I suppose the "A&A" theory needs legal bolstering. I mean, how often does government pass new laws to make something which is already illegal more illegal?
Oh, wait. They do that all the damn time. (Particularly in blue states. Which Illinois is.) ("Red state" should still mean "Demokrat bastion state", damn it. Red is the perfect color for Dems.)
Not that it matters, really, since most of the PC techs I knew during my career as one would have reported the stuff if he found it on someone's computer. You have to be pretty stupid to hand over your computer to someone for repair, knowing that you've got illegal material on it.
The problem with laws like the one in Illinois is that it ends up being a judgement call made by whoever reports it--and so you have cases where Josephine Blow innocently takes pictures of "baby's first bath", who is then taken down by a SWAT team because the photo tech at XYZ-Store reported that Josephine had "child pr0ngriphy" on her film. Get a district attorney who wants to make an example of someone and you've got a bad situation for someone who didn't get the memo changing the rules.
See, it used to be that "non-sexual nudity" was not considered pr00n. Parents used to be able to take movies and pictures of their young children without worrying about the occasional shot of a hoo-hoo-dilly or cha-cha. These days, though, if you get even the barest hint of "non-public skin" in a picture, expect the SWAT team to come a'knocking at your door...with a battering ram.
Theoretically this protects children from being molested.
But then there's the case of a reporter accused of generating kid-p0nr because he videotaped high school cheerleaders in action.
Cheering for an athletic team, I mean. Wearing only their cheerleading uniforms. Scandalous! How dare that man videotape fully-clothed teenage girls?
For this, the guy faces the possibility of three years in prison and having his name plastered on the sex offender registry for ten years. Also probably losing his job, house, savings, reputation, and so on. Even after he's off the registry he'll be unable to find a job.
Theoretically, this protects children from being molested. (Oh wait, did I say that already?)
How to fix a housing problem. Without a huge government program.
Part of the housing problem we currently face in the US--failed mortgages, etc--is due to the trend towards "yuppie mansions". ("McMansions", which is a term I detest.) Big houses on big lots, costing $300,000+--and if you want a new house, you can't buy anything but.
...unless you go with "manufactured housing" (ie a TRAILER).
Look at the south suburbs of Chicago. You can't get into a new townhouse for less than $180,000--or couldn't, anyway, before the housing bubble began to collapse. It may be less now--and even older houses are 'way the hell up there in price.
When I lived in Cedar Rapids, and was starting to think about buying a house, $100,000 was my upper limit--and I could have had my pick of homes between $70,000 and $100,000. There was one not far from my apartment with an indoor pool with an asking price of $110,000.
But these were not-new houses. New houses--forget it; they started somewhere around $190,000 and got worse from there. And to a unit they were multi-thousand square foot dwellings. "McMansions", to use the term I hate.
Big houses mean bigger profits, of course, and in a bubble market there's no reason to think small. If your house is going to appreciate by 50% in the first few years, why worry that the payments will be large? Just live in it and make ends meet, and sell it after it's appreciated enough that you can use the leftover money as a down payment on a similar house elsewhere.
The housing bubble is going to make--is making--life difficult for people on my end of the income spectrum. A house that used to sell for $80,000 now sells for $160,000--is it any wonder defaults are up?
"Earth Hour" was a waste of time. Cogent analysis of stupidity.
Looks like my next sound card won't come from Creative Labs. I have to wonder at this; I really do. Creative Labs has the right to protect its intellectual property, but which IP are they actually protecting?
They come down on a guy who's making, for their products, drivers which actually work under Vista--but release drivers themselves which offer only limited functionality. Instead of offering the guy a job or some other business deal, they shut him down.
On the other hand, the guy was supporting the previous generation of sound cards. That means Vista users wouldn't have to buy new sound cards, of course.
I wish I'd known about this before they nuked the dude. I wouldn't have minded having those drivers, myself. (But I bet they'll be available for download in various places soon, as this story makes the rounds of the intrarwb.)
The link is to a thread in Creative's forum. It starts with the deleted post by one "Daniel_K", who wrote the new driver software, which has been replaced with a post from moderator "Dale-CL" of a letter from "Phil O'Shaughnessy, VP Corporate Communications, Creative Labs Inc." Said letter being full of corporate douchebaggery.
The letter of douchebaggery is followed by ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SIX PAGES of comments. Most of the comments--note that I did not read them all--appear to be of the "I'm never buying your products again" variety. Not surprising, that.
Here we see that the story is making the rounds of the intertubes.
Here is a link to a Bittorrent download of Daniel_K's Audigy drivers, so if you're trying to make an Audigy work under Vista, you can actually access all the hardware features you paid for.
Every sound card I have ever owned--save one--has been a Creative Labs product. Every computer I owned since my first-ever PC clone that I built in 1992 has had some version of a Sound Blaster in it. The only non-Creative sound card I ever bought was a cheapo $10 sound card that I put into my first computer at Rockwell-Collins, when I was a tech writer, so I could listen to Limbaugh.
And now I'm going to start looking for alternatives.