Apr 18, 2001

Broadband fans busted over Gnutella
Music & MP3
4/18/2001; 5:25:22 PM

'The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has sent hundreds of letters to major Internet service providers and universities, warning them that some people on their networks are violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by trading copyrighted movies through Gnutella.

'Some of the universities that have been targeted in the MPAA's investigation include Harvard University and the University of Connecticut. Meanwhile, ISP Excite@Home has sent out about 20 e-mails and letters over the past four days telling Gnutella users their services will be terminated within 24 hours if their alleged movie sharing continues.'

Apr 18, 2001

Is the FCC Quelling Free Speech?
4/18/2001; 4:37:00 PM

'Claiming Americans get their fix of diverse viewpoints on the Internet, media conglomerates are using the Web as an excuse to consolidate their power in the offline worlds of television, radio and print media.

'At least that's the argument the FCC is making in its effort to tear down decades-old laws that have prevented Big Media from growing even bigger.

'Citing technology, the Federal Communications Commission has made a sharp about-face in its position on media ownership in recent months, effectively reversing decades of legislation intended to promote diversity in the media. And so far, the Supreme Court seems to be behind it.'

Actually, if you think about it, it still doesn't make sense. Web penetration isn't anywhere near 100%. For those without web access, for whatever reason, there's still every bit as much need for independant news sources as there has ever been.

Besides, while independent critic sites like this one have their uses, and are an important part of the "Great Conversation", independent sites have limited resources. If there's only one or two big companies providing all the mainstream news, the existance of a handful of independent sites can hardly offset the major negative results of the massive consolidation the media companies want to pursue.

Perhaps the Justice Department should get involved and threaten to sue on monopolistic grounds.

Apr 18, 2001

Here I Go!
4/18/2001; 11:50:54 AM Alright, massive redesign is in progress and may take a couple of hours. Wish me luck! When I'm done, a fully standards compliant site will be here (with minor exceptions on certain pages). Note that Netscape 4 viewers (and IE4 I believe) will see the site get substantially simpler looking. I recommend upgrading... except for bandwidth constraints, there is no good reason not to use the latest Mozilla build. (Note that I do not recommend Netscape 6... get Mozilla.) I'll update this when I'm done, and ask for complaints.

Update: Help! How do I create a calendar like View from the Heart on ETP? Or can I? (Actually, I want to do something different then that, but I need the same technique...)

Update The Second: Well, it's mostly done now... I've got some clean up to do but this is essentially it, for now. (May still shift some stuff around later, in particular I'm considering returning to a left-column navigation scheme... CSS still shows a slight bias in that direction.) Let me know if your alledgedly standards-compliant browser can't handle this (IE6+ Win/Mac, Opera, Mozilla/NS6+). I know what Netscape 4 or IE4 do to this page, no need to report it :-)

Update The Third And Last: Having had a little while to chew on this, I think this is a major step in the right direction, but it's not done yet. Hitting the home page hits the viewer with too much chaos and large blocks of undifferentiated (probably the wrong word) color. But it's definately progress.

Apr 17, 2001

Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You
Personal Commentary
4/17/2001; 8:47:49 PM

'When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all.'

At the risk of matching this profile to a "T", I'd like to observe that this statement is true in more then just software engineering. Many philosophers are guilty of the same thing. I have to try my best to avoid it on this site.

(And for those of you who read this site and Hack the Planet's discussion boards as well, this was actually my point in this message I posted a couple of weeks ago: Too much "meta", too little groundwork. The conversation was literally becoming absurd.)

Apr 17, 2001

How Corporate Lobbyists Colonized the Net
4/17/2001; 12:57:53 PM

'"It means," Litman writes, "that all appearance of works in computers -- at home, on networks, at work, in the library -- needs to be effected in conformance with, and with attention to, copyright rules. That's new. Until now, copyright has regulated multiplication and distribution of works, but it hasn't regulated consumption."'

The best article Katz has done since he joined Slashdot, bar none. I don't think I've ever seen him fail to exaggerate his point before. It helps that the point is large to begin with... the regulation of consumption is a massive shift in copyright law and deserves all the attention it can get.

Also some interesting discussions taking place in the highly rated comments about privacy.

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