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January 24, 2007

Why didn't Julie Amero pull the plug?

A subtle shift is underway in the prosecution's strategy in the Amero porn popup case.

Now, the focus is on why Amero didn't turn off the computer after the porn freeze. Amero did try to keep the kids away from the monitor. One child testified that Amero physically turned his face away when she caught him looking at the monitor.

Tech journalist* John Dvorak says this kind of brain freeze is common:

The heartless State Attorney asked the question as to why she didn’t pull the plug on the computer during a porn storm. I would have testified that most people unfamiliar with computers would worry that this action would damage the machine or they would assume that the problem would continue when the machine was turned back on and they’d get in trouble later.

Furthermore, as I mention in my HuffPo piece, Amero was using the regular teacher's login. Before he left, he warned her not to turn off the machine.

It's important to remember that Amero is almost computer-illiterate. She probably didn't even know that it was possible to turn off the monitor without turning off the computer.

*[Correction: In an earlier draft of this post, I misidentified John C. Dvorak as an inventor, assuming he had invented the Dvorak keyboard. In fact, August Dvorak invented the Dvorak keyboard. John Dvorak is a tech journalist and blogger.]


Another teacher telling her not to turn off the machine is a good explanation.

I can't believe anyone was even disciplined for this, never mind charged with a crime. This incident was embarrassing all around, but things like this happen all the time when you combine inexperienced users with outdated software and limited IT support, which is what you find at most public schools. Has anyone involved in this case ever used a computer that is connected to the Internet? Criminy.

Your Dvorak Technorati tag is missing an 'a' (Dvork).

I'm with superdude: this whole case is absurd, and everyone involved in advancing it should be put on the National Dumbass Watch List.

Dvorak an inventor?

Come on.

He's a hack tech writer who writes lots a untrue things about apple to troll for hits. The only thing he invented was his ego.

Otherwise, keep up on the articles of this poor teacher.

Superdude, prosecutors in this country don't care. They only want to throw people in jail, regardless of guilt. They don't care about justice, they only care about convictions. How many times have we seen prosecutors swear a person is guilty, even in the face of DNA evidence to the contrary? They just make up new facts and find a cop or a doctor who will lie for them. That's what prosecutors do. This prosecutor knows he's wrong. He knows what went on her. He doesn't care. He's corrupt, twisted. If allowed to retain his job he will only ruin more peoples lives.


Dvorak was awarded with the Best Columnist and Best Column awards by the Computer Press Association, and he was also the 2004 and 2005 award winner of the American Business Editors Association's national gold award for best online columns of 2003 and 2004, respectively. (from wikipedia)

How many awards have you won?

He's said some silly, inflammatory things but he's always struck me as someone who really knew what he was talking about. Only a hack would call him a hack!


Lyndsay called Dvorak an inventor, he is not. OK?
Thats what my initial comment was.

You use wiki to describe dvorak, I ues my decades of reading him.

HE also has admitted on video to using false charges to bait and therefore up his hit counter. ALso called trolling for hits. Not my opinion- its fact.

From Dave Winer,
" Friday, June 09, 2006
I was talking with Dvorak at the Vloggercon party this evening, and he started telling a story about how he deliberately pisses Mac users off to get flow for his stories, and I said, hold a minute, I want to record this, and shit if he didn't stop and repeat it for me and my video camera. I guess now I'm an official video blogger. "


My only complaint is your referring to him as a "hack", clearly untrue.

I didn't challenge the other assertions. And as for deliberately pissing off Mac users, that's pretty funny.

Funny , maybe.

But professional?

Thats my beef with him, tweaking standards to make hits (money).

Doesnt have anything to do with macs- in fact his standing among peersa has been damaged.

The Phantom: Oh, puh-lease. John Dvorak is the Bob Novak of computer journalism. I've been pointedly ignoring his swill for more than twenty years.

The wiki said he invented the Dvorak keyboard (which is cool), and he seems to have an insanely large following somewhere in the blogosphere. I'm agnostic about the guy's other credentials. He may have been a bad choice for a quote.

I've seen IT people saying the same thing all over the blogosphere in comments. But I feel weird about citing anonymous commenters with no public profile, even though I believe them.

I've read so many tech people volunteering stuff like, "I had a whole sales team paralyzed by popups, and nobody thought to turn off the machine" or "People panic all the time, it just doesn't occur to them." Check the comments on the various Amero stories at the Norwich Bulletin for first-person accounts.

If anyone knows (is?) a high profile expert who's on the record about people panicking when their monitors fill with porn, I'd be happy to supplement the original post with a quote from a better source.

Lindsay, wrong Dvorak!
In the 1920's and 30s, August Dvorak and William Dealey designed the "simplified" keyboard now known by Dvorak's name. heres a couple a links from digg.

(the links are about bloggers writing about amero, not the dvorak keyboard.)

You're right. I screwed up. I'll take off the "inventor" tag.

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