Regular readers (are there any?) might be wondering what made me come back to the blog from a more than 6 months period of silence. Well, it turns out that a simple post can be of use in protesting against one of the many anti-piracy laws that the powers-that-be are trying to put in place.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone piracy when used to profit from someone else’s work, but the way most copyright cases are currently handled is just outright ridiculous, and the recent draconic crackdown on file sharing sites is a serious threat to the Internet as we know it.
OK, enough ranting, what’s this all about then? As reported by TorrentFreak, a Spanish artist and an hacktivist group devised a very clever way to protest against an anti-piracy law that when into effect today.
The Sinde law allows for the blocking of allegedly infringing sites based on reports from copyright holders, something very similar to the US SOPA bill. So Eme Navarro, who usually publishes his work under a Creative Commons license, released an “all rights reserved” track specifically for the protest. Then, with the help of the group Hackivistas, hundreds of sites are linking to this copyrighted song without permission, and Navarro is going to report all of them to the Ministry of Culture. In turn, they have to review all the requests individually and on order of arrival, so the protest should slow down the review process significantly.
What a clever DOS attack!
Why am I talking about this if I’m not Spanish or living in Spain? I should probably be more worried about SOPA Ireland at the moment…
They will also censor foreign websites, so anyone in the world can join us. We want to check what happens in every case.
And that’s where I come in. As of now, this blog is infringing on Spanish copyright law, because I’m linking to Eme Navarro’s Nobody’s Death.
Let’s see how that goes.
Google seems to be testing a new interface for its homepage. I just spotted it on Google UK, and only when logged in and using Chrome. Also, it’s only available for some users, as usual with these kinds of experiments. This is what it looks like:
The content is no longer centered, but instead aligned to the left, and the left sidebar is styled differently, with different colors and icons. The header and search box have a grey background that clearly separates them from the search results. As far as these are concerned, the only visible change seems to be that the site URL appears right under the search result link, instead of after the site blurb.
Here’s the old interface, for comparison:
Note that the new-ish black menu bar is already on both versions.
Hey, Internet: What if We All Read the Same Book?
The idea was put forward by Jeff Howe last year, as a way to reinvent the book club concept and giving it a global reach, instead of being something you do with people in the neighbourhood (or city). So last summer One Book, One Twitter got around 12,000 people from all over the world reading and discussing (on Twitter) Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (great book, by the way, you should read it). And then it was over.
The same Jeff Howe is now trying to revive the idea, and the Twitter-based book club is back. The initiative has a new name – 1book140 – and it’s now monthly instead of a one-off thing. The book for this month is The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, as chosen by “the crowd”, and the discussion is already going strong on Twitter, in tweets annotated with the dedicated hashtag for each part (#1b140_1, #1b140_2, #1b140_3, etc.). Here’s the reading/discussion schedule for June, and an FAQ for those of you who want to quickly get into it.
I’m joining the club myself, and might even start tweeting about it.
On a funny note, 2 weeks ago Sir Alex Ferguson has publicly criticized Twitter by saying it’s a “waste of time” and that people should instead “go to a library and read a book”. Well, there you go.
In Wikipedia, that is.
Allow me to explain. In this xkcd comic, this factoid about Wikipedia is stated:
Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at “Philosophy”.
That’s xkcd being awesome again.
UPDATE: There’s a whole page on Wikipedia about this.