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East of Eden: Sex & Computers
Some combinations are toxic.
This has been an extraordinary week. It's had all the elements of Steinbeck's wooden box with East of Eden - all the elements of human tragedy. And folly. Unfortunately precious little of the good stuff such as understanding, love, and intelligence.
The week has to start out with the unraveling story of Lower Merion.
Last November, Harriton High student Blake Robbins was called to the office by the vice principal to talk about what was called his 'improper behaviour' at home.
Vice Principal Lindy Matsko cited as evidence a photograph taken with the computer's webcam that had been activated in Blake's bedroom. Robbins claims that Matsko accused him of selling drugs when she saw Robbins holding up what she believed to be pills. Robbins says he was simply holding 'Mike And Ikes'.
Harriton High run 2,620 MacBooks for their students. The laptops are configured to spy on the students.
The official explanation is that the configuration is supposed to thwart theft. Yet when students remarked they'd seen the iSight camera flashing, school representatives told them it was only a 'hardware glitch' and that no spying was taking place.
Lindy Matsko sort of blew it. Robbins' parents have now taken the matter public.
Another great story was how Apple began censoring their iPhone App Store to rid the catalogue of anything even remotely smelling like sex. Of course big titles backed by big money like Playboy's 'guess what's underneath' tittie cavalcades and SI swimsuit stuff remain because they supposedly have a 'cultural/historical interest'. But everybody knows what the score is.
Digg readers summed it up best. (There are some smart people there. True.)
You know how I know Steve Jobs is gay?
The turtle necks?
because he likes coldplay?
is this not what killed betamax?
This reminds me of being a library assistant in middle school. The old librarian freaked out that there was a SI swimsuit edition and made me sit down - for the whole hour - and cover up boobs and asses with a black Sharpie.
If I were you I'd cut the internet off as well. Home school them, lock them away, chemically castrate them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
I thought the iPhone was supposed to be a device of the future? Sounds to me like this thing is trying to appeal to a 19th century demographic.
Then there's the ongoing story in Everett Washington about 'bikini baristas'. There's not much connection to computers here but it's part of a trend.
Getting a fast food cuppa from a girl wearing pasties is about as appealing as walking out of a restaurant after eating yourself silly, only to see someone right inside the door being served the same plate you strained to finish. Yet hungry souls looking on through the window will drool. Why are so many people drooling in Everett Washington? Women don't drink coffee up there?
Five Everett 'bikini baristas' have so far been criminally charged with prostitution. And now they're thinking of doing the same thing in Pierce County. A woman of nineteen years is up on similar charges after a shocking incident 7 October last year.
The complainer - another woman - says she was driving past Bikini Bottom Espresso II when a barista clad in 'pasties' was seen walking to a storage shed on the premises. The complainer had a child in the car and feared the poor little thing would be scarred by the sight.
Digg readers summed it up again.
I'll bet good money the woman who called the deputies was ugly as shit.
Oh noes! She's exposed! Save us from the boobies!
I bet both mother and child saw something they've never laid eyes on before /s
A country which gets a collective heart attack if a *gasp* tit is shown, either in real life or on TV. If the same mom had seen violence rather than a tit, she wouldn't have called anyone.
Oh NO! I hope that CHILD didn't see breasts! You know, those fucking things he sucks milk out of. Grow up you fucking cunt rag.
Oh no Timmy cover your eyes, here play Gears of War 2 instead!
What really irks me is that because that self-righteous puritan called the cops that poor barista is going to become a sex offender. People like that barista risk discrimination for the rest of their lives in housing and possibly even future employment.
What a waste of taxpayers money to prosecute this woman. The women that called the police is a fucking cunt.
Now up to scenic Cheyenne Wyoming.
CHEYENNE -- The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the child porn conviction against a Casper man who argues that a computer virus allowed his computer to be infected with illegal images.
The case was appealed because the jury hadn't listened to the forensics expert.
As President of Loehrs & Associates, Tami Loehrs provides the company with more than 20 years of legal and computer experience. In 1999, Mrs Loehrs founded Law2000, a successful computerised litigation support company offering the legal community with information technology support, computerised trial services, e-discovery, and computer forensics services. Her work with the IT division gave Mrs Loehrs hands-on experience in almost every aspect of computers including hardware, software, networking, remote access, security, and Internet. In addition, Mrs Loehrs has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, hundreds of hours of computer forensics training, is certified in both EnCase and Forensic Tool Kit (FTK) and is a licensed private investigator in the State of Arizona. Mrs Loehrs has testified in State and Federal Courts throughout the United States as a computer forensics expert and has been a speaker for various organisations nationwide on the subjects of computer forensics and electronic discovery. As a result of her successful work in the field of computer forensics, Mrs Loehrs has appeared on television shows in the United States, Japan and New Zealand.
Tami Loehrs is currently contributing to seven ongoing cases of 'child pornography', analysing the 'electronic evidence'.
She has specialised training in EnCase, cellphone forensics, email investigations, file recovery, Windows Vista, reverse engineering, Linux and Mac forensics, MySpace, hacking malware, technical profiling for law enforcement and intelligence, malicious artifacts identification and analysis, and more. She's been called on to give testimony in over 40 cases of computer-related crimes.
Loehrs was called in to testify in the Cheyenne case but neither the judge nor the prosecutor liked her very much. Her testimony raised questions about whether the defendant's computer was in reality infected with malware. Loehrs stated she found no evidence the defendant had accessed the 'evidence'.
But judge Clarence Brimmer treated Loehrs with demonstrable skepticism and then left the courtroom during defence closing arguments, returning six minutes later and stating it was his secretary's afternoon to play canasta and he needed to send some letters.
One of the judges in the appellate court dissented. 'I have no confidence in the jury verdict under review', he wrote, explaining that the jury were 'unfairly prejudiced against Loehrs by the comments and actions of the district court'.
This isn't the first time of course. Two years ago Arizona prosecutor Andy Thomas, who ran for office on a platform of being tough on child porn, took a case to court with no examination of the evidence whatsoever. Loehrs was called in, analysed the evidence or lack thereof, and finally got things worked out for Thomas' victim - but not until the now poor parents had spent $250,000 in legal fees.
Matt Bandy was a 16 year old kid who'd never committed a violent crime, had absolutely no prior record, and yet was looking at 90 years in prison.
It's a case that attracted attention from the ABC newsmagazine show 20/20, and it's easy to see why: 90 years is a long time for any teenager to be facing.
But what makes this case so shocking is Thomas had an appalling lack of evidence. His investigators had never even checked out the most basic facts that would ultimately vindicate Matt.
Things that go boom on the silver and television screens are OK. Anything related to sex provokes a violent reaction. Couple this with staggering stupidity when it comes to information technology - and the all too widespread use of Microsoft Windows - and you have a really toxic situation.
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said 'why don't you make something for me?'
I asked you what you wanted, and you said 'a box'.
'To put things in.'
'Whatever you have', you said.
Well here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts - the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
- East of Eden dedication to Pascal Covici, Viking Press