They Don’t Make Computer Manuals Like This Anymore

Actually, I don’t think they even make computer manuals any more. At least not ones that come with your computer. Either way, this manual from a Franklin Ace 1000 is seems so foreign, so unlike any documentation you might get today that its almost amusing. Its part rant, part manifesto and it breaks up the world into “THEM”, “US” and “YOU.” From the manual:

“Program manufacturers are natural paranoids. In their zeal to “copy protect” their programs, they tend to regard all customers as potential thieves”

Interestingly enough, Franklin made Apple computer clones and was successfully sued by Apple for copyright infringement of Apple’s operating system. Natural paranoids indeed.

Full article at Ironic Sans. HT to BoingBoing


Who owns your digital life?

I was recently quoted on the Agency Babylon blog about who owns your digital identity. It is an interesting topic and one that many companies and individuals probably haven’t fully considered in their social media policies. My comments were based on discussions with other attorneys on acceptable social media policies. Companies are often want to use social media tools to engage with their customers better, but sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are really designed for individuals so it can be difficult to control. It can also cause problems with data that would otherwise be confidential such as customer and contact lists, because your friends and contacts are at least partially public.

See the article and discussion at:
Thought leaders, issue followers weigh in on who has a stake in your professional digital life


Launch of TECHdotMN

I am pleased to announce the launch of the TECHdotMN blog. This is a collaboration between a number of people who are interested in startups and technology in Minnesota. I will be contributing as the legal correspondent. There are already a number of local startup spotlight posts written with much more to come. Here is a link to my “welcome post.”

TECHdotMN


MPR Reporter Accused of “Hacking”

Texas based Lookout Services has accused a Minnesota Public Radio reporter with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The reporter was doing a story about how Lookout had exposed the private data of a number of Minnesota consumers. Apparently doing your job as a reporter carries with it the risk of being a “hacker.”

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has both civil and criminal provisions and prohibits the “unauthorized access” of a computer. The phrase “unauthorized access” is pretty vague and has allowed prosecutions to go forward for such things as creating a phony Facebook account as Lori Drew had done to harass her daughter’s classmate. But unlike the Drew case, there is the new twist of a reporter doing the unauthorized accessing. So, which should be more important: a company’s right to be secure in its data, or a journalist’s right to discover and report? If the reports are true, perhaps a company should be expected to take reasonable security precautions before having CFAA remedies available.

See more at the MinnPost article.


MinneBar was a success!

I just wanted to say that the MinneBar event hosted by Best Buy yesterday was a great success. There were lots of great presentations and discussions. But most of all, there seemed to be an excitement and energy about building a startup and technology community in the Twin Cities that I hadn’t felt or noticed before. Congratulations to everyone who helped make it happen!