Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

I Can Haz Worldcats??!


For context, read the continuing adventures of OCLC, WorldCat and the intricate scandals of the librarian community. It’s fascinating stuff– librarians fighting back against a monster of their own creation. Copyright, fair use, creative commons, an old behemoth trying to change with the times, it has all the ingredients of a magnificent geek activism tale.

Above image is based on “Cute cat” by Per Ola Wiberg (former ponanwi and Powi) and was generated using the lolcats generator.

The New DRM’ed Macbook, Now with Reduced Functionality

The new MacBook from Apple comes with the new digital video output connector. Great news, you say. What Apple has avoided mentioning is that these connectors allow movie studios to force the computer to authenticate any monitor or display you have connected. That is to say that if the movie studios haven’t approved your monitor, it won’t display HD content from iTunes.

Says Fred von Lohmann:

This is a remarkably short-sighted move for both Apple and Hollywood. This punishes existing iTunes customers: several have reported that iTunes purchases that played on external monitors on their old Macbooks no longer will play on their new Macbooks. In other words, thanks to the Macbook “upgrade,” Apple just “downgraded” everyone’s previous investment in iTunes content.

I’ve written about this many times before- but any DRM’ed content– like iTunes movies– is at the mercy of the vendor, a board room somewhere in California, back room deals or the crashing financial market. Basically, forces outside your control can snatch your investment from you at any time. And this is not some dystopian future- it has happened to many people already. Walmart, MSN Music, Yahoo! Music and Google Video have all decided to stop supporting the content of paying customers, rendering their videos and music in to junk bits.

Facebook Awarded $873 Million in Spam Damages

Facebook awarded $873 million in spam case, but nothing for the poor users who actually got the spam. According to Max Kelly of Facebook, this is the largest judgment in history for a case brought under the Can-Spam Act.