28 Feb

NYTimes.com – Majority in Poll Back Employees In Public Unions

Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.

Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines. A majority of respondents who have no union members living in their households opposed both cuts in pay or benefits and taking away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Governors in both parties have been making the case that public workers are either overpaid or have overly generous health and pension benefits. But 61 percent of those polled — including just over half of Republicans — said they thought the salaries and benefits of most public employees were either “about right” or “too low” for the work they do.

via NYTimes.com – Majority in Poll Back Employees In Public Unions. Looks like the Governors are overly extending themselves politically.

28 Feb

Cocoia Blog – Getting Notified

This is not a post about what Apple will or should do to improve notifications on iOS. It’s a post talking about what solutions other platforms currently use to notify the user, and why Apple is (possibly, probably) taking such a while to create an optimal solution to the notification problem.

via Cocoia Blog – Getting Notified. Interesting seeing how other mobile OS’es implement notifications.

28 Feb

CSS-Tricks – Sans-Serif

Macs will get awesome Helvetica by default. On PC’s, even if they have Helvetica it can look worse than Arial for whatever reason, so this way they get Arial by default. And you’re still covered by the generic keyword. Shorter, easier, yay.

via CSS-Tricks – Sans-Serif. Instead of labeling every font, just list the generic font-family and you’re done.

27 Feb

NYTimes.com – Texas, Budget Cuts and Children

The really striking thing about all this isn’t the cruelty — at this point you expect that — but the shortsightedness. What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?

Anyway, the next time some self-proclaimed deficit hawk tells you how much he worries about the debt we’re leaving our children, remember what’s happening in Texas, a state whose slogan right now might as well be “Lose the future.”

via NYTimes.com – Texas, Budget Cuts and Children. Who cares about ensuring the health and education of children, not Texas.

27 Feb

NYTimes.com – HarperCollins Limits E-Book Lending by Libraries

HarperCollins, the publisher of Michael Crichton, Sarah Palin and Dennis Lehane, said on Friday that it had revised its restrictions for libraries that offer its e-books to patrons.

Until now, libraries that have paid for the privilege of making a publisher’s e-books available for borrowing have typically been granted the right to lend an e-book — say, the latest John Grisham thriller — an unlimited number of times. Like print books, e-books in libraries are lent to one person at a time, often for two weeks. Then the book automatically expires from the borrower’s account.

HarperCollins said on Friday that it had changed its mind. Beginning March 7, its books may be checked out only 26 times before the license expires.

via NYTimes.com – HarperCollins Limits E-Book Lending by Libraries. What total crud, publishers are just hurting themselves by not allowing libraries to loan out their books.

27 Feb

Quora – Life Without Photoshop by Joel Lewenstein

When Rebekah Cox first described the product design process at Quora, one of the biggest surprises was the absence of Photoshop. She said that every part of Quora.com was designed in code from Day 1. I asked a few incredulous questions, nodded politely, and figured that once I started work I would surely continue my love affair with the Creative Suite.

6 months later, I’m a convert. Almost every feature I’ve worked on at Quora has been designed exclusively in code, from concept to iteration to launch. As my copy of Photoshop accumulates dust, I’ve come to see the myriad benefits of this system:

via Quora – Life Without Photoshop by Joel Lewenstein. What happens when you throw Photoshop out of your prototyping work-flow.

27 Feb

New Scientist – Two planets found sharing one orbit

Buried in the flood of data from the Kepler telescope is a planetary system unlike any seen before. Two of its apparent planets share the same orbit around their star. If the discovery is confirmed, it would bolster a theory that Earth once shared its orbit with a Mars-sized body that later crashed into it, resulting in the moon’s formation.

The two planets are part of a four-planet system dubbed KOI-730. They circle their sun-like parent star every 9.8 days at exactly the same orbital distance, one permanently about 60 degrees ahead of the other. In the night sky of one planet, the other world must appear as a constant, blazing light, never fading or brightening.

via New Scientist – Two planets found sharing one orbit. Seems like a really interesting planetary system.

27 Feb

The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d

To clarify a couple of things, it’s true the Washington Post print edition published literally nothing on the Kessler ruling. Politico, meanwhile, did run a 702-word piece, but it was largely about the broader health care fight, and only briefly mentioned this week’s Kessler ruling.

As a legal matter, none of these ruling is more important than the other — they’re all at the federal district level, they’re all dealing with the same law, and they’ll all be subjected to an appeal.

And yet, the discrepancy is overwhelming. In every instance, conservative rulings get more coverage, longer articles, and better placement.

via The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d. The larger implication is how the public winds up perceiving each of these rulings, all again with the exact same legal implication.

27 Feb

threatpost – RSA 2011: Winning the War But Losing Our Soul

But I think the real lesson of the hack – and of the revelations that followed it – is that the IT security industry, having finally gotten the attention of law makers, Pentagon generals and public policy establishment wonks in the Beltway, is now in mortal danger of losing its soul. We’ve convinced the world that the threat is real – omnipresent and omnipotent. But in our desire to combat it, we are becoming indistinguishable from the folks with the black hats.

What’s more disturbing is the way that the folks at HBGary – mostly Aaron Barr, but others as well – came to view the infowar tactics they were pitching to the military and its contractors as applicable in the civilian context, as well. How effortlessly and seamlessly the focus on "advanced persistent threats" shifted from government backed hackers in China and Russia to encompass political foes like ThinkProgress or the columnist Glenn Greenwald. Anonymous may have committed crimes that demand punishment – but its up to the FBI to handle that, not "a large U.S. bank" or its attorneys.

via threatpost – RSA 2011: Winning the War But Losing Our Soul. Why is the IT security industry using black hat techniques for civilian work?