Debate Resources on the Internets

The New York Times website has a video stream of last night’s debate. This was quite helpful in ensuring that politics don’t conflict with valuable Friday night drinking time. Just think of how far our society has progressed thanks to the internets. The internets have helped bring an important part of the democratic process to those with busy schedules.
There’s already plenty of commentary on the presidential debates elsewhere, so I won’t waste any more of your time on the subject. I am glad, though, that President Bush recognizes the existence of the internets and the rumors thereon.

New JibJab – Liability Free

JibJab entertained thousands with their political flash comedy hit: This Land. Then came the short-lived lawsuit. The copyright assignee of the original Guthrie tune insisted that JibJab had infringed on the copyright, while JibJab argued fair use. The fair use argument wasn’t a sure thing, but the EFF found a better reason for arguing the infringement allegation: the copyright had expired.
It’s no surprise that today’s new JibJab feature is based on a tune that is unquestionably in the public domain: Dixie (warning: link plays a horrible midi version of the tune). I don’t think Good to be in DC is as good as This Land, but I’m glad JibJab are still making these.

dot org versus dot com

Lessig reports that Cheney used the wrong TLD (that’s “top level domain” of course) when referring to the factcheck website. The real site is, which points outs inconsistencies on both sides of the political spectrum. Cheney mentioned, which redirects to the home page for George Soros, a wealthy investor and adamant anti-Bush crusader. Haha!
I think it’s unreasonable to expect perfection in a live debate, and I don’t expect everyone to remember the difference between .org and .com either. “dot com” is one step short of habitual – requiring almost no thought to produce. It’s almost synonymous with the internet (.net just couldn’t compete).
This site is because wasn’t available, but I like the .org. It’s a personal site, and I think, as a person, I’m closer to an organization than a commercial entity. Unfortunately, is now lost in domain name purgatory (my thoughts on that here) and will only surface again when a squatter and buyer agree on a value (which will only happen when someone sharing my name becomes famous – or, less likely, when I become famous).
Law School Discussion is a .org too. That one was by choice (I saved .com from it’s paid-link fate). A discussion board is more of an organization (ie community) than a commercial enterprise – even though it is a commercial enterprise. tortfeasor is unquestionably a commercial enterprise, and thus a .com. A law student is trying to use, but is a paid-link site owned by the good folks at KenyaTech.
You have to expect that people will get confused, but politicians and brand owners should be extra careful about where their opponents live on the internet. Even the presidential abode has been hijacked by TLD confusion:

LSAT Madness

When I took the LSAT in 2000, I took it alone. I didn’t know anyone else that was even contemplating law school, and I had to have some friends drive me from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles with the understanding that the LA record store selection justified the trip. I had no idea that there were websites about the LSAT, and I certainly hadn’t envisioned starting one of the biggest LSAT gathering places online.
Law School Discussion saw a bit of a spike in traffic after the LSAT in June, but the October LSAT made me glad I moved that site to a dedicated server. Sunday and Monday each had over 2,500 new postings on the Pre-Law board, and Monday had a record (I think) 8,200 visitors. Topics range from canceling LSAT scores to the specific LSAT answers and answer choices. I think that, given the right software tools, this many people could actually re-write the LSAT purely from collective memory and create an answer key.
More on the October 2, 2004 LSAT.

Phishing for Identity

phishingI’m amazed at just how low internet con men have sunk. This morning’s phishing email informs me that, because identity theft is such a problem, Citibank needs to confirm my account details. They’re actually integrating the public’s awareness of identity theft into the scam!
These email scams are called “phishing” because of their similarity to the process of catching fish (luring the victim in with bait that looks like the real thing). It’s spelled phishing because the scam artists do this while listening to the jamming rock sounds of Phish. At some point along the line, someone decided it would be cool to call the outcome of these scams “identity theft”. This term really doesn’t make any sense. I would have called the crime “credit card theft” or “theft of financial details” or even “theft”. In any case, I’ve never met anyone that had had his identity stolen.
Regardless of terminology, I can see why phishing is such a problem. It’s like dressing up like a cop, asking to enter someone’s apartment, and then stealing the valuables. The only defense is to be extremely cautious about giving out financial details.