Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Tuesday, December 17, 2002day link 

 Prison is no fun
picture CNet: "Prisoner rights groups are cheering a federal court ruling that quashes attempts to halt Web postings that mention prisoners." Good. I'm quite familar with the problems that prisoners face in trying to call attention to injustices they've experienced. For many months last year I was helping Bruce Lisker put up his website. He has spent the last 19 years in prison here in California for a murder he didn't commit. He was a screwed up kid on drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd, living here in Van Nuys where I also happen to live. His parents lived also close by here, in Sherman Oaks, and were rather well to do. A 'friend' of his murdered his adoptive mother while trying to rob her, after having visited the day before and noticing they had money, and he didn't. Bruce got convicted for it, because he looked the part, and he was the first to show up and get blood on his clothes, and the investigating detective, Andrew Monsue, decided right away it was him, and stepped lightly over the facts, and a combination of factors conspired against him. Nobody in his family ever believed it was him, and the real killer was relatively easily identified as a John Michael Ryan, but there was nothing they could do. It is not easy to change the mind of the law, and Bruce has been sitting in San Quentin and similar places more than half of his life, studying the law, trying to have his case re-heard. Today he's a decent and polite fellow. I have no doubt about his story either, having spoken with him many times and looked at his case. But he was working somewhat blindly trying to get a website up, to call attention to his case, as inmates aren't allowed to touch anything that is connected to the Internet, so his only knowledge of the web was from magazines. Anyway, his site finally got up. Somebody else is maintaining it today.
[ | 2002-12-17 15:15 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Creative Commons launches
picture The Creative Commons is now officially open, since yesterday. It is an organized effort of helping people to choose and express the proper license for their creative works. Specifically, the intention is to help people selectively share their materials, while still maintaining ownership. E.g. you might allow free distribution for non-commercial use. The site will help you easily choose what license is best for you. Personally I prefer Public Domain, which is not really a license, as there is no restrictions. But the Creative Commons categories are great for anything that lies somewhere between All Rights Reserved (don't ever touch my stuff) and Public Domain (do whatever you feel like). There's a great Flash presentation about it here.
[ | 2002-12-17 16:57 | 8 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Instant Messaging
picture IM - Instant Messaging - is my most important business communication tool. I mention that because quite a few people seem to think it is about wasting time chatting with people all day about nothing. I have little interest in that. That is also why I don't list my IM account numbers in the sidebar here, because I don't want to invite just anybody to drop by and ask me how the weather is. IM is a high priority channel for me, for short business-like messages, but it is also something I can answer in my own time. I get too much e-mail to easily notice everything. I don't like phonecalls much, as I can pretty much do nothing else while talking. I'm multi-tasking, I usually do several things at the same time. I mainly use ICQ because it has the professional features I need, like archiving and being able to write to people who're off-line, and because everybody I do business with are on ICQ. I'd like to get into Jabber, as it is open source, and I can interface with it from my programs, but I haven't had time yet.

For those who don't know what IM is - it is a little program running on your computer which allows you to send a message to somebody you know, and the message can pop up right away for them at the other end. But they don't have to answer right away. So, you can have a conversation without having to be fully present. For you Europeans - it is SMS on your computer, and for that matter, there are various ways of sending messages between cellphones and IM programs.
[ | 2002-12-17 17:24 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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