Monthly Archives: August 2009

Turning PACER Around, One Document at a Time

Back in April I wrote a story for Ars Technica about PACER, the federal judiciary’s website(s) for public access to court records. Transparency is a fundamental principle of our judicial system because it allows us to fully understand the laws … Continue reading

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Patent Obviousness and Tacit Knowledge

In a decision that seems to be tailor-made to highlight the problems with the patent system, a Texas judge has ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word because it infringes a patent held by a small company called i4i. An IM … Continue reading

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“That Was the Point”

In comments to my last post, Kevin Donovan makes a good point: I don’t think that’s quite fair. The partying teenager doesn’t know that they may become the somber politician. Or the celebrity. Nor do they necessarily know that certain … Continue reading

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The “Enormous Consequences” of Misunderstanding Facebook

This sentiment gets repeated so casually and matter-of-factly that it has almost become a cliché: Social-networking sites allow members to create individualized pages that often include personal information such as relationship status, age, city of residence and birth date, as … Continue reading

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The Closing of the American iPhone

There’s been a lot of controversy recently over Apple’s tight-fisted control over the market for iPhone applications. Apple reviews every application submitted for sale via the iPhone App Store and regularly rejects applications that don’t meet its standards. More galling … Continue reading

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The Intelligent Design Fallacy

The Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank based in Seattle, has become the global headquarters for anti-Darwin agitation. The Institute has groomed a roster of credentialed commentators who are more than happy to explain how and why Darwin got it … Continue reading

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Innovation Often Means Doing Less

Mike Masnick links to Peter Abraham, a sports reporter who covers the Yankees. Abraham worries about the future of his profession: I’m usually flattered if some other blog links to my work. I figure anything that brings more readers here … Continue reading

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I’m a fan of the increasingly popular practice of bloggers proactively disclosing any financial arrangements that might influence their objectivity. Independent bloggers have to make a living like everyone else, and reasonable people disagree about which types of financial arrangements … Continue reading

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Wikipedia as a Bottom-Up Process

In March 2000, an entrepreneur named Jimmy Wales hired a newly-minted philosopher named Larry Sanger to start a new kind of encyclopedia. Called Nupedia, its goal was to harness the power of the Internet to build a high-quality, volunteer-driven reference … Continue reading

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Dark ‘n’ Sue Me

My friend Jacob Grier, who splits his time between writing and tending bar, draws my attention to a brewing (so to speak) conflict over the trademark for a mixed drinked called the Dark and Stormy. Rum manufacturer Gosling has the … Continue reading

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