Archive for November, 2007

CC and Virgin dismissed from case

November 29, 2007

That’s good news.

Generally speaking, if anyone should be questioned over privacy concerns in a case like this, it’s the subject who published the photos and the subject who is photographed.

University of Dayton: file sharing is unethical and dangerous

November 29, 2007

That’s according to Barbara Belle of the University of Dayton (Office of Computing Ethics). News editor Lauren Williams writes of Belle’s presentation:

The power point presentation focuses on the facts that file sharing is unethical, risky and illegal.

If it is a “fact” that “file-sharing is unethical”, then there’s no need to discuss our conscience. To close that discussion is presumptuous. Williams then reveals misinformation coming from Belle’s presentation:

The first-year presentation also focuses on the risks of file-sharing, noting Spyware and privacy violations on the network as two consequences.

Spyware and privacy violations are consequences of networks in general, not of file-sharing in particular. What exacerbates a spyware and privacy risk is a lack of software auditability and modifiability. If one wishes to share files (or network in a multitude of other ways) and erect the best possible defense against spyware and back-doors, then one installs and runs free software. Stigmatizing file-sharing in particular is alarmist and misleading. If privacy and spyware were really a concern of the university, then the university would encourage the use of free software, not discourage file-sharing.

i wish this was on the Onion…

November 29, 2007

Or that it was April 1st. Or something to deny the apparent fact that the OLPC folks are to face litigation. How absurd is this?

Via Matt Asay.

Next XO G1G1: Europe 2008!

November 27, 2007

Honestly, I have no idea but you never know…

Let’s say this (extended) US/Canada round nets a half-million units. A quarter to North Americans and a quarter to the poorest. If some of Europe were given an equal shot at it, one wonders what kind of numbers could be produced o’er the Atlantic.

bold and honest statements

November 26, 2007


I fully expect to keep blogging, pretty much in this format, until I die. It is a natural medium to me. Over the years, I’ve probably overestimated the extent to which it is natural for others.

what’s wrong with this picture?

November 25, 2007

The following picture shows part of an installation process of a GPLv2 program on the Windows operating system…


Any guesses? I’ll post the answer in a few days if nobody sees it.

i’m happy today

November 22, 2007

When I walked in, the whites of his eyes pierced the dimly lit room.

We smiled.

I said, “You look like Gandhi.”

He laughed gently under his breath (it had progressed rapidly, which is not uncommon).

I hugged him then kissed him. We held hands in silence.

blog readability

November 18, 2007

I’ve noticed several ed-tech bloggers getting a kick out of this fun but silly site. Let’s indulge ourselves for a moment by assuming the site to be a valid measure of readability. Some may feel the measure is a direct reflection on their own intellectual capacity while others (who apparently write at an elementary school level) hit the nail on the head:

I take that as a compliment, and it’s probably pretty easily explained by the algorithm. I tend to write short, active-tense sentences with not many long words. The readability test doesn’t take the actual content into account, just the lengths of words, sentences and paragraphs.

Indeed. A low-level may indicate greater accessibility. That is, one’s “content” can reach a wider audience. Of course, the content is more important than what it’s wrapped in. A high-level result certainly doesn’t mean the content is necessarily insightful. Need proof? Plug her into the site.

UPDATE: Did the algorithm change or her writing style? Miss C. is now at a “College (Undergrad)”. She was post-grad a few days ago.

russian news media needs free software

November 17, 2007

The freedom free software gives users is usually thought of in terms of usability, auditability, modifiability, and distributability of code (or mistakenly thought of in terms of cost). Some or all of these freedoms are disrespected with proprietary software. Typically, those who engage in the drafting and enforcement of proprietary licensing do so to hoard. Though unethical, hoarding at the expense of users’ freedom is not nearly as unethical as this.

Link thanks to Dave B.

is “faith” sometimes a euphemism for “belief”?

November 14, 2007

I’m told in a Moodle discussion forum:

[The Bible being the Word of God] is a belief completely based on faith.

What is the difference between belief and faith?

Of course, I’m not talking about trusting someone – that kind of faith is common. For instance, I have faith that in the near future – to the best of your ability – you’re going to take interest in your studies. I have good reason to believe this to be true based upon my experience. That sort of faith is different, no?

I ask because I find the word “based” interesting. What is the “base” of Christianity and how is it any different than a belief?