Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy / Merry / Enjoy

Hourglass Nebula (because time flies)
I'll be back next week.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

They *are* watching you

In recent months I've posted less often than previously about privacy concerns. That's not because threats to our privacy have abated -- far from it. Rather, I grew weary of there being so many encroachments.

The privacy-centric news -- and not just Internet regulation ITU-style (see my days-ago post, "Big Brother redux") -- continues to be discouraging ...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Big Brother redux

I posted last week (The UN? Seriously?) about efforts afoot to put the Internet under the jurisdiction of International Telecommunication Union rules. The ITU at its just concluded meeting voted out a treaty to do just that. See "89 ITU members sign controversial UN telecom treaty."

"It won't regulate the Internet," the treaty's advocates say. Right.

When was the last time the US Congress was unanimous about anything? Last week! See "Congress declares opposition to UN takeover of the Internet."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The UN? Seriously?

With far less visibility or press interest than was afforded the recently concluded Doha round of climate talks ("Kyoto Protocol extended in contentious U.N. climate talks"), moves are afoot to transfer governance of the Internet from volunteer and not-for-profit organizations to the UN's own International Telecommunication Union

When? Right now! It's a main topic of conversation at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai (through December 14th).

Why? Because some governments aren't big fans of the democratizing aspect of the present-day, free-wheeling Internet. (As in, from Russia Today, this article about "Russia calls for internet revolution." And we all know how well Russian revolutions have turned out ...)

Is anyone else interested in controlling the Internet? For one, there's Syria. There, amid the ongoing civil war / massacres, the government has already taken down (their part of) the Internet. (See "Syria’s Internet Blackout: How The Government Could Have Done It.")

Am I being alarmist? If so, I have company.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A note to my UK readers ... kindling

(Last updated January 10, 2013)

For the longest time, my Fleet of Worlds series novels (with Larry Niven) have been unavailable in the UK for download to the Kindle. I won't bore you with why, but -- as of today -- the fifth and final volume is here (or, from my perspective, there).

Now available for the Kindle at amazon.co.uk:

(If this was all Greek to you, click any series cover thumbnail on the right-hand side.)

It's a Festivus miracle!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The listing list o' lists

Ah, year's end ... the season of retrospection. Who am I to fight tradition? (Well, a non-traditionalist, that's who. Nevertheless, I shall indulge :-)  )

Happier if you don't know?
Let's begin with "The Most Disappointing Movies of 2012," many of them SF or fantasy. From those that I've seen, I have to agree with the "disappointing" characterization. (Still, John Carter wasn't nearly as bad as some make it out to be. What a shame that this movie was considered derivative when so many of the supposedly tired tropes in the story originated with Edgar Rice Burroughs.)