Archive for November, 2007

Microsoft’s Surface (a.k.a. the “Big Ass Table”)

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Microsoft released some information on a new product called Microsoft Surface last May. Finally there’s a video that explains the true value of Microsoft Surface:

Video here.

Presidential candidates don’t represent me

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

No reasonable person is expecting a representative to agree with them 100% of the time. When NO candidates and neither of the political parties agree with me on what I consider to be the most important issues however, it’s not “shit” to point out the failures of our voting system and the non-representative duopolistic government.

1. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: majorities of both parties voted to approve them, and continue to support them.

2. Civil Liberties: Patriot Act passed with an overwhelming majority, both parties approve of extraordinary renditions, treatment of “enemy combatants”, and warrantless surveillance.

3. Fiscal responsibility: In the last 20+ years, both parties have had their chance to control both the legislative branch and Presidency simultaneously, but we have deficits every year and the national debt continues to swell.

Show me a candidate that agrees with my position on these 3 issues (even if they disagree with every other political opinion I have) and I’ll stop suggesting that I don’t have a candidate to vote for who would represent my views.

Stealing vs. copyright infringement – there IS a difference

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

I never understood this idea that downloading stuff that you didn’t pay for is somehow not stealing.

It is wrong, and illegal, but it isn’t stealing.

Stealing is where you take something and the owner no longer has it. This is a criminal offense.
Copyright infringement is where you copy something. The owner still has it, but the owner doesn’t get paid for the copy (note: this is not the same as the owner “losing money” since the infringer may not necessarilly have bought it anyway). This is a civil offense.

Stealing and copyright infringement are covered by different laws and they have different effects on the victims of the crimes and society in general, they are not the same thing.

That doesn’t make copyright infringement right. However, there needs to be some flexibility here.

For example, I generally download an album before I buy it. If I like what I hear I go out and buy the CD, if not, I delete what I downloaded. If I can’t hear something before buying it I probably won’t buy it because I’ve bought too many CDs I thought were going to be good and turned out to be complete crap. And what’s wrong with this? Consider it promotion for the bands – if their music is good then it makes them more money because I’m more likely to spend my money on CDs I know are good rather than taking a gamble.

Can anybody fill me in as to why downloading music without paying for it is ok?

It isn’t. But can you fill me in as to why the following behavior is ok:

  • Suing thousands of people who can’t afford to defend themselves despite having only circumstantial evidence that they have committed any crime and thus forcing potentially innocent people to settle at great expense.
  • Preventing customers from accessing content which they have legitimately purchased, by means of various (potentially illegal) DRM systems, which often the customer is not informed about prior to purchase.
  • Criminalising people who who want to listen to their legally purchased CDs on their MP3 players.
  • At the moment, the quality of the official product is frequently substandard compared to the blackmarket product. People generally like paying and staying within the law, but when it starts to become impossible to use the legally purchased product, is it any surprise that people stop buying it?

    Things to think about before you vote

    Saturday, November 10th, 2007

    I received an email based on a post I made in another forum a while back and thought I’d respond here:

    The present government corruption in both the U.S. and U.K. started when secret violence was authorized as a way of protecting oil investments of British and U.S. investors.

    The present government corruption began as soon as the people realized that people in positions of power would abuse those positions of power when given gifts. This can probably be traced back to the first time Mr. Caveman gave more meat to Ms. Cavette and her little Cavekids simply because she was willing to grab her ankles for him.

    It’s human nature to try to twist the political structure to one’s own ends, and it’s a failure of modern society that ‘the people’ don’t insist upon fairer means of government.

    Any government that can act in secret cannot be a democracy, because citizens cannot participate in things that are unknown to them.

    Very good point. However, I’d add that far too many people are willing to let this happen — how many people follow the order, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” without question?

    In addition to a secretive government being undemocratic, a population disinterested in the workings of government cannot produce a democratic government.

    Global warming – a controversial issue

    Sunday, November 4th, 2007

    Global warming is quite the controversial issue. It’s hard to find a credible speaker on global warming that takes a private jet to speak about global warming and lives in a mansion that kicks out their fair share of “global warming” contributions each year. However, that point has already been beaten to death. What I would like to know is that every time I watch the news and we beat another heat record or snow record (I live in Michigan), meteorologists like to point out “we haven’t seen this type of heat in October since 1921”. My question on this is what caused the “crazy” weather back in the 1920s that created the last record? Was it global warming then too? I can never seem to get a straight answer. I ride my bike to work when possible – not to save the environment, but to stay healthy. I drive a Saturn rather than my Tahoe on long trips when possible – not to save the environment, but to save gas money. I will be upgrading to a 90% efficient furnace in the spring – not to save the environment, but to save on energy bills. I guess I’m doing “my part” without intentionally doing so and it seems that everyone is happy, right? With all that aside, I’d like to quote George Carlin on the issue of global warming: “We’re not killing the earth – the earth has been here for thousands of years before we were. It was enduring volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and dinosaurs before we were a blip on the map. The earth isn’t going anywhere…WE are”.