Friday, January 27, 2012

ACTA - the New SOPA

Theft of intellectual property is a massive problem. But the solutions brought up by governments never seem to make any sense. Too many people, in too many places, prefer government control to individual choice - hence many of the dangerously silly proposals. Then, when we add the penchant for secretive decision making on such an important aspect of life - who can be surprised that these backdoor agreements never seem to work out well?

Although ACTA is primarily concerned with the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR), its designation as a trade treaty meant it could be negotiated behind closed doors. This lengthy process, led by the US and Japan, was exposed in a series of leaks — some via Wikileaks — that revealed what was going on.

The final version of ACTA is very different to earlier drafts, which would have forced countries to disconnect internet users if they were found to be repeatedly sharing copyrighted content. The EU rejected this proposal, and other ideas, such as criminalising the use of a mobile phone camera in a cinema, also fell by the wayside.
UK signs ACTA as activists urge resistance

Early drafts of ACTA "mandated that people unlawfully distributing copyrighted content online should have their internet connections cut off, and that people who record films in cinemas should go to jail." As much as I disagree with the provision regarding distributing copyrighted information (unless it is very carefully written and applies only to a very narrow definition of theft) I agree completely with the provision which calls for jailing those who record films in cinemas. There is no excuse for that.

What's Wrong With ACTA

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA - The End?

It looks as if SOPA and PIPA will not pass. SOPA has already been put on a backburner by the House leadership and it looks as if the outrage has reached critical mass. There is bipartisan opposition to both bills. Piracy and theft of intellectual property is a real problem but these bills seemed, to this observer, to be fatally flawed. Time for Congress to revisit the problem.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arfa Karim Randhawa, 1995-2012

An amazing person has died way to early. Arfa Karim Randhawa became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at 9 years old. She died nearly a month after entering the hospital after suffering an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest.

Who knows what she might have accomplished. The world has lost a brilliant light.

Randhawa's Philosophy of Life:
If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind,” she said. “If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”

From Geekwire

Friday, January 6, 2012

Moore's Law Gets Another Reprieve

Woo Hoo. Doomsayers beware! Moore's Law has yet another reprieve. This is terrific news. Ever cheaper computing power is necessary in every human endeavor. There may / will come a time when Moore's Law is no longer applicable but at this point in time every double is critical.

Ohm’s Law Survives at the Atomic Scale

Moore’s Law, the cornerstone rule of the semiconductor industry, may get a reprieve from its predicted demise, according to a group of scientists in Australia and the United States. Their unexpected findings show that a well-understood law of classical physics—and a pillar of electrical engineering—holds for some objects that are just four atoms wide, a size where quantum effects should rule instead. ...

Previous experiments had shown that at widths less than 10 nm, the resistivity of silicon nanowires increased exponentially (Ohm’s Law, by contrast, is linear). The researchers were able to get around this exponential increase and follow Ohm’s Law, in effect, by heavily doping the silicon nanowires with phosphorus.

Read more on the topic at Slashdot.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

IE6 still huge in China

According to IE6 Countdown IE6 is still huge in China with over 25% marketshare. That certainly puts an interesting twist for those concerned about a cyber-war with China. Right now, with all the holes in IE6 security, China is certainly a "target-rich" environment.

I would love to know how much of the IE6/Windows 2000 usage is in private hands (thus open up to government spying) and how much is corporate/governmental usage.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Page Size, Includes, and Page Rendering

I came across a site that took a long-long-time to load. I took a look at its source code. The code is well-written; there are no graphics or movies and yet it takes about 20-40 seconds for the page to render.

There are at least 22 .css includes and 17 .js files. The file is 512K NOT including the .css and .js files and has 3859 lines.

OK designers and developers I know that many users have great connections but when you have almost 4000 lines of code (not counting .js and .css files) including one line - jQuery.extend(Drupal.settings)- which had over 57,500 characters you've gone off the deep end.

Maybe in 6 years when computing power quadruples and we're all on Gbit networks then fine. Until then, at the very least, make certain that the file in question uses all the .js and .css files being called.

See other files that covered this topic:

1. Why am I waiting so long for some websites to download?
2. @Font-Face and Page Rendering Performance