phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer is an Internet enthusiast based in Troy, NY

Remix culture is the new Prohibitionwaxy.org

Andy Baio:

For most people, sharing and remixing with attribution and no commercial intent is instinctually a-okay.

Under current copyright law, nearly every cover song on YouTube is technically illegal. Every fan-made music video, every mashup album, every supercut, every fanfic story? Quite probably illegal, though largely untested in court.

No amount of lawsuits or legal threats will change the fact that this behavior is considered normal — I’d wager the vast majority of people under 25 see nothing wrong with non-commercial sharing and remixing, or think it’s legal already.

I’m not sure about this last assessment. I think they consider infringement illegal, but in the same way speeding or jaywalking (in NYC at least) are illegal. The broader point about social norms being out of sync with copyright law is spot on.

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The simulacra occupationcityroom.blogs.nytimes.com

Last night NBC Universal created a television set version of Zuccotti Park for an upcoming episode of Law & Order Special Victims Unit. Word got out and the set was soon occupied by actual OWS protesters. Such a crazy story.

Drew Hornbein, 24, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, said he found it “bizarre” to walk through an imitation occupation a few weeks after the actual one was swept away by sanitation workers spearheaded by police officers wearing helmets and carrying plastic shields.

And he wondered whether the people producing the show failed to realize that a fake tent city presented a target that many former Zuccotti inhabitants would find too tempting to pass up.

“It’s absurd,” Mr. Hornbein said. “Did they think we were gone?”

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A personal appeal from Mozillamozilla.org

Marco Arment:

Most Firefox users don’t know how the company pays its bills. The majority of its income — about $100 million annually — is from Google, who pays Mozilla for using Google by default in the stock homepage and built-in search box. But the term of that deal just ended, and apparently nobody from either Mozilla or Google will confirm whether it has been renewed.

In response to this financial uncertainty, Mozilla have launched a campaign to shore up grassroots donations. Like Arment, I’m a bit saddened by the direction of Firefox. There have been too many meaningless releases with no sense of forward progress. But I’ve never been able to bring myself to switch to anything else. In large part because of its thriving plugin community, I haven’t found satisfactory replacements for Firebug or Greasemonkey in other browsers. So I’m sticking with team Mozilla.

Here are a couple videos about Mozilla’s origins that you should watch:

And then go donate!

American police

Three links about American police. (One essay and two radio segments.)

  • Central Booking by Keith Gessen
    What it’s like to get arrested as a (white privileged) Occupy Wall Street protestor.

    Sitting there, with the stench from our filthy toilet filling the room, and with the filth in our filthy sink making me less eager than I ought to have been to drink from it, despite being thirsty, I became angry—really, honestly, for the first time. I thought for the first time, with genuine venom, of the hypocrite mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire, who shut down the Occupy Wall Street encampment for reasons of “health and safety” but has not deemed it worthwhile to make sure that the toilets in facilities that he has control of meet even the most minimal standards of health and safety, such that, while I watched, about forty men, eating a total of a hundred meals, over the course of a day and a half, refused to perform a single bowel movement. This was its own form of civil disobedience, I suppose, and if I’d had my wits about me maybe I could have organized a meeting of all the inmates at Bloomberg’s residence, on East Seventy-ninth Street, so that we could all take a giant shit on his front stoop.

  • A police whistle blower story from This American Life, first aired in September 2010

    For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren’t supposed to do.

  • An interview with David M. Kennedy, author of Don’t Shoot, earlier this month on Fresh Air

    Kennedy has devoted his career to reducing gang and drug-related inner-city violence. He started going to drug markets all over the United States, met with police officials and attorney generals, and developed a program — first piloted in Boston — that dramatically reduced youth homicide rates by as much as 66 percent. That program, nicknamed the “Boston Miracle,” has been implemented in more than 70 cities nationwide.

OWS at two months

Today marks the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests in NYC. I’ll be joining the rally at Foley Square, 5pm to celebrate. Here are a couple links I recommend to get a sense of what’s been happening:

  • Occupy in October, a documentary radio piece from KCRW’s Unfictional covering the period leading up to the rally in Times Square
  • Beyond Liberty Plaza, a summary of articles by Khujeci Tomai (whose blog has been a great resource) describing more recent events and an appeal for growing beyond the occupation of a single park

We need to be reflective, celebratory, practical, forward-looking, and inspiring — all at once. So let us start on a macro and micro, holistic and granular level. Find a project, an affinity group, an alternative art space, a progressive organizing space, a classroom, an immigrant rights group, a trade union; anything, everything, somewhere in your neighborhood, in your city. Start building something specific, tangible– linked to the larger Occupy project of economic justice and resisting corporate control over democracy. All in preparation for spring, when people will start coming out in large numbers again. Don’t be afraid to go against some of the fetish of horizontalism; the movement needs some leaders as well. Time to move to the second phase.

The first rule of Sky Watch is…www.alternet.org

Do not ask about Sky Watch. Nick Turse on Alternet:

“We’re just gonna take your name down. That you’re a reporter and that you’re asking questions about our Sky Watch. Don’t worry. No summons,” Torres said.

A bad phone camera shot I took on October 5th

See also: Wall Street Firms Spy on Protestors in Tax-Funded Center

Wall Street Isn’t Winning It’s Cheatingwww.rollingstone.com

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone:

Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that’s just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning—they’re cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

And also this part:

The banks borrow billions at zero and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent. This is essentially an official government license to be rich, handed out at the expense of prudent ordinary citizens, who now no longer receive much interest on their CDs or other saved income. It is virtually impossible to not make money in banking when you have unlimited access to free money, especially when the government keeps buying its own cash back from you at market rates.

Your average chimpanzee couldn’t fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water. Where do the protesters go to sign up for their interest-free billion-dollar loans?

ows.offline in the (non-Occupied) Wall Street Journalblogs.wsj.com

This afternoon I hung out for a few hours at the Occupy Together Meetup. I met some smart developers, made a few tweaks to the code, and spoke to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. I’m hoping to also get this in the Occupied Wall Street Journal, which I’m guessing gets read by more people in Zuccotti Park.

ows.offline code releasedgithub.com

I’ve finally set up a GitHub repository! It also includes some documentation on how to configure OpenWRT to behave like a captive portal. I’m trying to think of a better fake-TLD than “.offline”. Dot-occupy? I’m open to suggestions.

Update: I’ve renamed the project to occupy.here! More soon…

Hacking the WRT54GLnyc.thepublicschool.org

I’ve proposed a course at The Public School: Hacking the WRT54GL.

Lately I’ve been doing some projects that involve serving tiny self-contained websites on autonomous Linksys WRT54GL routers running OpenWRT. That is, websites you can only access by connecting to a specific wifi signal. In a creative sense I like the notion of giving web pages a physical presence, of focusing on a particular audience in a particular place. The technology is also pretty fun to work with.

Heather on The Here & Nowdeweyhagborg.wordpress.com

Heather wrote up a nice summary of our show this Sunday:

Members of my collaborative Future Archaeology will be showing solo work in a repurposed autobody shop on Grattan St. between Bogart and Morgan. The show is called The Here and Now and focuses on ephemeral work in many media.

Deep link: MIA vs. NYTwww.metafilter.com

An unflattering NY Times Magazine article on M.I.A. leads to a retaliatory tweeting of the journalist’s phone number (her response). Not quite the Streisand Effect, but similar. The retaliation might lend credibility to the claims in the article while increasing its visibility. A summary of the 8,000 word article is also available.

One revelation from the article was that having “Born Free” banned on YouTube was probably intentional — M.I.A.’s upcoming tour will be themed around censorship.

The article goes to great lengths picking apart M.I.A.’s outspoken politics, dismissing her ideas on Sri Lanka and other geo-political topics as naïve and ultimately self-serving. I appreciated this comment from MetaFilter user A Terrible Llama:

When it’s Madonna and it’s 1986, who cares, because she’s trotting out virgin/whore dichotomy or wearing cone-shaped bras and people are in a tither — fine. But when an artist is funneling additional attention into a complicated and easily misunderstood political situation they can be contributing to a kind of simplistic viewpoint that gets people killed.

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Rising Currents at MoMAmoma.org

We recently launched a sub-site for the Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA:

MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center joined forces to address one of the most urgent challenges facing the nation’s largest city: sea-level rise resulting from global climate change. Though the national debate on infrastructure is currently focused on “shovel-ready” projects that will stimulate the economy, we now have an important opportunity to foster new research and fresh thinking about the use of New York City’s harbor and coastline.

These smaller exhibitions don’t usually get their own sub-sites, but it was fairly easy to customize a category view within the existing MoMA blog. A slightly-altered version of the site is also available on kiosks in the exhibition space.

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