Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mickey Mouse is evil...

Behold the true face of Mickey Mouse, from the view of some Chinese toy manufacturer anyhow. I saw this on sale at Victoria Plaza. I don't know what could have possessed the designer to come up with this monstrosity, but I have to admit, it does have a certain ring of truth to it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

If notebooks were treated like software

Here's a small thought experiment.

Consider a notebook: not the high-tech computer notebook gizmos of late, but your run-of-the-mill spiral-bound paper notebook, the kind you write on with a pen or a pencil. It's so cheap and ordinary we don't give much thought to it. You scribble on it, you read it, and that's that.

Now what if, just consider what if, all the paper notebooks in the world were owned by the companies that made them. Those companies would have the exclusive rights to the manufacture, distribution, and use of notebooks.

If you needed a notebook, you would pay to get it from one of those companies...but...you wouldn't really own the notebook. Having exclusive rights, the company you got it from would still own it. The company would only give you the rights to use the notebook, for your use exclusively, and to only use it for writing. At any time, the company can look into your notebook to see what you used it for.

If you violated those rights, let's say by tearing out a page and making a paper hat, or by doodling flowers on it, or by letting a friend write on "your" notebook, the company reserves the right confiscate the notebook and throw you in jail.

That sounds like a crummy deal, right? And it is. But guess what: that's the case with proprietary software nowadays.

Monday, September 06, 2010

National Solipsism

Two weeks after the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis fiasco, national media is still picking over its carcass and regurgitating it supposedly for our benefit. We get live coverage of retrospective investigations and armchair analysis of the shouldas-wouldas-couldas: all par for the course, I understand. I would switch off if I could, but it's hard to turn on the television or open the newspaper without catching a glimpse of yet another angle on the incident.

Yet for all the commentary and the coverage, there's something national media continues to miss out on, or perhaps glosses over: the victims.