Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

Work faster and more reliably. Add actions to the services menu and the menu bar, create drag-and-drop apps to make your Macintosh play music, roll dice, and talk. Create ASCII art from photos. There’s a script for that in 42 Astounding Scripts for the Macintosh.

Load up on virtual cyclone ammo!

Jerry Stratton, June 1, 1995

“The logistics of enforcing such a scheme is even now causing wet dreams across Washington, DC.”

I wrote that in jest one single measly year ago, and it already isn’t funny. Wet dreams across Washington DC? The latest MacWorld has the Clinton administration recommending that “electronic transmissions of documents” be considered “copies”, so that they’ll be included under copyright law, and making it illegal to manufacture or distribute “any device that would circumvent electronic tags used to protect copyrights on networks.”

Sounds neat, just like Ted Nelson sounds neat. But treating “electronic transmissions” as if they were copies of your novel is like holding the postman responsible for what people send you. And any computer can circumvent electronic tags. I’ve got stupid little programs on my Macintosh that automatically download software. And such programs litter the bigger minicomputers and mainframes. There will be absolutely no way to enforce this kind of a law without requiring federal inspection of every computer on the net on a regular basis.

And... just yesterday, the FBI was quoted as wanting the ability to tap one out of every hundred telephone lines in any given year. No wait, said FBI head Freeh, we merely meant one in every thousand telephone lines. And of course we wouldn’t use that ability. We’d just feel better having it.

Sure. And I’ve got this great bridge in Brooklyn you can have for a song--I’ll even take your credit card number over electronic mail. It’s the classic high-ball you’d expect from a used-car salesman, not the damn head of what the NRA used to call “Our fine agency”. Quote a price that riles ‘em up, and they’ll accept a price they would’ve refused. A mere one in one thousand? That’s tapping the phone lines of three million Americans every year. Within a ten-year time, one out of every ten of your friends and relations will have unknowingly provided entertainment for an FBI audience. Better wear your best blackface.

In response to Abyssinian Networks: Automatic calendars, Ethiopian food, and geek profiling. Internet World 1994, Part 2.

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