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One Laptop Per Child (Or Grownup?)

Our (children’s) XO laptops arrived yesterday, and they are quite the hit already. They are fun for us, great learning tools for the kids – including learning why they were created in the first place. I hope they prove/have proved to be as successful with the children for whom the donated laptops are intended. (See earlier Slaw posts – for example, here and here.)

My son, 5, has figured out how to open it, power on and off, navigate around the screen, return to “home” and use a couple of the included applications: made a bit of music on . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

“I Despise Facebook”

That’s Tom Hodgkinson talking, not me. (My feelings about Fakebook aren’t that strong.) Hodgkinson has a long and interesting article in the Technology section of the Guardian Unlimited that sets out his many reasons for reviling the vastly popular — what? — tool, environment, fad?

His points are, roughly:

  • It’s unnecessary. Why would you need to connect to people through the mediation of “a bunch of supergeeks in California”?
  • It’s isolating. The connection is more imagined than real.
  • It perverts true friendship, encouraging lying about oneself and competition as to the number of “friends” one has.
  • It’s got incredible mass
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Anne of Intellectual Property

It feels like I have been following the development of the Anne of Green Gables brand my whole life. The librarian in me can’t believe I didn’t take to reading until my grade 5 teacher introduced me to Anne Shirley and her cohorts Diana Barry and Gilbert Blythe. I read every book in L.M. Montgomery’s series, and then continued on with her other fiction series. I fondly recall a family trip to PEI to visit L.M. Montgomery’s childhood home. Later in life I discovered her adult writings and, as a student of English literature at the University of Guelph, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Let Your Kids Grow Up to Be

intellectual property or international business, trade, and competition- regulation lawyers.

The European Commission opened a new antitrust probe against Microsoft on Monday into whether it unfairly tied its Web browser to the Windows operating system and made it harder for rival software to work with Windows.

“This initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of an infringement. It only signifies that the Commission will further investigate the case as a matter of priority,” the Commission said.

And provide more billable work of for its lawyers and billable hours or work for Gates’.

I must say that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Robots Aren’t Us

These are excerpts from what appears to have been a New York Times column which you can now find at http://www.lexisone.com/balancing/articles/n010008e.htmlWhy Nobody Likes A Smart Machine - on human-machine interaction.

Dr. Norman, a cognitive scientist who is a professor at Northwestern, has been the maestro of gizmos since publishing ”The Design of Everyday Things,” his 1988 critique of VCRs no one could program, doors that couldn’t be opened without instructions and other technologies that seemed designed to drive humans crazy.

And the worse news is that the gadgets of Christmas future will be even harder to command, because

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Apple Keynote 2008

Okay Mac fanboys and -girls — and you wannabes (you three others can go back to work): the broadcast of Steve Job’s Macworld 2008 Keynote starts today at 9 AM PST (12PM EST). Nothing spectacular this year, so the betting goes. But we’re looking for a sub-notebook, which should raise some interest out there in the world of laptop schleppers like us. There’ll likely be an announcement about renting movies via iTunes, but that won’t be of interest because we won’t be able to get on board here in Canada. (No Netflix, no Amazon movie rental, no Google Grand Central . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Universal Digital Library

Although many online repositories of books have been mentioned here, one that has not is the Universial Digital Library. This collection, created by a group including Carnegie Mellon university, the Library of Alexandria, and a number of universities from China and India, already has over a million titles (of which 360,000 are in English), and claims it will grow to 10 million within 10 years.

You can browse the collection by title, author, year, language, or subject. Browsing the “Law” collection yields 24,772 titles. An advanced search function is also available.

Now if only someone would invent the perfect . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

For Those Who Like the Printed Word

If you are “old school” like me, you may still enjoy picking up an old fashioned book from time to time, instead of staring at your computer screen. A non-legal BLOG that I follow reminded me of the self-publishing options that are available and singled out lulu.com

I did some quick cost calculations on various book formats – the prices seem very reasonable. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Die Zeit Archives Available

Die Zeit, one of Germany’s premier newspapers, has made its archives free online, going back to 1946. This is a valuable trove of European and world reportage — provided, of course, one has German. You can browse by year, by author (each with a unique RSS feed — though I suspect the traffic from 1953 would be minimal), and by theme via a nifty little Flash dashboard item. And, of course, you can do a simple full-text search or a search constrained by various facets.

Clearly a lot of thought has been put into this. Now if only . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

John Willinsky

I’m proud to announce that John Willinsky has joined Slaw as a columnist. And if you look to your right, you’ll see his first column on mandating free access to research. John is currently a professor at Stanford University’s School of Education, coming to them from the University of British Columbia, where he founded the Public Knowledge Project in 1998. Professor Willinksky has written extensively on open access to scholarly research, which topic will form the basis for his columns.

John isn’t new to Slaw. When we had a theme week on Grey Lit, under the direction of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

When Free Access to Research Is Mandated by Law

My hope for 2008 is that Stevan Harnad will prove prophetic once again, this time by declaring this the year of the mandate, or as he puts it with his notable precision, “the year of institutional Green OA self-archiving mandates.” For those colorblind to Harnadian distinctions, the mandates in question have been enacted by research funding agencies (21 to date) and a few institutions and require researchers receiving funding from those agencies (or working at those institutions) to deposit an electronic copy of their published work in an online archive so that it is freely available typically 12 months after . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

iPod Tax

The National Post has an editorial today, Striking down the iPod tax. This post just adds the footnotes.

The January 10th decision was Apple Canada Inc. v. Canadian Private Copying Collective, 2008 FCA 9 (CanLII).

The decison of the Copyright Board under review was Private Copying 2008-2009, Re, 58 C.P.R. (4th) 446, 2007 CarswellNat 2100 (also on the Copyright Board website.)

The 2004 decision of the Federal Court of Appeal was Canadian Private Copying Collective v. Canadian Storage Media Alliance, 2004 FCA 424 (CanLII), [2005] 2 F.C.R. 654, 247 D.L.R. (4th) 193, 329 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous