April 7, 2012 2 Comments
Carrie Brownstein on WTF with Marc Maron:
There was a night where I was plugging everything in to charge and I felt like I have more Mac products than friends.
Polentical: Quote of the Day: Gil Fronsdal
progressive politics and regressive entertainment. like peanut and butter.
April 4, 2012 Leave a comment
When This American Life retracted its recent episode concerning poor working conditions in factories making Chinese products, I was worried that this would mean a larger dismissal of concerns when it comes to tech companies, including Apple, using cheap and exploited labor.
The issue may remain in the news, though, given the even more recent audit of the Foxconn factory which has helped Apple generate such awesome profit margin.
Assessors found cases of employees working longer hours and more days in a row than allowed by FLA standards and Chinese law. They uncovered inconsistent health and safety policies and instances of unfair pay for overtime work.
It’s hard for me not to connect this news to the other big splash that Apple made of late — its nearly one hundred billion dollar pile o’ cash.
February 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Google was caught this week once again lying to its users about privacy, in this case “inadvertently” overriding user preferences in the web browser Safari when a statement on their website claimed that they would do no such thing. (A Safari user from Illinois is now suing Google for breaking wiretapping laws.)
February 1, 2012 2 Comments
Last week I called Phil Simon’s advice simplistic, when he called on those who disagree with Google’s privacy policies to simply walk away. I appreciate that he took the time to reply to me in his comments. Simon responded that:
Perhaps it was naive, but it’s not the first company to amend its stance. Twelve years ago, Amazon said that it wasn’t interested in becoming a publisher. Now, that’s exactly what’s it doing, much to the chagrin of the publishing industry. I don’t see how marketing to me more accurately is evil. Google needs to make money. If that’s simplistic, then so be it.
February 1, 2012 5 Comments
I strongly believe in a limited copyright law which ensure that authors can control their works and reap some profits for a decade or two. I’m wary when it stretches longer than that, because the nature of art involves appropriation and reshaping of shared images and stories. Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare…the western canon is built around authors retelling tales.
Piracy differs in that it’s the replication of a work, but Neil Gaiman approaches the issue from a practical point of view. He does not advocate giving up copyright, but he does speak eloquently about the advantages of having a free flow of art on the internet.
January 27, 2012 Leave a comment
Finally, in point of fact you can opt out very simply: Don’t use Google products. I can’t think of a single Google product that has no substitute. Vote with your virtual feet. You can leave Google at any time.
The advice is simple, but also simplistic. Simon relies upon an unrealistic conception of the world as an open marketplace of goods and services, which it is not.
January 24, 2012 3 Comments
The big news in police action against file sharing this past week was the arrest of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom says that police are painting an unfair picture of him. I say that any tech person who changes his last name to “Dotcom” is insane or has a mega sense of humor. Or both. It’s a blast to read news reports forced to take that name seriously.
So how far are governments going to go in their pursuit of purported pirates? Over at The Motley News, there’s the story of the UK student who is facing extradition to the United States because he ran a web site that linked to potentially illegal content. It didn’t host the content, just mentioned its existence.
I have little patience for the government arguments about these cases if only because the current copyright laws are written to enhance corporate power and profits, not to protect creators.
January 17, 2012 2 Comments
When I first visited the Google campus back in 2003 in order to visit friends who worked there — well, I’ll admit it, like everyone else I visited in order to partake of the free food. It was a terrific atmosphere, full of vim and vigor, and very very open. I was particularly struck by the omnipresent coolers full of Naked juice. It seemed like an enterprising Googler could take as much of these free offerings as desired, and perhaps start as second business as a Naked juice retailer.