Talk about lateness…

Yeah, so I’ve been horrible about getting on here and blogging.  With a lot of NCSC activities going on, my free time has been pretty limited.  I was hoping that I would have some free time when I traveled to Albuquerque, but not only did that not happen, but I’ve been connecting all week on a dial-up connection.  Ugh…  Not much time on-line… 

I’m anxious to get back and share some stories, thoughts and pictures about my trip, as well as some other happenings.  Keep checking here, more to come soon…

RIAA targets new family of 5

In the latest round in the music-sharing battle, the RIAA has targeted a family of 5 children (with two sets of twins), a single mom who also has five children, and a carpenter who’s 12 year old daughter was getting music on Kazaa.

read more | digg story

What, were the addresses not available for the family with a parent in Iraq, or the widowed old lady whose grandkids installed Kazaa one weekend?  Oh wait, the RIAA probably has those subpoenas in the docket for next week.  This is definitely reason # 4,216,981 to hate the RIAA, which for quite a few years has been engaged of the idiotic tactic of persecuting their customers.  I’ve always despised the RIAA for their resistance to join the rest of the technological world and get out of their 1984 model of pricing/selling music.  However, these latest events proves that the RIAA is nothing more than a bunch of fascists, whose tactics make even Tony Soprano go "I can’t believe this guys."

This is such gross abuse of the legal system, where the RIAA directs their legion of lawyers to swarm, intimidate, and ultimately break the families that are barely making ends meet.  For many of these families going RIAA’s settlement price – $3,000-5,000 (but in the case of the single mom with 5 kids, $7,5000), is basically a kid’s college fund, or worse, a another large debt that they probably won’t be able to pay.

I’m not denying the the fact that as the law stands today, music-sharing is illegal, but the way this is being enforced and the degree of the penalty is what I really have an issue with.  The RIAA is intentionally targeting parents and grandparents, whose kids were responsible for installing the file-sharing software (often Kazaa).  Most of the time, these parents don’t even know what Kazaa is, and far less how to use the app.  There is a generational gap between parents and their children when it comes to computer knowledge.  How are parents who barely know how to get on-line, do email and run MS Word, supposed to have visibility and administrate every application on that computer?.  I understand that parents are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their children, but as a society it’s important for us to remember they’re kids and need to be treated differently.  I would equate this situation to an incident that parents may have when their child shop-lifted at an early age.  If a kid steals a candy bar or a toy and is then caught,  most of the time (unless the store owners are jerks) the parents will partner with the store-owners to make this a teachable moment and ultimately give restitution.  The parent (or child) will need to pay for the item they took, and make amends, but we don’t slap hand-cuffs on the parents, fine them grossly and toss them in jail.

The same should ring true with music-downloading.  Most kids don’t have an understanding of the legal ramifications of Kazaa.  Yet with little evidence (that I submit wouldn’t hold up in an actual trial), the RIAA swarms the home and intimidate the family.  Instead of this being a teachable moment it’s a quickly and dirty way for the RIAA to squeeze more money.  What’s worse is that it’s a gross abuse of our court system, clogging it up with the frivolous lawsuits that probably won’t see the light of day in actual trial.  I would love to see someone powerful & resourceful take on the RIAA and force them to show their "evidence" cards.

What really needs to happen is for the legal system to acknowledge the frequency of music/movie sharing amongst the general population, and adjust the penalties as such.  When the anti-theft/piracy laws were written, it was back in the time when they wanted to kill big counterfeit rings.  The law needs to be re-written to deal with large-scale pirates and distributors, separating it from the 12 year old girl downloading a song off Kazaa.  File-sharing is almost as common as speeding on the highway, and the penalties should be treated as such.  Could you imagine if every person caught speeding was forced go to through a trial and pay upwards of $250,000?  The legal process of that magnitude would be astronomical!  You get caught: you pay a fine, maybe have to go to court (if it’s serious), but there are no long-term or civil ramifications.  If file-sharing was treated as such, there would be more incentive to devise a way to enforce the law (a file-sharing version of the Radar Gun), and the RIAA could no longer engage in this civil court intimidation strategies.

Ultimately I believe the RIAA hurts the music industry more than it does to help it, and that they’re a bitter old organization that is in denial about their loss of control.  If the RIAA used a percentage of the effort spend fighting music-sharing, to finding innovative ways to change their business models to adapt to the new technology, they would be far richer.  All of the success of on-line music stores like iTunes – the RIAA could have brought it here years sooner if they weren’t in such denial.  Yet they still haven’t fully embraced this gift-wrapped technology in the music industry.  Their inability to change with the times will ultimately be their undoing.

12 on the 12th – Inaugural / April 2006

This is the first installment of a monthly tradition called "12 on the 12th".  The idea was given to me from the Daily Breakfast podcast, where it was suggested that on the 12th of each month everyone takes a camera with them and takes twelve pictures throughout their day – a photographic "A day in the life of…".  Today was pretty busy and boring – work, car repairs & errands, but as you can see from my pictures, my day was filled with beauty.

>> You can also view these pictures on the Flickr! Photo Set

12on12th-April06-01
This is the view when I walked outside this morning on my apartment – Spring is here!

12on12th-April06-02
My cube at work…

12on12th-April06-03
It was so beautiful today! I took a walk around the campus after work.

12on12th-April06-04
Today was a day of car repairs – after car repair #1…

12on12th-April06-05
Car repair #2 – I had to get two tires replaced

12on12th-April06-06
Running errands in downtown Fort Collins – this is the view inside Colorado Drum. I got some new sticks and a ticket to the Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez drum clinic

12on12th-April06-07
I then went inside Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to get some Easter gifts…

12on12th-April06-08
I needed to get a close-up of these. These are giant Easter Eggs made out of chocolate. They’re hollow, filled with all sorts of candies inside!

12on12th-April06-09
Downtown Fort Collins, CO, walking back to my car from the Chololate Shop

12on12th-April06-10
Believe it or not, this is my apartment complex. This is the view to the left of the mailboxes.

12on12th-April06-11
After dinner I spent some time practicing drums, going over the music we’re goign to play at Holy Thursday Mass. The *real* drum set is packed up down stairs.

12on12th-April06-12
At my home office, getting in some web surfting before I get back to work.

So those are my 12 on the 12th!  I had a lot of fun doing this posting, I hope you enjoyeed my pictures! Those who have blogs/Flickr accounts, I would invite you to take part in this!  I look forward to May 12th!

Software Engineer Named ‘Best Job in America’ by Money Magazine

MONEY Magazine and Salary.com researched hundreds of jobs, considering their growth, pay, stress-levels and other factors, and my related-job was rated at the top!  Not bad…  Technically I’m a "Software Designer", so are we counted in the same grouping?

read more | digg story

When nerds attack…

Check out this story about pranks that students at Cal-Tech and MIT pulled on each other. I read this story and laugh because my sister is going to MIT. I know they’re forming a bit of a rivalry, but you probably don’t want to form one with the school on the opposite coast. Any time you need to board a plane in order to committ your prank, you’ve traveled too far.