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You have reached the home page of A. S. Bradbury (Alex Bradbury). I keep this blog fairly up to date with whatever happens to interest me, but if you have a suggestion or anything you want to say to me then please use my feedback form to contact me. See the about page for more information about the software used to power and create this website.
A. S. Bradbury's Blog
Stewart Butterfield interviewed
Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Flickr has given an interview at OreillyNet. Apparently, Flickr can boast a 30% monthly growth in users and a 50% monthly growth in the number of photos. Butterfield talks about the social aspects of Flickr, how it differs from other photo-sharing services, and about comparisons to del.icio.us. Flickr could exit beta by the end of the first half of this year.
Dutch anti-piracy campaign launched
The must-read Constitutional Code writes that a Dutch, 2 million Euro anti-piracy/propaganda spreading campaign has been launched. The campaign is called B.I.G., for Banish Illegal Games and Software. Like the BSA's campaign we all love to hate, Play It Cybersafe, B.I.G. is aimed at children. It uses fear and intimidation to get the message across - beware of the anti-piracy secret police:
"Online detectives are screening the net. Offline detectives are searching the country." The B.I.G. Team is "A special elite force that you may encounter anywhere. You can encounter them on the net, on TV, at school and on the streets. Visible and invisible."
Rik Lambers, the author of Constitutional Code sounds like he's planning to file a complaint with the Dutch advertising standards authority. I'll look out for updates on the issue.
This week's NTK is online. It has a piece on the vote from JURI to restart the process, and also something about Verisign:
Everyone else likes to worry about Google's gathering
conflict of interests, but Verisign's S.P.E.C.T.R.E.-level
skills still take some beating. This week, orbiting crypto
analysts Ian Grigg and Adam Shostock belatedly pointed out
to ICANN that perhaps Verisign couldn't trusted with
.net. Why? Well, Verisign these days offers both top level
domains and SSL certificate authentication. They also, with
their NetDiscovery service - sell ISPs a complete service for
complying with law enforcement surveillance orders. So, if an
American court demands an ISP wiretap its customers, and the
ISP turns that order over to Verisign to do the dirty: well,
Verisign can now fake any domain you want, and issue any
temporary fake certificate, allowing even SSLed
communications to be monitored. What's even more fun is that
they are - at least in the US - now moving into providing
infrastructure for mobile telephony. Yes, NOT EVEN YOUR
RINGTONES ARE SAFE.
Friday linkage - like a bullet through soap
It's time to post a collection of links I found interesting this week again. As always seems to be the case, most of them came from Boing Boing or Waxy.org.
By all reports, Alone in the Dark seems to be an absolutely awful film. Matt Baldwin at Defective Yeti has compiled a Bad Review Revue special. For more comments and reviews, there's also Rotten Tomatoes.
Paul Bourke describes a modern stereoscopic photo system comprising of 2 iPod photos. Obviously, it's very expensive for what it does, but the combination of new and old is very cool. Here's a photo of the setup.
Things I hate about my flatmate is an interesting blog that seems to have been posted all over the place, even getting mentioned by the Guardian Unlimited. The premise is simple - to list one thing each day that the author's flatmate does to annoy them. Here's an example post. I'm already subscribed to feeds from too many sites, but if you're looking for something to browse through while bored I think things I hate about my flatmate fits the bill pretty well.
The people at Monochrom have composed a Micro Graphic Novel project. They took a series of illustrations from a chainsaw box, and asked people to write a story to go accompany them. They've had tons of submissions, including this one by Cory Doctorow.
Finally, I have two image-related pages to link to. First is this photoset composed of bullets passing through everyday objects. How the photographer managed to capture the moment of the bullet piercing the object so well I do not know, but the results are amazing. The picture with a bullet passing through a soap bar looks weird. Finally, take a look at this drawing descriptions game. People send in descriptions of everyday objects without saying what they are, and the artist then draws what has been described. Afterwards, the description writer reveals the object they were describing.
Software Patent directive set for restart
The EU software patent directive I've covered numerous times is now set for a restart. The JURI committee voted with a large majority for the restart of the process. This sounds like another big victory for the FFII. ZDNet has a comment story about the restart, and Karl Lenz has some interesting commentary. It's also interesting to read what the "Campaign for Creativity", a pro-software patent blog/propaganda machine has to say. This press release seems to depict the anti-software patent campaign as being the big bully, claiming that the lobby is "hugely well-resourced". This is a pretty strange claim to make, considering that although the anti-software patent lobby has pulled together to use their resources very effectively, the pro-software patent company has multiple multi-billion dollar multi-national companies behind it. In this post, a patent attorney claims that "At best this will mean a further year or more of uncertainty for Europe’s IT sector. At worst it could result in there being virtually no legal protection in this area." Of course, software gains massive legal protection under current Copyright law - agreements such as the EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive) practically allow software companies to write their own copyright laws to control how their products can be used, using DRM technology.
Eiffel Tower copyrighted
Boing Boing links to a post about how the Eiffel tower's night-time image and likeness is now copyrighted, due to the addition of a distinctive lighting display last year. Technically, this means you could be committing copyright infringement if you publish photos of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission. SNTE, the company responsible for the Eiffel Tower say they aren't interested in stopping amateur photographers posting pictures on their websites, but this is only mildly comforting. Maybe, this is another case where current Copyright law goes too far?
Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing published under a CC license
The Creative Commons weblog points out that Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing, published by O'Reilly has been made available online at no cost as a CC-licensed PDF download. You can download it from the O'Reilly site.
Apple and DVD region changes
Cory Doctorow has run into problems playing DVDs from different regions on his Powerbook. Apparently, once the user has used their allocated 5 region changes on their DVD drive, the manufacturer should be able to reset this limit 5 times, but Apple seem to have prevented themselves from doing this. I really don't think DVD regions make sense, especially when so many people are travelling all over the place. It isn't particularly weird to be like Cory Dotorow - with a laptop bought in America, and an American DVD collection, but living in somewhere with a different DVD region. Why do we put up with such a hindrance to our freedom as consumers?
Answer to my thinking puzzle
Earlier this month, I posted a thinking puzzle. I was going to post the answer in about a week's time, but I lost track of time a little. Nevertheless, here comes the solution. Take both candles. Light one from both ends and the other from the top. After the first candle has burnt through, exactly half an hour will have passed. This means the 2nd candle has exactly half an hour left to burn. Light the second candle at the other end, and it will burn for exactly another 15 minutes, meaning 45 minutes will have passed when it goes out.
Gentoo Weekly Newsletter - January 31, 2005
This week's Gentoo Weekly Newsletter has now been published. The Gentoo PPC team have released a game CD. The series of project goals for 2005 continues, with a set of targets for the hardened Gentoo project.
How do the BSA's arguments apply to other industries?
The Business Software Alliance in it's 2005 legislative agenda (sorry, no link) responded to an argument often used by people who are skeptical of the current way Copyright law is enforced. They claim that reducing 'piracy' will make the industry larger and more profitable. Seth Schoen experiments with changing this argument to apply to other industries and concepts. The original argument:
Some have attempted to paint copyright piracy as a victimless crime, arguing that "if I make a copy of a computer program, you still get to keep your copy, and we are both better off." This is hardly the case.
And a modified argument:
Reducing piracy offers direct benefits. The equation is a basic one: the lower the piracy rate, the larger the IT sector and the greater the benefits.
Some have attempted to paint children's games as a victimless crime, arguing that "if you and I play tag, we have fun, and we are both better off." This is hardly the case.
Reducing children's unstructured recreation offers direct benefits. The equation is a basic one: the lower the rate of unstructured play, the larger the arcade sector, and the greater the benefits.
Friday linkage - do you own a Dress-a-Vac?
After last week's hiatus, I'm back. As usual, I've come across many of these links on either Waxy.org or Boing Boing.
Doodle-a-day seems to be a nice idea. The author has posted a new doodle every day since January 1st. I like his drawing style. I haven't linked to McSweeney's lists in a good long while, so here's some recently added ones. I like the list of discarded titles for 1984.
I'm sure these microwave modification instructions can't be anywhere near safe. Allegedly, a normal microwave oven can be converted to melt metal at over 1000 degrees celsius. Pictures are available here. The whole process sounds pretty scary, but I suppose if you really think you know what you're doing it mightn't be too bad.
I've linked to quite a few weird and wonderful products, but Dress-a-Vac is definitely one of the weirdest. You could dress your vacuum cleaner as a rabbit carrying a carrot, or alternatively a cat carring a fishbone. How...delightful, and what a great way to keep your vacuum cleaner discretely hidden away.
Someone has reenacted the Calvin and Hobbes snowman strips in real life, with realy snowmen. The results are great. I wonder how long it took to make them all. We haven't had any real snow here this year, so no snowmen...
Finally, this audio receiver has so many buttons it's scary. Also, it's fun to browse through this Warner Brothers cartoon title card gallery.
The latest EDRi-gram has been issued. It reports on Poland's request for the Software Patent directive not to be put on the agenda of Monday's Agriculture and Fisheries Comittee meeting. This wasn't quite as when the directive appeared on the directive last month, but it's good to see the directive isn't getting silently nodded through the Council, yet. There are also more rumours about the possibility of RFID chips being added to Euro banknotes.
EFF Endangered Gizmos
The EFF has announced a new campaign. It's called Endangered Gizmos and aims to collect information about all the useful and innovative technology that has either been wiped out or is in serious danger due to restrictive copyright laws.
Downhill Battle makes good on its coal promise
In December, Downhill Battle pledged to send one piece of coal to the RIAA or MPAA for every $100 donated to the EFF, Public Knowledge or IPAC. They've had to send out 1558 pieces of coal, and have documented the process.