Blaktron's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the with-a-tribute-thrown-in dept

When Mike asked me to write this weeks favorites post, it was a week like any other. The TSA was harassing the innocent over something ridiculous, another patent troll was suing over using WiFi, and another collection society unilaterally raising fees simply because they can.

It wasn't all bad news at the start of the week, with the US Supreme Court refusing to hear ASCAP's golden case, and let stand that downloading music does not require an extra fee, just to them. Brazil drafted a fairly decent looking framework for internet rights, although who knows if that will go anywhere. And a former MPAA PI spilled the beans on a bunch of stuff we all know is happening, but cant do anything about.

Wednesday started out with Princeton University fighting back against the academic journal monopoly on what should be freely available human knowledge, but went downhill from there with the reports on the Hadopi program going into full swing, the RIAA pissing on the 4th amendment, and the MPAA revelling in the theft of content from the public.

But then, everything changed and the unthinkable happened. The tech industry lost our first genuine hero. I know everyone is probably sick of the reflections on all the ways Steve Jobs changed our world, but Mike gave me the soapbox, and now I'm going to use this opportunity to highlight some important lessons the last 36 years have taught us. Brilliant innovation comes in many forms, only a few genuine geniuses can ever predict what the future can hold, and even that genius is going to be working 90 hours a week for years and years before he can change the world. But change the world he can and, love him or hate him, when Steve spoke, history shook. No one in my lifetime has changed the world over and over again like Steven P. Jobs. I sit here using a product that exists because even after he was laughed out of every bank and VC in northern California, he still knew that every man, woman and child on planet earth deserved a computer, and we owe so much to him. I'm a Windows/Android 'fanboy' personally, but even if you hate iPhones and patent suits, I would like you to take a moment to think about what your life would have been without the Apple II and the Macintosh. I promise you it would be dimmer.

Since that fateful moment Wednesday evening, which I believe I will remember as my parents remembered Kennedy's assassination, there have been more stories on the ridiculousness of our "Intellectual Property" situation here, with a judge doubling the royalties in a patent case for "lack of respect" for the patent system. I mean, how could you not respect such unilateral, undemocratic decision making in the courts? Even stupider is Astrolabe (no name jokes, even though they write themselves) claiming it owns the copyright on Timezone data. Really? I wonder what the Royal Observatory has to say about that, seeing as if you can copyright that data, a lot of folks owe them about 350 years of royalties.

The week capped off with the news that France had outlawed mod chips. Which made me wonder: "People still use mod chips? So many better ways to pirate games today…" Then the controversial charitable donation by Microsoft, where they can give away a billion dollars and people STILL criticize them for that. Unbelievable. But anyway, still more unbelievable is that someone thinks it is possible to copyright a 500 year old painting (or a picture of that, and nothing else). Also, politicians in Norway thinking that censorship is the answer to entertaining their people. Really? Because people have traditionally always loved censored art. I just don't understand why taking things away from your customers is a good way to sell them something. I'm no salesman, but when I buy a car, the shifty stranger trying to get my money doesn't try to take it by telling me all the things he refuses to give me. Maybe they need more used car salesmen and less lawyers down there in California, but that's not for me to say.

It's been a hell of a week in the tech world, and the world seems a little less bright without Jobs in it, but at least his innovative spirit lives on, in the computers we type on and the phones we swipe on. Rest differently, Mr Jobs, since we all live differently because of your touch. Thank you for the PC, the GUI, the computer-animated feature film and the idea that being a geek can be cool.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Dementia (profile), Oct 8th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Thank you for the PC, the GUI, the computer-animated feature film and the idea that being a geek can be cool.

    Well said.

     

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    Richard (profile), Oct 8th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    First?

    The tech industry lost our first genuine hero.

    First? Really? How about
    Alan Turing
    Tommy Flowers?

     

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      Richard (profile), Oct 8th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

      Or Even

      for someone who is relevant to more modern trends

      Bui Tuong Phong

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

      Re: First?

      jobs wasnt even a hero.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

      Re: First?

      Archimedes is the one I think of first lost hero of technology, according to history when he by some accounts was slain by a Roman soldier.

      There may be earlier examples but I can't remember any at the moment.

       

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      Rich Kulawiec, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:52am

      Re: First?

      How about Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson? How about Charles Shannon? Bob Kahn? John Mauchly? Grace Hopper? Herbert Simon? Vint Cerf? Maurice Wilkes? Tim Berners-Lee?

      And how about Steve Wozniak?

      Jobs did much more for Apple as a business than as a tech company. The iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod are unimportant from a technical standpoint -- they're not innovative, and they're closed platforms, which makes them inherently, markedly inferior to open ones. So while it's sad that he's gone, and it's appropriate to recognize his contributions in the areas he made them, he simply doesn't belong on the same list with the others noted above.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

    On a different note, with the internet everybody can contribute to the cognitive surplus in the world, you don't need to travel great distances anymore let the electrical signals do the travelling.

    Instead of "consuming" what others make how about producing something?

    From laws to hardware everybody can find a forum online that will give you something to do, instead of watching TV or listening to Lady Gaga.

    Make your own 3D model of dinosaurs from CT Scans that you can send to Shapeway, wow!
    http://openpaleo.blogspot.com/2008/12/3d-slicer-tutorial.html

    ps: Or use it to measure the brain capacity of the RIAA figures, that just might prove that they have brains the size of walnuts :)

    Free the law, help build a better database that is free and accessible to all, so we can use other tools to map how the law works.
    http://archive.recapthelaw.org/

    Create stunning views.
    http://picogen.org/

    Building the future cell network on the cheap.
    http://www.craslab.org/bricophone/?page=FAQen
    http://shareable.net/blog/a-low-cost-low-powe r-diy-cellular-data-network
    http://www.opencellphone.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
    http://mobileac tive.org/
    http://openbts.sourceforge.net/

    Being active on building your own regulations. Call it democracy 2.0
    http://regulationroom.org/

    ps: We just need one of those for Laws a public forum where people can view, review and suggest amendments to laws and vote on those to then vote for people who would fallow those directives.

    Those are just a few examples of what people could do with their spare time, I don't watch TV, there is an entire world out there that needs more people thinking about things to do and it is rewarding to see something come to fruition, watching what others did is like watching others plays, is like watching porn, there is nothing wrong with it, but is not like doing porn, playing or living the movie or book.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:27am

    True, Apple / Jobs / Woz didn't invent the GUI, but they were the first bring it to the consumer market.

    But it's a bit much to give Jobs credit for the Personal Computer. Timeline:
    1975 - The Altair 8800 (kit, built in I/O was LED and switches, one added cards for video, RS232, etc.)

    1976 - The Apple I (kit, I/O was added by the user, like the Altair).

    Those two above were targeted to the hobbyist / DIY market.

    1977 - The first PC ready to use by J. Q. Public (that is, not a kit) was the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I.

    1982 - The Commodore 64. Kybd built in, had NTSC TV output for the monitor.

    These companies were the big 3 of personal computing in the early '80s. I had each of the machines listed above, but I got my Apple I in a parts swapping deal in 1978 from another tech.

    So ... If you want give Steve Jobs credit for shaping the PC industry and moving up the pace of adoption of the PC, advancing the state of the art and the like, I'll give no argument to that. But brought us the PC? No he didn't. That honor belongs to the company MITS - Forest Mims, Ed Roberts & Co. (there were two more, but their names escape me atm).


    As to Jobs. I'm not sick of hearing about the man's successes but I am in wonder of why everybody seemingly is overlooking something rather unique about the man. He learned - not just from his mistakes. We all do that to greater or lesser degree or we wouldn't survive very long. He learned from his failures. And there were many: The Lisa, the Apple III, NEXT and a few more. Unlike most, who after a failure or two say screw this and find something else to do, Jobs stuck to it. A rare thing, that.

     

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      Richard (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      You're off topic here - I suggest you submit this as a story - so we can all have a proper go at it!

       

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        Any Mouse (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        Why is he off topic? Seems to me that the favorite's post is an open forum to discuss the topics brought up, and this certainly was brought up.

         

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      hmm (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

      Re:

      You missed out the ZX80 (worlds first pre-assembled home computer that you didn't have to solder and could be connected directly to any television set instead of a monitor) and ZX81 and Sinclair Spectrum all of which pre-date the commodore 64.

      And all from the good old UK.......

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:42am

    Copytards should rejoice they are about to get a backdoor on one thing they wanted bad, criminal prosecution of anyone who breaks American law.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/us-drug-policy-war-congress_n_998993.html

    Discus sing marijuana is now a crime.

     

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      Any Mouse (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      Copytards should rejoice they are about to get a backdoor on one thing they wanted bad, criminal prosecution of anyone who breaks American law.

      That has to be the most nonsensical thing I've heard all year. At least until I read the link. Still, I don't see the link between your so-called 'copytards' and this law?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Re:

        If it is accepted as normal, how long do you think copytards will waste trying to get something similar?

        Laws get expanded to include things they didn't before, drugs is just another good example of how things can get hairy.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Part of making laws is changing views.
        That law is a tremendous departure todays norms.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Not to mention that that law probably offends the first amendment.

        Congress can't pass laws forbidding any type of discussion, not the American congress.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

        Re: Re:

        How would a law that makes some kind of speech illegal be enforced?

        Now what the double-A's are asking all governments?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      what does discus, sing, and merijuana mean?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Means Techdirt parser is broken because if was writen "discussing" not "discus" + "sing".

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 2:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Means Techdirt parser is broken because if was writen "discussing" not "discus" + "sing".


          Er. Our "parser" handles discussing just fine.

          What does "if was writen" mean?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 3:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Er. no your parser is broken, more than once it inserted spaces on text.

            But the only way I know to trigger that behaviour consistently is by using HTML entities.

            But it also happens a lot on the link tag.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 3:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh "It was written "discussing"" not correct?
            Should I use "I wrote "discussing"" or "It was written correctly before the parser mangled it"?

             

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      hmm (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Once software issues become criminal OJ is releasing a new book:

      IF (I_did_it=true) then
      {how=here}

       

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    charliebrown (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 2:48am

    Steve Jobs died. Bunches of APPLES were left at his grave.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 3:55am

    Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

    Since that fateful moment Wednesday evening, which I believe I will remember as my parents remembered Kennedy's assassination,

    Ya Gotta be kiddiing !!!!!!!

    People will have trouble remembering Who Steve Jobs was next wednesday week or so.

    Me think you have little knowledge of history, or the impact JFK's assination had on both the US and around the world, it's the difference between a Nuclear bomb (JFK) and someone lighing a match.

    The tech industry lost our first genuine hero.

    You mean gunuine hero "THIS WEEK"???

    what about Armstrong ? or Martin King ?

    Steve Jobs is not "jonny appseleed seed"

    What about Robert Oppenheimer
    Carl Sagan
    James Watson
    Bucky Fuller
    Albert Einstein
    Thomas Edison
    Charles Drew
    Michael Dell
    Henry Ford
    Bardeen, Walter Brattain, Willian Shockley

    On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 109) into law which proclaimed that patents were to be authorized for “any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement therein not before known or used.”

    DR. Claude Beck
    Chuck Yeager (REAL HERO!!!)

    Grace Hopper
    Reynold Johnson
    John McCarthy
    Jack Kilby
    John Blankenbaker
    Ray Tomlinson
    Dennis Ritchie
    Martin Cooper
    Seven Sasson
    Robert Metcalfe

     

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      Richard (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 6:33am

      Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

      Everyone forgets the guy who actually invented the computer - Max Newman

       

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        The eejit (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

        You fail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Babbage. His Difference Engine was well ahead of its time; as was William Gibson, who has basically prophesied the way forward for computational Science (which leads into an interesting question: can SF shape Science?)

         

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          Planespotter (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

          Go TEAM GB!

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

          Define computer please.

          Analogue computers where in use for thousands of years somebody invented them.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

           

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            Eugene (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 9:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

            And humans whose job description was literally "computer" were employed all the way up to World War 2, when "operator" started to become the norm.

            I think the point of all this is that we're waay to obsessed with giving individual persons credit for an invention, when in reality no single individual is EVER responsible for something like that. These things are the result of past progress building up over time to some critical point where the solution gradually becomes obvious to many people at once in many different ways. How they work together and pick each other's brains to make an achievement isn't something that happens over night.

            We dismiss this notion because we desire heroes. Because it's easier for our minds to process "so-and-so invented x" rather than the more dull and complicated "these myriad interconnected events throughout history, propped up by this series of people, eventually lead to x".

            Which is a shame, because it leads to exactly the sort of bickering we see in this comment thread.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 12:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

              Unfortunately that bickering will never pass, because vanity is a human trait and somebody somewhere is sure to claim something as his own even though he didn't do it alone or was the only one to have had the same idea.

              I know this guy who keeps claiming he invented something new every time and when people take a close look at it, hundredes of others had done something similar it is tiresome to see the guy speak about how he is fabulous, but that is how things start, somebody somewhere wants to claim something as his because he wants attention from others, which is not bad, is the clue that keeps us together, if we didn't want to impress others we probably have a different society that wouldn't be much of anything(think neanderthals), because we wouldn't be trying to teach, develop or do much of anything and probably cease to procreate, but really there needs to be some limits, I believe that is why the church smacked down people in the middle ages, the funny thing is that they were good, they created communities, created the politics, created a lot of good things up until they got powerful then it was downhill.

              We need a loose system where people get credit and can brag about it to others but they cannot enforce it with the power of the state or it becomes a mess.

               

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          Richard (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Jobs not a "hero" (to most)

          Yes- but there is a continuous line of evolution from Newman's Heath Robinson to Colossus and to the succession of Manchester machines (in which he also had a part) that laid down the structure of what we have today - whereas Babbage's machines were a dead end.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 4:23am

    Just a decade ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope, and Johnny Cash. Now we have no jobs, no hope, and no cash.

     

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    FM Hilton, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 4:46am

    He was only HALF of the genius

    The other half being Steve Wozniak, who was the co-founder of Apple. Wozniak was (I do believe) the better 'geek', the more technically inclined, and the unappreciated one.

    The media overlooked him until the very last minute-and then someone remembered that he helped found the company.
    Not to dismiss Jobs, but where would he have gone without Wozniak?

    So when we all 'mourn' Jobs, we should also remember the other half of Apple's legacy is still alive, even if we can't bring ourselves to thank him as well for the early days and successes of Apple.

     

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      hmm (profile), Oct 9th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

      Re: He was only HALF of the genius

      I think we need to treat Steve Jobs like the king people keep claiming he is.

      Sorry MR Wozniak, but we're posthumously burying you with Steve just like the Egyptians used to do for their Pharoahs....

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Man, the trolls were really out in force last week. I wonder why?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 4:27am

    Here just to prove it search for "http://mobileac tive.org/" and you see, that it inserts spaces at apparently random locations in text strings.

     

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