The column completely misses the point of why community networks (or freenets as he describes them) exist at all: because people want them to, not as tools for business. Any business use is incidental to the notion of ubiquitous, free access. They are acts of will. Because they are communities of interest, the notion that they don't serve a business audience has no impact on their growth or utility.Here's some of what Ephraim Schwartz wrote in Infoworld:
"If you need a presentation from your office and you had access the day before on Folsom and 10th Street [in San Francisco] and it's not there the next day, you are hosed," Pereyra said.And here's a little pre-refutation from an old O'Reilly column I wrote:
The point is, to get value from a Wi-Fi network, it must be reliable.
Even as cable modem companies are knocking hundreds of thousands of subscribers offline, untethered forced-leisure gangs are committing random acts of senseless wirelessness, armed with cheap-like-borscht 802.11b cards and antennae made from washers, hot glue, and Pringles cans.Link Discuss
The Community Wireless movement is a fantastic example of how something unreliable can be cool, useful, self-sustaining, and utterly devoid of revenue potential. Wireless ISPs like Mobilestar charge a small fortune for network access at airport lounges and Starbucks in a handful of cities, and are still going broke, while a ride in a taxi through midtown Manhattan with an iBook will yield a new open network at every stoplight. Mobilestar's $60/month gets you a service that is only slightly better than what a mass of public-spirited (or security-impaired) WiFi users have accomplished without even trying. It's just too damned expensive to provide the kind of reliability that stress-feeding mobile execs demand. Meanwhile, the cranky, kludgey world of open 802.11 base-stations gains ground every day. It'll never be good enough for people who use phrases like "mission-critical," but it'll be just fine for the rest of us.
A reflecting galvanometer covered in Bakelite that's as heavy as a lead brick.This is just a warm up for a much larger auction to be held at the end of July. Link Discuss (via Oblomovka)
A four-foot long demonstration slide rule.
A Portable Precision Potentiometer.
However, NPR is a respected news-agency. When it takes the position that permission to link can be extended and revoked, it creates a climate of uncertainty among NPR's audience who use the Web. NPR is failing its commitment to journalistic ethics in promoting this harmful myth. It is misleading its stakeholders and betraying their trust in NPR's integrity.Link Discuss
Those audience members who understand the true facts of linking lose respect daily for NPR. Those who do not are led farther and farther astray by a trusted source of information.
You owe your listeners and readers better than this. NPR should immediately withdraw this policy in its entirety and formally retract any statements that implied the necessity of permission before linking, and so serve its journalistic mission.
I'll say it again: The most harmful lie you can tell about the Web is that permission is a prerequisite for linking. There is no copyright interest in controlling how people reference your work.
The most ironic thing about this is that NPR maintains that the rationale for it is to maintain "the highest journalistic ethics and standards." Journalism is about telling the comprehensive and accurate truth. Here we have NPR knowingly promulgating a destructive myth, something not borne out by copyright law or practice.
People who respect NPR's journalistic integrity may be duped into believing this harmful lie (as was one friend who emailed me to tell me that NPR wouldn't have this policy if there wasn't some debate about whether there's a copyright interest in links). If they succeed in convincing their audience that there's an interest in controlling links, we don't have any basis for the Web.
I'm sending fresh mail to Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR's ombudsman, to tell him what I think of this. I recommend that you do the same. I will also be withholding my donation from NPR until this policy is reversed. Much as I hold public radio dear, NPR's policy has the potential to irreparably damage the Web. I would give up a thousand NPRs for the WWW.
NPR encourages and permits links to content on NPR Web sites. However, NPR is an organization committed to the highest journalistic ethics and standards and to independent, noncommercial journalism, both in fact and appearance. Therefore, the linking should not (a) suggest that NPR promotes or endorses any third party's causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services, or (b) use NPR content for inappropriate commercial purposes. We reserve the right to withdraw permission for any link.Once again, let's have a look at that:
- Therefore, the linking should not (a) suggest that NPR promotes or endorses any third party's causes, ideas, Web sites, products or services
You don't need a link policy to acheive this end. Someone who makes a fraudulent misrepresentation is committing a crime; your policy is irrelevant to the remedies you could seek in such an instance.
- (b) use NPR content for inappropriate commercial purposes.
Again, you don't need a policy for this. There are illegal commercial uses of NPR's programming; if someone breaks the law, the presence of this policy won't matter. As to "inappropriate" uses, who gets to define inappropriate? There are plenty of unauthorized, even impolite uses that are lawful. Prohibiting "inappropriate" uses is nonsensical, prohibiting unlawful uses is redundant.
- We reserve the right to withdraw permission for any link.
You can't withdraw that which you did not extend. I don't need your permission to link to your site. The absence or presence of your permission is irrelevant. There is no intellectual property interest in controlling the contexts in which your work may be referenced.
In trials on healthy people like Army helicopter pilots, modafinil has allowed humans to stay up safely for almost two days while remaining practically as focused, alert, and capable of dealing with complex problems as the well-rested. Then, after a good eight hours' sleep, they can get up and do it again -- for another 40 hours, before finally catching up on their sleep.Link Discuss (Thanks, Kevin!)
Announced in September 1989, The Mac Portable was Apple's first attempt at a more easily portable Macintosh. It had a bay for a 3.5" half-height drive, and could support up to two Super Drives. Reaction to the Portable was poor. It was clunky, slow, had no expansion capabilities, and its active matrix screen (later backlit) made it incredibly expensive. It sold for $6,500.I lay my degenerating disc and chronic shoulder-pain at the tiny rubber feet of this computer. Link Discuss (via Raelity Bytes)
So Ben and Mena have released TrackBack -- an event which reminds me of the release of the Blogger API -- and now it remains to be seen if other blog-software vendors/authors will integrate TrackBack support on their own tools. I know that TrackBack sounds like an amazing tool for Boing Boing; I hope that Ev thinks well enough of it to incorporate it into Blogger. Link Discuss (via Aaron)
No sweat. Hack a couple of lines into your preferences file and Netscape 7 will block popups just as well as Mozilla!
Make a backup of pref.js. Edit pref.js with a text editor and insert one of the following (don't insert the expanations after the line of code):Link Discuss (Thanks, cel4145!)
user_pref("capability.policy.default.Window.open","noAccess"); -- will cut off all popup windows
user_pref("dom.disable_open_during_load", true); -- will cut off popup windows only when a page is loading
user_pref("browser.block.target_new_window", true); -- will "override popping up new windows on target=anything"
Save prefs.js and restart Netscape 7.0 PR1. You could try each one of these and see which works the best for you.
"I don't know if companies are afraid to invest in the city," said John Jennings, 38, a fourth-grade teacher sent by children to refill a popcorn tub during "Scooby-Doo."Link Discuss
"Thankfully, these owners were brave enough to invest," Mr. Jennings continued. "A one million population city should have at least six theaters. I think that was the number before the riots. And we should have some minority-owned theaters."
Independent retailers were forced to buy books from their biggest competitor, who engaged in all manner of anti-competitive practices (Chapters' distribution arm had the exclusive on Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and every store in the country -- except for Chapters stores -- was given an out-of-stock message when they tried to order it. Indie retailers ended up buying the book from Chapters retail outlets at the 30 percent new-book-discount to stock their shelves, putting money in their competitors' pockets). Indigo and Chapters merged, the number of SKUs plummeted, the prices went up, the hours were foreshortened.
The last time I was in Toronto, I stopped into the big Indigo and big Chapters at Bay at Bloor. They had empty shelves, minimal staffing, and the cluster of indie bookstores that had thrived in that neighborhood were starving.
Meanwhile, Chapters/Indigo has taken to paying its bills with returned merchandise (sometimes reordering the same books on the same day, a favorite dodge of the mega-bookstore), or not at all. Some American publishers now regard the Canadian market as a bad credit risk; fewer copies are shipped, the terms are tighter and nastier. A friend in the trade tells me that her credit-limit has been reduced to one dollar: she has to pay in advance for every book she orders -- that means that she doesn't take flyers on new titles that she thinks might take off; she just can't afford the risk.
Say what you will about Amazon and its relationship to indie stores, but its presence in Canada can't be any worse than what Chapters/Indigo did to the market. Perhaps a little competition will kick soil over Chapters' coffin.
I hear that Amazon.ca is in business with Canada Post. With luck this means that Canada Post will revise its goony package-delivery policies (when I lived in Toronto, they wouldn't even attempt package delivery to my place; instead, you'd have to go to the distant post office and queue up to get your books). And of course, by keeping the sales that formerly went to Amazon.com inside of Canada, it will repatriate (some of) the book-buying dollars that used to head south of the border. At least the money will go to Canadian distributors for Canadian editions. Link Discuss
Here's how the Pyramid worked, step by step:Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)
1. WorldCom reports great results in the carriers' carrier market.
2. New entrants raise money, pointing to WorldCom's revenue and stock price
3. These entrants buy Dark Fiber from WorldCom, as they play Telecom Monopoly to build out their global networks
4. WorldCom reports improved fundamentals -- driving its stock price up further.
Then the cycle repeats itself:
1. More entrants raise money, using WorldCom's highflying stock price to justify raising more money at higher valuations in the private and public markets. WorldCom raises money too.
2. New entrants build out their own networks with all the capital they've raised
3. Everyone buys excess dark fiber capacity from each other.
4. Everyone's fundamentals and valuation improves, for a time...
If financial corruption is this deep in the system, rational investors -- the people without whom markets will collapse -- will get out and stay out. And if that happens, the economy will go into a depression.Here's my response:
As I said, some of these slime who've ripped off their investors, employees and communities must go to jail. Then we need laws, with teeth, that deal with this situation.
George W. Bush said today he was outraged to hear of WorldCom's fraud. Nice to hear this sentiment -- but come on.
Here's the thing. Everyone I know assumes that the Enron people will do minimal time and pay substantial -- but not destructive -- fines. Further, they assume that Enron's crooks have their money squirreled away in secret accounts. No matter how they're punished, their children will go to Ivy League schools without debt while the children of the shareholders and taxpayers they raped will be lucky to have a roof over their heads. No matter how they're punished, they'll someday walk out of minimum-security white-collar jail and put on a suit worth more than everything in my apartment put together and go out for a meal worth twice as much on their private Caribbean island while the people they screwed go hungry.Link Discuss
What's justice for these people? What's an effective deterrent? Life in prison? 50 years? Penury? Scarlet letters?
Rational people are starting to assume something that isn't necessarily true. They're becoming convinced that the system is hopelessly, irrevocably rigged against everyday investors by a corrupt cadre of insiders in boardrooms and on Wall Street, willfully assisted by regulators and elected officials who are either corrupt themselves or simply blind.Link Discuss
None of this excuses the greed that turned many of those currently rational people into greedmongers themselves. Every financial bubble brings out the sharks, and the smaller fish tend to swim en masse into the killing zone.
Jim MacKenzie began selling the eggs here six months ago via his kinder-eggs .com site and says he lives "comfortably" off his U.S. profits. He won't say what those are but says he has 3,600 customers in his e-mail address book, and has sent as many as 100 cases a day -- 2,400 eggs a day -- in cases priced at $22.95. (Fundraisers get a break: $19 a case). Mr. MacKenzie, a Canadian from Delta, British Columbia, hires extra help at Christmas and Easter to do packing.Link Discuss (via Oblomovka)
In Heidelberg, Germany, where the eggs are known as Kinder Uberraschung, or children's surprise, Linda Oldaker began shipping to the U.S. a year ago, taking orders via her Web site. Ms. Oldaker won't disclose U.S. sales, but she says she had five e-mail orders from the U.S. over a recent two-day period, including one for eight dozen. One day recently, the eBay auction site listed 74 people offering Kinder items, including 200 eggs available for shipping from "our video and convenience store just north of the New York State border."