I was totally, utterly unplugged for the last week (save for my cell phone, which I turned on twice to check for voice mail). No web, no e-mail; and until yesterday, no TV or newspapers either. God, it was great. Monday and Tuesday nights, I was “camping” at Knoebels Grove in Elysburg, PA–I slept in a tent, at least, and cooked one meal with a wood fire. Of course, there was this amusement park next door where we spent most of our time, with some serious wooden roller coasters and a giant swimming pool to add to the distraction from daily reality.Wednesday night through Friday morning was spent with in-laws. I remained blissfully clueless, looking only at a local paper in Hazleton to make fun of the copy editing and get movie times.
I took my two boys to see two movies–Dr. Doolittle 2 and Jurassic Park III. They were both best seen with 7 and 10 year old boys. Again, I was unplugged–I pulled the plug on my brain and enjoyed the movies for what they were.
But now it's time to re-sync with the world; Wednesday is my first day on the job for Ziff Davis. I've got 1000 e-mails to clear from my inbox.



Boycott Adobe. Repeal DMCA.

Time for an editorial comment:

The whole story of how Adobe pursued criminal charges against Russian software developer Dmitry Sklyarov and had him arrested at DEF CON 9 by the Feds has caused quite an uproar. Word is that Alan Cox resigned his position on the Usenix Annual Linux Showcase board because he feels the organization cannot in good conscience ask developers from outside the US to risk coming to the US for events. There’s been a lot of finger pointing, both at Dmitry’s company (which has done some questionable things) and Dmitry (he was presenting how he cracked Adobe’s eBook format at DEF CON, after all). But it’s all moot. Adobe chose to use the letter of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to pursue Dmitry as a criminal, not through civil claims. The US Government allowed him to enter the country expressly to detain him. Mind you, all of this happened because Adobe wrote flawed software and Dmitry demonstrated the flaw.
Adobe’s behavior is, while within its legal rights, reprehensible from a human rights standpoint and demonstrative of how big software companies plan to use the DMCA to let loose the power of the state on smaller companies that get in their way. The DMCA is an infringement on the previously recognized standards of fair use and intellectual property rights, and has a chilling effect on free speech. It’s time to act on both. I urge you to do the following things:
Boycott Adobe. Hold the company responsible for its heavy-handed tactics. Contact representatives in Congress and urge them to repeal DMCA. Support efforts by the EFF and others to free Dmitry and get the DMCA overturned.