O Sweet Mr Math

wherein is detailed Matt's experiences as he tries to figure out what to do with his life. Right now, that means lots of thinking about math.

Monday, March 24, 2003

2:39 PM

There's an article in today's New York Times which thinks it's about the broadening demographics of file traders. It's really about the general cultural acceptance of file trading. "AARP's New Hangout: Kazaa, Web's Mosh Pit" covers the fact that the AARP is now running advertising on Kazaa, the popular file trading service.

The article's approach is surprise that the AARP, which clearly has an older target audience, is advertising on Kazaa, which is typically pictured as the domain of high school and college students. It features quotes from the AARP which assert that middle aged and older adults are using the Internet for a wide variety of purposes, including file sharing, and from Kazaa, which states that there isn't any demographic information available on the users of the service.

The true significance of the advertising lies at the end of the article. After mentioning the legal actions taken against file trading software by groups like the RIAA, the article quotes Rick Bowers of the AARP, who says, "we try to be conservative, but at the same time we try to be on the cutting edge whenever possible." Perhaps I don't have a good understanding of the organization, but I would be surprised if the AARP seeks out forums it thinks are controversial.

There's no reason the AARP would advertise on Kazaa if it didn't believe that its members participate in and approve of file sharing. If that's true, the RIAA has a bigger ideological problem than it thinks. Opponents of file sharing tend to describe traders as college aged and without respect for the property rights of the creators and publishers. They seem to be convinced that college students need to brought in line with the common understanding of intellectual property and recognize, either voluntarily or by threat, that file sharing is wrong. If the AARP is right, the common understanding of intellectual property may be that copying is perfectly reasonable, and the RIAA may be the ones out of step with everyone else.




What does "rolls a hoover" mean, anyway?

"Roll a hoover" was coined by Christopher Locke, aka RageBoy (not worksafe). He enumerated some Hooverian Principles, but that might not be too helpful. My interpretation is that rolling a hoover means doing something that you know is stupid without any clear sense of what the outcome will be, just to see what will happen. In my case, I quit my job in an uncertain economy to try to start a business. I'm still not sure how that will work out.

Why is the HTML for this page not valid?

BlogSpot adds the advertisement that appears at the top of this page. That advertisement is not valid HTML and is outside of my control. I believe that aside from that ad, this page is valid HTML.