Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shackled to the future

All hail the wisdom of open source software

Update, 13 May: Beginning yesterday, Random House Publishers began to disable text-to-speech remotely. The TTS function has apparently been remotely disabled in over 40 works so far. Affected titles include works by Toni Morrison, Stephen King, and others. Other notable titles include Andrew Meachem's American Lion, and five of the top ten Random House best-sellers in the Kindle store.

If you can't reprogram a device, you're really just renting it.  And you don't even have a contract for how long you get to have it, or under what circumstances.  Johnathan Zittrain expressed this extremely clearly in The Future of the Internet and How To Stop It.  The growth of tethered devices is yet another example of the increasing concentration of economic, and hence social and political, power.  Big oil, big pharma, big finance, and big government means little people.

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