So this is a different kind of hacking and not introspection in the programming sense but here’s a riff that’s been stuck in my head the past few days:
For lack of a better name I’ll call this song “Introspect.” To me it’s about pondering the past year and the feeling of hopefulness for what’s to come this year. What story does it speak to you? Leave a comment.
And Happy New Years everybody. Here’s to knockin’ whatever you do out of the park in ’09!
Long story short: it’s possible. Not officially supported, but possible. Here’s the blog post that lists the caveats to watch for and here’s a hi-def screencast that shows the setup process from start to finish:
This is significant because right now the main options for deploying JumpBoxes on Intel Macs are two commercial products: Parallels and Fusion. Sun’s VirtualBox product is a cross-platform, open source alternative that now gives Intel Mac users a free deployment option. Please post any questions or comments regarding this topic on the JumpBox Blog post here. And if you like the screencast give us a quick digg to promote this capability.
In the next six minutes $1k in revenue will be generated from photo radar cameras in AZ. And another $1k six minutes after that. Now picture the for-profit entity that just snapped your photo reaching into your wallet, extracting $165 and giving a chunk of it to the State of Arizona. I haven’t verified these facts independently but I’ve read five different articles this evening that indicate there are over 200 Redflex photo radar cameras in operation in Phoenix Metro now. Governor Napolitano signed a law into effect this summer enabling the state-wide use of photo radar enforcement and if you drive in Phoenix you know that the situation is out of hand. Here’s why:
A. A for-profit Australian company (Redflex – RDF) has been essentially granted the ability to levy a tax against Arizonans and split the profits with the State. Last time I heard you needed to be a government entity to have the right tax a population.
B. You paid for the installation of these cameras with your tax dollars. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the penalties exacted on you from these “safety” devices would flow back into your municipality? They don’t (at least not the majority) – they’re flowing to a publicly-traded Australian corporation.
C. The most insidious thing about this whole sham is that the people who are collecting the tax get to do so under the guise of enforcing a safety measure. I call B.S. Camp out by a photo radar van or a fixed camera and watch as the flashes as they occur every few seconds. You’ll see an inevitable cascade of brake lights for half the cars on the road- 1/2 of the traffic instinctively slams the brakes for fear of getting flashed and the other half continues at their existing speed. That is a recipe for one thing, and it’s not safety.
What you can do right this minute
1. Sign up on Camera Fraud Meetup and get involved.
2. Print out the signature pages for the initiative and referendum and await instructions.
3. Tell 10 friends who are as pissed off about this situation as you are about 1 & 2.
I pulled a stunt with my license plate a year ago because I was so disgusted by photo radar. They should just make the highways toll roads and be straight up about the motivation here. It’s projected that they’ll cover $90MM of a $165MM budget shortfall this year via the new highway photo radar “scameras.” How many accidents will occur during that time from the erratic braking of surprised motorists- and who will pay for those accidents? At the very least if we must live with photo radar, the for-profit entity that implements the cameras should not share in the recurring revenue generated by the cameras. As it stands now Redflex is incentivized to maximize the frequency and amounts of fines and lobby for measures that bolster the use of photo radar.
Are you aware Redflex and its competitor American Traffic Solutions are both beginning to employ active OCR technology to track the movement of your vehicle about the city? Again, it’s done under the guise of “homeland security” and “amber alert response effectiveness” but a byproduct is that they conveniently get to interpolate your speed between cameras and issue tickets based on that calculation. Oh and your movements over time are logged and kept indefinitely (“limited only by available hard drive space and the types of cameras installed”). How long until they successfully pass a bill that gives them the right to have an ACH draw on your bank account to extract the speeding fine immediately?
This is out of hand folks. Photo radar is not something you need to quietly accept. Get angry. Get dangerous. Let’s stop this nonsense.
Not really. But these two services when used in conjunction with one another give you the data-mashing powers of Chuck Norris and a roll of digital duct tape that would make MacGyver jealous. Below is a video screencast tutorial on how to get started with the Yahoo Pipes and Dapper services. Dapper lets you essentially construct an API for any web site while Yahoo Pipes lets you consume that API and perform operations on the data to turn it into something more useful.
The problem we’ll solve in the next 18 min: there’s currently no easy way to subscribe to the 200+ local bloggers listed on Read Phoenix (short of visiting each blog and sub’ing the RSS feeds individually). In this tutorial we’ll build an app from start to finish that spiders the list of bloggers on that site, grabs the latest posts from each blog and provides a single, chronologically-sorted master feed of the most recent posts and filtering out auto-generated bookmark posts. Here’s the tutorial: