GNC-2010-11-08 #625 Back in the Saddle

Feels good to be back in the full swing of the show. I am having a great trip here in Albuquerque and really enjoying myself, will be doing an Ohana meet up this coming Friday. If you want to come out to dinner and your in the local area drop me an email so I can pass location and time.

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Stanford Internet Study Details Most Common Online Activities

A report of Internet-related activities, published by Stanford University in 2000, asked 4,000 respondents to select among a list of 17 online activities. The results were not surprising. An updated report is forthcoming next week.

[Read more...]

Most Americans Aren’t Tech Hip

Americans seem to be in love with their high-tech gadget. Cell phones with customized ring tones, personal digital assistants with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, high-speed broadband Internet connections, and software applications that provide greater processing power and accuracy than our parents ever dreamed about are available to us 24 hours a day, 365.242199 days a year.

But for all the hype about technological gadgets, most of us in the United States aren’t hip. According to a reported released today by the Pew Internet and American Life Project less than a third of Americans are high-end technology adopters. For this small group of Americans technology comes first. They’re willing to disconnect their wired telephones in favor of wireless cell phones; e-mail may be their principle communication tool; and the Internet defines their news and entertainment sources.

The Pew report is enlightening from many perspectives. For me, I was shocked to read how few Americans value technology as tool for maintaining communication.

Dave’s Opinion
One of the greatest social changes I’ve witnessed in the last two decades is the ready acceptance of and consequent dependence on computer-based technology. It seems to me that many Americans have the latest electronic gadget, whether it’s a cell phone that can e-mail color photographs or an MP3 CD player that plays continues music for over eight hours, never repeating a song. Me, I’m partial to PDA technology. I can’t remember my appointments, client phone numbers, or passwords; without my handheld digital computer, I’d have to return to carrying my leather portfolio wherever I go (and that can’t hang from my belt).

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

References
Pew Internet & American Life Project

Must Everything Be Free on the Internet?

Must everything eventually be available for free on the Internet? Steve Lohr, in an article in today’s New York Times, argued that all public digital data will eventually be free on the Internet, because it’s too difficult to protect the intellectual property (IP) rights of the authors.

Mr. Lohr presents an engaging argument for accepting the inevitable distribution and public acquisition of music, words, art, and other works protected by IP law. In facing this inevitable distribution of this collective corpus, we should rethink the protection we strive to afford creators of original works in a manner that recognizes and accepts the new technological environment in which we find ourselves.

An example of the misuse of Internet-related technology that has brings Mr. Lohr to his opinion is the wanton copying and distribution of digital music through file sharing services (i.e. Napster, KaZaA, Grokster, Morpheus), a violation of copyright law. In response, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) this week filed 261 lawsuits against individual users of file sharing systems, using their attempt to enforce current IP laws as a threat to the millions of other illegal music swappers.

Dave’s Opinion
Although, as Mr Lohr wrote, “[the Internet has] origins in the research culture of academia with its ethos of freely sharing information,” I can’t imagine that the early-adopter, circa 1960, academicians, scientists, and scholars freely shared all of their research and hard-earned scholarly writings. Having the technology to share data doesn’t require one to share the data. Having technical skill doesn’t grant one the right to acquire, let alone redistribute, data. I agree with Mr. Lohr that we must allow our approach to protecting the rights of artists to evolve in the face of technological advances; however, I don’t agree that it’s time to roll over and accept that dissemination of currently-protected works is inevitable and, therefore, shouldn’t be restricted.

Some things are inevitable: the sun will again rise and set,the net will continue to transmit data packets, and yes, copyright-protected music will be shared illegally. However, I judge that just because a task is difficult it is no reason to give up the fight. While I have no hard evidence at hand, my perception is that file swapping is most frequently done by young adults whose civil acumen isn’t matched by their technical skill. I think it’s reasonable that our file swappers are less practiced at critically thinking about the value of their civil responsibilities.

In handing over the reins of legal protection under the guise of accepting the inevitable aren’t we, the citizens who have had more opportunities to consider our responsibilities, failing to accept one of our primary civil responsibilities: raising the next generation to be upright, law-abiding citizens?

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments on the message center.

References
Message Center
Whatever Will Be Will Be Free on the Internet