There were about thirty people gathered, plus a reporter from the Detroit Free Press. There were a couple of video cameras, and lots of digital cameras. Expect postings of pix etc. at the Unfiction forums.
EFF has won its Grokster case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- this is the case that establishes that if you make truly decentralized P2P software -- like Gnutella -- you can't be held liable for any copyright infringement that takes place on their networks. This is the "Betamax principle," from the famous Supreme Court case that established that Sony wasn't responsoble [sic] for any infringement that its customers undertook with their VCRs.
A good day, indeed. I highly recommend listening to the MP3 of the oral argument. The MGM lawyers start off, and they get off to what seems to me to be a bad start : they are nervous, ill-prepared, and at times present convoluted arguments. The EFF lawyers, on the other hand, starting at around 34:30, are very calm, clear, and well prepared.
Ugh. I found out late last Thursday night that I don’t have my current room, a sublet, for the fall. So, I am scrambling to find an apartment to share. I have some leads, but nothing I’m terribly excited about, yet. I want to get this done and settled by Friday.
Adriaan has been very busy overhauling ecto, the blogging software that I use to post to this blog: he has a beta of ecto 2 out, and it’s a complete rewrite incorporating a lot of users’ suggestions. I’m really looking forward to this.
Last night was Mandi’s last at the Blind Pig before she leaves for Ecuador for a year, and the Karaoke Night had an Elvis theme. Only two people did any Elvis tunes, and I was one of them (It’s Now Or Never). My slightly drunken but lusty rendition of Prince’s Let’s go Crazy seemed well received. :)
Paul Graham, always an interesting read, has a new article about programmers who use Python. He claims that “you could get smarter programmers to work on a Python project than you could to work on a Java project.” This bit had me nodding in agreement:
A friend of mine who knows nearly all the widely used languages uses Python for most of his projects. He says the main reason is that he likes the way source code looks. That may seem a frivolous reason to choose one language over another. But it is not so frivolous as it sounds: when you program, you spend far more time reading code than writing it. You push blobs of source code around the way a sculptor does blobs of clay. So a language that makes source code ugly is maddening to an exacting programmer, as clay full of lumps would be to a sculptor.
I definitely like my code laid out neatly: it is just so much less work to figure out the “landmarks,” and see the way the code flows, if it is laid out sensibly. I’ve written awful messes before, and it was painful and unpleasant to work on: debugging was a serious chore. I have been chastised for this before, criticised that I spent too much time making the code look ‘pretty,’ i.e. an irrelevant detail. But it is not trivial to me. And one can easily find extreme examples in the International Obfuscated C Contest.