Death of the EULA?

I’ve often said that the End User License Agreement (EULA) is going to eventually be challenged and defeated in court.  It is quite simply too broad, too vague, and too one sided to pass the “reasonable person” test.  And, from Bruce Schneier’s Blog, there appears to be a step in that direction.  Granted it is a selected case, and deals with company to company contracts and situations, but it is a first step.  So let’s talk about this for a second.

The EULA was put in place to (presumably) protect the software vendor from lawsuits stemming from the fact that errors are always going to exist in software, so they needed to be protected from lawsuits against them for reasonable errors and issues that can be fixed quickly.  This was a reasonable step (IMO) to help software innovation.  However…

Software companies have taken this idea way too far, and in doing so, have tried to absolve themselves of any responsibility for any error, no matter how damaging or preventable, and from any responsibility for restitution, no matter how reasonable.  This is entirely silly.  If your software sucks, you need to be held accountable for it.  If your software is good, but you make reasonable errors, and a reasonable attempt to correct those errors in a timely fashion, you shouldn’t be held to account too deeply for that.  It’s a matter of common sense vs lawyers, and the lawyers get paid to see only the side of their client.

Maybe it would be reasonable for the users and producers to get together, without lawyers, to ensure both sides come to equitable answers, but until then I still will be on record as saying the Death of the EULA is inevitable.

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1940’s Guide to Hiring women, updated (with Humor intended)

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine, written for male supervisors of women during World War II. These were “helpful tips” on supervising women at work.

  1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  3. General experience indicates that “husky” girls – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
  4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination – one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
  5. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy.
  6. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
  7. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  8. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
  9. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
  10. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
  11. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman – it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.

 

However I thought it might be fun to adjust this to the modern times by adjusting it to reflect the same attitude toward the younger generation of “Internet users”.  Maybe I’m just old … but here goes:

  1. Pick young Internet Savvy people. They usually have more of a sense of technology than their unconnected peers, they’re less likely to be distracted or challenged by technology, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the Facebook and Twitter accounts to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  2. When you have to use disconnected people, try to get ones who have worked on a computerat some time in their lives. Disconnected people who have never contacted a computer have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon disconnected people the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  3. General experience indicates that “husky” computer users – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight brethren.
  4. Retain a technician to give each person you hire a special technical examination – one covering computer conditions.  This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any technical weaknesses which would make them mentally or physically unfit for the job.
  5. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each employee can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping computer users happy.
  6. Be reasonably considerate about using chat-speak around non-techs. Even though a person’s spouse or significant other may chat consistently, they’ll grow to dislike a place of business where they hear too much of “R U” and “what did you Tweet just now?”.
  7. Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minute or two lost here and there Tweeting makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  8. Give the employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without Tweeting their buddy list for entertainment every few minutes. Numerous properties say that computer users make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack desire to find work themselves.
  9. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one web site to another at some time during the day. Facebookers are inclined to be less nervous and happier with multiple outlets for their desire to post status.
  10. Give every chatter an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for chat addict psychology. A chatter has more confidence and is more efficient if they can keep their status updated, apply fresh skins to their websites, and flush their caches several times a day.
  11. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Tweeters are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way older people do. Never ridicule a Tweeter – it generally makes them annoyed and may result in an angry Tweet, Facebook post, or Fail Blog entry.

( 🙂 )

Undersea cables, hmmm

Ok, so undersea cables are having issues.  So while I find the incidents highly suspicious, given the timing of a variety of things, I certainly still believe this is a purely coincidental.  So far it has all the makings of some really great conspiracy theories and Hollywood can let the writers strike for a few more weeks out of the “truth is stranger than fiction” stuff that is bound to circulate around this one.  (For those keeping score I’m not a huge labor union person, but I think the Writers in this one are right and I support their strike, from my limited view on it)

I’m not going to dive too deeply (pun only slightly intended) into the topic of undersea cables, but it is sure to strike up the flames of thoeries and counter theories for a while yet to come.  If you have a chance read the comments in the thread linked (nod to Bruce Schneier again for the blog post linked above).