Contra Corey Pein, Computer Science Is A Science

In this day and age, sophisticated critique of technology and science is much needed. What we don’t need is critiques like this long piece in the Baffler by Corey Pein which, I think, is trying to mount a critique of the lack of ethics education in computer science curricula but seems most concerned with assertingContinue reading “Contra Corey Pein, Computer Science Is A Science”

Tesla’s ‘Irma Update’ Shows The Dangers Of Proprietary Software

By now, you know the story. Tesla magically (remotely) updated the software of its cars during Hurricane Irma: Tesla remotely sent a free software update to some drivers across Florida over the weekend, extending the battery capacity of cars and giving extra range to those fleeing Hurricane Irma. According to reports, the update temporarily unlocked the full-batteryContinue reading “Tesla’s ‘Irma Update’ Shows The Dangers Of Proprietary Software”

Apple’s ‘Code Is Speech’ Argument, The DeCSS Case, And Free Software

In its ongoing battle with federal law enforcement agencies over its refusal to unlock the iPhone, Apple has mounted a ‘Code is Speech’ defense arguing that “the First Amendment prohibits the government from compelling Apple to make code.” This has provoked some critical commentary, including an article by Neil Richards, which argues that Apple’s argumentContinue reading “Apple’s ‘Code Is Speech’ Argument, The DeCSS Case, And Free Software”

Once More: ‘Intellectual Property’ Breeds Confusion; Drop it

Rarely, if ever, does the term ‘intellectual property’ add clarity to any debate of substance–very often, this is because it includes the term ‘property’ and thus offers an invitation to some dubious theorizing. This post by Alex Rosenberg at Daily Nous is a good example of this claim: Locke famously offered an account of theContinue reading “Once More: ‘Intellectual Property’ Breeds Confusion; Drop it”

Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup

As my post yesterday should have indicated, we are educated by a variety of modalities. A powerfully formative one for me was my exposure to Usenet newsgroups. I discovered newsgroups in 1988, shortly after I began work as a research assistant with the Computerized Conferencing and Communications Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.Continue reading “Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup”

Free Software and ‘Appropriate Technology’

Last week, as part of a panel session organized at Queens College of the City University of New York, I spoke briefly on ‘Free Software and Appropriate Technology.’ I began by introducing the term ‘appropriate technology’ by setting it in the context of India’s attempts to achieve self-reliance in energy production, an effort that inContinue reading “Free Software and ‘Appropriate Technology’”

Flying Solo, As Author, For a Change

Sometime this week or the next, my fourth book, Brave New Pitch: The Evolution of Modern Cricket (HarperCollins India 2012), will make its way to bookstores and online book-sellers. My fourth book differs in one crucial regard from those that have preceded it: I have not co-authored it with anyone; its jacket lists but oneContinue reading “Flying Solo, As Author, For a Change”

Nick Drake’s ‘At the Chime of a City Clock’ and Urban Melancholia

I discovered Nick Drake late, very late. Back in 2007, Scott Dexter and I were busy dealing with the release of our book Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software; mainly, this involved engaging in some spirited discussions online with other folks interested in free software, the creative commons, free culture, andContinue reading “Nick Drake’s ‘At the Chime of a City Clock’ and Urban Melancholia”