Copyright: Fair Use Is Your Friend
Nine out of 10 people would probably tell you copyright is all about big companies maximizing their revenue from the content they own at the expense of the consumer. (The 10th person would tell you copyright is a cornerstone of our American way of life, but he'd turn out to be lawyer for the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America). In fact, copyright is as much about your right to make fair use of copyrighted content as it is about the "intellectual property" of corporations. For 11
Dell Linux Still Won't Kill Windows
Bruise it slightly, perhaps. But seriously, would you or your company buy a Linux PC from Dell this year? How much would you pay for support?
Could The iPhone Destroy Apple's Reputation?
MarketWatch columnist John Dvorak argues that Apple should just make the iPhone a reference design and move on. Why, you may ask, would Apple want to walk away from the hottest mobile device in years? Because it isn't equipped to handle the demands of the nonstop mobile phone market, that's why.
Microsoft Describes How Virtual Earth Was Built
You want to know what the definition of "cool" is? It's sitting in the front row of a hotel meeting hall, watching a demo of Microsoft Virtual Earth on the 12-foot display in the front of the room, as the camera plunges from the sky to swoop and soar around detailed digital models of the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the streets of Philadelphia. Even cooler: Listening to John Curlander, general manager of Microsoft Virtual Earth, explain how it was built.
Gambling With The Internet
When Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which forced online gambling companies to adhere to federal and state gambling laws, it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary to assume that the reason for the crackdown was the attempt to protect compulsive gamblers from descending into a morass of debt via their home computers. But, like many other "sin" regulations, the real story is a lot more complex -- and money has more to do with it than morals.
Is SAP Imploding?
Shai Agassi brought something fresh to SAP. Young and dashing, he could engage an audience of customers from a stage with the savvy of a marketing exec, yet he was foremost a very smart technologist.
Jeff Hawkins, Who Invented PalmPilot, Says He's Figured Out How The Brain Works
You can't complain that Jeff Hawkins is falsely modest. Hawkins, whose last triumph was inventing the PalmPilot, claims to have solved the greatest problem in 60 years of computer science. He says he's figured out how the human brain works, and has built a model in software, with practical applications imminent. Not only that, he says he's released a lot of the code in open source.
Photos Of The $100 One Laptop Per Child Laptop
I was able to get my hands on the One Laptop Per Child $100 laptop at the O'Reilly ETech conference today. I took pictures, and they came out great -- take a look for yourself below the fold. The OLPC looks like a toy, with its hard plastic enclosure, soft plastic keyboard, bright colors, and handle. But it's a fully functional computer, designed for children in the emerging world.
Faster Chipsets? It's About Time
Lord knows, getting any kind of breakthrough innovation in the computer hardware sector is like working at Dunkin' Donuts ... so many variations using pretty much the same materials again and again.
Tiny Apps For Linux On Slow Hardware
Linux has a well-deserved reputation for running well on less-powerful hardware than it takes to run Windows, and articles like How To Revive An Old PC With Linux offer lots of good advice. It's a great, no-cost way to get started with Linux. And here's what you'll need next: a great list of tiny, ultra-light-weight applications that will give you maximum computing for minimum footprint on you
The Web Just Wants To Be Rude
The response to a recent blog post of mine has set me wondering just why it is that the first impulse of people who don't like what you write on the Web is to sling personal invective, mostly in the form of semi-literate screeds littered with curse words. The apparent answer: The anonymity provided by the Internet experience encourages a kind of online version of road rage.
'Garbage Social Networks' -- Does That Mean Twitter?
The subject line in my email caught my eye immediately: "Thursday -- Garbage Social Networks, E-Flex, and More!" I've been playing with Twitter, and I thought, "Yes! I know just what that means!" It turns out I was wrong: the writer really meant social networks for people interested in reducing the volume of their trash. But I think my version is more interesting, because it explains the incredibly rapid devaluation of social networking as a concept. We really have sunk to the level of garbage s
Jott Helps Keep Track Of To-Dos When You Can't Write 'Em Down
I'm so excited I could just plotz -- I actually had a chance to field-test Jott yesterday and it worked like a champ. Jott is a new service that lets you phone in and record a 15-second sound bite, which it transcribes using speech recognition and then e-mails the text back to you. I used it to record an idea while I was driving to the dentist, and by gosh I had that e-mail waiting for me when I got back to my desk.
New Certificates And Neo-Nomads
The technological revolution -- and let's face it, this is truly a societal revolution -- is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups that are part of the movement. On the one hand, two industry organizations are trying to impose order on the chaos involved in getting support for home technology. On the other, an increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle.
For Sale In Second Life: Amsterdam
Amsterdam is for sale on eBay.. It's one of the most popular areas in Second Life. More than that: It is, to Second Life, what Times Square is to New York, or Fisherman's Wharf is to San Francisco. It's one of the first places where newbies go, to look around and check out the scene.
I'm Going To ETech Next Week -- How About You?
I do not want to go to the O'Reilly ETech conference next week, because that involves leaving my comfortable desk chair. But those scoundrels at O'Reilly have thwarted me by putting on a conference with a mix of practical business advice and weird philosophical hocus-pocus that I find irresistible. I've been checking out the conference schedule and here's the programming that jumps out at me as most compelling.
RIP Wallnote, Not The Only Victim Of Vista
Adobe's decision not to upgrade the current versions of its applications for Vista makes it the most visible software maker to struggle with the incompatibilities created by Microsoft's new operating system. But it's hardly the only one. The one I'll miss the most: Wallnote, a nice little Web-based note-taking app that's dying along with Active Desktop.
Simple Web Services Solve Simple Problems
We've recently seen a few interesting Internet services focused on doing one thing -- one very small thing -- and striving to do it very, very well. These include the Twitter blogging service, Jott for recording 15-second voice messages and transcribing them using speech recognition, and Remember The Milk and Imified for to-do list management.
Video: Grand Central Phone Service Explained
I've been enthusiastically recommending the Grand Central phone service to anyone who listens. It provides you with a single number that you can give out to people, and when they call it rings your cell phone, office phone, home phone, and other phones -- whatever numbers you want it to ring. Grand Central has some other features as well, as David Pogue explains in this humorous video.
Streaming Mobile Video At Mobile Monday
Mobile video was the hot topic at last night's Mobile Monday in New York. Those of you who know me know that I am something of a cynic when it comes to this subject. This is not to say that I don't think that mobile video has a future, but I do think several developments are needed to make it work, including better battery life and enhanced screen sizes. Maybe the
Kittens Say Macs Are Superior
This video of a kitten playing with a MacBook has been making the rounds of the blogs. Of course, real men don't watch kitten videos, so of course I didn't watch it. And I especially didn't say "Awwwww."
Work More Comfortably By Magnifying Your Display
Last week I confessed that I have become an obnoxious Mac evangelist. A friend who is a Windows user was complaining that he'd misplaced his reading glasses and had to crank up the zoom in Microsoft Word so he could get work done. I commented that the Mac has this really great magnifier built in; it's become one of my favorite Mac features. He told me to go away. But the thing is, the Mac zoom really <
Jott Provides Voice Reminders
Jott is a new service that lets you make a note to yourself even when you don't have hands free to write something down. You phone Jott on your cell phone, record a message up to 15 seconds, and Jott will run the message through a voice-to-text application and e-mail you the results.
Nokia Evangelizes S60 At A Blogger Party In NYC
Nokia last night kicked off a road show of sorts for its S60 smartphone platform here in New York City. The company threw a party for a select group of bloggers and S60 enthusiasts complete with free food, drinks, and a chance to win an unlocked N95 smartphone. How could I resist?
It's Not The U.S. Patent And Propaganda Office, Is It?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has done a really terrible job the last few years. But just when you think it's surely hit bottom, it sinks even lower. This week Patent Office Director Jon Dudas released a study that says peer-to-peer file-sharing services may be setting up children for copyright infringement lawsuits and compromising national security. What's that got to do with patent
Travel Tools That Let You Leave The Laptop Behind
The South by Southwest conference gave me an opportunity to try out travel tools I've been reading and writing about for a couple of years. I found I could easily leave the laptop computer in the hotel room while continuing to write articles and blog posts from the conference. What a big relief for my back and shoulders!
Viacom Vs. Media Fans: No One Wins
You know, now that it's out of the theaters, I imagine I'll probably rent the film Letters from Iwo Jima at some point. I've heard it's a great picture. However, if I didn't feel like renting it from Netflix or some similar service, and didn't care about copyright and ethics, I could always go to the Internet and download a copy. You say that Via
The Open-Sourcing Of College Education
College education has gone open source: A number of top universities are placing their course materials online, free. No course credit is granted, but self learners can have access to all the same materials as those shelling out tens of thousands of dollars annually. That's great news for IT pros who are either unemployed or looking to acquire new skills and knowledge.
I Have Become One Of Those Obnoxious Mac Evangelists
To my shame the other day, a friend called me on the fact that I've become one of those obnoxious people who turns every conversation about computers into a Mac-pimping session. Here's an actual instant message exchange:
New GPL License Is Coming; Linus Torvalds Wishes It Weren't
I was surprised in an e-mail exchange with Linus Torvalds at the depth of his criticism of the next version of the General Public License. I thought his differences with the Free Software Foundation would just fade away. Now I believe that it's not a simple issue to resolve.
Here's a Flash: Solid-State Storage Is Overtaking Rotating Memory
Intel has announced its first solid-state drive, a storage device that uses NAND flash memory instead of those oh-so-old-fashioned (and oh-so-fragile) spinning platters in traditional hard-disk drives. It's an idea with a lot of advantages (although price isn't yet one of them). But we'll all be considering flash-based replacements for our laptop hard drives. It's just a question of whether i