Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do our politicians ‘get’ the Internet?

Today on Radio New Zealand National I try to answer the question of whether our politicians really ‘get’ the Internet.

There is a huge amount of change being driven into our society by technology – what we do for a living, how we do it, how we are entertained, and even how we interact with our politicians. And we definitely deserve leaders who comprehend and embrace that change, rather than people who cling to the verities of the industrial age.

Today’s piece was a bit of a light-hearted romp through party web sites and policies. Read on for my speaking notes or listen to the podcast.


posted by colin at 11:08 am  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Internet-only suppression order

To those seeking to overturn Judge David Harvey’s Internet-only suppression order I can only say: be careful what you wish for.

I have no knowledge of this case beyond what’s in the media, but I do know that Judge Harvey is an expert at the Internet and its relevance to law. If he has some reason for suppressing these names on the Internet but not elsewhere then I am certain that reason makes sense legally. If people persist in taking the name from other media and putting on the Internet then Judge Harvey’s attempt will fail. If that happens, you can be certain that the next time a case like this rolls around the suppression will be blanket, not just the Internet.

I’m amazed that the off-line media are challenging this decision (reportedly).

posted by colin at 5:48 pm  

Monday, August 25, 2008

Radio – change of time

From now on, I’m going to be on Nine to Noon straight after the 11am news on Thursdays. A slightly earlier time – don’t miss it!

posted by colin at 1:29 pm  

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is the Internet a basic human right?

Luckily, we don’t have to figure that one out. Because Judith Tizard, the Minister for Copyright, told us that Internet is a human right last night at a book launch.

She was launching Connecting the Clouds, about which I will blog more shortly, at the National Library here in Wellington. And she made this bold assertion in front of a crowd of perhaps 100 people including the Government CIO and the National Librarian.

Now, the thing about human rights is that you can’t, morally, deprive someone of them. So, we can rest assured the Government won’t be passing any legislation which cuts off people’s Internet access for doing something that, say, copyright holders object to.

That’s good news.

posted by colin at 7:19 am  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free formats!

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about how you save sound and vision on a computer, and about how broadcasters like Radio New Zealand can make their programmes available over the Internet. And I talked about the importance of free formats, and announced that RNZ is now progressively making its content available in the free Ogg format. Great decision, guys.

Read on for my speaking notes or listen to the podcast. In Ogg.


posted by colin at 11:55 am  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wacky email disclaimer

I’ve ranted before about the futility and stupidity of email disclaimers that so many people and companies use. Here’s one that someone puts on his email which makes that same point through humour:

This email is for the intended recipient only. If you are not the
intended recipient you must burn your computer, while standing on one
foot and chanting the entire jabberwocky.
The opinions expressed here are not necessarily the opinions of the
person who expressed them.

Yep. All email disclaimers are as silly as this one, it’s just that the author of this one understands that.

posted by colin at 3:29 pm  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Secretly taping people

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about the technology involved in secretly taping someone. It’s not that hard, although most of us would consider it very rude.
Read on for my speaking notes or listen to the podcast.


posted by colin at 11:50 am  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whatever happened to OLPC?

There’s a great article on the Times Online about the One Laptop per Child, or OLPC. laptop-technology.jpgThis was a philanthropic initiative to get laptops into the hands of kids in developing countries. It’s been slow to deliver, and, according to this article, that’s because some large technology companies have done their best to kill it off. Apparently some large near-monopolies saw a cheap laptop for children as an attack on their market share.

Read the article for the details.

posted by colin at 7:21 am  

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Travelling with a laptop

Today on Radio New Zealand National I talked about travelling with a laptop.

Many of us have laptops that we take with us when we travel for business, and sometimes when we travel for pleasure as well. What other stuff do we take? Over the page, I’m listing the contents of my travel kitbag. Feel free to add your own in the comments. (more…)

posted by colin at 11:52 am  

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Richard Stallman in New Zealand

Richard Stallman is coming to New Zealand. For those that don’t know Richard, he’s the driving force behind free software. Apparently he’s a compelling speaker.

If you have any interest in software, or in intellectual property issues, he’d be well worth getting to hear. Check out his timetable. Alternatively, catch him on the radio on Saturday morning.

posted by colin at 7:13 am  
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