The purrrrrrrfect bird...

recipe, SIMS, berkeley, friends, food

Judd has his notes up on the perfect thanksgiving bird.

Damn, I'm ready to try this out... (I've brined my birds using the Chez Panise brine recipe for a number of years and it's kick butt... but Judd is the culinary man, so I'll follow his lead this year.)

Alamed Co. voting systems demonstration...

elections, certification/testing, accessibility, vendors, news, privacy, SIMS, berkeley, policy, usability

Many of us voting-interested locals went down to the Alameda County Conference Center yesterday to see Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and HartIntercivic demonstrated different types of VVPAT-enabled voting systems. Ping has a great post up about his observations on the first vendor:

I'll post my thoughts when I get a chance...

Copy protection infringing copyright?

copyright, hacks, open source, wtf?, secrecy, research, policy, DRM, legal

(Cross posted to the OSDDDI blog.)

To protect its own intellectual property, Sony BMG appears to be blatantly infringing the copyright of others.

Undoubtedly, many of you have heard about the rootkit that is installed on Windows PCs upon inserting recent CDs from Sony BMG Entertainment record labels. This has become a veritable fiasco as this piece of spyware can be used to cloak all manner of things from viruses to cheating software. However, it now appears that the code written by the company that Sony BMG hired, First4 Internet, may actually infringe the LGPL by using code from the LAME mp3 encoding library (from "Spyware Sony seems to breach copyright"):

This software is licensed under the so called Lesser Gnu Public License (LGPL). According to this license Sony must comply with a couple of demands. Amongst others, they have to indicate in a copyright notice that they make use of the software. The company must also deliver the source code to the open-source libraries or otherwise make these available. And finally, they must deliver or otherwise make available the in between form between source code and executable code, the so called objectfiles, with which others can make comparable software.

Sony complied with non of these demands, but delivered just an executable program. A computerexpert, whose name is known by the redaction, discovered that the cd "Get Right With The Man" by "Van Zant" contains strings from the library version.c of Lame. This can be conluded from the string: "http://www.mp3dev.org/", "0.90", "LAME3.95", "3.95", "3.95".

But the expert has more proof. For example, the executable program go.exe contains a so called array largetbl. This is a part used in the module tables.c of libmp3lame.

More on voting glitches from Tuesday...

elections, reform, news, problems, research, policy

I'm going to summarize a few very interesting voting glitches that we saw last week. (in order of interest to me.)

San Joaquin County, California - S.J. County has election night deja vu

San Joaquin County workers misplaced a memory cartridge for an optical-scan machine. They rescanned the ballots and but haven't found the cartridge. In this story, an official says that the new Diebold TSx DREs that they want to use will make things work more smoothly... although the official doesn't recognize that misplacing the memory cartridge in a paperless DRE would not be as easily recoverable (although I believe you'd still have the ballot images resident in memory, no?).

Morris County, New Jersey - County investigates no-Spanish rule

A poll worker is not allowed to explain to Spanish-speaking voters how to use the machine in Spanish. This is because no other Spanish-speaking poll workers are stationed in the polling place to make sure that nothing improper happens.

Cumberland County, Pennsylvania - Software error forces recount in close race for district judge

Two candidates in a race were both mistakenly listed as being from same party. Straight-ticket votes counted both candidates and initally resulted in over-votes. After this was corrected for, the race was down to a 2-vote margin (1703 to 1701 votes). Also see: "Ballots counted again in judge race"

Harwinton, Connecticut - Voting machine snafu may lead to challenge in Harwinton

One candidate was endorsed in a race by both Republican and Democratic parties and was listed twice in a choose 2 out of 3 race. This candidate, due to being listed twice, got twice as many votes as the other two candidates in the same contest.

Pasquotank Co., North Carolina - In Elizabeth City, a 14-vote gap has one candidate calling for a recount

Selecting a certain candidate in the only contest on the ballot resulted in a write-in candidate box being selected instead. The margin in this race was 14 votes. Also, 60 blank ballots were cast (recall that there was only one race for this election). Also see: "Count on recount in E. City mayor?s race"

Lucas Co., Ohio - State plans to investigate voting chaos; Tuesday's problems are latest for Lucas County

This one is mysterious: "workers accidentally 'set an option [on the five machines] that prevented the results from being transported onto the memory card.'" Also, massive labor shortage resulted in chaos as election was highly understaffed and a system of "rovers" didn't function correctly (where one elections worker would travel to five polling places to get aggregate totals from machines). Also, see: "Poll workers blast use of 'rovers'"

Stark County, Ohio - Snafus slow election count

Some memory cards were left in Diebold TSx systems. Time was lost as staff had to open each packed-up voting machine until all cards were found and accounted for.

Montgomery County, Ohio - Vote count goes all night

Various problems resulted in having to download votes from 2000 memory cards instead of from one card each from the 548 precincts. However, during this process, 186 memory cards were found to be missing. After looking through bags of precinct materials ("I voted" stickers, signs, etc.) they had found 171 cards. The remaining 15 cards were only found after rousing pollworkers from bed at 3 am so they could return to the polling place to get the cards either left in machines or lying around the polling place.

Hudson County, New Jersey - All of Tuesday's votes still not counted

The county clerk will have to "get a court order to retrieve 27 voter cartridges mistakenly left in electronic voting machines. The machines were sent back to the warehouse for storage with the cartridges still inside".

Medina County, Ohio - Touch screens' electoral debut in Medina not without glitches

Poll workers forget to remove 6 memory cards from machines before packing them up. Doesn't affect vote count which was from aggregate totals taken before machines packed up.

Wichita County, Texas - Human errors hamper voting

35 precincts neglect to perform zeroing out process before election. This resulted in the vote data being impossible to download from the DRE (ES&S) with PEB device. ES&S technicians were able to open the machines, remove the removable memory cards and read the data from there.

Montgomery County, Ohio - 'Human error' creates doubt about failed vote in Carlisle

77 "phantom votes" found to have been cast in an election where a bond measure was defeated by a margin of 146 to 79. ("Phantom votes" are when there are more votes counted than there are registered voters that could have cast votes) In this case, there were only 148 registered voters that could have cast votes in this race.

Clermont County, Ohio - Clermont vote counters pull all-nighter with malfunctions

Op-scan ballots were not cut/perforated correctly and were rejected summarily from the op-scan machine.

Roanoke County, Virginia - Voters report problems with voting machines in Roanoke Co.

Voters in four different precincts reported that it was difficult to select a candidate in a particular race and that the candidates opponent was consistently selected instead. It took voters a number of tries to get their choice to go through.

Canton, OH - Problems setting up equipment delay polling sites

Poll workers had difficulty setting up the machines in front of waiting voters and didn't remember to offer paper ballots. Operations did not return to normal until mid-morning.

Rochester, NY - Voting machine removed; votes in question

On one voting machine, the name of one candidate was incorrectly listed in the ballot position for a different candidate in a different contest. 42 votes were cast on this machine before the machine was removed from service.

San Bernadino, California - Registrar workers scurry to make sure every vote counts

"More than 15,000 absentee ballots need to be 'duplicated', with workers trying to figure voter intent, said Kari Verjil, the county's registrar." Common problems included circling and writing "yes" and "no" instead of connecting arrows in optical scan ballot.

Rathbone, New York - Re-vote may be necessary to decide Legislature race

A malfunctioning lever machine in a small town may force a re-vote to decide a state legislature race.

SIMS Wikipedia entry

SIMS, berkeley, education

After two great talks on Wikipedia, I realized that SIMS doesn't have a Wikipedia page... so I started one here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UC_Berkeley_School_of_Information

Please add to it!

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