Monday, October 31, 2011

The Occupy Process

I finally went along to OccupyMelbourne today. I brought along enough ingredients to make about 80 sandwiches, and the UPS from my computer, in order to offer people the ability to charge mobile devices.

I thought the story I would find would be the expected one about the right to freedom of assembly or a protest about, at its root, a lack if government transparency and accountability. These are real issues, being dealt with as primary problems by the movement, but the real story is the meta one. It is about a system of decision making that far exceeds what is in place in our parliament, which by contrast seems primitive.

A Case for a Bill of Rights

I am a civil libertarian. That is to say that I believe that people's fundamental freedoms are paramount. The government is not a separate tool to control the people. It is a tool of the people, by the people and for the people. I don't believe that governments have rights, other than those that we bestow upon them. So around a dozen years ago, when given the chance to overthrow our pointless monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, I said no.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Melbourne Being Evicted

Robert Doyle is claiming that there are legal grounds for evicting the Occupy Melbourne protesters.

To me, that sounds hollow. We live in a country with very few constitutionally guaranteed rights. This includes the right to assembly. What laws can't be enacted at the federal level can almost always be enacted at the state level.

So sure, the protesters will probably be committing some legal wrong.

But when people aren't given the rights to which they are entitled, sometimes, they've just got to take them. Doyle can claim that he is "in the right," but this is a time where legal rights do not correspond with moral or ethical rights.

He wants to reclaim the square for the people, but guess what... The people are already there. They just want to stay there. He really wants to reclaim it for as an empty space, or perhaps for people acting as consumers, but not for people acting as citizens.

Shame, Robert Doyle. You are in the Liberal Party. What do you think Liberal means?

Edit: Premier Baillieu's comments that the protesters "should do it in a way that does not cause disruption" show a misunderstanding of the point of protests. Protests occur when people feel like their problems are not being listened to or dealt with. To do that in a way where their protest is ignoreable completely defeats the purpose, because shockingly, if the protesters can be ignored, the protesters will be ignored.

Thoughts on the Case for Piracy

I just read a very good article by Nick Ross on the case for piracy.

It deals with contempt for consumers, with broadcasters focusing less on viewer experience and more on advertising revenue. It also looks at DRM, lawsuits and the chilling effect that has been used to destroy fair dealing.

The author presents the positive ways in which piracy rectifies the artificial issues that the copyright and broadcasting industries create.

There is one of his conclusions, however, with which I unfortunately disagree. It's to do with the future of how content will be consumed. Nick predicts that "we'll all be using on-demand subscription models and the notion of buying content to keep will feel archaic." I agree that in the medium term, this is where we are being led.

As it is, the copyright industries are generally still trending upwards. Within these industries, there are companies benefiting from stellar hits, and those who are not getting by. There are lots of opportunities for growth in the current state of innovation and market expansion.

But in 10 to 20 years, let's say we all subscribe to content services. We pay our $20 per month to have unlimited access to everything. People are hesitant to make multiple subscriptions, when they can just subscribe to the biggest guy with the largest catalogue. There are no more than 3 major players in the content delivery space.

It's the dream of today's content industries, but...

From where comes growth?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Letter to Melbourne's Lord Mayor regarding the Occupy Melbourne protest

This is the letter that I sent to Melbourne's Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle (, regarding the Occupy Melbourne protest. I have heard rumours that he is planning to dismantle the rally, which I think will cause the opposite effect to what is intended.

The protesters are the symptom, not the cause, and as such, sipping the protests will not solve anything. Taking money and dodgy lobbyists out of politics is what's needed. We need a good kick of transparency and accountability.

Send a message of your own.

It's easy.



Considering that the Occupy **** movement is all about restoring government transparency and accountability, it seems like a really bad idea to break up a peaceful protest.

Doing this will have the effect of cementing the views of the protesters and getting more people on board to the position that government has something to hide, and special interests to protect.

Please leave the protesters alone.


David Crafti

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Telstra's Terrible Security

I pre-ordered an iPhone 4S with Telstra in the middle of last night, and got a call from 0883081023 this afternoon to confirm the order. This is when I had such a bad experience that I decided to coin some terms:

telstrible [telstr-uh-buh'l] adjective

shockingly insecure
The person who called me asked for all my details, which is telstrible security.
2011; post-Modern English < Telstra + Terrible

telstribly [telstr-uh-blee] adverb

performed terribly by Telstra
Telstra telstribly connected my phone line, because it took ages and they messed up the account..
2011; post-Modern English < Telstra + Terribly

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fixing Industrial Poverty with a Tip Jar

I have a simple idea for a charitable scheme that could solve much of the world's poverty in poor, industrial nations, as well as help bad companies improve their conditions and reputations.

All it would take is a bit of game theory.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Charity Fail

I feel bad.

I was at Box Hill Central earlier, with my daughter in her pram, getting some Subway at about 4pm, because I hadn't eaten since breakfast. A young woman or girl (I'd guess about 15 or so, but I'm bad at judging age) approached me and asked me if I had a spare $2. My hand was reaching for my wallet as I looked her up and down. I thought she didn't look or sound like she was in need, and said no. My response happened over maybe 2 seconds.

That might seem reasonable to some, but not to me.