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.

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Comments on “Blaktron's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

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Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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!

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.

Create stunning views.

Building the future cell network on the cheap.

Being active on building your own regulations. Call it democracy 2.0

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: 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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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

Eugene (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

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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