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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Odds, Ends, And Wenches

I'm listening to a ton of podcasts lately. They're great when you're spending quality time with a jogging stroller, and as I've mentioned before they have this unbelievable — and slightly frightening — ability to make a long commute bearable. ("Oh goody, it's 6:00 p.m.? Nowhere I'd rather be than on the freeway!" "Hostage time" indeed.) So here's my running list of things I've been meaning to blog for the last few days, heavy on the podcast sources:

Attention plaintiffs' lawyers: Phillip Torrone has a suit-in-the-making for you: a false advertising class action against portable media center makers (example) who market the ability to watch "movies" on their products. The idea is this connotes the ability to watch MPAA and other protected materials, which actually can't be done without violating the DMCA. Worth cogitation. Phil has a great monologue starting at about minute 10:00 of Engadget Podcast 21, about the broadcast flag and HBO's recent announcement. His sum-up: "So basically, all the freedom that we got from our VCR is about to go away." His suggestion: that Microsoft or Sony bring the issue to a head by building a DVD ripper into...well, something (OS, media player, etc.) Wish I could say I thought there was an inkling of possibility this might happen, but I don't, given things seem to be going in the opposite direction.

There are now several IT Conversations about digital identity, including the latest Gillmor Gang featuring Phil Windley, author of the forthcoming O'Reilly book on the same topic. The Gillmor Gang show provides a concise and easy to understand (well ok; you have to know what SAML is...) overview of where digital identity is today and where it's going. As a bonus, Jon Udell mentions Nic Wolff's password generator bookmarklet as a simple, ad hoc tool that illustrates the absence of a comprehensive scheme for dealing with these problems. Go drag it to your browser bar now, it's way cool: "[W]hat about all those e-commerce and community sites that want me to create accounts? I used to end up using the same password at all of them and then I felt stupid knowing that one SQL Server exploit or disgruntled admin could cost me my whole identity." (Also quotable: "Note that this bookmarklet works on Safari and Mozilla but is too long for Internet Explorer which I believe to have been written by trained otters." There's a link there for an IE version someone put together, though.)

Kevin Heller has some good news: "Robert Cox has taken on the job of developing an insurance option for bloggers." So does Ernie Svenson: "My friend Mike Pusateri has taken what appears to be the first getting the WLDF going."

Microsoft wants you to find your Inner Suit: "Enter to win a business action figure that looks like you when you explore Office 2004. Offer ends December 31st 2004."

I voted, did you?

Finally, welcome Wench Monica! The authoress of The Common Scold is Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News. I haven't yet met Monica, but I have the feeling she and blogging will get along swimmingly. (She went right for Lawyer Cam, after all.) The December Editor's Note from her magazine closes as follows:

May the holiday season bring you music, quiet, color, sparkles, no bumps or bruises, unexpected feasts, and at least one moment of perfect joy.

Monica, once you catch your breath and settle into a rhythm, let's talk about how Law Technology News and its advertisers stand to benefit by opening up its articles and archives to registration-free Web linkage. Some context:

Love what you're writing at the 'Scold, again, Welcome!

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