Generic Linux Wireless Card

Does anyone know whether common so-called “generic” PCI WiFi cards work under Linux? pricewatch, the Internet’s best competitive marketplace for technology (often beats eBay), lists 802.11b PCI cards as cheap as $16. I’ve tried contacting the vendors of these “generic” cards but haven’t been able to get anyone to tell me the chipset or whether or not the card will be useable under Linux. Can any of my readers give me a tip?

Remember Adolf Hitler

At this past weekend’s March for Women’s Lives, about 1,000 antiabortion counterprotesters heckled the marchers. I thought the following line of argument, as described in the Boston Globe, was fairly remarkable:

A few blocks down the street, Randall Terry, president of the antiabortion Society for Truth and Justice and founder of the Operation Rescue, stood atop Freedom Plaza and — with the help of loudspeakers — told marchers they should be ashamed: “Remember, Adolph Hitler had big crowds in the 1930s.”

Well, sure. Adolf Hitler also had a mustache. Not to mention that he is alleged by some to have been vegetarian. Does that mean vegetarians or mustached men (I fit into both categories) should be ashamed?

Moreover, the New York Yankees have big crowds. So do George Bush and Britney Spears.

Maybe the Globe took Terry’s quote out of context, but it’s hard to believe anyone would find that bit of the analogy even vaguely persuasive.

Democracy Now!, my favorite webcast radio news, has great coverage of the march, including several extended video segments of the speakers. If you couldn’t make it down to DC last weekend, I suggest watching this footage online to get at least a little taste of the events.

(Minor update: apparently the Boston Globe got the spelling wrong—it’s Adolf, not Adolph. Fixed in my text.)

Worcester Computer Coop

Via Sarah: check out the Worcester Computer Co-op. They make high speed Internet access available to anyone for free, and have special after-school programs and senior computer classes. Particulary noteworthy is that they use free software for everything in their lab:

Free software setups such as ours are very well-suited to a learning environment. The Co-op network administrators have created a situation in which users are free to play with the computers at will without fear of breaking something. This freedom is fundamental to a user’s computer education. Learning about computers is 90% experimentation and 10% instruction. Once a user is comfortable clicking any button and capable of actually playing with a machine, they will quickly be able to transform the computer from an intimidating piece of expensive electronics into a useful tool for career development, education, entertainment, and communications.

New OpenOffice Logo

Or, as they like to call themselves, “”:

I don’t know… Will a silly logo help or hurt? It’s certainly possible to argue that the semi-silly Linux penguin has been helpful in advancing open source software. Maybe a silly seagull will be more effective than the serious shadowy seagull they used before (still visible in the background of the logo above).

Update: Oops! A commenter points out that this is just the education mascot. Apparently I didn’t read the website closely enough, I just noticed that the silly gull is the first thing you see at

Peace and Justice Update

The Boston Globe, among other newspapers, did not run today’s Doonesbury comic strip, apparently because it includes the word ‘son of a bitch’:

A search of the last year of Boston Globe articles reveals 33 articles where the word ‘bitch’ appears. I suppose there’s some argument that the comics page is supposed to be especially kid friendly, but I can’t help but think the political overtones in this week’s story (where a major character loses a limb in the war in Iraq) played some part in the decision to censor today’s strip. I also don’t suppose there are many kids who read the newspaper who would be traumitized by exposure to the word ‘bitch’. If there are any such kids reading my blog, I suggest they go to the handful of sites registered in the government sponsored and sanitized domain.

On the other hand, the Globe ran this photo on the front page:

Two employees of a contractor in Iraq were just fired for providing a similar photo to the Seattle Times; however, this photo was the result of Freedom of Information Act request filed by Russ Kick, maintainer of The Memory Hole, a site dedicated to preserving and disseminating censored documents. I don’t know how the Bush Administration expected its media blackout on casket photos would really work in the modern information age.

In other news, we want to see Pat Humphries and Sandy O (now Emma’s Revolution—website not up yet), our favorite folk/justice/peace folksinging duo. Listen to some of their MP3s if you’ve never heard of them. They performed at Club Passim and gave a fantastic show with lots of audience participation. Coincidentally, Pat and Sandy’s Song Peace Salaam Shalom was mentioned yesterday during a Democracy Now story on Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear whistleblower who was just released from prison 18 years after revealing that Israel was building a nuclear arsenal. Supporters of Vanunu sang the song from behind a fence set up to keep them away from the prisoner of conscience.

Finally, I highly recommend Monday’s show celebrating the 55th anniversary of Pacifica Radio. It’s a great story, and should be particularly relevant to all you copyright activists among my readers. Lewis Hill, the founder of Pacifica, encountered great resistance and skepticism about the idea of noncommercial radio. No one could believe that people would willing pay for something they could just turn on their radio and get for free. Listen to the whole documentary for an illuminating history of a precursor to the modern Free Culture movement.

Kill Bill Vol. 2

I’ll admit outright that I loved Kill Bill Vol. 2, even more than I loved Kill Bill Vol. 1. I would love to see a Tarantino lecture on the film—or even better, I thought that a semeter-long film course could be designed around Kill Bill, looking at the works of each great director to which Tarantino pays homage.

Uma Thurman’s defense of the film’s alleged violence was a little less intellectually profound than I might have hoped, though:

She said, “People have to have creative freedom. I love violent, sexy movies.”

Am I a Copyfighter?

As I come perilously close to becoming a real live attorney, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I might practice intellectual property law while still working to change some of the most broken parts of the regime. Erik J. Heels discusses this dilemma cogently in Am I a Copyfighter?: “One practitioner’s struggles with practicing — while fighting to change — the law in the dark ages of the Internet.” Highly recommended for anyone in a similar situation.

Catastrophic Hardware Failure

If you’ve emailed me in the past 72 hours and haven’t heard back from me, please resend your mail. It’s been a rough three days.

More details this weekend, once I’ve recovered.

Odd User Agent

Seen in my server log today:

“Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; Linux Rulez)”

Looks like someone can’t make up their mind.

Worse Than a Trademark on Realtor

If you thought yesterday’s news that “realtor” is not a generic term was counterintuitive, check out this patent application.

Can anyone say “prior art”?

(not to mention that the enablement requirement leaves something to be desired…)