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Cox Crow

Asking the Stupid Questions Since 1971
 Tuesday, July 09, 2002


An 11-year-old boy who read the wrong Bible verse at church was severely beaten with a tree branch by a Baptist pastor and the pastor's brother, the boy's family said.
The Houston Chronicle [via Ernie the Attorney]

Beaten, for 90 minutes, with a tree branch, for reciting the wrong verse.

5:47:03 PM # Google It!
categories: Sadness

If Control's control is absolute, why does Control need to control?

Answer: Control needs time.

Mulher and I were discussing an upcoming luncheon in La-La-Land, presented by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. They ask, "Will file-sharing kill the copyright industries?"

I think the whole issue is really very simple, that the complexity is all in the rhetoric. [Discuss]

Intellectual property is not property. The resource defined by intellectual property is not scarce. Monopoly for a limited time, for a specific purpose, is granted, which creates an artificial scarcity. Some businesses are built on that monopoly grant. Consider the meaning of the word "medium." These businesses exist not to create but to distribute stuff. Another means of distribution threatens their existing business.

The distribution method at hand elminates artificial scarcities imposed by physical media, such as paper, film — anything that requires space. The only scarcity is time: my time.

The Media are middlemen. That is all. They know it. They don't want you to know it. They can't admit it. They are middlemen for something which everyone has.

Money is made off of scarcity. Middlemen make money off of scarcity by bringing a thing from one place to another, generally speaking. But if the scarcity is artificial, and that artificiality is destroyed, then how do you make money off bringing it from one place to another? You don't. You make money off of scarcity. The scarcity is time. The scarcity is not stuff.

There are two ways to prevent the decay of this artificial scarcity:

1) New laws criminalizing existing non-criminal behavior and strict enforcement of those laws, both by police and by technology. These laws, if not able to be expressed in Acts of Congress, can be expressed solely in code.

This way leads to the dystopian future of Max Headroom.

2) Recognize that the scarcity is artificial, that the thing sold is distribution, not "content," and go about the business of distribution in the manner that the customers want.

This way leads to profit.

12:17:15 PM # Google It!
categories: Media

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

An interesting little tidbit came across the transom, courtesy of BUGTRAQ. What's interesting is the description of how Apple's Software Update works.

Software Update is a simple HTTP application, with a few flaws. A client requests a list of software from Apple. After receiving the list, the client sends a list of its installed software. The server sends a list of available files and their locations. The client requests those files.

Aside for the extraneous network activity in the second request from the client, the problem is that there is no means for verifying that the files are indeed from Apple. This leaves you open to a classic man-in-the-middle attack.

11:47:58 AM # Google It!
categories: Security, System Administration

I hate the search requests I'm seeing.

10:26:02 AM #

Selected Quotations

Daddy, did you see me?!
After I take a nap, then we go to Playland, and eat pretzels, and ice cream, and journal, and ice cream. OK? Is that a good idea?!

10:17:48 AM # Google It!
categories: Family