Todays Slaw post: The latest word is that Canada’s anti-spam legislation will be in force on July 1, 2014, with the software provisions coming into force in January 2015. The final regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette on December 18. More information about the law can be found in previous articles here. Proponents of the law feel that it is going to have a substantial effect on the fight against spam. But as I have said before, my personal view is that the legislation as drafted is ill-conceived and will be a compliance nightmare for businesses and charities. Stay tuned as we digest the regulations after they are published. http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton
Todays Slaw post
It will be no surprise to anyone that one of the reactions to the NSA/Snowden revelations would be attempts to evade spying. Many organizations have looked at their systems to determine where the vulnerable weak points are. For example, even if certain internet communications are encrypted, there may be points along the chain where it becomes unencrypted and vulnerable.
The EFF, for example, recently published a chart that shows what some providers are doing, and explains the best practices behind it.
Today’s Slaw post:
Here in London I spent some time yesterday at Hacker Studios talking to some people with budding business ideas. In addition to legal mentoring, advice is available on topics including accounting, sales, business planning, marketing, and human resources.
There are several groups in London that support an entrepreneur culture. What do other communities do?
A portion of my practice deals with startups and small business in the tech sector. To be frank, some of the business plans and entrepreneurs are destined for failure for many reasons. But many have interesting and cutting edge ideas with great potential. Helping these entrepreneurs can put legal needs in perspective, as you have to focus on what they really need in practice, and when – rather than from a theoretical cover every legal risk approach.
Today’s Slaw post:
London’s Emerging Leaders organization just released survey results about attitudes of younger workers resulting from lack of employment opportunities. The unemployment rate amongst recent graduates is higher than the general unemployment rate, and I suspect many who are employed are under employed.
Are employers partly to blame for this? One of the problems cited by the Emerging Leaders executive director is the typical requirement of “3 to 5 years experience“. Employers surveyed ranked ambition and attitude ahead of qualifications as the top factor in hiring a candidate. But how would an employer ever know that a job candidate had ambition and the right attitude if they don’t interview a recent graduate because they don’t have 3 years experience? I also suspect employers only consider post-grad work as experience, when may current grads have a significant amount of quality volunteer experience while in school.
Todays Slaw post.
Every once in a while you come across a lawyer or other professional who has such a bad presence that you question whether they are real or competent. It is often because they do some basic image affecting things horribly wrong.
Here are a few things needed to leave a good impression, are often done wrong, and yet cost little or nothing to do right:
- Have a web site. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but needs to include basic info like what you do, where you are, and how to contact you. It also needs to look professional. Blog platforms like wordpress make this easy to do.
- Don’t use a generic email address ( [your name]@gmail.com, or [your name]@hotmail.com, …). Get a relevant domain name for your website and use it for your email address as well.
- Have a proper letterhead with your snail mail address, email address, and phone number. Yes, we still need letterhead, even if we only email letters as pdfs. Word processing platforms include templates that make this easy.
- Use a professional consistent email signature line. I don’t mean a long winded disclaimer of dubious effect – just basic name, contact info, and web site address.
- Create a LinkedIn profile.
- Word processors have built in spelling and grammar checkers. Use them.
Today’s Slaw Post:
I attended the Canadian IT Law Association annual conference last week. It is IMHO consistently the best continuing ed program for IT law. Some general conference observations:
- Pay attention to speakers even if they are covering topics you are familiar with. No matter how well you know the topic, something new / useful will come up.
- Conference materials in the cloud are the way to go. Much more convenient than on physical media.
- Hotel / conference centre AV equipment won’t always display your presentation the same as on your work computer, especially if it includes animation or video. It’s a good idea to bring the presentation and any separate video files on a jumpdrive, and test it out before the session just in case it needs to be tweaked.
- Conference room wifi can be mystifying and inconsistent. Why bother password protecting wifi on conference floors?
- Hotel room wifi may require a leap of faith and an ad hoc legal analysis (promissory estoppel, ostensible authority, parol evidence rule, burden of proof…) when you are told at the check-in counter “Just accept the agreement to pay [insert outrageous daily rate here] for wifi in your room – we won’t actually charge you for it.”
Today’s Slaw post
Lawyers tend to think of time in units of .1 hour.
But that is eons compared to some other time measurements.
If you are having trouble getting your head around the concept and speed of quantum computing that Simon wrote about yesterday, consider time metrics for tech we currently have.
Peter Higgs and Francois Englert recently won the Nobel Prize for physics for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson particle that explains how elementary matter attained the mass to form stars and planets. The actual existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland – a significant achievement on many levels, including the fact that the Higgs boson only has a life in the accelerator of about 1.6×10^−22 or 0.00000000000000000000016 seconds.
Even everyday electronics work in amazingly small increments of time.
Current computer chips run at speeds of up to about 4 Ghz, meaning that they perform 4×10^9 or 4000000000 processing cycles per second – and that’s for each of the multiple cores they have.
GPS relies on satellites keeping time to an accuracy of about 14 nanoseconds or 1.4×10^-8 or 0.000000014 seconds. To put that in perspective, light travels about one foot in a nanosecond.
Today’s Slaw post
ICANN has been busy dealing with applications for new gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains). There are currently 22 TLDs (.com, .net, .org …) but the number of TLDs is about to explode with the first showing up later this year. Despite a hefty application fee of $180,000, ICANN received 1930 applications for new TLDs. Agreements signed recently include .menu, .land, ventures.
The thought of having hundreds if not thousands of TLDs is concerning to some brands, who fear that opportunists will try to scoop their brand names on some of these TLDs.
For a complete listing of new TLDs in the works, see this list at webnames.ca. They include .law, .lawyer, .legal, .bank, .sucks, .forsale, .movie, .photo, .blog, .guru, .mail, .sports, .realestate, .party, .tools, .diet, .health, .pizza, .science, .car, to name a very few.
It would be impractical and costly to get one’s domain name for every TLD, but it may be worthwhile looking to see which TLDs might be relevant to one’s brand. For example, automobile companies will no doubt want to get their own .car and .auto domain names. Lawyers and law firms may consider getting .law or .lawyer.
Each TLD will have a sunrise process where trade-mark holders will have 30 days to secure their domain. To do that, they must first register their trade-mark with a trade-mark clearing house designed for this purpose. That process itself takes up to 34 days.
(The stats in this post were taken from a webinar presented by webnames.ca)
Today’s Slaw post:
Aka Phantom Cellphone Vibration – when you think you feel your phone vibrating when it is not. Yes, this is a real thing that has been the subject of academic studies.
From a study at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, United States entitled Phantom vibrations among undergraduates: Prevalence and associated psychological characteristics:
Phantom vibration syndrome,’ or perceived vibrations from a device that is not really vibrating, is a recent psychological phenomenon that has attracted the attention of the media and medical community. Most (89%) of the 290 undergraduates in our sample had experienced phantom vibrations, and they experienced them about once every two weeks, on average. However, few found them bothersome. Those higher in conscientiousness experienced phantom vibrations less frequently, and those who had strong reactions to text messages (higher in the emotional reaction subscale of text message dependence) were more bothered by phantom vibrations. These findings suggest that targeting individuals’ emotional reactions to text messages might be helpful in combating the negative consequences of both text message dependency and phantom vibrations. However, because few young adults were bothered by these phantom vibrations or made attempts to stop them, interventions aimed at this population may be unnecessary.
Today’s Slaw post:
There has been some controversy lately over comments on web sites. Far too often comments are toxic, bitter, uninformed, and irrelevant. Some popular bloggers such as Seth Godin simply turn the comment function off. Popular Science has just announced they are shutting off comments because they felt that “trolls and spambots” in their comments have overwhelmed intellectual debate. Some people have been critical of Popular Science’s decision.
At the same time, YouTube is about to make some changes to try to float the most relevant comments to the top, and push the nasty stuff to the bottom. This Washington Post article discusses both the YouTube and Popular Science developments.
Slaw seems to attract high quality comments. Simon tells me he simply trashes the very few toxic comments that Slaw receives.
What do readers think? It is easy for sites that don’t get large numbers of comments to moderate and simply trash the nasty stuff. For sites that by their nature attract large amounts of comments, do those comments add anything? Are comments something worth keeping and trying to manage, or is it better just to not bother and shut the feature off?