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March 22, 2002
Sarah Brady Violates Deleware Firearms Law

Sarah Brady, famous for her anti-gun group now known as Handgun Control, Inc., bought her son a 30-06 scoped rifle. Though she went through the background checks, it turns out that Delaware state law does not allow intra-family transfers and considers her purchase an illegal straw man purchase. It really happened.

Posted by hoffmang at 02:20 PM

Senate Taking Comments on son of SSSCA

The Senate Judiciary committee is taking comments online on the bill formerly known as SSSCA and now known as the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act. Please think before flaming, but remember that enough voters making comments reminds elected officials that they have to cater to more than just Hollywood dollars.

I plan on submitting testimony. It struck me last night that a bill like this will truly create a digital divide. Those of us who are comfortable with open source and programming are going to have better and greater access to information than the rest of the citizenry. Think of it as only the technology high clergy have the ability to manipulate information. Because DRM is mathematically impossible, it will always be breakable by the technical elite. It's everyone else who will have to suffer a prior restraint on free speech.

BTW: I am now one of the endorsers of The Digital Consumer Bill of Rights.

Posted by hoffmang at 02:18 PM

March 14, 2002

Walt Mossberg used his Personal Technology column in the WSJ today to alert readers to the intensifying battle over DRM via Hollings et. al. Walt also points out the proposed DigitalConsumer.org Consumer Technology Bill of Rights.Thanks Walt!

Posted by hoffmang at 10:52 AM

March 10, 2002
Early Earth Life Damaged By Supernova?

A new theory supported by some intriguing evidence implies that Earth's ozone layer was significantly damaged by supernova. The Scorpius-Centaurus cluster apparently passed much closer to Earth than originally predicted. Iron samples implying a supernova effecting earth 2 million years ago and significantly damaging the then mostly marine life due to UV ray damage.

Posted by hoffmang at 11:15 PM

Google Pulls Firearms Related Ads

An advertiser had his non firearm related AdWord purchases pulled for "policy" reasons apparently because his site offers firearm related merchandise.

Dell just had a recent issue in a similar vain, though it clearly wasn't Dell's choice - as it seems to be in this case - to not do business with legitimate businesses in the firearms field. It would seem like a difficult policy for Google to defend in light of the fact that they routinely sell "sex, ass f***, c**t, t*ts, etc..." Choosing which items to support in the Bill of Rights for business interest is risky with a largely libertarian audience.

As a private business Google clearly has the right to not take certain advertisers, and I certainly understand and applaud that there is no evidence that they would change search rankings. However, choosing not to allow firearms advertising while taking hardcore porn, tobacco, online "pharmaceuticals" like Viagra, cable descramblers, even abortion clinics, seems to make a loud political statement to me. Don't get me wrong - I am very glad they take all of these other ads - let speech ring. However, excluding firearms seems to be sponsoring a corporate position on a loud debate.

I had been very impressed with all of Google's corporate decisions - until this one. Saddest is the fact that AdWords is such a well executed strategy.

Posted by hoffmang at 12:43 AM

March 08, 2002
Pong returns

Check out this excellent web animation. Something fitting for all of us mid to late 20 somethings.

Posted by hoffmang at 10:46 PM

March 02, 2002
The History and Interpretations of the Koran

Though the interpretation of the Koran seems like an obscure issue, This New York Times piece has some excellent points both about alternate interpretations of Islam, and the social and political ramifications.

While scriptural interpretation may seem like a remote and innocuous activity, close textual study of Jewish and Christian scripture played no small role in loosening the Church's domination on the intellectual and cultural life of Europe, and paving the way for unfettered secular thought. "The Muslims have the benefit of hindsight of the European experience, and they know very well that once you start questioning the holy scriptures, you don't know where it will stop," the scholar explained.

Definitely worth a read.

Posted by hoffmang at 02:05 PM

March 01, 2002
The Marketplace Agress With Mathematics

It is just DRM day here at hoffmang.com. This article from The MIT Enterprise Technology review found via Techdirt runs through the list of companies that have failed trying to deploy DRM. Outside of the fact that the stuff doesn't work at all, it talks about the fact that making digital content even harder to use than it already is for legitimate customers is just not a winning strategy.

Update: Wired is running an updated story on the Hollings Hearing. It includes the usual data that proves Hollywood gives Dems two times as much as the Republicans. I was boggled by the potential fines for systems that defeat protection.

Posted by hoffmang at 12:03 PM

Software DRM Mathematically Disproven

So, in the middle of the Hollings SSSCA debate Slashdot runs this entry about a mathematical proof that software DRM will not work. The funniest part is that even if you add hardware to the equation, that hardware has to interact with software in the OS. There are some protocols that might work with hardware, but the value of beating them is just too high. No matter what, the laws protecting the protection will likely fail on either prior restraint of free speech grounds - especially the laws that stop the publication of technologies that defeat copyright protection measures.

It is always so clear when one thinks in the context of a book. A book on lock picking can not be banned. Nor can a book on digital lock picking.

Posted by hoffmang at 11:42 AM

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