Net Neutrality

(via Donklephant) Net Neutrality is the principle that traffic to and from all website should be treated equally by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). They should not be allowed to slow down or speed up traffic based on what it is or whether they were paid a toll by the website operator. Basically, you paid for your connection to the internet and the people who ruin the website paid for their connection. The ISPs want to charge the web site providers an additional charge on top of that. The effect is that they can extort fees from richer companies and prevent new companies and new services from prospering. They can also use this technique to crush competitors such as when they […]

Australian Court Rules Against mp3s4free.net

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on an Australian Federal Court Ruling against mp3s4free.net on appeal. The reporting indicated that this could hurt search engines, YouTube, bloggers, and anyone who might link to copyrighted material. However, I think that this may be overreacting to what is in essence a pretty reasonable ruling by the court. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am not a fan of the RIAA or draconian copyright enforcement. I am a staunch supporter of fair use and balancing the very real interests of the people who collectively grant copyrights via the government and the content creators who are trying to profit from their work. In this case the site was trying to skirt the […]

John McCain Loses My Vote

For while he almost had me with his maverick attitude and independent slant. His talk about compromise and ethics reforms. His sudden decision to speak at Bob Jones University without holding to his earlier pledge to tell off the racists running the place was, well, disheartening. Now he has decided to push for a ridiculous legislation that essentially bans sex offenders from using any website that requires registration, including blogs, chat rooms, social networking sites, product review sites, e-Commerce sites, etc. and potentially levies 6 figure fines against individuals who don’t police their blogs’ comments tightly enough or turn in people who post offensive material in comments.

Handling Mistakes

At some point in time it happens to everyone, you make a mistake. Sometimes they are big, sometimes small and sometimes they are perceived by others to bigger or smaller than they are. How you handle your mistakes can make a big difference in your relationship with a client. There are no hard and fast rules for handling these things. You have to apply some judgment based on the people you are working with. Are they fixated on blaming someone or on fixing the the problem? If their focus is blame, then you are dealing with a dysfunctional, paranoid culture, the type of environment where CYA (Covering Your Ass) is the most important activity you can participate in. If their […]

Michael J. Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and Stem Cells

(via Donklephant) The Washington Post reported on Rush Limbaugh’s outrageous attack on Michael J. Fox for political ads backing candidates who support stem cell research. Mr. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, one of many terrible ailments that stem cell research may help cure. Mr. Limbaugh accused him of faking his symptoms and not taking his medication to increase the impact of the ads. This is an appalling lack of sensitivity for a person dealing with a serious illness. I’ve listened to Mr. Limbaugh’s show since I was a child, though I generally disagree with his views on social policy I find it interesting to hear the conservative side of political issues. I’m curious if he would similarly attack Nancy Reagan […]

Using and Abusing Copyright Law

(via shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress) The North Country Gazette has a notice (highlighted above in the image) that invokes “Fair Use of Copyright” to forbid the reproduction of their publication. They’ve been called to task by David Giacalone of shlep for trying to void the Fair Use rights that all of us have. Copyright holders have exactly zero authority to void these rights and any claims to the contrary should rightly be smacked down with impunity.

Tis the Season

Pass a law that says if 75% of eligible voters don’t go to the polls, the election is invalid and will have to be held again in one month. This will mean another 30 days of condescending, mind-eroding, profoundly annoying campaign ads. (from The Outfit) Ah, the joy of the political season, when we listen to politicians spout nonsense and vitriol and get to choose between candidates that are jerks, morons, crooks, or worse. I’ve been enjoying the political ads here in Michigan where we have spirited Gubernatorial and Senate races. We have such inspiring candidates as our incumbent Governor Granholm, Dick DeVos (“intelligent design”, seriously?), Debbie Stabenow (obsessed with Canadian trash), and Mike Bouchard.

“Stupidity Has Its Own Rewards”

(via Boing Boing) That’s my Dad’s favorite saying, oft repeated after seeing a particular appalling example of human stupidity. Today I’d like to highlight a prime example of stupidity and weak minds at work that rears its head again and again – book banning. This time it came up in Houston, Texas when Alton Verm, of Conroe tried to get the school board to ban Farenheight 451, a novel by Ray Bradbury (story on the Courier website). The great irony is that Mr. Verm proposed banning a book about book burning during the National Library Association’s Banned Books Week. Banning books is the act of intellectual cowardice. Those who fear the spread of knowledge are relying on a state of […]

Freedom isn’t always fun

I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the years studying, debating, and working to understand the creation, distribution, and use of information. I strongly believe in the freedom of information. Freedom of speech, thought, and conscience are not just nifty ideas they are the foundations of a just society and a happy life. Information and knowledge yearn to be free. Ideas have a need to grow and spread or wither and die based on their validity and usefulness.