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Is Bittorrent legal?

I tell my kids if they have to ask if something is legal, that’s a good sign it isn’t. But when it comes to computer matters, sometimes it’s a bit grayer. Bittorrent is a good example. Is Bittorrent legal?

Bittorrent itself isn’t inherently legal or illegal, as it’s just a protocol. What you’re using Bittorrent for is what’s legal or illegal.

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The best e-book site I’ve found

The best ebooks site I’ve found, by far, is the archive at the University of Adelaide in Australia. The selection is outstanding, but the presentation is even better.

Steve Thomas, the curator, takes tremendous care to ensure Adelaide’s e-books display their best on any device. Most e-books, even commercial books, pay little to no attention to formatting, and the result all too often is books that are difficult to read.

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Welcome, Tony’s Kansas City readers

Thanks to Tony’s Kansas City for the link this morning. Tony noted that “Security dude reminds us that Google Fiber could kill the software industry.”

That’s an interesting spin. I do think it will affect the software industry–but so long as Kansas City stays at the forefront and the rest of the country is content with being a technological backwater, the effect will be minimal. But “kill” is an awfully strong word, even if every major city in the country were to get affordable Gigabit Internet in the very near future.

I say that because of what I saw in college.Read More »Welcome, Tony’s Kansas City readers

A penny-book author’s take on secondhand sales, physical and digital

There was talk on Slashdot on Friday about reselling digital media, and typical sky-is-falling predictions saying that secondhand sales will drive down prices and drive artists out of business. “Look!” some say. “There are used books on Amazon that sell for a penny!”

Yes there are. My book was one of those, until Windows 95 became old enough that retro computing enthusiasts became interested in it. Now when I want to buy a copy, I have to compete with those hipsters. But you know what? Copies of my book selling for a penny never bothered me. I’ll tell you why.

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How abandonware gets abandoned

From time to time on classic computing and/or videogaming forums, the question of how to track down the current copyright holder to a particular given title comes up. Sometimes someone knows the answer. Frequently they don’t.

This week, when George Lucas announced he’d sold Lucasfilm to Disney, illustrated precisely how this kind of thing happens.

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RIP Greg Ham, Men at Work

Men at Work multi-instrumentalist Greg Ham died this week, aged 58, under circumstances still under investigation. At least in the United States, Men at Work is mostly remembered for the 1982-83 hit “Down Under,” on which Mr. Ham played the flute.

The song was the focus of a copyright battle a couple of years ago, which weighed on Mr. Ham.Read More »RIP Greg Ham, Men at Work