Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Windows 7/8/8.1 Is Spying on You. This Batch File Will Reduce It.

Concerned by sneaky updates to Windows telemetry on my Win 7 boxes … the object of which seems to be to degrade their privacy to a level equal to Window 10 minus the always-on eavesdropping of Cortana (No Thanks!)…I am running this batch file from an elevated command prompt to clean things up. I adapted it and slimmed it down from the to my eye excessive version at

Text of the key parts of the file below if your system blocks downloads of .bat files, as well it might.
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Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Law: Privacy, Software | 2 Comments

Happy Labor Day

Celebrate by reading Not Always Right, a web compilation of mostly horrifying stories from the world of retail, featuring nasty and thoughtless customers, hapless would-be scammers (apparently people say “my dad is the owner” to the owner or his/her family all the time), and the terminally clueless. It may challenge your faith in humanity. Or make you tip more. Or both.

Two sample tales:

Me: “Hi—”

Customer: *cuts in* “Hey, I see a couple outside eating this thing. I don’t know what’s the name of it.”

Me: “Um… could you please describe it to me?”

Customer: “I don’t know how to describe it, it’s a… it’s a big thing.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I want it!”

Me: “…”


I am a customer waiting in line. There is only one register open, and the woman before me with her five grown children only has five items. The cashier gives the woman her total.)

Customer: “That’s not right. You didn’t add the coupons.”

Cashier: “I did, ma’am. They were on [item #1] and [item #2]. The coupons do not apply to already discounted items.”

Customer: “But it should be less. You’re cheating me out of $1.20!”

Cashier: “Ma’am, your coupons did apply. You had two of them and they went to the two items not on sale. The other three items were on sale.”

Customer: “This isn’t fair! You see me with these kids?” *she gestures to her five grown children wandering around the aisle* “I have to feed them tonight! I need that money! You are cheating me!”

Cashier: “Ma’am, I can go over the receipt with you to show you exactly how the register calculated your total. Or I can return the items if you need the money.”

Customer: “No! I know I am right!”

(This goes on for 15 minutes, with the line behind me building. A manager is called up to explain that there was no error, but the customer keeps insisting. The manager tries to get the cashier onto another register to help the line, but the customer is refusing to let anyone leave their spot.)

Customer: “You’re cheating me out of my money! I should call your head office. You are cheating a poor mother so she can’t feed her kids. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Me: *fed up* “Ma’am, if it’s that big of a deal, I’ll give you $1.20 to cover your purchase. In fact, we can start up a collection. Everyone! This poor woman is unable to pay for some of her order, and she needs every penny that she can to feed her kids. Let’s ignore the fact that all of them are holding iPhone 5s and the three young ladies have Coach and Gucci bags that are probably worth more than what any of us make in a month. This woman can’t afford to feed them, and is spending her money on general crafting supplies. Who would like to help me pay for the $1.20 that she can’t cover on her purchase?”

(The customer starts fuming and stomps off without her items; her wide eyed kids walking behind her in shock. I was called up to the register a moment later.)

Cashier: “Thank you…”

Me: “No need. I have dealt with b****es like that for years. I’ve always wanted to do that and not worry about getting fired!”

Posted in Completely Different | Leave a comment

Where’s Bernie?

Posted in 2016 Election | Leave a comment

U Miami Security Self-Surveillance App: Clever or Creepy?

UGuardian App :: UMPD Campus Safety:

Miami has a new app which lets users phone quickly for campus cops, and also set a time to get from one place to another, during which ‘friends’ can monitor progress. And if the user doesn’t reach the destination in time, the app sends an alarm.

Most of it seems to have been crafted with some thought to user privacy. But at 0:55 the video mentions that if you use the enhanced 911 feature, it will send your location and “a recent selfie”. If it’s one the user downloads and earmarks in advance that’s OK. If the app just picks a recent picture, that gets a bit creepier. Anyone willing to download this app and report back?

Posted in Software, U.Miami | Leave a comment

Trump in Your Head

Folks from Miami make a video about Donald Trump:

Could be better, but it’s a start and it has its moments.

The Miami Herald has more details about whodunnit.

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | Leave a comment

Soon We’re All (Economic) Robots

Uber 2.0: Human Self-Driving Cars on Stratechery by Ben Thompson is the most interesting thing I’ve read about Uber in some time. Maybe ever.

Posted in So-called Sharing Economy | Leave a comment

MiamiLaw Enrollments Jump 30+%

Our first year class is up about 30% and LSATs are (officially) the same as last year. In fact, they look a bit stronger, but not enough to move the US News needle. If the trend were to continue, however, we could potentially raise them next year.

We matriculated more than 310 students this year; last year we matriculated about 240. We’re told that all the other indicators, e.g. minority enrollment 46% (dominated by Hispanic students), also are basically indistinguishable from last year. I gather that 2L transfers in were also notably higher than transfers out — although the #1 student in the class inexplicably chose to transfer to Yale Law.

These astonishing and (to me at least) unexpected admission numbers are good news — great news — for the law school’s finances and near-term future. Last year, despite suffering a smaller drop in applications than the national average, we under-admitted to keep up academic standards. This year thanks to increases in applications and in yield over last year we did not need to do that: we now have approximately the number of students in the first year class needed for long-run financial health at steady-state — at a size considerably smaller than our peak 1L classes. Those used to run at a gargantuan 380 … and sometimes more when yield fluctuations caught us by surprise.

I hope, of course, that these numbers translate into good news for our graduates three years from now. That means work for them, and for those of us on the faculty too.

In one way, however, the numbers are not quite as great news for me: there are 41 students in my Torts class where last year there would have been 30. It’s a bit more crowded in there.

The interesting question, though, is why? Why were our applications and yield and up so sharply this year, in what I expect must be well above national trend given the number of LSAT takers?

At present, I have only one idea, and it’s not one that I hold with much confidence: perhaps the lag time for gains in US New rank to reflect in student choices is much longer than we think. Results come out in Spring before the deadline for students to choose a school. Even so, by that point they’ve already decided where to apply, and many may also also have decided their priority list or even sent in a deposit. So this year’s outcomes are a product not of last year’s rankings but of at least the last two year’s rankings, and maybe more. (Please note that I’m not in any way endorsing the US News rankings method, nor the idea that a sensible student would place weigh on anything more than a very large variation in the rankings. That said, it’s conventional wisdom that prospective students care a lot about even small deviations.)

To have any shot at a better guess, I’ll need to know more about the national data. I hear rumors of a diverse set of outcomes at other law schools — some also did well some not so well. We have some nice new programs, but they’re small; the football team is doing better, but it still doesn’t feel quite like championship material, so those traditional explanations seem insufficient to explain a jump of this magnitude. I do know that our Admissions office worked really, really hard, but then they worked pretty hard last year too. The law school gave out more scholarships, which also must have contributed to the jump, although from what I hear we are nowhere near what Brian Leiter suggests may be a national average of 48% for private law schools.

Whatever the reason for Miami Law’s enrollment rebound, I’m happy about it. I just wish I knew the cause so I could bottle it.

How did your law school do?

Posted in Law School, U.Miami | 4 Comments