Open Camera Thread

This open thread will open your eyes, may make them pop a bit as your head explodes... But this thread will NOT turn on your Webcam without your knowledge or permission, nor will it be spying on your kids:

Mike Perbix. Write that name
down, because it's sounding more and more like he might have to legally
change his name after this mess, no matter what the outcome.

Four days after the story first broke, all hell has broken loose.

County prosecutors are investigating wiretap/privacy laws. Federal prosecutors are issuing subpoenas and the FBI is involved. The school district, meanwhile, has now admitted using the remote webcam spying system 42 times to locate lost or stolen laptops, has suspended the program and has retained outside counsel.

Oh, yeah, and the story now apparently involves Mike & Ike candy.

All of this you probably already knew if you've been following the story so far. However, there's more, so much more...

This guy is a computer security consultant
who's done an excellent, in-depth investigation of his own into the
technical side of just what exactly the IT people at Lower Merion
actually did.

Nothing like the thought of your kids being spied on by school administrators everywhere they leave their laptops lying around (like, maybe, in their bedrooms) to put a parent's mind at ease. No doubt that pedophiles are excited to learn about this great feature.

Via techdirt, we have a PBS video on this subject below the fold:

This may be more common than I thought. Julian Sanchez points us to a recent PBS Frontline episode
about technology in schools that shows a school official proudly
showing off the ability to spy on kids this way (well, using remote
desktop emulation, rather than turning on webcams, but many of the kids
seem to use webcams a lot). That part of the video starts at 4:37 and
even shows him taking a photo of a girl as she does her hair via the

Unplug your webcam and Open Thread it....

Kick Start Your Kids Activism

Get'em to vote in the Nick "Kids Pick the President" poll... But before you do:

And kids... If your parents are
thinking of voting for McCain:

Talk to them about the candidates. Teach them a bit about the policies of the candidates. Even a little political talk around the dinner table can be enough to spark their interest. After having them vote in the poll bring them in to volunteer for the campaign if they are old enough. Take them canvassing. Take them to a debate. Take them to see you vote. It is the best lesson in civic responsibility they will ever get. Take them out for a beer afterwards. ERRRRP! Ok, scratch that last one.

Just get them involved now so they will know what to do when they are older.

Teach them to VOTE!

Results for the Nick poll will be viewable on Monday.
Results in your kids will be viewable immediately.

An Open Letter from Kelsie to John McCain - Thou shalt not kill

A hundred years is a long time.

It will probably be only part of a lifetime for Kelsie and her sister who weren't born when they laid the plans of a war for the New American Century.

A smart kid can see real far into the future and Kelsie doesn't need to grow up to understand she wants no part of that vision.

[...with permission, from]

It's a Dog's Life

For those of you who love animals, and pets of any kind but dogs in particular, here's a few links to with some classics:

Dog and Children Look-a-Likes

Why God Made Pets (apparently, particularly doggie type pets)

and -- finally -- the piece du resistance of the day:

Automatic Screen Cleaner

...that last item may have to change, as I'm not 100% certain it was meant for public dispersal and thus may constitute bandwidth theft -- I'm sending an email to the site owner now to double check and inquire about loading it elsewhere for public consumption.

Hat-tip to peskydang for the initial pointer.