What is this?

This is the blog of Fen Labalme, a 50-year-old geek who sold his first computer program - a copy of the Lunar Lander game in Focal - in 1969. My thesis at MIT was "NewsPeek: a knowledge-based open access news and information retrieval system" which (AFAIK) was the first electronic personalized (newspaper) media. Since then, I have been designing and implementing systems that enable personalization while supporting one's right to privacy. Some recent forays into the field include:

User-Centric Identity coming soon to Drupal

When you log into a community site, say LinkedIn or Tribe, you provide them with information about you which they now control.

95 Theses of Geek Activism

I came across this today, and really enjoyed it: 95 Theses of Geek Activism.

Perhaps it helps that I identify as a hacker in the manner described in the first thesis. Geek Activism is really all about being smart, thinking for yourself and not simply accepting what others say just because they happen to be on TV or run the corporations or government (the differences between these are fading).

Read them. Follow the links.

An Inconvenient Truth

My wife and I are eagerly looking forward to seeing the movie An Inconvenient Truth - we'd have seen it already if we had baby sitting lined up, and have arranged for this on the 19th of June. I'm confident that the movie will move us deeply. I just read a colleague's blog post on the movie, and I received the list of links below from another close friend.

And now for some good news

I've just added the Great News Network to my news bookmarks.

What a treat to have some good news for a change!

copyright strengthens; free speech loses

From the virtual desk of Declan McCullagh: Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill (CNET):

For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite.

Net Neutrality: SaveTheInternet.com

This is chilling: decisions being made now will shape the future of the Internet for a generation. Before long, all media &mdash TV, phone and the Web — will come to your home via the same broadband connection. The dispute over net neutrality is about who'll control access to new and emerging technologies.

From http://SaveTheInternet.com:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment.

White House involved in Election Phone Phreaking?

Found on Digg:

3 convicted of jamming phones to a Democratic get out the vote campaign in New Hampshire. Turns out there had been more than 2 dozen calls between these guys and the White House, all within 3 days of election day 2004.

Thank you Harry Taylor

Yesterday Harry Taylor rose at one of those "Bush town hall" forums in North Carolina to tell President Bush that he's never felt more ashamed of the leadership of his country. He said Bush has asserted his right to tap phone calls without a warrant, to arrest people and hold them without charges and to revoke a woman's right to an abortion, among other things.

Against Software and Process Patents

I have watched in great sadness as well as some very real fear for my profession as I've seen software - and worse: process - patents gain hold in this country driven by forces of great wealth and power aimed at maintaining their wealth and power at the cost of innovation. I was in the software labs of the late '70s when things like object oriented programming, bitmapped displays, email, and modern operating system theory were being developed and nothing was even copyrighted.

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