15 April 2010

Render Unto Caesar

On this worst of days in the American calendar...
  • A pox on Adobe. A necessary security update to Acrobat Reader is still causing trouble, due to Adobe's insufferable arrogance. Not only did a simply update to an auxiliary program require a reboot, but it reset all of my defaults to point to Adobe's reader (which I must use on occasion for legal documents) and added a bunch of extraneous programs to my startup routines. Hint to software providers: No matter how much you think your product is better, do not assume that users might not have very, very good reasons for their personal settings on their machines; and if you're not actually changing the operating system, there's no reason to require a reboot.

    That the Acrobat Reader update is necessary is especially ironic, given that the only reason the update is necessary at all comes from Adobe's overly enthusiastic attempts to make it nearly impossible to not use it. That is, the security flaws are all linked directly to programming shortcuts taken in the "fast loaders." (Which aren't so fast, but that's another story entirely.)

  • It appears that the British Chiropractic Association is dropping its libel lawsuit against Dr Simon Singh. If true, this is good news... but still does not excuse the UK's overreaching libel laws. In particular, UK citizens should keep pressure on their MPs after the election, because — as the panel of judges itself indicated — the law would have to improve considerably to be only an ass.
  • Don't think that death somehow gets you away from lawyers. And that's not just a reference to the pasty complexions and aversions to sunlight of young BigLaw associates.
  • Using Twitter properly for telling stories.
  • Some third-party musings on ASMP v. Google. Meanwhile, the Eleventh Circuit provides yet another reason to consolidate all copyright matters in a single circuit, ruling that the "implied license" of delivering a piece of visual art to a purchaser of the res of the art trumps the Copyright Act... even though the very existence of VARA (§ 106A) and the text of the Copyright Act state the opposite.

One final note: 15 April is a bad day in the American calendar because nobody likes paying taxes, particularly not to the federal government (which might spend them on a porkbarrel project like, say, a bridge to nowhere, or tobacco subsidies). It sure beats the alternative of daily extortion by a feudal lord or other source of authority. And for those of you who want to privatize everything, I commend you to the implications behind Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946)... especially if you are, for any aspect of your life, not exactly like everyone else.