I think it's great that the people of Iran are beginning what appears to be the start of a revolution against their oppressive theocratic government. That said, I am always equally disappointed in the American politicians exploiting this situation, where innocent people are dying, using it as a chance to grandstand. Every American politician that calls for American intervention in the uprising has blood on their hands right now. The mullahs want westerners to call for Iranian revolution. It adds credence to their myth that westerners are meddling. They want any excuse possible to put this thing down.
I also find it very ironic that the same politicians calling for western assistance for the revolutionaries were, not a month ago, supportive of bombing the crap out of Iran. I'm looking at you, Senator bomb-bomb-bomb McCain.
All that said, if the Iranians ask for help. I hope they get help...
But we should never forget that this is not just a series of interesting twitter feeds. There are real consequences and real lives -- innocent lives -- at stake.
Good luck, Iran.
Update (June 23, 2009): Excellent op-ed here on this subject; h/t ginandtacos.com
A woman steals something from someone. Actually, she stole 24 things. And they were from a company, not a person. Actually, they are illegal music downloads and she didn't really steal from the copyright holder as much as she obtained copyrighted material from a third party without the copyright holder's permission. It's still theft. And you won't hear me argue otherwise because I do believe copyright infringement is a serious crime.
So did she perform an illegal act? Yes, absolutely. Should she be forced to pay a civil penalty beyond simply the market value of the product she stole? Yes, sure. That's part of the punishment for committing a crime and its also a deterrent for others thinking about committing the same crime. Should she have to pay a penalty that is 80,000 times the market value of the product? pfffbbbtbttttttt! WTF?! HELL NO!
This is ridiculous. These types of excessive fines do nothing to add value to copyrighted material like music, books, and videos. If anything, it just makes copyright holders look like petty bullies, diminishing the value of the works that they are protecting. As a copyright holder of my own music, I am sympathetic to the concerns of copyright holders regarding illegal downloading of music. I was a big defender of shutting down Napster (the original highly illegal one). I also have no sympathy for The Pirate Bay. But this case… This case is just absolutely ridiculous. It is beyond excessive. IANAL, but to me this case seems to be an Eighth Amendment violation.
The punishment needs to fit the crime. Make her pay the court fees, the market value of the music, plus a $250 civil penalty and call it a day.
I don't mean to just turn this into a blog of short blurbs and links, but I've found a lot of excellent posts lately that I want to share. Here's another one.
I just recently joined the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech). They are a part of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), which itself is a part of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
I had been toying around with the idea of joining a union for a long time. I knew there were a lot of things happening in the technology world that only organized labor could properly deal with. For example, outsourcing our jobs to countries where labor is cheaper and the stagnant wages we've seen since the tech bubble burst of 2001. However, it just didn't seem like there was any option for me as a high tech worker. I was actually quite envious of my blue collar brethren.
Then I discovered WashTech. I thought it was awesome that Microsoft workers formed this union, but I just didn't see how that would directly benefit me, living in North Carolina, other than the national advocacy and lobbying they do.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and decided to try it on for a year. So I plopped down my union dues and today received my membership packet. The benefits I'm receiving are much more than I expected. Since WashTech is a part of CWA, which is a part of the AFL-CIO, I receive every benefit that every other AFL-CIO member receives. This includes discounts on tons of stores and items through their "Union Plus" discount program. I also receive free life insurance. Not a huge amount, but it's free just for being a member.
They may not be able to help me negotiate contracts or directly local high tech communicate workers' needs to businesses in my area, but the fringe benefits plus the national advocacy is a fantastic start!
It feels good to know I'm now a member of an organization whose mission is to protect my job. And the discounts I'm receiving I feel will nearly pay for the union dues. I'm a pretty proud union member right now.
If you are an American tech worker, I highly recommend joining. It doesn't matter if you don't live in the northwest, you'll enjoy some great benefits and also know that somebody is watching your back in this crappy economy.
The more tech workers that join, the more powerful the union will become, and the more our voices will be heard.
Thanks, Media Matters, for this piece. I never thought the administration was calling all right-wingers terrorists. I also never thought that the report on left-wing terrorists (released around the same time) was unnecessary.
Thanks, Washington Punditry, for your silliness in this serious matter that has led to the deaths of innocent lives, simply due to political views.
P.S., the guy in the still shot looks so much like Colbert, it's frightening.
Maybe, says D. Aristophanes from Sadly, No!
You know, I never thought about it from that angle, but it kinda makes sense. It doesn't make it right, but it does make sense.
Regarding Judge Sotomayor. Excellent read. Read it!
Would somebody please explain to reporters that just because they buy everything Apple makes without question, that doesn't mean iPhone is dominant in business mobile communications? The common refrain I'm seeing in online and print articles is that the new Palm Pre is taking the iPhone on! No, it's not. It's taking RIM's Blackberry on. RIM owns the business sphere. And the Palm Pre is very much a business phone, like its "in spirit" predecessor, the Treo. Sure, the iPhone has business users and the Pre non-business users, but that's not the target market.
Apples and oranges, people. The shocking conclusion will be: some people prefer the iPhone and some people prefer the Pre. Shocking!!
I can't wait until a Windows Mobile phone has a portrait-oriented slide out keyboard like the Palm Pre. I love the Blackberry/Treo keyboard, but not the small square screens. The landscape keyboard that HTC keeps giving us are nice, but the screen orientation switching is a bit annoying. The Palm Pre fixes this, but I'm too much of a Windows Mobile guy to defect for that small feature. ;-)
This is so freaking cool. I hope they can adapt this technique to ears so I can I get super hearing! http://gizmodo.com/5277456/stem-cell-contact-lenses-cure-blindness-in-less-than-a-month
A coworker just turned me onto the Google Wave presentation. I must say it looks like the coolest IM client I've ever seen. But I am skeptical about it replacing email. I'm old enough to remember when ICQ was going to replace email. Uhm, not so much.
I'm not a technological luddite – I love new technology. I just can't see this replacing SMTP email because it is so vastly different. We haven't even replaced IP4 yet on the internet. What makes Google think they seriously stand a chance replacing SMTP?
In my humble opinion, the only way SMTP email will be replaced is if there is a multi-company standardized platform that's agreed on by all the big corporate players, the myriad of Open Source projects, as well as being completely backward compatible in some fashion for older systems that cannot or will not be upgraded for whatever reason.
Wave wasn't designed this way. It's a clean break. IT standards adoption trends just don't seem to like clean breaks!
All that said, Wave is really cool looking and I'm sure it will be an excellent competitor to other collaborative technologies out there now, like SharePoint. In fact, as it stands it looks like it is way ahead of Redmond in collaborative and communications aspects (especially if Grand Central is integrated into Wave), so it will be an interesting competitive fight to come!
Maybe it will inspire the replacement of SMTP, but it won't be the replacement itself. Let's see if I'm right about this. Bury this post in a time capsule somewhere. ;-)
Also, if you are a tinfoil hat type (not a bad thing when you work in IT security), this article is for you.