Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. – The Washington Post

On the other hand, companies could simply join another trend — allowing employees to work from home. That model has proven to boost productivity, with employees working more hours and taking fewer breaks. On top of that, there are fewer interruptions when employees work remotely. At home, my greatest distraction is the refrigerator.  ​

via Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. – The Washington Post.

Can Mozilla Halt Firefox’s Slide and Break Up the Mobile Internet Duopoly? | MIT Technology Review

via Can Mozilla Halt Firefox’s Slide and Break Up the Mobile Internet Duopoly? | MIT Technology Review.

I think the answer is no. They have made it difficult to get productivity apps included and seemed to have been too late for the mobile party. Conceivably, things could change, and developers could start to see Mozilla, including its mobile Firefox OS, as something other than an also ran. But I think they will have to abandon the Mozilla arrogance first, and impress upon the world that it offers something more than a nearly useless cheap device or niche browser gilded with community foil.

WHA 68: Experts Discuss Delinking R&D Costs From Pricing To Make Medicines Affordable

From the article:

The problem of drug prices eating up national health budgets has been coming up at the annual World Health Assembly. Last week, a panel of experts discussed the merits of lowering those prices by delinking research and development costs from pricing.


It would be best if the government does the studies so they will be taken most seriously. Their prediction is that a comparison will show delinkage is a better approach.

Several vectors moving here and they share the principle that a private-sector monopoly (or equivalent) is the problem, not the solution and that if the society made up of the individuals using the medications is to survive as a society (and not simply as a thick clot of mall rats) then rational approaches are required, so as to determine the right paths to take (and also to un-take).

WHA 68: Experts Discuss Delinking R&D Costs From Pricing To Make Medicines Affordable.

Elsevier’s new sharing policy harmful to authors and access to scholarly research » infojustice

From the letter signed by Creative Commons and 22 other organisations to Elsevier, which evidently seeks to own the practice of knowledge:

Elsevier’s new policy, announced 30 April 2015, is detrimental to article authors as well as those seeking access to these research papers. The policy imposes an embargo of at least 12 months before authors can self-archive their final manuscripts in an institutional repository–with the option of these embargoes being as long as 48 months. Beforehand, Elsevier allowed immediate deposit of the articles in repositories. The new policy also restricts access once the embargo expires by requiring that articles be shared under the most restrictive Creative Commons license–CC BY-NC-ND–which prohibits commercial use and the creation of derivative works.

Quote, from same article in Infojustice:

The letter is available here. It has been signed by the following groups, and you can add your organization to as well.

via Elsevier’s new sharing policy harmful to authors and access to scholarly research » infojustice.

Geist: Access Loses Big

Access Copyright suffers (and will suffer even more) from the hubris of believing it could stop the flow of time and force users–of whatever sort–to pay big for content just because they wanted them to. The users include government, education and just about everyone in-between. And Access wanted a lot. When I looked upon the company, and the deals it had inked, I wondered how long something like this could last. The answer: not long.

The Copyright Board of Canada delivered a devastating defeat to Access Copyright on Friday, releasing its decision on a tariff for copying by employees of provincial governments. Access Copyright had initially sought $15 per employee for the period from 2005 – 2009 and $24 per employee for the period from 2010 – 2014. It later reduced its demands to $5.56 and $8.45. The board conducted a detailed review of the copying within government and the applicability of the Access Copyright licence. Its final decision gives Access Copyright pennies rather than dollars: 11.56 cents for 2005-2009 and 49.71 cents for 2010-2014.


Yet as bad as the specific outcome is for Access Copyright, the longer term implications are even worse. Revenues from government and corporate copying are useful, but bigger money lies with its education licenses.

via A Licence With Limited Value: Copyright Board Delivers Devastating Defeat to Access Copyright – Michael Geist.

In particular: Fair dealing.

The fair dealing analysis is the most important part of the decision since it represents the first time that Access Copyright’s restrictive fair dealing theories have been assessed by the Board. The outcome is a huge loss for the copyright collective as the Board rejected argument after argument. Some of the most important ones include:

Name calling

From Michael Geist’s blog entry:

As debate on Bill C-51 wound down, Press Progress points out that Conservative MP Laurie Hawn took the time to question the values of leading Canadian technology companies such as Shopify and Hootsuite.  The CEOs of those companies, along many others, dared to sign a public letter calling on the government to go back to the drawing board on the bill. The letter highlights concerns with website takedowns, new CSIS powers, and data security issues.

via House of Commons Passes Bill C-51 as Conservative MP Questions Values of Canadian Tech Companies – Michael Geist.

Social Media + Society : New Journal

It’s open access and the articles are interesting, though I tend to think they don’t seem to recognise both how slow the currents can run and also how very fast and violently the waves can break. (What’s true today, a holdover from yesterday, may no longer be possible tomorrow, though we still use the present’s palimpsest to give us the world.)

Table of Contents — April-June 2015.


About us | D-CENT.

Authoring e-Books in Apache OpenOffice: An Interview with Jon Swords-Holdsworth : Apache OpenOffice

The interview is fascinating, and mostly because of the author’s take on that interesting genre, “slipstream,” which I’ve usually just called “the uncanny.” Incidentally—and this is a note to Charles Stross, who complains to no end about having to use Word—the author, Jonathan Swords-Holdsworth, uses Apache OpenOffice. Much less exasperating than in-your-face Word.


Authoring e-Books in Apache OpenOffice: An Interview with Jon Swords-Holdsworth : Apache OpenOffice.

What Is Community Anyway? | Stanford Social Innovation Review

I’ve been working with actual communities and also studying the idea of community for a long time, since early in my graduate career. (I started out wanting to study the theory of bureaucracy and its systemic deferral of risk, liability, responsibility. Glad that Graeber did that study, though have not had time yet to read his new work.) At any rate, “community” is a peculiarly fraught American notion and it is also a profoundly complex, textured one. And it’s one that my employers, clients often seem not quite to get, though there are exceptions and I confess it’s getting better. (But there is still—alas—the conflation between a community of consumers and a community of producers and though the two can certainly overlap—Alice can be a consumer as well as a producer, even of the same sort of things—yet in a structural sense they differ fundamentally in their relation to things and even to others in the community. And open source communities get even more interesting.


What Is Community Anyway? | Stanford Social Innovation Review.


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