Site Map

January 23, 2002

Distributed Computing Case Ends With Probation You may have read in OLDaily a few weeks ago about the case where a computer administrator faces heavy fines and long jail terms for installing a distributed processing system on school computers. Well, the case is over, he was - astonishingly - found guilty and given a year of probation and a $2,100 fine. Those of you with SETI@home on your computers - beware. By John Leyden, The Register, january 18, 2002.[Refer]

An Education In Cynicism It just strikes me as silly in this day and age that there should be anything like a shortage of spaces in college and university classes. But there is, and it isn't helped by people trying to be admitted into the 'right' institutions and the institutions' admissions practices. "What we have, for the moment, is the spectacle of some of America's most prestigious educational institutions engaged in behavior that can only be described as antisocial. They have subordinated students' interests to their own. This is hypocritical and indifferent to any larger social good."

One thing I never forget when I write about education issues is that in any place and time other than Alberta (Canada) in 1980 I would not have been able to go to university at all. I wouldn't have been able to afford it, and I wouldn't have been admitted. My loss, certainly, but maybe society's too? By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, January 23, 2002.[Refer]

Conductors Pose First Challenge to Copyright Law I ask you: is this the sort of future you want to live in? "The URAA pushed the costs for sheet music for works by such composers as Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Prokofiev from less than $100 to at least $1,000 -- and this only to rent the music. After the performance, Kapp must return the copy back to the asserted restored copyright holder, thus requiring Kapp's orchestra to pay several thousand dollars more should it wish to perform the work again." What is really outrageous is that these works were formerly in the public domain. Now the purpose of copyright is to encourage creativity by paying the artists - but I just don't think we're going to be seeing new works from Stravinsky any time soon. Or, at this rate, any old ones either. By David Horrigan, Law.Com, November 27, 2001.[Refer]

Oprah, Bill Gates and the Future of Books Nifty article with a good insight into why e-books are not taking off on the net. If you think about it, when we buy music, we also buy a separate player - a Sony Walkman, for example, or a stereo syste, "But when a publisher sells us a novel," writes the author, "they?re also including the 'player'?the display mechanism traditionally called a 'book.'" We have no history of buying text players, and so have no inclination to buy them for electronic content. The key for the publishing industry will be to discuise the 'player' as something else - an ultra-light notebook computer, for example. All well and good, but the author stops here. Take the logic one step further: the publishers are failing because they don't understand that they are in the business of selling us players, not content - they have this expensive system where we must purchase a separate player for each bit of content (music publishers, too, if you think of the plastic CD as an essential part of the music player). There's obviously no longer a need to buy so many players - but here now is the other side of e-books: the publishers expect to keep their original profit margin on each book, as though they were still selling players! No wonder consumers are cynical. They know that most of the cost of a book is the paper and the distribution, not the content. But for electronic content, publishers are asking for essentially the same price - and are passing the cost of the player on to the consumer. By Michael Rogers, Michael Rogers, January 22, 2002.[Refer]

Copy Controls and Circumvention: Don't Get Around Much Any More A clear article written for the non-lawyer summing the opposition (at least in the case of 2600, a hacker magazine that posted links to DeCSS DVD decryption software) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By Andy Oram, O'Reilly Network, January 17, 2002.[Refer]


Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]