Thursday, July 17, 2014

Open Source Madness

I wrote a thing for the EFF Deeplinks blog! Cross-posting it here.

The Yorba Foundation, a non-profit group that produces open source Linux desktop software, reported last week that it was denied tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the IRS. The group had waited nearly five years for a decision. The IRS stated that, because the software Yorba develops can be used commercially, the organization has a substantial non-exempt purpose and is disqualified from tax-exempt status. We think the IRS’ decision rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of open source software.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Book Tracking Summary

After last year’s book project, anything I do this year will pale in comparison. But I am keeping track of my reading on Goodreads, and have a spreadsheet with some information about the authors I’m reading.

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(Picture of books I’ve read so far this year.)

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Day in San Francisco, in Snapchats (some sent, some not)

No, there are no sexts.

Walk to Bernal Heights from the Sunset (approximate time, 1 hour).

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

San Francisco for the Summer

A quick life update: I’m in San Francisco for next couple of months, working on coder’s rights and assorted other internety things at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (They have the coolest entrance.)

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Not Only Filters: Some Suggestions for Dealing with Malware Protection in Libraries

Happy 4/04 Day

Recently, I was at the Cambridge Public Library looking for divorce paperwork for Massachusetts (for more on why that happened, check out this post.) CPL doesn’t use filtering software on their computers (woo!) and has a clear and concise use policy as well as individual privacy screens. From that perspective, it was an ideal library computer experience.

However the short form financial statement (non-malware pdf at link), available from the MA court website and necessary for many court filings, was actually blocked by CPL’s anti-malware software. I tried a couple of different times to download it, including on different browsers, before eventually finding the form was available elsewhere on the Plymouth County Court website. 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Filing for Divorce in MA: Doing Law School Right

Most law school assignments don’t make you reflect deeply on your relationship to your community or to the legal system. But I actually did something this semester that made me heavily consider how I as a law student relate to Cambridge, and how the law relates to everyday people. I tried to figure out how to file for divorce in Massachusetts.

To be clear, no, I’m not married, and no, I’m not getting divorced.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rdio Evangelism

There are very few Internet services that I’m actively an evangelist for – Twitter is one, because I’ve met so many cool people through it. The other that I’m always trying to convert people to is Rdio, which is a music streaming service. 

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Great Book Project of 2013: Now in Video Format

Last month, I gave a show and tell talk at the Quantified Self Boston meetup where I talked about quantifying my book reading habits from last year, and what I learned from setting diversity goals. It was a ton of fun - I did a 5-minute Ignite-style intro to the project, and then the audience asked some great questions.

Kendra Albert - The Great Book Project of 2013 - Boston QS from James Zhen on Vimeo.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Things that Make Me Happy

I wrote a long reflective post about my first semester of law school and how I feel that the legal educational system sets people up for failure by forcing them to give up things that are important to them.

But just writing it made me sad and a little annoyed, so posting it here would make me sadder. I’ll explain at some point. But for now, have a list of things that make me happy.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Perma: Solving Link Rot and Reference Rot

Jonathan Zittrain, Larry Lessig and I have been working on a paper laying out some empirical evidence of linkrot and reference rot in law review and Supreme Court citations, and proposing a solution, which is called Perma.ccOur research found that 49% of links in SCOTUS opinions and between 60-70% of journal links are broken - a huge number that only increases as time passes. The full results are available at the draft on SSRN

Given that the New York Times picked up this research, it’s about time for me to write something about it. Sorry blog readers, I was scooped.

So I’ll just say this: Perma has the potential to save legal scholarship and court opinions from some of the problems the paper mentions. This change, like many changes to legal citation, needs to come from below - from the libraries and journals, and then upwards to the courts. I’m thrilled that our empirical work has enough of a shocking numerical value to get folks to pay attention, but even more thrilled that we have a real solution to offer.