Snippets #41, Friday, 17.Oct.2003 (ISSN 1530-9622)
_______________S N I P P e T S
_________________________from James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door
___________________________________#41, Friday, 17.Oct.2003
_____2. Citizen Surveillance
_____3. Free ebook - Limited Time
A wonderful thing happened this week in Dallas. Fall arrived. We got coolness.
Our air conditioning, previously set on ultra-max, has been notched down to just max. Some have even been rumored to have turned off their air conditioning completely!
Now, I'm not normally an outside person. I like my chair, my desk, my books, my music and my internet.
But today . . . today . . . today it was nice outside.
Sometime in the next month it will get hot again. It does that here. And soon after that, it will be cold. But these days are nice.
__________2. CITIZeN SURVEILLANCe
A few months ago, our national government proposed the Terrorist Information Awareness (TIA) project to monitor everyone in the US, gather tons of data about everyone and then look through that data for suspicious patterns. The idea wasn't to collect information to support investigations, the idea was to use the information to look for reasons to start investigations. Ultimately, congress imposed some limits on the project.
(Note: the project was headed by Admiral John Poindexter, who was convicted for lying to congress during the Iran-Contra Affair. His conviction was later overturned on the basis of immunity granted by congress.)
Two MIT researchers, Chris Csikszentmihályi and Ryan McKinley, began a project to go the other way: to let citizens help gather information about politicians and government officials.
The project, named Government Information Awareness in a not-too-subtle jab at the administration's project, will allow people to post information about the activities of government organizations, officials and the judiciary.
The project intends "to empower citizens by providing a single, comprehensive, easy-to-use repository of information on individuals, organizations, and corporations related to the government of the United States of America", "to allow citizens to submit intelligence about government-related issues, while maintaining their anonymity" and "to allow members of the government a chance to participate in the process."
The Government Information Awareness website
A new article about the Government Information Awareness project
A January 2003 Op-ed about the Government Information Awareness project
The EFF information archive about the government TIA project
__________3. FRee EBOOK - LIMITED TIMe
Today I received an email from Dan Poynter of Para Publishing.
I've heard Dan speak. I own paper copies of four of his books (including this one). I regularly recommend his books.
Turns out that Microsoft is giving away a free copy of an ebook version of his book.
Well, it seems EBooks have not taken off as expected. The hardware is available, the software is available but the content was not. For the past few months, Microsoft has been trying to jumpstart EBook reading by providing content people want to read.
Microsoft makes a few books available each week for free.
This week, for a short time only, you can get Dan Poynter's bestselling book on publishing to store on your PC for ready reference. Even if you already have a paper copy, you should get this 14th edition, 2003, searchable electronic copy for your desktop.
The Self-Publishing Manual EBook will only be available free from October 17 through October 23, 2003. After that, the online price will be several dollars.
The ebook requires the free Microsoft Reader which you also have to download and install and "validate". The ebook is NOT a PDF file and can only be read on the machine you use to download it (and up to 5 more machines). So you can't send a copy to a friend and I can't send you a copy. You have to download it yourself.
You can also download other free books and sign up to get Microsoft's weekly newsletter announcing what books they are offering that week for free.
To get the book, go to http://www.microsoft.com/reader/promotions/free_shop.asp
Remember, the Self-Publishing Manual EBook will only be available free from October 17 through October 23, 2003.
If you would like to sign up for Dan Poynter's excellent newsletter on publishing (Publishing Poynters), go to http://ParaPub.com/news.html.
You can also read back copies of his newsletter there.
Finally, Dan encouraged his readers to forward the information far and wide. If you know of other authors who would benefit from Dan's free book, please forward my email to them.