Legal, Laws, and Regs Money

The arbitration death march

If you’ve been following my ramblings for any length of time, you know that I love cephalopods, and hate mandatory arbitration agreements. Well, the Humboldt squid have got the divers on the run in the waters off the California coast, and the consumer protection advocates now have the major arbitration firms on the run in the rest of the country.

I missed the story about the Minnesota Attorney General filing a lawsuit against NAF, the National Arbitration Forum, the worst of the mandatory arbitration firms. As part of the settlement, NAF had to pull completely out of arbitrating any consumer arbitrations. Luckily, I caught up with the news when the C & P weblog announced that the AAA is following the NAF, and this before Congress has ruled on the Fair Arbitration Act.

Sometimes, we win one.

update If you’re curious as to why I’m so down on mandatory arbitration, read this story at NPR.


Let loose the hounds of war

The space around HTML 5 just got more active, though whether what will follow will be an improvement in conditions is hard to say.

Because of a series of discussions in the W3C 2 cents emails list, a process is underway to provide a procedure whereby people can now act as their own editors of their own version of the HTML 5 specification. Eventually they’ll either be able to move their documents into Working Draft status, or petition to have sections in the current Editor’s draft replaced with their own sections. If consensus can’t be met on the petition, a vote will occur. Needless to say, you have to be a member of the HTML WG, but anyone can become a member. Just sign up for an account, answer a small questionnaire and you’ll be in. There’s even a FAQ for joining.

Much of the fervor around this move could be seen as a way of correcting the W3C’s chartering mistakes. Much of it, though, is also by people who are, they say, “tired of the complaints”, and see this as an effective approach to shutting up the complainers.

Though there’s nothing formally specified about numbers of participants on a new draft or draft section, Sam Ruby has requested that at least three people get behind any one work, just so the group, as a whole, can see there’s enough interest in the work to make the discussion and/or vote a good use of the group’s time.

Ian Hickson, the editor of HTML 5, has said that he’s asked for new editors in the past. Asked, and asked again. Well, now his request is being answered.


You get what you pay for

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Fake Steve Jobs

We all know that there’s no fucking way in the world we should have microwave ovens and refrigerators and TV sets and everything else at the prices we’re paying for them. […] You want to “fix things in China,” well, it’s gonna cost you. Because everything you own, it’s all done on the backs of millions of poor people whose lives are so awful you can’t even begin to imagine them, people who will do anything to get a life that is a tiny bit better than the shitty one they were born into, people who get exploited and treated like shit and, in the worst of all cases, pay with their lives.

(quote via Simon Willison)

We’re still hearing more details about a young man killing himself in China because of a missing iPhone prototype, and the subsequent accusations against him. Fake Steve Jobs hit the issue right on the head with biting satire, as he writes about our willingness, or lack of willingness, to pay a little more for something in order to ensure good working conditions for the workers.

There will be lots of condemnation among the social media: blog posts, and Twitter trends, and shaking of virtual heads. Avatars will get colored, icons posted, hash marks used. Solidarity!

The same folks making the most noise, though, will most likely be the first in line at Apple to buy that iPhone when it comes out. Stand in line, and blog, Twit, Book, Space their experience. Because, let’s face it, and I’m sure Fake Steve would agree: it’s a lot easier to dye your avatar green, than to make a lifestyle change that will make a real difference.

I find it ironic that as this story is being discussed, a report comes out about Apple’s record profits, primarily due to the iPhone.