By Timothy B. Lee, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 09/06/07):
WHAT a difference 16 years makes. Last month, the technology world was abuzz over an interview in Fortune magazine in which Bradford Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, accused users and developers of various free software products of patent infringement and demanded royalties. Indeed, in recent years, Mr. Smith has argued that patents are essential to technological breakthroughs in software.
Microsoft sang a very different tune in 1991. In a memo to his senior executives, Bill Gates wrote, “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”… Seguir leyendo »
By Jonathan Freedland (THE GUARDIAN, 30/05/07):
SSo the Washington journalist who warned me 10 years ago that the internet was doomed, that it would collapse under the weight of all those pages, was wrong. The internet is here and changing everything, the way we work, shop, communicate, even fall in love. But what of society itself? The industrial revolution changed politics completely, leading to universal suffrage, as well as modern socialism, communism and fascism. What will the internet revolution do for the politics of our own age?
Last week the revolutionaries were in town, as Google’s high command came to London for a major think-in, led by the CEO, Eric Schmidt.… Seguir leyendo »
By Bruce Mehlman, assistant secretary of commerce under President Bush and Larry Irving, assistant secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton. They are co-chairmen of the Internet Innovation Alliance, a coalition of individuals, businesses and nonprofit groups that includes telecommunications companies (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/05/07):
Electricity reached one-quarter of Americans 46 years after its introduction. Telephones took 35 years and televisions 26 years. Already, in just six years, broadband has reached 25 percent penetration, according to McKinsey & Co.
The exponential explosion of digital content on the Internet is striking. YouTube alone consumes as much bandwidth today as the entire Internet consumed in 2000.… Seguir leyendo »
By Tom Grubisich, a former Post reporter and editor, writes about grass-roots journalism for Online Journalism Review (THE WASHINGTON POST, 14/05/07):
These days we want «transparency» in all institutions, even private ones. There’s one massive exception — the Internet. It is, we are told, a giant town hall. Indeed, it has millions of people speaking out in millions of online forums. But most of them are wearing the equivalent of paper bags over their heads. We know them only by their Internet «handles» — gotalife, runningwithscissors, stoptheplanet and myriad other inventive names.
Imagine going to a meeting about school overcrowding in your community.… Seguir leyendo »
By Bernhard Warner, formerly Reuters’ internet correspondent in Europe and senior editor for The Industry Standard Europe. He writes about technology, the internet and media industries (THE TIMES, 18/04/07):
On April 12, an 18-year-old blogger with the handle ntcoolfool posted a brief, unexceptional tribute to the deceased American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, for which he received three equally unexceptional responses. On Monday, ntcoolfool’s blog became a scrolling newsreel, providing harrowing details, replete with photos and video footage, of a massacre unfolding below his window. The Virginia Tech university student, identified on his website as Bryce Carter, began reporting in real-time, portraying a quiet campus thrust into a mini war zone.… Seguir leyendo »
By James Harkin, an associate producer of the BBC2 series The Trap: Whatever Happened To Our Dream of Freedom? (THE GUARDIAN, 16/04/07):
A hundred visitors to an internet chatroom last month witnessed a Shropshire father of two hang himself in front of his webcam. Some of Kevin Whitrick’s fellow chatters must have imagined he was play-acting, but others were happy to goad him into killing himself. As Whitrick’s face turned purple and he began to die, one chatter punctured the heady atmosphere by wondering: «Is this real?»Whitrick’s final moments tell us something important about what the internet has become. In this brave new world of the web, even suicide can be an interactive performance egged on by a crowd of eager spectators.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jonathan Freedland (THE GUARDIAN, 10/04/07):
So you’re at a public meeting on, say, the war in Iraq and the main speaker has just sat down. Someone in the audience rises to declare the speaker is talking crap, but that’s typical of him because he knows nothing and it’s a scandal that he’s paid for the rubbish he turns out. A second man agrees that the speech was trash, but tells the first man he should crawl back under his stone because he never says anything worth listening to. A third man wonders why the speaker didn’t mention Israel, especially given his Zionist-sounding last name.… Seguir leyendo »
By Wilson Rothman, who is writing a book on the history of the Global Positioning System (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 03/04/07):
WHEN 15 British sailors and marines were captured by Iranian forces and accused of trespassing into Iranian waters, the commander of their ship, the Cornwall, wishfully referred to the run-in as “a simple misunderstanding.”
After all, Global Positioning System receivers aboard the inflatable British patrol boats and the merchant vessel they were investigating clearly showed that they were in Iraqi, not Iranian, territorial waters. Surely, once Iran was made aware of the mix-up the situation could be cleared up and the prisoners would be returned.… Seguir leyendo »
By Michael Fricklas, general counsel of Viacom (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/03/07):
Viacom initiated litigation against YouTube and Google this month for their long-standing infringement of Viacom’s copyrights. Our action has stirred discussion about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and quite a lot of confusion.
First, let’s narrow the debate. YouTube defends itself from copyright infringement based on one narrow slice of the DMCA: protecting service providers who store copyrighted material solely and simply «at the direction of a user.» This defense is available only to users who do not have «knowledge» of infringement or who «expeditiously» take down material when they find out they are infringing a copyright.… Seguir leyendo »
By Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford, is a fellow at the American Academy, Berlin (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 18/03/07):
LAST week, Viacom asked a federal court to order the video-sharing service YouTube to pay it more than $1 billion in damages for some 150,000 videos that Viacom claims it owns and YouTube users have shared. “YouTube,” the complaint alleges, “has harnessed technology to willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale,” threatening not just Viacom, but “the economic underpinnings of one of the most important sectors of the United States economy.”
Yet as federal courts get started on this multiyear litigation about the legality of a business model, we should not forget one prominent actor in this drama largely responsible for the eagerness with which business disputes get thrown to the courts: the Supreme Court.… Seguir leyendo »
By Cass R. Sunstein. He teaches at the University of Chicago and is the author of «Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge» (THE WASHINGTON POST, 24/02/07):
In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that «anyone can edit,» has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world’s most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society’s unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other’s resources.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Tomás R. Lansner, profesor de Medios de Comunicación en la Universidad de Columbia, Nueva York (EL CORREO DIGITAL, 15/02/07):
La guerra de Irak ha sido un terreno de prueba no sólo para las nuevas armas y tácticas de las partes en liza. Ha acelerado y configurado también el uso de nuevas tecnologías que reducen dramáticamente la distancia entre productores y consumidores de información en los conflictos, en política y en la vida de todos los días. Como ejemplo, las crónicas en tiempo real que emite una variedad de cadenas de televisión por satélite (no sólo ya aquéllas dominadas por medios occidentales).… Seguir leyendo »
By Scott Rosenberg, a co-founder of Salon.com and the author of «Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software» (THE WASHINGTON POST, 30/01/07):
Today, Microsoft finally offers consumers Windows Vista, the version of its operating system that’s been gestating for five years. When Microsoft’s engineers started this project, U.S. troops hadn’t yet invaded Iraq, Google was still a relatively small private company, and my now-7-year-old twins were just learning to talk in sentences.
Why did it take the world’s biggest and most successful software company so long to revamp its flagship product — the program that controls the basic operations of roughly 90 percent of the country’s personal computers?… Seguir leyendo »
By David Farber and Michael Katz (THE WASHINGTON POST, 19/01/07):
The Internet needs a makeover. Unfortunately, congressional initiatives aimed at preserving the best of the old Internet threaten to stifle the emergence of the new one.
The current Internet supports many popular and valuable services. But experts agree that an updated Internet could offer a wide range of new and improved services, including better security against viruses, worms, denial-of-service attacks and zombie computers; services that require high levels of reliability, such as medical monitoring; and those that cannot tolerate network delays, such as voice and streaming video. To provide these services, both the architecture of the Internet and the business models through which services are delivered will probably have to change.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Moisés Naím, director de Foreign Policy y autor de Ilícito: cómo traficantes, contrabandistas y piratas están cambiando el mundo. Traducción de María Luisa Rodríguez Tapia (EL PAÍS, 26/12/06):
Un vídeo muestra a unas personas que recorren lentamente, en fila india, un camino cubierto de nieve. Se oye un disparo; la primera persona cae. Se oye una voz en off: «Les están matando como perros». Otro disparo, y cae otro cuerpo al suelo. Un soldado chino de uniforme vuelve a disparar su rifle. Un grupo de soldados examina los cuerpos caídos.
Estas imágenes las captó, en las cumbres del Himalaya, un miembro de una expedición alpinista que asegura que se topó por azar con la matanza.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Enrique Murillo, editor y escritor (EL PAÍS, 11/12/06):
No hay congreso de editores ni feria de tecnología en donde no se anuncie, desde hace unos años, la muerte del libro, ese vejestorio, en su forma tradicional, y su sustitución por artilugios de nueva generación. Durante los congresos profesionales, los editores hemos tenido que escuchar numerosas conferencias en las que, so pretexto de darnos información acerca de las tecnologías más avanzadas, sucesivos directores comerciales de ésta o aquella empresa (llámense Microsoft, Sony o lo que sea) nos vendían, con una elocuente perorata en tono de predicador, el Séptimo o Noveno Advenimiento, dicho de otro modo el triunfo definitivo del así llamado «libro» electrónico.… Seguir leyendo »
By Raúl Fernández, chief executive of the software firm ObjectVideo and co-owner of the Washington Capitals (THE WASHINGTON POST, 09/12/06):
Technology won the 2006 elections for the Democrats. No, not electronic voting machines, but the power of the Internet, fueled by innovative applications that let citizens create and publish their own content. The Internet not only changed the balance of power in the House and Senate, it also helped sack the secretary of defense. Welcome to viral democracy.
In 1994, the last time the House changed hands, the Internet was mainly a university and military application. AOL, with its first 1 million members, was an up-and-coming player in the emerging online world.… Seguir leyendo »
By Michael Kinsley (THE GUARDIAN, 28/11/06 – THE WASHINGTON POST, 28/11/06):
The first person I knew who had a website of his own was a fellow Washington journalist. This was when many journalists were still just getting into email, but the URL for this site quickly circulated around town and around the world. Why? Well, we were all impressed by the technological savvy. But we were absolutely astounded by the solipsism. What on earth had gotten into Joe? This was a modest, soft-spoken and self-effacing fellow, yet his website portrayed him as an egotistical monster.
Or so it seemed at the time.… Seguir leyendo »
By Pat Kane, the author of ‘The Play Ethic: a Manifesto for a Different Way of Living, and half of Hue and Cry’ (THE GUARDIAN, 09/11/06):
As the tidal wave of eco-puritanism swells darkly on the horizon, it may not be the best time to launch your latest non-recyclable chunk of plastic and silicon. And Sony’s new computer-game console, PlayStation3 – launched in Japan this weekend, North America next week and Britain in the spring – hardly covers itself in glory.If the aim of this machine, in the words of the technology critic Neil Postman, is «to amuse ourselves to death», it could hardly be better fashioned.… Seguir leyendo »
By Sarah Dempster (THE TIMES, 06/11/06):
LAST WEEK Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, told the Today programme on Radio 4 that he was concerned about the future of his creation. He feared that, if left to develop unchecked, “bad things” could happen to it. Monocles shattered and bow ties were rent asunder as the man who put the wow in hypermedia knowhow went on to reveal that bloggers may not be entirely trustworthy and fraudsters could erode the “usefulness” of his invention.
“Certain undemocratic things could emerge and misinformation will start spreading over the web,” he explained, possibly before running out of the studio, arms flapping wildly about his learned head while screaming something about being “attacked by spy flies”.… Seguir leyendo »