Category: Fair Use

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Bernie Sanders DMCA burns Wikipedia

I have a whopping “WTF?” headache this fine Saturday over a Wikipedia report that the Bernie Sanders campaign filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) request demanding removal of the Presidential hopeful’s logos. Seriously? From an encyclopedia? If this is the future under so-called Democratic Socialism, run for cover. The Police State pounds the door! He talks the good talk—gentile Uncle promising freedom for all—but I look where he walks, and that’s with a club beating baby seals of free speech. Yikes!

I am decidedly non-partisan, meaning: All politicians are fair game for our bow and arrows to shoot and Bowie knife to gut. (Got a taxidermist on contract to stuff them, too!) The Donald is easy prey, but I never expected Bernie to gloriously trump Trump! The take-down notice’s absurdity outdoes the proposed Wall protecting Americans from Mexicans south and Canadians north. 

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At Launch, HBO NOW is No GO

The past 7 days is so chock full of tech-related news, like Gigaom’s closure or updated Chromebox Pixel, feels like a year has passed since Apple announced the new MacBook and exclusive distribution of streaming service HBO NOW. I don’t know what the device maker paid for the privilege, but big benefits belong to it. I wonder: What made HBO executives think that the service benefits by tying its early destiny to a single platform during telecast of the popular Game of Thrones series?

Particularly for cord-cutters who don’t have Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, or iPod and want GoT Season 5 the choice is simple: Buy ATV for 69 bucks or spend more on another device capable of running HBO’s iOS app—or steal! On March 10, 2015, my colleague Alan Buckingham, who owns no fruit-logo products and cord-cuts, wrote that he might get the streaming box. I asked if he really plans to buy Aople TV. “I likely will”, he says. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Writer

Among the 12 profiles that are the core of my book Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth, the one that follows offers the most interesting content for science fiction fans. The convention isn’t just about superheroes. Sci-fi is part of the core culture dating back to the very start during the 1970s, and it’s even stronger in the 2010s. Because what was niche more than 40 years ago is mainstream, and more, today.

This profile also introduces some valuable historical insight—if 10 years can be considered old, and measured by Internet time it most certainly is. Fans’response to a new sci-fi television show, and their torrenting it, kicked the pebbles eventually unleashing an avalanche of legitimately-available streamed TV programming. So-called video pirates of 2005 are indirectly responsible for there being Hulu, Netflix streaming, and Google’s purchase of newbie service YouTube. 

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Five Tech Products Changed My Digital Lifestyle in 2014

Looking back on this last day of the year, I wonder how my daily tech changed so much since the first. On Jan. 1, 2014, my core computing comprised Chromebook, Nexus tablet, and Nexus smartphone. Midyear, I switched out to all Microsoft—buying Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. While commendable the effort, Windows poorly fit my lifestyle. Today, I’m all Apple—13-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display with 512GB SSD, iPhone 6 128GB, and iPad Air 128GB. I can’t imagine using anything else.

I abandoned my Google lifestyle for numerous reasons, with my desire to create more content rather than consume it being primary. Google gives great contextual computing, with respect to information that is relevant to where you are and even what you want. But Android and Chrome OS, and their supporting apps, aren’t mature enough platforms for consistent content creation. 

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Finding Flickr

Closing the storytelling loop from my thinking-out-loud writing, an update: I let my Flickr Pro account renew on December 6. That may surprise some people after I questioned the photo-sharing service’s trustworthiness for plans to resell Creative Commons Commercial images and  for recommending that anyone concerned should change the license (technically CC isn’t revocable when applied).

I seriously considered closing down my Flickr, and moving everything to my SmugMug or even to 500px. But something stung my ambitions. I still believe in Yahoo, and announcements yesterday and today—mobile developer conference and new opportunity for advertisers—demonstrate a company in upward motion. My oldest online identity is with Yahoo. Call me sentimental, even though my Yahoo mail account collects more spam than all the others combined by several times. That given I rarely use the address. 

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Freely Available doesn't mean Free

I am used to my stuff being stolen, not that I like it—ideas, analyses, blog posts and news stories. Probably my Flickr photos frequently get lifted, too. I’m no great shakes photographer, so it pains but a little. The writing hurts more. But for good photographers like Thomas Hawk, Flickr theft is a bigger deal. Some people see Creative Commons, even All Rights Reserved, as license to steal; if it’s on the Web and freely available, it must be free.

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‘The Social Network’ ignores the Network

On Friday, I wrote a review of “The Social Network“. Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig did one better for The New Republic: “Sorkin vs. Zuckerberg—‘The Social Network’ is wonderful entertainment, but its message is actually kind of evil“. Lawrence is insightful as always, although he expects too much of the film’s writer and director. Nevertheless, he makes spot-on observations about what Facebook represents for future entrepreneurs like co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The film is seemingly a morality tale about moral ambiguity. What’s lost is Zuckerberg’s ingenuity and the network that allowed it to flourish.

Downfall’s Downfall

 

If you can view the video clip above, Vimeo has not been compelled to take it down. Gulp, yet. The clip, using new subtitles, is from “Der Untergang“—”The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich”. I rented the captivating German film from Nextflix in August 2005. In the original scene, Hilter learns that he has lost the war. Its revision is one of the most successful and visible Internet memes of the last half decade. The scene has been repeatedly parodied, replacing the subtitles so that Hitler rages about something else.

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Next Task for Health-Care Reform: Abolish Gene Patents

As a science geek, college biology major (decades ago) and pragmatist, I am appalled that any person or company is granted patents over genes. It’s simply unconscionable to grant ownership over laws of nature, which allowance defies centuries of sound legal prudence. If the Obama Administration and 111th Congress want to do some more meaningful health-care reform, abolishing gene patents would be the right place to start.

There is something so oddly together about where genes started and where they are today. In February 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson uncovered “the secret of life” when identifying the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, more widely known as DNA. Their pioneering work later led to the Human Genome Project, which when completed in 2003 identified “the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA,” according to official information.