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Journal Journal: Tell Congress/WIPO: No B'cast Treaty Without Representation

Please read the alert here. The Broadcast Flag is back, this time as a WIPO treaty, and if you don't speak up, it'll be decided by bureaucrats without any democratic input at all.

The alert provides a web form to write to your congress person. Please do that. And please put the alert up elsewhere, so that other people can help too.

I'm in Washington DC working on this today, and your support will help.




Journal Journal: Adobe is hostile to humanity, including its own customers

Oh I tired of dealing with Adobe or what? ARRRRGGGGGGGG.... Talking to Adobe reps is like pulling teeth, except less fun. I ask them some simple questions like:

1. Can XDP be opened by the freely available Reader 7 software in a seamless way?

2. Can we please get a sample PDF that implements templating AcroForm PDF, meaning, that the PDF has some template pages that are spawned using emedded Javascript as the data incoming from FDF overflows the page?

3. Can we please have the REAL documentation for XDP instead of the teaser-level documentation they have on their site?

4. Can we please take a look at XPAAJ documentation so that we can decide if we want it or not?


After a month of back and forth bullshit ping-pong with people who have NO CLUE about Adobe PDF (they seem to be salesmen who are completely non-technical), we still have no answer!

I am still trying to get some answers from Adobe. I don't understand why Adobe's documentation is so incomplete or misleading or ambiguous all over the place, and why they are so tight with the information. Yes... I know they are a proprietary vendor. But I think they can make way more money by being nice and forthcoming with their clients then by holding back on every last smidgen of information.

I am very frustrated, but I do honestly hope that Adobe will WAKE UP and change their attitude. I hope Adobe embraces true openness and really starts to offer a top-notch service. What is the point of paying for software when it is so shoddy (and Adobe PDF software is definitely not what I would call "polished" or "excellent" or "well documented") and when the company doesn't even want to talk to you in an honest way after you buy it? Sure, we didn't cough up a million bucks, but we hold many licenses for Adobe Pro..surely we deserve some semblance of honesty in communication. I mean, I think a person deserves an honest, open, and forthcoming answer under any circumstances, money or no money. But surely, even the greedy capitalist should be interested to help out his clients, right?

Wake up Adobe... Instead of treating your customers as enemies, why not treat them as allies? Instead of looking at us as marks that you can peg with progressively more and more expensive software, why not look at us as your partners? Try it Adobe.


Journal Journal: Subject is not required for a journal

Man I am tired. I feel like I've been frying on all sides for a long time. Yup I had a fun and wild life, but still... Is fun worth the stress and pain? I am not sure. I want to rest for a 100 years or so...maybe even a billion years. No more mandatory working. No more mandatory thinking. No more mandatory anything. Just rest. If I feel like doing a little something, then do it. Then rest again. For a long time. Yea... that's what I want, I believe. I can't be sure I don't want it until I try it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks, rodgster 2

Slashdot user rodgster sent me 1000 slashdot subscription pages because he likes my comments. Thanks, rodgster!
User Journal

Journal Journal: is back 13

Some of you may remember my technology policy / technology news site The site is reactivated. It's intended to be a more mature, and hopefully more relevant, forum than Slashdot. No ACs, a special focus on technology policy and high technology outside of the conventional corporate model, but conventional tech news as well.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd create a login on the site and submit articles. Especially original work, which hasn't always been well recieved on Slashdot - they seem to prefer linking to other people's coverage. RDF and RSS are available at and, so you can keep track of articles from elsewhere.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Have you passed through the nerd filter? 4

There is a "nerd filter" that people like me tend to pass through without realizing. On the other side of this filter, we are very likely to meet people we know, and in general people like us.

My most recent episode was at the 9000 foot visitor station on Mauna Kea. The folks there said that I shouldn't attempt to drive up to the telescopes without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. So, I went in the parking lot and accosted occupants of the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle that came by. The driver of said vehicle had seen me lecture in San Francisco. I got my ride.

Just by standing at that 9000 foot visitor station, I'd passed through the nerd filter.

Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to come upon a local radio club's ham radio field day operation while hiking in the woods with my wife. An co-worker from 10 years ago walked up. It turned out he'd just gotten his ham license.

This stuff happens all of the time. Of course it helps that I am somewhat recognizable in tech circles, so people who know of me tend to walk up, but on the other hand I am not that well known.

What are your experiences beyond the nerd filter?


User Journal

Journal Journal: Bruce Perens on NPR's Talk of The Nation: Science Friday 4

On Friday January 17, Bruce Perens will be interviewed on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday", with host Ira Flatow. The subject will be the philosophy and business of Open Source software. The interview will take place between 2:20 P.M. and 3:00 EST, that's 11:20 to 12:00 PST. Find your local radio station here . For general information on the program, see the Science Friday site .
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Journal Journal: How Slashdot Made Me Famous :-) 8

I don't mean "famous" seriously, but I seem to have become somewhat well-known outside of traditional hacker circles. I try to use that to get our issues heard.

It came to me today that some of what drove me to become well-known outside of our little circle was frustration with Slashdot.

I used to post here a lot, and Slashdot was where I sent most of my bulletins first. Then I started to be frustrated with the editorial policies, submissions being nuked in favor of less important stuff, the AC and troll situation, etc. So, I consciously looked around for other venues in which to publish. First, I started, which was good (and which I intend to make work again) but didn't pick up more than about 5000 readers. Then I started sending stuff to ZDnet. Surprisingly, ZDnet was much more willing to publish my stuff than Slashdot had been, especially since I didn't want to get paid. After a while, I shifted to their sister publication CNET . I also sent some things to The Register and other publications. All were very willing to publish my stuff. It turned out that Slashdot was much more willing to link to stuff that I'd written on CNET than it was to accept my postings directly, not that it mattered as much once that content was on CNET. I guess that fits the format - I guess Slashdot doesn't want to be a producer of original material - they want to be an aggregator of stuff published elsewhere.

During this time, I was also doing a lot of things that drew attention. Forming a VC firm, working for HP, doing my gig with the W3C patent policy board, etc. Being widely read helped me get to do these things, and doing these things made me more widely read. The press started calling me, and I developed good relationships with a lot of reporters. When I left HP, I got a half-page in the New York Times print business section, with a big photo.

I probably wouldn't be getting all of this press were it not for Slashdot "pushing me out of the cradle". I'm not sure, however, that this was good for Slashdot.


User Journal

Journal Journal: NY Times Publishes an Article About Perens Book Series 2

Please see this article in the NY Times. Woo Hoo! This is the end of the publicity except for a few magazines with long lead times. We got a good deal of coverage, and IMO it's always a good idea to put the successes of the Free Software movement in front of the people. Hopefully the coverage will inspire others to do free books. I have gotten a lot of writing proposals, but can use more. Please hit my book series page if you would like to write.



User Journal

Journal Journal: I Hit The Slashdot Comment Limit! 13

I posted 30 replies to the story about my Open Source book series with Prentice Hall PTR. The slashcode stopped me at that point. It says you can only post to Slashdot 30 times in 4 hours. It won't even let me do it as an AC. So, the software has cut off comments from the "Horse's Mouth" in favor of ones from the other end of the horse :-) It doesn't seem productive of information. Moderation of the previous comments in the article should be counted in this limit - I haven't checked, but I could probably have made it a good deal of the way from 0 to the 50 karma cap with those 30 comments.


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Just go with the flow control, roll with the crunches, and, when you get a prompt, type like hell.