Saturday

Self-Driving Me Crazy

Barring any major technical or legal issues, it sure looks like self-driving vehicles are going to be a big part of our future. It's not exactly clear to me exactly when we "decided" that this was the way forward, but we seem to have (most) of the technology in place, and several US states have allowed various companies to carry out testing on public roads. Even Apple is dipping their corporate toe into the self-driving pool, with a new permit issued in California.

Google's self drive, er buggy

Tuesday

A Scanner In Your Pocket

If you have an Android phone or tablet, you should already have access to a rather neat scanning device in your hands. You can get scanning apps for iPhone and Android of course, but Android also has a built-in item that works well.

Open your Google Drive app and you will see a blue circle with a white "+" sign. Click that and select "Scan" and place the item to be scanned as flat as possible and use the device's camera to frame the item.

You will see some grid lines to help you line things up reasonably straight, and try to leave a bit of space around the edges of the item. That is, don't completely fill the frame with the page you are scanning.



The app should automatically focus and you then take the picture like you normally would. You will see a preview of the scanned image; at that point, you can accept the scan, delete the scan, or proceed to add another page to the scan. 

Once you are satisfied, the scan is saved as a PDF document to your Google Drive, and you can download it or otherwise work with it from there (email it, etc).

The nice thing is that the app does a very creditable job of squaring up the scan and flattening out minor curls and such in the paper - the results I have gotten with this have been consistently good. 

The couple of people I have shown this to had no idea it was available, hence my mentioning it here, as I have found it very useful on several occasions.

Wednesday

Ohio Cons' Computer Fiasco

Ah, remember the good old days when people in jail would wear striped jammies and whittle fake guns out of bars of soap so they could plan for the next breakout? You have seen those movies, right?

These days, at least in one Ohio correctional facility, things are a little more sophisticated; inmates cobbled together a couple of computers from spare parts, ran some network cabling and connected to the Marion Correctional Institution's network. Then they downloaded porn, did some identity theft and a bit of tax fraud.

A new report from the Ohio Inspector's General Office describes the how and why of the 2015 incidents, and in a conclusion that would delight Captain Obvious, refers to "lax supervision".
Inmates had numerous unsupervised hours to collect, transport, covertly install, and connect the computers to an unprotected network switch. Inmates routinely used computers in offices without windows or windows that were covered and doors that could be closed.