I need to update this question: phone… rarely. Communicating in a myriad of other ways… constantly.
I don’t particularly want to wade into this US election debate (I really do) but something has been driving me nuts for weeks & any time anyone brings up the whole “Clinton email scandal” bullshit. Knowing what I know about the technical architecture of email servers, blah-blah-blah, the whole question of who-had-private what-and-what is really the wrong question. I see it more one of three realistic scenarios: (a) the emails were encrypted, which they should have been because email is literally the least secure of all internet protocols and no one should ever send anything over any email that you wouldn’t write on the back of a postcard and send through snailmail, and this whole thing is complete MOOT and shut up about it or (b) the US government is IGNORANTLY using non-encrypted email to send classified information, in which case they should all be fired for gross incompetence and Clinton should more be likely lauded for (accidentally) using a private server that was probably and statistically MORE secure due simply to security-by-obscurity or (c) the emails were STRATEGICALLY non-encrypted, in which case Trump is a dumb-ass for shining a light on a tool that was probably acting as a false information channel as part of a vastly more complex security operation… and by the way, smooth move dip-shit. Go read about Alan Turing and the Enigma code dilemma to save me writing a whole essay about meta-information. Either way, if you’re angry about it, you’re almost certainly angry for the wrong reasons, so can we stop talking about it now?
I’m proud to say I didn’t die on the toilet but I did club Chris to death while he was taking a shower.
At work, daily. At home, rarely.
More often than I care to admit… plus then you’ll just expect a more prompt reply.
After years of carefully and meticulously educating the public NOT to click on every wild and crazy link that appears in your email inbox, particularly if it comes from someone claiming to be your bank, occasionally someone REALLY screws up and sends you something like this:
This email came to my Gmail account over lunch today. Not my spambox. My inbox. So… I read it.
I DID NOT click on the link. I looked into it a lot deeper. Did a bunch of Google searches, some whois queries on the domains, scanned the source for any tricks and did some very careful prodding. And for all intents and purpose, after researching the firm, the sending business, the survey, the hosting company, and the actual dude who wrote and signed the email (who has a LinkedIn account and seems completely legit and doing the job he claims to be doing) this appears to be a REAL INVITATION from a REAL RESEARCH COMPANY on behalf of my BANK — you know, the people looking after my money — to do a survey. I didn’t pare it down. I didn’t skim out images or signatures (there were none.) I didn’t do anything besides read, scoff, and grab a screenshot. As far as I can tell this is not phishing. This is — sadly — real.
If you don’t get what’s wrong with this, I have a friend in Nigeria you should speak with.
If dude, company, or bank ever see this: yes, you screwed up. And yes, I’m not happy. And dude, I’m sorry if you lose your job because of this or something similar, but you should not be allowed near the Internet. No, really. Close the laptop lid now, and back slowly away from your desk.
I’ll avoid this becoming a commentary on the anti-intellectual nature of our society, but I wanted to make it known that I was deeply disappointed to get an email from Indigo.Chapters (the bookstore) providing me with suggestions for books that are “great reads for dads” — presumably just in time for father’s day shopping. This dismayed me not because it was an unsolicited email (which it was not, since I am willingly on their mailing list) but instead because all but one book on their list-fit-for-dads fell into one (or more) of the following categories:
- non-fiction books about sports
- non-fiction books about sports media
- non-fiction books about alcohol
- non-fiction books written by stand up comedians
- non-fiction books written by quasi-celebrities
- non-fiction books about food
- fiction books about James Bond
- fiction book parodies of real children’s storybooks
I have often bought, read, and enjoyed reading material that fits into one or more of these categories. In fact I read comics, cheesy science fiction, bathroom readers, recipe books, and the ramblings of all sorts of famous people. But it is sad that this categorization is how fathers are intellectually defined in our society — at least by the marketing department of somewhere one would presume is promoting knowledge, reading, and thoughts deeper than beer, sports, and joke books. I’m not saying these don’t have a place on the list, but how about rounding it out with some popular science reads, works of deeper and more meaningful fiction, travel books, collections of essays on philosophy or history, or — yes — some junior novels that dads could ( *gasps* ) read aloud to their kids.
Just saying… because there weren’t many books on that list I’d be ecstatic about getting. And I’m a dad.
Funny. I was sitting on the train, holding my phone, and an email alert appeared on the screen. Some website I had signed up to years back, a social network for dogs (and their owners, presumably) had sent me a birthday greeting for Sparkle.
I had completely forgot.
Not that she cares of course, but still, it seems so odd… being worried about a dog’s birthday. Worried about missing it.
I wouldn’t say our dog has suffered in the seven years of her life. Well, I cannot vouch for the first year or so, but in the six that she has been with us she has certainly had some adventures. Adventures for a dog, at least.
What does one ‘do’ for a dog’s birthday? A meat cake? An extra-long walk? Do I let her pick the channel when we’re watching tv tonight? In dog years she’s like, what? Forty-nine? She’s long since the eldest in our little family then.
I fed her this morning and she scarfed it down immediately. Then she sat at the top of the stairs giving me this look she has, as if she was asking for more. Maybe she was say, dude, you forgot my birthday. Or not. Probably not.
“The Government of Canada is hosting a nationwide consultation on copyright modernization.” I spent a half and hour composing a (somewhat piecemeal, now that I re-read it) letter to the consultation process. I encourage everyone to add their two-cents, either formally or just via comment.
1. How do Canada\’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
I am a media developer and photographer. I support the Creative Commons model of sharing creative works and recently I have been using the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License to share everything I create for public consumption. I rely on this model because copyright in Canada does not afford content creators the ability to both open their creations to fair public use — which is why I create things — while simultaneously preventing others from financially benefiting from my efforts. This is the best model that supports my desire to both contribute to a public pool of engaging and entertaining content, while maintaining my own rights as their creator.
It is my firm conviction that what defines us in this modern age is our engagement with a wide array of many forms of entertainment. Consider the elements of all our lives that are defined by the songs we were listening to, the stories we heard, or the images we saw. Think of a new couple who dances their first dance at their wedding. Think of kids hearing stories before bed. Think of two teenagers holding hands during a movie. Think of the images all of us see in media and in print. These are cultural elements that define us as not only Canadians, but as human beings. And as such, our rights as individuals should be defined by our ability to freely and perpetually have access to these elements of our existence and shared experiences, regardless if they are digital or otherwise.
Unfortunately, not every individual can participate because as a society we have introduced a commercial element to this culture. It is a business. And thus some people have resorted to acquiring these elements of culture — songs, movies, books, etc — through means that are incompatible with that business. But these acquisitions are largely disconnected from the business of their actual distribution. Businesses talk of lost profits or missing revenues, but is there really such a thing? Where has it gone? Do businesses really suppose that those individuals copying content have such unlimited resources that money otherwise spent would be poured into paying for their content? Or is it more realistic to suppose that individuals generally have a fixed budget for entertainment, but that these budgets are unable to provide satisfactory access to this content? Of course, there are outliers and examples at the tips of the bell curve, but in general, as individuals, our ability to purchase and consume media has not kept up with the sheer quantity of it.
What then, is the role of the individual in copyright when the individuals needs and concerns are so incompatible with business.
2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time
Changes should be made that protect individuals over the needs of business. Canadians should not be under threat of corporate lawsuit simply for participation in the cultural gestalt that is Canada.
3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Copyright is essential, but the spirit of those laws should not leave individuals at the mercy of deep corporate pockets. Copyright has always been about — as stated — fostering creativity. Overt protection of copyrights through legal means should not allow copyright holders to sue people simply for consuming their content, and participating in the culture of Canada and the world. Rather, it should prevent other businesses from benefiting commercially from that content without formalized permission. I think corporations and societies should have a reduced role in copyright, particularly as far the individual is concerned. And as an example of how this might work I think a tiered level of copyright would help: when content is created, what if the creator had to choose between a commercial versus a non-commercial copyright? A non-commercial copyright might only be available to individuals and would protect them from many kinds of infringement, but a commercial copyright, available to businesses, corporations, international interests, and societies would only protect the content from commercial infringements, and any non-commercial violations — essentially friends sharing books, movies, songs, etc — would be considered protected rights of individuals and supporting the cultural diversity of Canada.
4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
Simply, preserving commercial access to copyright, while finding a balance between the involvement of business interests and the cultural, individual rights of Canadians. Canadians should not be made to live in fear for the harmless act of participating in a cultural Canada that has become largely controlled by corporate interests.
5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?
To facilitate the needs of all, copyright should strive to belong absolutely and (for a fixed term) with the individual creator. When copyright becomes corporate asset we risk sell off of intellectual ideas. That said, when copyright is available in distinct layers between commercial and non-commercial, both business and international copyright holders would default to commercial rights thus protecting the individual citizens of Canada from both internal and cross-border prosecution, particularly in an age of seemingly border-less communications.
This is a dual issue: protecting business and protecting Canadians. Let’s keep them separate.
I’ve been active in this little negotiation game for the last week or so. No, there’s no link. It’s a new game I’ve discovered wherein you blindly spend small bits of real money — $6 here, $10 there — to lease real domain names — .coms, .nets — and then sit around and wait. Eventually, if you’ve found a good name, someone comes along and hires a domain buying agent to try and buy the name off you for more than you paid.
All you need is a bit of cash, some technical know-how, an email account, and a little patience.
Actually, it’s a lot like fishing. You put your bait out and wait for a bite. Except in this case I didn’t really know I was fishing. Nor did I really expect to be fishing. I was just poking around in the water and something took a big, ol’chomp…
Seriously, I got an email last week that someone was interested in buying one of my domain names. Not a personal email. A domain agent contacted me and wrote that his “client” was interested in a particular dot com I’d been sitting on — pondering a creative project — for about a year.
So considering the following factors, what’s it worth? I mean, technically, I’m in an active negotiation — so I can’t disclose too many specifics — but what would you pay?
– It’s not a GREAT name. But it’s a good name. Clever. A novel compound word with a dual meaning spanning a variety of industries and uses. Nine characters, all alphabetic, and (as mentioned) a dot COM.
– They contacted me. In fact the site is lingering with a “coming soon” page and not much else. I wasn’t “fishing” for sales.
– With a little effort — and I mean “a very little” — I could toss up some content and generate a couple hundred bucks a year in ad revenue. If I actually tried, I could probably hit five hundred.
– The “client” already spent $75 hiring the agent to search me out an negotiate. That’s a hefty investment for a mere passing fancy. You’d need to be somewhat serious.
So? What’s it worth? (Keeping in mind I’m not going to tell you what it is.) What would you pay?
For the second time this week I received an email from my hosting provider that I’d been hacked. The latest, this morning, involved someone using the NetRisk game script to somehow upload a few files to run their own, personal phishing site from my back-end. It was quickly quashed. Yet another tribute to the vigilance of 1&1.
If you are looking to play risk, you now need a password.
My baby sister is taking my place as volunteer extraordinaire and is basically Queen Organizer for the Relay For Life in Red Deer this year. How can you not respect that? I put my money where my my mouth is and gave her fifty bucks. It’s for a good cause, after all. Since I’m not able to get out and do these kinds of fund raisers this year, drop by her blog and give her five bucks or something.
Click here for her blog post.
Click here for a direct link to her donation page. (Search participant, first name: Sharyl)
To boot, I know I must have AT LEAST ten readers: so I challenge you all a collective matching donation. Comment your pledge, or email me if you want anonymous. If my readership (not counting my parents, wife and siblings ’cause you should already be dishing out some coin here anyhow) collectively hits at least a hundred bucks, I’ll toss in another $50. Deal?
PS. While you’re considering donating, here is some inspiration for typing in your credit card number.
Quick now. Go on. Fast like bumblebee. Three… two… one… Go!