Hard to imagine but it is our history

March 1, 2010

Seen via Planet Debian: this fascinating quote from a Pennsylvania court in 1853.

Before publication [the author] has the exclusive possession of his invention. His dominion is perfect. But when he has published his book and given his thoughts, sentiments, knowledge or discoveries to the world, he can have no longer an exclusive possession of them. Such an appropriation becomes impossible, and is inconsistent with the object of publication. The author’s conceptions have become common property of his readers, who cannot be deprived of the use of them, or their right to communicate them to others clothed in their own language, by lecture or by treatise.

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now go to bed

February 11, 2010

Found this episode of Pictures for Sad Children pretty wonderful:

now go to bed

I think this is a great distillation of everything that Big Media stands for.

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adieu Google

December 13, 2009

Lately there’s been some fuss about Google’s new privacy policy, with this post by Joey Hess (on Planet Debian) and Slashdot‘s article about Google’s new opt-out policy.

Joey Hess writes:

With the decade over, and Google rolling out all manner of tracking cookies and javascript, it’s time to move on. Just keeping on top of the torrent of privacy-affecting changes Google is making, and trying to parse the real meaning in the chirpy googlespeak announcements has become more work than the value their search engine adds. (This was the last straw.)

At least for now, I’ll be using Duck Duck Go for search. It’s small, quirky, has features the big competition lacks, and works well enough for my mostly moderate and occasionally intense needs. Sorta like Google in 1999.

While I am in favor of privacy, have not been thrilled with Google’s behavior, and have come to resent the attitude of Google employees and officers, I have to say Duck Duck Go does not meet my search needs. Neither does Bing. Neither does Google, when it comes right down to it. Search is hard, and there are a lot of tricky bits. (Try searching for the Haskell type signature "Int#". For a while it was nearly impossible to find the emacs package "magit", as all you could get were results for "magic".)

So for the time being I’m still using Google Search. With luck, in time everything will just magically get better..

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Google Serves a Cease-and-Desist on Android Modder

October 30, 2009

Vastly old news by now, but it’s kind of surprising how fast this blew over: source on Slashdot.

Several readers sent in word that Google has served a Cease and Desist order to Cyanogen, one of the most prolific Android modders: his CyanogenMod is enjoyed by 30,000 users. The move is puzzling. Gizmodo wonders what Google’s game is, and Lauren Weinstein calls the move "not of the high ‘Googley’ caliber" that one would expect of the company.

I’d like to clarify that while I bought a G1, this kind of bullshit is why I’m so dissatisfied. This is what I wanted to get away from. I’m keeping an eye on the N900, let me tell you!

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EFF Says Burning Man Usurps Digital Rights

August 14, 2009

Seen on Slashdot:

In a few weeks, tens of thousands of creative people will make their yearly pilgrimage to Nevada’s Black Rock desert for Burning Man, an annual art event and temporary community celebrating radical self expression, self-reliance, creativity and freedom, but EFF reports that the event’s Terms and Conditions include ‘a remarkable bit of legal sleight-of-hand.’

File under: Burning Hypocrisy. I’ll admit that caring so much about who owns the photos and who has control of them is a little ludicrous, but you should know I’m all about the ludicrous causes.

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FOIA Documents Detail iPods Overheating, Catching Fire

July 22, 2009

File under: quality Apple hardware. The post on Slashdot.

An exclusive KIRO 7 Investigation reveals an alarming number of Apple brand iPod MP3 players have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property. It’s an investigation that Apple has apparently been trying to keep out of the public eye. It took more than 7 months for KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy to get her hands on documents concerning Apple’s iPods from the Consumer Product Safety Commission because Apple’s lawyers filed exemption after exemption.

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