DreamWorks choose HD-DVD

HD DVD Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG–including, inter alia, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies, and MTV Films–announced today (Monday Aug 20th 07) that they will release their next-gen DVD titles exclusively on HD-DVD, dropping the Blu-Ray format. Want to watch Transformers, Shrek the Third, and Blades of Glory? Gotta do it in HD-DVD, if you’re looking for that 1080p picture on your flatscreen. (And as we all know, the new Battlestar Galactica is HD-DVD only.)

Paramount described HD-DVD as superior due to “market-ready technology” and the “affordable high quality choice for consumers.” Paramount found that HD-DVD offered better quality, lower-priced players, and lower manufacturing Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Entertainment, Gaming, HD-DVD, PS3, Tech, Television, Xbox 360

Confirmed: Xbox 360 Price Drop / Rumor: HDMI to all SKUs?

Xbox’s Major Nelson confirmed Monday that there will be price drops come August 8th–the 360 “Premium,” as we’ve known it (20 gig) will drop $50 to $349. The Core (without hard drive) will drop $20 to $279, and the Elite will drop $30 to $449.

Official MS Press Release HERE.

Also, ArsTechnica reports that a “source” at E3 told their reporter that, across the SKUs, “HDMI will probably be the standard moving forward.” Microsoft officially states that HDMI will appear only on the Halo 3 special edition ($399), and the Elite “for now.” However, the same Microsoft official also declined to comment on what new electronics would appear in any of the consoles coming this fall, leading one to speculate…

Lime out

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Google Maps: Street View Available in Nine Cities

If you have not seen it, this is very cool. Street View allows you to go to a location and see it as though you were standing on the street. Street-level view on the Las Vegas Strip in front of Treasure Island and the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Google gives a tour of Street View at this link. This is incredible the amount of detail involved. And having been to a number of these areas, the view is a good as memory serves.

The following areas have Street View:

  • Denver
  • Las Vegas
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • San Diego
  • Houston
  • Orlando
  • Miami

Just click on one of the cameras to go to ground level.

yojoe (in Tech mode) out

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Lawyering Tip: RSS Legal Feeds

If any of you use RSS readers or depend on the internet for news related to your profession (or simply for enjoyment), you should be familiar with Netvibes. Netvibes is perhaps one of the more elegant and streamlined RSS readers out there. It’s been my intention to post a full review of the site in a future posting.

Until then, I’m publishing my law-related feeds in the shared section of Netvibes. The feeds, almost 50 sites in all, are a compilation of several dozen of the best legal sites and blogs out there, and via Netvibes, makes reading the content quite easy.

Simply float your mouse over a given headline, and you’ll get a bubble with a paragraph selection of the news item or blog post. Click on the headline, and you’ll be given a mini-RSS reader within Netvibes, without actually having to exit to another website. I’ve played around with software-based and web-based readers, including Windows Live, Google, and others, but I’ve continued to return to Netvibes as my main reader. The interface is very fast, and makes quickly locating the articles of interest a breeze.

Harry Lime’s Legal Feeds via Netvibes. Enjoy! And please send any good sites my way, I’d be glad to add to the pot.


Filed under Appellate Law, Criminal Law, Law, Military Justice, Military Law, Supreme Court, Tech, Windows Vista

Haditha Update: Wired Magazine Reports Use of Live Internet Video

Wired is reporting on the use of a live two-way video stream during testimony in the Article 32 investigations of Marines charged with murder in Haditha, Iraq. Wired does a good job of explaining the technology, but falls a bit short on the law. The hearings held for the Marines are all Article 32 investigations not courts-martial. This is a critical distinction for the law.

At an Article 32 investigation, a witness will be produced if her presence is relevant and she is reasonably available. “Reasonably available” is defined as the witness being located within 100 miles from the situs of the investigation and the “significance of the testimony and personal appearance of the witness outweighs the difficulty, expense, delay and effect on military operations of obtaining the witness’ appearance. R.C.M.405(g)(1)(1)(A). Essentially a witness must be at the hearing unless his commanding officer determines the cost, difficulty, expense, or effect on military operations outweighs the necessity of his presence.

At a court-martial the determination is different. Under United States v. Shabazz, 52 M.J. 585 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 1999), remote video testimony was not allowed, as it violated the accused’s Continue reading

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Filed under Haditha, Iraq, Law, Military Law, Tech

Laser to be Developed for Use by United States Army: Destroys Rockets, Artillery Shells, and Mortar Rounds

The laser is to be mounted on the HEMTT and will be capable of destroying rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds.

Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)
Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)

The initial contract has been awarded to the Boeing Company to develop a control system for a solid-state laser to be mounted on the HEMTT. The control system, known as a rugged beam control system (BCS), will used to accurately point the laser beam on an enemy target, be it a rocket, shell, or mortar round. The Army has chosen a solid-state laser over the chemical laser because the former is lighter and does not require the constant supply of chemical fuels.

Boeing is one of several companies building an airborne laser weapon (ABL) to be used by the Continue reading

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U.S. Congress’ Climate Change Waterloo?

Steven Mufson of the Washington Post has a grave assessment of Congress’ ability to make even a dent in the dire issue of climate change:

Here’s the good news about climate change: Energy and climate experts say the world already possesses the technological know-how for trimming greenhouse gas emissions enough to slow the perilous rise in the Earth’s temperatures.

Here’s the bad news: Because of the enormous cost of addressing global warming, the energy legislation considered by Congress so far will make barely a dent in the problem, while farther-reaching climate proposals stand a remote chance of passage.

Despite growing public concern over global warming, the House has failed to agree on new standards for automobile fuel efficiency, and the Senate has done little to boost the efficiency of commercial office buildings and appliances. In September, Congress is expected to start wrestling with more ambitious legislation aimed at slowing climate change; but because of the complexity of the likely proposals, fewexpect any bill to become law. Even if passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, the final measure may not be tough Continue reading


Filed under Culture, Environment, International, Politics, Science, Tech

Xbox 360 Chatpad, Pink/Blue Controllers, Halo SKU Release Dates

Xbox 360 Messenger KitXbox 360™ Halo 3 Special Edition Console

The 360 Chatpad is due out in the U.S. Thursday, September 6th, at the announced $29.99 price. It clips onto the bottom of your 360 controller and allows you to IM and send e-mails without using the on-screen keyboard. I was aware that the package included a wired headset (the original 360 wired headset won’t work with the keyboard), but apparently the keys are also backlit–a nice touch.

The wireless pink and light/dark blue 360 controllers will go on sale in October for $49.99.

And of coruse, the Halo 3 Special Edition SKU–olive green, HDMI, and a 20 gig–is due out in September.

If you aren’t aware, you already can bring-up the translucent mini-window for IM if you’ve got a USB keyboard by hitting Windows + M. This allows you to chat while watching movies, gaming, etc. More commands HERE.

Lime out

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Filed under Business, Gaming, Science Fiction, Tech, Xbox 360

iPhone Smoothie

I’ve never quite seen anything like this.

Nope, this is pretty unique. With the recent news that an unprecedented 33% of all Americans are presently lusting after an iPhone, the relatively small subset of buyers who might actually go for something like this might just fill the back seat of a Yugo:

Never having thought about this before, I’m surprised at the fineness of the final product. It’s like the contents of a tube of graphite, except for that one recalcitrant wire.


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$100 price cut on all Xbox 360 SKUs, 1 August? (RUMOR) [UPDATED 24 Jul 07]

I post this with a note of caution, I know nothing about the source. Nonetheless, Zero Iscariot over at Destructoid reports news today from

a very good source within a major Canadian retailer that guarantees that despite the lack of a cut at E3 this week, the Xbox 360 will drop $100 across all SKU’s. When? Sooner than you think. AUGUST 1ST.

Prices, the source says, will then be as follows:

-Xbox 360 core, $199 American (with pack-in memory unit!)

-Xbox 360 Premium, $299 American

-Xbox 360 Elite, $449 Canadian, possibly $399 American

This would be, as you’ll recall from my prediction, the “killer” move from Microsoft. Not only would the entry level Core undercut the $249 Wii price, but the Elite, if $399 or Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Gaming, Tech, Xbox 360

MS/PS3 News Roundup PLUS a Prediction: a Xbox 360 Price Drop at Tuesday’s E3 (or soon, soon, soon!)

After the RROD/3 year warranty enhancement news, “other” news has just poured out of Redmond, or at least about the Redmond giant Microsoft.

First off, though, the PS3 news: for those of you in caves, be aware that on July 9th, Sony confirmed rumors of an upcoming new price structure for the glossy box. Effective immediately, Sony announced the PS3 60 gig model would be sold for $100 less than the current price, bringing to $499. Sony also announced an 80 gig version, to be released in August, that would be sold for $599. Apart from the hard drive size, the units apparently are otherwise indistinguishable.

Beautiful quote from an unnamed MS rep in response to the Sony price cut:

We’ll see if it makes a difference. It’s interesting to note that they’ve significantly dropped their price in the first eight months while Xbox 360 has continued to sell well at our launch price for more than a year and a half. We’re right where we want to be right now — it’s all about choice and bringing the best games and entertainment to homes around the world.

Second, Darren Huston, President of MS’ Japan unit, stated that despite the PS3’s recent Continue reading


Filed under Business, Gaming, Tech, Xbox 360

The Wonders of Google Earth

These are indeed different times we live in. The digital age means that as never before, information is at our fingertips. At the same time, the quantity of information available online means that protecting privacy is more difficult than ever, even if you are the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Images taken by a commercial satellite and available via Google Earth show China’s new strategic ballistic missile submarine, the Jin-class, at dock in northeastern China. The detail is good enough to reconstruct the layout of the sub in some detail.

If you want to look for yourself, enter the coordinates 38° 49′ 4.40″ N, 121° 29′ 39.82″ E.

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Filed under International, Photography, Tech