First impressions of Royal Roads University

More aptly, this post might be called, “What I crammed into my first day and a half.” Seriously, though, it’s been a bit busy and this post will not do it justice. This is not to suggest that I’ll be posting recaps of everything I do because there is more MA focused blogging to come. I’m not sure if that will be at a WordPress hosted blog or this one.

The surroundings

It’s quite a beautiful campus and location, on a hill sloping down to the water in Colwood, a suburb of Victoria. Situated amongst old growth forest on former First Nations land, the campus is pretty breathtaking. Hatley Castle, and Nelson and Grant buildings, in particular, really show off the military college history of the place.

Plus, there’s a big focus on sustainability and recycling and that’s a pretty big plus for me.Unfortunately, since I broke the 18-55 lens on my Nikon D40 a couple weeks ago, I’ll be using my lower resolution Fuji S602Z for the next two weeks. Oh well, they look fine for smaller, online pics. On that note, I’m looking for a good deal on one of the Nikon compatible super zooms. I’m thinking one of the 18-200’s, but I digress.

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Masters blogging

A lot of my writing on this site will now chronicle the trials and tribulations of obtaining a graduate degree while working full-time, trying to maintain a marriage and family, and hopefully still getting a little exercise along the way. Something I’ve been pulling together for some time and which …

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Digital rights and access under assault

It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of access you want, or what you want access to. You’re under assault, plain and simple. With the news last week that Bell and Telus customers will pay at both ends for text messages and the obscene Rogers iPhone rate packages, we just have two more issues to deal with on this front.

Ed. Note: It should be noted that since I started jotting down notes for this post, Rogers has improved their data packages, but only for a two month promotional offer and not to the point where the prices aren’t still ridiculously high.

Reusing a legally purchased song on multiple personal devices, saving a recorded program for private viewing later, or even embedding a copyrighted video for comment on your blog could all land you in trouble if C-61 passes in the fall. Mind you, cellular rate plan issues are part of a much larger problem that includes throttling. Web companies understand the implications to their businesses. Throttling is mostly related to large bandwidth activities like torrenting, and would seem to be moving in lockstep with copyright issues. After all, making it illegal to possess something is more effective if you choke the ability to get it in the first place.

If all this isn’t enough, Canada’s complicity in ACTA will ensure that your digital equipment can be confiscated due to nothing more than an over-zealous border guard. Whether you got it back or not, it may well not include what you originally had on it. Plus, it would seem a Biker-chick lovin’ industry minister did a did a better job standing up for our rights than the current one. Mind you, today Jim Prentice did call out for Telus and Bell to justify their messaging grab.

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Canned responses to C-61 letters

While I haven’t yet printed, signed and sent any of the copyright petitions, I did manage a bit of an email writing spree regarding this hideous proposed legislation. Would it surprise you to know that I haven’t had a real response from anyone yet?

To be fair, our politicians might just be getting a tiny earful on this one, so I’ll reduce my expectations to … nil? I would have thought Ujjal Dosanjh (my MP) might have responded directly. However, why would he start doing anything now?

The first email I sent directly to him and the second I sent to Stephen Harper, Josee Verner and Jim Prentice, with copies to Ujjal, Stephane Dion and Jack Layton.

My email notes

The snippet below is the substantive gist of the first email:

As long as I’m not distributing what I buy for profit, I can’t understand why the Harper government is so willing to pander to business in this regard. I can’t understand why governments are so slow to understand that using my own media on multiple devices does not hurt the copyright holder. And, in fact, sharing will generally increase sales.

Copyright law this stringent does nothing for Canadian citizens and stifles the creativity and ingenuity that open standards and open access to technology and digital media creates. Plus, this is doomed to failure in any regard as people will simply expend more effort to go further underground in how they access, acquire and share digital media.

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