Online backup one of Time’s top 50 websites for 2007

Odds are, if you’re read­ing this, you’ll have read one of my pre­vi­ous art­icles about Mozy, a free (and sub­scrip­tion based) online backup ser­vice.

Well, Time magazine has selec­ted Mozy as one of their top 50 web­sites for this year. Now, which pos­i­tion is actu­ally up to you and me. You see, Time has this nifty vot­ing gad­get that lets you select the spot you feel Mozy should be in.

Now Time is ask­ing users to rank the top 50. If you like Mozy, this is a great oppor­tun­ity to give us some props by vis­it­ing the Time web­site and giv­ing us an appro­pri­ate rank. So here’s how to help: when you get to the web­site, just slide the slider to some­thing like, say, 100, and click the sub­mit but­ton. We really appre­ci­ate the kudos!

Cool idea, and yeah, I like Mozy so I turned the volume up to 11, so to speak.

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5 reasons I won’t get an iPhone

  1. Cost. If the iPhone’s lis­ted prices were con­ver­ted to Cana­dian dol­lars, the iPhone would price out between $530 and $640 CAD. That’s way too much money for me to spend on a phone today. Yes it has oth­er func­tion­al­ity, but I’ve got that covered; keep read­ing.
  2. Con­tract & add ons. In the US there’s a 2 year con­tract required. The base phone doesn’t (as far as I can tell) include a ser­vice con­tract. I can’t see that being any dif­fer­ent north of the bor­der. Now con­sider the type of data access you’d need. The iPhone offers many very cool online fea­tures that will quickly bite into your alloc­a­tion. You have to add this. Basic ser­vice for this cool puppy would be silly so you’d want to have the full data pack­ages. Pri­cing on this ‘seems’ (Rogers plan pri­cing is kinda all over the place) to start at $50.00/month. I’m a heavy online user so my costs would be more.
  3. I already have an iPod. My Nano is per­fect for music and pod­casts. Why would I want to have my phone bat­tery drained when I listen to music? How would this integ­rate into my exist­ing iPod sys­tems?
  4. I already have a PDA I’m happy with. My Palm T|X. Same bat­tery drain issue. As well, my PDA is awe­some for doing what I need it to. I have all the soft­ware bought and installed. It syncs nicely with work and home com­puters. To con­vert everything over would take Mucho $$$.
  5. New pro­cesses to learn. Integ­rat­ing everything into one unit means I’d have to change the way I do things. My sys­tem works now for me. To use the iPhone I would have to delete and install new soft­ware for time man­age­ment, and cal­en­dar integ­ra­tion. I have no idea how well it’ll sync up with Out­look (at work) and what I’d use to sync with at home. I run Win­dows PC’s and Ubuntu. Is there a Linux Cal­en­dar­ing app that will work with the iPhone, avail­able now?? I’d need new meth­ods to grab my pod­casts (I don’t use iTunes). How would that work?

Too many unanswered ques­tions. So, the way I fig­ure things. I’d likely end up pay­ing over $1000 CAD to learn how to use a new gizmo, when my exist­ing giz­mos all do what I need cur­rently.

An iPhone isn’t in my imme­di­ate future. Though, I guess if I really want the look of one, I could use an iPhoney 🙂

***UPDATE*** Mar.23.09 I’ve just acquired an Apple iPod Touch. Not an iPhone, but enough of one to make me rethink some of what I’ve writ­ten above. I’ll post a review of it and my exper­i­ences at the Apple store once an issue is resolved…hopefully with­in a few weeks.

Movie Piracy: Blame Canada vs the Truth

Once again it seems that Cana­dian atti­tudes toward Digit­al Rights Man­age­ment, Intel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty, and Copy­right are the tar­gets of Big Media.

Warner Bros. Pic­tures issued a release today that states, among oth­er things:

Frus­trated with unau­thor­ized cam­cord­ing of its new releases in Cana­dian cinemas, the stu­dio said it will imme­di­ately halt all “pro­mo­tion­al and word-of-mouth screen­ings” of upcom­ing releases.

Canada is the No. 1 pri­or­ity in terms of anti-cam­cord­ing legis­la­tion,” said Darcy Ant­on­el­lis, seni­or vp world­wide anti-pir­acy oper­a­tions at Warner Bros. Enter­tain­ment.

Pure crap.

Michael Geist, a renowned Cana­dian Intel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty expert as the Canada Research Chair of Inter­net and E-com­merce Law at the Uni­ver­sity of Ott­awa takes sig­ni­fic­ant issue with the claims Warner uses to sup­port this action.

As for the claims that Canada does not have laws to address the issue, it bears repeat­ing that Canada does have laws that make record­ing a movie an infringe­ment and where the record­ing is for the pur­poses of dis­tri­bu­tion there is the pro­spect of severe fines and jail time.  Indeed, last month the RCMP told the Industry Com­mit­tee that they are work­ing on an invest­ig­a­tion that involves cam­cord­ing, though there are resource issues since health and safety con­cerns take pri­or­ity.

There’s more to this, but you’d best read both posts for the full details.
Me, I’m still stick­ing to my ori­gin­al think­ing that Big Media just doesn’t know how to handle online media and new media because they’ve got too much inves­ted in the ‘old way of doing busi­ness’.

They’re try­ing to put the Genie back into the bottle, unfor­tu­nately he’s just too big to fit.

And as a Cana­dian cit­izen and tax­pay­er, I think the gov­ern­ment has more import­ant issues on the nation­al agenda — hello, Afgh­anistan any­one — than cre­at­ing laws that make sure Big Media’s not threatened ?

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When do you own the gear you buy?

Two art­icles recently crossed my desk:

  • Con­tent in lock­down — Tom Yager,
    I’m increas­ingly aghast at the erosion of the tra­di­tion­al free­dom we’ve enjoyed to do whatever we please with our per­son­al com­puters — but intrigued by the sci­ence behind it.
  • Your Right to Repair — CAA Driver’s Seat
    Ima­gine tak­ing your vehicle to your long-time inde­pend­ent ser­vice pro­vider only to be told he can’t fix your car. You have to take it to a deal­er­ship because he can’t access the repair inform­a­tion.

Both from com­pletely dif­fer­ent fields, yet both deal­ing with the same issue; your right to access the inform­a­tion on the hard­ware you’ve pur­chased. This is not a new issue, but these two art­icles, from dif­fer­ent per­spect­ives, seem to inter­sect at the same issue; your right to do what you want, with stuff you’ve bought.

At first glance, this doesn’t even seem to be an issue at all. You paid for the tech­no­logy, you should be able to do whatever you want with the tech­no­logy. To make a simple ana­logy, you buy the pie, you eat the pie, or share the pie, or throw it out.

Ah, yes, but the hard­ware developers would have you believe that the issue is really not that simple, with reas­ons like these:

  • Yes, paid money and have the hard­ware in your pos­ses­sion, but what you really bought was a piece of paper with lots of leg­al text giv­ing you the right to actu­ally USE the hard­ware. And no, once you’ve used the hard­ware, you’ve impli­citly agreed to abide by the terms of the licence… which clearly state that you can only have the hard­ware ser­viced at a licensed ser­vice centre.
  • The tech­no­logy in our hard­ware is super-secret. Only skilled, trained and licenced tech­ni­cians really know how to fix our tech­no­logy. Any­one else is just tinker­ing with your investment…and may actu­ally break it!
  • We’ve inves­ted sig­ni­fic­ant research and devel­op­ment dol­lars in cre­at­ing your tech­no­logy. If we allowed any­one to access it, why, they could eas­ily copy it, or even make it bet­ter and com­pete with us.
  • You’re a thief. You only want to use our tech­no­logy to copy the con­tent that our tech­no­logy presents. You want to take dol­lars away from our licenced ser­vice centres, our part­ners, and give it to oth­er pir­ates. To keep you from copy­ing our con­tent, we’re not going to let you access it, unless you can prove that you’ve paid a spe­cial fee to access it.

The list goes on, but you see the point. Hard­ware developers have inves­ted a sig­ni­fic­ant amount of money in product devel­op­ment. Soci­ety has allowed them to put in place leg­al mech­an­isms that keep you from fix­ing your own car, copy­ing your own video, or mak­ing your com­puter work bet­ter.

Per­son­ally, I’m on the side of openness…freeing up the sys­tems and hard­ware to the bene­fit of all. But (cue the poll) what do you think?


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