Airport Security Logic Strikes Again

Good lord this is stupid.

So the United States and I assume some other countries have security policies in place to prevent people from bringing dangerous bottles of water or tubes of lotion into airports or onto planes. I’ve never quite understood why, but that really doesn’t matter. It especially doesn’t matter now that I’ve learned that you can take that stuff through security as long as you do one thing first. Freeze it solid. Seriously.

That’s right, it’s not breaking the TSA’s pesky 3-1-1 rule if the drink is frozen — just make sure it’s completely frozen. According to the TSA, if the liquid is even partially melted or slushy, it needs to meet 3-1-1 liquid requirements. Here’s the agency’s wording:
Frozen liquid items are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen liquid items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 liquids requirements.

I have no idea why it makes a difference or what makes liquid any less dangerous once it thaws or for that matter why nobody’s figured out that it’s much easier to beat someone to death with a frozen water bottle than it is a room temperature one, but there ya go.

Happy 40th Birthday, Q107

I just learned something that blew my mind a little bit.

If you’re like me, knowing what you know about Toronto’s best rock Q107 which turned 40 years old yesterday, you would probably guess that the first song the station ever played would be something by Rush or the Who or Neil Young or the Stones or Zeppelin or Sabbath. But no. That honour goes to, of all things, “Hard Rock Town” by Murray McLauchlan.

I won’t bash the choice since it’s a decent song and it wound up being appropriate, but seriously, I could have sat here guessing songs all day long and not come up with that.

If you want to hear what things sounded like on May 22nd, 1977, Toronto Mike has some audio.

Man, station launches used to be a whole lot more understated than they’ve become today.

Lol Im Suin Ur Ass 4 Teh Movie

On one hand,I have a feeling Brandon Vezmar might be a little bit nuts. But on the other, I’m totally on board with the logic behind suing a failed date for $17.31 for the cost of a movie ticket and pizza because she chose texting over the date you paid for. Seriously, if you can’t put your damn phone down for even the time it takes to watch a movie in public, there’s something the matter with you.

Brandon Vezmar, 37, met the woman, 35, on Bumble, a dating app and went with her on a first date to see Guardians of the Galaxy on May 6, according to the American-Statesman. Vezmar said that the woman began texting in the first 15 minutes and continued after he requested that she stop. When he asked her to take it outside, she did so and then left the theatre, leaving him without a ride as they had arrived together in her car.
“It was kind of a first date from hell,” Vezmar told the American-Statesman. His claim stated that the woman “activated her phone 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages.”
“I’ve seen people get kicked out of movies for this,” he said.

Vezmar’s claim alleged that the texting was a “direct violation of the theater’s policy” and that by texting, Vezmar’s date “adversely” affected both his experience and that of other movie patrons.
“While damages sought are modest, the principle is important as defendant’s behavior is a threat to civilized society,” the suit said.

As for her side of the story, she says she doesn’t have to pay him because he took her out on a date and that it wasn’t twenty times, it was three.

“I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody,” she said.

Anybody?

She also says she plans to file for an order of protection against Vezmar because he’s been bothering her sister about it (see nuts, probably).

“This is crazy. He has escalated the situation far past what any mentally healthy person would. I feel sorry that I hurt his feelings badly enough that he felt he needed to commit so much time and effort into seeking revenge. I hope one day he can move past this and find peace in his life,” she said in a statement to the media.

Maybe try giving him his 18 bucks back?

Does It End?

If you’ve ever seen Glen Foster do stand-up (if you haven’t you should), the words rap master probably wouldn’t be the first that came to mind if you tried to describe him. But don’t tell him that, at least not in 1986.

I wanted to share a little “blast from the past” with you.  Something I recently came upon while cleaning out my mother’s house.

In 1986, I recorded a rap parody called, “Does it end?”.   It was inspired by the RUN DMC / Aerosmith “Walk This Way” collaboration, although it is more in the style of Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”    Anyway, if you want to give a listen, I have put it up on Soundcloud   Enjoy.

PS:  This was actually pressed on vinyl as 45 RPM  and I now have about 500 copies.  Not sure what I am going to do with them.  But stay tuned.

Going way out on a limb here I’m sure, but I bet he tries to sell them.

Which Black Sock Goes With Which Black Sock .com

Would anybody care to enlighten me as to who the target market for this $190 batch of internet-connected socks is? Because I’ve got nothin’.

That video is in what sounds like German, so if like me you can’t see what’s happening you’re not going to get a whole lot out of it. But there’s this, which tells you everything you need to know assuming the words $190 internet-connected socks wasn’t more than enough.

Calf socks classic with Plus+: Probably the smartest socks in the world

Probably the smartest men’s dress socks in the world: Our classic calf socks can now communicate with your iPhone as all Plus+ socks have a communication button.
Start out by ordering a Starter kit of 10 pairs of black calf socks Plus+ and your own personal Sock Sorter to translate between your socks and your iPhone.

Imagine your phone could communicate with your socks. Your phone would know:

  • which socks belong together,and could help sort them out,
  • how often you have washed your socks,
  • when your socks were produced,
  • when you ordered your socks
  • and

  • when your socks were dispatched.

Your iPhone can also tell you if your black socks are no longer properly black and help you buy new socks.
This is something we dreamed about and we have made the dream come true.

That’s so sad. Though not quite as sad as knowing that somebody someplace is buying them, I suppose.

Only two of these features would be remotely useful to me, and most folks wouldn’t even need the second one.

Quickly and easily knowing it’s time to order new socks before I run out? Cool. Everybody could use that. And as a blind guy, it is handy to know which socks go together. That’s a real pain in the ass sometimes. But fortunately it’s a problem I can already solve for free, not to mention that this batch of socks are all supposed to be the same colour anyway, are they not?

Nobody’s going to listen, but I’m going to say this one more time. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I *can* reach over and stick my finger in this outlet, but I *shouldn’t*, because it would be painfully stupid. Kind of like a wiFi cookie jar, or an app that tells you when to drink water or yes, electronically sorted socks.

Bye Bye Window-Eyes, And Screw You, People Getting It For Free

In 2014, I wrote all about how big of a deal the Window-Eyes and Microsoft Office partnership was going to be. It would change the game, I said. Freedom Scientific would need to re-evaluate the way it does business. It was time to celebrate or at least be very optimistic about a huge increase in the availability of affordable access software for the blind.

Well, today I stand before you a humble man. A humble man who can admit when he’s wrong. Because boy oh boy, did I ever miss the fuckin’ mark on that one.

In the years since the big announcement, a few things have happened. GW Micro, the makers of Window-Eyes, was purchased by ZoomText maker AI Squared, which for those who don’t know is basically the JAWS of low vision screen magnification. Skip ahead to 2016 and AI Squared is bought up by VFO, a firm that I believe is determined to own every blind thing on earth. I say this because it also owns Freedom Scientific, which for those who don’t know is the JAWS of JAWS.

All of that being the case, something had to give. It always does when smaller companies become bigger companies. And what gave in this case was the free screenreader with Office offer, because how are we supposed to make great gobs of money just giving shit away, amiright? If you think that last sentence is me being too harsh, then observe the hearty fuck you given by VFO to its valued Window-Eyes and Office customers in the announcement below. Basically, everybody gets free or at least discounted JAWS…except you, ya freeloaders. You get to contact a dealer and pay full price, which in another example of my crystal ball being a piece of shit is still friggin exorbitant.

If you would still like or still need a very good and constantly improving screenreader that is free of charge, now is a good time to give NVDA a try. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough that I’ve been using it almost exclusively for better than four years and regularly donate to keep it going even though there’s no requirement to do so. It, I feel confident saying without any fear of being mistaken, really has been and continues to be a game changer.

Ai Squared – Window-Eyes – JAWS Migration
Thank you for being a valued member of the GW Micro and Window-Eyes family. We regret to announce that sales of Window-Eyes have ended in the United States and Canada. Users outside of the United States and Canada should contact their local distributor for options. We are committed to our customers and will honor existing product purchases and software maintenance agreements, and we will continue to provide technical support to end users that have purchased Window-Eyes or a support package.  All users who are currently using Window-Eyes can continue to use the software indefinitely; however, as the Windows® operating system and/or applications change over time, Window-Eyes may not function adequately for your needs.
We understand how important a screen reader is to you and are offering JAWS® for Windows 18 as a replacement.  We are committed to providing a smooth transition and will honor existing Window-Eyes product purchases and software maintenance agreements, as follows.

  • End users that paid for and are current with Window-Eyes 9.x will be converted to JAWS 18 at no charge.
  • If you are using an earlier version of Window-Eyes, you can purchase an upgrade to JAWS 18.
  • If you are using the free version of Window-Eyes you can continue to use it. While there is not an upgrade path from the free version, if you are interested in purchasing JAWS, please contact our sales team at 800-444-4443.
  • Existing Window-Eyes SMAs will be rolled into the JAWS SMA program for end users that migrate to JAWS.

Detailed upgrade and SMA pricing information is provided below.
To make this process as easy as possible, we ask you to complete a simple web form that will go directly to our sales team, who will then contact you with an authorization code for JAWS 18, or request additional information if necessary.
Requests for upgrades must be submitted at http://www.gwmicro.com/window-eyes/migrateform or by phone at 800-444-4443 by July 31, 2017. Note, the free Window-Eyes Offer for Users of Microsoft Office version is not part of the conversion program.

Hey Hey! HO Ho! The Security Guy’s Putting On A Show!

So apparently exciting things do happen at San Diego Chargers games after all.

A man who is not being identified has handed over his security guard license, been fired and plead guilty to committing a lewd act in public after being caught on video running through a few plays on the field near a group of cheerleaders. I don’t have the video, but there’s a blurred version in the news report, if you must.

A video clip captured at a December Chargers-Raiders game went viral, after a fan posted it on Facebook – claiming the security guard was touching himself while on the job. 
The security guard was on the field before the game, pleasuring himself just feet away from cheerleaders.
Team 10 has learned the man was quietly investigated, charged and sentenced after pleading guilty to a lewd act in public.
The man, who was fired from his job at Elite Services, voluntarily surrendered his security guard license less than two weeks after the incident.

The man, who had no criminal record, was given three years probation as well as sexual counseling and does not have to register as a sex offender.

Given the public nature of the spectacle that sentence strikes me as a little light, but between that and the reluctance to name him in spite of a conviction I have to wonder if a deal was worked out in order to spare everyone involved any further embarrassment.

What Are You Going To Do With The Money? I Think I’ll Buy A Samurai Sword

After I published my earlier post, I got to thinking about Colin Farmer.

Farmer, you may recall, was the victim the last time we wrote about British police making a Taser-related oopsie. Yes, he was the blind fellow in his 60s walking to a pub using his white cane when he was attacked by an officer who thought he was a crazy man swinging a Samurai sword. There had been talk of a lawsuit, but I pretty well lost track of things after that.

So today I looked it up, and it turns out that there was a lawsuit, one which Farmer won in 2015.

Mr Farmer brought legal action against Lancashire police for false imprisonment, assault and battery, and breach of the Human Rights Act. The claim has been settled for an undisclosed sum, said his lawyer Sophie Khan.
Lancashire police admitted that the officer used unreasonable force and did not carry out a proper risk assessment before firing, said Ms Khan.
“This should be a clear example of why Tasers have no place in policing,” said Ms Khan. “We just don’t need them. The experiment with Tasers has failed and they should be shelved now.”
Lancashire police declined to comment.

So…Uh…I Guess We Failed The Exam, Eh

Obviously not every police officer is a racist, but at this point, I would hope that we can all agree that there is simply too much evidence to the contrary to ignore the fact that the world’s police forces have a wee bit of a racism problem. But if you need more proof (you shouldn’t), try this on for size.

Police in Bristol, England, came upon Judah Adunbi, a black man out walking his dogs. Assuming he was a robbery suspect they had been looking for, they decided to have a chat with him. This upset Adunbi, and he reacted as such.

Surely that’s an admission of guilt from some young punk who lacks the proper respect for rules and authority. That’s what we’d all like to think, because it would be awesome to be able to trust in our law enforcement. But what’s more likely is that his reaction was an expression of frustration, because he was not a robber. But more important than what he wasn’t is what he is. Adunbi is a founding member of the police department’s Independent Advisory Group, which among other tasks works with police on matters of race relations and use of force. So either he’s bad at his job or the cops are horrible students, because guess what happened next. Go on, guess.

The officers asked his name but, agitated, Adunbi refused to tell them.
“I’ve done no wrong,” he said, the entire incident captured by a neighbour who started filming. “Leave me alone.”
He does make an effort to show he’s not a threat. When an officer says he’s holding his keys in a threatening manner, he puts his hands over his head, then clasps his arms behind his back. Still, the confrontation intensifies.
“I’ve asked you to remain calm,” an officer asks.
“Your sergeant is going to Taser me for whatever reason,” Adunbi says, his incredulity mixing in with a thick Caribbean accent.
His entreaties are not enough. When Adunbi tries to go into his home, the officers stop him at the gate. A struggle ensues, and an officer pulls out a black and yellow stun gun.
She pulls the trigger and yells “Taser” three times.

A prong strikes Adunbi just below the chin, sending 50,000 volts through his body. He falls to the ground, now paralyzed, his head striking the pavement.
“All right, you’re being Tasered. OK, you’re under arrest.”
When he was taken to the hospital, the wire from the Taser still dangled from his face.

And perhaps this whole thing upset him even more because it’s the second time in a decade that it’s happened. He was awarded a settlement from police after another mistaken identity incident in 2007, one which thankfully does not appear to have involved a Taser.

In this case, police initially charged him with assaulting a constable in the execution of duty and using threatening or abusing behaviour, but thankfully sense was seen and the case was dropped. The obligatory statement issuing, soul searching and investigating are still ongoing.

It’s Ice Beer! I Have To Get To It Before It Warms Up!

I swear this has happened before, but since for the life of me I can neither remember when nor find reference to it, for now we must judge Michael Casteel and Michael Casteel alone for his poor choices.

Running into a burning building in a frantic attempt to make a rescue is arguably a poor choice, but if he pulls it off he’s a hero who just saved a life, so I’ll give him a pass.

Pushing past emergency responders to get in? Not such a good idea unless they’re incompetent. They usually aren’t, but hey, you never know, right? We weren’t there. Maybe he’s a hero about to save a life.

So whose life means so much to this brave, selfless man that he is willing to risk life, limb and possible arrest to save it? His name is Bud. Bud Ice.

A South Dakota man was arrested yesterday afternoon after he pushed past police and firefighters so that he could “save” his beer inside an apartment building that was aflame.
Michael Casteel, 56, was collared outside his home, a multifamily residence in Sioux Falls. As emergency workers were treating other building residents for injuries, Casteel, cops say, persisted in trying to reenter the building to retrieve beer from his apartment.
Casteel succeeded in returning to his home, where he grabbed two cans of Bud Ice Premium, cops say.

It would be pretty easy and perhaps not entirely unfair to sit here and pick on Mr. Casteel simply for his choice of beer because Bud Ice is kind of no good and you should only do something this dumb to save worthwhile alcohol, but you know what? People like what they like, or at least can afford what they can afford. Poor choice yes, but today we’re going to go against the saying and emphasize quantity over quality. For while we could sit here and judge his tastes all day long, at the end of the day he did this for two lousy cans. Two! Lousy! Cans! That, my friends, is the real problem here. If you’re going to be this big an idiot, at least run out with no less than a two four.

He was arrested, of course. Police charged him with obstructing a firefighter or law enforcement official and took him to the cooler. There he sits in lieu of $300 bond, which makes my affordability theory seem pretty sound.

As you may have surmised, this is not Casteel’s first alcohol-related run-in with authorities. His record includes at least one open container violation and a drunk driving charge, and at the time of this beer episode he was found to be violating the terms of a sobriety program in which he was enrolled.