The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

lowering the bar

May3

I registered my displeasure with Apple late last week with my post: the scales of justice don’t, often enough, balance out against evil. There, I criticized Apple for potentially influencing an over-hyped-up thug-squad task-force in bullying a blog-focused journalist because he apparently bought an (stolen, misplaced, found, misappropriated?) iPhone prototype and reported his findings.

I still think law enforcement from a sleepy California town over-reacted. And, if it turns out that Apple pressured them to do so, I’ll be more than disappointed. However, as I’ve settled down a bit, I understand that the journalist and the fellow that found the iPhone prototype at a pub MIGHT have broken the law. Boundaries around ethics were likely blurred. I feel that the “finder” should have turned the handset over to the bartender – that’s what usually happens, as in lost-and-found. However, it turns out he went to a twenty-seven year old buddy in graduate school that had served in the intelligence arm of the US Navy, and together they shopped the, now (possibly) stolen, device to a handful of media sources. Gizmodo wrote the check, and the rest is becoming the stuff of historical precedent.

By the way… Another engineering friend of mine, sent me an email with the news that the majority of updates promised on the new iPhone have already resided on Nokia phones for almost two years.

Question: Was this all worked-up into a play for media attention and publicity?

Here is a check-point summary:

The kid who is an product development employee at Apple was irresponsible and lost the prototype at a pub. Another kid, whom was apparently raised wrong, essentially stole it while he was at the same den of inequity. Some self-entitled journalist who has now lowered a completely different bar, chose to advance the bad behavior. A veteran intelligence specialist, acted like a terrorist by trafficking the technology. A lower court Judge (who probably barely passed the bar) did not ask enough questions and approved the demolition of a door – as opposed to simply issuing a subpoena for records. A local task force (i.e. bored peace officers), leveraging God knows how many tax dollars and steroids (as if California has enough of those to spare) overreacted. And, Apple got a bunch of press around an upgraded piece of technology that might already be a bit tired in the terms of raising the technology bar.

So… Everybody involved is wrong, in-part, and must needs share blame, or judgment. …bar none (sorry).

Thusly, it’s gut check time.

Hellooo…

What happened to us, as a people where we find ourselves, collectively obsessed with Jessica Simpson’s teeth (she apparently prefers not to brush them) and  the not-so-amazing features in the next iPhone? So…Check… It’s got a camera on the front and the back… That’s really it mind you. Now, you can take a picture of Simpson’s artificially white teeth, in California. And, it (the iPhone) might allow you to multi-task (the Nokia and Android handsets already do this*). How can this (and, the press make us feel) be critical when we’re occupying two countries in the Middle East, unemployment is cresting at civil unrest levels, and Goldman Sachs raped and pillaged our lower-income and middle-class American-dreamers – then got bailed out – with the help goofey President Obama; a man that’s never held down a real job during his adult life, and  whose trusted advisors are Goldman alumni. NOTE:  I understand Goldman leaders are now facing investigation and possible indictment. But, the same fraternity that enabled their behavior will quietly cuts deals that will pad, other, future political careers – and, allow for the type of examples we’re setting where corporate juggernauts, like Apple, can abuse the system as a publicity stunt.

Welcome to Microsoft’s world, Apple.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters

Brian Patrick Cork

* ALERT: (and, you likely read about it here first) Apple’s next-generation iPhone could move video calling into the mainstream. Expect a wave of new products by Christmas.

the Fearless keith waterhouse

September9

In my late twenties I had an opportunity to spend a long weekend with British Journalist Keith Waterhouse. I sought him out after Grandad introduced me to Waterhouse’s Whistle Down the Wind and Billy Liar. He told me, in a rather fierce manner, that he didn’t fear death.

I really liked that about him… He was fierce, and he did not fear death.

Such words and demeanor are impressive to a young man – especially in light of what I was facing in the months and a few short years to follow.

In any event, he can now put that truly to the test. This past Friday, let’s mark it as September 4th, 2009, Mr. Waterhouse passed away in his London flat from, as yet, unknown causes. But, I am sure, it was a body failed after many a year of heroic drinking, something he referred to as “lunch”.

Cheers, Mr. Waterhouse, a prudent and optimistic fellow, nonetheless. And, in your passing, I submit Mr. Nick Milne’s recent Poetic Interlude.

I tried to keep tabs on Waterhouse over the years. He often repeated, as a theme in his writing, and in many an interview, that he felt ambiguous about death:

“There’s always tomorrow,” he often said. “At least there has been so far.”

keith waterhouseA visit to Wikipedia will tell you that Keith Waterhouse was Born February 6, 1929 into working-class family in the industrial northern English city of Leeds, Waterhouse was a teenage clerk in an undertaker’s office and served in the Royal Air Force before getting a job as a reporter on the Yorkshire Evening Post, and then on the Daily Mirror in London.

And, you can research him via google, I suppose, and learn a thing-or-two more about Waterhouse the writer. However, your best time is spent seeking out things he wrote, such as a variety of novels, plays – and, even some efforts for television – perhaps most notably for David Frost (oh… Don’t you let me get started on that Mr. Frost).

I can tell you some things most other’s probably don’t know…

Waterhouse was possessed of an unruly wit. It wasn’t simply British with it’s dry or dark nature. Waterhouse had an urbane disdain for disorderly things. And, he seemed sharper between the eyes. So, his sense of humor had a glint of edgy metal behind it – a sharpness. And he plied it over the head, often, seeking to make a point one had to reach for. He was a raconteur’s raconteur.

What did I like most about Keith Waterhouse?

Three things:

1.  Few American knew of him and his work;

2.  The aforementioned fierce wit; and,

3.  Waterhouse railed against what he saw as political correctness and declining standards of English. He wrote a journalism text book, “Waterhouse On Newspaper Style,” and founded the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe, which attacked poor punctuation on shopkeepers’ signs.

He was a fellow ‘Ol Man Society member. And, he will remain an Optimistic Gentleman.

Adieu my Prudent Fellow, and fiercely, I say it.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

beneath the Robe

July10

As Thomas Jefferson and that hardy and ferocious crew of Founding Fathers set the stage, I am confident they never meant for our emerging judicial system to be used as a blunt-edged weapon.

All too often we see people abuse the law, or the way it’s levied, in much too crude a fashion.

So, I suppose, considering the ominous circumstances, the fellow I am preparing to take to task won’t like my linking to an article about him, but that’s just tough. I have no tolerance for morons people like this, and even less so when they happen to be judges, and are supposed to know better.

If he takes offense to my umbrage he can fight me (preferably behind a courthouse).

In any event… This Richard Posner, a stolidly conservative judge, wants to ban hyperlinks – e.g., those found on Blogs and even on many newspaper websites (but, obviously I am more concerned about Blogs).

“Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America’s most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission. The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying.”

Hah! I just used a hyperlink to help exhibit my very point! Judge that Posner.

That may already sound rather bad, but now read what Posner writes in his original piece (and, yes, I will quote from it):

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

Let’s see what’s wrong with this nonsense theory.

Posner thinks we should ban hyperlinks to free content in order to …keep it free.

This is flat-out silly and impractical. I can see, for example, that newspapers might seek to ban news aggregators like Google News, because they are competitors. But every link a newspaper site receives, such as from a blogger who graciously links to a story on the newspaper’s website, should be celebrated. Contrary to Posner’s one-sided ignorant ill-researched (sigh) shallow thinking, perhaps bloggers should get a commission or share of the profits for driving eyeballs to the newspaper website. In some cases, I suspect a substantial portion of newspapers’ site traffic is derived from bloggers today.

While he at it, Posner thinking paraphrasing should be banned as well.

That would put an end to the entire newspaper racket right there. Most news reports in newspapers are a series of direct quotes and paraphrased quotes in indirect speech. If paraphrasing were banned too, it would leave a lot of empty space on newspaper pages. Newspapers themselves would be reduced to single-page editions.

Note: We have to assume the integrity of the media. This is, of course, problematic for me because, as consistent readers of this Blog are fully aware, I am deeply suspicious of the media, in general, and their collective agenda.

We shouldn’t forget in this context that any non-opinion, non-editorial pieces in newspapers are factual accounts of current events (at least in theory). Which means that the entire story, say, about the latest ethnic clashes in China, has to be  – by definition  a paraphrase from beginning to end.

Leveraging his years on the bottle bench and highly questionable greatly evident grasp of the law, as it pertains to intellectual property, Posner says linking to content is, and should be, a copyright violation.

Don’t judges have to take a test before they put on a robe? This really is nonsense, and would never stand up in a court of law. There is no precedent or case study to support this position (and, why doesn’t Posner understand this?). No lawyer, unless they chase ambulances (or, unless the presiding judge is a moron too) would consider filing a motion or brief trying to initiate such thinking. If linking to copyrighted material were illegal, then what about all the pages and longs lists of bibliography and references in, standard scientific papers? The very existence of such a list of “links” to names of authors, titles of books or papers, etc. would, in Posner’s view, be a major felony – as would be any quote from or paraphrasing of any of the titles thus referenced.

All my ranting aside (which, for me is most of the fun), I am reservedly confident this scheme idea will never fly. Apart from being uninspired and certainly unfair, it also feels like an underhanded attempt to silence citizen journalists and, thus, ultimately, an affront to people’s right of free speech – and, thus unconstitutional.

I will be very curious to see if any news writers pick up on this. Or, maybe Posner gets relegated to Night Court.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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