Its NOT free trade if there is an agreement

Australia is about to be turned into a prison colony again.

The $65,000 question: do you own an iPod?

Owning an iPod, camera phone or a DVD recorder might be enough to land you in jail or lumbered with a large fine under the Federal Government’s proposed new changes to the copyright laws, experts warn.

As you know I’m a big fan of Free Software, Free Knowledge and Free Culture and the word Free is used because the person is free, its not a matter of zero price so I’m disgusted about how corrupt politicians try to get away with making stupid laws but this one wont really hurt me, I hope this will push you to explore the free world because you can make authorized copies of all the works and won’t have to deal with this problem besides all that do you really enjoy being a consumer of all that watered down phony read only once crap.

Wikipedia CD Distributed over BitTorrent

Sorry to copy this page, make sure you visit it and digg it.

A “Wikipedia CD” has been made available for download on BitTorrent.com. The CD comprises of over 2500 hand-picked educational articles aimed at helping schools enhance their curriculum and children learn.

WikipediaThe CD has been compiled by volunteers for “the world’s largest orphan charity”, SOS Children. The articles, all of which are from the English language portal, are on common educational topics such as Geography, Science, Dinosaurs, Plants and Animals, to name a few. Articles on all countries and their capital cities have also been included.

Apparently, each of the articles has been “checked for suitability” and “cleaned by hand and script.” The CD is currently at release 1.0. Previous versions contained “disputed” articles relating to religion and politics, but they have subsequently been removed.

This CD is clearly aimed at schools and institutions with a slow, or non-existent connection to the Internet. Unlike Encyclopodia, the popular open source project that puts all of Wikipedia on your iPod, the Wikipedia CD is aimed at a younger audience who might find it hard to discern the clearly inaccurate or false from the ‘real’ information. It is a great effort, but at the same time one has to remember that the content on the CD is edited, and has therefore not been cross-checked by the innumerable people that frequent, contribute to and refine Wikipedia.

SOS Children did not have permission to use the Wikipedia logo, so it is not present on the CD, but they have recently been granted permission and it will appear on the next release in 2007.

Reading and browsing Project Gutenburg with libre software

I’ve been using Guten.py for quite a while now and thought some of you may also find it useful. Don’t worry its also available for windows users. Maybe you’ve heard about ebooks well this is ebooks without all the BS. So lets have a quick look at what Wikipedia says about Project Gutenburg:

Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works. Founded in 1971, it is the oldest digital library. Most of its items are the full texts of public domain books. The project tries to make the items in its collection as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer.

Now lets have a look at the About section from the Guten.py homepage:

GutenPy is meant to be a comfortable text reader and catalog browser for Project Gutenberg. I used a few other readers (PyBookReader being my favourite of the lot), but they didn’t quite do what I wanted/needed them to. GutenPy features (so far):

  • BookmarkingEach file can have a default bookmark that is jumped to when the file is opened and a list of named sub-bookmarks. Automatic saving of a files current bookmark when closing.
  • Handy SidebarFor convenient browsing, selection, and deletion, of files and bookmarks.
  • Line NumberingFor those times when you use Project Gutenberg files as reference materials.
  • Easy mouse paging.Double-left-click to page down, double-right-click to page up.
  • Word Definition LookupsLook up the definition of word from a dict server with a middle-mouse-click.
  • Behaviour PreferencesGutenPy can save and restore your open files for your next session. You can also put bookmarking on auto-pilot, and disable the quit confirmation (Thanks Nan Dina for the suggestions).
  • Offline Catalog BrowserUse a cached copy of the Project Gutenberg catalog and powerful Author, Title, Subject, and Language regular expression Filters to find your books. You can have GutenPy remember your filters for your next Catalog browse. You can also save your selected booklist for future downloading.

Visit that page and scroll down a bit to see the screenshots. Visit the Project Gutenburg homepage and search for books that you would like to read. As it says on that page theres “2 million ebooks downloaded each month”.

I wonder if this is suitable for the public school computers.

Notes on education

From The Promise of Wisdom by J.Glenn Gray:

Being able to learn means being imaginative or being creative in a general sense. And this in turn signifies being constructive and reconstructive, synthesising the impressions that flood into the mind with the principles already present to it. Only in activity are these principles brought to light. Vision or theory is not so much an aquisition as a discovery, one that each person must make for himself though countless minds have made it before him.(pg20)

The educated man is one who is either practically or theorietically wise. If such a one is not to descend the ladder, he must keep constantly educating and re-educating himself. Education is a search and not a state of being. And though wisdom is inevitably dual in nature, as we have seen, a new necessity is upon us. Though we cannot unite the two kinds of wisdom, they must learn to support and to supplement each other.(pg29)

Libre Knowledge Communities

I’m not an official volunteer or anything but since its early days I’ve been following the progress of the Free Knowledge Communities initiative, I’ve followed the guidelines for developing resources and pretty much tried to use all the documents as guidelines for how to participate. Here’s the Free Knowledge Communities Homepage.
Here’s the Wikibook on Free Knowledge Communities and FLOSS in Education.

The first thing to do is visit this page , download all the documents and read them.

What is free knowledge?

Free knowledge implies freedom to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience explicit knowledge1 to learn from, copy, adapt and use it for any purpose; contribute new insights and share these for the common good; and all of this with free software2.

A draft manifesto for free knowledge communities

Free knowledge communities value:

  • the members and the diverse perspectives they bring,
  • the knowledge with which they work, and the freedom to share it,
  • the community’s ability to collaborate on managing the quality of its shared resources (e.g. through peer review and collaborative knowledge generation),
  • the freedom to express and use this knowledge responsibly, and
  • the opportunity the free knowledge approach offers for networked communities to make a difference collectively, towards a sustainable world.

The Promise of Wisdom

I was wandering around used book stores and ended up buying a book called “The Promise of Wisdom” by J.Glenn Gray. I’m not sure if its any good. I’ll ask the teachers if any of them has read it. Here’s a quote from the title page of part 3 “Philosophical Problems of Practice”.

“The genuine teacher is only superior to the students in that he has far more to learn than they, namely to let learning occur. The teacher must be capable of being more teachable than his students. The teacher is far less sure of his task than the students are of theirs. Hence in the relationship of teacher and learner, if this relationship is a genuine one, it is never a question of the authority of the great knower or the dominating influence of the instructor. Therefore it is a great thing to become a teacher, something quite different than to be a famous professor.” – Martin Heidegger

The book uses words like “mankind” and the “free man” and as above you can notice that for some reason the teacher is “he”, so its a bit old school but I think theres some good info in there.

Happy Birthday RMS

Richard Matthew Stallman

Quotes on rms essays.

Richard Stallman is the prophet of the free software movement. He understood the dangers of software patents years ago. Now that this has become a crucial issue in the world, buy this book and read what he said.

– Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World-Wide Web.

For the first time this book collects the writing and lectures of Richard Stallman in a manner that will make their subtlety and power clear. The essays span a wide range, from copyright to the history of the free software movement. They include many arguments not well known, and…will serve as a resource for those who seek to understand the thought of this most powerful man. . .

– Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University Law School professor and expert on Cyberlaw.

Richard Stallman is the philosopher king of software. He single-handedly ignited what has become world-wide movement to create software that is Free, with a capital F. He has toiled for years at a project that many once considered a fool’s errand, and now that is widely seen as “inevitable.” We stand today not at the brink of the Free Software revolution, but in the middle. From today’s perspective it is hard to remember a time when free software was not widely available and the concept of Free Software was not widely understood. Yet this was not always the case. Fifteen years ago, Stallman was widely seen as a person tilting at windmills; people jeered at him and told him to “move to Russia.” Today Stallman’s views on the usefulness and role of Free Software are understood and, to a great extent, accepted. On the other hand, Stallman’s views on Copyright (and Copyleft), Digital Restrictions Management, and the poisonous role of patents are only beginning to meet with acceptance.

– Simson L. Garfinkel, computer science author and columnist

Wikibooks and Self-defence

A while back I wrote a guide on How to Escape the Headlock for Wikibooks and managed to get some friends to help with the pics then an anonymous person added some tips on how to avoid the headlock and a wrote a book on folkstyle wrestling.

It was when bullying in schools was receiving attention from the media. Knowledge of self-defence was useful during my time in school and still is as an adult.