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Lavabit Suspends Operations

The encrypted email service Lavabitused by Ed Snowden, has suspended operations. The farewell message is all sorts of creepy.

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.

via Ars Technica

Update (8/14/2013): Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shut-down decision via Ars Technica

The founder of Lavabit, the company whose encrypted email service Ed Snowden (and ~400k other users) was using is under a gag order so strong that he can’t even share everything with his lawyer:

“There’s information that I can’t even share with my lawyer, let alone with the American public. So, if we’re talking about secrecy, you know, it’s really been taken to the extreme, and I think it’s really being used by the current administration to cover up tactics that they may be ashamed of…”

Law practitioners/experts, is this really possible?



August 8, 2013 Posted by | Events, News | Comments Off on Lavabit Suspends Operations

Mike Rowe’s Testimony on Skilled Labor

Mike Rowe Testifies

Dirty Jobs creator/host Mike Rowe testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently on the widening skilled labor gap in the United States.

A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn’t a lack of funds. It wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.

In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.

In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a "good job" into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber — if you can find one — is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.

I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they’re in short supply because we don’t acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.

When Rowe spoke of his grandfather, I couldn’t help but think of my own dad and his preternatural ability to figure out all things mechanical. I do agree with Rowe’s point that we, as a society, have greatly undervalued skilled labor.

I can imagine that in a few generations, all we’ll have in the U.S. is middle management. It’ll be like a large rowboat with 10 guys w/bullhorns shouting at the 1 guy doing the actual rowing.

via Discovery Channel via BoingBoing

May 13, 2011 Posted by | Events, General, News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Inauguration – A Great Reason to Use Photosynth

There were ~2 million people at the inauguration today, and you can bet that a lot of them had a camera of some sort. CNN put the call out for people to send in photos. They took those photos and used Photosynth to create an explorable 3D mashup of the “moment” of inauguration.


Related: Seadragon, Photosynth

Technorati Tags: , ,

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Events, Geeks and Gadgetry, News, Photography, Science and Technology, Software | , , | Comments Off on The Inauguration – A Great Reason to Use Photosynth

2009 California International Choral Festival & Competition

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The 2009 California International Choral Festival & Competition will be hitting San Luis Obispo the weekend of June 26-28, 2009. Tickets will be on sale after October 17, 2008. Considering how all 5 shows sold out last year, I suggest buying your tickets as soon as they are available.

Here are my previous posts on the 2007 (inaugural) competition, and the photos I took. Go Philippines! 🙂

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Events, Music | , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2009 California International Choral Festival & Competition

San Diego Comic Con 2008

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This is my first foray into the San Diego Comic Con. I really didn’t know what to expect except for the size of the convention itself. Even having that in mind, I was still floored by the immensity of the attendance. People from all over the world, from all walks of life came here to share in their passion for the “contemporary creative arts.”

I was so overwhelmed by everything I didn’t take as many photos as I thought I would. Also, it got so packed I couldn’t even stop to take a photo. Most of these photos were taken “in passing” and as such, came out fairly blurry.

Oh well, I’ll know what to expect next year. 🙂

I took the time to annotate most of the photos, so enjoy!

July 26, 2008 Posted by | Events, Games and Gaming, Geeks and Gadgetry, General, Legos, Movies, Oddities, Photography | Comments Off on San Diego Comic Con 2008

A Political Campaign That Speaks to Me

Sean Tevis is an Information Architect running for State Representative of Kansas. He created a comic, in homage to XKCD, to tell his story thus far.

Highly entertaining, but not a joke. I think we need more guys like Sean running for office.

via @smittyhalibut via Twitter

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Events, General, Humor, News | 2 Comments

Olympic Torch Relay comes to the SF Bay Area

The Olympic Torch makes its only stop in North America and with it comes 1000 protesters.


Judging by recent events in Turkey, this could get ugly real quick.


This does not bode well for the Olympic Torch in San Francisco

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Events, News, Video | Comments Off on Olympic Torch Relay comes to the SF Bay Area

Anybody going to check-out the Total Lunar Eclipse?

Looks like our view in the Bay Area will be rained out.


Can someone chime in and give us tips on the best viewing conditions and how to photograph the event.

February 19, 2008 Posted by | Events, News | 2 Comments

Super Tuesday!!!

No Ranting

No Persuading

Research & Just Do It

Cuz if you don’t vote

Don’t complain

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Events, News, Philosophy | 4 Comments

And so it begins… The Iowa Caucuses

Yeah, I know…


Is it just me or is our nomination/election process dated?

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Events, Philosophy, Video | 2 Comments