Douglas Rushkoff on Program or Be Programmed

This morning on the way into work I listened again to the interview CBC Spark's Nora Young did with Douglas Rushkoff as part of their Summer audio blog. I recommend everyone listen to this interview. Greatly simplifying, he speaks about how we live in a programmed world, and that people who don't understand at least a little bit about programming will not be able to be full participants.

Looking for feedback on comment system.

Currently we are using the built-in Drupal commenting system on this site, which requires that people get a drupal account to comment. This seemed like the right thing to do when the site was set up, and we wanted everyone to have accounts so that they could also more easily send letters to their MPs.

I now wonder if the extra step to sign up, and the use of a simplistic editor forcing people to use HTML encoding, is no longer the right choice. From the comments I see on Twitter, Google plus and elsewhere talking about articles from this site, it isn't a lack of interest that has meant there isn't comments here. It is likely the commenting system.

From Pet to Nexus: 31 years in the personal computer market

Jeremy Reimer of Ars Tech published an article From Altair to iPad: 35 years of personal computer market share. It is a great read both for those who have been involved in the industry for many years, or new people who may not know any of the history.

The interesting thing about history is that different people who were there experienced it differently. The interesting thing about statistics is that the details of what the methodology is counting is often more important than the numbers that come out. Much of the Ars article this month and from 2005 were based on IDC numbers, which I have been critical of for years for being wildly inaccurate in reporting alternatives to Microsoft Windows running on Intel/AMD machines.

Ownership doesn't make people do bad things, or excuse them.

Sometimes the feedback you receive from writing is unexpected, as happened with Andrei Mincov's feedback on twitter about yesterdays article: Why do we have copyright?.

He didn't offer feedback on the focus of the article, which makes sense given Mr. Mincov provided a good tool to determining which of two different answers to the "why copyright" question we each might give. What I found interesting was his response to the second half which documented how it was the protection of the rights of technology owners that caused my increased interest in copyright law.

Why do we have copyright?

Andrei Mincov is a lawyer who specializes in copyright and related areas of law, and is actively involved in the copyright revision discussion. In April of this year he posted a Response to William Patry in the form of a review of William's book How to Fix Copyright. While I agree more with Mr. Patry's take on the issues than Mr. Mincov, I found reading the article and Mr. Patry's critique of this response extremely informative to solidify in my mind why I believe what I do.

Statutory knowledge monopolies and supply management

Two forms of government manipulation of the marketplace have become the most controversial aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Canadians: supply management and statutory knowledge monopolies. Each are government interventions in the marketplace between producers and consumers, each have a stated public policy purpose, and each are controversial.

July 12, 2012 Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

The decisions in the 5 copyright cases were released by the Supreme Court today. On first glance things went well, with the scope and limits of copyright clarified.

What will be hard for the technical community is to separate the specifics of a technology from how Copyright regulates specific uses of a technology. An example is the separation of a "stream" and a "download" which aren't different from a technological standpoint, but that are being regulated differently. The specific non-technical purpose of the bits being stored or sent from one place to another is what Copyright is regulating, not the fact that bits were stored or transmitted using a specific technology.

Declaration of Internet Freedom

When I read the Declaration of Internet Freedom as an IT property rights advocate, I feel it falls short. That said, I still support the declarations with its existing shortcomings, and "signed" it through the EFF interface.

The right to control how our own devices are used is only mentioned in the context of "privacy", when that is only one of the issues impacted.

To fees on devices the Harper Government says: yes, no,... err.. what was the question?

In a press release and news conference speech the "Harper Government" alleges to not want to increase costs or otherwise devalue the devices Canadians wish to purchase and own. Minister Paradis claimed that "Placing a new fee on devices with removable memory cards, such as BlackBerrys and smart phones, would increase costs for Canadian families and impact the adoption of the latest technologies."

I say claim not because I disagree that devaluing the devices we own is unwarranted and unfair to Canadians, but that the "Harper Government" did far worse within C-11 than they are alleging to "fix" now.

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