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User Journal

Journal Journal: The U.S. Should Retain Control of the Internet IP/Name Space

Numerous people outside the U.S. are demanding that control of the IP address space and name space on the Internet be turned over to some international body. The arguments are just being recycled ad-nauseum at this point and none of them stands up to scrutiny. Let's examine the most common ones with analogies for clarity:

1. 'The way that the U.S. doles out IP addresses and top-level-domains is unfair.'

It may be unfair, but that doesn't have anything to do with whether the U.S. has the legal and moral right to control TLDs and IP addresses.

Analogy: The Red Cross might feel that it's unfair that you give more money to Greenpeace than to them, but that doesn't mean that there should be some committee deciding how much of your money will go to each charity and how much you will get to keep. If the U.S. wants to reserve 10 IP addresses for each man, woman, and child in the U.S., that's their call.

2. 'Much of the modern Internet technology was developed in other countries, including HTTP (the World Wide Web).'

That's nice, but it doesn't mean that the country where it was developed automatically gets to assume shared control of the name space and IP addresses.

Analogy: If you were invited to stay at someone's home, the fact that you voluntarily planted a garden, furnished the living room, and hung paintings does not mean that you get to form a committee and decide who gets which bedroom.

3. 'This is like Britain trying to control the world's steel industry because Britain invented steel.'

Except that the U.S. is not trying to control your computer industry. The U.S. is just dictating the terms by which a computer can be attached to a network that was invented by Americans at American taxpayer expense. The U.S. is deciding how to apportion IP addresses and namespace.

4. 'It's vital to the infrastructure and financial security of many countries.'

Then it sounds like those countries made a mistake in relying on a U.S.-run network for something that important.

Analogy: That's like me demanding that I be given managerial powers at my cable modem provider because the service has become so important to me.

5. 'The Internet has grown massively through the addition of non-U.S. computers, networks, web sites, services, etc. Much of the growth has been through foreign investment.'

On the other hand, the Internet has fueled the growth of countless non-U.S. businesses. Does that mean that the U.S. should get a say in how those businesses are run? No? Then why should the countries in which those businesses are located get a say in how the Internet's IP addresses and TLDs are doled out?

Analogy: International airlines have been taking off and landing at London's Heathrow airport for decades, funding much of its operation, growth, and expansion. Given that, should the English support a U.N. takeover of Heathrow airport? Should the U.N., rather than England, decide whether a block of gates was assigned to Air France or British Airways? In time of war, would the English rather be able to deny their enemies access to Heathrow airport, or would they rather that the U.N. decided if the enemy planes could land there?

6. 'Then the U.S. should pay us for the invention of {insert one or more: steel, steam engines, the world wide web, computers, light bulbs, etc.).'

Why? The U.S. isn't charging you for the use of Internet protocols, hardware standards, or concepts. In fact, through our generousity, organizations all over the world have set up standalone networks based on U.S.-developed Internet standards. We're not even charging you royalties for the use of the Internet.

In conclusion, if it's important to you to have a U.N.-controlled version of the Internet, you are free to set one up. You can even base it on the same standards as the Internet without paying the U.S. any royalties or fees of any kind. That is a generous offer and more than fair.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Moderation as a Weapon

When I checked Slashdot today, I discovered that my five most recent postings had all been modded down by one point (overrated). These were postings in three separate threads on different subjects. Two of the postings had been modded up shortly after they were made.

It is pathetic when someone is so small-minded that they abuse the Slashdot moderation system just to "get even" with, or play a practical joke on, another user. If you're not bright enough to debate on Slashdot, then go back to your AOL chat rooms and leave Slashdot to the grown-ups.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A few items of interest, you probably will want to read on.. 2

So I was reading about slashdot's little subscription-as-a-gift thing, and I was thinking that I might randomly select a few individuals from my fans list for a gift subscription. I was going to do the whole bunch, but then I pulled out my calculator and figured out that ~100 fans times $5 is really freakin' expensive. I really don't love you all that much - really. Anyway; I'm pondering how to do it exactly, but I'm thinking I'll probably do it Christmas morning and announce the nicknames of the lucky few in my journal. Please stay tuned for more.

Also, for those of you who were asking about the bootable CD I mentioned before, please stay tuned and I'll give you more info about what's on it and how to set it up for yourself once I have the time and inclination (probably within a week). I'll try to post replies to everyone who asked about it, but by the time I get into it, the discussion could very well be archived. One more reason to check my journal every so often.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIAA RICO defense...

This was from a previous Slashdot posting of mine, but I wanted the discussion to continue if possible. Post is reposted below:

"The suit ... charges that the RIAA's program is deceptive and fraudulent business practice."

Which brings us one step closer to my idea. If there are any real lawyers here, could you please tell me why no one has bothered to attack the RIAA's charges using the Federal RICO Act? The RIAA and member organizations have engaged in a pattern of corrupt business practices for over 50 years, and are now using the law to intimidate individuals, companies, and universities to further their interests.

From my (admittedly limited) understanding of RICO, you must prove that the organization has engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, and is using illegal means, especially under cover of authority (court actions, copyright law, etc) to further their interests. Now, the ongoing illegal activity is really two-fold. That being, the RIAA's member companies have illegally maintained an effective distribution monopoly by engaging in anti-competitive acts, and have conspired to defraud consumers with a massive price-fixing scheme which caused consumers to be overcharged by more than $480 million (USD) since 1997 alone, according to the former head of the FTC. This scheme was labled "Minimum-Advertised Pricing", or MAP by the Attorneys General who investigated and eventually brought about a settlement. With regard to the anti-competitive acts, the RIAA and member companies have engaged in such practices as "payola", in which radio stations were paid money in order to ensure that music not controlled by the RIAA's members was never played, and therefore never heard by the public at large. Thus, their only competition, the independent artist/label, continues to struggle to get by, while the RIAA monopoly takes in billions each year.

So I ask again, why is it that no one has attacked the RIAA on RICO grounds. A corrupt organization cannot use the legal system to facilitate its illegal activities. The lack of legal online modes of music distribution is but more evidence of the RIAA's desperate struggle to maintain its distribution monopoly with an iron fist. It would seem to me that showing these lawsuits to be nothing more than tactics designed to further the interests of a corrupt organization is a far better defense than, "my client didn't know it was illegal".

User Journal

Journal Journal: H-1B Visas and the Outsourcing of Tech Sector Jobs

If you are a U.S. citizen and a technical professional, it's time that you call your Congressional representatives and tell them to eliminate the H-1B visa program. According to the latest (as of 02/09/2003) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, there are about 94,000 unemployed U.S. computer scientists. Yet, at the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa workers holding tech jobs in the U.S. -- often the same jobs for which unemployed U.S. citizens are qualified and available.

At the same time, there are American firms who have outsourced everything from tech support to engineering. These firms pay individuals and companies in other parts of the world to perform tech work formerly done by American workers. When you come in contact with a firm that does this, let them know that you will actively avoid their products and will, instead, buy from firms that employ U.S. citizens.

It is unfair and unreasonable to drive unemployment up and wages down in the tech sector by importing cheap labor and exporting jobs. We should guarantee that our U.S. citizens are gainfully employed before foreign workers are allowed to fill positions.

I am not advocating hostility towards foreign citizens who are just trying to earn a good living. If I were in their position, I would probably do the same thing. What I am against is our government siding with big business by giving desirable jobs away to non-U.S. citizens.

The H-1B visa program and outsourcing are not necessary to remain competitive in a world market. They exist to line the pockets of wealthy CEOs and major stockholders by replacing fairly compensated American tech workers with undercompensated foreign workers.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The New America 14


DISCLAIMER: What I write below is in no way meant to incite any sort of violent action on anyone's part. Violence is never the only way, and a truly strong person will accomplish his or her goals through peaceful means regardless of how much more difficult it makes things. What comes below is specifically designed to provoke thought and a response; nothing more. Please, do NOT go out and do something stupid because of anything that comes from this thread.


So I started thinking about things a bit after starting this thread which has 18 replies thus far. Someone said that the US government isn't fucked up past the point of no return, yet. That got me thinking about what happens once it is. Should all freedom-loving people move somewhere else? Where? There is no "New World" left on planet Earth where we can set up our own government and our own way of life. What else is there then? Revolt? Not exactly a viable option when the police in this country could easily crush most any revolt. Then factor in the FBI, CIA, Army, Navy, Marines, etc, etc.

So I'm left thinking that we can do one of three things. Option one is to sit on our hands and see what happens. Maybe things get turned around in 20 years or so. Maybe it goes back to being good ole' America before we're dead. Or perhaps we resign ourselves to telling our granchildren about what it was like to be able to go anywhere you want or say anything you want without being taken away by government agents.

Option two is a full out revolt. "Great idea", except everyone who joined in would be dead or jailed within days if not hours. Even if it somehow succeeded, the cost would be too high. To win a war in modern times, you pretty much have to obliterate the place of conflict. The result? Our homes, our businesses, everything we own is destroyed. In the War of 1812, this pretty much happened. The English burned the White House to the ground, along with much of the rest of our country. In the end, it worked out well for most of them, but something like that has massive potential to be a Pyrrhic victory. Ultimately, I think this option is ridiculous, unworkable, and undesirable.

The thid option, and the one I'd suggest as the only sane alternative to option one is to fashion a new government, with a new Constitution which draws on all the knowledge we've gained from more than 200 years with our original US Constitution and to prepare to put this government in place if the time comes that our current government is beyond redemption. This differs from a revolt in that it requires broad support from the citizens of this country as well as the police and the military. The idea is that if the police, the military, and most citizens support the new government, the old government becomes irrelevent with no one left to enforce its decrees. Hence, a peaceful transition to a new and (hopefully) improved government.

Now, if we are to entertain the possibility of a new government (assuming it one day becomes necessary, and no I don't think we're anywhere near there yet - as in at least 5 or 10 years away), we'd need several things. One: a formal declaration of the rights and powers of the government, its structure, and its limitations. Two: a method of trasition (ie. how do we get from gov A to gov B without violence?). And thirdly: a list of potential people to head up the new government. Personally, I think the formal declaration should be based on the US Constitution; specifically a constitution of enumerated powers for the government, broad by its very nature, but taking into account instances where it's failed over the last 200 years. Think McCarthyism; think Japanese internment camps; think dept of Homeland Security; think indecision 2000; think DMCA. Lastly: We need a specific, yet somewhat vague list of absolute rights and privilages of all citizens, as well as those visiting, etc. Think Geneva convention; think basic human rights; think Amendments to the US Constitution. The difference here is that these would be more thoroughly explained (without being too specific as to preclude allowances for not-yet-imagined technologies and ideas), and completely absolute with some sort of fail-safe mechanism to prevent any loopholes or lapses.

Please post comments, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. All constructive posts are welcome, even if they're controversial in nature.

User Journal

Journal Journal: M2 (MetaModeration

"Have you Meta Moderated recently?"

I'm seeing this quite often lately. Then again, I just started moderating not too terribly long ago, so maybe it's normal to answer that question with "yeah, about 4 hours ago". Then again, I haven't gone more than two days in a row without answering the call to M2, so I suppose I'm a prime target for the asking. I've found plenty of M1's I didn't agree with, but only a handful that I could honestly say were 'unfair'. I suppose using the unfair M2 sparingly is the best way to go, as I wouldn't want to deny anyone M1 simply because I think it was a little "off". That being said, I've been leaving alone the ones where I can't make a strong decision either way, which amounts to an average of 2 or 3 per 10 M2's. If anyone has been M2'ing a bit longer, feel free to share any advice you might have, as the guidlines for M2 are (probably necessarily) a might bit vague.

User Journal

Journal Journal: First journal entry, so I'll start in the complaints dept. 1

* 2002-02-26 07:29:41 The Register Invades US (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-03-12 00:01:32 Creative to aquire 3d Labs (articles,announce) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-06 01:19:53 users blocked from google (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-04-29 15:29:57 Hollings' new bill just as bad as the last one (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-06-11 15:10:32 US Citizen to be held indefinitely without counsel (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-07-29 17:39:05 "Pre-Crime" may become a reality (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-09-13 01:36:28 The future of computing - CDS (articles,news) (rejected)
        * 2002-10-03 03:29:28 Mitnick's laptop for sale on Ebay (articles,news) (rejected)

Of the 8 stories I've submitted since I started doing that, I believe 7 were good, solid stories, with at least 4 well-deserving front-page shots. 3 were posted several hours or days after I submitted. I'm not so much complaining about the rejected stories, as I'm asking whether or not I should continue taking the time to submit them.

Are there just so many people submitting stories that I need not bother?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot and Tech Rants #1

"Flamebait" and "Troll" do not mean "I disagree with the author."

"Redundant" does not mean a comment submitted 50ms after a similar one.

Being part of the open source movement does not mean that you just want software for free. It means that you contribute something.

Not all free software is good.

Not all commercial software is bad.

Sometimes Linux is not the best choice.

Sometimes Windows is not the worst choice.

Showing off a few hundred dollars worth of consumer-grade PC parts with Plexiglass window and lighted PC case is just pathetic.

Professionals, like the entire medical community, pick PalmOS handhelds because they work better than Pocket PCs. They are smaller, lighter, have a much longer battery life, and have a more intuitive interface. The far lower cost probably does not concern your average neurosurgeon, but it's an added bonus for many other people.

If you think that a handheld needs to play MP3s, you should hold off buying one until you grow up.

If it's a thrill for you to get "first post" on Slashdot, you need to turn off your computer, take your pasty-white self outside, and interact with human beings.

Installing a store-bought Linux distribution or screwing a PC together does not make you an "3L17E D00D!"

A 14 year old kid with a net worth of $32 who pirated a copy of a $3,000 software package deprived the publisher of $0.

Spam is not "free speech." It is theft and should be outlawed just like junk faxes already are.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Traffic Rant #1

You know you are a dick when... get in a turn-only lane to pass everyone who's in the correct lane. think that it's more important for you to get to work on time than for those around you to. use entrance ramps to pass cars in traffic jams. cross over solid lines at traffic lights to get a better lane.

...people regularly have to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting you. drive with your seat reclined so far that it looks more like a bed than a seat. change lanes in intersections to get the jump on other cars.

...your idea of a performance car is a lowered Honda Civic with an obnoxiously loud exhaust system.

...people flip you off more than once a day when you pass them. get pissed off when people don't slow down to let you cut in front of them. have an ashtray in your car but throw cigarette butts and ashes out your window to avoid having to clean up after your own disgusting habit. miss your exit and think that you have a right to cut across solid lines to get back to it or, worse, you think that you are entitled to back up on the shoulder to get there.

...your windows are so darkly tinted that it's dangerous to drive your car at night. tailgate people who are going 20 or more over the speed limit. think that temporary spares are for something other than getting your car somewhere to have your flat tire fixed. see a car parked away from all of the other cars and you park right next to it. park in handicapped spots even though you are not handicapped and are not transporting anyone who is. believe that you have a right to drive like an asshole because you are late for something. change lanes more than twice as often as the average person on the road.

--- The End (For Now) ---

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