Tag Archives: open culture

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

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