Category: Uncategorized

Dirty Necessary Money

Up at Cornell, Tom Bruce has a post about the problem of funding open access to legal materials. This brings to mind a conversation I had with a doctor friend recently about AltLaw. My friend, accustomed to the open-access requirements of NIH grants, was frankly shocked that there are no comparable rules for legal decisions.…

Read the full article

Lawyers and Engineers

Part of what I hope to do with the Program on Law & Technology at Columbia is bridge the communication gap between lawyers and engineers.  The two groups think completely differently. To take a recent example, a new P2P file-sharing system has emerged called the Owner-Free Filesystem (OFF).  It stores and transmits only chunks of…

Read the full article

Strange Referrers

The web is a strange beast.  Server logs reveal just how strange.  Someone’s crawling, sending an HTTP Referrer of “” with a User-Agent identified as “MSIE 5.00; Windows 98”.  What the heck?


Finally, my blog has a new theme.  I liked the old one, but it was getting a bit… old.  And the serif-font-on-a-translucent-background-image was never a great idea.  I didn’t have time for a complete redesign, so I settled on the excellent Mandigo theme by onehertz.  The header image is my own — the view from…

Read the full article


I need a new laptop.  My current machine, a rebranded ASUS that I bought on the cheap a few years ago, has developed a crack in the screen hinge, so it’s only a matter of time. I have to admit, I’m sorely tempted by the Macbook Air.  It’s a beautiful machine — sleek, light, even…

Read the full article

New York Neanderthals

Paul Graham writes, “Cambridge seems to be the intellectual capital of the world. … And what US city has a stronger claim? New York? A fair number of smart people, but diluted by a much larger number of neanderthals in suits.” Harsh but true. I’ve never been to Cambridge, and never lived in any city…

Read the full article

Privacy, Open Access, and the Law

Since we started putting court cases on the interwebs, first with Project Posner and then with AltLaw, we’ve had the occasional angry email from someone who Googles himself/herself and finds a court case from 20 years ago that reveals embarrassing and career-damaging facts.  They usually want the page taken down. Now, sometimes I’m sympathetic with…

Read the full article

URI Templates for RDF

There’s a school of thought that URIs should be opaque identifiers with no inherent meaning or structure. I think this is clearly a bad idea on the human-facing web, but it is more reasonable for computer-facing web services. However, I’ve been generating a lot of RDF lately, trying to organize piles of metadata in AltLaw.…

Read the full article