Computer security is undeniably important, and as new vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited, the perceived need for new security solutions grows. 'Trusted computing' initiatives propose to solve some of today's security problems through hardware changes to the personal computer. Changing hardware design isn't inherently suspicious, but the leading trusted computing proposals have a high cost: they provide security to users while giving third parties the power to enforce policies on users' computers against the users' wishes -- they let others pressure you to hand some control over your PC to someone else. This is a 'feature' ready-made for abuse by software authors who want to anticompetitively choke off rival software.
It needn't be this way: a straightforward change to the plans of trusted computing vendors could leave the security benefits intact while ensuring that a PC owner's will always trumps the wishes of those who've loaded software or data onto the PC.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
This article explores using the Internet to post and distribute original material, rather than simply consuming content or distributing copyrighted material. We specifically address issues concerning universities that record, copy and distribute instructors' lectures onto DVDs. Students who miss a class or who wish to review the class again at their own pace would find these DVDs helpful. From this simple concept, many questions arise: Since students have already paid for the class, should they be given the DVDs for free? Or should the university collect a fee to cover the costs to record and store the DVDs? Should the university let students burn copies of the original in the library for free, or should the university charge for this activity to cover the cost of the equipment used to burn CDs?
I don't do this very often but I have to showcase one man's work and his calling: Better Workplace Now™. Tom Terez has set out to create better workplaces. This doesn't appear to be altruistic. Tom's writing indicates a pragmatism rather than idealism. Tom is a story-teller. He's well-equipped with an MBA and a degree in journalism. But he's not just a story-teller. I get the impression he lives the lessons of his stories.
When it comes to potential chaos, few places rival a grade school. And when it comes to leadership roles, few are as challenging as school principal. Just ask Dr. Fred Burton, principal of Wickliffe Elementary School, who describes the typical workday as 'a little like holding hands with a tornado.'
We must try harder to understand than to explain. The way forward is not in the mere construction of universal systemic solutions, to be applied to reality from the outside; it is also in seeking to get to the heart of reality through personal experience. Such an approach promotes an atmosphere of tolerant solidarity and unity in diversity based on mutual respect, genuine pluralism and parallelism. In a word, human uniqueness, human action and the human spirit must be rehabilitated.
Sooner or later politics will be faced with the task of finding a new, postmodern face. A politician must become a person again, someone who trusts not only a scientific representation and analysis of the world, but also the world itself. He must believe not only in sociological statistics, but also in real people. He must trust not only an objective interpretation of reality, but also his own soul; not only an adopted ideology, but also his own thoughts; not only the summary reports he receives each morning, but also his own feeling.
Friday, December 12, 2003
I like being connected. Some might call it an addiction, but I think of it more as being in constant touch with important information. When I want to know something, Google stands ready. When I need a definition of a word, I turn to dictionary.com. When I think of something I want to say, I want to put it on my blog before I forget.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
The SCO case has been dragging through the courts for months now. McBride threatens another 18 months before he gets to trial. But if this is all they've got, then again, Eben had it right at the start. This is nothing more than a failed company using a failed legal system to make money rather than producing great software. Don't tell me this is what the Framers had in mind when they drafted the Progress Clause of our Constitution.
Saturday, December 06, 2003
Wal-Mart wields its power for just one purpose: to bring the lowest possible prices to its customers. At Wal-Mart, that goal is never reached. The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don't change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.
Of course, U.S. companies have been moving jobs offshore for decades, long before Wal-Mart was a retailing power. But there is no question that the chain is helping accelerate the loss of American jobs to low-wage countries such as China. Wal-Mart, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s trumpeted its claim to "Buy American," has doubled its imports from China in the past five years alone, buying some $12 billion in merchandise in 2002. That's nearly 10% of all Chinese exports to the United States.
One way to think of Wal-Mart is as a vast pipeline that gives non-U.S. companies direct access to the American market. "One of the things that limits or slows the growth of imports is the cost of establishing connections and networks," says Paul Krugman, the Princeton University economist. "Wal-Mart is so big and so centralized that it can all at once hook Chinese and other suppliers into its digital system. So--wham!--you have a large switch to overseas sourcing in a period quicker than under the old rules of retailing."
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Amazon.com: Books: Object-Oriented Programming in C (4th Edition): "Object-Oriented Programming in C (4th Edition) by Robert Lafore (Author)"
Monday, December 01, 2003
From Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland, Volume 3)
Concerns of Cosmetic Ethicists
(visual: young man with twelve fingers)
VO: The World Association of Cosmetic Surgeons, meeting for their annual conference in Monte Carlo, find themselves with a bit more on their hands than usual. Cosmetic generation, an offshoot of stem-cell technology advancements, has been a fad among the rebellious young for several years, but recent advances now permit not just the generation of extra digits, but the actual addition of limbs and even nonhumanoid features such as tails.
(visual: artist's rendition of Goggleboy with dorsal fin and horns)
VO: Some surgeons and bioethicists worry that teenage fads are not the real problem.
(visual: Doctor Lorelei Schneider speaking at conference)
SCHNEIDER: ". . . We are already receiving troubling reports from some of the poorer parts of the world that manual laborers are being pressured to undergo limb-augmentation—to have not just extra digits generated, but extra hands and even arms. Those who refuse are less able to compete in a very, very tight market. . . ."