Tag Archives: menu

Free the Internet! Open Access – #5

Free the Internet! — Open Access, Levelling the Playing Field #5

By Dave Olson 

[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]

There are many ways for you to get an Internet connection to your home, office or wherever. What you likely don’t realize is the morass of politics, tariffs and such-nense that goes on behind the scenes in order to provide a high-speed digital data link to your house.

Indeed, it is often a double-edged sword as laws that were made to de-construct Telco monopolies often hinder the progress of open-access. The accepted standards aren’t necessarily driven by the best technology and consumer- demand but rather by what the Telcos lobby for and decide to release (often based on the benefit to the bottom line).

As is the normal custom in this column, we will glance into the past somewhat to get a sense of how we got where we are now.

Continue reading Free the Internet! Open Access – #5

Hemp Activism on the Internet – #4

Hemp Activism on the Internet – Levelling the Playing Field #4 By Dave Olson 

[Originally published in Menu Magazine in Olympia, WA, circa 1999]

Used to be, if an event like WTO rolled around, I would have been right excited about it. But now I have realized that my activist efforts are better served from the comfort of my couch.

Let’s get a few things clear right off the bat so you aren’t confused about what I am saying here. Sure, those who suffered gassings and police nonsense in Seattle were indeed courageous, and I agree that direct action is needed to stir-up the complacency, personally I have swapped in the placards, cold mornings and handcuffs for a warm beverage and iMac keyboard to make my opinion heard by policy- makers.

Before you start cussing, I do have activist and blockade credentials from the Clayoquot blockades on Vancouver Island and in early nineties I stood the line at the nuclear test sites in Nevada and committed plenty of acts of creative eco- terrorism throughout the four corners area. Heck, I have met Allen Ginsberg, chatted with Edward Abbey and been to Moab before Lycra bike shorts were allowed. Verily, even (venerated beat poet) Gary Snyder knows who I am.

Continue reading Hemp Activism on the Internet – #4

How the Internet enhances my Hockey viewing experience – # 3

How the Internet enhances my Hockey viewing experience – Levelling the Playing Field # 3 

[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]

I have been feeling really relaxed and good the last few days, for two reasons. One is that the hockey season started and the Canucks are off to a great start, the other reason I can’t really talk about here.

Just so you know from the start, hockey is my lambs-bread, the “manna from heaven,” the one constant in my life. It seems that no matter where in the world I am living or travelling, what wars are raging in the world or in my mind, hockey is the sturdy oaken banister that is always there to enjoy.

My earliest childhood memories are watching hockey, seeing Daryl Sittler or Guy LaFleur blasting down the wing, hair flying, eyes raging. I went to a couple games a year in my youth and sat in the nosebleed seats and watched lousy teams no one wanted to see because the scalpers sold the tickets cheap.

Continue reading How the Internet enhances my Hockey viewing experience – # 3

The real lowdown on Mp3 downloads – #2

The real lowdown on Mp3 downloads – Levelling the Playing Field #2 

[Originally published in Menu Magazine in Olympia, Wa, circa 1999]

You’ve likely heard of Mp3, haven’t you? Mp3 is a compression/encoding standard which allows near-CD quality duplication of audio files at a fraction of the size. Because the files are much smaller than regular CD audio files, they are fairly easily transferred over the Internet or burnt onto homemade CDs. Convenient? Yes indeed. Legal? Well that depends.

Before getting into the fun, revolutionary part and the technical portion, we must first look at some historical precedents so we can figure out the legal ramifications of this brave new format.

When I was a kid and there was a song on the radio that I liked, I would cue up an 8-track or cassette tape into the home and wait for the song to come on again. Then, I quickly hit the pause button to start recording, albeit missing the first few seconds. Legal? The courts figured this out when TV broadcasters were complaining about VCRs on the market and Yes you can record a commercial public broadcast for personal use, even if the quality is poor.

Continue reading The real lowdown on Mp3 downloads – #2

Internet publishing, business and mayhem – #1

 Internet publishing, business and mayhem – Levelling the playing field #1

[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]

The Internet was originally created for communication between military, academics, research institutions and the like. Not surprisingly, marketers salivated at the idea of turning the whole thing into a mall / multi-level scheme. While on-line commerce has many benefits, I see the Internet more importantly as a communications tool & publishing medium that allows a new breed of artist/entrepreneur to reach a bigger, yet more focused, audience.

Fine web sites provide a subtle concoction of art design, content and entertainment with new ways of commerce and (importantly) use this new medium without replicating old, tired, inefficient models of business, entertainment or publishing. You can break all this down into three emerging Internet trends: e.commerce, virtual community building, and multi-media. I will go easy on the buzzwords.

Electronic commerce provide an efficient, easy way to do your business anonymously, discreetly, 24-7 and with no irritating humans providing poor service and/or breath. Whether you are buying, selling, seeking the unusual, or just buying groceries, the potential of on-line sales abounds, no question about it. E.commerce is not a fad, it will be the primary way to buy things in the very short-term future. The problem now is the lack of easily implemented, adaptable, affordable e.commerce technology. Thus, most on-line stores provide impersonal, non-exciting on-line shopping experiences. This bugged me more before I remembered that going to a real store is also uninspiring and a drag, unless I am browsing or shopping for fun. I still want to browse and shop at neat stores I like, I just don’t want to have to go to the grocery store every week to buy the same 50 items, when I could choose my food list on-line, and have it delivered or ready for pick-up.

Continue reading Internet publishing, business and mayhem – #1