RIAA Sues You Tube Users

July 25, 2006

Hat tip to this person’s blog

If there’s one thing that the RIAA loves to do, it’s to sue people. These people are clearly idiots. I have no sympathy for some music exec that’s complaining about how he only made a few million. Guess they find it hard to believe that people are on to them.. and are smart enough to know that CD’s don’t cost 20 bucks a pop to create. The latest and dumbest move by them? I’m not kidding about this….. suing users of YouTube who are dancing to some background music. The crime? They didn’t licence the music to make the homemade video. Not making this stuff up folks! If you’re not familiar with YouTube, it’s the hottest and latest user content driven site. Basically 1-5 minute videos that people post for others to view. So the next time you make a home video of your baby’s first walk, don’t put any music on the background.. unless you want to pay some music exec big bucks to licence the music. Morons. (RIAA, not you.) I’d like to get a cease and desist letter from them for using their logo in my blog (unlicensed of course.)

Open Office

June 30, 2006

Since Frankin and Marshall College has been paying the tab for Microsoft Office, I must admit, it is my primary office suite.  I am now, however, using Open Office exclusively on my personal laptop.  I wish I could say this was because my values got the best of me, but in reality, I know just enough about my computer to screw things up.  Now, MS Office won’t install.  A great benefit to open source software is it seems to be resilient to whatever I fool around with in the registry or wherever else.

If you have, for whatever reason, been using Open Office check out this blog.  The blog contains many tips and tricks on how to use Open Office.

How to Wow ‘Em Like Steve Jobs

June 21, 2006

Apple Computer, now celebrating 30 years of innovation, has revolutionized the way we use computers and listen to music. Now its charismatic co-founder, Steve Jobs, has transformed the corporate pitch…

 1.  Sell the benefit

2.  Practice, practice, practice

3.  Keep it visual

4.  Exude Passion, Energy, and Enthusiasm

5.  "And one more thing…"

You may be asking what this has to do with Free Culture.  The challenge that Free Culture has always faced is the soundbite or, more generally, the presentation of the message.  A great place to look for advice is among the innovators of technology.  Learning from people like Steve Jobs and other technological leaders who have been able to boil down their product to a slogan.  Take a look at some of these from Wikipedia:

It surely doesn't cover everything, but what Free Culture needs is to rally around the underlying principle of freedom and to form a non-technical message that reflects the principle.  

Open Software Review: 7-Zip

June 20, 2006

If you have been using winzip or some other program to unzip files, I recommend giving 7-Zip a try.  This program has 7 main features according to its website:

  • High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
  • 7-Zip is free software distributed under the GNU LGPL
  • Supported formats:
    • Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
    • Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
  • For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
  • Self-extracting capability for 7z format
  • Integration with Windows Shell
  • Powerful File Manager
  • Powerful command line version
  • Plugin for FAR Manager
  • Localizations for 63 languages

What this means is the program works.  Whenever you receive a compressed file, chances are that 7-Zip can deal with it and you can go on your way.  This piece of software can make you more productive.  You simply double click on the .zip file, or whatever other format it is, and you will see the files within in after 7-Zip loads.  

Click here to download or just visit the application’s official website

Free Culture on the Map

June 20, 2006

From the freeculture.org national blog.  Take a look at this post and you can see where the movement has planted in colleges across the country.  

Net Neutrality Disinformation Campaign and Call Senator Santorum and Specter

June 17, 2006

Please take a moment to watch this Pro-COPE cartoon.  Basically, the argument is that by differentiating the content there will be more stability to that content: lanes for ‘extra traffic’ VOIP, high definition video, etc.  According to the cartoon, it creates a ‘smart network.’  Let us count the ways this isn’t right:

1.  The cartoon says that net neutrality people will cause stifle creativity with ‘one dumb pipe’: the show doesn’t mention this but the internet has always been ‘one dumb pipe.’  That’s really the point!  Creating lanes for certain type of traffic is another inhibiting factor for creation.  Say there are lanes for bittorrent, P2P but an innovator develops a system far better than these current options.  Likely the bandwidth needed for such an application would be enormous if it caught on with even a fraction of the internet using public and would end up using the bandwidth in the catch-all pipe.  Basically, the telecommunication companies’ ‘smart networks’ aren’t as smart as the users.  

2.  If there are lanes for specific types of traffic, they are also subjected to differentiated pricing.  Once fiber optic cables are in place, we will have the infrastructure for high definition video; once most households are capable of using this technology, imagine if it was in a different ‘lane’ than the one in which you check your email and read DailyKos.  Supply and demand kicks in and we have a product that will be much more expensive.  High definition video, VOIP, other technologies that we haven’t even thought of will be the equivalent of an HBO package on cable reducing accessibility and mitigating innovation.

For more in depth information about net neutrality and COPE check out Save the Internet.   

If you haven’t read the book that inspired the movement…

June 16, 2006

Lawrence Lessig is the founder wrote the book, Free Culture, that spawned the student movement originating at Swarthmore College.  Lessig's website says he is "One of America’s most original and influential public intellectuals, his focus is the social dimension of creativity: how creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies. In his two previous books, CODE and THE FUTURE OF IDEAS, Lessig concentrated on the destruction of much of the original promise of the Internet. Now, in FREE CULTURE, he widens his focus to consider the diminishment of the larger public domain of ideas. In this powerful wake-up call he shows how short-sighted interests blind to the long-term damage they’re inflicting are poisoning the ecosystem that fosters innovation."

The book has been remixed several times over so no matter whether you would like to listen or read, in quite a few formats, check out Free Culture, the book that catalyzed the student movement.