aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Cringely’s Apple prediction
What I think is coming next week is exactly what I thought was coming last January when Apple at the last moment changed its mind about an earlier set of announcements. We’ll see a bunch of iPods, two televisions, and the Video Express adapter I first wrote about more than 18 months ago.
Yes, we’ll probably see a larger screen video iPod, a larger capacity flash-based iPod, and some models with yet larger hard drives. All of those are no-brainers. The televisions are no-brainers, too. Gateway started this trend, but now HP and Dell both sell HDTVs so it’s logical for Apple to do so, too. Apple was set to deliver a pair of plasma models back in January, but those may now have LCD displays, I don’t really know. But with the HDTV market booming, Apple would be crazy not to grab a piece of that action.
However, the most interesting announcement I am expecting will be the Video Express, which I sure hope is finally here. If you don’t remember, this is a gizmo that plugs into a power outlet just like an AirPort Express, only where the AirPort Express sends WiFi AND audio around your house, the Video Express will send WiFi and audio AND video.
Osama been missing?
What members should learn from the Facebook trainwreck
While I agree with almost everything in danah boyd’s post wondering will Facebook learn from its mistake - I, too, hate when people try to configure their users - I’m more inclined to agree with Fred that this is the future and it is good.
It’s clear that Facebook blundered with the introduction of feeds, but I come away from danah’s full-length essay on Facebook’s privacy trainwreck with a different lesson. I begin with the analogy danah uses to illustrate how the Facebook architecture change leaves members feeling exposed:
Have you ever been screaming to be heard in a loud environment when suddenly the music stops and everyone hears the end of your sentence? And then they turn to stare? I’m guessing you turned beet red. (And if you didn’t, exposure is not one of your problems.)
When the music was still on, you were still speaking as loudly in a room full of people. Yet, you felt protected by the acoustics and you made a judgement about how loud you should speak based on the understanding of the architecture of the environment.
Where danah and I may disagree is on the member’s ”understanding of the architecture of the environment” part. It has been my contention that students have consistently misunderstood the Facebook architecture, and that the university community should participate in an exchange to facilitate a greater understanding of it.
That contention has gained no traction here - not with students, faculty or administrators - and, hey, I may well be wrong. Maybe the arrests and expulsions and embarrassments are the only learning process we need. But I agree most emphatically with Henry Jenkins when, in a discussion of DOPA with boyd, he observes that:
One of the biggest risks of these digital technologies is not the ways that they allow teens to escape adult control but rather the permanent traces left behind of their transgressive conduct. Teens used to worry about what teachers or administrators might put in their permanent records since this would impact how they were treated in the future. Yet, we are increasingly discovering that everything we do online becomes part of our public and permanent record, easily recoverable by anyone who knows how to Google, and that there is no longer any statute of limitations on our youthful indiscretions.
I don’t think students get that. I want them to. Facebook’s changes may be part of the process. My experience relative to boyd’s analogy above suggests they can.
Some months ago I went deaf in one ear. Now I never know how loud I’m talking, or if I’m interrupting and I struggle to pick out voices in a crowd. I have to learn all over again. It sounds to me like the Facebook community hears loud and clear that it has to learn all over again too.
I bring some other experience to this discussion as well. I ran a bbs in the early 90s first using tbbs and later FirstClass. Later still I was the producer of an online dating site. I understand architecture and believe we all must engage in the fight for an architecture of freedom.
We’re living in an era of information promiscuity; this era will pass as we negotiate and establish the norms of our technologically enhanced information environment. I’m not so pessimistic as danah. We’ll develop tools and learn how to use them. I see this latest privacy dustup as part of that process.
danah says gossip’s “too delicious to turn your back on.” Gossip is not too delicious for me. I tune it out and from here in rural Georgia tune danah in through my RSS feed. danah wishes they’d turn off the feeds. Me, I don’t want to turn back time. If not Facebook, it would be someone else. We need to learn to live in this world. We built it. We’ll make it better.
LATER: From the NYTimes, this member gets it:
“Because our generation has been so obsessed with putting themselves up on the Internet and obsessed with celebrity, we didn’t realize how much of our personal information we were putting out there,” said Tim Mullowney, a 22-year-old aspiring actor in Brooklyn and a Facebook user. “This really shows you how much is out there. You don’t see it until you get it served on a platter to you.”
Mr. Mullowney said the Facebook episode had opened his eyes to a surprising conclusion: “I don’t need to know every little detail of everyone’s life.”
The salt sucker
Today is my birthday. Yesterday was Star Trek’s:
Cue the iconic theme music: Forty years ago, on September 8, 1966, “Star Trek” lifted off into TV and cultural history. Over the subsequent decades, the sci-fi adventure series has amassed millions of fans and emerged as a relentless entertainment empire.
Stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy sat down recently with the Associated Press and recalled “The Man Trap,” the episode that would kick off the show’s three-year prime-time run.
“The first show that was on the air was a show with a creature that was a salt sucker,” recalled Nimoy. “It was somebody inside a weird-looking suit and it attacked humans because it needed the copper or the salt out of your body to survive or something like that.”
“That was the first one?” asked Shatner.
“Yes, that was the first one on the air,” Nimoy answered. “And it was because NBC decided that this series would be most successful if we had sort of a monster of the week to sell. What’s the monster this week? And so they put a monster show on the air the first episode, and I think it was a terrible mistake, because it was really not what we were about.”
I watched it religiously, alone in my mother’s bedroom. No one else in the house was interested. Their loss.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Fox News with mouse ears
From Joe Gandelman’s commentary on ABC’s The Path to 9/11:
To many Democrats, and even to some in the middle who might feel the Clinton administration AND the Bush administration BOTH blew it in the pre-911 competence department, ABC will now appear to be Fox News with mouse ears.
Americans are constantly being asked to choose sides - Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative...and you’re either with us or our enemy. The ABC special “tilted” existing above-the-fray perceptions of the network because advance DVDs were being sent out to conservative bigwigs and bloggers at the same time that Democrats - including Bill Clinton - were reportedly denied them when they asked for them.
A head of lettuce sitting on the shelf at Ralph’s Grocery store in San Diego would look at THAT and say: “Hey. It seems as if these filmmakers don’t like the Democrats and are marketing their production to Republicans to try and get a big audience of Republicans who think the Clinton administration was to blame for 911.”
Respirators on the pile
As the media sinks its teeth into the findings that many 9/11 workers have lung issues - Chris Cuomo on GMA just now, “why weren’t they being helped sooner and who’s responsible?” - I’m reminded of this passage from William Langewiesche’s American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, excerpted in the July/August 2002 Atlantic Monthly:
For most of the men on the pile, the loss was less acute. Even if these were fellow firemen who had died, and even if they were close friends and even if people used the word “brother” to describe them, it was not the same as losing a son. Still, over the first few months there was a lot of sadness at the site. Away from the photographers and TV cameras, the depth of it was not always obvious. The Fire Department search parties operated on a regularized schedule in small groups beside the diesel excavators, and they sifted through the fresh debris with workmanlike efficiency. But they also took risks for no obvious reasonsÃ¢â‚¬"jumping suddenly into newly opened debris holes, climbing on the unstable cliffs, and, especially, standing for hours in the heaviest smoke and dust, refusing as a matter of pride to wear the respirators that dangled around their necks. They seemed to have surrendered to an attitude of reckless self-abandonment. To varying degrees the police and construction workers had surrendered to it too. In one of the Salvation Army feeding tents I talked to a psychologist who blamed the risk-taking on “survivor guilt,” which he called a common reaction to disaster. To me, however, it looked like a simpler form of grief.
Langewiesche’s book remains very controversial. A close friend and colleague for more than a dozen years was a NYC fireman; a 9/11 hero, he is no longer. I shared many good times with him in his lower Manhattan firehouse. I haven’t asked his opinion of the book but the passage I quoted above rings true to my experience of those men.
Now I thought it absurd at the time when Giuliani was saying “the air quality is safe and acceptable,” even as I understood the need for calming reassurance of our panicky population. And I fully support funding for care and treatment of first responders. I’m just not fond of the need to dramatize the narrative.
FCC indecency ruling stayed
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday put on hold a Federal Communications Commission ruling that four television broadcasts of profanity violated decency standards and gave the agency two months to consider rebuttals by the broadcasters.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stayed enforcement of the agency’s March decision that profanities uttered on ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” CBS’s “The Early Show” and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard music awards shows on Fox were indecent. The FCC did not propose any fines for the incidents.
The shows included variations of “s---” and “f---.” The FCC based its decision on a 2004 FCC ruling that the fleeting use of the word “f---ing” by U2 rock singer Bono during the 2003 Golden Globe Awards was indecent.
The four major television networks—ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC—and their affiliate associations in April joined forces to ask an appeals court in New York to throw out the FCC’s ruling as unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious.
The appeals court stayed the decision “which applies the standards announced in the Golden Globe Order” and also granted the FCC’s request for the case back for 60 days.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Bush & Southern women
President Bush was here in Georgia today to talk about terrorism and raise money. He stumbled over some Georgia names, but the bigger news is in this AP story out of Macon, the red, red heart of Georgia:
President Bush’s once-solid relationship with Southern women is on the rocks.
“I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant,” said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. “He’s been an embarrassment.”
In the heart of Dixie, comparisons to Grant, a symbol of the Union, are the worst sort of insult, especially from a Macon woman who voted for Bush in 2000 but turned away in 2004.
In recent years, Southern women have been some of Bush’s biggest fans, defying the traditional gender gap in which women have preferred Democrats to Republicans. Bush secured a second term due in large part to support from 54 percent of Southern female voters while women nationally favored Democrat John Kerry, 51-48 percent.
Of course I like this quote, which is true to my experience of many Repulicans here:
Sandy Rubin, a high school teacher in Macon, voted for Bush and said she’s also likely to vote for Marshall. Rubin said the GOP’s focus on issues that appeal to social conservatives, such as gay marriage and abortion, have turned her off.
Just this morning I saw a Macon lawn sign, “Support our troops, bring them home.” I’m not buying the storyline that Southern women have abandoned Bush, but there always has been more antipathy to Bush than the press would lead you to believe.
The father of Ubuntu
Mark Shuttleworth is rich enough to cause some havoc in the feel-good Linux community. In January 2000, at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Shuttleworth sold his South African security software firm, Thawte, to VeriSign for $700 million in stock. Shuttleworth cashed out almost immediately, walking away with the entire purchase price, just as VeriSign’s stock began its rapid descent. “Life has been kind to me,” he says.
But the 32-year-old has no children and doesn’t feel much need to hang on to his money. He spent $20 million in 2002 to orbit the Earth for a week in a Russian Soyuz. “I don’t intend to create a dynasty,” he says.
Instead, Shuttleworth wants to give back, by offering universal access to a free operating system to run PCs and servers. The world already has several “free” versions of the open-source Linux operating system, but Shuttleworth’s version, called Ubuntu, undercuts them all on price--and works better, according to many respected sources. [...]
Ubuntu now has 4 million users, half of which are governments, universities and a smattering of businesses. It adds new ones at a rate of 8% per month. After its public release in October 2004, Ubuntu quickly deposed Red Hat’s Fedora as the most popular version of Linux on DistroWatch, a Web site that caters to Linux users. Ubuntu works in 22 languages, and Canonical, the company Shuttleworth set up to distribute his software, will send a free Ubuntu CD anywhere in the world. New users rave about the simple user interface, which has gained recent converts in a couple of well-known bloggers who switched from Apple Computer’s (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) OS X. [...]
Canonical has burned through $15 million of Shuttleworth’s money in two and a half years. He says that it will take him at least another two years to even know whether it has a chance to become profitable, and that it may never return his investment. But that doesn’t matter. He’s paying all the bills either way, along with setting up a $10 million endowment for the Ubuntu Foundation that’s earning interest for a day when his attentions may drift elsewhere.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Don’t airbrush 9/11
ABC/Disney plans to memorialize the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with a fictional docudrama called “The Path to 9/11”. Written by an avowed right-wing activist, this work of fiction directly contradicts the accepted record of the 9/11 Commission Report. President Clinton and former administration officials were denied an advance copy; Rush Limbaugh and obscure right-wing bloggers saw it last week. ABC plans to distribute this docudrama to 100,000 educators across the country. We’ve set up this site to encourage ABC to change its strategy.
The one-stop shop to find info and take action.
Katie Couric made history on Tuesday night as the first woman to solo anchor a network newscast, but from the reviews, youÃ‚’d think she was a finalist in the Ã‚"TV SpokesmodelÃ‚” category of Ã‚"Star Search.Ã‚” Even though CouricÃ‚’s demeanor was fairly straightforward and somber throughout the half-hour CBS Evening News, journalists nationwide used such diminishing words as Ã‚"chirpyÃ‚" and Ã‚"bubblyÃ‚" and Ã‚"touchy-feelyÃ‚" to describe CouricÃ‚’s delivery. Tom Shales of the http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/05/AR2006090501473.htmlÃ‚">Washington Post called her white blazer a Ã‚"poor choiceÃ‚” that made her look Ã‚"chubby.Ã‚" Even no-nonsense Reuters referred to her as Ã‚"U.S. television sweetheart Katie Couric.Ã‚”
ItÃ‚’s pretty tough to imagine anyone referring to Ã‚"U.S. television heartthrob Peter JenningsÃ‚” or commenting on an ill-considered suit jacket or tie on Bryant Gumbel or Dan Rather. And Matt Lauer may have the cutesy, cuddly Ã‚"Aw shucks!Ã‚” tone of Ferris Bueller, but somehow weÃ‚’re never reminded of how Ã‚"perkyÃ‚" or Ã‚"vivaciousÃ‚" he is. Apparently itÃ‚’s a major challenge for Americans to stomach a woman delivering the news at night.
Of course, instead of asking whether or not a chick can really bring us the news, pundits nationwide employed imaginative adjectives to disguise their true feelings. A writer for Forbes, like many others, posed the question, Ã‚"Will she convey the gravitas to keep her on par with predecessors like Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather?
The best response to this rhetorical question appeared on the CBS blog http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/couricandco/main500803.php?author=Greg_KandraÃ‚">Couric & Co.: Ã‚"After hearing that word (gravitas) a few times too often this summer, and hearing naysayers carp that it was something she [Katie Couric] needed, she finally decided: Ã‚â€˜I’m convinced gravitas is just Latin for testicles.Ã‚’Ã‚”
As it happens I do remember the fracas over her CBS predecessor’s sweater, and his donning the traditional Mujahadeen headdress. Still I cheer Katie’s response and wish her well.
REMEMBER: Connie on Katie and ‘Gravitas’: ‘It’s a Chauvinistic Word’ from the New York Observer last March.
Leave constitutions alone
So said J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a popular conservative judge who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in the Washington Post. Read the whole thing. Two of my favorite passages:
The Federal Marriage Amendment has helped spread the constitutional fever to the states. State constitutional bans on same-sex marriages vary considerably in their wording, particularly with respect to civil unions. But most would repose in judges the authority to interpret such ambiguous terms as “domestic union,” “similar to marriage,” “rights, obligations, privileges and immunities of marriage,” “incidents of marriage” and so forth. Thus the irony: Those who wish to curb activist judges are vesting judges with unprecedented interpretative authority whose constitutional nature makes it all but impervious to legislative change. [...]
I do not argue that same-sex marriage is a good or desirable phenomenon, only that constitutional bans on same-sex unions carry terrible costs. Partisans see only one side of a profound controversy when in fact there are two. It is not wrong for gay citizens to wish to share fully in the life of this country, to partake of its most basic and sacred institution, and to experience the intimacy, bonding and devotion to another that only an institution such as marriage can bring. To embrace this view one need not believe that sexual infidelities will disappear but only that many gay couples will make good on their vows and lead fuller, richer and more productive lives as a result.
My kind of conservative.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Speaks to the times we’re living in I’d say:
[A]s mayor, he wants to take a National Historic Landmark, the old federal courthouse where he tried his first case, and turn it into a mob museum - and there’s no alleged about it.
Many of Goodman’s constituents and some former FBI agents are appalled by the idea, but Goodman insists he’s just recognizing Vegas’ founding fathers. Or godfathers.
“The mob founded us, and I never apologized for them because I represented them, and they made me a rich man,” he said.
Unfortunately, you will not see photos of his visit to the Neon Museum. He asked. They answered:
Although many people have taken it upon themselves to post photos of the Boneyard on Flickr and other photo-sharing websites, we ask that no one do so. We are an educational facility first and foremost - and therefore do not allow stock photography. Photos that are uploaded to sites such as Flickr are not copy protected, and therefore are able to be lifted and used by unscrupulous people. As a result, we are trying to limit the number of images from our collection that are hosted on the web.
Hawk is right, “This is wrong and backward thinking.” Cory Doctorow agrees, “For curators to block the dissemination of their collection is antithetical to curatorship.”
Tomorrow’s television today
All of the major networks are doing at least some experiments making content available via mobile devices, including deals by ABC (with Verizon), Fox (with Sprint and Verizon), and NBC (with Verizon).
CBS is making content available via both Yahoo.com and Google Video; Fox via MySpace and CinemaNow; NBC via YouTube.
All of this points towards a world where consumers can watch the content they want when they want it and where they want it and they can do so with a range of different options from paying to watch advertising free content to watching advertising-supported content for free. Not every show is available in all formats yet. Most of the networks are testing a few platforms at a time. They are still offering only selected series. But there’s no question at this point that these various platforms are going to be increasingly central to the ways we watch television.
Some see these trends as representing the next step towards the disagregation of television content—that is to say, consumers will follow individual series with little regard to their time slots or network placements. For some of us, that moment is already here.
Smart speed sign
The M42 is a major British motorway that has a reputation for being a testbed for new roadside technology, with a current traffic management scheme including sensors for tracking traffic built into the road and variable speed limit signs every 500 meters. The latest piece of kit to be tested out during roadworks is a radar-assisted speeding sign that not only flashes when it detects a speeding car, but also displays the license plate number of said car. Yeah, scary.
Sirius Internet Radio
The soon-to-be-available Sirius Stiletto 100 is a $350 portable satellite receiver/MP3 player that, among other things, connects via Wi-Fi to the internet so you can listen to Sirius stations without using Sirius’s satellites (it went http://www.tss-radio.com/sirius-stiletto-live-portable-receiver-sl100pk1-p-3909.html">on sale three days ago).
In addition, Sirius recently announced an “online only” subscription that completely ignores its satellite infrastructure. The company has already trademarked this satellite-free service as SIR, or Sirius Internet Radio. [...]
Aside from Wi-Fi and a satellite reciever, the slim Stiletto 100 packs Bluetooth, meaning that might let users link to other Stiletto users without draining much power—unlike the MusicGremlin and (apparently) the Microsoft Zune, which use power-hungry ad-hoc Wi-Fi connections. The Stiletto 100 also works with another Zing partner, Yahoo Music Engine, apparently so that users can select a “Buy This Song” option to purchase whatever they’re hearing on a Sirius channel (or download it as part of a subscription).
Zing CEO Tim Bucher founded the company in 2005. Aside from being the man who coined the term “automagically,” Bucher was a founding member of WebTV, which was acquired by Microsoft. There, he eventually became a member of the Xbox team—oddly enough, the same team which spawned Microsoft’s upcoming Zune player.
Bucher also spent a couple years as an Apple executive, overseeing development of the Mac Mini and the iPod’s core technology. Those years ended in bitter acrimony in late 2004, when Jobs fired Bucher.
RELATED: Apparently we don’t want it on our phones.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Hating your blog software
Thomas Hawk says, ”I hate blogger.”
Me, I’m tempted to say, “I hate Movable Type.”
After nearly 2 years as a freebie with Movable Type, I paid the $49.95 this week for ”Professional Support.” I did it in part as a gesture of support for the company.
To date I have built several Movable Type blogs, installed and upgraded the software a number of times, and managed this site with few help tickets and no cash payment to SixApart. They’ve earned their $50 bucks.
But now they’ve essentially told me that mine is a worthless gesture!
It turns out that the support I paid for is actually “Basic Support;” they hope to offer “Advanced Support” in the future. And what precisely is this Basic Support I paid for? It’s nothing more than what I had before. For free. I read the FAQ and somehow missed that fact.
For the record I got more support for the problem I’m grappling with now from Chad Everett in passing as a kind gesture (I plan to visit his wishlist to say thanks and check-out his plug-in MT-Notifier if I decide to stay with Movable Type), from my web host (which indirectly suggested I might want to consider WordPress) and from various readers who have emailed me (and again suggested I move to WordPress).
I’m left with my site not working properly and perplexed as to what to do. I am fond of Movable Type and feel some loyalty to it. But right now I’m feeling bilked, talked down to and mishandled by support. Given that I work in tech support myself, I realize that it may well be a misunderstanding but that misunderstanding has two sides to it. If there’s no movement on their side and I have to build this blog all over again from the ground up with “Basic Support” it may well be time to give in and join the crowd moving to WordPress.
So on this holiday weekend blogging will be spotty as I mull that over and pursue some more terrestrial pleasures. If you’ve got an opinion on the topic, please fire away. Comments and email are welcome!
UPDATE: Days later and I still can’t bring myself to go back at it with Movable Type support. Jim at Right-Thoughts suggests I try ExpressionEngine from pMachine. I’m listening. I’ve heard others say good things about their product.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
MySpace to let members sell music
The new Snocap-powered feature will enable bands to outfit their MySpace site with an interface through which computer users may browse the bands’ songs and buy them in the copy-protection free MP3 format, MySpace said.
The bands will be able to set the price for each track, with MySpace and Snocap taking a cut of the sale. And their fans or friends on MySpace will also be able to place the online music storefront on their pages, potentially widening exposure for the bands.
MySpace and Snocap officials declined to say what percentage of each transaction goes to the companies.
Emphasis mine. No mention of fans who sell music also getting a cut. But, then, the perfect is the enemy of the good.
A place to learn
NPR said Thursday it plans to launch a digital music service like none other:
The national leader in podcasting—the organization has 52 podcasts available via iTunes—NPR hopes to expand its reach to more web-based formats.
“NPR and other programs across the country offer all these remarkable services rolled up to create sort of an extraordinarily unique catalog of ideas about music,” said Ken Stern, NPR’s chief operating officer. “But in the digital age you can’t find this stuff. This will be a unique place for people to discover, learn and have a community around music.”
It won’t be selling individual downloads:
“There are a lot of places to buy stuff. This is a place to learn,” Mr. Stern said.
The site will host podcasts from public-radio stations around the country, as well as features already offered through its music program “All Songs Considered,” including streaming performances from Washington’s 930 Club and Philadelphia-based World Cafe. It will also allow users to access more than 70 years of public-radio archives, making it perhaps the largest resource for such information online.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Colleges on YouTube
This is definitely infringing on Facebook’s turf, but Facebook has yet to add video-sharing to its college-centered social network. Colleges, with their ample supplies of bandwidth and procrastinators, are the best source of early adopters you can get, and college student presence on YouTube is certainly huge. Though the company is shy about giving out demographic information, Lee Gomes reported yesterday 70 percent of YouTube’s registered users are American, with roughly half of them under 20 years old. Via Download Squad.
Vague and chilling
Reports are coming in that out of fear of an FCC fine, some CBS stations will likely delay broadcast of the CBS documentary 9/11 until after 10 p.m. because it contains swearing uttered in the heat of the Sept. 11 disaster, despite the fact that the documentary has aired uncut twice before, without FCC sanction. CBS has said it expects to have no problems with the FCC, which has been cracking down on profanity, but apparently some stations aren’t so sure. This is yet more fallout from the FCC’s confusing and inconsistent indecency regulation.
Remember, the new indecency fines are $325,000 per instance. The fine for passing off fake news as real? $32,000.
Here’s the story from Broadcasting and Cable.
On porn and rape
Anthony D’Amato at Northwestern University has a theory on porn and rape. :
The incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85% in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to teenagers and adults. The Nixon and Reagan Commissions tried to show that exposure to pornographic materials produced social violence. The reverse may be true: that pornography has reduced social violence.
I’m skeptical; I’ve not read it. Ampersand apparently has:
Three problems with D’Amato’s theory:
1) During recent years, the NCVS has found a steep decline in all violent crime, not just rape. It seems likely that whatever’s causing the decline in all violent crime measured by the NCVS, is also causing the decline in rape measured by the NCVS; but it seems unlikely that pornography reduces all violent crime.
2) The NCVS measurement of rape prevalence is crap. Many other studies - including two major studies conducted by the Federal government - have found much higher rates of rape prevalence than the NCVS. Particularly notable is this study, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which directly compared the NCVS’s methodology for measuring rape prevalence with modern “best practice” survey design - and found that the NCVS vastly undercounted rape.
(D’Amato does say that the decrease in rape is collaborated by other sources, but he doesn’t cite any specific sources other than the NCVS).
3) D’Amato has no measurement of porn prevalence other than internet access, nor does he do any real statistical analysis. In contrast, studies with sophisticated statistical analysis and more accurate measures of porn usage - such as the study published in Four Theories of Rape in American Society - tend to find that porn usage has little or no correlation with rape prevalence.
Now that I find persuasive.
Smooth the Ubuntu install
A letter to Wired from Kristoffer Nilaus Olsen:
I have [Ubuntu] installed on my ancient Thinkpad Celeron 450Mhz, which I use as my kitchen computer (for recipes and listening to music while cooking) and your story pretty accurately covers my experiences. One thing you might want to cover in the future is the Automatix script, which enables users to install a variety of needed extra functionality in Linux—including the much vaunted multimedia codecs—with the click of a few buttons from a graphical user interface. It’s really made it much simpler to make Ubuntu a proper multimedia system and then some.