aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Hard drive failures
Someone explain this to me. How can this be true:
“Eventually, every hard drive will fail,” some even within months, said Todd Johnson, vice president for operations at OnTrack Data Recovery (www.ontrack.com), a firm specializing in recovering digital files… [DriveSavers’ co-founder Scott] Gaidano says that hard drives are so unreliable that they “should not exist today.”
If this is true:
But even if you do wipe your disk successfully-and overwrite each of your deleted files-traces of the original data remain. Writing to a magnetic disk is not as precise as one might think; when you overwrite a file, the new version doesn’t completely cover up the old. The leftover data can be read out with certain imaging techniques, like magnetic-force microscopy and magnetic-force scanning tunneling microscopy. Computer forensics experts say it’s possible to recover data beneath dozens of layers of overwriting, and privacy fanatics talk about wiping their disks up to 35 times over to be absolutely safe.
Make money giving away your books
Cory Doctorow gives away his books. I’ve heard him explain why before. This time, I’m transcribing it. From his talk with Dave Slusher in the IT Conversations series Voices in Your Head. This passage follows his excellent description of the Creative Commons Developing Nations Deed ("a no-brainer and it’s a good idea"):
[My transcription beginning @ 51:15] The important thing for me isn’t whether or not I lose some sales. The important thing for me is whether I gain more sales than I’ve lost… The thing that’s important to me isn’t to get 100% of a very small pie, it’s to make sure that the piece of pie that I get is as large as possible.
And so I think that by giving books away I make a much larger pie. I gave away half a million copies of my first novel through my website and God knows how many more copies have been given away through other people’s websites. It’s just gone into its fifth printing!…
You can think about this as dramatically lowering my cost of customer acquisition while simultaneously lowering my per customer revenue. So I was able to acquire 500,000 customers for free, but most of them never bought the book, so the other ones are paying for the free ride…
I think that’s pretty typical of any kind of entertainment economics, that you have, you know, with music. How many people listen to a song on the radio without buying the CD?
The emphasis is mine.
[My transcription beginning @ 43:20] Book is what you do when you’re reading. Book is not a literary form, because obviously we have literary forms that we’ve called books that weren’t published in book form starting with the Bible… That book was a scroll. You know, it wasn’t in book form at all. And then we have books like Charles Dickens books which were in fact published in newspapers as serials.
So clearly it’s not a literary form and it’s not a physical object, it’s a practice. It’s the thing that you do when you are reading things that are book-like… Book is not a thing, it’s a verb, it’s not a noun. So I think that when you consider that more people read more words off of more screens every day, and fewer people read fewer words off of fewer pages every day, then we have to conclude that what people are doing with screens is book.
Santorum on Boston liberals
WASHINGTON—Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston’s ‘’liberalism” with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city’s ‘’sexual license” and ‘’sexual freedom” nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.
“The basic liberal attitude in that area . . . has an impact on people’s behavior,” Santorum said in an interview yesterday at the Capitol.
“If you have a world view that I’m describing [about Boston] . . . that affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way,” Santorum said.
The more he and his ilk are emboldened, the more they’ll say what they really think. And what they really think is out of step with the majority view of the American public.
I believe that it’s the closet that’s dangerous. That out proud gay people pose no threat, but shame-filled, repressed people with secrets are more apt to do shameful things they’ll later regret. And dare I say it? Out proud gay people are less likely to become Catholic priests; and those out proud gay people who do, bound by their vow of celibacy, are not likely to molest children.
More of what they really think:
Santorum has startled Washington in the past. In a 2003 interview with the Associated Press, he linked ‘’man on child” and ‘’man on dog” sex with homosexuality, describing them as deviant behaviors that threatened traditional marriage. Earlier this year, he apologized for comparing the Democrats blocking President Bush’s judicial nominees to the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
Public Access on steroids
“We’re going from being media consumers to media makers. We’re learning how to do that,” said Chuck Olsen, a documentary filmmaker and video blogger in Minnesota. “There’s sort of a whole continuum between (videotaping) grandpa’s birthday and filmmaking.”
Anyone can “create media and have a distribution outlet for it that bypasses television and mainstream media,” Olsen said. “It’s like slightly curated cable-access.”
Public Access is an often unacknowledged and underappreciated forerunner to all that the Internet is becoming.
There’s lots of legal limbo here:
Copyright issues are also popping up as more and more people get into vlogging. Vloggers sometimes use copyright music in their vlogs, but they are unclear about whether the practice falls under the heading of fair use or not. Olsen said there has been a movement to get people to use Creative Commons-licensed music so they don’t have to worry about infringing copyrights.
“The technology to capture what’s around you is becoming so prevalent,” Olsen said. “It’s completely clashing with existing laws. I just think we’re in this weird growing-pains stage where it has to be worked out.”
The reason I’m excited that Google and Apple are involved is that distribution of content by and for you and me figures in to their business model. So maybe they’ll go to bat for us. Or at least support and encourage Creative Commons licenses.
And although some viewers might find the videos dull as cardboard, Olsen said some vloggers rally ‘round the motto, “Mundane is the new punk rock.”