Touring the digital through type

Month: July 2008

Public Databases and Massive Aggregation of Data

200807221411This is just a really quick thought that I wanted to toss out.

I perceive a problem associated with the digitization of public records: such digitization allows business interests to gather aggregate data on large collections of people while retaining identifiable characteristics. This allows for a phenomenal sorting potential. At the same time, we might ask, “is there anything we can, or really want to, do about this?”

Paradigm Shift

I hear this a lot – ‘Chris, you have to understand that things are different now. The paradigm is shifting towards transparency, and there’s nothing wrong with that, and you’re being a pain in the ass suggesting that there is anything wrong with transparency. Do you have something to hide, or something like that?’ This particular line bothers the hell out of me, because I shouldn’t have to expose myself without giving my consent, especially when I previously enjoyed a greater degree of privacy as a consequence of obscurity and/or the costs involved with copying, sorting, and analyzing analogue records. I fail to see why I have to give up past nascent rights and expectations just because we can mine data more effectively (hell, that would have been a meaningless statement around the time that I was born…). Efficiency is not the same as superior, better, or (necessarily) wanted.

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Mac Preview: Towards Breaching Bill C-61 (Copyright in Canada)

200807021624If you’re Canadian, and haven’t exiled yourself from society for the past several weeks, then you’ve heard about the Federal Conservative Party’s ‘dreaded’ Bill C-61″An Act to amend the Copyright Act”. While a lot of people have been talking somewhat broadly about the issues of digital locks, and posing their own examples about how Canadians will be criminalized when they use media in sensible ways, I wanted to talk about how Mac Preview threatens to criminalize a lot of Mac users.

Mac Preview

I’ll start with a quick quotation of how Apple describes Preview:

If you’ve got PDFs to read, or images to view, Preview makes it easy. This built-in PDF file viewer allows you to view, work with, and print PDF files; view and edit images (including JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PICT, and other image file formats). (Source)

Preview is an awesome integrated part of OS X, and it makes my daily life a lot nicer – no longer is Adobe something that I have to put up with on a regular basis! Another great feature of preview is the ability to print .PDF files that you already have opened. This might seem stupid to bring up, but it turns out that this feature is pretty important in the present computing environment that I find myself in.

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