I was asked by the Observer to write a column marking the second anniversary of the NASDAQ crash and answering the question: how can companies make money from the Net? My answer: it’s the wrong question.
Archive for March, 2002
Apropos of the previous item…Thanks to Sam Ruby for sending a pointer to the Microsoft shared source license. The patent disclaimer is at the top. “You may use any information in intangible form that you remember after accessing the Software. However, this right does not grant you a license to any of Microsoft’s copyrights or patents for anything you might create using such information.” It’s a poison pill for sure. Very clear. [Scripting News]
There’s a story on MSNBC (so it must be true!) that Microsoft is so concerned about the fact that computer science students mostly work with Open Source software and Java that it plans to release the source of some .NET software to university departments. It will be interesting to see the licensing terms under which this ‘release’ takes place…
Michael Eisner: born-again political philospher
Well, well, well. The head of Disney has concluded that Abe Lincoln would have loved the Internet but hated file-sharing. Quote from his FT article:
“In other words, thinkers both major and minor, in words both profound and mundane, have asserted the primacy of property ownership in a free society. It is as American as the apple pie that one may not take off a neighbour’s kitchen ledge.
In writing this, I am not just speaking from the self-interest of the head of an entertainment company. For me, theft of property, via the internet or any other way, is not only alarming because of the material loss but also disconcerting because it implies the loss of the moral compass on which our society is based.”
There’s a lot more in this vein. Am reminded of Dr. Johnson’s comment about a dog walking on its hind legs. One is surprised not that he does it well, but that he can do it at all.
Thanks to AA for alerting me to this engaging example of Hollywood cant.
Why is consistency so absurdly prized by the British mass media? This morning there are reports that Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State responsible for the railways, has decided to compensate Railtrack shareholders for his decision to put the company into administration. This immediately starts up the media (and political) gibe “U-Turn, U-Turn, yah boo!”. But why shouldn’t ministers change their minds? After all, circumstances change. The really stupid people are those who refuse to countenance changing their minds, no matter what happens.
BT has objected furiously to my Observer column of March 17, which argued that huge swathes of the UK population lay beyond the reach of ADSL. But according to the Better Broadband for Britain pressure group:
‘Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of BT, yesterday [5 February, 2002] told MPs that the provision of broadband or fast internet services would not be commercially viable in sparsely populated UK areas for another 10 to 20 years.
Sir Christopher told the Commons select committee on culture, media and sport that even where BT exchanges had been enabled for broadband services – take-up had been relatively weak.
“Areas with less than 20,000 homes and businesses linked to a local exchange simply aren’t viable for broadband today,” Sir Christopher said.’
Useful step-by-step guide to putting navigation links in a Radio Weblog.
Dan Gillmor on Hollings Bill
“This is deadly serious stuff. To protect the entertainment industry in changing times, Hollywood water-carriers like U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings are happy to stifle free speech and curb fair use in addition to whacking technological innovation (other than innovation the entertainment crowd finds acceptable). Violators would be subject to heavy fines and jail terms.” [ more...]