Friday, March 03, 2000
3/3/00 3:54:24 PM
Geek Pride Festival: April 1, Boston, MA, US.
At long last the Boston Geek Pride
festival is happening. It's been a long time in the making.
Apparently I was the first to raise my paw for a speaking slot when
Tim McEachern posted a call in mid-1998. (Good thing geek pride is
forever.) This time Tim enlisted the formidable organizing talents
of Susan Kaup <sooz at geektalent dot com>. Together they went
after sponsors and succeeded in signing up Andover.net. (The merger
with VA Linux was announced before the check was cut, but all turned
out well.) Here's an announcement that ran on a local mailing list.
My only quibble is that it omits one particular featured speaker...
T H E G E E K P R I D E F E S T I V A L
Saturday, April 1, 2000
11am - 12midnight
The Castle - 130 Columbus Avenue- Boston, MA
(2 min. walk from Arlington subway station, MBTA green line.)
About the Festival ...
The Geek Pride Festival will include a day of music, technology,
culture and entertainment. The event takes place on Saturday,
April 1, 2000. The location is The Castle, 130 Columbus Avenue,
Doors open at 11am and the festival runs until midnight. The
event is free, all ages and open to the public. The day's
activities will include a Quake 3 tournament, trivia contest,
electronic musicians, bands, linux install coordinated by the
Boston Linux Users Group, technology services/vendor booths
and local Internet/Web/open source organization booths.
Featured speakers include Sandy Pentland, Rob Malda, Eric
Raymond, Chris Locke and David Weinberger.
Thursday, March 02, 2000
3/2/00 11:08:04 PM
DoubleClick climbs down.
Today DoubleClick's CEO
that the company is suspending its plans to connect anonymous data
on users' surfing habits with offline data that identifies them.
CEO Kevin O'Connor said that DoubleClick has never so far combined
any such data, contradicting the USA Today report that touched a
match to the issue. O'Connor did not promise the company would never
combine its databases, only that it would not do so until government
and industry had agreed on privacy standards.
The climbdown came after reports of an FTC investigation, inquires
by at least two state attornies general, and numerous individual
lawsuits filed over the last few weeks.
The straw that broke DoubleClick's resolve may have been a
by the ubiquitous Richard Smith that Intuit's Web site has been
"leaking" personal data to DoubleClick. Smith said that the leakage
is not limited to Intuit, but is a widespread problem; DoubleClick
enters the picture mainly because it is the largest Web ad broker.
Phil Agre ran a
of these developments on his Red Rock Eater mailing list today.
[Note added 2000-03-03, 11:26 am:]
links (all?) 11 press accounts of the DoubleClick move.
3/2/00 12:44:15 PM
Gallup recently conducted a
asking how news of the recent denial-of-service attacks had affected
peoples' perceptions of the Net. (The Washington Post story does not
give details of the survey's size or methodology.) Result: overall
1/3 of the respondents say they were worried enough by the news to
be less likely to spend money online in the future. Of current
Internet users, only 1/4 said they were that worried; of non-users,
National Public Radio has been making much of a
they conducted with the help of the Kaiser Family Foundation and the
Kennedy School of Government. Last November and December NPR
asked 1500 adults and 625 children about their use of computers,
technology, and the Internet. The results show a refreshing degree
of optimism about, and even a fondness for, technology. In this
survey the digital divide appears but it does not loom large. The
provide some fascinating glimpses into the minds of Americans. For
example, adults were asked whether they ever ask their kids for help
with the computer; and separately, kids were asked whether their
parents ever ask them for help. Read 'em and weep:
Adults: Yes 35%
Kids: Yes 70%
Here are Americans' concerns about the Internet and its effects on
society. The first number is the percentage of respondents who think
the issue is a problem, and the second number is the percentage who
believe the US government should do something about the problem.
Think it's Should the
a problem? gov't. act?
Kids' access to Net porn 96% 75%
Kids meeting dangerous strangers 95 79
Bomb-making know-how 91 75
Porno, adult content 87 61
Loss of privacy 84 61
False advertising 84 62
Violent games 82 51
Hate speech 81 53
Avail. of guns over the Net 77 54
Monday, February 28, 2000
2/28/00 10:43:28 AM
Amazon takes a step too far.
Last week Amazon.com
their second big "method of doing business"
this one for the idea of affiliate programs.
Amazon has not said what, if anything, it will do with this newly
granted patent. But as soon as the company had received a patent on
one-click ordering last fall, it
sued Barnes & Noble and got an
injunction forcing bn.com to dismantle its own single-click system.
And Amazon.com has been granted at least 10 broad patents on
e-commerce methodologies (see the list gathered by Jon Hedley in this
I've removed all the Amazon Associate links from the TBTF site and joined
the affiliates' program for Powell's Books.
Over time I may add a few other such programs to the mix; Borders looks pretty
reasonable. I've also signed up as a public supporter of the Amazon.com
boycott at NoWebPatents.org.
(Note that Richard Stallman was the first to
for a boycott of Amazon.com. I didn't cover his campaign last fall, but
I'm on board now.)
The poster-child of e-commerce has turned down the wrong street in
its handling of its intellectual property. Watch over the next few
weeks as the press and public begin to sour on Amazon.com. Amazon's
aggressive deployment of its patent portfolio may help its stock
price in the short run, but over time a spreading boycott and
customer defections could hit the company's bottom line.
One early negative report comes from
Dan Gilmore's Web log.
Gilmore links to Greg Aharonian's
celebration of bad patents and to
two Amazon-boycott sites (but not to Stallman's original page). Dave Winer
posted a thoughtful
essay on Amazon.com's aggressive, take-no-prisoners style of competition,
in contrast to the "competition with respect" that Winer's Web-log tool
efforts enjoy with respect to Blogger.
It's a big-hearted piece and I think Dave deserves a pat on the back for it.
[Note added 2000-02-28, 10:02 pm:]
Tim O'Reilly has
Amazon to drop its pursuit of the 1-Click patent and posted a
where others can add their public comments to Amazon.