Welcome to Ares' New Palace

After a years-long hiatus, I'm back in the business of creating new web content. For the latest on what's new at the palace, enter it!

Since the last batch of updates, I've gotten married, become a home owner, changed jobs, and completed a Masters degree in Software Engineering. I've also taken over the the webmaster-ship of the CoolerCrew web site, a site dedicated to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt, a site also destined for this kind of Drupal makeover (As a result, all medallion hunt related content from this site has been integrated there). My wife and I also run an eBay Store called Grandma's Attic of Treasures where we sell various treasures we've found at garage sales, items we consign for others (I'm a registered eBay Trading Assistant), and other stuff we've got around the house.

Why the sudden rush back into producing web content? Well, while I spent 2006-2008 working on that Masters degree, I took a course in my final semester on dynamic programming languages. The instructor was very adamant that as future technological leaders, we students not only read and keep up with the cutting edge of the tech world, but also create and produce content in that world. Now, given that not many students these days have time to maintain a web site, let alone completely revamp one, the content creation aspect of the lecture slipped by me until after graduation. Now that I'm done with school (at least until I get started on my PhD in the fall, I've got time to start this place from scratch, importing relevant content and removing obsolete content from it.

Not a Patient Creature

OK, I'll admit it. I'm not a patient creature. In fact I'm not even close to one. Oh sure, I can wait patiently for some things, though after Christmas passes each year, I even start to get impatient for that. No, today what I'm speaking about is the iTunes App Store.

Last Thursday, I finally put in the last bit of time that I needed in order to get my latest app into the App Store. I started it in May of 2010 or so. Got so far as to get all of the various state tax brackets put in place even, although I hadn't coded the nuances of actually performing the state calculations. I had the federal calculations, and those for the small handful of states which mimic the federal calculations exactly (except for bracket and rate numbers). Those were working perfectly. Then I realized that market timing was not on my side for a June release. After all, November is a much better time to release a tax related product than June, ya know when you're thinking about not making the mistakes on your taxes that you made last time around.

However, November came and went, and so did December, January, February, March, April, and once again May. What was at the time referred to as iPaycheck had been left in the dust as other app ideas came to fruition, all of which met the same fate. Development got started, life got in the way. Since I had a day job and a few nighttime projects, it wasn't a big deal.

Then this past October started rolling around. I'd been doing some 1099 work, looking to turn my little business profitable after 2 years of effort. One of the projects they had me working on was an iPhone App, and when I wrapped that up, I returned to my own App. All I had to do was figure out how to implement the various state algorithms which turned out to not be a big deal.

RIAA Accounting -; How Labels Avoid Paying Musicians

RIAA Accounting — How Labels Avoid Paying Musicians - An anonymous reader writes "Last week, we discussed Techdirt's tale of 'Hollywood Accounting,' which showed how movies like Harry Potter still officially 'lose' money with some simple accounting tricks. This week Techdirt is taking on RIAA accounting and demonstrating why most musicians — even multi-platinum recording stars — may never see a dime from their album sales. 'They make you a "loan" and then take the first 63% of any dollar you make, get to automatically increase the size of the "loan" by simply adding in all sorts of crazy expenses (did the exec bring in pizza at the recording session? that gets added on), and then tries to get the loan repaid out of what meager pittance they've left for you. Oh, and after all of that, the record label still owns the copyrights.' The average musician on a major record deal 'gets' about $23 per $1,000 made... and that $23 still never gets paid because it has to go to 'recouping' the loan... even though the label is taking $630 out of that $1,000, and not counting it towards the advance. Remember all this the next time a record label says they're trying to protect musicians' revenue."

Supreme Court To Consider First Sale of Imports

Supreme Court To Consider First Sale of Imports - Animaether passes along a legal tale that "doesn't involve the kind of cutting-edge issues that copyright lawyers usually grapple with in the digital age [and] sounds like the kind of lawsuit that should have been resolved 200 years ago," yet still "is very much a product of the Internet-driven global economy." "Can copyright owners assert rights over imported goods that have already been sold once? That is the issue before the Supreme Court in Costco Wholesale Corp v. Omega, S.A. (backstory here). What's at stake is the ability of resellers to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods, manufactured in foreign nations, to US consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Asshats at it again

Can We Abandon Confidentiality For Google Apps?

Can We Abandon Confidentiality For Google Apps? - An anonymous reader writes "I provide IT services for medium-sized medical and law practices. Lately I have been getting a lot of feedback from doctors and lawyers who use gmail at home and believe that they can run a significant portion of their practice IT on Google Apps. From a support standpoint, I'd be happy to chuck mail/calendar service management into the bin and let them run with gmail, but for these businesses, there is significant legal liability associated with the confidentiality of their communications and records (e.g., HIPAA). For those with high-profile celebrity clients, simply telling them 'Google employees can read your stuff' will usually end the conversation right there. But for smaller practices, I often get a lot of push-back in the form of 'What's wrong with trusting Google?' and 'Google's not interested in our email/calendar.' Weighing what they see as a tiny legal risk against the promise of Free IT Stuff(TM) becomes increasingly lopsided given the clear functionality / usability / ubiquity that they experience when using Google at home. So my question to the Slashdot community is: Are they right? Is it time for me to remove the Tin Foil Hat on the subject of confidentiality and stop resisting the juggernaut that is Google? If not, what is the best way to clarify the confidentiality issues for these clients?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Ethics of Selling GPLed Software For the iPhone

The Ethics of Selling GPLed Software For the iPhone - SeanCier writes "We're a small (two-person) iPhone app developer whose first game has recently been released in the App store. In the process, we've inadvertently stepped in it, bringing up a question of the GPL and free software ethics that I'm hoping the Slashdot community can help us clear up, one way or the other. XPilot, a unique and groundbreaking UNIX-based game from the early/mid nineties, was a classic in its day, but was forgotten and has been dead for years, both in terms of use and development. My college roommate and I were addicted to it at the time, even running game servers and publishing custom maps. As it's fully open source (GPLv2), and the iPhone has well over twice the graphics power of the SGI workstations we'd used in college, we decided it was a moral imperative to port it to our cellphones. In the process, we hoped, we could breathe life back into this forgotten classic (not to mention turning a years-old joke into reality). We did so, and the result was more playable than we'd hoped, despite the physical limitations of the phone. We priced it at $2.99 on the App store (we don't expect it to become the Next Big Thing, but hoped to recoup our costs — such as server charges and Apple's annual $99 developer fee), released the source on our web page, then enthusiastically tracked down every member of the original community we could find to let them know of the hoped-for renaissance. Which is where things got muddy.

Students Settle With TurnItIn In Copyright Case

Students Settle With TurnItIn In Copyright Case - An anonymous reader writes "With the deadline for a Supreme Court appeal rapidly approaching, the students who sued TurnItIn.com for issues surrounding copyright infringement reached a settlement with the site's company on Friday. Now the search goes out for any student who has a paper which is being held by TurnItIn that they did not upload themselves. If your teacher uploaded a paper and ran a TurnItIn report without your permission, I bet the students' attorney would like to hear from you."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


[Slashdot. News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters]

All-American Packrat Purge

Garage sale:

112 Belmont Road
Apple Valley, MN

8/6-8/8, 9-6
8/13-8/15, 9-6 (open until 8pm on 8/14).

Some of what we have for sale:

  • 1 beautiful cultured marble bathroom vanity top
  • executive desk and credenza
  • artwork
  • kids bedroom set
  • stuffed animals
  • light fixtures (some brand new in box)
  • toys
  • kids and adult clothing for 50 cents each (excluding outerwear)
  • Sony surround sound system
  • various other electronics
  • household knick-knacks
  • garage door opener
  • tools
  • automotive parts
  • too much to list!

Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished?

Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished? - Dr_Ken writes to mention recent coverage of a Harvard Cyber-Law study on Techdirt that analyzes the uses of copyright in the academic world. Some are claiming that the applications of copyright in academia are stifling and that we should perhaps go so far as to abolish copyright in the academic world entirely. "I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim. It leads to wacky situations where academics either ignore the fact that the journals they published in hold the copyright on their work, or they're forced to jump through hoops to retain certain rights. That's bad for everyone."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


[Slashdot. News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters]

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