24
Mar
2010

It seems that much to the chagrin of public schools, students do have constitutional rights.

In the case of Constance McMillen not being allowed to attend the prom with her girlfriend, a Mississippi federal court has found that Itawamba Agricultural High School had violated her first amendment right to freedom of speech.

As a refresher, Itawamba Agricultural High School sent out a memo to students (PDF link) in regards to the impending prom to be held on April 2nd.  In the memo it stated that dates must be of the opposite sex, and that girls were to only wear dresses.

Ms. McMillen is an 18-year-old senior at the school, and has been out about being a lesbian since the eighth grade.  She went to the Asst. Principal to request permission to attend the prom with sophomore girlfriend, and also asked for permission to wear a tuxedo.  The Asst. Principal denied both requests, but said they both could attend in the company of males.

Ms. McMillen went on to talk to the Principal and Superintendent of the school district.  The answer she received there was that they could attend separately, but would not be allowed to dance with one another and would be “kicked out” if they “pushed anyone’s buttons.”

Not deterred, Ms. McMillen then called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  The ACLU sent a letter to the school informing them of its intentions to sue if the school did not open its policies to students of all sexual orientations.  The school was given until March 10th to reply, and on March 9th an emergency meeting was held on the matter.  On March 10th, the school gave its answer in the form of canceling the prom, or as they put it, “withdrew its sponsorship” of the event.

The ACLU tried to get an injunction forcing the school to continue with the prom, and though the judge found that Ms. McMillen met three of the four requirements, she had to meet all four for the injunction.  However, the most positive thing to come out of the ruling (PDF link) was that the judge did rule that the school had violated her constitutional right to free speech, which has been defined as “expression” in previous cases.

In short, if Ms. McMillen chooses to peruse this further, she has a constitutional law case on her hands, and the school is going to have a nearly impossible time defending itself.

In the meantime, an alternative prom is being organized by local citizens, and thus far is being labeled as being open to all students who wish to attend.

“It feels really good that the court realized that the school was violating my rights and discriminating against me by canceling the prom. All I ever wanted was for my school to treat me and my girlfriend like any other couple that wants to go to prom,” said McMillen.  “Now we can all get back to things like picking out our prom night outfits and thinking about corsages.”

On a personal note, I hope she does take this further.  Schools have been taking on more and more of an air that the children are cattle and have no rights but those they choose to let them have.

23
Mar
2010

Steven and I sit down and discuss how everyone is congratulating Google about being lawbreakers.  You’ll understand once you listen in.

Steve Jobs answers his own e-amil, and apparently this is news worthy.

Why do people keep writing bad headlines?  Sure they’re catchy, but it would be nice to see some quality content when we click on them.  You aren’t all MG Siegler!

Listen in and enjoy the show!

(Links by Steven for some of the stories we discuss in this episode)

Steve Jobs Personally Replies To Yet Another Email. Says Universal Inbox is Coming To The iPhone – The Next Web
Google vs China, or how the self-righteous better than thou’s need to get off their high horse – The Inquisitr
No, app developers aren’t “switching” from iPhone to Android – Technovia

Press the big green button to listen in!

23
Mar
2010

One of the hottest roles in Hollywood as of late has been that of Captain America in the upcoming movie of the same name. He’s finally been cast, and the choice is … well, perhaps not wise.

Chris Evans, best known for playing Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the two horrifically bad Fantastic Four movies released a few years ago.  Now he’s going to be diving back into comic book characters on the big screen, and this time it’s the iconic Captain America he’ll be woodenly acting his way through.

Mr. Evans has signed for three films as Steve Rogers/Captain America, one of which will be the upcoming Avengers movie Marvel Entertainment is working its way towards.  The Hollywood Reporter says the deal is done, although both Marvel and CAA, Mr. Evans management company, would not comment.

The only saving grace at this point to this film in the actor category is Hugo Weaving, best known as Agent Smith in the Matrix films and the title character in V For Vendetta, has signed on to play Captain America’s arch-enemy, The Red Skull.

Mr. Weaving is a great actor, but I just have not been convinced of Mr. Evans’ talent as of yet.  Hopefully he’ll prove me wrong as this is a heavy role, but I’m not exactly holding my breat for anything spectacular happening here.

23
Mar
2010

It’s Monday, and that means Steven and I take a look back at the most moronic stories of the past week.  There are some really, really stupid people out there folks, the kind you want to hang a “Do Not Breed With” sign around their necks.

Listen in and enjoy the show!

(Links by Steven for some of the stories we discuss in this episode)

Conservative Blogger Calls For Obama’s Assassination On Twitter (Updated) – Jezebel
Health Care Bill Spurs Assassination Calls on Twitter - ABC News
Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand. – New York Times
The Meaning & Future of Blippy, the Credit Card Data Social Network – ReadWriteWeb
Google denied “Nexus One” trademark – MobileCrunch
Stat Rant: Does Facebook Trump Google For News & Can’t We Measure Twitter Correctly? – SEL
Nestle Discovers The Streisand Effect… But Only After Making Things Worse And Worse… And Worse – Techdirt
The FCC Needs to Set Its Sights Higher.. Much Higher – Blog Maverick

Press the big green button to listen in!

22
Mar
2010

It seems that Conan O’Brien and the Fox network are talking again, and a curious hole in Mr. O’Brien’s upcoming comedy tour could offer a tantalizing hint that he is very open to the network’s offers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the producers of American Idol, 19 Entertainment, want Conan O’Brien to appear on the April 21st special, “Idol Gives Back”, but NBC is holding on the TV appearance moratorium that keeps him from even doing interviews until May 1st.  While the offer did not come from Fox itself, it does seem to indicate that the network is talking with the talk show host again about him possibly coming to their network when he can launch another show on Sept. 1st.

“The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour” does have an odd “off night” on May 17th, which happens to be the date of the Fox upfront presentation where the network will announce its slate of shows for the upcoming fall season.  It’s one of only a handful off nights Mr. O’Brien has on his tour between April 12th and June 14th.  It may be pure coincidence, but it would allow him to appear at the press conference.

Apparently talks had cooled two weeks ago, but they are said to be ongoing again to work out a deal.  If a deal can be struck by April 12th, when the tour begins, it could be turned into a giant promotional vehicle for his new show.

21
Mar
2010

twitter_logoThe popular micro blogging service Twitter turned 4-years-old today.

A year ago today I documented the third birthday of Twitter by asking when it would finally start making money.  Now here we are a full year later on its fourth birthday … and it still isn’t clear how the company is going to make any money.

There has been a lot of talk about the service possibly starting business accounts which will have more tools at their disposal for the companies to follow the analytics of their account.  This has been discussed for ages now, and still nothing has come of it as of yet.

Possibly with the data it has open up to search engines via its “firehose” for search purposes?  We know that both Microsoft and Google paid them for the access, and while it’s believed to have been in the millions, but it doesn’t come even remotely close to making up the $160 million total the company has taken in venture capital thus far.

Some expected Ev Williams, one of the founders of the site, to announce a Twitter ad platform at the just completed SXSWi conference, but all he did was announce a new system for publishers for further content distribution.  Some think the announcement may come next month now at Twitter’s chirp conference for developers, but it looks like finally, after four years, there might some sort of plan for cash flow.

fail whale… I may faint.

The problem is that I want Twitter to succeed.  While I don’t think it is the be-all, end-all that some people out there do, I do think it is a highly useful tool.  I feel some people have blown out of proportion just how important Twitter is, and that they have convinced themselves that nothing more important has ever happened in the history of man, I just see it as an extremely useful tool.  It has broken down some communication barriers in this world, and I think that is  a great thing, but I don’t think the service has quite gotten to point of greatness some of its zealots would have you believe.

At its core Twitter is still but a tool, a tool with a lot of potential, but a tool nonetheless.  As my friend Steven Hodson has begun to be fond of saying, “Twitter is becoming part of the plumbing of the Internet, and plumbing doesn’t go away.”  I have to agree with him, Twitter is with us for a long time to come, it would just like to see them start making some money so we coul dbe sure of the fact that it was indeed going to stick around.

So, happy birthday, Twitter … now start making some money so that you can be here for at least a few more years.

Feel free to follow me at @seanpaune if you are so inclined.

21
Mar
2010

writingDown to 55 this week from last week’s record of 57, I think I can live with that.

FunJug.com

Photo.BLORGE.com

RememberingChristmas.com

SeanPAune.com

StarterTech.com

Tech.BLORGE.com

TechnoBuffalo.com

20
Mar
2010
Written by  |  under TV  |  6 Comments

Doctor Who titleThe premiere of season 5 of the new version of Doctor Who is rapidly approaching, and to whet our appetites, the BBC has released another trailer.

The fifth season of Doctor Who is about to premiere in the UK, and two weeks after that we can expect to see it in the USA on BBC America.  This will be the first season for the 11th Doctor, portrayed by newcomer Matt Smith.  How his Doctor will stack up against previous versions remains to be seen, but the footage we have seen thus far does look fairly promising.

The new footage does show that we will, yet again, be seeing the Daleks.  Is there no way to finally be done with these guys?  Although … the Union Jack on their heads?  Interesting.

Here is the first clip the BBC aired after David Tennant’s last episode.

20
Mar
2010

I swear this is becoming like an annual post.

Last year on March 19th I wrote about Why I Left DreamHost, and here we are a year later discussing why I left BlueHost.  Unlike the DreamHost debacle where I was angry enough to spit fire, the BlueHost split has been a bit more amicable.  There were some definite rough moments this year, but overall it wasn’t that ugly.

Over this past year I discovered that I just simply no longer fit in a shared hosting environment.  While they promise you the world in unlimited storage and bandwidth, they really can’t deliver.  At least once over the past year all my sites were shut down and threatened with deletion as I had too many files on the server.  It seems they don’t want you to have more than 50,000 files, and due to a script I was running with Mark Hopkins to test a new site, it had auto generated over 250,000 files.  No problem, we deleted them, but BlueHost gave us no warning we were in violation, they simply shut down the sites and told us to get out.  After begging with them, I got them to turn the sites back on, and we got the files cleaned up.

In general shared hosting accounts simply aren’t going to work any more except for the smallest of sites.  These companies work on an idea of volume, and while departing BlueHost, I did some checking and discovered that somewhere around 1,000 sites were hosted on just my one server.  While servers can take a pounding, that is just way too many sites on any one unit.

So, I have moved over to HostGator … hold on, don’t scream, “But they’re a shared host, too!”  Yes, they are, but they also offer dedicated servers, and that’s what I’m renting now.  Yes folks, I’ve gone crazy and just said “I’m done with this!” and gone for my own server.  HostGator leases their servers from The Planet, and while I could have gotten it slightly cheaper by going direct, HG offered better phone support, and considering how many times I’ve had to call them, it’s been worth the extra money.

While I do feel like I’m paying through the nose, and I don’t make anywhere close to how much this costs me back in advertising, I’m a lot happier.  All of my sites are on this server now (which is nine), plus I am hosting two sites for friends.  One is paying me a small hosting fee each month, while the other gets like six hits  a year, so I’m not charging them.  So, I am much deeper in the hole financially, but if I really want to keep my sites going, this was the only option, and I have to say I love having complete control over the server.  I am nowhere near it physically, but I can reboot it, run diagnostics, the whole bit from the comfort of my desk.

I have no clue how HostGator is as a shared host, but as a dedicated server host, I’m loving them.  All of my technical problems have been handled quickly, my server was set up in no time and I feel you can tell how much faster the site is.  (SeanPAune.com has been on the server now for a few months)  Expensive?  Yes.  Worth it?  I think so.

I know most blogs just starting out have to go with shared hosting so as not to break themselves, and I wish you all luck because all the shared hosts I have been with have ended up driving me insane.  Here’s to (hopefully) never moving again.

19
Mar
2010

It’s Friday, and that means Steven and I pack extra doses of cynicism in this episode as we do every Friday as we take on all of the TechMeme headlines.  Ah yes, what a great way to end the week every week!

Listen in and enjoy the show!

(Links by Steven for some of the stories we discuss in this episode)

Apple Starts Accepting iPad Applications; Launch Apps Must Be Submitted By March 27 – TechCrunch
Apple Swears iPad Partners to Secrecy – Business Week
One on One: Christopher Poole, Founder of 4chan – Bits
Hope You Enjoy the Smell of Napalm in the Morning – Daring Fireball
Twitter Search Results to Show Popular Tweets On Top – Mashable
Apple CEO Steve Jobs joins Schwarzenegger to push organ donor registry – Mercury News

Press the big green button to listen in!

19
Mar
2010

The Addams Family is headed back to the big screen … but in a way it’s for the first time.

Everyone is familiar with the 1960′s television series and the two 1990′s movies, but those weren’t the true Addams Family.  Both properties were based off of cartoons drawn by Charles Addams for The New Yorker, and while the characters were all the same, they were different at the same time.

The original comics were more about an extended nuclear family that just happened to have a morbid and dark bent to them.  They were classic and mesmerizing, and it’s easy to understand how they metamorphosed into the versions we are more familiar with, but nothing has ever quite approached the tone of the originals.

All of that is about to change thanks to film director Tim Burton.

It has been announced that Mr. Burton will be directing a 3-D stop-motion version of the comic strips as one of his upcoming projects.  (Lets get it out of the way, Johnny Depp will be Gomez, Helena Bonham Carter will be Morticia and Danny Elfman will do the music … no, none of this has been announced, but, come on, it’s Burton)  It is not known when this film will be released, but seeing as it is stop-motion it will have a rather lengthy productions schedule.

Mr. Burton has a history with stop motion having done The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride, so he knows what he’s doing, and he creates some amazing looking work.  Will he be able to stick close enough to the source material without infusing too much of his own sensibilities?  True, his concepts are historically close to that of Charles Addams, but it would be preferable to have this stick exactly.  Luckily Mr. Addams’ foundation is listed as an executive producer on the project, so hopefully they will keep it faithful.

Can’t wait to see how this turns out!

18
Mar
2010

Scattercast is 87 … and I wanna go to the prom … in a dress.

- An update on Dexter.

- Why is Tiger Woods still in the news every time I turn around but hardly a word here in the states about David Beckham’s possibly career-ending injury? You have to love our press.

- Is that a green ring on Ryan Reynolds finger? Have a look.

- Some more thoughts on the Mississippi prom case. (Link to PDF of the motion for the injunction.)

Here’s

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for those who wish to download it, subscribe to Scattercast via iTunes.