Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Peeps Day

Happy Peeps Day

Hot Peep-on-Peep Action: Peeps Porn

Lord of the Peeps: Fellowship of the Peeps

Peeps, It's What's for Dinner: Peeps Waldorf Salad Recipe

Finally, there is my personal favorite: Peeps Experiments at, in which the scientific method is rigorously applied to questions about the effects of extreme temperature on peeps, peeps and alcohol/drug use, and the viability of Peeps colonization of space.

UPDATE: Okay, I couldn't resist adding one more peeps link: Peep-o-matic: Make your own peeps

Friday, March 25, 2005

Grokster madness

Once again, I didn't know whether to laugh or grimace when I read this in this Mediapost article that Fox-- one of the plaintiffs suing Grokster in the upcoming and very important MGM vs. Grokster case-- is apparently using the service for advertising. One of the key issues in this case, which could significantly transform the relationship between content ownership, copyright, and innovation in light of the old Sony/Betamax case, is whether or not there are substantial non-infringing uses for a technology. The studios say that's not a factor with Grokster, but this (among many other examples) seems to show something quite to the contrary:

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP., currently suing Grokster and Morpheus for alleged copyright violations enabled by their peer-to-peer technology, apparently advertises through software bundled with Grokster, according to adware researcher Eric Howes. Howes reported Thursday afternoon that he was served a full-screen trailer for the DVD of the 20th Century Fox movie "Fat Albert," after downloading all of the software bundled with Grokster--eight separate adware programs.
There are just a few short days before this goes to the Supreme Court and its hard to keep up with all of the buzz in the blogosphere and other media. Tech Law Advisor's Induce Act blog has been aggregating some of the coverage, here. If you want to get up to speed on this issue quickly, taking a look over there might be a good place to start.

It's been interesting to see how different groups have come down on this issue (to cast it simply as Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley is to gravely oversimplify the matter, but it's intriguing on this front, among others.) EFF has links to all of the briefs filed in the case. For example, 22 media scholars, many of them rather prominent filed this brief (pdf) in support of Grokster et al

Anyway, it's hard to overstate the potential importance of this case for copyright and copyfight issues, for media control and media democracy, for fair use and beyond.

UPDATE: Illustrating nicely a non-infringing use of P2P technology, have posted this BitTorrent link to all of the briefs filed in the case. (via Lessig Blog)

UPDATE 2: IPTAblog has a really great round-up of the MGM vs. Grokster coverage in the immediate days before the Supreme Court case.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Free Culture Books

3 texts on free culture, intellectual property, remix culture, media democracy-- Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture, Dan Gillmor's We Media, and Kembrew McLeod's Freedom of Expression-- are all available through Creative Commons licenses, which allows them to be shared. These books are worth purchasing, but being able to have them on your computer or PDA to read also is a great bonus. Off the shelf has posted nice Palm versions of these. I've only skimmed the recently-released McLeod book so far-- but it looks great. It was already high on my to read pile, but having it with me on my PDA will probably help get it read even more quickly than its place on my queue would have otherwise dictated.

I read Lessig's back when it came out last year (in actual bookform), and downloaded a different PDA version of it at the time as well. But, if you never read Free Culture, please do so NOW! (whether in digital-- be it PDA or PDF-- or paper format). Seriously, do it.

(via Copyfight)

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Conspiracy Theory Rock

The new blog for Stay Free! magazine has a link to an old (1998) Robert Smigel SNL animation, "Conspiracy Theory Rock." Done in the style of School House Rock, it takes on the relationship between NBC and CBS and their corporate parents GE and Westinghouse. It's not the most brilliant or hilarious critique I've ever seen, but it's pretty wild that it actually made it onto the air (only once, though . . . you won't be seeing this on Comedy Central, or wherever it is old SNL episodes go to die these days.)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Cool tool: Faster Acrobat/PDFs

I love how many articles are available online these days-- I'll go to great lengths to avoid actually schlepping over to the library. But, I'm often driven batty by Adobe Acrobat: it's so poky! So, I was psyched to read about this little program: Adobe Reader Speedup, which disables some of the unused plug-ins that delay the program's startup time. I just downloaded and installed it and I can already see the difference (if I'm not imagining things, which I suppose is always possible.) Check it out (of course I make no guarantees that it won't totally screw up Acrobat, but it the whole process is apparently reversible, so I'm not too worried.)

(via Pub Sociology)

UPDATE: Bob points out in the comments that Adobe Reader 7.0 is much speedier than 6.0 (which I'd been using)-- so I guess this nifty little program isn't necessary afterall. Instead, consider this post a reminder to update your version of Reader if you, like me, haven't gotten around to it. (Now that I have I'm happy. Ah, the simple things...)

Sociology Conversations?

One of the sources of audio files that I've most appreciated as a podcast listener has been Doug Kaye's IT Conversations. There's a variety of material over there-- from interviews with science fiction authors, bloggers, or IT CEOs to recordings of conferences such as BloggerCon, O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference (ETCON), or PopTech. While some of the material over there is too oriented to specific business interests or computer programmers' issues, I've found many of the recordings to be educational or enjoyable (and, of course, in many instances: both!)

I mentioned in my previous post on podcasting that I wish there was something like this in sociology-- Sociology Conversations, if you will. It would be great if there was some sort of repository for recordings of conferences, papers, discussions, etc. from around sociology. This could be a great way for people to give exposure to their work, get access to conferences that they're not able to attend.

Also, by making more sociology available to more people (or at least making it available in different ways), it seems in line with the mission of expanding "Public Sociology," as featured in the most recent ASA meetings. (Speaking of which, the one and only thing from a soc conference that I have listened to on my computer or iPod was Arundati Roy's talk from the ASA. They played it (or large portions of it) on Democracy Now!-- and since I had to leave SF (just) prior to her talk it was great to still be able to hear it.

A couple of people have since asked me: what's stopping *me* from working on this, from getting a Sociology Conversations started? Well . . . aside from the obvious answers (i.e., either laziness or a rational need not to continue to overextend myself), I'm also not quite sure how one would go about this. And that's where I'm looking for ideas.

First, I'm wondering what is out there already. Is there already such a creature? Or, at the very least, are there recordings being made and put up on a piecemeal basis from one conference to another? I'm sure there are-- but where are they?

At the very least, I think I can start a blog that will compile links to such materials-- though getting things set up to with actual syndication/enclosures/podcasting capabilities might be further off..

Second, are there ways to expand the amount of material that is being recorded? Does anyone think there are people (and technical resources) out there available to make this happen?

Now, while I've been saying "Sociology Conversations," I don't necessarily mean to limit this only to sociology. Indeed, my own research interests are rarely limited just to my discipline. I probably spend at least as much time reading/engaging with materials from elsewhere (from interdisciplinary fields like cultural studies, media studies, women's studies to traditional disciplines of anthropology, political science, etc.)

But for now, I'll just post a link to my new and totally naked blog. There's absolutely nothing there now, but if there's interest, maybe we can change that.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

One more Broadcast Flag link

EFF's Annalee Newitz has a new article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian on the broadcast flag and particularly on EFF's HDTV "Build In" The article is very readable/engaging and the criticism is pretty brutal:

The Broadcast Flag will create a cartel similar to the CCA, only this time the government will be directly involved. Instead of the CCA launching a civil suit against somebody for making a noncompliant device, under the Broadcast Flag the government will be able to fine that person or stop him or her from selling the product. This will allow big media companies like MGM, Sony, and Paramount to get what they want – total control of how you watch television – without having to get their hands dirty.