* Posts by Tim Coughlin

17 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jul 2007

Pennsylvania officials bail after voter reg site springs a leak

Tim Coughlin

Lowest bidder...

I'd love to know which moronic company got the contract to produce such a damn mess. For the most part, Pennsylvania has a fairly rational government. But when we screw up, the whole frigging world knows...

Comcast accuses FCC of impotence

Tim Coughlin

Re: Mectron and Edward Clarke

Mectron, I really wish you didn't put me in the position of defending Comcast and the rest of the known world, but I believe that you are wrong. Comcast has every right to regulate their network. You're paying for access to it. If you look at the AUP for accessing it, you'll notice that you cede a lot of rights to Comcast. Is it fair? No, I don't believe it is. The real issue is that they are the only game in town for many folks. The word monopoly come to mind every time I see my cable bill.

As far as the various cartels are concerned, time shall tell the true tale of where they are headed. Hopefully, its straight off a cliff...

Interesting comment on the CDA aspect, Edward. I wonder if anyone else might notice that.

McCain taps Fiorina

Tim Coughlin

A pity...

And here I was hoping that Sarah Palin might be in the running for VP. Well, time shall tell.

MS bundles Vista SP1 and Server 2008 out the door

Tim Coughlin

Vista = Mixed results

I picked up a copy of Vista when I decided to blow away my current install due to a nasty little virus that was running amok. Instead of using my XP copy of dubious origin, I picked up a copy of Vista Ultimate that was on sale at the local Micro Center. Since its installed, I've encountered very few problems. Any problems tended to come from my ham-handed ways of reaching for a bigger hammer in the world of software maintenance.

That being said, back in September, I had a lab of new computers (work for a school district) that showed up with Vista Business. Figured that it would be a good test of the OS. I would have been better served to practice self dentistry than attempt to get them to play nicely in a multi-user environment. After about multiple weeks of students being able to open applications only once and problems with networking to the rest of the world, XP was reinstalled with a sigh of relief.

So, I guess the end result is that it's a mixed bag of nuts for everyone.

'Crash tested' e-voting machines spread doubt on Super Tuesday

Tim Coughlin

@Stuart Duel

I think you're missing some of the point about how elections work in the US. All elections in the US are either local or state elections. In congress, we elect a local representative and senator that represents the state. For the presidency, we vote in an all or nothing basis for delegates from the states to represent us in the Electoral College. Like it or not (and I don't), US citizens do not directly elect the president. Federal judges are appointed by president so there's no election there.

As for electing judges, sheriffs and dog catchers; I've always been of the opinion that its better to have elections for a position that doesn't need it than have an appointee that should have run for election.

There will probably not (I'd say never but there's no such thing) be any national control of elections in my life time. There will be guidelines, requirements and best practices but each state with do things its own way. That is both the strength and weakness of a federal republic vs a unitary style governmental framework.

Tim Coughlin

Electronic voting machines

Since I live in Montgomery county of Pennsylvania, I can say that electronic voting machines have been used here for close to fifteen years with nary a problem. All votes are private and accountable. I'm not sure what the rest of the country is doing, but they appear to be going about this in a odd fashion.

RealPlayer dinged by software watchdog group

Tim Coughlin

Back in the dim ages...

Give credit where credit is due. Real Player was truly the first widely used method for tuning into streaming media. Its such a shame they crapped all over their decent beginnings and went for more profit over making good software.

Germans launch flights for nudists

Tim Coughlin


I could end this entire idea just for signing up for a ticket. Unfortunately, being sued for blindness is probably too expensive to risk it...

Showdown over encryption password in child porn case

Tim Coughlin

@Paul Banacks & @Heystoopid

Paul, I think you're missing the massive differences between the rights that you agree, in writing, to relinquish to obtain a drivers license and the right (by US standards) to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Heystoopid, good thought about the grand jury. I'm not sure how refusing to hand over evidence would work out in that case, but I wouldn't like to find out...

Space brains resign over efforts to attract ET attention

Tim Coughlin

Backround noise and nukes

Even if there are any alien civilizations out there capable of receiving anything we are transmitting, I'm not so worried about ordinary transmissions. Think of them as the background noise of conversation. Its something you tune out. What gets your attention is person yelling "Yo, dip s!*t, over here!" which is what the directed, high powered signals are doing. Even though the odds of someone receipting delivery of a message from Earth is astronomical (sorry, I couldn't resist), it may not be the brightest move we could make.

Oh, here's another thought. Remember all those test nuclear detonations (along with two not so tests) we've set off. Gamma-radiation pulses are also kind of noticeable. Especially if the source is close by... Having nukes and the willingness to use them on a inhabited planet may not be the best thing to advertise to the universe at large.

Schools chief pushes Big Brother out of dinner line

Tim Coughlin

From the other side of the pond...

I work for a school district outside of Philadelphia and if any suggested such a program, the proposer would be run out of the area (and ultimately out of office). I'll stop my criticisms there. After all, those of us that live in glass houses shouldn't be throwing stones...

Federal judge slams Patriot Act

Tim Coughlin

Re: Have you forgotten...

"the Supreme Court is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the White House these days." I wouldn't count on this. One of the drawbacks to appointing conservative leaning folks is their tendency to adhere to the constitution literally. I believe this will eventually bite the Bush administration in the backside. Or, at least, I can hope so...

US teacher fired for non-literal bible reading

Tim Coughlin

To those discusing community colleges

I couldn't help but notice a distinct lack of factual information regarding the community college system as it exists in the US. Danial noted "Community colleges aren't really held to the same standards of respectability as a university." The only difference between a state or private school is the amount of subsidy that the school receives on a per credit basis. About two-thirds of the tuition is covered by additional funding by county and state. Community colleges are accredited in the same manner as that of a college or a university. Like any institute of learning, you'll find good schools and bad schools from one dollar to fifty thousand dollars.

Now on to the matter at hand. Having sat through a class with a professor which held religion with great disdain, I can see how some students might have found it annoying. On the flip side, the students could have dropped the class, stuck with it or quietly debated it during or after class (heaven forbid some intellectual exercise like challenging your beliefs).

I don't really care whether the students have daily chats with snakes and burning bushes or if the teacher is lecturing on the evils of religion and burning bibles. It all smacks of making a mountain out of a mole hill. The worst that ought to have happened is both sides agreeing to disagree.

Google sued for 'crimes against humanity'

Tim Coughlin

Lifelong PA resident

Normally, I'm proud to be a resident of PA. I'm now thinking of moving to try and get away from the idiocy flowing from the northern part of the commonwealth.

Pirate Party invades Utah

Tim Coughlin

Re: Why Utah?

Why Utah? Why not? As swokm stated, it is a very conservative state. However, in the US (as I'm sure there is elsewhere), there are two general schools of conservatism, fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. They do tend to overlap but the social (read religious right) seems to be the pushers behind larger, more intrusive government that backs big business most of the time. Your more fiscal conservatives tend to back small government, states rights, lower taxes and small businesses. Frankly, I think the party will be well received by the folks in Utah. I wouldn't worry about it as a competition to the big two parties, though.

Teachers vote to ban internet

Tim Coughlin

Comment from across the pond

Ok, I'm now impressed. I work (tech support) for a school district outside Philadelphia, PA in the US. I used to think the teachers here were particuarly anti-tech until I read this article. I'd best not show this article around lest the local union get's any ideas...

Student's suspension for IM buddy icon upheld by US court

Tim Coughlin

Much ado about nothing

This is just another situation of a school district acting over zealously. Did the district have the right to act on the complaint of the teacher? Yes, it created a (perceived, if not in fact) disruption of the educational environment. Does the punishment fit the crime? Not in my opinion. There are many better ways to impress upon the student that what he did wasn't that bright (ie: a special research project on threats in a school environment during a 5 or 10 day suspension). This is the kind of thing that happens when a school administration and board don't apply logic and common sense to a disciplinary issue. Just my $.02...