Jun 19, 2001

Coming to small claims court: Roadrunner vs. Acme Rent-a-Car
6/19/2001; 7:21:01 PM 'When Turner signed Acme's rental agreement last October, he didn't notice the warning at the top of the contract that read: "Vehicles in excess of posted speed limit will be charged $150 fee per occurrence. All our vehicles are GPS equipped."'

Another idle threat of the "technology paranoids" comes true. Automated speeding tickets courtesy of GPS. Granted, it's private sector right now, but who says that will stay true?

Jun 17, 2001

Smart Tags and the Microsoft Problem Revisited
Free Speech6/17/2001; 11:12:24 PM 'Here’s the bad news for Microsoft: their SmartTags technology, applied to the web would likely be illegal in most countries outside of the United States.'Here’s the bad news for us: Microsoft’s SmartTags would likely be completely legal inside the United States, when applied to content that originates within the country’s borders.'Why? Something called moral rights. Most civilized countries recognize them; but the United States doesn’t.'One of the moral rights mentioned is the right to integrity. I think this right is the single most important right that we lack in this country. Without the right to integrity, our communication, both on and off the 'net, will increasingly be subjected to the whims of those with power. Microsoft's Smart Tags and other annotation technologies are frankly only the beginning of the inevitable deluge. We must fight for this right of integrity and not give it up because it appears convenient at the moment. Integrity must take precedence over whatever so-called "rights" get in its way, or none of our rights relating to communication (''free speech'') will have any meaning.What good is annotation if annotation authors have no integrity rights either? What good is any communication if there is no integrity? Even if there is a "right" to annotate or change content as Smart Tags do, it's insignificant next to the importance of integrity. Annotation is not worth the price.

Jun 16, 2001

Evergreen Albums
Music & MP3
6/16/2001; 3:53:14 PM 'This is a study of long-term album sales trends using data taken from the Recording Industry Association of America's web site. The data is downloadable as text files for further analysis- my primary interest in doing this study was to work out which albums and artists have been able to drive long-term sales even after record industry hype had moved on to other, newer records, and whether there were any surprises in the data. There were.'

I found this interesting. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but it is interesting.

Jun 16, 2001

The Wrong Way to Do Dirty Tricks
Humor/Amusing6/16/2001; 3:15:08 PM 'A startling report from the Minnesota Senate race provides a stunning example of American politics as tech-cluelessness combined with petty nastiness.'Christine Gunhus, the wife of a U.S. senator who ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 2000, pleaded no contest last week to charges of using a pseudonym to unlawfully send e-mail messages that disparaged her husband's Democratic rival.'That would be unusual enough in itself, but this look at how not to write e-mail nastygrams underscores the risks of using technology you don't understand -- especially when it can reveal your identity...'

Jun 14, 2001

Bar association may oppose UCITA
6/14/2001; 6:38:26 PM 'The American Bar Association may vote at its annual meeting in August to oppose UCITA unless the controversial software licensing law is extensively revised.

'The ABA's Tort and Insurance Practice Section, a major group within the Washington-based organization, stated in a recent resolution obtained by Computerworld that UCITA should be "extensively revised" to more adequately reflect current law on licensing intellectual property, "with due regard for basic rights of consumers and the protection of licensees from unwarranted unilateral actions of the licensor." This language is included in a resolution that may be considered by the ABA's approximately 530-member House of Delegates, its national legislative body.'

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