Retro Media Server Based on Raspberry Pi and Cassette Player

Now this is about as cool as it gets. A guy takes an old cassette tape recorder, takes out the guts and installs a Raspberry Pi inside programmed as a Spotify media server. The buttons on the recorder act just like they are supposed to for playing, pausing rewinding, fast forwarding and stopping the music. The ingenious part is that it uses a NFC (Near Field Communications) tag in old cassette tapes to identify which playlist to play. Flip the tape or change it and you play a whole different set of songs.

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Unemployment Rates Fall in 31 US States Last Month – ABC News

I don’t believe the employment rate is controlled much by any government office holder. I don’t believe politicians bring on recessions and I don’t believe they are responsible for booms. Still, watching politicians use economic statistics to prop up their credentials or to tear down their opponents can be fun.

With that in mind I’ve been watching Jason Carter beat Nathan Deal over the head with recent unemployment figures showing Georgia to have the worst case of unemployment in the country while Deal was touting the fantastic number of jobs he has created.

Now we hear that Georgia’s unemployment numbers may not be so bad.

In Georgia, the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent from 8.1 percent last month, a potential boost for GOP Gov. Nathan Deal. Deal is in a close race with Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter.

Deal has questioned the accuracy of the state’s rate after it jumped sharply over the summer. It was 6.9 percent in April. Yet the state has added 83,100 jobs in the past year, boosting total jobs in the state by 2.1 percent. That’s faster than the national pace.

via Unemployment Rates Fall in 31 US States Last Month – ABC News.

So where will Jason Carter go with this and what will he do for campaign ads for the next two weeks until the election?

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Did Obama just say that?

When President Obama declared:

“The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me,” said Obama. “They have supported my agenda in Congress.”

via Did Obama just hand GOP a weapon to use against endangered Democrats? –

… on Al Sharpton’s radio show you know Michelle Nunn could have bit nails in two. This is exactly what her opponent, David Perdue, has been telling us. And it’s exactly what she’s been running away from.

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I’m back.

I’m sorry about being gone. The problem was that several old, stale websites that I had stopped maintaining got hacked and my service provider suspended my account until I could get it cleaned up. That took time and unfortunately I haven’t had that much time lately.

The lesson to that is that if you are using popular software to run your website you need to keep it up to date and that includes websites you’ve ceased to actively update and are keeping it up for reference purposes.

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A Move Toward Community Policing Brings Rewards

It’s amazing what results from making the police a part of the community rather than structuring them apart from the community.

“The New Haven Police Department had fallen back as an organization which was reactive and 9-1-1 driven,” he said. Furthermore, as the department moved away from community policing, a gap seemed to develop. “The department had isolated itself from the community,” Esserman said.

via New Haven’s drop in gun violence builds over 3 years.

When a cops view their beats as their neighborhoods they start to relate to the people there as their neighbors. It’s easier to understand what motivates someone to be a certain way when you look at them as a neighbor rather than a “bad guy.”

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What does “Grassroots” mean to you.

I’m reading this article on Bloomberg’s group making a push for the mid-term elections to elect candidates that are sympathetic to their gun control measures and I read this:

Bloomberg, a billionaire who has made gun control one of his top causes, has pledged to spend $50 million this year to build a grass-roots network aimed at combating the National Rifle Association’s influence in Washington and state capitols around the country.

via Bloomberg group launches midterm campaign for gun control.

I don’t think it’s a grass-roots movement if it’s being built by an individual with unlimited resources.

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Woman charged again after she rides her bicycle on busy U.S. 27

Last week Cherokee Schill appeared in court to answer several charges of obstructing traffic. Even though she was obeying what I thought was a reasonable interpretation of the law the judged fined her several hundred dollars. The prosecutor was also asking that she be banned from riding the stretch of highway, US27 in Jessamine Co., Kentucky, she had been ticketed on. The judge didn’t go that far.

This week Ms Schill was arrested for riding the same section of road on her bike, this time for second-degree wanton endangerment which is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

The report says Cobb “observed several vehicles braking hard and switching lanes erratically in an attempt to dodge the violator. Violator was wantonly engaging in conduct she knew would create substantial danger to the motorists attempting to avoid her.”

via Woman charged again after she rides her bicycle on busy U.S. 27 | Jessamine County |

So if other people’s reaction to a cyclist riding in traffic is to start driving erratically it is somehow the cyclist fault? How about if they slow down and wait to pass until they can do it without erratically changing lanes?

Here’s a video from the back of Ms. Schill’s bike. I wouldn’t want to ride on that shoulder either.

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Apple’s “warrant canary” disappears, suggesting new Patriot Act demands — Tech News and Analysis

Dan points me to this article about Apple’s Warrant Canary going missing. “What’s a Warrant Canary,” you ask? It’s a tool used by companies and publishers to tell people that they so far have not been served with any subpoenas or warrants that would prevent them from telling whether or not they had been served with said subpoena or warrant.

Apple put out its first transparency report on government activity in 2013 and it contained the following footnote:

“Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.”

via Apple’s “warrant canary” disappears, suggesting new Patriot Act demands — Tech News and Analysis.

Subsequent reports, in the last half of 2013 and the first six months of 2014 does not contain this language so you can figure that they have since then been served with an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

<sigh> — I really don’t like living under a government that makes Warrant Canaries necessary. I don’t think our founding fathers would like it either.

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Domestic Violence is Trending Down

The NFL’s mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident has brought the spotlight onto the problem of domestic violence. I applaud this happening. No one should ever feel anything other than being safe in their own home and anyone who uses violence against a loved one to express frustration or anger is not worthy of being called a human being.

However, there is some good news. Domestic violence appears to be trending down.

  • From 1994 to 2010, the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the United States declined by 64%, from 9.8 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older to 3.6 per 1,000.
  • Intimate partner violence declined by more than 60% for both males and females from 1994 to 2010.
  • The rate of intimate partner violence for Hispanic females declined 78%, from 18.8 victimizations per 1,000 in 1994 to 4.1 per 1,000 in 2010.

via Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010.

Still, domestic violence continues to be a  problem in the U.S. even though the trends look good. I think one question we need to be asking ourselves is what have we done to date that is responsible for this declining trend and how do we leverage what we find out to reduce violence even more.

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Because any company that works to legally decrease their tax burden is alright by me.

from Instagram:
I had lunch at Burger King for a couple of reasons. The first is that I think the Whopper Jr. is the best tasting fast food burger out there for under $2 and second because I think the uproar caused by the Burger King corporation creating a corporate office from which to manage both the Burger King and Tim Horton brands in Toronto is much to do about nothing.
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Bruce Levenson to sell the Hawks

Bruce Levenson wrote an email two years ago questioning how to improve attendance at the Atlanta Hawks games among suburban dwellers here in Atlanta. In doing so he divided fans into the black inner city fans and the white suburban fans and contrasted the likes and interests between the two groups. While it wasn’t intentional it came off as racist and offensive.

Mr. Levenson apologized at the time but his email and what he has done has been eating at him for the past two years. He’s selling his controlling interest in the team for the team’s best interest.

If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.

via Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson to sell team.

Well, Bruce, at least you didn’t tell your mistress to stop hanging around with black people.

Seriously, there is a huge difference between what you did, generalize in an email about concerns about the lack of diversity of fans, which accidently pushed some sensitive, stereotypical buttons, and exhibiting explicit racial bias by forbidding someone you are in some sort of relationship with from being seen with people of a particular race.

Bruce, the fact that you have agonized over this email for two years and are now ready to sell the Falcons because of it is exactly the reason the league needs you to remain an owner. You care.

Bruce, do what you feel you need to do but if you proceed in selling the Hawks you stand a chance of doing them more harm than your one email could ever have done.

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Free Scotland?

I’ve sort of been following the independence movement in Scotland. A few months ago it looked like a long shot but a recent poll showed a 51%/49% split with the “Yes” vote ahead. These results did not include any undecided voters but it does show that this referendum can not be called. The election will be held on September 18.

The British Parliament is pushing for a “No” vote on the question but with this latest poll it has George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, offering the Scottish Parliament new powers and more autonomy if the referendum is overturned but then has a warning if the vote is for a free Scotland.

“[Voters] should be in no doubt about the consequences of this decision – one of which is that Scotland will not be sharing the pound as an independent country with the rest of the UK if the separatists win the vote.”

via Scottish independence: George Osborne offers Scotland fresh powers, but says no chance of sharing the pound – Scottish independence – UK – The Independent.

It sounds like Great Britain is worried but see no real answer to resolving the issues driving Scotland’s need for independence. I’m wondering how long it will be before Wales looks for independence and Great Britain is no more?

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