Gongol.com Archives: 2011 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

The United States of America Today is the 9th anniversary of one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in modern times
On this date in 2002, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Eldred v. Ashcroft, which contested the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, which creates a right of copyright that extends 70 years past the death of the author of a creative work. There is little to distinguish that length of copyright protection from perpetual protection, which prevents useful works from entering the public domain, where they can be used freely and built upon. The Congress that approved the extension, the President who signed it, and the Supreme Court that upheld the decision should all be ashamed of themselves. They've protected Disney's rights to old Mickey Mouse films at the expense of science, discovery, and progress.

Computers and the Internet BlackBerry e-mail service outage rolls all over the planet
The service's popularity in the Middle East has been driven by the privacy of its email system, but the system can't handle the traffic and it's causing the system to come apart at the seams

Aviation News The Baby Boomer retirement wave is starting to get very real
American Airlines is shutting down its pilot base in San Francisco because it just doesn't have the pilots there to justify the investment anymore

Computers and the Internet Stephen Fry reviews the latest iPhone
He seems to be quite a fan -- except for the way the system is designed to save your photos forever

The United States of America The Republican Presidential candidates debate economics

Humor and Good News Bill Gates can jump desk chairs from a standing position
Someone dredged up nearly 20-year-old footage and stuck it on the Internet for all to enjoy

The United States of America Maps of the pipelines of the United States

Iowa State tells "Occupy Iowa" protesters that they've maxed out their allowable protest time
Groups have a right to assemble, but there has to be a distinction between a protest assembly and a group of people just sitting around occupying public property -- property to which the rest of the public also has a right of access. If they're just assembling in the hope of getting arrested, then that's no longer really "peaceable" assembly, now is it? On a related note, even though the "Occupy ____" movement is rallying around a generally anti-capitalist banner, it turns out that they still understand property rights...at least when it comes to their own property.

Computers and the Internet Apple releases the iPhone 4S
A concurrent update to Apple's iOS has been blamed for wiping out lots of customer data.

Computers and the Internet Unix co-creator Dr. Dennis Ritchie has died
Unix is behind the Android and Mac OS operating systems, among others. One developer said, "Ritchie's influence rivals Jobs's; it's just less visible." He's quite right.

Computers and the Internet Amazon drops price of basic Kindle to $79
The price is valid as long as the customer is willing to accept promotional ads on the screensaver, which seems like a decent trade-off for the $30 price cut

Computers and the Internet BlackBerry outages spread all over the planet
Though CNN goofed when it noted on its news ticker that "almost every planet" was being affected by the outages. Nobody's using a BlackBerry on Venus. The outage is really, really bad news (and timing) for BlackBerry, which is seeing its market share slip to rivals using Android and the iOS.