Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Bus Camera Enables Arrest

12-year-old boy arrested in connection with sexual assault of 3-year-old girl on a school bus.

It seems that the arrest may have been enabled by footage from a camera that had been installed in the bus this past summer. As an electrical engineer at a major school bus manufacturer, I've sometimes wondered about the effectiveness of on-board surveillance systems. We install pre-wiring for a few of our customers but it's not exactly a popular option. It is a relatively simple wiring setup. We don't currently install the cameras themselves, so I can't speak to that. Now I wonder if we aren't going to be setting up more buses for them in the future. There's no way a bus driver can see everything that goes on in a bus. And I've always heard that attorneys would much rather have video evidence than eye-witness accounts in any case. What with kids getting more and more brazen as time goes by, I'm betting we'll be hearing about more incidents like this one in the near future. That's a bet I'd quite happily lose but the odds seem stacked against it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Holy Pwnage, Batman!

Breda links to a video clip that made me cheer out loud while watching it. My favorite bit is at about 1:10 where the guy tries to get away and gets yanked back for more.

Remember, an attacker may eventually be able to impose their will on you but it should never be because you gave up and chose to be a victim. Fight with every weapon you have or can improvise, even tooth and nail if you have to. There's no such thing as a fair fight when someone is trying to victimize you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And The Winner Is...

The Barnes and Noble Nook. I picked one up at Best Buy before my business trip to Tulsa last week. I snagged the wireless only version, not the 3G & wireless. I can't see giving an extra $50 for the ability to download anywhere. If I can't download it at home, at a hotspot, or at a B&N store, I figure I don't need it too badly. I've already ended up buying three electronic books and downloaded a number of public domain books from Project Gutenburg (love that site).

Get Killed For A Good Cause...

...in one of Larry Correia's upcoming books. Larry's the author of Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta. He's got another series that will be coming out soon called the Grimnoir Chronicles. Larry has a post up where he has offered to make you a redshirt (ala Star Trek) in one of his books. All you have to do is send a $50 donation (tax deductable) to a young man who is in need of a kidney transplant.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One (1) Electronic Entertainment - Portable, Please

So, it looks like I'll be doing some traveling for work in the near future and I've been looking at some of my options in portable entertainment. I'll be taking the netbook, of course, but most of the entertainment factor with it is directly internet related. As I know enough about tethering to know how to spell it and that I don't have the necessary hardware, wireless internet access is going to be somewhat limited. I've been considering some other options out there.

Option 1: Nintendo DS. I've only recently been looking at this system. For the most part, Nintendo has fallen off my radar due to their games. The games all look like they were intended for pre-teens. And, that might be the case. Sony and Microsoft's offerings, at least on their consoles, seemed to have missed that particular niche. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find that Nintendo is intentionally marketing to that audience. I welcome any feedback to the contrary but, for now, this one is going on the back burner.

Option 2: Playstation Portable (PSP). I've been eyeing one of these off and on for about two years now. It first really hooked me when I heard about Final Fantasy Dissidia and then realized that Square has been churning out RPGs like mad for this platform. They've even ported some of the old FF games from the NES and SNES systems. (Squee! ...ahem.) The main problem I have with this system is that the RPGs are the only thing that really hold my attention for any length of time and even those haven't held it long enough for me to beat a single FF game. I typically will burn through the stories well past the half-way mark then will hit a tough boss or dungeon that stalls me out. I'll give it numerous tries but will eventually take a break from the game -just for a little while- that turns into the game collecting dust on top of the entertainment center. I just can't imagine that a handheld system with their typically undersized (gorilla hands!) controls and a small screen is going to help this situation any.

Option 3: Amazon Kindle. This one seems the most likely to get used a lot. I devour books, especially fantasy novels. I've recently put myself on something of a book-buying hiatus as I've got entertainment in dead tree format strewn hither and yon across the house. I really need to get those organized and put away before I go buying any more. The Kindle would definitely help cut down on the clutter. I really only have two issues with the Kindle. The first is that they've just announced a new graphite-colored case, Wi-Fi only version that retails for $139. That is exactly what I want. The problem is that they are just now taking pre-orders and I'm not likely to get one of these puppies before I have to head out on the trip. The second issue is money. I'd probably spend a small fortune on books in the first month alone!