SOPA/Protect IP: Retarding Progress

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 

If you have ever found the internet useful for anything other than browsing corporate web sites, for example if you’ve ever looked up an independent review or enjoyed a post like this one by anyone at all, then you must contact your representative and insist they reject SOPA and Protect IP.

This act is the most inane, repressive, anti-progress, anti-civil-rights, special interest protecting, bought and paid for legislation I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.  Every site that has an opinion that might offend anyone with an in-house lawyer will be erased from the DNS system.  The primary opponents of the bill point out that sites like Google and Youtube are targets, but the tactic will not be to strike at targets that can afford lawyers, the tactic will be to wipe out small sites that aren’t generating much revenue first and establish precedent before taking out the big guys.  First all the fun sites will go, then youtube, but, hey, you’ll still have Hulu and Microsoft.com.

Anyone who is favorable to this bill does not understand the constitution and is not fit to stand in office.  It is an absolute rejection of the constitutional mandate to “promote progress and the useful arts” solely to enable short-term profiteering by absurdly wealthy studio execs.

The bills primary sponsors, Patrick Leahy and Lamar Smith: whatever you can do to get these tools of the studio execs out of office, please do.  They’re not from my state, but if they were I’d back anyone who challenged them.

Co spononsors must also be ejected as forcefully as possible.

Protect IP Cosponsors

Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN] – 5/25/2011
Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 6/27/2011
Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO] – 7/25/2011
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] – 10/19/2011
Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] – 5/12/2011
Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 5/23/2011
Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 6/15/2011
Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] – 10/20/2011
Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 7/13/2011
Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] – 9/7/2011
Sen Chambliss, Saxby [GA] – 11/2/2011
Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] – 6/23/2011
Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE] – 5/12/2011
Sen Corker, Bob [TN] – 6/9/2011
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] – 6/30/2011
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] – 9/7/2011
Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] – 5/12/2011
Sen Franken, Al [MN] – 5/12/2011
Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] – 5/26/2011
Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 5/12/2011
Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 5/12/2011
Sen Hagan, Kay [NC] – 7/5/2011
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 5/12/2011
Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 11/2/2011
Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] – 10/3/2011
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 5/12/2011
Sen Kohl, Herb [WI] – 5/12/2011
Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] – 10/17/2011
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] – 7/7/2011
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 7/26/2011
Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] – 10/31/2011
Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] – 9/23/2011
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 11/7/2011
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 5/26/2011
Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] – 5/12/2011
Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH] – 6/30/2011
Sen Udall, Tom [NM] – 7/7/2011
Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 11/7/2011
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 5/12/2011

SOPA Cosponsors

Rep Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2] – 11/3/2011
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 11/14/2011
Rep Bass, Karen [CA-33] – 11/3/2011
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] – 10/26/2011
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 10/26/2011
Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45] – 10/26/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 11/3/2011
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 10/26/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] – 10/26/2011
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] – 10/26/2011
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 10/26/2011
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 10/26/2011
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 10/26/2011
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 11/3/2011
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] – 11/14/2011
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 11/3/2011
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 11/3/2011
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 11/14/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 10/26/2011
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 11/14/2011
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] – 10/26/2011
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 10/26/2011
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] – 11/3/2011
Rep Watt, Melvin L. [NC-12] – 11/3/2011

Posted at 07:54:21 UTC

Category: politics

Facebook Lose

Sunday, November 13, 2011 

For some time now I’ve used Facebook as a broadcast channel for my content. That is, I post to my personal, self-hosted, on my own server, in my own house blog so I actually, unambiguously own my content. Then I let facebook rebroadcast it. That is, apparently, going to end.

They have decided that they will make it more difficult to use facebook to disseminate content facebook doesn’t own – that is any content you actually enter into the facebook interface is facebook’s and they chose whether to keep it or delete it, make money off it or bury it. You’re just an unpaid worker troll feeding their advertising revenue machine, and you will no longer let to play with their toys if you don’t play along.

Social networks are kind of cool, but it will be a good thing when facebook jumps the shark and we get the next iteration. It’ll be a sad day for everyone who has put a lot of effort into gifting facebook with as much content as they can though, when all that UGC goodness ends up on ebay’s used hard disks section for bargain hunters to sift through with disk recovery tools for their own amusement.

facebook_lose.jpg

Posted at 09:27:52 UTC

Category: -

2012 Mitsubishi Spyder

Thursday, November 10, 2011 

Hertz gave me this very nice little convertible as a rental when I found my allocated slot empty and they didn’t have my allocated class in the lot, a nice upgrade.IMG00291-20111110-1653.jpg

It has two defining features:

  • it is a convertible and a sporty one at that,
  • it comes with a subwoofer equipped stereo which defines the target market.

This is definitely not a car targeted at classical music listeners. The stereo with the fosgate “punch” setting cranked up is a base heavy “boom car” experience. It sounds fine, the base is clean and well rendered, but it isn’t the balanced, well staged clarity of the sound system in a Mercedes, for example, but fits a particular demographic well.IMG00290-20111110-1622.jpg

The car itself is quite sporty and handles well. Unlike a lot of lower end convertibles, including the Mustang, the body is very stiff and and takes turns and bumps without any tangible body flex. The car corners flat and understeers predictably and with good control (I discovered unintentionally while making a quick u-turn). The car also has more power than one would expect for such a small vehicle, and can spin the back wheels from a stop without resorting to a neutral drop, also an unintentional discovery. Really.

Road noise with the top up is pretty good for a convertible, and better than most at freeway speeds with the top down.

I’d say it is a pretty good choice for a low cost, youth-oriented convertible.

Posted at 20:35:54 UTC

Category: photoPositiverental carsreviews

Deplane via mobile lounge?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 

This is a first for me: the jetbridge was stuck, after about 40 min of trying to get it to lower they brought us a mobile lounge and we deplaned from the rear.

Posted at 05:20:27 UTC

Category: -

USAir, not my favorite airline…

Monday, November 7, 2011 

Carolyn and I were flying from LGA to DCA early this morning. I booked an award ticket through UAL on USAIR, but mine was a connecting flight through PHL as there wasn’t any availability on the direct for award tickets. On UAL this means you have a confirmed flight on the less optimal route but if there are seats at the gate the agent will get you to your destination the most efficient route available, which is also the lowest CO2 emission route and the lowest cost route for the airline: everybody wins.

I called US air the night before to verify that I could fly standby (no problem, I was told) and that there were seats (looks like plenty, I was told). No problemmo.

But not with US-Air. Not that they weren’t friendly enough, but as my booking class was “X” and they didn’t have any “X” seats left, they couldn’t book me even though there were plenty of open seats. I tried with the gate agent, the supervisor, all to no avail. I called UAL but they don’t have any visible inventory because US-Air doesn’t share it with them. US-Air tells me UAL has to get me into one of their open seats. UAL shows no open seats.

So I figure I’ll just go to the gate. Gate agents have special powers over last minute seating. I show them my ticket and they immediately hand it back “no, we already called United, they won’t put you on this flight.” I’m thinking there must be a note on my ticket – but no, apparently the counter had called the gate and specifically told them not to let me on the flight. I get on the phone with UAL and they tell me “I don’t understand why they won’t just accept your coupon.” No budging.

I thought maybe I’d take the shuttle over to JFK and fly direct to IAD, but Carolyn pointed out there was a UAL express flight from LGA-IAD. As I have to get back to IAD later in the day anyway, it is a better option (pick up a rental car and drive myself into DC and back out). UAL got me on it no problem. I bus myself over to the UAL counter, and a very cool and very knowledgeable agent at the counter tells me about his family in Italy and his recording business in Rome while he gets me a very good seat on the LGA-IAD shuttle and clears my upgrade and tickets me for tonight’s flight back to SFO. Friendly agents, premium seating, no hassle, expedited security line.

UAL win: USAir Fail.

Glad I’m not causing a transfer payment after all. Lesson: it is worth flying a less convenient route on UAL than a more convenient one on USAir.

Posted at 05:27:04 UTC

Category: -

Oh Google… you’re so cute.

Friday, November 4, 2011 

Sure you’re the largest data harvester in the world and you’ve convinced more people than even microsoft to migrate their personal and business data away from their relatively secure and relatively private personal computers and company servers onto your public, ephemeral servers where you make their data to every government in the world you do business with and all the hackers in China, and even in those circumstances where you do actually provide some measure of security, your services have helped eliminate any residual rational discomfort people might have had about giving Big Brother direct editorial review of every communication they have, every document they create, every question they think about. More than any other company, if only by dint of your scale, you have made an Orwellian informational panopticon reality.

But who can stay mad when you’re so damn cute.  Barrel roll 🙂

Posted at 03:51:05 UTC

Category: funnypolitics

A Very Energetic Band at Borgo a Mozzano’s Halloween

Thursday, November 3, 2011 

This band was playing a small stage along Via Roma at Borgo a Mozzano’s Halloween festival.   I haven’t been able to figure out their name yet (will update when I do).  The singer managed to put out an amazing amount of vocal power from such a small frame.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exAWzdE7wa0[/youtube]

(on youtube)

Posted at 07:13:14 UTC

Category: Eventsplacestravelvideo

Fantomatik Orchestra at Borgo a Mozzano

Thursday, November 3, 2011 

The Fantomatik Orchestra performing at Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZc_5GvsqSk[/youtube]

That’s our local butcher dancing with the cow’s head and eyeball.

(on youtube the video is available in 1080)

Posted at 04:03:03 UTC

Category: GeopostplacesPositivereviewstravelvideo

Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 

Borgo a Mozzano hosts the biggest Halloween festival in Italy and this year was the biggest yet. The streets were so packed with people it was almost impossible to move in some places. There were at least 8 stages, each hosting several different bands through the night playing all sorts of music from heavy metal to gypsy punk to polka, but one of the best was the marching band which had our town butcher out dancing with a cows head.

Halloween_Borgo_a_Mozzano_2011_DSC06657.jpg
Posted at 10:42:55 UTC

Category: Eventsplacestravel

Lucca Comics and Games 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 

Lucca Comics and Games is a bit like Comic-con except in a medieval walled city, which goes well with a lot of the costumes.

Lucca_Comics_And_Games_2011_DSC06005.jpg
World of Warcraft?

Posted at 09:12:49 UTC

Category: Eventsplacestravel