Big Brother loses one, ‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones legal, not felony

Apple loses bid to criminalize iPhone jailbreaking – Computerworld

“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, wrote in the ruling approved by Billington (download PDF).

UPDATE: Here’s an excellent link of the updates, a bit of history, and a list of the other exemptions. (thanks, Derek).  This is probably the biggest news for most.

You can rip your own DVDs, and nobody will stop you.

First, and arguably most importantly, is an exemption for DVDs you legally own, giving everyone (not just film and media studies majors!) the right to break DRM for the purposes of “short” use in both “documentary filmmaking” and original “noncommercial videos.” The first is rather specific, of course, but the broadness of the latter is impressive—although for now you can’t appropriate the entire film. But as long as you aren’t charging money for it or profiting off it, it’s noncommercial. So go ahead, rip and remix a scene from Inception so that it actually makes sense.

Now, to be sure, most of the informed tech folk already were doing this (and committing a felony each time), but it looks like they are in the clear now.  I don’t know of anybody who was prosecuted for this, but as far as common-sense exemptions go, this was at the top of the list.

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).

I’m Still Trying to Come Up With a Title for My Book

I just thought of another good one, “Philosophy is an Action.”

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  I’ve already written down some predictions of what people will think of it, and I want to check my work.

Joel, you first.  🙂

The First Two Chapters Are Up

As mentioned a little while back, I am putting the blog on hold and writing a book.

O.k. I didn’t do such a good job of that (as the latest posts can testify) but that hasn’t stopped the book from coming along nicely.

They can read be read here.

I’d love to get some feedback on what I’ve done so far.  There is contact information in that post as well, if anyone wants more information.

The most of the book I am going to post online for free is the first three chapters (and very few graphs, and no appendices, which is where the pudding is, so to speak).  I am currently going between editing and writing (editing takes a lot longer).

I’ve always been a fan of the shareware model for software distribution and something of a fan of the street performer protocol as a way to make money and give stuff away at the same time.  That’s the only reason for the tease and, quite frankly, it’s high time I tried to sell a bit of my writing rather than just giving it away for free, as I have done for a good long while now.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it!

Steve Jobs is Dying

This is a really sad day.  Not that Steve is dead yet, but having some personal history and knowledge of pancreatic cancer, it’s not a good sign that he isn’t speaking at Macworld.

One of the first computers I ever used was one he (and his nerd buddy, Steve Wozniak) designed and sold.  It was a good machine and if not for Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Look, I don’t want to be debbie downer, but all the legions of Mac faithful need to be prepared.  The day is coming soon when one of the more powerful reality field distorters is going to leave us forever.  Please, be prepared.

And pay homage if you can, before he wanders off into that good night.

NOTE: Apple will keep this as quiet as possible for as long as possible (again) as their stock price and value as a company will plummet with his passing.

UPDATE: Apple has officially canceled Christmas…

CUPERTINO, California—December 16, 2008—Apple® today announced that this is the last year for Christmas. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, spoke at a joint press conference held with Santa Claus at the North Pole this morning. He announced: “Apple has been honored to work with the North Pole the last several years to make Christmas possible, however, we have decided together that this is the last year for Christmas.”

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, Christmas has become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways, throughout the year.

[full press release]

BTW, the only one I’ve seen so far to say this isn’t about a particular organ going bad in Jobs’ abdomen is…wait for it…quoting Apple PR flacks.  The real ones, not the parody above.

Industry analyst types have thrown out a few explanations, many focused on Steve Jobs’ yielding the keynote stage on such short notice. For instance, EWeek’s Joe Wilcox suggested that Jobs’ health was the real reason–an issue also raised by Time’s Josh Quittner but rejected by CNBC’s Jim Goldman.

[WaPo Story]


Goldman’s “reasoning:”

Also not a surprise: swirling rumors that Jobs was pulling out of the conference, the last Macworld, because of health concerns.

I can tell you that sources inside the company tell me that Jobs’ decision was more about politics than his pancreas. Sources tell me that if Jobs for some reason was unable to perform any of his responsibilities as CEO because of health reasons, which would include the Macworld keynote, I should “rest assured that the board would let me know.”

[full (of stupid) article]

You want to name those sources, or just link to them?  “Sources” in the PR department trying to keep the stock price happy do not good sources make.  Riiight, it sounds plausible that a guy who really, really gets off talking to his faithful decided that it just wasn’t fun anymore.  CNBC, the channel that oh-so-accurately predicted that we could borrow and spend forever and it would be o.k.  This is a channel that gave both Larry Kudlow (of “Big Poverty is to blame” Fame) and Jim Cramer (of “Watch TV, Get Rich” Fame) jobs.

The Earth in a Phone

Amidst the launch of Google’s own Android mobile operating system, the company is bringing its Google Earth software to the iPhone App Store. As reported by our sister site, the iPhone version replciates much of the desktop application’s core experience, downloading imagery from Google’s servers as the perspective shifts and dotting the map with landmarks, photos, and other information.

via Google Earth Comes to the iPhone – iPhone Atlas

Just saw this was out this morning. Should have a quick review up in a bit.

Umm….wow.  For a version 1.0.0 app, this is pretty solid.  It might be a bit sensitive to quick movements, but the potential for having a 3-d gps in your pocket ain’t too shabby.

And yes, it’s really pretty close to being a 3-d gps.  One that you can tilt and turn to change the angle on.

The speed over the EDGE network leaves a bit to be desired (I have a pre-3G version) but performance wasn’t too far off from the regular google maps apps, which I have found extremely useful while traveling.

How to Fix Vista and iTunes

Just a quick FYI if you get this Windows Vista error while using iTunes “applemobiledevicehelper has stopped working”…

here’s how you fix it.


Posts: 1
From: san diego
Registered: Feb 9, 2008

  Re: AppleMobileDeviceHelper has stopped working
Posted: Feb 9, 2008 4:50 AM   in response to: Kaptinkangaru587
This worked for me but im not sure bout explorer and browse to: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\bin
delete all the files there. u wont be able to delete 2 of them; doesnt matter. now open itunes and it works normallyagain, there aint no “warranty”


  Windows Vista  

  Joe Acosta

Posts: 1
From: Chicago
Registered: Mar 15, 2008

  Re: AppleMobileDeviceHelper has stopped working
Posted: Mar 15, 2008 4:46 PM   in response to: nixo9999
It Worked
awesomethanks a lotPentium 4 Vista   Windows Vista   AppleMobileDevice stopped working…..

Posts: 1
From: A Mountain
Registered: Jun 3, 2008

  Re: AppleMobileDeviceHelper has stopped working
Posted: Jun 3, 2008 9:39 PM   in response to: nixo9999
You only have to delete the file named “AppleMobileDeviceHelper” in that folder:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\binI tried that first, instead of wiping out the entire folder.. and it worked.     
  Lord President

Posts: 1
From: Taunton
Registered: Jul 13, 2008

  Re: AppleMobileDeviceHelper has stopped working
Posted: Jul 13, 2008 6:13 AM   in response to: nixo9999
Many many thanks for this, this problem had me tearing my hair out!I deleted the files in the suggested folder and the problem has now stopped!It would appear to be a problem between Vista’s security and iTunes! You would think that MS and Apple would be able to get together and develop software that doesn’t **** up our enjoyment of both!

Dell Inspiron 530   Windows Vista  


Note: This might also help if you’ve been having trouble upgrading the iPhone 2.0…as I have.

Super Monkey Ball here I come (can’t wait for Mario Kart iPhone, with instant wi-fi sharing and racing).

testing the new iPhone interface.

I have to say, this is quite an improvement over the old one.

It looks to be about as simple as possible, which I like a great deal.


NOTE: This is a reference to this wordpress update.

Yes, I did find a bug in it.

Do you see it?

spoiler: I posted a comment about it in the thread.


One of the best things about being a robot is that I think like one. And one of the benefits of that trait, at least in the modern world, is that I can tell when another robot is lying.

Which is to say, when a robot of being logically invalid.

Which is how robots lie. Otherwise they are incapable of it.


Note the “categories” attached to the post you are currently reading…

Then note the “tags” attached to the post you are reading (or lack thereof), which was originally posted via my iphone and later updated through my firefox.

Note the interface…

That’s a bug. Fellas.

But it still works great.

Penny Arcade : Really Long Titled Video Game

Penny Arcade : Really Long Title

Originally uploaded by el_wah

This is is a screen shot from the recently released Penny Arcade video game. I played through the game the other day. I should have a review up for it some time this week.

Quickie review: Solid RPG-Slight Action game with some funny dialogue and solid cell-shaded graphics. Roughly 8 hours of direct gameplay, and it looks like plenty more to come, as this was Episode 1.

The Downside of BioFuels (and Stupid Wars)

Haiti’s President Tries to Halt Crisis Over Food – New York Times

The police in Haiti struggled Wednesday to control looting and rioting over high food prices as President René Préval issued a sharp call for an end to the chaos. “The solution is not to go around destroying stores,” Mr. Préval said in a national address. “I’m giving you orders to stop.” In the speech, his first public comments on the issue since protests began last week, he urged Haiti’s Congress to cut taxes on imported food. Meanwhile, looters emptied stores, warehouses and government offices and burned tires in Port-au-Prince, the capital. Most Haitians survive on less than $2 a day, and rioters say the prices of staples have spiraled so high that most people are going hungry.

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. There is a massive re-adjustment that needs to take place regarding the world’s food supply, and this is the gist of it….

The U.N. World Food Program’s executive director told the Los Angeles Times that “a perfect storm” is hitting the world’s hungry, as demand for aid surges while food prices skyrocket. Cost increases are affecting most countries around the globe, with prices for dairy products up 80 percent, cooking oils up 50 percent, and grains up 42 percent from 2006 to 2007. (For more specifics on how prices have changed since 2000, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has a handy chart.) Why are groceries getting so expensive all at once?

Energy prices. The global food system is heavily dependent on petroleum, not just for shipping goods from one location to another but also for production, packaging, and processing. As the price of oil rises—crude oil is currently hovering at around $100 a barrel—so do the costs of planting, harvesting, and delivering food.

High oil prices have also created a secondary problem: The burgeoning interest in biofuels. In 2006, 14 percent of the total corn crop in the United States was converted into ethanol; by 2010, that figure will rise to 30 percent.

[full story]

    And so you can see how the U.S. invasion of one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil and constant threats of sanctions against another have repercussions that go far beyond the basic need of chickenhawks to feel powerful by advocating blasting brown people to bits.

    Matrix .01 Coming Soon

    I Saw The Future Of Social Networking The Other Day

    But it’s coming. A few years from now we’ll use our mobile devices to help us remember details of people we know, but not well. And it will help us meet new people for dating, business and friendship. Imagine walking into a meeting, classroom, party, bar, subway station, airplane, etc. and seeing profile information about other people in the area, depending on privacy settings. Picture, name, dating status, resume information, etc. The information that is available would be relevant to the setting – quick LinkedIn-type information for a business meeting v. Facebook dating status for a bar.

    That requires a social network that has presence, location and contextual information about you. It needs to know where you are (via GPS or triangulation), if you are in business or personal mode, and similar information for the people around you. It also needs, at a basic level, the ability to sort and browse the people around you based on their picture and name, and what they are looking for (dating, investments, job, friendship). Once this network is established, you’ll know everyone’s name who’s around you (if they choose to share it), and enough basic information to jog your memory if you know them, or meet them if there’s mutual interest. Poking someone on Facebook is great, but “poking” them when you’re in the same bar as them can result in much more immediate social gratification.

    If you would like a novel-lenght exploration of some of the potential for the tech here,  I would recommend reading “Halting State” by Charlie Stoss. Tease yourself here.

    Prologue: We know where you live, we know where your dog goes to school

    Chapter 1: Grand Theft Auto

    Chapter 2: Stitched Up

    Chapter 3: Steaming

    Viva La Communication!

    Raul Castro: Cubans can have cell phones – Yahoo! News

    HAVANA – President Raul Castro’s government said Friday it is allowing cell phones for ordinary Cubans, a luxury previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the communist-run state.
    ADVERTISEMENTIt was the first official announcement of the lifting of a major restriction under the 76-year-old Castro, and marked the kind of small freedom many on the island have been hoping he would embrace since succeeding his older brother Fidel as president last month.

    Note: This is the second group of bass-ackwards folks that cell phones are winning over.

    This is how it worked on my last plane of existence.  The good stuff led the people toward the good life.

    And then gave them brain cancer.