Wednesday, 30 January 2008

CCTV sound recording - a step too far

Security Camera

From - 30/01/08

The ICO has described the use of sound recording in CCTV equipment as "highly intrusive".

A new ICO code of practice outlines key issues which organisations and businesses must consider when routinely capturing images of individuals on CCTV.

The ICO warned that the use of sound recording could only be justified in highly exceptional circumstances.

The decision follows recent research revealing that seven out of 10 individuals oppose the idea of CCTV cameras recording their conversations.

Furthermore, over half of individuals are not aware that the use of CCTV cameras is covered by the Data Protection Act.

Jonathan Bamford, assistant commissioner at the ICO: "It is essential that organisations and businesses use CCTV responsibly in order to maintain public trust and confidence and to prevent its use becoming viewed as part of the 'surveillance society'."

No kidding. Obviously CTTV has considerable benefits in the fight against crime but arbitrarily recording sound along with images is, in most instances, a step too far. There cannot be many cases where the evidential value of CCTV footage is considerably increased by including sound material. Improving the image quality would perhaps be a more effective and meaningful way of removing ambiguity or adding clarity to further increase the value of video footage as a crime-fighting tool. And to be of any real worth, the microphones built in/accompanying the cameras would need to be so effective that they would be inadvertently documenting the conversations of millions of innocent citizens as they go about their business up and down the UK. The intrusiveness of such sound recorders would surely massively outweigh any potential advantages, except, possibly, in very rare circumstances.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

"Qtrax 'free music' launch a dud"

Q trax shotFrom - 29/01//08:

MUSIC-SHARING application Qtrax has launched one day late with a glitch that prevents users from downloading music.

Earlier this week Qtrax grabbed international attention by claiming it would launch a free, advertising-funded music download service with the blessing of major labels EMI, Warner Music, Sony BMG and Universal.

The launch was expected at 12am (4pm AEST) on Monday but was unexpectedly delayed after all major labels denied signing any agreements with Qtrax.

My own experience with this software simply mirrors the misery that other users have enjoyed, given what I've read online.  It's horribly slow, features an awful skin, has an illogical and awkward UI and worst of all, doesn't even work. 

The whole launch has been a debacle from start to finish - launching before having major record labels signed up and now it's finally online, delivers a sub-standard service.  Moving forward, it'll be interesting to see what happens.  It may well be that Qtrax is going to be unable to deliver what it previously promised.

I'll persevere with it until I can actually listen/download something, presumably if and when my account is 'activated'.  In the meantime, I'll continue to be plagued, no doubt, by that pesky pop-up window saying 'downloads coming soon'.  Great.  Good job, Qtrax.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Happy Data Protection Day

Data Protection Day 08 From: The Council of Europe - Data Protection Day - 28/01/08

The aim of the Data Protection Day is to give European citizens the chance to understand what personal data is collected and processed about them and why, and what their rights are with respect to this processing.

They should also be made aware of the risks inherent and associated with the illegal mishandling and unfair processing of their personal data.

The objective of the Data Protection Day is therefore to inform and educate the public at large as to their day-to-day rights, but it may also provide data protection professionals with the opportunity of meeting data subjects.

Bit ironic really, given the data protection crisis currently plaguing the UK.  Perhaps we should have opted out of it this year.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

A castle in a haystack

Castle-behind-hay From: Daily Mail 27/01/08

Hiding a needle in a haystack is easy enough.

But Robert Fidler kept something much bigger concealed among the piles of straw down on his farm... a castle.

Over the course of two years, he managed to secretly – and unlawfully – build the imposing mock  Tudor structure in one of his fields, shielded behind a 40ft stack of hay bales covered by a huge tarpaulins.

Once it was finished, he and his family moved in and lived there for four years before finally revealing the development – complete with battlements and cannons – in August 2006.

Mr Fidler claims that because the building has been there for four years with no objections, it is no longer illegal.

But he is under siege from council planners, who say the castle at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, will have to be knocked down

You've got to hand it to him for trying at least.  I very nearly emailed the Daily Mail to correct what I initially believed was a grammatical error in their article and a picture caption.  I remember being taught in primary school that the plural to cannon was the same as the singular: cannon - so one cannon, two cannon and so on.  Well, having started the email, I thought I'd better at least confirm my information and was gutted to see that although 'cannon' is correct for both the singular and plural, 'cannons' is also grammatically correct.  I absolutely refuse, however, to ever refer to cannon in the plural as 'cannons'.  I'm with Tennyson on this one. 

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them,

Volley'd and thunder'd';

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Retired US Cop scours chat rooms policing the pervs

Chat Room Danger From Yahoo News 25/01/08:

No one will ever confuse Jim Murray with a teenager. His tall frame, broad shoulders and clipped gray hair give him away for the grandfather he is.

But the 69-year-old retired police chief of this small Missouri town cuts a credible figure as a 13-year-old girl surfing the Web, looking for friends. He knows all the instant-messaging shorthand, the emoticons.

Murray's retirement job from a rural home office has netted 20 arrests since he started in 2002. His latest catch was the biggest: four felony enticement charges against a town mayor, who after his arrest called Murray up and begged him to make the case go away.

Internet child safety experts say police officers like Murray are heroes who do good work at the cost of wading through the muck of online pedophile fantasies.

This quirky story caught my eye on Yahoo news earlier. I remember watching a documentary a year or two ago which followed a branch of the UK police who were tasked with ‘policing the pervs’ of the online world. Murray’s work can only be commended and his contributions in bringing convictions against paedophiles who see chat rooms as rich hunting grounds are clearly invaluable. The article is quick to point out that Murray is not only a seasoned police officer but has also received additional training in computer data recovery. Presumably police forces around the world are keen to avoid garnering vigilante help from the general public in sifting out online paedos. Indeed, unauthorised volunteering could have potentially dangerous and far-reaching consequences. I’m sure more than a few alleged child-predators have already tried arguing that they were merely in the chat-rooms for ‘research purposes’ or were actively combating the scourge of paedophiles hunting out victims online.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace 2 From:

Quantum of Solace continues the high octane adventures of James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Casino Royale.

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M (Judi Dench) interrogate Mr White (Jesper Christensen) who reveals the organisation which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

With the big news yesterday that the new Bond film currently in production was to be called Quantum of Solace, I’m already gearing up for the next Bond instalment, Daniel Craig style. I’ve made no bones of the fact that Casino Royale (see my review) represented a breath of fresh air to the tired and worn state that the bond film franchise had degenerated into. I’m equally excited about the new film, but am more than aware that Casino Royale represents a hard act to follow.

I’ve read a lot of reviews and wacky opinions made in response to the limited facts currently known about ‘Bond 22’. Many have criticised the new title, questioning why the name should be taken from yet another Fleming novel (although Quantum of Solace was, in fact, a short story). Personally, for as long as there are Fleming-crafted titles remaining, the new films should always take their names , particularly in this new, back-to-the-future era of Bond films. Although I am disappointed to see Judy Dench return for yet another Bond, I can take heart from the fact that they are not trying to revive the ‘Q’ or ‘Moneypenny’ roles.

I truly hope the refreshing spirit of the ‘back-to-basics’ Bond is maintained in the new film. Suffice to say, Quantum of Solace is next on my ‘to read’ list.

Intellectual Undernourishment?

Research Light From: The Times 14/01/08

Google is “white bread for the mind”, and the internet is producing a generation of students who survive on a diet of unreliable information, a professor of media studies will claim this week.

She believes that easy access to information has dulled students’ sense of curiosity and is stifling debate. She claims that many undergraduates arrive at university unable to discriminate between anecdotal and unsubstantiated material posted on the internet.

“I call this type of education ‘the University of Google’.

“Google offers easy answers to difficult questions. But students do not know how to tell if they come from serious, refereed work or are merely composed of shallow ideas, superficial surfing and fleeting commitments.

I first read this article in the Times last week on an early morning journey to Portsmouth of all places. I’ve done a shocking amount of travelling this month with more still to come, worryingly. But I digress. Since then, I’ve read a whole host of articles concerning the growing problem that schools, colleges and universities are facing in respect of plagiarism and the ‘coursework industry’ (the multitude of websites who charge pupils for downloading completed essays etc.) The university which I attended as an undergraduate adopted a particularly hard-line stance on plagiarism and virtually from day 1, we were drilled in what did and did not constitute plagiarism and how to ensure we avoided it. From what I’ve heard on the grapevine, this is not true of all law faculties.

But as many of the articles point out, ignorance and lack of pupils’ understanding re. citing the work of others is most probably to blame. While there will always be a minority of cheats, scoundrels and lazy-ar*es, the vast majority of pupils/students plagiarise through lack of knowledge – nothing else.

As regards the internet and the easy access to information it affords, I couldn’t disagree more with the argument that it is ‘dulling students’ sense of curiosity’. In fact, from my experience, the opposite holds true. I’m much more inclined to investigate a topic that before I would have shied away from because library based research techniques would have taken too long. The benefits of being able to look up an answer quickly, on the fly as it were, are huge. The fact that extra care need be taken with some sources is neither here nor there, quite frankly.

Granted, too many students may rely too heavily on Google search results, Wikipedia and dubious, unsubstantiated sources. But guidance and education on sifting the wheat from the chaff is the answer – not returning to wholesale library sources exclusively. Frankly, the world has changed and used correctly the internet has revolutionised research, making it faster, easier, richer and more current. The small trade off in reliability when used carelessly is nothing compared to the advantages it offers.

White bread for the mind?! Humph! It’s more like a healthy wholemeal to go.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Get your bumper stickers here

Form an orderly queue ladies and gents.  If the idea takes off, I’ll also branch out into mass-producing personal badges as well.  My inspiration? Well, after a typically bad day in Uni last November I came home and without uttering so much as a word, plonked myself down at the computer and mocked up a prototype in Publisher.  Having printed it off and duly pinned it on myself, I then proceeded to go about my evening's business sporting my aptly-worded badge, much to my girlfriend’s amusement.

Naturally, there’s one available to long-suffering students on the BVC as well.  And fear not, students on the GDL – there’ll be one for you too. 

The bumper stickers currently retail at the very competitive price of £4.99, 25 pence from each sale is donated to the charity, 'Save the Law Students'.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

"Carphone Warehouse broke Data Protection Act, says ICO"

Carphone From Outlaw News 17/01/08

“The Carphone Warehouse allowed customers to view other people's account details, passed inaccurate information on to debt collectors and opened accounts in the wrong name, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The actions were in breach of the Data Protection Act and the ICO has issued Carphone Warehouse and sister company Talk Talk with enforcement notices ordering them to comply with the Data Protection Act. If they fail to do so they risk a criminal prosecution.

"Both companies failed to meet the basic principles of the Data Protection Act," said an ICO statement.

Carphone Warehouse said that the incidents happened when the company was extremely busy.”

Sounds about right.

This story is worthy of a mention on law actually for at least two good reasons. Firstly, frequent readers of my blog will recall my penchant for covering stories relating to data protection issues and associated bungles, foul-ups and all the rest of it. Secondly, I’ve actually done a stint at ‘Carphone’ myself – not an entirely happy episode it has to be said, but there it remains etched in my memory, despite my best attempts to sweep it under the proverbial carpet.

I’ve no doubt Carphone Warehouse will have learnt its lesson from this run-in with the ICO. Far be it for me to criticise them, of course.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Leslie Ash awarded £5 million after hospital debacle

Leslie Ash WheelchairFrom: The Times Online 17/01/08 

“Leslie Ash, the actress who contracted an infection similar to MRSA in hospital, has been awarded a record-breaking compensation package after suffering years of paralysis in her lower body.

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital agreed yesterday to pay Ms Ash £5 million for the “shortcomings in her care” while she was a patient.”

I have to ashamedly admit that this latest saga affecting Leslie Ash has entirely passed me by. In fact, the last I’d heard of her hitting the headlines was after her infamous collagen lip implants back in 2002. Where have I been for the last 3 ½ years? Actually, don’t answer that. Still, the £5 M pay-out she received makes it noteworthy enough for inclusion on Law Actually.

The sorry sequence of events in her latest misfortune makes rather depressing reading:

“In April 2004 she was admitted to hospital with a punctured lung and two fractured ribs after falling out of bed while making love. At the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital her lung was drained. When she was ready to leave she noticed what looked like a boil between her shoulderblades.

— She was discharged but began to feel sick and suffer pounding headaches. She woke up one morning unable to move her legs

— Doctors discovered an abscess on her spinal column. They cut through two vertebrae to reach it and stop the infection spreading

— She was left with chronic paresthesia caused by nerve damage to her spinal column. She could not feel or move her legs Hours of physiotherapy have allowed her to walk, although she still uses a walking stick”.

The report was quick to quell the optimism of potential litigants in the sum awarded. "Lawyers said, however, that people who had similarly suffered from hospital-acquired infections should not get their hopes up. Claire Fazan, a leading clinical negligence lawyer with Leigh Day solicitors, said: “Whereas the award may sound high, it will reflect the injuries of the actress and in particular her past and future needs and losses, including her earnings".

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Roadside Personal Data Dump

Personal Data Dump From: BBC News 18/01/08

“Hundreds of documents containing sensitive personal data have been found dumped on a roundabout in Devon.

Details of benefit claims, passport photocopies and mortgage payments were included in the confidential data.

The discovery could be another potential embarrassment for the government.

Last October, two discs containing the entire child benefit database were lost in transit after they were sent by HM Revenue and Customs to the National Audit Office without being registered or encrypted.

Then in December it was revealed details of three million driving theory test candidates were on a computer hard drive that went missing in the US.

And earlier this month the personal details of hospital patients were lost by the NHS.”

Oh boy. There seems no end to these stories. Surely there hasn’t been a massive upsurge in the public's confidential data being lost, leaked and dumped across the UK in the last 12 months? But it sure seems that way. The scariest thing, I suppose, is that perhaps these sloppy practices have been occurring for years and have gone largely unreported. Maybe it's only now, as such stories have come into vogue and the media and public alike have latched on to the seriousness that such security lapses pose, we’re hearing of fresh privacy breaches virtually every month. Who knows?

I also noticed a reader’s comment on the BBC news website saying: “The first thing they should do is stop putting the data onto laptops”. As I’ve said numerous times on this blog, the long-term answer to these problems is not going to be found from one source alone; there can never be a panacea to issues such as this. No, for these data protection fiascos to be combated, law, technology and working practices must work in harmony towards a common goal. Simply stopping the practice of putting confidential data onto laptops is never going to be part of the solution. In reality, the continued functioning of companies and institutions who handle private data, is heavily dependent on employees accessing or carrying data with them in electronic format. And laptops, USB keys, portable hard disks and the like, are always going to be lost and misplaced. However, making it a criminal offence for confidential information relating to the public to be held in electronic format WITHOUT being encrypted would be a useful first step.  Equivalent requirements could be implemented for hard copies of personal data.

But encryption alone is not going to solve the soft-copy problem; data must always be unencrypted to be viewed or edited. Software and hardware advances are needed to complement changes in the law to create systems where, say, data is automatically saved and returned to its encrypted state within a pre-determined time of the user being detected as away from the data source e.g. a laptop. Further, extra layers of security could be achieved by the widespread and compulsory use fingerprint and biometric verification built into the hardware.

And finally, long-term compliance with the new laws and adherence to stringent working practices can be encouraged by harsh civil and criminal penalties imposed on those who fail to conform. Ultimately, though, these measures are going to be costly in both time and money to implement. Plenty of time for a few more sackfuls of personal data to be found scattered across the UK and a couple of dozen unencrypted laptops to go walkabouts, in other words

Friday, 18 January 2008

Junior Lawyers Division

Junior Lawyers Site As I swung by Charon QC’s blawg earlier, I noticed a snippet from the Junior Lawyers Division of The Law Society (JLD) that I read about yesterday. Despite priding myself in keeping my ear to the proverbial ground, the first I’d heard about the scheme was when an email from the Law Society arrived in my inbox saying it’d been launched. Oh well.

Naturally I went on and examined the new JLD website and felt rather underwhelmed with their offerings to be honest. The email I received from the Law Society promised a rich site full of content, featuring news about regional groups, events in your area, blogs, downloads, information about a career in law and discounts on products and services.” Well, there are 2 blogs, with one post apiece, some superficial and hackneyed advice on the routes into practice and a couple downloadable PDFs pertaining to that advice.

Cutting to the chase, I don’t see that this site adds a great deal to the existing wealth of information out there for potential and newly qualified solicitors. Granted, the site is currently in ‘public beta’ but even so. Given the hype and gusto associated with the launch of the JLD’s website – even good ol' Charon QC recorded a podcast with the president – I really expected more of a wow-factor.

But the best thing is the new helpline number for trainees, and newly appointed solicitors to call when things, you know, all get a bit much:


Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Working in-house – a trip into the bleeding obvious

City Firm I was interested to see this article in the Times law supplement this week. Jonathan McCoy who now works as an in-house lawyer for Vodafone provided an interesting insight into life as a corporate lawyer with a company. He sets out some of the qualities needed by an in-house lawyer and the difficult-to-swallow realities that must be faced. Some are interesting and insightful – others are obvious and trite:

Be prepared to leave your comfort zone. (Remind me what that is again; even as a recent graduate, I can’t remember what my comfort zone was like).

Hiding away in an ivory tower isn’t looked on favourably (oh really? – why’s that then? Oh yeah, it’s just the IT dept who can get away with that).

You don’t necessarily need to have a background in a specific area (but it probably helps).

Be able to work fast (after all, slow lawyers are SO ‘last year’).

No fence-sitters allowed (are you kidding me – the most daring lawyers go out on a limb just twice during their careers).

This is all very interesting, but can you put it in English (as distinct from Vietnamese, I suppose).

What work-life balance? (You chose corporate law, buddy - work IS your life). Get over it.

...And so on.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

MPs lobby to criminalise data loss


Data leakFrom: – 03/01/08

“MPs on the Justice Select Committee have called for new laws to protect the integrity of personal data.

The move was prompted by critical government data losses over the past few months, such as the loss of computer disks at HM Revenue & Customs.

The committee called for a breach law that would make it a legal obligation for companies to notify customers if their data has been accessed and to create a system of fines for repeat offenders.

"The scale of the data loss by government bodies and contractors is truly shocking, but the evidence we have had points to further hidden problems," said committee chairman Alan Beith.

It is frankly incredible, for example, that the measures put in place at HM Revenue & Customs were not already standard procedure.

The Committee also called for the Information Commissioner to have powers to make spot checks on government departments to ensure that correct practice is being followed.

These latest proposals to punish reckless data leakage with large fines and/or prison sentences will go some way in encouraging organisations from the top down to be compliant or at least be able to prove they took the necessary steps to protect their data.”

This has obviously been a necessary step for quite some time now; it’s just a shame that it’s taken so long for us to get merely this far.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

The Michael returns

Underground Sign So, I made it back from my London trip with nothing more than moderate-to-severe sleep deprivation coupled with a deeply-seated frustration re. the state of Britain’s rail network, and the nation’s infamously bad weather. Yes, I WAS caught in the melee of rail disruptions yesterday on my journey back, I WAS pressed into a rail carriage with the space and dignity afforded to an average tinned sardine and I WAS absolutely correct in my prediction that my London trip was going to be bad.

Having gotten back around 10.45 last night, I’ve spent the day catching up on sleep, emails and a host of other things. I noticed sadly that this blog was given short shrift in Charon’s much anticipated ‘Blawg Review’ – what was all that about?!? Listing Law Actually under ‘and… some good student blogs I enjoy reading’ – I mean, seriously! Does the guy not recognise great content when he sees it? Just kidding, Charon.

I was disappointed, though, to see that Law Actually had slipped down the Google rankings for ‘law student blog UK’ but was heartened to see it top of the list for ‘law student blog LPC’. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Anyway, after my week in the big smoke, I can safely say the following, without hesitation or qualification:

1. My God, I really hate team-building exercises, overly-enthusiastic people, Mac fanatics who think Vista is sh*t (seriously, don’t even get me started on those goons) and just the whole notion of ‘corporate training’.

2. I hate those who run team-building and corporate training programmes even more than the wretched courses they stupidly devise

3. Sloppy hotel standards are still running absolutely rife in the UK; there is an abundance, however of atrocious food, shocking hospitality and dodgy smelling lifts.

4. Wembley Stadium is architecturally a big disappointment – they spent how much on that monster?!?

5. Travelling on the tube at rush hour on Friday is doable, but not to be recommended – particularly not with a suitcase!

6. How I made it through from Sunday morning until Friday night without browsing the internet, emailing, blogging and my usual online repertoire is nothing short of a miracle

7. Following London slang can be a difficult undertaking for a ‘Westcountrionian’ like myself: “seriously, man, it’s propa ‘ard, innit!”

It’s all good stuff.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Off to London

London The Michael heard earlier this week that he must travel to London for 5 days on 'urgent business'.  While initially being less than pleased, I've now resigned myself to the fact that a) I must do it, b) it's gonna be bad and c) well, there isn't really a c).  You get the idea.  I'm not happy.

So, blawgwatchers, this will be my final posting until sometime late next week, when I'll be back, presumably full of doom and gloom and bad stories about my week in the 'big smoke'.

Oh, and being 12th night, I've made sure that my Law Actually Christmas decorations are down in good time.  Whoopeedoo.  Roll on next year, eh!  Sigh.

“...After 400 yards, you’ll be driven up the freaking wall”

Sat Nav My girlfriend was bought a SatNav phone for Christmas, and unsurprisingly has been itching to use it at every opportunity since. Accordingly, therefore, when we tootled out on a shopping excursion today, the trusty device was pressed into action. I was yet to learn what a domineering and forceful nagger this device was. Reminiscent of an overbearing and officious back-seat-driver, riding with such a device is an insufferable cross between a driving instructor from hell and a 1950s housewife.

Before we’d even driven out of the car park, it was barking out orders. And erroneous ones at that. In true Sergeant-Major fashion, it snarled its opening instruction: “turn right and then sharp right onto ....”.

Therein lay the first problem . “But we’re going left, aren’t we,”? I queried.  Trying to quickly comprehend the logic in operation, I suggested, “so we just do the opposite of each direction, yeah”? Well, apparently it wasn’t as simple as that. After the opening salvo, I bitched back at the jumped-up device, grumbling at its repetitive reminders, grating voice and haughty attitude.

But I jest, faithful reader. The SatNav phone is, in all honestly, an excellent bit of kit and a worthy cockpit addition for the speed-camera warnings alone. To be fair, though, it did get us horribly lost at one point, adding time to our journey and mud to the car. Still, I’m assured that was more attributable to user-error rather than a satellite being out of kilter.

In conclusion, I don’t mind being dictated to by a phone, I just wish it’d sometimes ease back on the reminders and soften its tone, that’s all. After all, who wants to be bitched at by a phone – isn’t driving a hotbed for potential arguments and stress anyway?

Friday, 4 January 2008

CBE for BBC Computer-Dude

BBC Computer From: 02/01/08

"Professor Steve Furber has been awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours for his work in bringing PCs into UK homes.

Professor Furber is best known for his work at Acorn Computers, where he helped to design the BBC Microcomputer in 1981.

The device became particularly successful as an educational tool, and was one of the first machines to be widely used in people's homes."

Oh boy.  I remember using one of these monsters back at primary school and geez, it was nearly as bad as my reptilian Amstrad CPC 6128 Plus.  The 'Plus' by the way, actually denoted that that particular model came bundled with extra headaches, annoyances and problems. 

Still, I vaguely remember that the BBC computer at my school had a few quirky games with it.  I particularly recall one featuring a witch of some description.  Quite fitting, really, given some of my early female teachers.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Victim will testify from the grave

Julie Jensen

Okay, I have to admit that even I, a hardened law student, was taken-in by such juicy, nonsensical headlines that I saw on various news sites today and couldn't help but click on the links.  That damn click-happy finger of mine. 

From: AOL News 02/01/08

"Julie Jensen will essentially testify from the grave when her husband's murder trial begins this week.
Shortly before her death in 1998, Jensen told police, a neighbor and her son's teacher that she suspected her spouse was trying to kill her, court documents show. She gave a letter to the neighbor that said that if she died, Mark Jensen should be the first suspect.

Until recent years, using such evidence in court was virtually unheard of because of constitutional guarantees that give criminal defendants the right to confront their accusers.
But the Wisconsin Supreme Court created new rules, prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision that laid the groundwork for her accusatory letter and statements to police to be used as evidence in the trial."

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy 2008

2008 Law Party


As 2007 went out with something of a whimper and the brand new, sparkling 2008 swept in, I found myself yet again asking what all the fuss was about.  Oh well.  I suppose I must resign myself to the fact that I never have and probably never will 'get' New Year.  Sigh.

And of 2008? Well, as seems fitting for me these days, I've had my technical hat firmly on and been attempting to troubleshoot a litany of technical computer headaches and connectivity problems, none of which have been straightforward.  The fact I've had to carry out such technical assistance, remotely, that is, on another continent to the 'client' has only heightened the challenge. 

So while I vaguely ponder that it will soon be time to get back to some 'law' (yeah, whatever the hell that is) I remain firmly the tech guru at the moment.  So as of 23.30 on 1st January 2008 I can say the following the still trouble me:



  • Does the Scientific Atlanta WebSTAR DPC2100 Cable Modem REALLY require Vista specific drivers? (or is the fact the end user has both an Ethernet AND USB cable connected simultaneously --or one of them missing all together-- exacerbating the issue?!?)  Yeah, seriously.  Best not to ask.
  • What ACTUALLY has caused a Dell Dimension 8400 to go into an endless cycle of freezes on boot-up displaying: "Boot fails at checkpoint Ithr"?  From my searches on the net, it seems there are a multitude of possible causes ranging from the processor overheating to loose connections or a dislodged RAM module.  So take your pick, buddy.  Oh, and just to mix things up a little, the problem can apparently be solved by removing the battery or disconnecting the base unit from the mains and waiting for all power to drain down.  Oh joy.
  • And WHY THE HELL is the colour sequence of diagnostic LEDs on the back panel the only combination NOT present on the Dell support materials?!?  This must be a freaking p**s-take.

Yeah, Happy 2008 indeed.