Meet the judge who codes — and decides tech’s biggest cases

“Judge [William H. ] Alsup would like everyone to know that he doesn’t know Java.

Not very well, anyway. He can, however, definitely code. He’s been coding in BASIC for decades, actually, writing programs for the fun of it: a program to play Bridge, written as a gift for his wife; an automatic solution for the board game Mastermind, which he is immensely fond of; and most ambitiously, a sprawling multifunctional program with a graphical interface that helps him with yet another of his many hobbies, ham radio.

His interests have served him well on the judicial bench, informing his outlook on the multibillion-dollar intellectual property cases that come to him. The fortunes of tech companies can rise or fall depending on his rulings. Oracle v. Google has wide repercussions for big companies and smaller developers alike, to say nothing of the $9 billion at stake. The yet-to-be-totaled billions Alphabet is seeking from Uber in the ongoing Waymo v. Uber suit could make or break Uber as a player in the nascent self-driving car market.”

Read the whole interesting and well-written article by  at theverge.com.

For more about Judge Alsup, search [judge ham radio map court technology san francisco alsup].

“Right to Repair” – Who can fix your software-infested product?

“Following on from his earlier article on US farmers hacking their tractors with Ukrainian pirated software (previously), Jason Koebler has teamed up with Lara Heintz to make a short documentary for Motherboard about some of the people involved: farmers, tractor repairers as well as the politician who introduced a “right to repair bill” (previously).”

Read the full article and the comments at www.metafilter.com.

Steel Armor — The Technology of Another Time

“Nothing remains of the Royal Armor Workshops at Greenwich. What does remain are many of the great masterpieces of the Greenwich armorers, which allow us to stand in the presence of great princes and knights long dead. For those who take the time to look, they live on in ways their makers could never have imagined.” -Tobias Capwell

This Metafilter page includes a link to an interesting hour-long BBC video.

 

Fort Collins couple builds Train Alert system to help reduce traffic backups

Read the full article here: www.reporterherald.com. Excerpted below.

A camera mounted on the side of their house and a homemade computer program are the nuts and bolts behind the service, called Train Alert, which launched its first version Dec. 8.

Train Alert automatically sends out tweets and web alerts to subscribers with estimated times an oncoming train will arrive at major street crossings in Loveland and Fort Collins.

All elements of the Train Alert system are homemade and low-cost, the couple said. Keeping the cost low was “a fun challenge,” Kathy Haselmaier said.

Jim Haselmaier, who has some background in engineering and software development, used open-source image analysis software and a program he wrote himself in the programming language Python to create the train monitor. The image analysis “routines,” which he obtained from an online library called Open CV, do “some basic but astonishingly cool tasks,” Haselmaier said.