All posts filed under “Rent-seeking

Freudian slip in BBC iTunes story

Freudian slip in BBC iTunes story

From this BBC story, as of 6.43 pm. P.S. I love the way it’s claimed “everyone will benefit” from the royalty rise. As a consumer, I can’t wait to be paying more! Perhaps a price increase will help limit the consumption of this precious rivalrous […]

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A lengthy debate

A lengthy debate

Norwich City Council is introducing a system of parking permit charges determined by the length of the vehicle: The move away from flat-fee permits will penalise drivers who own vehicles more than 4.45 metres (14½ft) in length, such as the Vauxhall Vectra. Brian Morrey, vice-chairman […]

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Biting Apple

Biting Apple

Interesting to see the BBC’s summary of the current iPhone update story: “Apple issues an update which damages iPhones that have been hacked by users”. I’m not sure that’s quite how Apple’s PR people would have put it, but it’s interesting to see that whoever […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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In default, defiance

In default, defiance

‘Choice of default’ is a theme which has come up a few times on the blog: in general, many people accept the options/settings presented to them, and do not question or attempt to alter them. The possibilities for controlling or shaping users’ behaviour in this […]

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Dishonourable discharge?

Dishonourable discharge?

Long overdue, I’m currently reading Bruce Schneier‘s excellent Beyond Fear, and realising that in many ways, security thinking overlaps with architectures of control: the goal of so many systems is to control users’ behaviour or to deny the user the ability to perform certain actions. […]

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Pier pressure

Pier pressure

   Deliberately routing users via a longer or more circuitous route is found in many forms (with a variety of intentions) from misleading road signs, to endless click-through screens, splitting up articles, periodic rearrangement of supermarket shelves, and so on. This kind of forcing function […]

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Another charging opportunity?

Another charging opportunity?

Last month, an Apple patent application was published describing a method of “Protecting electronic devices from extended unauthorized use” – effectively a ‘charging rights management’ system. New Scientist and OhGizmo have stories explaining the system; while the stated intention is to make stolen devices less […]

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Bad profits

Bad profits

The Gillette Sensor Excel not only comes with a dummy blade, it also only comes with two out of five possible blade slots filled. Images from Sevenblock on Flickr. The razor-blade model in general is something of an old chestnut as far as architectures of […]

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Ticket off (reprise)

Ticket off (reprise)

Last year we looked at the way that the pricing structure of no-change-given ticket machines is often – apparently – designed to lead to overpayment, and I posed the question of whether councils/car park operators actually draw up their budget based on a significant proportion […]

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Useful terminat-ology

Useful terminat-ology

Image from Black Flag website. Sometimes there’s very useful terminology in one field, or culture, which allows clearer or more succinct explanation of concepts in another. In the UK we don’t have Roach Motels. There are doubtless similar products, but they don’t have such a […]

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Friday quote: Fashion & convention

Friday quote: Fashion & convention

L.J.K. Setright, the late motoring writer and commentator, self-taught mechanical engineer and all-round Renaissance Man, once wrote: Fashion is a terrible fetter; convention, since it lasts longer, is even worse. This was in an issue of Car, when it was still any good. Setright wrote […]

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Some links

Some links

First, an apology for anyone who’s had problems with the RSS/Atom feeds over the last month or so. I think they’re fixed now (certainly Bloglines has started picking them up again) but please let me know if you don’t read this. Oops, that won’t work… […]

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Digital control round-up

Digital control round-up

Some developments in – and commentary on – digital architectures of control to end 2006: Peter Gutmann’s ‘A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection’ (via Bruce Schneier) looks very lucidly at the effects that Vista’s DRM and measures to ‘protect’ content will have – […]

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A couple of stories from the Consumerist

A couple of stories from the Consumerist

“Is Sylvester Stallone Taking Over Your TV?” – anecdotal suggestion that some digital video recorders may be attempting to ‘push’ certain movie franchises in the run-up to release by recording (unrequested) previous titles in a series, or with the same actors. Well, this is totally […]

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