mundens: Pixie -like angel with fiery wings (Burning Angel)
Listening to The Church's Is This Where You Live? (which I think is very poetic, BTW) on the way into work, and watching money changing hands between conductor and passengers, I was struck by the following thought :

Why do we have to pay for public transport?

Sure, the primary reason is to pay for it's operation and there's the fact that public transport in Wellington at least is no longer public, it's all run by foreign-owned companies like Toll and Stagecoach. But the current drive for transport is towards efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and dealing with traffic problems, and there are billions of dollars earmarked for road improvements when in fact we should be making road travel more difficult, discouraging it, not making it easier and faster.

Why isn't the government (and our city councils) providing (or encouraging the provision of) free mass transit in low emission vehicles rather than spending on making the car problem worse? It's not like it's an impossible or a new idea. Adelaide, for instance, does it to some extent. They also explicitly advertise the cash savings and environmental benefits of using public transport. I've mentioned Adelaide before when I went there a couple of years ago. But we're still improving roads rather than solving the problem of too many cars.

On there subject of "free", and for those interested in DRM, there were two very important data points made recently on ars technica.

Firstly, Trent Reznor had a turnover of over $750,000 in two days even though the music was being given away free right alongside. That's just from the 2,500 copies of the $300 (sold-out) limited edition of Ghosts. There will still be people buying the $75 Deluxe edition (such as [livejournal.com profile] ferrouswheel for one) and other's paying $20 for a CD and booklet, and still other paying just $5 for a digital download of four albums worth of material.

Secondly, this article makes the point that appealing to historical physical property rights when arguing for intellectual property rights does not support the imposition of ever more draconian law.

Here's a couple of selected quotes, with some emphasis added by me :

Getting users to stop sharing files and circumventing DRM is likely to prove just as hopeless as getting squatters to leave their homes. There are now millions of people who think nothing of evading the law, and there are simply not enough courts to try more than a tiny fraction of them. Sooner or later, Congress will have to do for the copyright system what it did for property rights in the 19th century: change the law to bring it back into line with peoples' moral intuitions.

The fundamental lesson is that property rights are not—and never have been—created by Congressional fiat. Property rights emerge spontaneously from the social fabric of a community. The job of the legislature is not to create a property system from scratch, but to formalize the property arrangements that communities have already agreed upon among themselves. A system of property rights will only be effective if it is widely viewed as legitimate.

If copyrights are a form of property right, then the history of American property rights provides clues about how the copyright system will need to evolve in the future. It suggests that Congress's current strategy of imposing ever more draconian penalties for breaking laws that lack broad public support is a recipe for failure. Congress may be forced to concede, as it did two centuries ago, that property law must accommodate the actions of ordinary Americans, and not the other way around.

Free Tor?

Feb. 11th, 2008 11:20 am
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Death)
Passing on from /. in case any of the sf buffs on my flist missed it :
Tor Books is launching a new site and running a campaign in which they are giving away e-books (free as in beer) until the site goes live. To get in on the deal, fill out the form at their site, and each week you will receive a newsletter containing links to download a new book. The first two books are Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson followed by Old Man's War by John Scalzi.
According to the Tor site :
This program will end when the site launches, but you can keep the free books; we won’t be erasing them with our orbital attack electromagnets. (Yet.)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (M.U.N.D.E.N.S)
With the discovery last week of the connection between Vista's poor networking performance and audio activities, word quickly spread around the Net. No doubt this got Microsoft's attention, and they have responded to the issue . Microsoft states that 'some of what we are seeing is expected behavior, and some of it is not'; and that they are working on technical documentation, as well as applying a slight sugar coating to the symptoms. Apparently they believe an almost 90% drop in networking performance is 'slight,' only affects reception of data, and that this performance trade-off is necessary to simply play an MP3.
And as we all know, this poor performance is actually a built-in "feature", as the specification for Vista's DRM states that performance will be degraded if the correct DRM is not detected. As mp3s don’t have DRM, Vista automatically degrades performance as per the spec, though whether it was intentional to massively degrade network performance is another question.

Still, the only reason this performance degradation is "necessary" to play an mp3 is because that’s what is specified for Vista! If it were truly necessary, then all computers running every other OS would have the same network performance degradation when they played an mp3

But a 90% performance drop as "slight" ? Microsoft have obviously left the "reality-based" world along with Bush and his cronies. I always thought it was going to be hackers and gamers that lost track of the real world and ended up stuck in a virtual one, but these days it’s the politicians and Microsoft that have this problem.

Oh, and happy birthday [livejournal.com profile] rosaephemera! :)

RIAA RIP

Apr. 2nd, 2007 06:54 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Murdoc)
It seems like consumers may be about to win.

With the Wall Street Journal confirming that EMI are dropping out of the RIAA and distributing DRM free music on iTunes, and the recent launch of RARA, standing for "Respect the Artost, Respect the Audience" a rival industry group which claims the support of Apple, Microsoft, EMI, etc, maybe this is truly the long predicted end of the old model?

Or maybe it's an April Fool prank...
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
Just in from ./, Sony CD''s that hack your computer, probably illegally in some countries too!

It will be nice if they are prosecuted.

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