Thursday, May 29, 2008
Last weekend, one of my Mac-related dreams finally came true. Apple Inc. opened a Vancouver Apple Store in Pacific Centre mall. Someone (I won't say who) actually suggested going to the grand opening. Short of getting some sort of freebie gift (something I wouldn't dare expect of the tightfisted jackholes who run Apple's accounting department), I couldn't see any reason why I'd want to stand in line to be squashed into a crowd of uncomfortably hip, not-quite-youngsters smelling faintly of patchouli. So naturally I declined.
In any case, I did have some free time downtown on Monday afternoon, so I decided to wander down there to check out the store. Despite a couple days of breathing space since the opening, and being an awkward time of the afternoon (around 2PM), the store was nonetheless packed. There must have been at least a dozen (probably more) hip, not-quite-young Apple employees buzzing around being super friendly to everyone.
It's a nice place: all of Apple's product lineup all packed into one store and displayed immaculately. Though there wasn't anything really surprising. An attractive, hip, and not-quite-young lady asked me if I wanted a tour of the store, I told her with a smile that I was doing okay, thanks. Then I looked around myself, and all of sudden I was outside of my own context. All I could see were yuppies oogling Apple products that have already been out for months, and Mac-compatible products that you could easily get at other electronics stores for less. And that's when I came to an epiphany: I hate Apple fans.
Now that I've confessed my sins before you all, let me offer some additional clarifications. I'm not switching to Windows, and I will never switch to Windows because Windows is a gigantic pile of shit and Mac OS X is the best operating system ever conceived of. Nor am I switching to Linux, not only because I enjoy actually using my computer more than I enjoy tweaking my boot partition, but also because I refuse to live in a state of denial where I believe The GIMP is actually a great image editor that can hold its own against Photoshop, when the former is in fact a gigantic pile of shit.
God, that felt good.
In any case, while the shortcomings of other operating systems are omnipresent, the majority of problems surrounding Apple products come from people. Specifically, the people who use it, and the people who sell it. Let's begin, shall we?
Continue reading "5 Things I Hate About The Apple Crowd" »
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Like the ever-vigilant watchman who rarely comes down from his tower, even to take a piss, the unblinking Michael Geist observes our government until it twitches enough to issue the rallying call: "TO ARMS! TO ARMS!"
And so he has. Once again rumours of a revised Canadian DCMA are circulating, indicating that our Conservative government may try to ram the legislation through parliament before the summer break. If this is true, it means that Industry Minister Jim Prentice has no intentions of pursuing any public consultation regarding new copyright legislation.
For those of you who are not already furiously banging out an e-mail, let me explain why this issue is so important by giving you a draft version of the letter I intend to send to select government officials:
UPDATE: I've fixed some things and added a fourth point of concern.
Dear Honourable ____________,
I am writing to you because I wish to express my opinions on upcoming copyright reforms that the Conservative government cited in this parliamentary session's throne speech. Copyright reform is a sensitive issue. We live in an era where information can be copied (legitimately or illegally), many times, over great distances, almost instantaneously. As a creative person who authors music, fiction, and websites, I have strong feelings about how my work is used by others.
That said, I feel much more strongly about making sure that the rights of ordinary Canadians are protected when any new legislation is introduced. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the United States has been a disaster for civil liberties in that country. Copyright reform in Canada can and must take the following considerations into effect:
Fair Use of Purchased Intellectual Property: Transferring a DVD movie or a recorded TV show onto a video iPod is becoming a regular activity for technologically savvy Canadians. The media industry would like to force us pay again and again for the right to use the same movie, music, or book in different digital environments. Copyright reform must protect the right of consumers who have legitimately purchased content to use said content for private viewing on different platforms.
Reverse Engineering: Scientific ideas are already very well protected by international patent law. Engineers have for quite some time learned about things by taking them apart. Not to copy them and find themselves at the receiving end of a patent lawsuit, but simply to learn: This is a fundamental principle of engineering. The act of studying or dismantling any software or technology is no different than reverse-engineering. Patents already protect ideas. Banning reverse engineering revokes the right to learn.
Satirical Derivation: Our culture of comedy thrives on the practice of imitating popular media for satirical or parodic humour. The rights of a comedian to harmlessly satirize must be protected in a free and open society.
Protection of Privacy: Now that personal information is stored on computers more often than it is stored on paper, we must now more than ever be sure that the average Canadian's privacy is protected. Giving police broad powers to search people's computers, or allowing ISPs to watch what each and every one of us download is not only unsettling, it sounds like a police state. Any extra powers granted to law enforcement must be tempered by stringent judicial oversight.
The concerns I have raised today are by no means new ones. They represent the very foundation that liberal democracy is founded upon. Laws protect the people at large: not the powerful, not special interests groups. Most importantly, the law assumes that we are innocent until proven guilty. The law assumes that a Canadian is ripping a DVD he owns to watch it on his iPod; not that he is a pirate intent on mass distribution. The law assumes that a reverse-engineer wishes to educate himself; not that he intends to steal ideas or commit sabotage.
As new technologies rapidly transform the very fabric of our society, we, the citizens and lawmakers, must be ever vigilant to make sure that the laws introduced to regulate these new mediums favour freedom of expression and ideas, not the heavy-handed control of them. Otherwise, we risk dismantling the very tenets of democracy that we hold so dear. This is not alarmist, nor exaggeration. This is our future.
Thank you for your time.
Feel free to copy and modify my verbiage for your own e-mails/letters as you see fit. You see, as far as I am concerned:
"Human knowledge belongs to the world."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
I have my fair share of colds, flus, and other mysterious illnesses during any given year. But every once in a while a bug comes along that reminds you what it's like to truly suffer. Such is the case yesterday, today, and probably for a couple of days yet to come. I've been completely congested from head to chest. Yesterday I was coughing to continuously I though I was going to hack up a lung. I ended up giving myself a double-dose of DM (because I figured any side effects couldn't possibly be worse that what I was already going through.).
Needless to say, the bed has been my near-constant residence, and when not trying to sleep I've had a lot of time to surf the interwebs. Here's some recent favourites:
Muslims in India toss babies for good luck
An amazing R2-D2 replica at the Maker Faire, better than the real thing (Be sure to check out the dancing video at the bottom of the page)
You've been Beaker rickrolled. (if you don't get the joke, look it up)
Duck Hunt lamp with NES Zapper
I empathize with this trailer so very much
Friday, May 02, 2008
Tic Tacs are now available in enormous 49g packages. I've also discovered a lemon and lime citrus version.
I've figured it out. Juno was a giant conspiracy to get us all eating more Tic Tacs. Damnit Bleaker...