An anonymous publishing exec explains to PaidContent how he started to break DRM on the ebooks he bought (they wouldn't open on all his devices unless he did) and how, having broken DRM, he realized that DRM was total bullshit:
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I believe this is justified because I realize that when I buy an e-book from Amazon, I’m really buying a license to that content, not the content itself. This is ridiculous, by the way. I feel as if e-book retailers are simply hiding behind that philosophy as a way to further support DRM and scare publishers away from considering a DRM-free world. I’m not going to say where I work, or anything about my company, but I will say that I don’t think DRM is good for the publisher, author or customer. Don’t pro-DRM publishers realize this is one of the key complaints from their customers? I’ve heard plenty of customers tell me that e-book prices need to be low because they’re only buying access to the content, not fully owning it. That needs to change.
The actual process of breaking the DRM was pretty easy. There are plenty of how-to resources that are only a Google search away from you. I’ve now unlocked books from both Amazon and Apple, and I ran into minor hiccups with both. But a bit of digging online and help from a trusted friend got me through it. Now I can read those books on any device I want to. My advice to newbies is to not give up.
The Miami-Dade County government purchased about 300 Toyota Prius hybrids in 2006 and 2007, but misplaced them without ever having used them. The taxpayers are out $4 million.
The county "discovered" this fleet of no-mileage vehicles after reading about them in a Spanish-language newspaper there. Most of the misplaced motorcade is made up of Toyota Prius hybrids whose warranties either expired with very few miles on the odo or will very soon.
Fairmariner from the band Matteo writes, "Our band has been invited to go to China for 6 weeks as musicians-in-residence at Sichuan University! We still can't quite believe this is happening to us. We're going to record an EP while we're there, and we have a Kickstarter for that project.
That's Matteo above, performing my all-time favorite Talking Heads song, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" on traditional Chinese instruments, and doing a whiz-bang job of it, too.
Forensic human rights statistician Patrick Ball sez, "More than 10 million images from the Historical Archive of the Guatemalan National Police (AHPN in the Spanish acronym) are now online at the University of Texas. Documents from the Archive start in the late nineteenth century and continue until the Police were disbanded in 1996. Scholars using the documents have detailed the role of the National Police in illegal surveillance and attacks on dissidents during Guatemala's armed internal conflict, scientists have used sampling and statistics to find patterns in the Archive that illuminate how command works, and prosecutors have won convictions of former police officers for disappearances that were unsolved for decades. Several retired officers from the senior leadership of the Police, including the former Director, Col. Héctor Bol de la Cruz, have been charged with overseeing disappearances in the 1980s, and are likely to stand trial. Now the AHPN is putting the entire archive online, unredacted, so that the world can learn from Guatemala's example."
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A product of broad international collaboration, these digitized documents from the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive (AHPN) aim to facilitate scholarly and legal research into a vast cache of historical documentation. The discovery of the National Police Historical Archive in 2005 opened an extensive and timely resource for the study of Guatemalan history and human rights in the region, spanning a broad array of topics from Guatemala's armed conflict between 1960 and 1996 to the sexually transmitted disease experiments performed at the behest of the United States government in the 1940s.
In a sneak attack, the vote on CISPA (America's far-reaching, invasive Internet surveillance bill) was pushed up by a day. The bill was hastily amended, making it much worse, then passed on a rushed vote. Techdirt's Leigh Beadon does a very good job of explaining what just happened to America:
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.
Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a "cybersecurity crime". Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government's power.
"The Connecticut state senate approved a bill Thursday that would allow citizens to sue police officers who arrest them for recording in public, apparently the first of its kind in the nation." Read the rest
Anna and a friend undertake a breathtaking longboard freeride down a winding mountain road (possibly in Maryhill, Washington, home to a full-size Stonehenge replica). It's really something to watch, though my inner worrywart kept wanting to stop the proceedings and equip the riders with protective clothing for their bare skin. I was a little disappointed that we didn't see the dismount, because the whole way down, I kept wondering, how the hell do you stop?
David Eckenrode made this short film for the BBC about Daniel Suelo, a man who stopped using money in 2000. I wrote a bit about Daniel in 2009, and had a brief email exchange with him (he uses a computer at a library within walking distance from his cave).
Mark Sundeen, the author of book, The Man Who Quit Money is a soulful journey into the spirit of Daniel Suelo. Suelo, gave up on money in 2000. He walked into a phone booth, pulled out 30 dollars and left it. Twelve years later, Suelo still does not have a personal ID, bank accounts, a modern home, does not take money, or live off of federal welfare. Suelo lives in caves in the canyon lands outside of Moab, UT. Suelo harvests wild foods, eats roadkill, and dumpster dives. Suelo is not an isolationist, he still is very active in the Moab community, SE Utah politics, and he is an active blogger.
Sundeen, knew Suelo from Moab, UT when they both worked together as cooks, but years later Sundeen came across Suelo in a market he payed him no attention, but after Sundeen, gave thought to the current economy and Suelo's philosophy he began to write his book in 2009. Sundeen's book focuses on one man, but the message of the book captures the American zeitgeist of a changing economy.
Q: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?
If you answered $10 you are inclined to believe in religion. If you answered $5 you are inclined to disbelieve.
Why? Because, according to new research reported in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science, the $10 answer indicates that you are an intuitive thinker, and the $5 answer indicates that you solve problems analytically, rather than following your gut instinct.
Psychologists William Gervais and Ara Norenzayan, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, predicted that people who were more analytic in thinking would tend not to believe in religion, whereas people who approach problems more intuitively would tend to be believers. Their study confirmed the hypothesis and the findings illuminate the mysterious cognitive process by which we reach decisions about our beliefs.
From Cult of Mac, this news about a 99-cent iOS app that uses the Tor network to offer encrypted web browsing.
The Onion Browser will tunnel your connection through the Tor network, concealing your IP address and also encrypting all data before it leaves your device. You can also spoof your user agent to hide the fact that you’re using an iOS device (handy for iPhone users who work at Microsoft) and even tunnel out through corporate firewalls and country-wide censorship.
What’s more, the developer — Mike Tigas — has made the source code available both on his website and on GitHub, so you can check inside to see just what it’s doing. He is also donating 10% of his cut of the 99-cent asking price to Tor and the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).