Archive for July 27th, 2009

Windows 7 Predictions, Two Years Later

Back in February 2007, I made some predictions about the then-unnamed “next version of Windows” that had just been announced for release in 2009. At the time, I was grossly unenthused, believing that the short development lead time meant Microsoft would prove unable to learn any substantial and meaningful lessons from the epic failure that was – and is – Vista.

How’d I do? So-so…
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on July 27th, 2009 | Comments Off on Windows 7 Predictions, Two Years Later

Deterring Auto Theft: Time For a Public Hotlist?

Would making details of motor-vehicle thefts readily available to the public have any impact on auto theft? My gut feeling is that it just might.

Consider: Here in Saint Paul, a motor vehicle is stolen roughly every four-and-a-half hours – right about five-and-a-half thefts per day. The majority of stolen vehicles recovered are done so by law enforcement, with no public involvement (aside from the owner reporting it stolen, of course).

As it stands, if a member of the public thinks they’ve identified a stolen vehicle, at worst they have to call the police and have officers respond, which is a waste of resources. The best-case scenario, you call the police and social-engineer them into telling you if the vehicle is reported stolen; while this can certainly be effective, it’s still labor-intensive, and I have to admit I’m not positive about the absolute legality of this ploy. (Top tip: It helps if you use the right lingo – a license plate is a “tag”, in police parlance, and you want it checked against the “hot sheet”, a regularly-updated list of vehicles reported stolen.)

That system was workable in the 1990s, but here in the 21st Century, surely we can do better?
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on July 27th, 2009 | Comments Off on Deterring Auto Theft: Time For a Public Hotlist?