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Hardware Hacking

Journal Journal: Is it time for Open Source Hardware?

It seems that big business has always been keen on controlling the public through their control of the media. Now that the Internet is truly becoming an open forum for the free exchange of ideas and innovations it seems that big business must maintain their control in the age of the 'Blogosphere' and 'Web 2.0'.

Initially these companies tried to do this using rights restricting software also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) and restrictive laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US and a myriad of laws like it in other countries in the world. Now that there is signifigant consumer backlash against the idea they have attempted to try and 'rebrand' the idea behind it with the new name Digital Consumer Enablement (DCE). Regardless we've learned from the gardening industry that you can call it manure, shit, poo or fertilizer. The end product is still the same and smells just as bad.

I was recently reading an article on the Windows Vista Operating System and was initially shocked to see that Microsoft is trying to leverage it's power in the marketplace to force vendors to comply to their draconian and unrealistic expectations in order to allow them to better implement DRM technologies and make it more difficult and expensive for hackers to crack these DRM/encryption schemes. The only thing these technologies will do is slow them down it will not stop them, take a look at AACS as a failed DRM scheme. Their discs are being cracked even before they are released to the public.

Since it is obvious that big business is not willing or able to respect our rights in regards to what we want to watch and when or what software we desire on our computers (Sony Rootkit anyone?). We as consumers and supporters of the Open Source community must stand up for our rights. I believe the time is right for the Open Source community to finally and truly support some Open Source Hardware projects. Only when you control or at least are capable of auditing both the hardware designs as well as the software that runs on it can we be sure that there is no funny business going on in our computers.

In order to support a thriving Open Source Hardware project people would need to cough up money. Also there are risks involved in hardware projects that simply are not there in the Open Source software community such as theft of physical hardware and other such things which have no impact on software development. The question I pose to readers is... Is it time for Open Source Hardware Development? It would definitely ensure that we as a community is not threatened by the potential of 'vendor lock-in' in the future that is for sure.

Journal Journal: The Legal System and why it needs to be reformed

"First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" -Dick the Butcher, Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part II.

The fundamental problem with the legal system *IS* lawyers and the legal professions as a whole. Lawyers are the ultimate bureaucrats. Anytime you involve a lawyer you are guarenteed to increase the amount of red tape and confusion which further requires the other side to have a lawyer in order to figure out what the hell you are saying.

Look at contracts from 100+ years ago. They were simple and didn't need a lawyer. All you needed was your good name and a handshake and it was done. Bob would cut down X number of trees and bring the logs to Joe for $Y before the time/date of Z. No fuss, No muss. Since most people were able to keep to deadlines and values and were able to act as agents on their own behalf problems were also easier to solve. So Bob brings half as many trees in as he's supposed to, well its only fair that Joe would pay him half as much for them. Again, simple and easy conflict resolution.

Laws were a lot simpler 100+ years ago too. Do not obstruct traffic by parking your car or horse on main street. Do not steal/kill/cheat others, etc... Now we have so many laws and so many stupid laws that you could probably end up breaking the law by sneezing in public.

Today we are taught to live in a culture of fear. All cultures have to have some fear in order to keep them going but since 9/11, western nations and in particular the USA have fostered this culture of fear. You see it every day on the news, people continuing to keep the memory of 9/11 in the back of our collective consciousness. It is actually in the government and corporations best interests to keep you scared. To make it so that you don't question what they are doing because the moment you question is the moment they lose power. What power? The ability to pass bullshit and unconstitutional laws like the PATRIOT Act (or the Canadian version) as a knee jerk reaction to these.

There is nothing to fear but fear itself (and the government).

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