Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Thursday, March 01, 2007

  Frodo of Borg

And to be truly bemused, check out Test tube aliens. I thought wireless technology was going to get into everything at some point, but I had a limited definition of "everything".

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

  Do Not Mail dot Gov in 2008?

Anyone remember the single most popular and effective US government initiative in 2003?

Hint: It wasn't the Iraqi war.

It was donotcall.gov.

Inside of mere months - over 100 million people signed up for the service. The collective unwanted voices of the sales universe on the telephone were silenced - and an extraordinary majority (76%!)of the American people were made happier - or, at least, less often annoyed.

In the past year I note that I've got more sales calls than the past 2, though once I inform most callers that I'm on the donotcall list they hang up quickly. Why they are not using the simple database donotcall.gov provides I don't know. I am afraid to find out, actually. (When last I looked there was some sort of brain-dead licensing scheme in place for the data - it would be childs play to offer up the database via the DNS based e.164 protocol).

What worries me today is that perhaps donotcall is being weakened - or perhaps subject to homeland security - as the two hyperlinks for "exceptions" and "duration" - right there - on the first page of the donotcall website! - point to documents that have been "withdrawn". I fired off an email to the ftc's webmaster to see if that can get fixed. I'm so otherwise happy with donotcall I can hardly bear it, and I keep thinking extending it to snail mail - would be a great idea.

I just went through nearly a month's backlog of snail mail and filled two trashbags with catalogs filled with things I can't afford, at least 12 credit card offers for credit I don't want to use - over 20 separate offers to reduce my mortgage by doubling my interest rate and extending the term past my expected lifetime, a bunch of bills and reminder notices that I could just have easily got via email, and... finally... I found the letter from my mom, and the 2 pieces of paperwork I needed to complete my taxes.

I used to not resent the paper mail I got... but that was when my woodstove was still working. When my woodstove was still working I really resented the envelopes with the little plastic windows - they made a terrible stink.

Compulsively I've signed up for a bunch of services that will hopefully cut this tree killing down. I'm pleased to note that the opt-out term is now 5 years, and the cost of opting out is only a buck. How much do I have to pay to opt out forever?

I have great hope that I'll never see the credit offers or mortgage offers again, now. We'll see.

What I want most, at the moment, is a means to prohibit all the 4th class mail I get. I think a stirringly popular initiative some politician could make in the coming election would be to promote a "donotmail.gov" - and also promote extensions to donotcall.gov that will also ban solicitations from charities and government officials.

In the morning I'm going to move a recycle bin to right below the mailbox.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

  Iraq's oil law

Every so often I stumble across something more in-depth than what you can get from what passes for news - before the official meme has a chance to settle down - before the morning papers come out - while there is still controversy - before the talking heads spin it all into something that precludes real understanding.

So, I link for you,
an english translation of the new oil law just passed in Iraq
, in it's entirety, and some discussion and ask you to form an opinion... before you read the frenzy of "objective news".

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  A russian view of the moon

I can't help but note that a "black hole" is a very offensive term in Russian. Did this gain or lose something in translation?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

  ESAS rant, recorded.

I felt that selenian boondocks' recent rant on ESAS and ARES I was insufficiently sarcastic, as read on the page. So I recorded an abridged version this morning in my studio (mp3 here). It was quite emotionally satisfying for me to channel Jon Goff that way. Maybe I'll do this more often...

I'm struck by the sheer number of acronyms in that piece. I'd explain them but all of them are google-able....
 
Sunday, February 25, 2007

  Keeping copyright accessible

For a while now.... I've been wanting to republish 7 minutes of a wonderful recording of Richard Feynman telling how he got the patents on the nuclear rocket and airplane. If I can't republish it, I'd like to at least use it as part of another non-web-presentation.

Feynman's patent story is seven+ minutes long. Publishing a 30 second snippet under the fair use doctrine wouldn't illustrate the point I was trying to make, but I'll get to that in a second, because in coping with this dilemma I came up with a somewhat new realization in managing copyright.

My guess is, that although Feynman spoke the words in the 1970s and has been consulting with God for over 20 years now, Ralph Leighton owns the tapes, and as they have been remixed and mashed together into at least 3 different recordings that I know of, that they remain very valuable pieces of IP.

I can get already made mp3s of the whole record. Cheap. And I discovered just now from lulu.com, there's more stuff that I haven't heard, and as soon as my cat gets off my lap I look forward to sitting at the feet of Feynman once again.

That gets me to my point of the day, via an odd path. I have zero problem with the copyright owner in this case to license this recording as he sees fit. My problem is that I'd like to find Ralph so I can at LEAST ask a question about a different license, show him my work, and discuss the fee.

I think a world full of anonymous monopolists is a really painful one to live in and create in - thus the requirement that copyrighted materials be registered with the copyright office in pre-1976 law was a darn good one. Copyrighted work needs to be assigned a central tracking number like a patent or a normal piece of property, so that the owners can be tracked down more easily.

Otherwise... everyone ends up stuck in the mire of not knowing who to talk to about anything.

I'm very encouraged by google's patent search. Still, they don't go far enough. I want to know who has the rights to a patent *presently*, so I know who to talk to! Heck, if you were a patent/copyright owner wouldn't you want people to be finding you rather than you suing them?

So, the conclusion I've come to - If you want to be a monopolist on your work, you have to remain reachable! Sublicensors and cross licensors need to be tracked - publically - maybe via some system like the stock market. "Copyright Stock". Tracking a corporation's value with the value of their IP broken out this way ought to be an interesting way to look at things.

One of these days I'll write the article that is so well illustrated by Feynman's patent story, but not today. The recursive irony of the difficulties in using his patent story... which illustrates the point of my own copyright story... ought to give you a belly laugh.... but I can't explain it without you having heard Feynman's patent story. Buy yourself a copy of the whole CD from tuvatrader, to grok why, or a mp3 from Lulu.com.

To add to today's irony - google has lots of patents that refer to Feynman's work - but doesn't have the ones on the nuclear airplane!

Bonus Link: transformative appropriation

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


Resume,Songs,
My new blog, NeX-6, My facebook page
Orgs I like
The EFF - keeping free speech in the world
Musical stuff I like
Jeff, Rick, Ardour, Jack
Prior Rants - Wireless and Wifi in 2015 - not what I dreamed of Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vend... Virgin Media - Fixing the epidemic of bufferbloat ... 49... and trying to find my navel Wheels down on mars! Tracking the landing of Curiosity, from Seattle spotting NEOs from around venus's orbit Asteroids as lunar orbit resources SOPA is bad news Departing France for England, then 'home'.
Best of the blog:
Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Where's Cherie?
UrbanAgora
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
Evan Hunt
The Bay Area is talking
Brizzled
Zimnoiac Emanations
Eric Raymond
Unlocking The Air
Bob Mage
BroadBand & Me
SpaceCraft
Selenian Boondocks
My Pencil
Transterrestial Musings
Bear Waller Hollar
Callahans
Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member

If you really want to, you can poke through the below links as well.

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