WikiLeaks is not the problem

Mark A. Thiessen, an apparently ignorant columnist for The Washington Post says: “You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks

Some say attacking WikiLeaks would be fruitless. Really? In the past year, the Iranian nuclear system has been crippled by a computer worm called “Stuxnet,” which has attacked Iran’s industrial systems and the personal computers of Iranian nuclear scientists. To this day, no one has traced the origin of the worm. Imagine the impact on WikiLeaks’s ability to distribute additional classified information if its systems were suddenly and mysteriously infected by a worm that would fry the computer of anyone who downloaded the documents. WikiLeaks would probably have very few future visitors to its Web site.

As Matt Honan said, with regard to the above quote, it’s “one of the dumbest things ever written about the Internet.”

Thiessen sounds like a scared little man, afraid to stand up for himself. Afraid that the world he lives in is too scary. So afraid that he’s willing to put all his trust in the same government that has been embarrassed by the documents and videos of WikiLeaks, showing what terrible things the US government is capable of. Thiessen only shows how narrow-minded he is. The discussion should not be about WikiLeaks, it should be about the information the site has brought to our attention.

(via Darring Fireball)


Could WikiLeaks have prevented 9/11?

WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if?

Thoughtful and intelligent article by Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic.

WikiLeaks is good for the US, and your soul

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

From the news release:

So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

At the very least, if you’re someone who thinks WikiLeaks is harmful, watch these videos first. After that, let’s talk.

Don’t ever talk to the police

I was reading online about a book called The Criminal Law Handbook, by Sara Berman and Paul Bergman. It seems to have some good information in it, but while reading a “Free Chapter” on the website, I came across this:

10. Can it ever help me to answer a police officer’s questions?

Yes. Police officers may be as interested in clearing the innocent as in convicting the guilty. People can often clear their names as well as help the police find the real perpetrators by answering a few straightforward questions. For example, assume that Wally, a possible suspect, can demonstrate that “I was at dinner with Andre” at the moment a crime was committed. Wally both removes himself as a suspect and enables the police to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

And legal rights aside, the truth on the street is that people often can make life easier for themselves by cooperating with police officers—so long as they don’t have a good reason not to. “Contempt of cop” has resulted in the arrest and even physical injury of more than one innocent person. When innocent people who are pulled over or questioned by police officers stand on their rights too forcefully, events can sometimes get out of control rather quickly.

I’m surprised to see two JDs actually saying—in print, no less—that talking to the police can be a good idea. I’m not saying they’re wrong that it could sometimes possibly help, but I am saying that the risk is to great that, even if you’re 100% innocent, you still may end up screwing yourself by talking to the police. The authors say that “[p]olice officers may be as interested in clearing the innocent as in convicting the guilty.” Well yeah, they may be. What if they knock on your door and tell you they think you’re innocent (which you are), but they just want to rule you out as a suspect. You don’t mind answering a few questions, do you? Only you find out later that they were lying and were really trying to get incriminating information from you. Then, while you’re being questioned, maybe you misremember something or the police ask a bad question and they get confused (see this video for a more exhaustive explanation of why even innocent people should never talk to the police). Do you want to take that risk?

What about the passengers?

U.S. Dept. of Transportation Wants to Disable Phones in Cars (via

Ok, but what about the passengers? Are their phones disabled too?

Path and Instagram


I’ve been using Path a little lately, but I’m not convinced yet that I need ANOTHER photo app on my iPhone. I do love the way it collapses all the photos, though, and I wish more apps had this feature.

I’ve been using Instagram a lot lately, but it really bothers me that the EXIF data seems to be stripped from the photos. I send most of the photos I use in Instagram to my flickr page, and one of my favorite flickr features is that it automatically shows the location of each photo, and the type of camera that shot the photo—and it uses the EXIF data to do this. I sent the Instagram folks a message on twitter asking them about this, but they haven’t responded.

Installation of a stainless steel back for my iPhone 4

I recently bought a stainless steel replacement back for my iPhone 4, and just got around to installing it today. There’s nothing wrong with my original glass back, I just like the look of the stainless steel. It was really simple actually, I bought a “000” Philip’s head screwdriver from my local hardware store and followed the instructions on iFixIt. My only complaint is that the anchors on the new back panel are plastic, unlike anchors on the glass back panel from Apple, which are metal. I think I may have overtightened one of the screws and stripped it a little (the plastic anchor, not the screw), but it seems fine.


IMG_20101124_110906 IMG_20101124_105252 IMG_20101124_110605 IMG_20101124_110632
Now I feel a little more comfortable using my iPhone without a case on it. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep the stainless steel back on the iPhone, but I’m liking it so far.