What really grinds my gears or signs that the world is coming to an end

Not a Blog

I’m tired of organizations trying to use catch phrases, such as “blog”, when they really have no idea what they’re talking about. Case in point:

The Colorado School of Mines has a some Student ‘blogs’ on their First-Year Students page.

The first thing I would like to draw your attention to is the complete flip of gender diversity. Mines is predominately male. I’m not sure if there are any statistics someplace, but it’s easily 4:1 (that would be four males for every one female).

Second, take a look at the content. That’s not a blog. It’s a “What I do at Mines when I’m not in class” page with the date put on the top and some pictures thrown in for good measure.

Third, (and I’m going to pick on Jessica because I know her) there are only 5 posts for the entire school year (and we only have about two weeks left). Yes, I know there really isn’t a rule that says you must update at least every xx number of days, but please! Last year, I had arount 650 posts (or almost 2 a day). Since the end of March, I’ve had 8 posts about Mines alone (see more: Posts on Mines).

If they’re really trying to give students a real idea of what’s going on, why not just link to student blogs?

Let’s do that! If you go to Mines, leave a comment with your name and blog URL. I’ll start…

Update: Another reason it’s not a blog? You can’t post comments!


var movie.Silent.Hill = “BAD”

Please, don’t ever see Silent Hill. I’m not even going to link to it, it was that bad. Bad plot, bad acting. No, horrible acting. Even Sean Bean couldn’t save it. I still don’t know what the heck the movie was even about. FYI, it wasn’t my idea to see it either.

I give it NULL out of Infinity Stars.

[tags]silent hill, movie, bad, horrible[/tags]


No Fucking Way

I can never believe how people can do and say things so obviously ignorant of reality and yet still be put in positions of great power. The latest example, the one and only Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. From CNet.com:

From news.com.com:

During a speech in November, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorsed the idea [Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006] and said at the time that he would send Congress draft legislation. Such changes are necessary because new technology is “encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft,” Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, “quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities.”

(Yes, the AG just linked IP theft to terrorism.)

Quite fucking frankly, you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. That’s a load of bullshit so deep you could use the methane gas generated by its decomposition to power the entire worlds energy needs for the next 100 years.

Here’s what else you might get to look forward if the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 passes:

  • “[Create] a new federal crime of just trying to commit copyright infringement. Such willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison.”
  • “[New] language [that] says nobody may “make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess” such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.”
  • “Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.”

Sorry for the language, it’s one of very very few issues I get really pissed about.

Really pissed.


An Open Letter To America Online

I’ve railed against AOL for sometime now, but this takes the cake. And no, this is not that hoax letter that has been circulating the Internet for the last 10 years that everyone, you, and your grandma have all recieved saying that AOL is going to start charging for AOL Instant Messenger. This one is quite real, my friends. Via Chris Pirillo over at Lockergnome:

From: all@dearaol.com
To: postmaster@aol.com
Date: Tue Feb 28 13:00:00 EST 2006
Subject: An Open Letter To America Online

We wish to express our serious concern with AOL’s adoption of Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail, which is a threat to the free and open Internet.

This system would create a two-tiered Internet in which affluent mass emailers could pay AOL a fee that amounts to an “email tax” for every email sent, in return for a guarantee that such messages would bypass spam filters and go directly to AOL members’ inboxes. Those who did not pay the “email tax” would increasingly be left behind with unreliable service. Your customers expect that your first obligation is to deliver all of their wanted mail, and this plan is a step away from that obligation.

AOL’s “email tax” is the first step down a slippery slope that will harm the Internet itself. The Internet is a revolutionary force for free speech, civic organizing, and economic innovation precisely because it is open and accessible to all Internet users equally. On a free and open Internet, small ideas can become big ideas overnight. As Internet advocacy groups, charities, non-profits, businesses, civic organizing groups, and email experts, we ask you to reconsider your pay-to-send proposal and to keep the Internet free.

A pay-to-send system won’t help the fight against spam – in fact, this plan assumes that spam will continue and that mass mailers will be willing to pay to have their emails bypass spam filters. And non-paying spammers will not reduce the amount of mail they throw at your filters simply because others pay to evade them.

Perversely, the new two-tiered system AOL proposes would actually reward AOL financially for failing to maintain its email service. The chief advantage of paying to send CertifiedEmail is that it can bypass AOL’s spam filters. Non-paying customers are being asked to trust that after paid mail goes into effect, AOL will properly maintain its spam filters so only unwanted mail gets thrown away.

But the economic incentives point the other way: The moment AOL switches to a two-tiered Internet where giant emailers pay for preferential service, AOL will face a simple business choice: spend money to keep regular spam filters up-to-date, or make money by neglecting their spam filters and pushing more senders to pay for guaranteed delivery. Poor delivery of mail turns from being a problem that AOL has every incentive to fix to something that could actually make them money if the company ignores it.

The bottom-line is that charging an “email tax” actually gives AOL a financial incentive to degrade email for non-paying senders. This would disrupt the communications of millions who cannot afford to pay your fees-including the non-profits, civic organizations, charities, small businesses, and community mailing lists that have arisen for every topic under the sun and that make email so vital to your subscribers.

And what if other Internet service providers retaliate and start demanding their own ransoms to accept mail from your millions of users? Your company works hard to simplify the Internet. Don’t start a surcharge war that will complicate it with tiered services and dozens of middleman fees for every simple act of communication.

We have always been happy working together with you to fight spam and phishing. We have a common enemy in spammers. We are happy to work together to develop open approaches that attack the problem of spam and phishing. But a pay-to-send “certified” system does not help to fight spam. It only serves to make the Internet less free for everyone. We stand together in asking you to reconsider your decision to use CertifiedEmail.


Andrew Ferguson, Fergcorp, and Countless Others

Sign the Petition Now


Worse Than John Kerry

Don Verrilli, the RIAA’s lawyer (or at least one of them) said this to the Supreme Court:
“The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it’s been on their website for some time now, that it’s perfectly lawful to take a CD that you’ve purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod.”

One year later, here’s the RIAA’s stance (as quoted from BoingBoing):
From www.boingboing.net:

As part of the on-going DMCA rule-making proceedings, the RIAA and other copyright industry associations submitted a filing that included this gem as part of their argument that space-shifting and format-shifting do not count as noninfringing uses, even when you are talking about making copies of your own CDs:
“Nor does the fact that permission to make a copy in particular circumstances is often or even routinely granted, necessarily establish that the copying is a fair use when the copyright owner withholds that authorization. In this regard, the statement attributed to counsel for copyright owners in the MGM v. Grokster case is simply a statement about authorization, not about fair use.”

Please send me a straight jacket before I do something stupid.


Illegitimate Arguments

Quinn and Peter are roommates. Quinn has one cat and Peter has two. Quinn gets up and feeds his cat and when done feeding, closes the door leading to the food. At this point one of Peter’s cats comes in and attempts to gain access to the food. Having noted that Peter was out of dry food the night prior, Quinn remarks that Peter should feed his cats. Peter responds, “I could say the same to you every day your cat already ate three cans in two days.” Despite the fact that Peter’s English doesn’t make complete sense, it’s an illegitimate argument. It doesn’t respond to the initial statement and instead deflects the current issue. Also, this is the first instance of Peter’s grievance toward Quinn and, as it has been going on for some time without notification until a grievance is filed against Peter, it is an invalid argument.

Does anyone else agree with this line of thinking?

Note:This post is based on a true story, names have been changed to protect the innocent guilty.


Easter Already?

There’s still 2 and half weeks until Ash Wednesday (which marks 40 days ’till Easter) and Safeway already has Easter candy out. I’m not ready to eat those glorified, yellow, sugar coated, marshmallow chicklets.

Heck, it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet.

I think I should start gathering my supplies for the Fourth of July. Ugh.


MPAA Admits to Movie Piracy

No, this is not a humor article from The Onion. Straight from the LA Times:

The MPAA admitted Monday that it had duplicated “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” without the filmmaker’s permission after director Kirby Dick submitted his movie in November for an MPAA rating. The Hollywood trade organization said that it did not break copyright law, insisting that the dispute is part of a Dick-orchestrated “publicity stunt” to boost the film’s profile.

Woah, the MPAA admitted that it had duplicated pirated a without the filmmaker’s permission?

“We made a copy of Kirby’s movie because it had implications for our employees,” said Kori Bernards, the MPAA’s vice president for corporate communications. She said Dick spied on the members of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration, including going through their garbage and following them as they drove their children to school.

Implications for your employees? The movie is about the rating systems, of course it has implications for your employees. It’s what they do for a living! Spying is a rather large term that, without more specific definition, is not illegal. Neither is going through the garbage (once it hits the curb, it becomes public domain…or do you not watch law and order?) or following you town. Just admit that you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, a cookie jar that apparently no one is allowed to take from:

The standard the MPAA is using for itself appears to be at odds with what the organization sets out for others: “Manufacturing, selling, distributing or making copies of motion pictures without the consent of the copyright owners is illegal,” the MPAA’s website says. “Movie pirates are thieves, plain and simple…. ALL forms of piracy are illegal and carry serious legal consequences.”

Also worth checking out: MPAA admits to unauthorized movie copying

Via Life on the Wicked Stage: Act 2

[tags]MPAA, copyright, piracy[/tags]


Is Internet access a freedom or a privilege?

Om Malik has an interesting question on his site: Is Internet access a freedom or a privilege?

No, this isn’t about you and your parents. It’s about the ability of the government (specifically, the US Government) to regulate how access is charged. I’ve been seeing some interesting articles pop up in the last few months about the where the Internet is going, or rather, how the access to the Internet might change (for the worse). In short, the Internet might end up being ruled by those who control access to it (i.e. Verizon, Qwest, Comcast, SBC, etc).

Having said that, what’s your opinion?