Archive for May, 2015|Monthly archive page

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.

D-CENT

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.

Bittman: Obama and Republicans Agree on the Trans-Pacific Partnership … Unfortunately – NYTimes.com

Obama and Republicans Agree on the Trans-Pacific Partnership … Unfortunately – NYTimes.com.

 

A good summary and well written. Esp. the denunciation of Nafta.

What Net Neutrality Says About Neoliberalism | Stanford Social Innovation Review

 

What Net Neutrality Says About Neoliberalism | Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Ever since political philosopher John Rawls, the justification for pro-business liberalism has been that we should consider any activity that makes even the least-privileged members of society better off a good thing. Outsourcing jobs to where labor is cheap, for example, is justified because everyone then has access to lower-cost goods. With Internet.org, Zuckerberg is making a similar Rawlsian argument: “If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.” And, I think most technology cheerleaders—including people like Murthy—would agree in the abstract: It would be a terrific thing to provide Wikipedia free to millions of Indian people who otherwise couldn’t afford a data plan. (Though, for other reasons, that wouldn’t be as philanthropic as it sounds.)

What’s not so terrific, net neutrality proponents say, is the power of Facebook and Airtel to decide what’s free and what’s not. In effect, the claim is that some values are more important than giving more individuals access to Wikipedia for free—values such as consumers’ right to choose without corporate bias and small start-ups’ ability to compete with multinational firms.

But if that’s true, then why stop with the Internet? Aren’t there larger questions that apply to globalization overall? Is it possible that some values are more important than giving more individuals the ability to purchase goods at the lowest possible price? Values such as every person’s right to make a decent living or mom-and-pop stores’ ability to compete with Walmart? What’s interesting about net neutrality is that whether advocates realize it or not, it’s intimately tied to a larger debate: Are there social values that are more important than low-cost goods for consumers and corporate freedom in the market? If you’re for net neutrality, what you’re saying is, yes!”

How big companies are stopping Congress from fixing the patent system – Vox

This is getting news, and for good reason.

How big companies are stopping Congress from fixing the patent system – Vox.

How IBM Plans To Help Reinvent The Modern Corporation

Perhaps… but the conditions for multinational corporate sustenance are changing and will change even more as global warming proceeds. That is: finding and keeping employees and then the logistics of distribution (of electronic or material goods) are all being put under pressure.

How IBM Plans To Help Reinvent The Modern Corporation.

No. 6 on “Tech’s all-time top 25 flops”: Carly Fiorina

6. Carly Fiorina. Call her the anti-Steve Jobs. During her 1999-2005 tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina proved that she could reverse decades of geek goodwill and alienate customers like no one else. She oversaw the spin-off of HP’s well-respected instruments and medical equipment business, outsourced its beloved calculator division, then issued 7,000 pink slips. Under Fiorina’s tenure, HP brought in more profits from printer ink than PCs. But she’ll be remembered most for HP’s acquisition of Compaq, among other dubious efforts to give the “stodgy” HP a more consumer-friendly face (does anyone remember the licensed iPods?).

Tech’s all-time top 25 flops | InfoWorld.

Fiorina has stuck to the Corporate Right (as opposed to the Lunatic Fringe Right, the Xenophobic Right and all the other Rightwings that seek even the most meagre political justification for their vicious hatred of … whomever). Be interesting to watch Wikipedia’s entries on her and her doings.