Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I got this book out of the library and spent the last week reading it. I wasn't sure about it, considering it was written at the end of the 20th century. The premise of the book is that the children of the Baby Boom are the ones ready to take over the Internet. They are so used to it and so comfortable with it that they put their elders to shame. It is a very positive book which is in contrast with much of what the mainstream media still produces about the Internet. The MSM reports that, you can find the formula for Crystal Meth, or there are nothing but predators using the 'Net and all that stuff. The author, Don Tapscott based his book on observation and conversation with members of Generation-N. He has a webpage based upon his book, it's called Growing Up Digital. One point he makes is that this generation is growing up away from Television, in fact he has one part of the book that refers to the Net as being the antithesis of television. Television is states is passive, you sit there and watch absorbing what ever message that is comihng across.

Now we have the Net and what impressed me was his comment on the interactivity of the Internet, which is active. Certainly many thought the Net would be just television on computer, again one way with very little interaction. He says it's the opposite and all this was written before Blogs and before IM really took off.

He mentions the difference in politics between the two, my generation produced the 20 second sound bites and commercials that do not discuss or articulate opinions but rather simple demonize the other side. Certainly with an election coming in Canada, we will see this, Paul Martin will declare Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have a hidden agenda or they are Anti-Canadian, you know the usual stuff. Generation Net on the other hand believes in interaction, they want answers and not fluff.

If this is true, then this may be a very interesting election. I wrote last time an open letter to Bono telling him how things operate in Canada, visualize an election where Paul faces thousands of very angry U2 fans, who believe the same things Bono does, who believes we need to do more for Africa for example.

I wonder, speaking of the election, if this will be the election in Canada where blogs come to their own, like the 2004 election in the States?

My one 17 year old daughter is very disappointed about the election, she turns 18 two days after the election, she so wanted to vote. She is going to vote Green.

By the way, I'm listening to the the Mighty Q, Bill Waters states if the Liberals are returned to power, he will never vote again. I have to agree. Listen if you think that all politicians are crooks so why bother, then you are letting those who are corrupt win.

More about the election later.


Monday, November 28, 2005

ottawasun.com - Ottawa and Region - He still hasn't found what he's looking for

Dear Bono

Welcome to the cold harsh reality of Canadian politics. I hate to say this my friend, but you were used by Paul Martin.

You see Bono, Mr. Martin cares not a whit for Africa or the needs of that continent. Yes he will say he is concerned, especially if there's an election coming and he needs a famous celebrity for a photo op ( which is a photo opportunity-just in case you didn't know), but otherwise, Africa means nothing to him and his government.

While the name is Liberal, the policy of the government is more monetarist and isolationists. This is a government that would rather squander millions on their friends use government funds on concrete social policy.

I must point out to you that the current and past Liberal governments have a litany of broken promises and while you are 'mystified' by the failure of Paul Martin to come across with more aid, here in Canada, it's just one more broken Liberal promise. Something we have sadly become very accustomed too.

One word of advice, the next time Paul Martin calls you, tell him your very busy.

By the way, the concert you and the band put on in Detroit was incredible.

Your fan


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Aerial by Kate Bush

As you may have heard, Kate Bush has ended her 12 year hiatus with the release of the new CD, Aerial. It is an amazing CD, it has all the uniqueness and warmth one remembers from Kate Bush. It at times, seems a combination of Kate and one of those "Nature Solitude" CD's, equal parts relaxation and nature sounds. However it is better, since it has some incredible lyrics and her voice will simply mesmerize you.

Go ahead, get it. I've already put it on my iPod.

Friday, November 18, 2005

EMI Says Apple's Jobs Will Change ITunes Pricing - Forbes.com

So the President of EMI says Steve Jobs wants to go along with the scheme of introducing multi-tier pricing in the iTunes Music store. This after Mr. Jobs called the Music Industry "greedy". In fact he said that in response to comments made by the Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. He said the industry is being greedy for wanting to introduce the multi-level of costs.

The idea is this, the new stuff, the popular stuff will cost more. The older stuff or the music that really bad will be at the $0.99 level.

You have to wonder if the Music Industry is still familiar with the concept of peer to peer sharing of files? I guess they believe because Kazaa got busted in Australia and Grokster was killed by the US Supreme Court they are back as the 'only game in town'. Well let's not tell them about Bit Torrent shall we?

What makes this interesting is Sony BMG is also backing the effort, what the debacle of the rootkit wasn't enough?? Let's be honest whne the release of CD's shows another decrease, the industry should point to the heavy handed and illegal efforts of the industry to screw with our computers.

Steve Jobs understands computers and the people who use them, he knows that if the users feel they are getting screwed again, they will simply go back to all the methods out there to get music and will tell the industry to get stuffed all over again.

Steve said: ""If they want to raise the prices, it means that they are getting greedy," . "If the price goes up, they (consumers) will go back to piracy and everybody loses."" . I will say it again, the consumer will not lose, they will go back to free.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

BetaNews | Lawsuit Fights Back Against Sony DRM

So one lawsuit has been initiated by Sony by the State of California and soon another one by the State of New York, and when consumers
get into the act it could mean a whole lot of litigatory acts leveled at Sony-BMG Music.

You know, it's funny but Sony, as part of the RIAA has been suing people right left and centre and now, chickens have come home to roost.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Removing Sony's CD 'rootkit' kills Windows | The Register

So not only does the nasty program found on some Sony-BMG Music CD's leave your computer open to all sort of security issues and potential attack from hackers there is also this.

Getting rid of it may cause your computer to not work properly, causing a person to format and re-install windows.

Can anyone say "Lawsuit"???

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Editorial: Let Us Pay

I took the time to read this editorial from All the World magazine. It is about international ministry and missions. What got my attention is the editorial dealing with debt relief aid and the Christian response.

It is still an important issue, the third and fourth world is still paying more money in debt payment then in the development of a superstructure or to meet the social needs of the nations. Often as well, as part of debt payments, governments are forced to privatize social services to pay off the debt. For example, in Nicaragua, the government has been forced to privatize parts of its water services. It is done because the IMF and development banks want it done. You can read about it here.

As you can believe, the companies that are established are often part of large multi-national corporations and so the money flows from the poorest to the wealthiest.

All that leaves is further impoverishment.

End the Debt.

Make Poverty History
debt, AIDS ,Trade, Africa

Monday, November 07, 2005

Annuaire Mondial de la Partition Gratuite - World Wide Directory of Free Sheet Music

If I can add one more comment for tonight: this is a very interesting site. It is as it is, free sheet music, in .pdf file format.

New Scientist SPACE - Breaking News - The World's Best Space Sci-Fi Ever: Your verdict

Another interesting poll of sci-fi fans. This one has books, television and movies as the groups to consider.

What is interesting is the position of "Firefly" and "Serenity". While they are both great in fact I agree with putting "Serenity ahead of the last three Star Wars movies, I don't know if it should have first place over all. To me that honour should go to 2001: A Space Odessy. I would have also placed "Blade Runner" in the top 10, perhaps even the top 5. Also I would have included the first Matrix movie, which was simply astonishing and was far better received then the first Star Wars movie.

What about television? Firefly may be the best sci-fi series, if you consider the fact that it is such a refreshing change. Some more additions, the original "Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone" to add a few. Good to see Dr. Who in the top 5.

Now books, good choice overall. Can't argue with this placement.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Last night my daughter and I attended BookFest Windsor a three day event at the Art Gallery of Windsor. It's a relatively new event, this being it's fourth year of existence. I must admit it was quite an event, we attended the The Story Teller's Bash that featured four authors discussing their experience, answering questions and reading from some of their writings. The authors were Caroline Adderson, Austin Clarke, Russell Smith and Leon Rooke.

All shared their stories of growing up in either households were reading and books were an important part to the horrors of touring across Canada. The horrors were the funniest often sharing the theme of showing up at a place and either having no one come fot the reading, or hearing voices from the recently departed ( you had to have been there). The 'failures' sometimes were followed by going to the local Legion and getting nicely plastered.

It was the readings that were a great part of the entertainment and they were entertaining. Each gave their unique voice to some super stories. But certainly the highlight was Leon Rooke reading a chaper and putting all his emphasis into the action of some one chasing a bus. He had the place roaring with laughter and applauding his effort.

Russell Smith mentioned that the men of Windsor must be cool since the audience that night had a strong contingent of men, which was far from the norm. Not having attended one of these before, I cannot vouch, but with his experience, it's probably true.

What makes this interesting is that it is Windsor demonstrating quite a vibrant literary culture. Certainly the image often portrayed of Windsor is that of a dull industrial city that is now inundated with bars, a Casino and all the vices that follow. Yet it is developing a community of culture that is quite impressive, especially when you consider that the city is often not on the cultural map of Canada.

To demonstrating the developing culture, there's also a

film festival. The Windsor International Film Festival is providing the showing of a number of interesting movies at some of the cinema milieus in the city and the county.

Quite impressive events for a place known more for minivans then the arts.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I wanted to encourage all who read this blog to make sure you buy a poppy from a member of the Royal Canadian Legion this week. I'm on the second one. So when you see them standing outside banks, or if you see the cardboard container, toss a loonie or whatever loose change in your pocket and wear it as your way of saying thanks.

As I thought about the reasons for the sacrifice, I recall these men went off to fight against an evil, a darkness and a tyranny that would have instituted a new dark age, if I man quote Winston Churchill. Then I realized there is still darkness in corners of our world today.

Freedom is still not enjoyed and I point you in direction of 'Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri who is in jail for writing critical things about the Libyan government on his blog. While the government claims he was arrested for possessing firearms, it is likely he was arrested for his comments on his blog.

Remember him and others who are still fighting for freedom.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Chretien's Legacy

With the Gomery report now out, at least the preliminary one, it's time to consider what the legacy of M. Jean Chretien will be. I understand he put on quite a performance when he let off a verbal assault against the findings. But consider with me some of the highlights of his time as PM.

1) His office came under suspicion for violating the civil rights of a number of students at UBC. Seems demonstrators were arrested, pepper sprayed and generally harrassed because the government didn't want the then President of Indonesia, Suharto offended by seeing signs calling him a butcher.

2) While he was walking around the country doing his best Afred E. Neumann imitation, people like Jean Charet were trying to keep Quebec in confederation. When Chretien finally realized he needed to do something, the vote came in and the separatist lost by 51000. Later Chretien had the good idea of using federal funds to enhance the federal government's role in Quebec, as well as 'brand' Canada. So money was poured in and the results was AdScam. The allegation is money was siphoned from this fund and given to the Liberal Party of Canada. Read the highlights as given by the Winnipeg Free Press.

3) He cancelled the helicopter replacement project, thus forcing members of the Canadian Armed Forces to deal with aging and ancient equipment.

4) Kashechewan is now a household word synonymous with all that is wrong with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. This community has been under a boiled water alert for two years and probably more. Chretien was at one time Minister of Indian Affairs and in fact felt one of his great legacies with the new Indian Act and making life better for the First Nations, pity Kashechewan wasn't included. By the way,this is only one of many reserves that have this problem.

5) GST, you still paying it?

6) Voter cynicism. He elevated cynical politics to a fine art, calling elections when none were required.

7) With all that has happened in Quebec, the end result of the sponsorship program has been a resurgence in the Separatist movement in Quebec. It should have died of natural causes but now it has new life.

8) Canada-US relations at historic lows.

9) Used submarines. They still aren't working and one death is attributed to the fact that the UK unloaded junk on us.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I have just completed the book Darknet: Hollywood's War against the Digital Generation. It is a study how Hollywood and by this the author means the entertainment/culture industry that controls a lot of what we hear, read, listen and watch. It encompasses both music and movies. He examines how Hollywood has reacted to the digital culture that is now the reality of our age.

With the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and almost yearly changes to copyright, the vast majority of people in the US and Canada can now be considered criminals. If you download, sample or watch anything over any P2P network or Bit Torrent, you are now a criminal. In a recent TWITS broadcast (#27), John D. Dvorak mentioned that all this copyright is part of the sovietization of American culture, by that he meant the laws are so draconian it makes anyone a criminal. Therefore the state had the right at any time to arrest anyone, since they were probably criminals anyway. This explains the RIAA's action of lawsuit. They figure since most people are doing it anyway, no matter who they snare, they are guilty of priacy.

what is amazing is how black and white Big Entertain is towards the digital culture, they believe it is the tool of present and future piracy and are bent on using everything in their power to stop it. Even if it means crippling present technology and kneecapping future technology.

The title "Darknet" refers to the underground of the Internet where copying takes place and is the ulitmate source of all things culture. They operate because they can and Hollywood is unable to stop it.

The author describes some of the people who are using the digital culture to enhance their work and life and for the most part what they are doing is considered illegal. Not that these people are going out of their way to do illegal acts, it's just the law makes them that. Normally law abiding citizens are criminals by the definition of groups such as the RIAA and the MPAA. Their spokesmen refuse to concede anything but call all such individuals as pirates.

The author, J.D. Lasica has a website with up to date information on the struggle between creativity and copyright.

One of the optimist chapters is the one I almost missed, he talked about games and how modders have been an asset to the industry. By pushing the envelope of their hardware, gamers have been able to do interesting things, plus the modding of the games and software has led to some fascinating results.

While one review commented on the fact the book is one of many, its worth reading to get you involved in saving your digital rights.