John Deere, makers of farm machinery and vehicles, applies copyright law to make it illegal to repair your own equipment. After years of debate, anger and hacking, the company now promises to allow users to do so without voiding warranties or facing the prospect of legal action. — Read the rest
John Deere uses DRM to prevent its own customers from repairing their own vehicles, pushing them to use the company's own overpriced service options. A new jailbreak for the systems announced this weekend at DEFCON by Sick Codes restores a measure of ownership to the owners. — Read the rest
When the law comes calling Dusty Mobley takes off. The second time was the charm for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, as Mobley managed a less creative but more effective getaway the last time they came calling.
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At around 9:30 a.m.
Willie Cade's grandfather Theo Cade was one of John Deere's most storied engineers, with 158 patents to his name; he invented the manure spreader and traveled the country investigating stories of how farmers were using, fixing, modifying and upgrading their equipment; today, Willie Cade is the founder of the Electronics Reuse Conference, having spent a quarter-century repairing electronics, diverting e-waste from landfills and rehabilitating it for use by low-income schools and individuals.
As I wrote last week, the California Farm Bureau (which lobbies for the state's farmers) struck a deal to gut the state's Right to Repair legislation, a move that will cost farmers their right to fix their own tractors and other heavy equipment.
Farmers are the vanguard of the Right to Repair movement; accustomed as they are to fixing their own equipment (you can't wait for a repair tech when the tractor doesn't work — as the saying goes, you have to make hay while the sun shines), they were outraged when companies like John Deere started using DRM to pick their pockets, creating tractors whose engines wouldn't recognize a new part until they paid a tech a few hundred dollars to drive out in a day or two and key an unlock code into the tractor's keyboard.
John Deere has turned itself into the poster-child for the DMCA, fighting farmers who say they want to fix their own tractors and access their data by saying that doing so violates the 1998 law's prohibition on bypassing copyright locks.
Tim O'Bryant, aka Cotontop3, is a logger in Mississippi who vlogs daily. In this episode, he uses the pincers on his log loader to toss leftovers from log bucking, which takes a surprising amount of dexterity.
John Deere is notorious for arguing that farmers who buy its tractors actually "license" them because Deere still owns the copyright to the tractors' software; in 2015, the US Copyright Office affirmed that farmers were allowed to jailbreak their tractors to effect repairs and modifications.
Rick Friday has been the editorial cartoonist for Farm News for 21 years, with a weekly slot in every Friday's paper.
This past weekend, O'Reilly Media held its annual geekfest FOO Camp at their Sebastapol, CA headquarters. Google co-founder Larry Page had himself flown in by helicopter for the afternoon. The chopper landed about 20 feet from where dozens of folks were camping in tents. — Read the rest
Earlier this month, the Clough Community Vision Committee in Portlaoise, Ireland held a fundraiser to help them build a new community center, with the grand prize being a brand new John Deere tractor worth €100,000. There was some confusion, however, when the winning name was pulled from the raffle ball in front of a crowd at a local pub on St. — Read the rest
So much for Ron DeSantis' tough-guy act against Disney, in which the petty governor crowed about "punishing" the company that opposed his Don't Say Gay bill. His bigoted retaliation antics — dissolving Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District — turned out to be a bite with no teeth, leaving "most of the district's special powers intact," according to Tampa Bay Times. — Read the rest
$5m worth of new farm vehicles somehow made their way from a Russian-occupied city in Ukraine to Chechnya. Whoever expected to enjoy the plunder sadly found that the vehicles were inoperable, having been remotely disabled by the manufacturer.
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Some of the machinery was taken to a nearby village, but some of it embarked on a long overland journey to Chechnya more than 700 miles away.
I'm fascinated by old technology. I once commandeered a disused typewriter from my friend's apartment just to have one. My obsession with retro-tech isn't from some misplaced, ironic hipster veneration of all things old, mind you. I love contextualizing myself in the era where said technology was cutting edge. — Read the rest
Oakland, California's Mills College, a small liberal arts women's college with an all-gender grad program, announced that it will close its doors in the next few years due to financial challenges. This marks the end of this institution of higher learning but also the silencing of an incredibly-influential experimental music scene that really defined the genre over the last 60+ years. — Read the rest
The Washington Post reports on the receipts from a 2018 meeting at the Mar-a-Lago resort club between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump, who also owns and runs Mar-a-Lago.
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In the next two days, as Trump and Abe talked about trade and North Korea, Trump's Palm Beach, Fla.,
NBC News reports that the medical professionals to attended to Donald Trump on his mystery 2019 trip to Walter Reed hospital were given nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) before they treated him. Two doctors refused to sign the legally-binding documents and others were found. — Read the rest
In 1829 a group of convicts commandeered a brig in Tasmania and set off across the Pacific, hoping to elude their pursuers and win their freedom. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the mutineers of the Cyprus and a striking new perspective on their adventure. — Read the rest