Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bits including a new book by Doctorow and a report on broken Finnish e-voting

Here are a couple of interesting bits and pieces.

Cory Doctorow, technologist and author has released a new book called "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future". Its twenty eight (28) essays on a wide spectrum of topics with titles including "The DRM Sausage Factory", "It’s the Information Economy, Stupid", "How Copyright Broke", "In Praise of Fanfic", "The Future of Ignoring Things". These essays range on topics from DRM to mobile phones and touch the singularity, privacy issues, and the semantic web along the way. In his true spirit, he has again release both a print book for sale and a free-to-download CC BY-NC-SA licensed PDF. I'm looking forward to digging down to this gem from one of my favourite authors. The best way to whet the appetite is to take a part of the introduction written by John Perry Barlow, who helped found the EFF and may be better know as the guy who wrote "The Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace".

" ... information is simultaneously a relationship, an action, and an area of shared mind. What it isn’t is a noun. Information is not a thing. It isn’t an object. It isn’t something that, when you sell it or have it stolen, ceases to remain in your possession. It doesn’t have a market value that can be objectively determined. It is not, for example, much like a 2004 Ducati ST4S motorcycle, for which I’m presently in the market, and which seems - despite variabilities based on, I must admit, informationally- based conditions like mileage and whether it’s been dropped - to have a value that is pretty consistent among the specimens I can find for a sale on the Web."
- Introduction by John Perry Barlow.

On other news, there is more broken e-voting news as the Finnish branch of the EFF has published a report, "Incompatibility of the Finnish e-voting system with the Council of Europe e-voting recommendations" which shows another fatally flawed e-voting system. The Finns were much more through in testing and evaluating the system but it seems that the government still didn't get it right there.

A couple of short bits, Dell has sponsored the Digital Nomads site, connect a playstation controller to your Arduino, or just make music with it. A nice new site is the Wisconsin Online site for learning electronics. If you've read Gibson's "Spook Country", you'll love the BBC's idea of The Box and a related post from Worldchanging on "Mapping a connected world".

One final note is to keep October 4th open for a trip to Dublin. Organise, Activate, Influence: Social Activism Online in Ireland is a short one day conference (see the schedule) in Dublin on October 4th discussing various blogging and social media issues. It's being held, organised, and sponsored by the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament Office in Ireland with an address by the EU Commission Vice President, Margot Wallström. It's free and you can register online.

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