Skip to content

Month: August 2004

I also got this bridge for sale…

Florida State University is reportedly in the process of finalizing a deal with Apple Computer, hoping to stem the tide of illegal file sharing on campus. The deal would see Apple Computer provide free iTunes software to students and allow them to download music for 99 cents a song.

If you can’t spot the problem with this deal, please see Justin Blanton’s post here. And you may want to come out of your cave a bit more often, there’s a whole world going on out here. (thanks Justin!)

Interview with Jack Valenti

Wow, Jack Valenti, outgoing president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), once again shows us just how much he ‘gets it’ in this interview with Endgadget.

Over time, I believe that technological innovation is the best way to go…I have said, technology is what causes the problem, and technology will be the salvation of the problem. I really do believe we can stuff enough algorithms in a movie that only the dedicated hackers can spend the time and effort to try to plumb through those 1,000 algorithms to try to find a way to beat it.

So, the problem is that you just haven’t found a way to “stuff” enough algorithms into the movies? Maybe you need smaller algorithms? Hey Jack, what’s an algorithm?

We’re trying to put in place technological magic that can combat the technological magic that allows thievery…A lot of people are working on it–IBM, Microsoft and maybe 10 other companies, plus the universities of Caltech and MIT, to try to find the kind of security clothing that we need to put around our movies.

Technological magic? That’s genius.

It may be possible to so infect a movie with some kind of circuitry that allows people to copy to their heart’s content, but the copied result would come out with decayed fidelity with respect to sound and color. Another would be to have some kind of design in a movie that would say, ‘copy never,’ ‘copy once.’

It may be possible to ‘infect’ a movie with ‘circuitry?’ Technological magic, indeed…

Here’s what he has to say on Fair Use:

There is no fair use to take something that doesn’t belong to you. That’s not fair use. If you’re a professor in a classroom, you show ‘Singing in the Rain’ to your class. You can fast forward it, and there’s no performance fee for that. That’s fair use. Now, fair use is not in the law. People are taking fair use and changing it to unfair use and claiming it’s fair use.

Uh… first, fair use is law. Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 17. And second, uh, fast forwarding is his idea of fair use? Was there ever a question of wether we should pay a performance fee for fast forwarding a movie??

And forget about Backup – here’s what he has to say to a mother who wants to make a backup of her kids’ DVD movies:

When you go to your department store and you buy 10 Cognac glasses and two weeks later you break two of them, the store doesn’t give you two backup copies. Where did this backup copy thing come from? A digital thing lasts forever.

A digital thing lasts forever. Yep, just ask anyone who’s lost data to a corrupt hard drive, or had a CD or DVD rendered useless by a scratch.

And just in case you mistook him for a sane person, he ends by comparing himself to JFK:

I was in Dallas in the motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, and I saw that day a brave young president murdered, and a new president take over. The president is dead, long live the president, the nation goes on. No one is indispensible, I learned that day in Dallas. My successor will come into this job and he won’t be me, but he might do a hell of a lot better job than I’m doing.

Well, at least we can hope his successor doesn’t believe in “technological magic” and has some grounding in the technological reality that we are living in.


Ok, so you want a better browser and you’ve been thinking about making the Switch, but you are really accustomed to the look and features of Microsoft IE. You understand the value of security and the standards support of Firefox, but just can’t get past the unfamiliar interface. Enter FireFoxIE – a collection of tools and skins that will make your Firefox browser similar to IE, without all the security holes and spyware. Another reason to Browse Happy.

Mr. Sun knows all

How to score at the Republican National Convention.:

  • “Tell her that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn’t the only gorgeous, white thing you’d like to see drilled immediately.”
  • Warn her that, “No disrespect to W. but if a pretzel makes you gag, then maybe we shouldn’t go up to my room and let loose The Monster.”
  • Before sex, spin it as a preemptive strike motivated by an imminent threat of not getting your freak on. After sex, point out that it turned out good, so what the hell is she whining about?

Browse Happy

Browse Happy is a new campaign by WaSP:

Despite Microsoft’s efforts to keep a competitive browser on the market, problems with Internet Explorer for Windows continue to mount. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that broad changes to Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows will wait for the official release of the next-generation Microsoft operating system — scheduled for a date that is years away.

However, superior and secure alternatives to Internet Explorer for Windows are already out there. They all download just as quickly as the typical upgrade to Internet Explorer — if not more quickly — and will leave the Windows operating system practically untouched. The Web Standards Project has launched Browse Happy to make those alternatives easier for users, with the goal of making the web safer and more enjoyable for all who use it.

VOIP, anyone?

Anyone out there use Vonage in Canada?

When I move in October, I’m thinking of switching my ISP to Rogers Cable and using Vonage for my phone service. It’d save a couple bucks, and it’s got that early-adopter draw.

The basic plan comes with everything you would have to pay extra for at Bell (call display, call return, call answer, call forwarding, call transfer, call block, 3-way calling, call waiting…) – and long distance and international calling are incredibly cheap.

And the fact that you can take your phone anywhere you go that has a broadband connection and make and receive local calls for your area code simply rocks. For example, say you’re visiting family in Toronto, but have business to take care of in Ottawa during your stay. You can bring your Ottawa phone with you and plug it into a broadband connection and make and receive calls from your Ottawa number (all calls to Ottawa would be considered local).

Another cool feature is adding Virtual Phone Numbers – so if you live in Ottawa, but have lots of family in Toronto, you could have a virtual number added to your account with a Toronto Area Code. So you’d have an Ottawa number for your residence, but you’d also have a local number in Toronto that your family could call and ring the same line.

There’s lots more cool benefits and features – check out the site. I’m sure there are some cons as well… I’ll be sure to report back here if I decide to make a switch and let everyone know how it goes… in the meantime, anyone else out there have any experience with a similar setup?