GDPR and geoblocking

I’ve seen it argued that GDPR prohibits geoblocking. The argument goes something like this: The ECJ has ruled that IP addresses are personal data. The text of Article 4 of the GDPR says: ‘profiling’ means any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements;

Semi-carnally

I’m reading a collection of Harlan Ellison stories from the mid 1970s. In one of the introductions he compares his literary style unfavorably to Cyril Connolly. Who? In the mid 70s, Connolly was a famous figure, apparently a dazzling writer but never able to write a great novel. He was mainstream enough to be part of a Monty Python joke, featuring in the “Eric The Half-A-Bee” song at the end of the Fish License sketch on one of their albums.

Video games: It's all about the story

I saw an article recently where someone wrote about the fact that he had realized he wasn’t going to finish any of the half dozen video games he had started playing – and that he was OK with that. This surprised me, so I looked for statistics on how many people finish video games. An item from 2011 suggests that 90% of the time people don’t finish a video game, but that’s based on an industry anecdote.

Facebook alternatives

A while back I posted about how online communication has changed, based on the experience of looking back at old e-mail and how we used to write. I proposed the idea of going back to mailing lists, as the easiest alternative to the social networking sites that are busy destroying society. Nobody seemed interested, but I’m not ready to submit to Facebook yet. I decided to go out and look for a viable alternative.

Overdrive

At the end of last month, Jeff Bezos gave an interview where he said: The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it. How much financial resource? $130.8 billion dollars. As one person worked out, that’s enough money to buy an entire house, at median US real estate prices, for every single homeless person in the USA — and still have $19.

This Is Actually Happening

I listen to a lot of podcasts. One I’ve just finished catching up on is “This Is Actually Happening”. It’s a little like Radio Diaries, or some episodes of This American Life, in that it’s basically just a person telling the story of something that happened to them. In the case of TIAH, however, the stories are generally cranked up towards 11, stories of the kind of experience you would have to remind yourself was real, and not just a bad dream.

The end of Camp Sumter

With the Civil War ending, so ended the Confederate prison at Andersonville, known as Fort Sumter. Built in early 1864, by late February it was receiving 400 new prisoners a day. By June, 26,000 were penned in an area designed to hold 10,000. Ultimately around 45,000 captured US soldiers were sent to Andersonville. Of those, almost 13,000 died from disease, malnutrition, or exposure.

Maryland doesn't join the Confederacy

On 29 April 1861, Maryland’s legislature voted 53-13 against convening a secessionist convention. However, they also voted not to reopen rail links with the north, and requested that Lincoln remove federal troops from the state. Lincoln responded by giving the army limited authority to suspend habeas corpus. When the state militia demolished several railroad bridges, Militia Lieutenant John Merryman was arrested, charged with treason, and placed in custody. Chief Supreme Court Justice Taney issued a ruling in Ex parte Merryman stating that the President could not authorize the suspension of habeas corpus, but Merryman remained in custody, with Lincoln explaining that he had been authorized because Congress had been out of session at the time, and an invasion or rebellion could have taken place.

Birth of Ulysses S Grant

28 April marks the birth of Hiram Ulysses Grant, better known as Ulysses S Grant, Commanding General of US forces at the end of the Civil War. Following Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson became President. Grant was dissatisfied with Johnson’s approach to postwar reconstruction, which did not include giving protection to the former slaves. Johnson even attempted to veto the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which passed only because of a two thirds majority in both houses overruling him.

New Orleans surrenders

On 28 April 1862, New Orleans surrendered to US forces. The following day, Flag Officer David G Farragut and 250 marines from the USS Hartford removed the flag of Louisiana from the City Hall and replaced it with the Stars and Stripes. The Confederacy had lost its largest port, and the Union had a starting point for supply lines.