Archive for February, 2012

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#Bastiat, #Economics

But now the great masses of the people, downtrodden, oppressed, exhausted, stage their revolution too…They become a pressure group; they [like those they oppose] insist on becoming privileged. They, the masses of the people, imitating the upper classes, cry in their turn for privileges. They demand their right to employment, their right to credit, their right to education, their right to pensions. But at whose expense?

That is a question they never stop to ask. They know only that being assured of employment, credit, education, security for their old age, would be very pleasant indeed, and no one would deny it. But is it possible? Alas, no, and at this point, I say, it is no longer detestable, but illogical to the highest degree.

Bastiat



#Responsive Design, #Web Design

More Responsive Changes

When I was first building/designing my responsive site, I based my initial efforts on a slightly modified version of Joni Korpi’s Golden Grid System. It served me fairly well to begin with, but the way the media queries were set up made the layout’s reaction to changes in screen size never look quite right.

Needless to say I needed to make it work, and so I kept a lot of the underlying code intact, but pretty much abandoned the grid that was in use in that system, and came up with something that worked a little bit better for me. This allowed me to set a static width for larger screens and then adapt a little more naturally for smaller sizes.

Which is precisely the point in systems like that. You take what works for you, then adapt and modify the rest to better fit your needs.




#Copyright, #IP, #PIPA, #SOPA

The Stop Online Piracy/Protect IP Protests

Wow, that was an interesting day. It seems like nobody knew anything about this stuff, then suddenly, everyone became mildly aware. Wikipedia’s decision to go dark was a major catalyst for other folk’s decisions, and ultimately all of the hubbub got a partial result–the legislation is effectively dead.

But how did this even happen to begin with? Why is Congress so willing to do something as far reaching to something they have very little knowledge of? I’m going to guess it has a lot to do with the lobbying of the entertainment industry. No other group could benefit nearly as much from this kind of IP law.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m firmly on the side of IP holders–they deserve compensation for their hard work–but we’ve gone too far in our punishment of those that would infringe on these copyrights. Perhaps the punishment should be commensurate with the crime rather than far in excess of the damages?

For instance, the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who at one point was ordered to pay $1.5 million for downloading 24 songs (24 songs!?), is a prime example of excessive punishment. In all honesty, were the artists damages really that high from this one individual? You can’t extract from this one person the damage that everyone has caused. The punishment is beyond excessive–it’s almost too difficult to believe. Fine the lady $5000 and be done with it–can an average individual be expected to pay $1.5 million when over one’s lifetime they’re only expected to earn between $1 million and $2 million? Unbelievable.

Copyright wasn’t meant to protect a creation for an eternity, virtually guaranteeing perpetual income for the creator and their grand children, nor was it designed to severely punish those that might copy. It was designed as a way to protect the creation of some thing for a short time in order to ensure that your creativity would be rewarded; this was seen as a way to encourage the creation of new work and nothing more. We’re approaching something more sinister, and one can hope that we will eventually develop saner copyright laws.

For now, stick to open source software where you can.