Blog Posts

What is Open?

The word "Open" is appearing all over the marketing sphere these days. It's been leapt upon gleefully the same way that "Low fat," "Organic" and "All natural" were latched onto by the processed food industry once the plausible definitions of those terms were sufficiently stretched and distorted to suit proprietary interests...

My Open History

This is a story about the sort of "open" that matters to me, and how I got to this point.

Online Voting is a Bad Idea

Trust issues are key to the rationale for avoiding online voting today. Trust builds slowly over time, but can be squandered in an instant. Democracy is dependent on the citizens' trust in the voting process. The fact that the current voting system (e.g. postal vote) has flaws (e.g. stand-over tactics) doesn't mean that we should introduce an equally or more flawed system online.

How To Indicate

This post is about the apparently mysterious art of indicating (that's "using your blinkers" for any Americans reading this) when driving on New Zealand roads (although this is likely to be relevant in most places people drive, obviously making suitable substitutions for left and right).  After the nipple, the indicator - featured in all motorised vehicles warranted for road use in NZ - is perhaps the most intuitive interface ever devised.

TOS and Personal Privacy in "The Cloud"

It's already been a few months since the Privacy Commission's "Privacy in the Age of Big Data" Cloud privacy forum (videos of my statements: one, two) as part of Privacy Awareness Week in May 2012 at which I had the privilege of representing the views of the Free and Open Source Software community.

Define Atheism

I just want to clarify something. I find the reaction that some people have when I say (as I fairly often do) that I'm an atheist... well, disappointing. The most common responses, particularly from those who are theists, are "well that's just another religion" or "you're just a another kind of fundametalist".  These are reactionary, unflatteringly glib, and smack of indoctrinated aversion. So I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things.

Atheism is not a religion. It is the conscious, deliberate absence of religion.

The only Good Software Patent is an Invalid Software Patent

This clever info graphic provides a brief overview of the problem of patents in the US, particularly software patents, and the threat posed by NPEs (Non-Practising Entities), companies who hold patents (bought from innovative companies) with the sole purpose of generating revenue by suing (or threatening to sue) other companies, for a settlement and/or a royalty-based licensing agreement.

Response to @PatentBuff on "Patents on the Tellie"

Some of you might've seen the recent foray into the complex issue of software patents on television. The heroic attempt was made by The Court Report on Channel 7, but it's really not the sort of discussion that's suited to a 5 minute collection of sound bites. It needs more like an hour long in depth expose to set the scene, providing suitable background explanation, and then demonstrate the total idioticy of software patents.

Creating Legal List Numbering only using CSS

If you want to create lists with legal style numbering, here's a way to do it. It's quick, clean, and tidy. It results in lists that automatically do this sort of thing:

1. Section

    1.1 Clause

        1.1.1 Sub-Clause


And here's some sample HTML Code:

Why Software Patents are worse than useless

A few years ago, I had never even thought about software patents. I had started a company which produced commercial software in 1998, and working on it was still occupying most of my thoughts and creative energy. To me, the proposition was straight forward: sell the service of crafting business solutions from free and open source software (FOSS) components. We add as little or as much code as required to ensure that our software solutions fit our customers' requirements.

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