Heidelberg Talk Video Posted

Gesticulating

From Anonymity to Identification: Online Communication in a Time of Surveillance | Prof. Michael Froomkin (Audio: MP3) (Video: MP4 / OGV)

I can’t thank my hosts in Heidelberg enough for the warmth of their welcome and their kindness while we visited.

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Cuba

The US approach to Cuba stopped making sense decades ago. Opening exchanges with Poland helped dislodge the Communist regime; the same is likely to happen to Cuba in the future. Maintaining the embargo with Cuba has done more to empower the dictatorial Castro regime than anything else we could do. So I’m all for the resumption of diplomatic relations because it furthers US interests, human rights, and the humanitarian cause of reuniting separated families. It likely will further the cause of freedom in Cuba.

But there’s another reason why this is good: the revanchist faction among Cuban-Americans is overwhelmingly Republican. It’s good politics for a President to reward his friends and ignore — or punish — his enemies. So this is good politics for Obama: serve the US national interest and hit his enemies at the same time.

I hope it’s a sign of what we can hope for in the next two years from Obama: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

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Food for Thought

While I enjoy fine dining in Paris, check out The Evil Waiter Case in the U. Miami Law Review.

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Off to Heidelberg

Thursday I’ll be discussing From Anonymity to Identification: Online Communication in a Time of Surveillance.  My hosts are the Netzpolitik AG of the University of Heidelberg, which translates, I think, as the Network Working Group and is an interdisciplinary network of young researchers at the University of Heidelberg.

My thoughts on the topic of online anonymity are considerably grimmer than they were even two years ago.

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Dream On

Philosopher Robert Paul Wolff dreams about what teaching would be like if profs acted like doctors.

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Take a Shelfie?

Take a pix of your books and get free e-books?

After years of reading and posting rants about DRM and format shifting Pete and Marius (bitlit.com’s founders) decided to do something about it… They built an app that let’s you get the eBook for free or at a huge discount if you own the paper copy. The app is called BitLit and it’s available for free on Android and iOS. They’ve made deals with over 200 publishers including O’Reilly and Packt, and there are over 30,000 titles that are eligible for free / discounted ebooks if you own the paperback. Here’s how it works: First you take a shelfie (yes, a picture of your shelf) and the app will identify all the books on your shelf — hurrah now you have a complete inventory of your library! But, you’ll also get a shortlist of any books you own that are eligible for free/cheap bundled eBooks. To claim a bundled eBook you just need to write your name onto the copyright page of the book and snap a photo using the app… a few seconds later you should get an email with a download link to the eBook in ePub, PDF, and mobi formats.

via User Friendly.

Should I do this? I’m gonna bet that basically none of my books qualify. Plus there are I’d guess about 70 shelves, each of which would have to be photographed in two parts. Plus some of the books are double-shelved, so you’d see only the outer row…but as those tend to be the cheap novels, they’re probably the ones most likely to have an e-copy (as opposed to the academic books). Plus I am suspicious of the “free/cheap” line — will this mostly be a way to market to me?

No, great idea, but until there are more the books available in the scheme I’m not sure I’ll bother.

Well, maybe one test shelf, just to see…

Posted in Readings, Sufficiently Advanced Technology | 3 Comments

Planning Ahead

Things to Keep in Mind When You Read the Torture Report – Dan, at The Intercept.

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