Monday, November 21, 2005

Dell and Brand Wars

I thought this was interesting development in the brand wars (Dell vs. Microsoft vs. Intel). Slashdot posted a link to an announcement that Dell is planning to produce devices using AMD chips.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My essay topic (Ross)

So, I know this is a bit late, but... I'm currently working on my outline of my paper on the topic of how copyright has been justified as necessary to preserve the integrity of works. Basically, I'm interested in looking at how 'moral rights' arguments about copyright as a tool to stop corruption of a work work. These sorts of laws are much more prevalent in the European tradition of copyright, the English & American traditions being based much more fundamentally in an economic argument. Still, 'integrity protecting' arguments are often made by both authors and copyright holders as a reason to block appropriation of their works. I plan on looking at both how these arguments are made (historically and recently) in relation to copyright as well as how other laws enable this sort of blocking behavior (trademark, etc).

Some recent examples I hope to use to tie together this discussion - the trend of colorization of classic movies and the uproar around this, as contrasted with the controversies over recent 'updating' of movies by their creators (Star Wars, E.T., etc), and the decisions of scientific organizations to use copyright to block Kansas from using their works in a curriculum critical of evolution. This is another take on the same question - can/should a creator (or their representatives) stop a use of their work if it would be in a framework that the artist might disapprove of? It is a key tenet of copyright that one can quote from a work even if doing so to point out how awful the work may be - is there a line between this sort of use and 'corrupting' of a work by using it in a way that its creator might strongly disapprove of? (Contrasting this with the 2 Live Crew parody of 'Pretty Woman')

Also of interest is how this argument differs between European and English/American law - in Europe, certain rights to prevent this sort of corruption are fundamentally those of the creator, and may not be sold or traded away, whereas in English/American law, because of the fundamentally economic nature of copyright, often those arguing about the importance of preserving the 'integrity' of a work may even be working against the wishes of the creator. This example may reference the 'Jib-Jab' parody of 'This Land is My Land' from the last election, which was fought by the copyright holders even though many argued that the songwriter would have had no objection.

So that's the general idea... Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Essay topic - need feedback...

My paper topic focuses on the assessment of the quality of consumer information, particularly manufacturing information, that is available for a product. I will focus on the data provided for sneaker/shoe companies, found in the websites listed below:

I will critique and assess the quality of the information these websites provide to consumers doing research on product information. I want to investigate the “quality of the consumer information” that these websites provide by trying to answer the following questions:

  1. What kind of info do they claim to provide?
  2. How well do they deliver on this claim?
  3. How comprehensive is the data source? What other kinds of data would be useful?
  4. How do we know we can *trust* this data? What can this data tell us about the quality of the product?
  5. How complex is the data set that the user wants know?
  6. What are the different types of information that go into assessing the quality of a product when making purchases?
  7. Is there more that could be done to make this info more accessible to users who may not be as informed about such issues?


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Final Proposal (Stephanie)

I am interested in online communities and the different approaches they take to prevent rotten information from being added to their systems. I would like to examine an online community/social software site and the mechanisms they employ to regulate the information on their systems. Some communities use only technical measures to prevent and filter rotten information, while others rely almost completely on community filtering. There are several that have created a mix of technical and community remedies to create hybrid filtering systems. I would like to examine one of the following communities, and compare it to similar systems.

• Slashdot (
• Wikipedia (
• Flickr (
• Friendster (

The overview would include a description and analysis. I am interested in analyzing the general cost and effectiveness, distribution of responsibility/authority to filter within the site members, and how the values of the community/users are reflected in the system.

Update (Nov 16th)
I've decided to focus on public news bulletin boards like Slashdot. I've posted my outline here:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wikipedia may go to print

If Wikipedia goes to print, they will certainly need to be a bit more strict with their writers and the facts they present.