Morning Cup O' Joe

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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.

Sincerely,
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

Steubenville

It’s a downright depressing day when The Onion goes from being a satirical news site to an actual source of truth. Here is a video by The Onion, posted in 2011, depicting a rapist as the real victim just because he’s a sports star with a promising career:

And here is a video showing CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape trial:

I got the original comparison from Thought Catalog. Eerie, no? What’s even sadder is some of the response to the verdict. This breaks my head. A girl was raped while she was intoxicated. Naked pictures of her were posted on the internet. How is she “deserving” of this? How is anyone deserving of this?

I think there are many variables that led to this moment: poor parenting (and/or absentee parents),  lack of education, a general acceptance of misogyny (by both men and women), glorification and worship of athletes, permissive adults, etc. I don’t think there is a single solution that will fix everything. The best I can do is to teach my own children to do the right thing.

Thanks for the links Angelo!

Sources: Thought Catalog, Public Shaming

March 18, 2013 Posted by | News, Rants, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Steubenville

Bullied–To This Day Project

To This Day Project–Shane Koyczan

Powerful.

  • At 1:20, he reminds us all what we heard growing up.
  • At 2:07, we meet another girl who was bruised by words.
  • At 2:57, we learn why she’s awesome.
  • At 3:12, we meet a kid who was pummeled by pills.
  • At 4:28, we learn how many kids have to deal with this to this day.
  • At 5:23, if you’ve been bullied, you REALLY need to hear these words.
  • At 6:00, seriously, listen to these damn beautiful words.
  • And at 6:49, we get to the point that everyone should take to heart.

Help confront bullying by sharing this using the buttons below. It needs to be called out in spectacular fashion.

via Upworthy.com (Thanks for the link, Rochelle!)

February 20, 2013 Posted by | Video | , , | Comments Off on Bullied–To This Day Project

Ultra Ever Dry

Ultra Ever Dry

I won’t even bother trying to explain how wondrous this “nano-tech coating” is. Just watch the video.

I can’t vouch for the validity of this product, but it’s fun to think up of uses for it. What would YOU use this on?

via NPR

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Science and Technology, Video | , , | 5 Comments

Large Scale Acapella

I know this isn’t new and that it’s just a publicity stunt by T-Mobile, but I just love well-executed acapella performances. What makes this stand out is the sheer scale of this operation. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the video above, and if you’re curious about what went into the making of this, check out the video below. Enjoy!

Bonus: If you’re a fan of the Swingle Singers, apparently the entire group participated in this.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Music, Video | Comments Off on Large Scale Acapella

iPhone Quick-Draw System

Best promotional video ever. EVER.

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, Humor, iphone, Video | , , , | Comments Off on iPhone Quick-Draw System

Transporter – An alternative to cloud storage

I qualify as a heavy user of cloud storage. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive are essential to my collaborative workflow. There are certain caveats to this, though:

  1. As a photographer, sharing 20GB of photos (from a single wedding shoot, for example) through Dropbox is cost-prohibitive. Collaborating on multiple wedding shoots will cost a pretty penny. Videographers have it worse.
  2. Companies require certain rights to your files in order to provide the “sharing” portion of their service, since your files will be living on their servers. As such, you are subject to their whims. (In general, you should be wary of any free service you make use of. Facebook, for example, just released new “functionality” in their mobile apps that automatically uploads ALL photos you take into a private album onto your account. It sounds convenient, but realize that once your files are on their servers, Facebook has certain rights over them.)
  3. My particular cable internet provider has a data cap of 250GB/month for my service tier (30Mbps). Once we hit that limit, we get throttled down to around 1.5Mbps (which is still preferable to getting overage charges). When I was experimenting with online backup solutions, I hit that data cap in half a month.

Enter Geoff Barrall, CEO and founder of Connected Data (and former CEO and founder of Drobo, Inc.). He is aiming directly at users like myself with a new product called Transporter. In a nutshell, it is a non-RAID NAS that provides Dropbox-like sharing. The kicker is how it works with other Transporter devices. If, let’s say, my photo business partner had a Transporter, we can have a synced folder for wedding photo shoots. Our Transporters will sync with each other automatically. The only “cloud” element is in the hand-shaking protocol between Transporters so that they can find each other. None of your data passes through their servers. This seems like a near-perfect win to me. It takes care of caveats 1 and 2 above.

Transporter has a KickStarter if you want to get in on the action early (and get a discount). According to an interview with Geoff Barrall, the Transporter will go on sale in 2013.

Transporter [website] [kickstarter] [video]

Interview with Geoff Barrall (starts at 1:07:00) – This Week in Photo

December 24, 2012 Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, Photography, Science and Technology | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Emergency Preparedness

ShelfRelianceTHRIVE

Do you have an emergency supply of food and water? No? Luckily you can get 8,671 Servings of Gluten Free & Vegetarian Emergency Food from CostCo for $1799.99. That’s enough to feed a single adult for almost 8 years, or my household of 5 for a 1.5 years.

The food is provided by Shelf Reliance, specialists in food storage and emergency preparedness planning. Here’s an overview of what they are about:

Shelf Reliance

At $0.21/serving (if you purchase the aforementioned CostCo pack), this is an interesting alternative to conventional daily or weekly grocery shopping on top of being an emergency source of food. It’s something to consider.

If anybody has tried this out, we’d love to hear your feedback and experience in the comments.

Thanks for the links, Tim!

December 11, 2012 Posted by | How-To | , , , | Comments Off on Emergency Preparedness

RED HANDS–Walk off the Earth

RED HANDS by Walk off the Earth (Finished Video)

I’m not usually into music videos, but I have to admit that I’m very impressed by the directing and editing of RED HANDS by Walk off the Earth.

Actually, it’s the editing that really shines about this. For perspective, check out the unedited video below.

RED HANDS by Walk off the Earth (Unedited Video)

November 9, 2012 Posted by | Music, Video | , , | 2 Comments

An Unexpected Briefing

An Unexpected Briefing [Air New Zealand]

Air New Zealand hired the special effects crew that worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy to “punch up” their air safety videos.

They have succeeded.

Thanks for the link, Dan!

via Gizmodo.com

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Humor, Movies, Video | , , , | Comments Off on An Unexpected Briefing