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The Internet

+ - 20th anniversary of the dawn of the dot-com->

Submitted by
btempleton
btempleton writes ""It was 20 years ago today" when I posted to USENET the public launch of ClariNet, my electronic newspaper service delivered over the internet. By finding a way around the NSFNet acceptable use policy, ClariNet was the first business founded to use the internet as its platform for business, and the era of the "dot-com" had begun. For the anniversary I have written a history of the founding of ClariNet and early internet business which outlines how it all took place.

Readers may also enjoy the included anecdote about what I term "M5" reliability, where the news system was so robust that, like the M5 computer on Star Trek, even those authorized to do so were unable to shut it off and a story of the earliest large SF eBook effort. Extra, extra, read all about it."

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Media (Apple)

+ - Apple bans RSS reader due to bad word in feed link->

Submitted by
btempleton
btempleton writes "It all started when I prepared yet another "Downfall" subtitle parody. In this one, Hitler is the studio head, upset at all the downfall parodies and he wants to do DMCA takedowns on them all. (If you're a DMCA/DRM fighting /.er, you'll like it.) The EFF, which I chair, reblogged it on Deeplinks, and hilarity ensued. That weekend, Exact Magic, an iPhone developer, had submitted a special RSS reader app to display EFF news on the iPhone. Apple's iPhone app store evaluators looked at the RSS reader, read the feed it pointed to, and then played the linked-to video.

They saw the F-word flash in the subtitles of the video, and then rejected the RSS reading tool from the App Store. We're up to several levels of meta here, as Apple has banned an app over a parody about banning, and is now parodying itself. Bonus: TFA also has the story of just how hard it is to be fully legal in obtaining the famous clip for parody."

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Transportation

+ - Robocars: The best way geeks can save the planet->

Submitted by
Brad Templeton
Brad Templeton writes "I (whom you may know as EFF Chairman, founder of early dot-com Clari.Net and rec.humor.funny) have just released a new series of futurist essays on the amazing future of robot cars, coming to us thanks to the DARPA Grand Challenges. The computer driver is just the beginning — the essays detail how robocars can enable the cheap electric car, save millions of lives and trillions of dollars, and are the most compelling thing computer geeks can work on to save the planet. Because robocars can refuel, park and deliver themselves, and not simply be chauffeurs, they end up changing not just cars but cities, industries, energy, and — by removing dependence on foreign oil — even wars. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

After the "read more" if you like...

The key realization is that while the safety and timesavings that come from having computers as chauffeurs is very important and can save a million lives every year, a number of interesting consequences come from the ability of robocars to drive themselves while vacant. This allows them to deliver themselves to us on demand, to park themselves and to refuel/recharge themselves. On-demand delivery makes car sharing pleasant and allows the use of "the right vehicle for the trip" on most trips. Self-refueling means the people using cars no longer need care about range or how common fueling stations are, enabling all sorts of novel energy systems with minimal "chicken and egg" problems. Because passengers don't care about the range of their taxis, battery weight and cost are no longer issues in electric cars and scooters."

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