ACM author’s page

I now have an ACM author’s page:

Journalists obtaining phone data

Interesting article on a phone “hacking” scandal. From what I can tell this was a case of widespread insider attacks and no “hacking” was involved.

Intersting quotes:

Research by the lobbyists Big Brother Watch shows that between 2007 and 2010, 904 police officers and staff across Britain were subject to internal disciplinary offences for breaches of the Data Protection Act, which governs access to personal information. Of these cases, only 98 led to the dismissal of the person involved.


The offences include incidents where staff accessed sensitive information with the intent of passing it to third parties, as well as staff browsing material for personal interest. The records include 137 gross violations, defined as “serious breach of contractual terms … which makes any further working relationship and trust impossible”. Only 27 staff lost their jobs.

SOUPS 2011

I’m blogging SOUPS 2011 over on the CUPS blog.

MySQL generate mysql create command

MySQL can automatically output the command necessary to create a duplicate table. Very useful for copying tables between servers or for doing small modifications between two tables.

SHOW CREATE table table_name;

Adding \smiley to latex


Adds \smiley and \frownie along with a bunch of other commands to your latex document.

SMI Experiment Center 360 download link

Link to download Experiment Center and Begaze from SMI.

Translating SMI BeGaze error messages

I’m just starting to work with SMI BeGaze and have already run into some non-intuitive messages and problems that took some figuring out. The following is a continuously updated blog post of different confusion points I’ve had and the eventual solution:

This version of BeGase only allows 2 gaze data files per experiment

Translation: You put in the wrong license usb dongle.

If you use the Experiment Center dongle the BeGaze software thinks it is in some sort of evaluation mode and will only allow you to work with a small amount of data. You have to use the correct license key.

Audio not playing or not visible when you know it is there

You know you recorded audio but for some reason BeGaze doesn’t show the audio track and when you play back the video it doesn’t play any audio.

Solution: If you hide the webcam video on the left sidebar the audio also vanishes. To get audio back just expand the “Webcam” tab on the left sidebar. Note that hiding this box makes BeGaze process data a bit faster.

BeGaze does this because the audio isn’t associated with the screen recording, its associated with the webcam file. When you tell BeGaze to hide the webcam it hides the audio as well.

Are we liable for what others say on Facebook?

Interesting case in which a student who was shadowing a medical employee observed some concerning behavior. She asked her family how to proceed with the problem but gave out no personally identifying details of the employee. The family members then told a friend, who told a friend, and so on, until someone posted it on Facebook. The school administration then claimed that the student had breached a code of ethics because the information had ended up on Facebook even though the student themselves did not post it. The student is now suing the school for wrongfully forcing her to withdraw from her program.

Latex on Google Docs

I just discovered, a plugin that integrates LaTEX with Google Docs. It even renders the LaTEX for you and shows you the results online. Its created by Bobby Soares.

Rental computers spying on users

A Wyoming couple is suing Aaron’s Inc. for using a rented computer to spy on them without their knowledge. Apparently they rented a computer form Aaron’s and later an Aaron’s employee showed the couple a photograph of them using the computer in their own living room. The computer apparently came pre-installed with software that can log key strokes and remotely activate the web cam.

This is similar to an earlier law suit by the family of a Pennsylvania high school student against the high school. In that case the school had issued laptops to students and had pre-installed software that could remotely activate the web cam. The issue came to light when a principle caught a student eating “pill looking objects” at home and accused the student of doing drugs. The student claims that the “pills” were candy. But the larger issue was the fact that school staff were observing the student in the privacy of his own home without even informing the parents that the laptops could be remotely activated.