Greg Veen

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26 January 2003

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

I'm in the middle of reading Cory Doctorow's novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which has been made available free online -- a gesture demonstrating a very smart approach to copyright and intellectual property. Doctorow released the novel under a Creative Commons "Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0" public license, giving anyone permission to copy, distribute, display, and perform unaltered copies of the work, as long as it's done non-commercially and he's given credit each time. Perfect. Perfect for a first-time novelist seeking to make a name for himself.

Of course he acknowledges the controversial nature of this move. "Yeah, there are legal problems," he says when introducing the novel. "Yeah, it's hard to figure out how people are gonna make money doing it. Yeah, there is a lot of social upheaval and a serious threat to innovation, freedom, business, and whatnot. It's your basic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, and as a science fiction writer, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenaria are my stock-in-trade."

And the novel itself is quite good so far. I like this: "I think that if I'm still here in ten thousand years, I'm going to be crazy as hell. Ten thousand years, pal! Ten thousand years ago, the state-of-the-art was a goat. You really think you're going to be anything recognizably human in a hundred centuries? Me, I'm not interested in being a post-person. I'm going to wake up one day, and I'm going to say, 'Well, I guess I've seen about enough,' and that'll be my last day."

Posted by Greg at 11:48 PM

15 January 2003

Bigger, better?

"Perhaps it is worth noting, in this time of imminent, useless war, when our country is being run by, essentially, a failed Texas oilman, that it might be about time to rethink our all-American, bigger-is-better, screw-the-environment, high-fivin', the-world-is-our-prison-bitch mentality."

From Mark Morford's column today on sfgate.

Posted by Greg at 11:30 AM

14 January 2003

Sure, screw me over

I am frustrated by those instruments of evil known as "terms of service" or "usage agreements", especially when they render themselves meaningless in an attempt to grant the organizations they represent liscense to do virtually anything they want. Example:

"WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES TO THESE TERMS AT ANY TIME. YOUR CONTINUED USE OF OUR SERVICE CONSTITUTES YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH CHANGES. ACCORDINGLY, YOU SHOULD REVIEW THESE TERMS FROM TIME TO TIME FOR SUCH CHANGES."

How can agreeing to something that could change any minute really be considered an agreement? It can't, unless the agreement is, essentially, "sure, go ahead and screw me over whenever you're ready."

I don't get it. Can't we do better than this?

Posted by Greg at 12:30 AM

9 January 2003

Do you realize?

Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize
We're floating in space?
Do you realize
That happiness makes you cry?

Do you realize
That everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your good-byes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize?

Do you realize
That everyone you know someday will die?
And instead of saying all of your good-byes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize
That you have the most beautiful face?

Do you realize?

--Flaming Lips

Posted by Greg at 05:14 PM

3 January 2003

Best of 2002

Pitchfork has put together an interesting best of 2002 feature ("The Top 50 Albums"). I particularly enjoyed their description of Beck's latest, Sea Change: reviewer Ryan Schreiber calls it "a searching crooner's epic, punctuated by paranoid, lovelorn poetry, and production radiant enough to illuminate the most minute details."

Posted by Greg at 11:46 AM

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