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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:the phone is pure profit (206 comments)

90 000% profit

A few years ago, I did a similar back-of-the envelope calculation and concluded that if Apple charged as much per bit to download songs as telcos charged for text messages, a song would cost more than $5,000.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Based on the email address and the info on the blog, it puts you right in dense Los Angeles suburbia.

The email address is my school. I live in West Los Angeles, but in a house built in 1946 that is and pretty far from my C. O. That being said, they may be lying about the distance and old wires -- it may be that they have under-provisioned the C. O.or backhaul. I don't trust them any more than I trust TWC. It would be nice if there were some viable competition. Maybe Google Fiber some day -- LA is shopping around for a municipal network partner -- but even Google may become "Comcastic" at some point.

FttH

I agree 100%. You might even own the line coming to your house -- the way you own your water, gas pipes and sewer pipes.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Nope, you still get cable TV. At least the several places I've had TWC Internet in NY, I also got free(ish) basic cable. It's only ten or twelve channels, but it includes the major networks and the local news.

Right -- same in Los Angeles -- a bunch of local channels -- many foreign language. I even got a $5 gift card from TWC because they mistakenly (?) blocked the Super Bowl (which I watched anyhow using a rabbit ear antenna).

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Why didn't this guy cut his telephone service too?

I could not do that while in the store -- had to talk it over with my wife and may still do it. However, I wish I had tried it just to see if the rep could have found yet another promotion!

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:Common Knowledge (206 comments)

Can someone explain the Slashdot scoring algorithm to me? This egotistical boob is saying the same thing several others said and they got scores of "0." Why does this egotistical boob get a higher score than his/her predecessors?

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:Speaking of monopolies... Comcast (206 comments)

Good advice -- I am not sure what would have happened if I had just been on the phone. I will experiment next year -- they've got my interest now.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:It's all rigged. (206 comments)

Thanks for the inside story! Do the retention agents take your alternatives into account? If the girl had checked with Verizon and AT&T she would have seen that she had me.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

On the phone -- I could not drop it on the spot without talking to my wife ... plus lazy inertia. But, I do have telephone alternatives, which is more than I can say for Internet connectivity.

Verizon DSL is another weird story. I was their customer many years ago, getting around 5 Mbps down on a plan that promised up to 7. One day, they throttled it down to 1.5. When I complained, they told me that at my location with my geriatric wiring, I could only get 1.5. They were not willing to un-throttle it in spite of the fact that I had been getting 5 Mbps the day before. That is the day I became a TWC customer.

I just rechecked my Verizon DSL availability. They say I can get "high speed Internet enhanced" -- 1.1-3.0 Mbps down and 384 Kbps up.

In general, many people are like me -- busy and lazy -- and it takes something big like Verizon throttling my DSL or hearing that I was paying $40 for phone service to get them to get our attention.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:the phone is pure profit (206 comments)

The only thing I can think of that is more pure profitable than telephone service is telephone company text messages.

about a month and a half ago
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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

lpress Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (206 comments)

Read the post -- I'd dropped Cable TV long ago -- this was Internet and telephone only.

about a month and a half ago
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New Unix Implementation Turns 30

lpress Earlier free software (290 comments)

Not to take away from GNU, but it was not the first freely exchanged open source software. In the batch processing days, every IBM branch office had a file cabinet full of shared software and organizations like SHARE did what the name suggests. Share was formed in 1955 and is still going.

about 7 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:The Machine Stops (and starts again in a new wa (124 comments)

Well, I am even older -- started on unit record equipment and really understood it. Later, I wire-wrapped a single board computer in order to learn about TTL. But I did that without understanding the physics. I could use relays and TTL chips, but did not understand them. Same with programming -- started with low-level assembly language then moved to higher levels of abstraction -- first IOCS routines then Fortran. Today we program at still higher levels of abstraction.

But, I never could have built a relay from scratch let alone a TTL chip. Even us old guys were far from self-sufficient and capable of restarting "the machine" if it failed. How long did it take people to get from mud to pottery, rocks to steel and concrete, raw meat to cooked,sheep hair to shirts? We are all extremely narrow specialists.

Also -- you've picked a tougher sounding life goal than Doug Engelbart did.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:William C. Norris and PLATO and others; Cuba (124 comments)

Well, you have given me some links to follow!

I visited Cuba a couple of times during the "special period," and saw poverty, closed factories, etc. The main adaptions I noted were -- regular power blackouts and tons of brand new Chinese bicycles.

If you are a fan of dystopian sci fi, check out EM Forster's "The machine stops."

Dramatization video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvrGUnIFuRs
Text: http://www.ele.uri.edu/faculty/vetter/Other-stuff/The-Machine-Stops.pdf

I recall fooling with a Plato terminal back in the 60/70s when I was at the System Development Corporation. They had a program for time-shared interactive education in the research directorate, but I was not working on it -- had a nice orange plasma display while we were working with vector CRT displays and TTYs.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Also remember J.C.R. Licklider who funded Doug (124 comments)

Well put! It seemed that every paper written in those days cited Licklider's man-machine symbiosis. He had a vision and the skill to get funds to support that vision (including my dissertation). I met him once and we also had a mutual friend and I can also add that, in spite of a regal sounding name, he was, like Doug Engelbart, friendly and modest.

These folks knew each other -- Engelbart claimed Bush's "As We May Think" as a major inspiration and Bush, Weiner and Licklider were colleagues at MIT. They were also familiar with other time sharing and interactive computing projects at the time and members of that community -- especially Engelbart and Licklider. As you said -- they are links in a chain, but strong links.

They had something else in common -- a sense that their careers were to be in service of humanity, not merely for self agrandisement.

For an overview of the connection between Bush-Licklider-Engelbart, including links to As We May Think and Man-Machine Symbiosis paper, see this teaching module: http://cis275topics.blogspot.com/2010/10/web-history-and-internet-culture.html.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Actually, (124 comments)

This is no time to be a literal, pedantic dork. If you speak English, you know what I meant.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:uhhh.... (124 comments)

Synchronous collaboration: used computers to support collaboration at the same time -- computer-based meeting room -- see photo on my post. Asynchronous collaboration: Created shared database or documents created and edited by multiple people.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:Doug at ISDE5 2007 (124 comments)

I think it may be that people like Doug are so smart they realize that they are not the smartest person on the planet. I am reminded of another visionary hero of that era, who funded a lot of Doug's work, J.C.R. Licklider. Lick was also super nice and humble. Another association -- Herbert Simon, AI pioneer and Nobel Laureate -- he once told me that he stored almost everything he knew in his friend's heads.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:I don't use any of that (124 comments)

He was not quite that old, but he was not a kid. He worked on a lot of different pointing devices before settling on the mouse. He did a lot of testing. I recall one where he steered the cursor around using his knee. Up to that time, we just used light pens, which were imprecise and tiring.

about 9 months ago
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Doug Engelbart Passes Away

lpress Re:uhhh.... (124 comments)

I meant on a computer -- who did it before that?

about 9 months ago
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'Bandwidth Divide' Could Bar Some From Free Online Courses

lpress The situation is a lot worse in developing naitons (222 comments)

If you think cost and access are problems in poor and rural parts of the US, consider the plight of people in developing nations. The potential for online education is great: http://cis471.blogspot.com/2012/05/online-education-market-is-global.html but sufficiently cheap, fast access typically non-existent: http://cis471.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-access-and-bandwidth-divide-in.html

about a year ago

Submissions

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My son pays $22/month for symmetric, 100 Mbps Internet service in South Korea

lpress lpress writes  |  4 days ago

lpress (707742) writes "My son lives about 50 miles outside of Seoul and has a choice of three major Internet service providers and several smaller ones. He pays $22 per month for symmetric, 100 Mbps Internet connectivity (with a two year contract). The Korean ISP market is highly competitive — the major company prices are within a few dollars of each other and repairs and other service is excellent. How is it that Korea has achieved intense ISP competition? There is no simple answer, but the government has pursued a multifaceted policy encouraging investment and demand creation and providing common infrastructure, which is used by compteting ISPs (as in Singapore, Sweden or Latvia)."
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Office for the iPad -- yawn -- It's the browser, stupid.

lpress lpress writes  |  about two weeks ago

lpress (707742) writes "Microsoft finally released Office for the iPad four years after it came out. Folks can debate whether they waited too long, but, regardless, tablets and phones were the previous battleground for Microsoft and they pretty well lost in spite of holding Office back. The next battleground will be the browser and the chromebook. Don’t take my word for it — in a 1998 memo to Microsoft executives, Bill Gates wrote “Allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company...This is a case where Office has to avoid doing something to destroy Windows.” Who has the advantage — Microsoft or Google? MS has a lead in productivity apps and the enterprise, Google has Chrome and the lead on the Internet and both may use Mainframe 2 if that works out. Maybe it will be a tie — that would be best for customers and society."
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The Net routes around censorship in Turkey

lpress lpress writes  |  about a month ago

lpress (707742) writes "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been embarrassed by social media showing corruption, vowed yesterday to "eradicate Twitter." He followed through by cutting off access, but users soon found work-arounds like posting by email and using VPNs. The hashtag #TwitterOlmadanYaayamam (I can't live without Twitter) quickly rose to the top of Twitter's worldwide trending topics."
Link to Original Source
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How I cut my Time Warner Cable bill by 33%

lpress lpress writes  |  about a month and a half ago

lpress (707742) writes "I was at a Time Warner Cable (TWC) store returning a router, when I asked what my new monthly bill would be. The answer — $110 — surprised me, so I asked a few questions and ended up with the same service for $76.37. Check out my conversation with their representative to see what was said, then do the same yourself."
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A strategy for attaining Cuban Internet connectivity

lpress lpress writes  |  about 2 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "In the mid 1990s, there was debate within the Cuban government about the Internet. A combination of pressure from the US trade embargo, the financial crisis brought on by the collapse of the Soviet Union and fear of free expression led to a decision to limit Internet access. This has left Cuba with sparse, antiquated domestic infrastructure today.

Could the government improve the situation if they decided to do so? They don't have sufficient funds to build out modern infrastructure and foreign investment through privatization of telecommunication would be difficult to obtain. Furthermore, that strategy has not benefited the people in other developing nations.

A decentralized strategy using a large number of satellite links could quickly bootstrap the Cuban Internet. Decentralized funding and control of infrastructure has been an effective transitional strategy in other cases, for example, with the NSFNET in the US or the Grameen Phone ladies in Bangladesh.

This proposal would face political roadblocks in both the US and Cuba; however, change is being considered in the US and the Castro government has been experimenting with small business and they have begun allowing communication agents to sell telephone and Internet time.

It might just work — as saying goes "Be realistic. Demand the impossible.""
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Sebastian Thrun pivots Udacity toward vocational education

lpress lpress writes  |  about 5 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Udacity CEO and MOOC super star Sebastian Thrun has decided to scale back his original ambition of providing a free college education for everyone and focus on (lifelong) vocational education. A pilot test of Udacity material in for-credit courses at San Jose State University was discouraging, so Udacity is developing an AT&T-sponsored masters degree at Georgia Tech and training material for developers. If employers like this emphasis, it might be a bigger threat to the academic status quo than offering traditional college courses."
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Department of Education road show on College Value

lpress lpress writes  |  about 5 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Department of Education officials, led by Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, were on our campus last week, soliciting input on The President’s College Value and Affordability plan. The discussion focused primarily on the design of a system for rating colleges and to a lesser extent on innovation and improvement. While the feedback was constructive, many attendees pointed out difficulties and limitations of any college rating system.

One solution is to open the process by having the Department of Education gather and post data and provide a platform and tools for all interested parties to analyze, visualize and discuss it. Similarly, open innovation should be encouraged, for example, by providing a hosted version of the open source education platform MOOC.ORG."
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The new whiteboard -- a Chromecast display in every office?

lpress lpress writes  |  about 7 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Augmented meeting rooms, in which participants have connected computers at their fingertips, were invented by Doug Engelbart in the 1960s. During the 1980s, researchers at Xerox PARC, the University of Arizona and elsewhere developed LAN-based decision support rooms in which meeting participants had networked computers and shared a large screen to brainstorm ideas, rearrange document outlines, edit documents, vote, conduct polls, etc.

These systems were very expensive — for wood paneled board rooms only — and interest in them has waned. But, what about implementing those decision support/collaboration applications using a low cost display or TV set with a Chromecast dongle? For $35 it might become the decision support room for (small groups of) the rest of us."
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Google and edX combine their strengths to form mooc.org

lpress lpress writes  |  about 7 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Google and MIT have both built open source MOOC platforms and offered innovative MOOCs. They have just announced the establishment of mooc.org, a non-profit organization that will provide a platform to develop, host and research online courses. The devil is, no doubt, in the details, but this combination of MIT's educational expertise and reputation, Google's vast infrastructure and the lofty goals of both organizations might turn out to be revolutionary."
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Google Chromecast shipping delay is now 2-3 months

lpress lpress writes  |  about 8 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "I just received word that the expected shipping date for my Google Chromecast had slipped and the Amazon Web site is advertising a shipping delay of 2-3 months. What's up with that? Are they having production or legal problems? Might it be a trademark conflict with Chromecast.com, a Web development company that seems to emphasize their intellectual property rights."
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Vint Cerf summarizes the History of the ARPA/Internet in 16 minutes

lpress lpress writes  |  about 9 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "Cerf summarizes and puts the contributions of many of the pioneering inventors in context in a 16-minute video interview. The interview is like an annotated table of contents of the history of the Internet. You can view it as a quick, self-contained lesson or as a jumping off point for further study — he manages to describe the role played by 16 of his colleagues.

Cerf's narrative begins with the idea of packet-switched communication and runs through the creation of the ARPAnet, followed by the invention of internetworking protocols to link three disparate networks — the ARPAnet, a mobile communication network and a satellite communication network.

In addition to summarizing the history, Cerf conveys the sense of community and shared purpose among a group of smart dedicated inventors. It provides a great example of what a government can achieve with a little ($124.5 million) seed money."
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Doug Engelbart passes away

lpress lpress writes  |  about 9 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "If you use a mouse, hyperlinks, video conferencing, WYSIWYG word processor, multi-window user interface, shared documents, shared database, documents with images & text, keyword search, instant messaging, synchronous collaboration, asynchronous collaboration, you can thank Doug Engelbart, who passed away today."
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The Los Angeles Schools buy iPad Trojan Horses for 30,000 students

lpress lpress writes  |  about 10 months ago

lpress (707742) writes "The Los Angeles Unified School District will spend $30 million over the next two years on iPads for 30,000 students. Coverage of the announcement has focused on Apple winning over other tablets, but that is not the key point. The top three proposals each included an app to deliver Pearson's K-12 Common Core System of Courses along with other third-party educational apps.

The Common Core curriculum is not yet established, but many states are committed to it, starting next year. The new tablets and the new commitment to the Common Core curriculum will arrive around the same time, and busy faculty (and those hired to train them) will adopt the Pearson material. The tablets will be obsolete in a few years and the hardware platform may change, but lock-in to Pearson's default curriculum may last for generations."
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Universities should outsource to Taco Bell, but maybe not to edX

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress (707742) writes "MOOCs are controversial. University faculty generally hate them — for legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons. University administrators and state legislatures tend to love them — the silver bullet that will ease the cost of education. The California State University System administration and legislature seem to be firmly in the latter camp. San Jose State University is leading the charge, first using MOOCs in "flipped" classes and now experimenting with MOOCs for credit. MOOCs will be a source of innovation, but teaching is a core function of a university, which should be outsourced with caution. Ameherst has taken a more prudent course than San Jose State — saying "no" to offering edX courses, but experimenting on their own."
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Amherst College says "no" to edX, but how about Google MOOCs?

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress (707742) writes "The Amherst College faculty voted against joining edX, deciding instead to explore online teaching on their own, independent of the major MOOC providers. One option for Amherst is to experiment with an open source MOOC platform. Better yet, what if Google (or someone else) would offer a MOOC platform as a service that is open to anyone. Google is in a good position to do this. They have their own open source MOOC platform, Course Builder and they have the experience and infrastructure needed to offer large scale services like Gmail and Google Docs. If Google were to offer a MOOC service, Google MOOCs, teachers at Amherst could use it for MOOCs or to supplement or flip classes. Think of it as YouTube for classes."
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Carna, a benign Internet census botnet

lpress lpress writes  |  1 year,24 days

lpress writes "All botnets are evil, right? Not Carna. It crawled the Internet ethically without doing harm and gathered a ton of interesting data. For example, Carna counted pingable IP addresses, those behind firewalls and those with reverse DNS records, for a total of 1.3 IP addresses in use. The anonymous author has also posted a description of the Carna methodology and results. There are also maps and dynamic graphics and all the data is available for download."
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California and the Obama administration want higher education reform

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress writes "In 1960, California governor Pat Brown presided over the establishment of a master plan for higher education that has guided the state for over 40 years. His son, now governor, Jerry Brown may be working toward higher education reform for the Internet era. California has an open textbook program, is experimenting with giving credit for MOOCs and is considering a bill that would require state colleges and universities to give credit for faculty-approved online courses taken by students unable to register for oversubscribed classes on campus. The Obama administration seems to be on the same page, calling for revision of the federal student aid system, allowing for new measures of value and new system of accreditation."
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Columbia University study slams traditional online classes

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress writes "A Columbia University study of the efficacy of "traditional online classes" concluded that “the online format had a significantly negative relationship with both course persistence and course grade, indicating that the typical student had difficulty adapting to online courses.”

A review of the study reports that online results were poor across the board, but there the results were not homogeneous. For example “males, Black students, and students with lower levels of academic preparation experienced significantly stronger negative coefficients for online learning compared with their counterparts". Some courses — social science and professional school classes — also fared poorly online.

The study concludes with four policy recommendations to cope with the problems they found, but only one — wholesale improvement of courses seems viable and we may be learning how to do that in MOOCs."
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Bullish on MOOCs at the Davos World Economic Forum

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress writes "MOOCs and online education were major topics of discussion at the just concluded Davos World Economic Forum.

One of the stars was 12 year old Khadija Niazi from Lahore, Pakistan, who completed the Stanford artificial intelligence MOOC when she was 11 and has taken Udacity and Coursera courses subsequently.

She participated in a Davos roundtable discussion entitled "RevolutiOnline.edu — Online Education Changing the World" along with Bill Gates, Jimmy Wales, Thomas Friedman and stars of the MOOC world.

The presidents of Harvard, Stanford and MIT all acknowledged that the experiments in new models of online learning will soon radically disrupt higher learning. Online education is a global market and Russian, British and Chinese universities were also at Davos.

Ms. Niazi's story reminds me of the story of the young mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who rose to fame after writing Professor G.H. Hardy at Cambridge from his village in Southern India. His first two letters to Hardy are said to have been returned unopened — tomorrow's Ramanujan will have an easier time of it. How many Ramanujans will we find enrolled online and what will be their contribution to humanity?"
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Republican Study Committee puts its foot in its mouth

lpress lpress writes  |  about a year ago

lpress writes "The Republican Study Committee, chaired by Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, published a well reasoned critique of the copyright and patent systems, then quickly withdrew it. But Loren Weinstein published a copy on his excellent blog, so we can all see what Representative Jordan had to say and how quickly he retracted it. A lesson for him on the way the Internet works and a lesson for us on the way politics works."

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