RIAA Has Friends in Nashville

I suppose no one should be shocked that the state that calls “Music City” its capital would end having clashes between music fans and copyright owners. Now, a state bill seeks to get state-funded universities to do some of the dirty work. From ArsTechnica:

A new bill proposed in the Tennessee state senate aims to reduce copyright infringement at universities by forcing the schools to become antipiracy enforcers. If passed, the bill would require universities that receive funding from the state to analyze all traffic passing through their networks in order to track down and stop infringing activity. Under the proposed bill, universities could lose state funding if they refuse to implement network analysis systems or if they receive ten or more infringement complaints from content owners during a single year.

Given much of a higher-learnings tainted record of on-campus law enforcement, I frankly don’t trust them to handle it from either side of the copyright issue. However, playing CSI – IT isn’t the universities job and we shouldn’t be putting the schools’ funding at risk to make them play along.

Hollywood Couldn’t Do These Guys Justice

I can’t classify this as one of the greatest jobs in history, because the chance of getting killed is way too high. However, if you’re looking to read a story on some real bad-ass action heros, check out the current issue of Wired Magazine and their story on how Titan Salvage rescued a cargo ship full of Mazda cars.

They’re a motley mix: American, British, Swedish, Panamanian. Each has a specialty — deep-sea diving, computer modeling, underwater welding, big-engine repair. And then there’s Habib, the guy who regularly helicopters onto the deck of a sinking ship, greets whatever crew is left, and takes command of the stricken vessel. He’s been at sea since he was 18, and now, at 51, his tanned face, square jaw, and don’t-even-try-bullshitting-me stare convey a world-weary air of command. He holds an unlimited master’s license, which means he’s one of the select few who are qualified to pilot ships of any size, anywhere in the world.

Should Hollywood attempt to portray these guys, at least get Tommy Lee Jones to play Habib. And kids, stay in school. You’re going to need to learn some math to be a bad-ass like Rich Habib.

Yea, Sony?

Cable and telcos side with Comcast in FCC BitTorrent dispute. From ArsTechnica:

But other parts of the private sector have sent the FCC urgent requests for protection from potentially unfair ISP behavior. Sony Electronics, which now offers a wide variety of legal content for its web-enabled TV sets, wrote to the Commission on February 13 asking for a clearer definition of “sensible” or “reasonable” management practices.

Yea, Sony!? Politics does make strange bedfellows. It’s good to see Sony on the right side — for once.

Greattest Jobs In the History of the World – Part 1

One of the best parts of my childhood was Lego’s line of space kits. If you asked either of my brothers, I think they’d say the same. That’s why it was so cool to learn about Bjarn Tveskov, who got a job designing those kits for Lego in his late teens:

My LEGO career started when I was 17 years old; I saw an ad in the Sunday newspaper, they were looking for designers for the Space product line. No formal qualifications were required so just for fun I applied. They sent me a big box of LEGO bricks and asked me to create a Space model from imagination. Still got the model I made back then. At the interview I realized that the job was a full-time position in Billund, initially I thought that maybe it could be a freelance gig, but no. So when suddenly I was offered the job I had to ask my parents if it was OK if I quit high-school to become a Spaceship designer.

Video for Sen Obama’s Campaign

I’ve yet to decide of who is left in the running whom I’m voting for in November for President, so please don’t mistake this as any sort of endorsement. However, a photo of mine has found its way into a promotional video for Sen. Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign (though I don’t think is from the official campaign). The music isn’t too bad, though it reminds a bit of some of the kid’s music we listen to with our daughter. Anyway, since Virginia yesterday voted for Obama by a rather wide margin (along with D.C. and Maryland), I thought this was appropriate. So, if you’re supporting the Sen. from IL, enjoy — especially the photo at 1:57 in of the senator rolling up his sleeves.

Weeks Roll By

It’s a tired cliché of blogging: apologizing for not posting in so long. The excuses are always the same, and this is no different. There has simply been too much going on here take any time to write down [or type – ed.].

The Job

I started my new job at the beginning of January (before the move, for those keeping track of such things). I received a warm welcome (mostly all by e-mail) and did my best to get right into things. My position is sort of a new thing, though, and not personally knowing people I was working with made getting much traction difficult at first. I did fly out to Southern California1 to meet a number of my co-workers and higher-up types. That proved to be a very good trip and I really enjoyed getting to meet all the people there. I feel confident that I made the right choice in this career.

Flying home through Chicago in the dead of winter, however, was incredibly dumb. In my defense, it was also not my choice to do so. I sincerely wish I was able to make my own business travel arrangements again.

The Move

As soon as I got back, it was time to try to finish packing the house, get a U-Haul van, and let the movers do their work. Of course, moving is never simple. This was off the scale, though. Despite the best efforts of many of our friends2 and all of Angela’s hard work boxing stuff in my absence, we simply were not prepared for moving when the time came to do it.

I’ll keep it sob stories short, but after renting a second truck plus tow-dolly for Angela’s car and putting all of our gardening and power-tools on a mobile storage unit left in Richmond and not finishing doing touch-up paint in the house before leaving, we were still a day late in getting out of there. Fortunately, everything worked out just fine (as life does more than not, thank God). However, the last night laying on an inflatable mattress in our house I was so sick to my stomach I just couldn’t sleep. To be honest here, I think that night I got more planning for the remainder of the move than I had done in the weeks and months up until that point.

When we finally got it all packed up and were ready to leave, a sense of relief swept over me. That really seemed to pick up my spirits for days to come. I needed it, because it was a truly sad moment when we left our keys inside and locked the door of our old home one last time. We loved that house very much and had put a great deal of time and effort into it. In yet another bout of poor planning, I had packed my camera away somewhere in our SUV and never got a chance to take one last photo. I’ll make it up during our next trip up there, but I don’t think it’ll mean as much to me.

Then again, as painful as some of the other photos we did take there recently have been to look through, it may be just as well. It really feels like a part of us is gone. Angela and I hadn’t lived in a place for that long since our childhood homes (both of which are no longer in the family, either). Despite all of us being content where we’re at now, thinking about what we gave up — having those friends close by, a home we loved to be at, just living in Virginia — kind of hurts.

…The New Place

Though it’s taken us about three weeks, we finally feel like we have a nice home in our apartment. Though going from a home of your own to an apartment kind of sucks, it was nice to just call up someone to come fix leaky kitchen faucet — and not have to pay them. Ainsley made out great, with her new room being more than twice the size of her old one. It feels like most of that square footage came out of our bedroom, though! The best part though has to be the closets.

My God! Closets! Apparently, usable closets weren’t invented until sometime after our old house was built.

Even though the drive down was on a nice sunny day, the day we ended up unloading the moving vans into our apartment (and garage and storage unit…) was cold, wet, and windy. The movers were great, though; and Dave even drove down to help out for a bit. We got it all moved in and mostly all in the right places. Angela’s parent’s came down the next day and stayed with us for the rest of the week. That helped out tremendously. Angela and I were able to work while they watched Ainsley and we were able to unpack bit by bit in the evenings.

We’ve been unpacking ever since, it seems. However, at this point there is just one last small box of engineering books by the door that is waiting to make its way down to the garage. Otherwise, there’s little evidence of all the recent turmoil around our lives.We’ve got some paperwork still to fill out and make it all official, but we’re Tennesseans again.

  1. Orange County probably isn’t the most scenic part of California, to tell the truth. However, it did make a number of Arrested Development jokes suddenly make sense, so I’d say it was worth it. []
  2. I would be completely remiss if I didn’t give a huge thanks to Jason J. for driving that 26′ U-Haul giant down to TN for us. Just to tell you how much we trust him, we never gave a second though to the well being of most of our Earthly possession being in the hands of a guy whose never driven anything bigger than a family van. Also, Michelle and Robert P. were absolutely tireless. They gave up their whole weekend to help out and were in a good mood the entire time, which is probably what kept us sane. Kushal S. also came over to help pack things up. Thanks, guys. []