What do the Mafia and web forums have in common, besides colorful insults and threats, and tortured misuse of English? As of December, they are both subject to the RICO anti-racketeering laws, creating harsh, life-ruining penalties for even minor participants.
Will the hand-wringing over Moore's Law never stop? Intel's announcement that its next-generation 14nm process will be delayed three months triggered yet another round of fretting over the fate of this widely misunderstood "law".
Much of the panic is because Intel's "tick-tock" strategy has indeed operated like clockwork, chiming a smaller geometry every two years. Slippage is common at other companies, but not at Intel. So when the world's largest semiconductor vendor stops the clock for three months, hearts begin palpitating.
It took me a while to warm to Telltale Games’s The Walking Dead, an entire game series built around two of my least-favorite mechanics: quick-time events and dialog trees. Yippee. Pass the digital Ambien.
It's crazy to think of how this whole Internet age got started. Instead of networking as we know it, you asked a guy named Jon Postel for an address. If you wanted email, you ran a mail server. Angry Birds looked terrible on the PDP-11, but at least it was two-player.
SOME SAY the next big thing is the “Internet of Things”—zillions of networked devices like smart watches, smart sensors, even smart clothing. A better name might be the Internet of Small Things, because we’ve always had an Internet of Big Things. Indeed, some of the new small things are just smaller versions of big things.
What if we’re doing this copyright thing all wrong?
What if we’re doing this copyright thing all wrong? Well, we obviously are, but what if we acknowledged that fact? What if we acknowledged that copyright as it stands doesn’t make anyone happy or make the world a better place or actually reflect how people really behave? What if we, as New Zealand Judge David Harvey has suggested, throw out the basis and rebuild copyright on something that makes sense?
Whether you love it or hate it, the technology behind it all is here to stay
Poor Edward Snowden. The former NSA subcontractor has sacrificed his career to expose US government surveillance programs that were revealed years ago. Except for minor details, data-mining operations like “PRISM” were outed in 2006, and have been underway since at least 2003. Newspapers may be dinosaurs, but they beat the Internet to this story by seven years.
Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
Law and technology can interact in funny ways. Take the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows for those hosting material on the Internet to avoid liability for copyright infringement if they comply with requests to take down copyrighted material quickly. It motivates companies hosting material, like YouTube or Flickr, to streamline the process. Increasingly, rights holders are automating their side too, potentially leaving two scripts talking to each other to determine the destiny of media. But plenty of requests that come through aren’t valid, or are aimed at legal content. Chillingeffects.org maintains a database of requests, sensible and not, including one from 2012 where HBO attempted to take down access to its own site.
The strengths of computer gaming are found at the extremes. It does two things very well: It enables hardcore users to get the best possible performance out of high-end games, and it allows small developers to deliver individualistic and quirky projects direct to users.
You gotta love technology. Every solution seems to cause a new problem, which then inspires another solution, which causes yet another problem. I’d conclude that engineers are as skillful as lawyers at perpetuating their own profession, except I don’t want to insult the engineers.