September 28, 2006

Dahlia Calls ‘Em Like She Sees ‘Em [6:57 pm]

And she sees something really, really ugly: The blind leading the willing

For the five years since 9/11, we have been in the dark in this country. This president has held detainees in secret prisons and had them secretly tortured using secret legal justifications. Those held in secret at Guantanamo Bay include innocent men, as do those who have been secretly shipped off to foreign countries and brutally tortured there. That was a shame on this president.

But passage of the new detainee legislation will be a different sort of watershed. Now we are affirmatively asking to be left in the dark. Instead of torture we were unaware of, we are sanctioning torture we’ll never hear about. Instead of detainees we didn’t care about, we are authorizing detentions we’ll never know about. Instead of being misled by the president, we will be blind and powerless by our own choice. And that is a shame on us all.

*This* is governing?

See also today’s tilt at the windmill: Photo Finish: How the Abu Ghraib photos morphed from scandal to law

*Sigh* My representative voted against this, and I assume that my senators will as well (they did). But, given that we have a populace that can rouse moral outrage over so many things, why is this bill, corrosive to everything that America stands for, getting a pass?

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“Morpheus Induces:” CA Central District Court [6:09 pm]

U.S. judge rules against Morpheus file-sharing - pdf

In a victory for the entertainment industry, a federal judge has ruled that the Morpheus file-sharing software encourages millions of users to share music, movies and other works without authorization.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled on Wednesday that StreamCast Networks Inc., the distributor of Morpheus, had contributed to massive copyright infringement because it had constructed a business model that relied on massive copyright infringement and did not attempt to block the trading of copyrighted materials.

[...] StreamCast, based in Woodland Hills, California, said it was considering an appeal and maintained that it did not encourage users to infringe on copyrighted works and never intended to do so.

“The court’s ruling is disappointing. StreamCast will consider its options, including appealing the decision,” the company said in a statement.

Their legal site hasn’t been updated to reflect this new development.

LATimes’ Creator of Morpheus Is Found Liable -

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80-20 Rules in Telecom [1:39 pm]

Joseph Turow refers to the 80-20 rule in retail (20% of the customers account for 80% of the revenue); here’s an example that points out why the market is not always the best instrument for allocating resources, particularly when those resources are a little more important than the latest DVD releases: Rural Areas Left in Slow Lane of High-Speed Data Highway

For most businesses, the goal is to attract as many customers as possible. But in the fast-changing telephone industry, companies are increasingly trying to get rid of many of theirs.

[...] Verizon is not alone in its desire to reduce the number of landlines it owns. Big phone and cable companies are reluctant to upgrade and expand their networks in sparsely populated places where there are not enough customers to justify the investment. Instead, they are funneling billions of dollars into projects in cities and suburbs where the prospects for a decent return are higher.

But those projects are unlikely to reach rural areas of Vermont and other states, leaving millions of people in the Internet’s slow lane, just as high-speed access is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. The United States already lags behind much of the industrialized world in broadband access.

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Zune Pricing Set [9:25 am]

Microsoft sets price for Zune, songs - pdf

Microsoft’s 30-gigabyte Zune will retail for $249.99 — 99 cents higher than the iPod with the same amount of storage — when it goes on sale November 14. Songs available for download at the Zune Marketplace service will cost about 99 cents a song, on par with prices at Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft said.

[...] Microsoft said it needed to put a comparable price on Zune, even if it meant that the company will suffer a loss from the device’s sales this holiday season.

And what the heck are “Microsoft Points?”

For consumers looking to own a song, the Zune Marketplace will sell tracks for 79 Microsoft points. A user can buy 80 Microsoft points for $1 and points will also be redeemable at its online video game store, Xbox Live Marketplace.

Slashdot’s article has some links that explain: Zune — $249.99 On Nov. 14

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