Wednesday, September 09, 2009

This thing called the Internet

See the little graphic on the bottom of the page that says, SiteMeter? Anybody can click on it. It takes you to a site that tracks visitation stats for this blog. They track several stats, like which URLs you came from (called a referrer), which pages folks visit the most (my post on image grabs from Garmin's is still the top reason folks come here) and where folks go from here. SiteMeter is a free service. Anybody can use it. Even your friend can use it to spy on other folks. Really.

This link shows page recent visits by referral.

Not sure if it matters to any of you, but there's no magic going on. I hope you realize that you're being watched by the web. Not just by your ISP, who knows every site you visit, but also by the very sites your visit. You should assume that all of them know this sort of stuff. If you're particularly paranoid, stop surfing the web now.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Garmin Colorado and the Geocaching.com Waypoint License Agreement, Part II

Having read the Groundspeak Waypoint license agreement again, it suddenly occurred to me that some Garmin owners might be in trouble. Owners of the Garmin Colorado might have bought the unit for the wireless sharing feature:

Share Wirelessly

With Colorado 300 you can share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other Colorado users. Now you can send your favorite hike to your buddy to enjoy or the location of a cache to find. Sharing data is easy. Just select “send” to transfer your information to other Colorado units.


Emphasis mine. The license agreement says that sharing of downloaded waypoints is not permitted. I wrote Groundspeak pointing out this issue and got a quick clarification:

Hi Jim,

Thanks for asking. Sharing of individual cache data using the Garmin Colorado features is authorized by Groundspeak, although not specifically addressed in the Waypoint License. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Sincerely,
Bryan Roth
Groundspeak Inc.
bryan@groundspeak.com
P 206.302.7721 x103
F 206.374.8161
Groundspeak - The Language of Location


As my attorney wife says, "Get it in writing." I don't know if Bryan is an officer of Groundspeak, so I don' know if his response is legally binding. I will be taking him up on his offer and asking about the Groundspeak TOS and waypoint license agreement language.

Monday, December 29, 2008

User-Generated Content Licensing

Groundspeak, Inc., the company behind geocaching.com, a popular geocaching website, has added a click-thru license agreement that a paying user of their site must agree to before accessing the "pocket query" feature of the website.

IMPORTANT--READ CAREFULLY BEFORE DOWNLOADING THE ONLINE DATA

GROUNDSPEAK, INC. D/B/A GEOCACHING.COM (GROUNDSPEAK), IS WILLING TO LICENSE THE REQUESTED DATA TO YOU ONLY UPON THE CONDITION THAT YOU ACCEPT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CONTAINED IN THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT. PLEASE READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE CLICKING THE ‘I ACCEPT’ BUTTON AND THEREAFTER DOWNLOADING THE ONLINE DATA. BY DOWNLOADING THE ONLINE DATA, YOU ARE INDICATING YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE GROUNDSPEAK DATA LICENSE AGREEMENT. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS STATED, THEN GROUNDSPEAK IS UNWILLING TO LICENSE THE DATA TO YOU.

GROUNDSPEAK DATA LICENSE AGREEMENT


This is a license agreement, and not an agreement for sale, between the end user (Licensee) and GROUNDSPEAK, Inc. (GROUNDSPEAK), a Washington corporation, with its principal place of business at 2127 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98121, USA. This GROUNDSPEAK Data License Agreement (Agreement) gives Licensee certain limited rights to use the Data and Related Materials. All rights not specifically granted in this Agreement are reserved to GROUNDSPEAK.

Reservation of Ownership and Grant of License: GROUNDSPEAK and its licensor(s) retain exclusive ownership of the copy of the Data and Related Materials licensed under this Agreement and, hereby, grant to Licensee a personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable license to use the Data and Related Materials based on the terms and conditions of this Agreement. Licensee agrees to use reasonable effort to protect the Data and Related Materials from unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, or publication.

Proprietary Rights and Copyright: Licensee acknowledges that the Data and Related Materials contain proprietary and confidential property of GROUNDSPEAK and its licensor(s). The Data and Related Materials are owned by GROUNDSPEAK and its licensor(s) and are protected by United States copyright laws and applicable international copyright treaties and/or conventions.

Permitted Uses:
• Licensee may install the Data or portions of the Data onto a global positioning system unit ["GPS"] for Licensee's own internal use.
• Licensee may make only one (1) copy of the original Data for archival purposes unless the right to make additional copies is granted to Licensee in writing by GROUNDSPEAK.
• Licensee may modify the Data and merge other data sets with the Data for Licensee's own internal use. The portions of the Data merged with other data sets will continue to be subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.
• Licensee may use, copy, alter, modify, merge, reproduce, and/or create derivative works of the on-line textual content [including the about geocaching content, links content and cache hiding tutorial] for Licensee's own internal use. The portions of the on-line documentation merged with other software, data, hard copy, and/or digital materials shall continue to be subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement and shall provide the following copyright attribution notice acknowledging GROUNDSPEAK's proprietary rights in the on-line documentation: "Portions of this document include intellectual property of GROUNDSPEAK and are used herein by permission. Copyright © 2006 GROUNDSPEAK, Inc. All Rights Reserved."
Uses Not Permitted:
• Licensee shall not sell, rent, lease, sublicense, lend, assign, time-share, or transfer, in whole or in part, or provide access to the Data, Related Materials, any updates, or Licensee's rights under this Agreement to any third party whatsoever.
• Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the GROUNDSPEAK-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected GROUNDSPEAK data model(s) and/or export format(s).
• Licensee shall not remarket, resell, and/or redistribute the Data or any derived portion(s) of the Data in its digital form to any third party whatsoever.
• Licensee shall not remove or obscure any GROUNDSPEAK and/or licensor(s) copyright, proprietary, or trademark notices.
Redistribution Rights for Derived Digital Data Sets: At GROUNDSPEAK's sole option, GROUNDSPEAK may grant a separate sublicense agreement, on a royalty fee basis, with Licensees who wish to obtain redistribution rights for derived or other value-added digital data sets in GROUNDSPEAK-compatible data format(s). Please address your written proposals to Attn.: GROUNDSPEAK Data Manager, GROUNDSPEAK, Inc., 2127 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98121 USA.

Term: The license granted by this Agreement shall commence upon Licensee's receipt of the Data and Related Materials and shall continue until such time that (1) Licensee elects to discontinue use of the Data and Related Materials and terminates the Agreement or (2) GROUNDSPEAK terminates for Licensee's material breach of this Agreement. Upon termination of this Agreement in either instance, Licensee shall then return to GROUNDSPEAK the Data and Related Materials. The parties hereby agree that all provisions that operate to protect the rights of GROUNDSPEAK and its licensor(s) shall remain in force should breach occur.

No Warranty: The Data are not warranted and Licensee expressly acknowledges that the Data contain some nonconformities, defects, or errors. GROUNDSPEAK does not warrant that the Data will meet Licensee's needs or expectations, that the use of the Data will be uninterrupted, or that all nonconformities, defects, or errors can or will be corrected. GROUNDSPEAK is not inviting reliance on these data, and Licensee should always verify actual data.

THE DATA AND RELATED MATERIALS CONTAINED THEREIN ARE PROVIDED "AS IS," WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Exclusive Remedy and Limitation of Liability: The GROUNDSPEAK and/or licensor(s) entire liability and Licensee's exclusive remedy shall be to terminate the Agreement upon Licensee returning the Data and Related Materials to GROUNDSPEAK with a copy of Licensee's invoice/receipt and GROUNDSPEAK returning any license fees paid to Licensee.

IN NO EVENT SHALL GROUNDSPEAK AND/OR ITS LICENSOR(S) BE LIABLE FOR COSTS OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES, LOST PROFITS, LOST SALES OR BUSINESS EXPENDITURES, INVESTMENTS, OR COMMITMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH ANY BUSINESS, LOSS OF ANY GOODWILL, OR FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THIS AGREEMENT OR USE OF THE DATA AND RELATED MATERIALS, HOWEVER CAUSED, ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, AND WHETHER OR NOT GROUNDSPEAK AND/OR ITS LICENSOR(S) HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. THESE LIMITATIONS SHALL APPLY NOTWITHSTANDING ANY FAILURE OF ESSENTIAL PURPOSE OF ANY EXCLUSIVE REMEDY.

No Implied Waivers: No failure or delay by GROUNDSPEAK and/or its licensor(s) in enforcing any right or remedy under this Agreement shall be construed as a waiver of any future or other exercise of such right or remedy by GROUNDSPEAK and/or its licensor(s).

Export Regulation: Licensee acknowledges that this Agreement and the performance thereof are subject to compliance with any and all applicable United States laws, regulations, or orders relating to the export of data thereto. Licensee agrees to comply with all laws, regulations, and orders of the United States in regard to any export of such Technical Data. Licensee agrees not to disclose or re-export any Technical Data received under this Agreement in or to any countries for which the United States Government requires an export license or other supporting documentation at the time of export or transfer, unless Licensee has obtained prior written authorization from GROUNDSPEAK and the U.S. Office of Export Control.

Severability: If any provision(s) of this Agreement shall be held to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable by a court or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction, the validity, legality, and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.

Governing Law: This Agreement, entered into in King County shall be construed and enforced in accordance with and be governed by the laws of the United States of America and the State of Washington without reference to conflict of laws principles. The parties hereby consent to the personal jurisdiction of the courts of this County and waive their rights to change venue.

Entire Agreement: The parties agree that this constitutes the sole and entire agreement of the parties as to the matter set forth herein and supersedes any previous agreements, understandings, and arrangements between the parties relating hereto.

What I find most interesting about this whole agreement is that the waypoint data is user-submitted content. In fact, the Geocaching.com Site Terms of Use Agreement states under
3. License to Use Site; Restrictions
The Site and all content available on the Site are protected by applicable intellectual property laws, and are for personal and noncommercial use. All rights not expressly granted in this Agreement are reserved by Groundspeak or by the respective owners of the intellectual property rights. All materials available on or through the Site, other than Third Party Submissions (collectively, the "Site Materials") are the property of Groundspeak or of its licensors and are protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. Groundspeak reserves the right to impose additional terms and conditions upon Your use and viewing of particular Site Materials, and any such terms and conditions may be posted on the Site in connection with those Site Materials. You may not reproduce or retransmit the Site Materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the owner of such materials, except as follows: You may make a single copy of the Site Materials solely for Your personal, noncommercial use, but such copying must be consistent with any applicable additional terms and conditions and You must preserve any copyright, trademark, or other notices contained in or associated with such Site Materials. You may not distribute such copies to others, whether or not in electronic form and whether or not for a charge or other consideration, without prior written consent of the owner of such materials. If you have any questions, contact us at contact@groundspeak.com.
and, under section

6. License to Use Submissions:

All comments, articles, tutorials, screenshots, pictures, graphics, tools, downloads, and all other materials submitted to Groundspeak in connection with the Site or available through the Site (collectively, "Submissions") remain the property and copyright of the original author. If You submit Submissions to Groundspeak, You must adhere to any applicable submission guidelines that may be posted from time to time on the Site. By submitting any Submission to Groundspeak, You grant Groundspeak a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, fully-paid royalty-free license and right to use, reproduce, distribute, import, broadcast, transmit, modify and create derivative works of, license, offer to sell, and sell, rent, lease or lend copies of, publicly display and publicly perform that Submission for any purpose and without restriction or obligation to You
Color me confused. The information I submit to the site remains my property, but in using a feature of their site, the exported data becomes their property? How's that again? (emphasis in preceding paragraphs mine).

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Time to Build a Moat? No.

On Thursday morning I got a call from my wife telling me that our house alarm had gone off and that she was en route to see what had happened. I left the office and showed up a short while later where I met her and 3 police officers, one of whom was already dusting for prints. From what we can reconstruct, it looks like would-be burglar(s)
  • attempted to twist the lock off of my garage-side gate, then
  • walked around to the other side of the house and popped the electric meter off, shutting off the electricity, then
  • climbed our 8' privacy fence,
  • looked around and decided the best method of break-in would be to break out a pane in the living room window,
  • picked up a large metal shepherd's hook we use for hanging plants and broke the window pane, reached in, opened the window hasp and opened the window, and then
  • fled the scene in confusion as the alarm sounded.
A couple of years ago we decided to add a cell phone-based backup to our alarm system, owing to reports that burglars were shutting house electric services to prevent alarms from sounding. Needless to say, our decision just paid for itself. In the for-what-its-worth category, Ellendale Electric installed and monitors our alarm service.

Over the last few years the Memphis Police department has taken a few knocks, but I'll say this: they have always responded quickly whenever I've called, and they have always been courteous and professional. The fact that my wife works with many of them on a daily basis might have something to do with it, but I don't think you learn to be good at your job in 5 minutes, so I'm inclined to believe that every one of the local guys in blue that I've dealt with are simply good officers, and that I'm certainly getting my tax dollars worth.

A short while after the officers finished most of their work, a revenue protection officer from MLG&W showed up to investigate the meter. He restored service and placed a heavy duty security collar around the meter, showing me how substantially stronger the newer style collars are than the old models. He also ordered a replacement meter just in case our old one was damaged by the burglar.

A couple of hours later a glazier came by from Joyner Glass to replace the broken windowpane.

All in all our experience has been about as good as you can expect. Since then I've been thinking about two questions:
  • Why did we get broken into?, and
  • What can we do to try to prevent being broken into?
As for the first, the MLG&W RP officer gave me as good an explanation as any when he said, "Your house looks like it has stuff." While we are working on changing that (see last post), I don't think the burglars intended to steal our books - even my signed, uncorrected proof of Milosz' The Unattainable Earth isn't that valuable and would be difficult to sell/pawn. I imagine they were intending to take our electronics and that they would have been sadly disappointed to learn that we do not have a giant flat-screen TV in our living room, nor do we have game consoles, or even a surround-sound stereo system of recent vintage. We have an 'L' grand piano - not exactly pawnable. We have a few of computers; it might be funny to see them react to Linux on my desktop, and even funnier to see them fire up my old Nec APC IV, though pound-for-pound it simple wouldn't be worth the hernia of getting it down the stairs.

I've decided upon 3 courses of action to try to prevent a future re-occurrence. First, I'm contacting my alarm company to get some stickers and signs, with the intention of making sure that potential burglars know the house is alarmed. Obviously this time that didn't prevent an effort, but this time we were dealing with a repeat-offenders - in effect, professional thieves - and I want to persuade lesser theives to move along. Second, I'm posting flyers in my neighbors' door-handles letting them know what happened and to be on the lookout for anything suspicious in our neighborhood. Third, I'm talking to the folks at work: you'd be amazed at the highly inventive suggestions you get from a bunch of enigineers who are handed a problem. Cameras? Easy. Wireless cameras? Easy. Wireless cameras that automatically email me alerts when they sense motion? Better. Machine-gun turrets that automatically shoot intruders? Okay, I probably won't go for the last one.

The other question I've been asking myself is why someone wanted to steal in the first place. I've never viewed thieves as particularly stupid, but I have always assumed they are lazy. Implicit in that reasoning, I suppose, is that thieves have a choice: they could be law-abiding citizens who work, or they could be lazy good-for-nothings who would rather steal. Our last would-be burglar turned out to be a crack addict who was stealing to support his drug habit; the blood he left at the scene matched a DNA sample taken when he was processed for a later crime, and that additional charge increased his jail time. All of that to say: I wonder what his actual choices were regarding stealing and working, really. Now at this point this may be starting to sound like an apologia for thieves, but that's not my intent. I do hope I'm never in a situation where stealing starts to look like an attractive alternative to being a responsible, productive citizen, though. Thieves are still lazy and irresponsible in my book, but they may be desperate, too. Getting arrested is a kind of treatment, because it takes them out of that immediate situation of desperation. It may not be preferable to them, but that's not really what's important. What is important is that they see and live an immediate consequence of their decisions, so they can re-evaluate how they can live.

Some folks have asked me when I'm going to sell my house and move. I'm not, certainly not yet. My wife deals with criminals of all kinds every day, so I have a fair appreciation, probably a better understanding than 95% of you, as to the level and type of crime in this city. [ I'll add that it is the rare, rare exception when the local media accurately quotes my wife regarding criminal cases, and that their coverage of cases she is involved in seems to be more ratings-driven than anything else. ] Like the thieves, we have made a decision and that decision is based on us having more reasons to stay than leave.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On the keeping of books


My wife and I recently had to purchase a new furnace for the house. This meant getting in the attic, which ordinarily wouldn't be a problem since we have walk-in access to it, save for one thing: my wife and I are packrats. My wife reminds me from time to time that it is a good thing that we are both packrats, contrary to what playwrights might tell you. All this to say that our attic needed a little organizing before the HVAC folks could safely move about the cabin. It wasn't a lot of fun, not only because of all the lifting and moving of boxes. I think the fundamental problem for any packrat is simply getting past the paralysis of knowing what to throw away. Call it "letting go" if it makes you feel better, but the problem remains.

The good news is that, having moved past the attic (not that we're done with it, but baby steps, baby steps), we're now actually considering other parts of the house, including our biggest accumulation: books. A couple of weeks ago I donated seven boxes of books to the library. (They accept donations at the main branch; I don't know about other branches.) Now I know what you're saying: seven boxes? big deal! Here's the deal: these were just the boxes in my garage, where they have been stored since we moved into the house... in 1999. Since then we've donated another 8 or so boxes, and I already have another 3 -5 boxes lined up. You're probably saying, "Ummm, you're donating to the library..... why not borrow from the library, too, and save yourself the trouble?" Well, first things first, as we still have the equivalent of 8 bookcases left to go. It's still a troublesome task. I look at a book and ask myself, "Am I ever going to read this book again?" I think my biggest problem is simply that I lie to myself and say, "Sure, I'll read it again." Another problem, though, is that, at least with respect to books, I am sentimental. When I look at a book, I don't just see the text; I usually remember when I bought it, where, and why. I remember reading it. You would think something so special would invoke a desire to share it with the world, but til now it's been harder than I thought it would be.

Right now I don't have a goal in mind, so I don't know when I'll be finished. Maybe I'll be done when I just can't get rid of any of the books I have left. I already know I have a few I'll keep, certainly more for the memories they invoke than the certainty that I will read them again:
  • a couple of books inscribed by friends,
  • a set of Tom Apostol's Calculus Volumes signed by Paul Erdos,
  • a book autographed by an author friend,
  • A signed uncorrected proof of Unattainable Earth by Czeslaw Milosz, and an autographed copy of his The Captive Mind.
For now, back to the shelves.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wondering why IE is now crashing whenever I visit the Google Calendar webpage.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mic check..... one TWO.... one TWO.... CHECK CHECK.