Today on Reddit someone asked me what the differences are between Dorkboard and Arduino — why do I recommend that beginners should start with the latest Arduino board (currently the Uno)? Here’s what I wrote:
Each has an LED hard-wired to pin 13 for basic testing. The Dorkboard, however, does it the opposite from Arduino: counter-intuitively, it must be set HIGH to turn off, and LOW to turn on. I haven’t been able to get an answer why this is, although I have a guess. At any rate, this design choice has a couple ramifications: (1) Any Arduino programs (“sketches”) you use must be changed to reflect this difference in function. (2) All sketches you write must first start with two lines of code to turn this light off — otherwise, it’s on (LOW) by default.
The Arduino “standard” simplifies and reorganizes the pin numbers and names of the underlying Atmega-xx8 chip. Books and the programming language use this Arduino notation. Arduino boards have this nomenclature written directly on them so you can see what to connect to. The Dorkboard, however, doesn’t have this, and so instead you’re using the underlying Atmega layout. Therefore, you’ll come to know and love this pin mapping diagram. It’s necessary to use the Dorkboard with any Arduino tutorials.
The Dorkboard is designed to be as small and minimal as possible
Several other things as well: e.g. the Arduino has the USB connection built-in. The Dorkboard needs an external one which must be bought/purchased separately. This is because the Dorkboard is designed to be as small as possible for embedding into a project.
Bottom line, the Dorkboard is good for someone with electronics and programming background. It’s good after first using a standard Arduino for learning, when you then want to make a permanent installation of one of your ideas.
One part of the holding isn’t surprising: Purchasers of WoW aren’t owners but rather licensees of the software. But the other part is much more interesting and I think it narrows the basis for the Jacobsen v. Katzer holding.
Remember, Jacobsen was about a Java developer who licensed his model train source code under the Perl Artistic License. A company copied it, but not according to the terms of the A.L. The case turned on whether the broken license terms were covenants or conditions. The court ruled they were conditions and thus there’d be liability for copyright infringement — as opposed to simply breach of contract. This is because, as pre-conditions which the defendant didn’t adhere to, there was no contract and thus the defendant’s behavior was copyright infringement. So in that case, conditions in a software license leading to liability for copyright infringement is a good thing, if you like open source.
But now in Blizzard, the court found that the broken terms were covenants, which worked out for the defendant, MDY, who avoided secondary copyright liability. The court found its way there by interpreting the contract. But the opinion then states (jump to page 16—that’s where it gets good) that policy dictated that result as well: it would be a bad thing to allow software manufacturers to label any old term as a “condition” in order to use the hammer of copyright law. And so they seem to limit this legal strategy:
Were we to hold otherwise, Blizzard — or any software copyright holder — could designate any disfavored conduct during software use as copyright infringement. . . .We conclude that for a licensee’s violation of a contract to constitute copyright infringement, there must be a nexus between the condition and the licensor’s exclusive rights of copyright.
But sometimes (Jacobsen) conditions are a good thing.
So now the questions are, is this dicta? Or a re-statement of existing law? Or instead, a new narrowing of the condition/copyright liability theory? And even if so, would it affect another Jacobsen-like case? Do the current crop of open source licenses’ conditions contain an appropriate “nexus [with] exclusive rights of copyright?”
A new top-level domain (TLD), “.CO” has recently been created as a competitor to “.COM.” While it is currently more expensive (approximately $30.00 per year versus only $10.00 per year for the standard .COM), Google and other search engines will treat websites in this domain the same as any other. This means the .CO and the .COM will be ranked the same, based on both content and reputation.
The new .CO domain has several benefits. Because it is new, there are more available domain names available for consumer registration. The higher price should help preserve this increased availability by reducing speculators’ bulk purchases and website “parking.” Also, the .CO already has a meaning for non-U.S. residents, e.g. the BBC is found at www.bbc.co.uk. In addition, the shorter length and greater availability of the .CO mean that some surprisingly short and catchy names are available and ready for purchase. Finally, people looking for a website online are changing their method of searching. Increasingly, web visitors start their search at a search engine page instead of an “address bar.” Therefore, a highly ranked site (be it a .COM or .CO) will be found regardless of its domain name or ending.
Benefits aside, a new TLD still has its drawbacks. There is currently a lack of awareness in the marketplace regarding the .CO. A .CO address may look like a typo, as if the “m” was left off unintentionally, or potential visitors to a site might not trust a .CO address as much (or as little) as they’d trust the more widely used and longer available .COM’s. Another important potential drawback that will probably unravel as time goes on is the possibility of trademark disputes between different owners of a .CO and .COM with the same leader. It is something to keep in mind if you’re currently interested in buying a .CO. Whether or not this will develop into a trademark problem, we shall see in the (likely) very near future.
Consumer awareness of .CO will grow faster overseas due to its existing recognition, thus domestic recognition should not fall far behind. In the future, at least the short-term, the .CO will become a reasonable alternative to .COM’s that are either unavailable or too expensive to buy off of others.
The Sun is five orders of magnitude larger than the Earth.
Eugene Volokh found that only about two thirds of lawyers understand what orders of magnitude means. As in, “The population of the US is greater than that of Iceland by three orders of magnitude”. Which means of course . . . by a factor of 1000.
And I have to sadly agree with the take-away lesson he gets from this: Even though most lawyers know what the phrase means — including, reassuringly, Chief Justice Roberts — one shouldn’t use it in legal writing. After all, the purpose is to communicate, right?