The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Why copyright levies suck

Tuesday 28 February 2006 at 9:42 pm

An interesting copyright-related story: a few months ago, when the federal Attorney-General was calling for submissions for a review of ‘fair use’ in Australian copyright law, one of the options presented was the introduction of a levy on blank media aimed at compensating copyright owners for illegal copies made with those media. Fortunately, very few of the submissions supported that idea (and indeed, most called for wide ‘fair use’ rights).

Over in Canada, they have exactly such a levy, but it turns out that its value hasn’t changed much in the last few years despite big drops in blank media costs. So, Canadians are often paying ridiculous amounts for blank CDs, with the levy being about A$0.25 each. The words ‘record company cash cow’ come to mind.

I really, really hope the AG’s department listens to the submissions and doesn’t try doing that here.

And now for something completely different: I’d always thought that all Perth train drivers were slightly balding men in their 50s who love nothing more than disrupting thousands of travellers every now and again with a middle-of-day strike. However, looking at some charity promo photos that appeared today, clearly I was wrong.

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Nonsense ahead …

Monday 27 February 2006 at 8:38 pm

Sometime around now, I’d meant to write a political rant, but nothing that interesting’s been happening lately. We have an awesome new stadium design that will take forever to build, Peter Costello is pandering to the talkback crowd again (though in fairness, I don’t disagree with everything he said), and some dude in the US administration is being roasted for something involving a gun. Meh.

I could instead whine about Seven’s winter olympics coverage — they showed an entire twenty minutes over the two weeks of curling, even though it’s quite possibly the greatest sport in the known universe. And that’s before you consider the nude calendar or music video produced by some of the women’s competitors.

Also, albeit unrelated, this is awesome.

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Confusion abounds!

Monday 20 February 2006 at 10:12 am

Microsoft announced yesterday the names for the next generation of Windows products.

On the line up are Windows Starter 2007; Windows Vista Enterprise; Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N.

So where do you want to go today?

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Skiing + spam = ?

Friday 17 February 2006 at 9:37 am

This is gold in more ways than one.

On the TV last night everyone was celebrating our newest medallist, who’d also made a fortune in the “computer biz”. But he seemed a bit evasive when interviewed, probably not wanting to say exactly what sort of computer business it was …

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Some ramblings

Thursday 16 February 2006 at 9:44 pm

It is curious that on the same day as the federal House of Reps was approving bureaucratic control over RU-486, another part of the federal bureaucracy banned a computer game that doesn’t look much more harmful than any other (at least, not to me …).

Meanwhile, at work today I was horribly confused when a script I wrote to count how many users we have stopped working. Then I discovered that Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, invented something called “range retrieval” from some old expired RFC as a way of preventing Windows servers having to do a great deal of work. In Active Directory, if a multi-value attribute has over 1500 entries, you have to do funny hacks in Perl to get ranged display to work. Hardly exciting, except that it only took me three hours to find that out …

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Small Miracle #4235

Tuesday 14 February 2006 at 1:22 pm

I can’t believe I’m about to write this.

Today, I was actually impressed by Transperth management.

For months I’ve been getting mildly annoyed waiting at the Busport for the infrequent, often late services between Perth and UWA. (Buses are only frequent during semester, but people come on campus all the time.) Yesterday and today, they finally did something about it and got some guys who (I think) would have been running down Mounts Bay Road empty anyway to pick up everyone going to UWA. Woohoo!

Meanwhile, it’s Valentine’s Day, Shannon Noll is on the office radio, and I still can’t get our Macs to reliably connect to Microsoft Active Directory. Grrrr.

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