Thursday, July 31, 2003


Use Windows? Growing fears over net threat are related to a security flaw that apparently affects all Windows OSs. There is, of course, a patch available from MS.

The San Jose Mercury News covers this issue in "Government issues second warning on Microsoft security flaw," an article posted Thursday. The Mercury News notes that 75% of computers connected to the internet use an affected version of Windows. With so many computers connected and affected, a virus could spread rapidly throughout the net and have devastating effects.

The irony of the situation is that these warnings or alerts about Windows are being issued by the Department of Homeland Security - and the Department has chosen Microsoft products to keep us all safe and sound. The situation would be hilarious if it weren't so scary.

Moral of the story? Pay attention to the update reminder on the task bar or check the MS site regularly. Alternate moral to the story? Use a non-Windows OS - switch to Mac or Linux.

- posted by laurie @ 7/31/2003 11:14:00 PM (0) comments


Early for my time zone, but hey, they're posted, so here's this week's friday five:

1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?
These days? Around seven, seven thirty, because Eric's getting up that early to go to work. Ideally, I'd sleep until between nine and eleven. I am not a morning person.

2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?
Usually, yes. Um, eleven? Sometimes noon? I'm not lazy . . . I just stay up late!

3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?
Put on water for French-press coffee or, these days (in an effort to reduce caffeine intake), tea.

4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?
Between an hour and an hour and a half. I move slow, and caffeine and a shower are necessary.

5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?
There's this place called the Stove in Mammoth Lakes, California. I used to go there with my dad - great place to have a hearty, warm breakfast before heading off for a day of skiing.In general, though, I'm partial to diner/greasy spoon type places.

- posted by laurie @ 7/31/2003 09:49:00 PM (0) comments

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


Whay doesn't it surprise me that Steven Johnson has a blog? Why did it take me this long to figure it out?

- posted by laurie @ 7/30/2003 10:00:00 AM (0) comments



ser·en·dip·i·ty [ sèrrən díppətee ] noun - gift for discovery: a natural gift for making useful discoveries by accident

Believe in it? I do! I've been bemoaning the fact that one of the classes I really wanted to take in the fall has been full since, oh, just after registration started. I *just happened* to check the course enrollment this morning and amazingly, there was one open seat, which is now mine! I also have one of the coolest schedules I have managed to arrange for myself in the entirety of my higher education: I have no classes, either to take or to teach, Monday or Friday. This will also make the back-to-back AoIR and Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) conferences a bit easier to manage.

- posted by laurie @ 7/30/2003 08:20:00 AM (0) comments


One more RIAA/p2p link: the EFF gives swappers 'heads up' on subpoenas. For those who fear they may be on the RIAA's "list," the EFF is providing a web-based tool that allows users to check a database containing user names and IP addresses of those individuals for whom subpoenas have been issued. EFF says it provides advance warning for those who are subpoenaed and peace of mind for those not on the list. MacCentral does point out, however, that there is some lag time between the issue of the subpoena and the availability of the information in the EFF database. Since the RIAA is issuing new subpoenas daily, the EFF tool may be of only limited comfort for those who fear they may be RIAA targets.

- posted by laurie @ 7/30/2003 07:38:00 AM (0) comments


Check out this DeskMod Poll about the recent RIAA legal actions. At the time of this post, 46% of respondents say that their music-sharing habits haven't changed because the chaces of their getting caught are so low. In contrast, only 12% said yes, their habits have changed because they do not want to be sued. Interesting, isn't it? This is only a very small and self-selected group of respondents, but if these numbers were representative of p2p users in the U.S., then the RIAA still has a rather protracted battle on its hands.

- posted by laurie @ 7/30/2003 07:13:00 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, July 29, 2003


From the referrer files, an interesting find: someone at this firm hit my site, leading me to discover the Perkins Coie Internet Case Digest, which I can see being a good resource in the future!

- posted by laurie @ 7/29/2003 08:13:00 PM (0) comments

Monday, July 28, 2003


From Seb's Open Research: "Writer Kevin Kelly (author of Out of Control, among other things) has started a blog called Help Wanted to get answers to various questions that arise in writing his new book. For instance, how many objects? is an inquiry into the number of technological species that humans have breeded. Can we actually count them?"

Both the blog and the book sound very interesting. It is wonderful to see a nuanced approach to the "technology + spirituality" question. Hopefully there'll be some more posts soon: no updates here since June 12.

- posted by laurie @ 7/28/2003 11:25:00 AM (0) comments


More 'Pirates' than Bush Supporters? Right on! Downloader Dragnet -- Aug. 04, 2003: "An estimated 60 million Americans, more than the number of Bush voters in 2000, are using file-sharing networks on the Internet. Until last week it seemed like a safely anonymous pursuit. But then RIAA started subpoenaing colleges and Internet-service providers (ISPs) for the names and addresses of more than 950 computer owners "

The article goes on to point out that, for those who want their MP3 fix, Apple and will happily provide a more limited selection for a nominal fee, of course. And with differing approaches to copyright and intellectual property (buymusic, iTunes Music Storescroll to bottom of page) but with no threats of subpoenas or legal action. Where does fair use fit into all of this? Does it?

Of course, on the other side of the issue, are those working to develop the next-gen completely anonymous p2p apps. In the meantime, though, I guess we'd better be careful about what we have on our hard drives.

- posted by laurie @ 7/28/2003 08:51:00 AM (0) comments

Friday, July 25, 2003


The 'net: the new babysitter?

Would you be surprised to learn thatYouth spend more time on Web than TV? I'm not really all that surprised - nor am I blown away by the notion that the younger generation multitasks quite effectively while surfing. It is an interesting shift, but I think it was only a matter of time before it happened.

What, for some odd reason, popped into my mind while reading this article, though, was the Jim Carey movie, Cable Guy, and other tales, fictional and non, of kids being "raised" by the television. And, of course, the logical pattern for that to take: are today's toddlers going to be influenced by the net as much as previous tykes were by the tube? Or is it still more likely a parent would plop a kid down in front of Sesame Street or whatever variation of Barney is in circulation at the time?

I had a friend who grew up without television, and now I understand why parents might make that kind of choice. Eric and I did without T.V. for quite a while. But there's no way you could get me to raise kids in a house without a computer! It's unthinkable! And yet, computers and the internet have the potential to expose kids to waaay more "questionable" material. It's an interesting dilemma that we'll have to ponder later, as I must now shower and dress for a birthday party we're attending this evening. Should be a hoot!

- posted by laurie @ 7/25/2003 03:24:00 PM (0) comments


A Mini Book Review, for No Good Reason

Has anyone out there read Spindle's End by Robin McKinley? It's not a new book by any means, it's just the non-academic book I've read most recently. I love fairy tales, and especially enjoy McKinley's retellings - good tales that don't feature weak, limp princesses and conventional gender roles. Spindle's End is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as some of her other fairytale novels, I think the book is a wonderful read. Practical fairies, a tomboy who's really a princess, and a whole host of friendly animals populate this novel. Good summer reading for those who like fantasy tinged with a bit of the sensible.

Well, there's one item off the summer reading list. I've still got whole stack staring at me, and it's almost August!

- posted by laurie @ 7/25/2003 02:56:00 PM (0) comments

Thursday, July 24, 2003


33 days later . . .

I feel a bit silly at having to write two posts about my long absence from the blogosphere almost back-to-back. This has been an exhausting summer, for many reasons. I’ve been to D.C. twice since the end of May: once for my grandfather’s funeral, and once for a vacation (!) that I really needed, but which was also exceedingly emotionally draining in a way.

Even though I haven’t been writing here, necessarily, I have been writing more offline: journal entries, letters to my grandmother (who’s 90 and just returned home from a lengthy hospital stay), and so on. This is a kind of writing I don’t often indulge in. I enjoy blogging more than almost any other type of writing (except critical papers which, even with all the griping about how much I hate them at the end of the semester, I do really enjoy). I’m not sure why. Many bloggers have tackled the topics of privacy, disclosure and online versus offline identities. I think I am a more candid and open person online than I tend to be in real life, but in the last thirty-three days I have felt the need to write about things I don’t feel comfortable expressing on my blog. I think part of why I disappeared may have been because, if I sat down at the keyboard, there’s a chance I would have shared something that I might later have regretted sharing online. I still maintain that anything put in a blog post is fully public information. If it would upset me if a friend, family member, professor, colleague, or advisor read what I wrote, then it’s something better expressed in a more private forum than the ‘net.

Of course, I also think that I have the right to say whatever I want online, with very few exceptions grounded in the legal system: libel, violation of nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements, and so on – I can still say or write words that would constitute these things, but the consequences for these actions are a bit more clearly delineated by our legal system. I’m writing this thinking of a friend who was recently fired for blogging. Pretty unbelievable. The consequences of blogging from work or about work are certainly, in most cases anyway, are not clear-cut. This makes me realize that, even though the Internet is a common feature of our daily lives, in many situations we as a society have not formulated acceptable and accepted norms for online behavior and discussion. I think my friend’s blog is well-written and witty, and I don’t see a problem with content, nor do other bloggers. So what prompted the termination? What is it that bothered management so much but didn’t even show up as a blip on blogosphere radar? How is it that blogs and bloggers disrupt the line between private and public? Thoughts to ponder.

- posted by laurie @ 7/24/2003 07:32:00 PM (0) comments