Archive for January, 2003


Credit where it’s due

Monday, January 27th, 2003

Last year I had a bit of a rant at my hosting provider due to some service issues. I moved my main project at the time off of them but kept some other stuff with them. Since then I’ve seen them become what I consider the best value in hosting.

For $9.95US per month, provides me with:

  • 125Mbytes of disk space and more if I ask
  • PHP4, Perl, Python, Ruby
  • as many MySQL databases as I want with phpMyAdmin
  • SSH access, my own crontab
  • unlimited unmetered POP3 addresses
  • autoresponders
  • ezmlm mailing lists
  • dns management, subdomains, subdomain web roots

Unbeatable value. I’ve recommended it to a few friends who are also very happy with it.


Virus Naming

Monday, January 27th, 2003

Who names these viruses? The MS-SQL Server virus from this past weekend seems to be called “Slammer” or “Sapphire” or “SQ Hell”. I’m sure the author is wearing that like a badge of honour (although not too openly, one should think, if they want to remain anonymous). Maybe it would be useful to provide some disincentive by naming viruses differently – how keen would a haxx0r be to be known as the guy who wrote the “Author has a Tiny Dick” virus?


Ownership and Use

Tuesday, January 21st, 2003

Bruce Baugh responded to my copyright ownership post (in the comments) with a good lesson in human nature. No matter how ethereal the notion of ownership, it’s real to those who feel it, and to attempt to deny anyone that which their brains tell them is theirs is a tactic doomed to failure. He also points out that ownership is less the issue than use. I suppose that even with physical property there’s a philosophical argument that no object is ever really owned, but we are simply assigned an exclusive right to its use.

Doc‘s call to arms was for us to find a way to stem the tide of misaligned property analogy as pressed by the media interests; a way to get people in general to “get it”. What pervasaive meme can we come up with that will be strong enough to counter the powerful theft/piracy images? Let’s all blog aloud and get the juices flowing, shall we?

Ownership of physical property implies exclusive use. I own my lawn mower, it’s in my posession, in order for you to use it I must relinquish its use to you. You shouldn’t loan it to your neighbour in turn without my permission, especially as that extends my inability to make use of it. If you take it from me, I am left without its use altogether. I can ask to be compensated for the loss. I lose a physical entity, and therefore control over its use.

Ownership of intellectual property does not imply exclusive use. You can play my music without depriving me of it. You can loan it to someone else without affecting my use, although you should ask my permission. I never lose my ability to have full use of the work. What I lose when you use my work without my permission or recompense is control over its use.

Obviously these are two very different concepts. Yet they’re both called ownership. Concepts of theft and piracy of intellectual property just don’t fit. How have such ill-fitting analogies come to permeate our conciousness?


Property or License

Monday, January 20th, 2003

Doc’s got the right end of the copyright argument stick.

I’m getting tired of the media companies’ rhetoric and extended imagery that their copyrights mean that the works are their property. The copyright is (or at least should be meant to be) a license granted by law that loans the rights of copy (and use) of a work from its perpetual owner, the public domain, to the creator of the work for an initial limited period, in order that the creator may realize some gain from his effort, thus encouraging creators to create. At no time should the copyright holder become the owner of the work itself, just the temporary benefactor of its commercial value.


Cruelty to Analog

Thursday, January 16th, 2003

The EFF has a new blog called Cruelty To Analog, wherein they plan to chronicle attempts by the “content” industries to plug the analog hole.

Have a look at the draft charter of the Copy Protection Technical Working Group.

Tell me this – how do you get a roomful of sufficently technical people who swallow this crap enough to dedicate a chunk of their working life to it? Honestly, I can’t for the life of me think of one technical person I know who’s worth a single shit who would care to be involved with such a ridiculous project. It reeks of knee-jerk protectionism and shortsightedness, it’s doomed to failure and circumvention – DMCA or not – and it would stink up your resume so horribly that prospective employers who really care about technology would laugh you out of an interview. That being the case, the willing candidates for the job must be either devoid of the technical and moral values that would make them worthy of the task or motivated by greed to the extent that they’re likely pretty useless buggers on the whole.

Maybe they hire from the Tobacco industry.


Would you follow your manager into battle?

Saturday, January 11th, 2003

Britt Blaser dissects Managerial Capitalism.

One of the best blogs I’ve read in yonks.


Back in the saddle again

Tuesday, January 7th, 2003

Well, it seems things are picking up in January 2003. As of tomorrow I’ve got two steady gigs totalling 4-5 days per week and more stuff crossing my bow. Things are looking somewhat stable perhaps at least as far as the summer.