Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Date: January 2012

Stop Ireland’s SOPA

When it rains, it pours.

In the wake of the SOPA/PIPA furore, up bubbles ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which, as Forbes reports, contains provisions “just as pernicious as anything we saw in SOPA” and has already been signed or ratified by most of the developed world.

What are the consequences? Well, aside from enforcing food and drug patents that are crippling to the developing world, which is bad enough, the agreement also “bypasses the sovereign laws of participating nations, forcing ISPs across the globe to adopt [its] draconian measures.” Oy vey.

If you thought SOPA would break the internet, ACTA is much worse. And it could become law across the global economy without so much as a murmur of opposition.

That’s just super.

Meanwhile, and closer to home, people are kicking up a fuss about a sneaky little piece of legislation that’s been dubbed ‘Ireland’s SOPA’.

TJ McIntyre’s IT Law in Ireland blog has a concise overview of the Government’s plans to legislate for Irish courts to block access to websites accused of copyright infringement (and possibly other things) at their own discretion.



Marco Ament on 'the next SOPA'

The web censorship bills might be shelved for now, but will no doubt return in this or some other form -- unless there is an aggressive push for campaign finance reform, and a recognition that unless we stop giving money to the MPAA et al, they will keep coming back. #link


Going dark in support of a free internet

Update: The web censorship bills have been shelved for now, but as Marco Ament writes, they will no doubt return in this or some other form — unless there is an aggressive push for campaign finance reform in the US. How us non-Americans can push for respect for the autonomy of our own laws, however, is another matter…

Yesterday, this site went dark as part of a worldwide protest at the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act which, if passed by the United States Congress, would give the US government and the entertainment industry extraordinary powers to control what is supposed to be a neutral space, effectively censoring the internet for everyone in the world. That’s right: everyone in the world.

To put it simply, this is bad legislation being pushed hard by corporate interests for their own benefit alone, and written so broadly that it sets us all down a path we don’t want to be travelling by.



You Say You Want a Devolution?

"Since 1992, as the technological miracles and wonders have propagated and the political economy has transformed, the world has become radically and profoundly new. (And then there’s the miraculous drop in violent crime in the United States, by half.) Here is what’s odd: during these same 20 years, the appearance of the world (computers, TVs, telephones, and music players aside) has changed hardly at all, less than it did during any 20-year period for at least a century. The past is a foreign country, but the recent past—the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s—looks almost identical to the present. This is the First Great Paradox of Contemporary Cultural History." I've been saying this for years! Finally the world is catching on [c/o Fimoculous]. #link


What Editors Think of Writers

The biggest surprise for any new writer/journalist/whatever is when an editor corrects their work. It's not about 'taking away their voice'; it's always about bringing out the best in the writer, and polishing it up nice for the reader. In my own experience, the most precious about their writing were the worst writers. #link


No Copyright Intended

"Remix culture is the new Prohibition, with massive media companies as the lone voices calling for temperance. You can criminalize commonplace activities from law-abiding people, but eventually, something has to give." I half agree with this; remix culture (fan edits, supercuts, etc) is one thing -- and a good thing at that -- but the apparent misapprehension of copyright among young people (that it's just a means of attribution, not of protection of artists' livelihoods) is another matter entirely. #link


The Complicated Ethics of the Unborn

"Human cloning... has proven especially troubling, ethically. The bans are fascinating, because they are effectively saying 'we don’t know how to unravel the ethics of human cloning, so please don’t confront us with the problem.'" #link



Visualising Ireland's public data. I wish they would make more of an effort to advertise these things; it would educate the public better as to how Census information is applied and for what purposes. #link


Compute it yourself

"The only way to get the sense of a fully hackable world is to dive in." Great primer on getting started with the tangible internet (Arduino, etc). #link



A boilerplate framework for web projects. They could do with a better description, as who the hell knows what 'production code' is supposed to mean? Is 'web' a dirty word now? #link



The Manhattan Grid extended to every point on Earth. I'm at 59,233rd and 9,160th. #link


Simple Comic

A neat comic reader for the Mac. Best one I've used, actually. #link



A movie camera that shoots on any 35mm photographic film (if you can get it). #link