Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

another '29

in his his weblog entry in Salon today, Joe Conason mentions the paralells between Hoover and Bush in how they are handling the collapse of the stockmarket. Maybe some of the numbers I mentioned a few days ago will come true after all.

The Wall Street Journal today ran an article as well doing similar comparisons and considering whether the public anger will turn into sweeping new legislation. It doesn't seem likely. Money is too entrenched in politics these days for something like that to happen.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 24, 2002 at 7:37 PM

news bombardment

The things that happen everyday on this world are beyond belief. At times I feel as if somebody had splashed sulfuric acid on my soul and the liquid was slowly corroding it, yet my reaction to that is not just pain, but pain mixed with preternatural amazement, a twisted kind of understanding and acceptance based on detached subjectivity.

So many things these days deal with a single news item, such as terrorists, or their possible attacks, or the US, or its attacks, or corporate corruption and how it affects government, and the subsequent corporate collapses, and the "aftermath" --what's MATH got to do with any of this is beyond me-- of any of those things... They are doing a really good job of desensitizing me, even though I don't watch much TV so my exposure is orders of magnitude less than for many people, who are bombarded every day, sometimes looking for something that will help them understand what's going on and finding mostly empty ideology instead of true opinion or analysis.

And on it goes. A crash today, a bubble tomorrow. Will we ever go beyond wars and money? We should at least take a break and build a few pyramids, like the Egyptians did. Maybe they did it to get out of a recession, some kind of public-works project? Was the pharaoh a slave to the stockmarket too, reading newspapers chiseled every day in the rocks around him? And maybe, just maybe, that's were the "wall" in Wall Street Journal comes from, (instead of, say, some reference to a street in lower Manhattan).

History repeats itself.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 24, 2002 at 6:36 PM

hacking as defense

Hollywood and the recording labels have succeeded in their lobbying efforts to introduce a bill in the US Congress that would allow them to hack machines if they are suspected of participating in piracy. The bill has just been introduced, so it's far from clear what will happen, and even maybe unlikely that it will pass, but I think that, rather than doing what the RIAA says, "fight fire with fire," they are actually doing something more along the lines of "fight fire by breaking into the house, stealing everything, and jailing the owner." I wonder what they are doing to influence things internationally, particuarly in the European Union.

When are they going to realize that if only they provided a good, reasonably inexpensive way to share media, people would use it? Most people that use P2P have fast connections, large amounts of storage, and good machines, which means they are, on average, affluent. Therefore, they could pay, and would, if the price was right, if the service was good.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on July 24, 2002 at 4:22 PM

corporations and open source

Today I realized that there is an exception to the rule regarding control of open source projects that I mentioned yesterday. The question was how much can an open source project be controlled, the answer was: not much. The exception is: unless you're a corporation.

Corporations manage to keep tight control of their open source projects when they want to, not because their programmers have more Vitamin B and excercise often, but because they create their own open source license. Everybody seems to have an open source license these days. With their proliferation (examples: the OpenOffice License, the Mozilla/Netscape Licenses, etc, etc.) I imagine this must be a profitable niche for lawyers by now. With special licenses they control how much things can change, and although of course once the code is out there anybody can use it for something else, it would be illegal.

Their main reason for "open-sourcing" things seems to be publicity and trying to stop Microsoft from crushing them, not in that order. Real's recent move to open-source part of its software is a good example. Microsoft, as usual in anything that deals with business matters (ie not technical) is way ahead of everybody else and has been perfecting its strategy of perverting open source licenses for its own uses.

Most of these phony initiatives wither and die, since usually there is nobody from the developer community behind them (except a few open source "gurus" that always come out and say that anybody that uses open source is a Good Thing). Hopefully in the long run more good than bad will come out of these initiatives.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on July 24, 2002 at 1:11 PM

the neutrality of the internet

I recently read an article that discussed how filtering might reduce or wipe out the end-to-end neutrality (in other words, the "openness") of the Internet. It's not the first time this argument has been made: that the Internet knows no barriers, that nobody should control it, or the information in it, that this "natural neutrality" is being lost to the control of corporations and governments, and on and on.

What I wonder is, when exactly did this fantasy begin? At the early stages the Internet wasn't owned by a corporation, it was owned by the department of defense! Whatever perception we had of "openness" was clearly a dream. The US military (or that of any other country for that matter) is not precisely in the business of supplying tools to make libertarian utopias a reality. In Capitalism, ownership implies something physical to own, and information doesn't fit that category, so ownership of the network falls on whoever controls the software, the access points, the routers, the cables. Information seemed to "know no boundaries", but it was an illusion. The owners of the infrastructure were only asleep at the switch.

True neutrality on the Internet is not being lost. It never really existed.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 24, 2002 at 12:37 PM

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