Friday, 31 August 2007

Rants

Stupid Stupid Stupid - #3 of a series

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America gets caught issuing fraudulent DMCA takedown notices (including one for a work issued under a Creative Commons license).

Oh, now they're saying they weren't real notices.

Let's see if we can get one for "our very own"!
Asimov Asimov Asimov Asimov Asimov

I'm not one of those "information wants to be free" absolutists. Creators have the right to make money from their works. But the present "intellectual property" regime is far too loaded in favor of the corporations that make up the Content Cartel.

Too bad Bill Quick is on vacation. I'd bet he'd have some interesting thoughts.

Oh, and by the way guys, this post is Copyright © 2007, Old Grouch.
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Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 21:38:00 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Sunday, 12 August 2007

Rants

Your tax dollars at work - 2

Remember that fiber-to-the-home high speed data service that we were promised "by the year 2000?"

All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contracted with their local telecommunication utilities for the build-out of fiber and hybrid fiber-coax networks intended to bring bidirectional digital video service to millions of homes by the year 2000. The Telecom Act set the mandate but, as it works with phone companies, the details were left to the states. Fifty-one plans were laid and 51 plans failed.

...I find it hard to remember any company or industry segment ever going zero for 51. This is a failure rate so amazing that any statistician would question the motives of those even entering such an endeavor. Did they actually expect to succeed? Or did they actually expect to fail? We may never know and it probably doesn't even matter, but one thing is sure: they expected to be paid and they were.

Over the decade from 1994-2004 the major telephone companies profited from higher phone rates paid by all of us, accelerated depreciation on their networks, and direct tax credits an average of $2,000 per subscriber for which the companies delivered precisely nothing in terms of service to customers. That's $200 billion with nothing to be shown for it.
 -- Robert Cringely
In my "major metropolitan" location there's no DSL (lines too old/too long), and fiber is nowhere in the future. I think I'd like my $2000 back. Then I could use it for something useful, like buying beer.

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 19:42:35 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 10 August 2007

Rants

Your tax dollars at work

This time, we're sending neoprohibitionist apparatchiks to a California resort for sun and fun!

Come next January when the top is up on my Mustang and I am shoveling my driveway, I will be warm in the knowledge that at least some of my federal tax dollars will be used to allow members of anti-alcohol groups to sun themselves at the Bahia Resort hotel in Mission Bay, Calif.
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Using a federal grant, the California Council on Alcohol Policy will hold a nice seminar for officials from tax-exempt groups that lobby the California legislature.
And what do you suppose they lobby the legislature for?
“This conference series has aided the development of a number of national and international initiatives, including … excise tax increase,” according to the conference website...

In its September 2003 report, the federally funded Institute of Medicine recommended raising alcohol excise taxes, stating that “top priority should be given to raising beer taxes.”
Gee, if business was doing this, it'd be called astroturfing.  But when our Betters in the bureaucracy do it, it's "for our own good."  Right.
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Quotes and info from Don Surber

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 15:27:35 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Thursday, 09 August 2007

Rants

When the lawyers take over your company

Johnson & Johnson, the health-products giant that uses a red cross as its trademark, sued the American Red Cross on Wednesday, demanding that the charity halt the use of the red cross symbol on products it sells to the public.

Johnson & Johnson said it has had exclusive rights to use the trademark on certain commercial products — including bandages and first-aid cream — for more than 100 years. -- AP Story, via International Herald-Tribune
Yes, you're supposed to protect your trademark. But there's absolutely no way J&J can achieve anything other than a Phyrric victory here. The public will punish them for their foolishness.

Where the hell was the board of directors?
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Via Slashdot

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 15:21:50 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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