Making Space At MySpace
There are two good reasons for MySpace and YouTube to purge copyrighted video from their sites. One is, of course, that the clips in question are patently illegal and their distribution without their owners' consent violates copyright law. The other is that they take up an enormous amount of virtual and psychological space, and cleaning them out might create a vacuum on those popular social sites that could be filled by genuinely creative original works--a commendation that digital retreads of <
Tiny Web 2.0 Firm Identifies With Big Blue
The upstart barter site Swapthing.com seems to have more in common with online retail behemoth Amazon.com than with IBM. Swapthing and Amazon are part of a wave of online companies with no brick-and-mortar roots redefining how consumers buy (or barter) products. But when it comes to the patent infringement suit IBM last week brought against Amazon, Swapthing CEO Jessica Hardwick equates her fledgling business
Better Batteries Not Included
I came away from Wired's take on the future of the battery with a conclusion depressingly similar to our own coverage: Even battery innovators don't expect breakthroughs anytime soon.
A Merit Badge For Docile Consumerism?
The news story about the Los Angeles Area Boy Scouts' cooperation with the Motion Picture Association of America to create a merit badge for respecting copyrights points up just how badly the entertainment industry needs new ideas. Handing out merit badges for docile consumerism isn't going to cut it if the music and movie businesses are going to have a future in the Internet Age.
Readers' Best Photos
A few weeks back, I invited readers to submit photos of places and activities they've experienced that are squarely outside the realm of their IT careers.
Jonny Can Play Fair
DVD Jon has struck again. The notorious hacker who's been helping people copy stuff that big companies don't want them to has found a way to unlock the code that blocks iPod users from playing songs from music download stores other than iTunes. Among other critics, blogger Cory Doctorow recently railed on this site against Appl
A Better Idea In The Spamhaus Case
Last week I wrote in this space that "The Spamhaus-e360Insight Case Isn't Just One Bad Decision, It's Several." The worst of them all was the plaintiff's proposal that the judge order ICANN to pull Spamhaus.org's domain name, which promised to precipitate what some were calling a "constit
IT Jobs In Jeopardy To Enemy Within
If you've got a well-paying IT job in one of the traditional centers of technology like Boston, New York, or San Francisco, you and your coworkers have had to withstand the increasing outsourcing of jobs to emerging nations in recent years. But it may be more likely you'll be losing your job to someone in Omaha, Neb.
I received a one-line letter from a reader today, and I couldn't agree with him more: "Do you realize that if anyone has to ask about ethics, they shouldn't be doing the job to begin with?"
I had a similar reaction when listening to the recent congressional grilling of HP CEO Mark Hurd and ex-chairwoman Patricia Dunn about the company's tactics when investigating a media leak within its board.
Printer Ink--The New Black Gold
I don't know about you, but every time that "ink low" warning comes up on my printer driver, my day gets a little bleaker. Ink and toner cartridges (known as "consumables"--probably because printers eat 'em up like candy) are one of those expenses that few of us can avoid. You have a printer? You need ink. And the printer manufacturers are happy and eager to sell you some--in fact, one of the reasons so many printers have dropped in price lately is that consumables are the great cash cow of the
Web Applications: Just Out Of Reach
Google is putting its Writely word processing into an online application suite. I look forward to the day when a Web app suite is available and I won't have to send any more dollars to Bill Gates for Office upgrades. But that day still hasn't arrived.
Longer Battery Life, Not Explosions, Top Laptop Concern
We've seen and heard about laptop computers exploding or catching fire in airports and conference halls. One such explosion is believed to have burned a truck. Another is blamed for torching a home. But if there has been a significant public outcry to make immediate changes that would eliminate the potential for future problems, I must have been taking that day off.
The Saga Of America Online
Everybody has an AOL story. Mine took place several years ago, when my parents were still on a dial-up connection and used AOL as their main conduit to e-mail and the Web. My father realized he needed to make an important call and signed off. However, AOL, as was its habit, took that opportunity to do a major upgrade (without, of course, asking whether it was convenient to do so). After waiting for several minutes, and with no idea how long the upgrade was going to take, my father finally broke
Will HP's Troubles Change The MO Of Your Own Corporate Investigations?
The Hewlett-Packard scandal shines a spotlight on the world of corporate intelligence. Private investigators. Surveillance. Pretexting. Using Social Security numbers that employees had entrusted to the company. It's been a bright light on what's appearing to be a pretty shady world.
How much will that world change now? Will companies rethink their investigative tactics now that it's glaringly clear their sneaky deeds might end up on the front page or in front of a congressional hearing? Will ex