Oct 27, 2001

Custom Weblog Post
Fun Stuff!
I have updated my Custom Weblog Post tool to version 1.01. This version has several enhancements and bug fixes:

'The Custom Weblog Post tool allows the user to create (sub-)templates that have more structure then RU's default flat text box. It ships with a template that matches the behavior of Manila's News Items, using the RU 'blogs categories as the choosable categories. Thus, for people who are used to posting with Manila's News Items, this provides a nice migration path to the RU 'blog, especially if you used the Manila Site Converter tool which will preserve your categories.'


Oct 27, 2001

Terror Act Has Lasting Effects
Surveillance and Privacy from Government
'But the Dec. 2005 expiration date embedded in the USA Act -- which the Senate approved 98 to 1 on Thursday -- applies only to a tiny part of the mammoth bill.'

'After the president signs the measure on Friday, police will have the permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order in some circumstances, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury information with the CIA.'

'Also exempt from the expiration date are investigations underway by Dec. 2005, and any future investigations of crimes that took place before that date.'

I withdraw my formerly stated pleasure with the expiration provisions. The article contains a lengthly list of other provisions that don't expire, either. Bleh.


Oct 26, 2001

A User's Review of Windows XP
Personal Commentary
My initial impressions of Windows XP. Summary: Quite positive.


Oct 25, 2001

Political Speech, Free Speech
'In this situation Disney Corp. is a political actor, speaking under the special rights enjoyed by commercial actors. For commercial actors, having more money is a perfectly fine amplifier of viewpoints. For example, there's nothing wrong with Proctor and Gamble having more advertising than Joe's Bar. But with political actors, allowing concentrations of money to amplify viewpoints is not a good thing, because the political design of the U.S. is intended to flatten hierarchy in order to allow the many to rule. When political actors like Disney pretend to be commercial actors, republican government is being gamed.'


Oct 22, 2001

PC industry girds for copy-protection fight
'The PC industry is circling its wagons in preparation to fight proposed copy-protection legislation, arguing at a Monday (Oct. 22) briefing that the protection plan backed by Hollywood [SSSCA] would freeze technology while failing to solve piracy concerns.'

Thank goodness somebody in the PC industry finally woke up the games Hollywood is trying to play. Frankly, I have little confidence in the resolve of the PC industry to stand up to Hollywood, but just another year or two of delaying action can have a wonderful effect on the populace.

In many ways, the computer revolution still needs to hit the consumer. Napster was only the beginning, and a rather primitive one at that. Computer let you do lots of things (even legal ones!), and the more people wake up to the fact, the more people will scream bloody murder if somebody tries to take it away. (For example, one can hope that in another year or two, we'll have critical mass on free speech on the web, as more and more people get their own websites.)

One can even hope that the PC industry may just decide there's more money to be made empowering people then confining them. (You know... the way the hobbyist-descended part of the industry USED to work.) The PC industry can brush Hollywood aside like a horsefly if they ever wake up to that fact... Here's hoping.


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