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Clinton Pavlovic
Works at Pietersen Incorporated
Lives in Johannesburg
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Clinton Pavlovic

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This is the first part of a two part article about AMD, and its rise and (now apparent) fall. There are some interesting revelations about the company management and direction taken.

I have some fond memories of the company, and a time I would often scoff at people who insisted on paying more for an inferior CPU just because it was made by Intel. 
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Clinton Pavlovic

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A movie to watch!

"After a catastrophic crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring that could have killed him, Formula One driver Niki Lauda (Brühl) returns to face his rival James Hunt (Hemsworth) in their pursuit of the 1976 World Championship at Fuji in Japan."
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Clinton Pavlovic

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An excellent article about the possible future, and intentions of, Microsoft to push Windows applications into a walled garden controlled by Microsoft. 

Sad, but at the moment is there any real viable alternative to Microsoft Windows (or iOS) when it comes to current application compatibility?

"... the new tiled UI is a means for Microsoft to lock Windows applications into a walled garden, much like the one on iOS. There is this 'small detail' that Microsoft is not advertising anywhere, but you can find it dug deep in the developer documentation:

One cannot release a tiled UI application by any other means, but only through Windows Store! I cannot even begin to stress out just how horrible this idea is! There is no side-loading, except for corporate use inside one company, and that works only on the enterprise edition of Windows 8.

Do we all understand what that means? You cannot download an application from the Internet and run it on your computer. You have to get it from Microsoft's store. Even if it is a free app!"
 
"Microsoft are bullies. They always have been. What do we do with bullies, boys and girls? Punch 'em in the nose."
Hard words in this rant about Windows 8 but everything that stops Microsoft from further locking up the PC helps. 
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Clinton Pavlovic

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I love history and science. Here's both. I found this interesting.
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I am giving Feedly a try as a replacement to Google Reader. I haven't used it much yet, but so far it seems like a decent alternative.
 
Feedly is the new Reader!

It's actually so good that my sorrow over Google Reader's imminent death has turned to optimism for the future of RSS.  

Feedly imported all my Reader sources without a hitch, and it gives me better control over layout per feed group, and better tools for marking stuff as read.  It also makes it easy to share to most, if not all social services.

So - why RSS, Reader and Feedly?  Why not just use Google News, News Republic, News360, Pulse and the other news concentrators?

Well - they do algorithmic selections of the most read or most popular content whereas I want to drink straight from the unfiltered fire hose that is my selection of sources.  I want to see those little odd stories I would otherwise miss.

Feedly runs on Chrome, Safari and FireFox, and have native apps for iOS and Android.

With Project Normandy, Feedly offers a drop-in replacement for the Google Reader API,  allow the Google Reader add-on tools to easily transition to Normandy after Google Reader is dead and buried. It makes you wonder - will Feedly eventually do a service like Feedburner as well?  It could make sense as it almost seems like Google are looking at merging content into their services by crawling, more than by syndication.

The King is dead. Long live the King!
#ripgooglereader   #feedly  
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This is the best piece about privacy that I've read in a long time!  If it doesn't change how you think about the privacy issue, I'll be surprised.  It opens:

"Many governments (including our own, here in the US) would have its citizens believe that privacy is a switch (that is, you either reasonably expect it, or you don’t). This has been demonstrated in many legal tests, and abused in many circumstances ranging from spying on electronic mail, to drones in our airspace monitoring the movements of private citizens. But privacy doesn’t work like a switch – at least it shouldn’t for a country that recognizes that privacy is an inherent right. In fact, privacy, like other components to security, works in layers..."

Please read!
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Clinton Pavlovic

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Bitcoin, the decentralized, secure, but bankless currency is like the Wikipedia: impossible in theory, but possible in practice. Despite doubters, it continues.

However a sophisticated analysis of it by Felix Salmon, a financial guy, makes a clear argument that while Bitcoin has many good qualities, it is not a good currency.

Bitcoin was invented to be based on mistrust, instead of trust. If you have currency based on trust -- trust of a bank, or government -- then sooner or later they will fail and destabilize the currency. Bitcoin is based on the trust of math, so is hard to destabilize. But it is also hard to stablize.

The problem with bitcoin is that it acts more like a commodity, going into bubble mode, run up by speculation, and gyrating in value like a scarce commodity. That's no way to run a currency, which you want very stable.

So Salmon says, a decentrized, frictionless, borderless currency is very needed, but it is not Bitcoin:

"I do have hope that in the future, someone, somewhere, is going to learn from bitcoin’s mistakes, and build a better system. One which needs less technological expertise to use; one which can grow organically, instead of only at a predetermined rate; one which is designed to be used primarily as a payments mechanism, rather than as a store of value and a unit of speculation."

This article is worth reading because it really is about the future of currency, the best and clearest I've read.

https://medium.com/money-banking/2b5ef79482cb
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Clinton Pavlovic

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This is a very interesting post (and discussion in the comment section of the original post) that talks about the main arguments in favour of DRM (digital rights management), and argues that:

"... [t]he purpose of DRM is not to prevent copyright violations.The purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage against creators of playback devices. Content providers have leverage against content distributors, because distributors can't legally distribute copyrighted content without the permission of the content's creators ...".
 
Discussions about DRM often land on the fundamental problem with DRM: that it doesn't work, or worse, that it is in fact mathematically impossible to make it work. The argument goes as follows:

1. The purpose of DRM is to prevent people from copying content while allowing people to view that content,

2. You can't hide something from someone while showing it to them,

3. And in any case widespread copyright violations (e.g. movies on file sharing sites) often come from sources that aren't encrypted in the first place, e.g. leaks from studios.

It turns out that this argument is fundamentally flawed. Usually the arguments from pro-DRM people are that #2 and #3 are false. But no, those are true. The problem is #1 is false.

The purpose of DRM is not to prevent copyright violations.

The purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage against creators of playback devices.

Content providers have leverage against content distributors, because distributors can't legally distribute copyrighted content without the permission of the content's creators. But if that was the only leverage content producers had, what would happen is that users would obtain their content from those content distributors, and then use third-party content playback systems to read it, letting them do so in whatever manner they wanted.

Here are some examples:

A. Paramount make a movie. A DVD store buys the rights to distribute this movie from Paramount, and sells DVDs. You buy the DVD, and want to play it. Paramount want you to sit through some ads, so they tell the DVD store to put some ads on the DVD labeled as "unskippable".

Without DRM, you take the DVD and stick it into a DVD player that ignores "unskippable" labels, and jump straight to the movie.

With DRM, there is no licensed player that can do this, because to create the player you need to get permission from Paramount -- or rather, a licensing agent created and supported by content companies, DVD-CCA -- otherwise, you are violating some set of patents, anti-circumvention laws, or both.

B. Columbia make a movie. Netflix buys the rights to distribute this movie from Columbia, and sells access to the bits of the movie to users online. You get a Netflix subscription. Columbia want you to pay more if you want to watch it simultaneously on your TV and your phone, so they require that Netflix prevent you from doing this.

Now. You are watching the movie upstairs with your family, and you hear your cat meowing at the door downstairs.

Without DRM, you don't have to use Netflix's software, so maybe just pass the feed to some multiplexing software, which means that you can just pick up your phone, tell it to stream the same movie, continue watching it while you walk downstairs to open the door for the cat, come back upstairs, and turn your phone off, and nobody else has been inconvenienced and you haven't missed anything.

With DRM, you have to use Netflix's software, so you have to play by their rules. There is no licensed software that will let you multiplex the stream. You could watch it on your phone, but then your family misses out. They could keep watching, but then you miss out. Nobody is allowed to write software that does anything Columbia don't want you to do. Columbia want the option to charge you more when you go to let your cat in, even if they don't actually make it possible yet.

C. Fox make a movie. Apple buys the rights to sell it on iTunes. You buy it from iTunes. You want to watch it on your phone. Fox want you to buy the movie again if you use anything not made by Apple.

Without DRM, you just transfer it to your phone and watch it, since the player on any phone, whether made by Apple or anyone else, can read the video file.

With DRM, only Apple can provide a licensed player for the file. If you're using any phone other than an iPhone, you cannot watch it, because nobody else has been allowed to write software that decrypts the media files sold by Apple.

In all three cases, nobody has been stopped from violating a copyright. All three movies are probably available on file sharing sites. The only people who are stopped from doing anything are the player providers -- they are forced to provide a user experience that, rather than being optimised for the users, puts potential future revenues first (forcing people to play ads, keeping the door open to charging more for more features later, building artificial obsolescence into content so that if you change ecosystem, you have to purchase the content again).

Arguing that DRM doesn't work is, it turns out, missing the point. DRM is working really well in the video and book space. Sure, the DRM systems have all been broken, but that doesn't matter to the DRM proponents. Licensed DVD players still enforce the restrictions. Mass market providers can't create unlicensed DVD players, so they remain a black or gray market curiosity. DRM failed in the music space not because DRM is doomed, but because the content providers sold their digital content without DRM, and thus enabled all kinds of players they didn't expect (such as "MP3" players). Had CDs been encrypted, iPods would not have been able to read their content, because the content providers would have been able to use their DRM contracts as leverage to prevent it.

DRM's purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well.

As a corollary to this, look at the companies who are pushing for DRM. Of the ones who would have to implement the DRM, they are all companies over which the content providers already, without DRM, have leverage: the companies that both license content from the content providers and create software or hardware players. Because they license content, the content providers already have leverage against them: they can essentially require them to be pro-DRM if they want the content. The people against the DRM are the users, and the player creators who don't license content. In other words, the people over whom the content producers have no leverage. 
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Attorney
Introduction
An attorney of the High Court of South Africa with mining law, corporate law, commercial law and litigation experience in South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. 

Provides legal advice and assistance in the mining, energy and natural resources sectors, which includes the negotiation and structuring of transactions, drafting and review of corporate and commercial agreements, regulatory compliance and conducting due diligence investigations.

Expertise includes:
  • Commercial Drafting;
  • Commercial Litigation;
  • Corporate Law;
  • Minerals and Mining Law;
  • Regulatory Compliance.
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Johannesburg
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Pretoria - Rustenburg
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  • Pietersen Incorporated
    Senior Associate, 2012 - present
  • Pietersen Incorporated
    Associate, 2010 - 2012
  • Leppan Beech Incorporated
    Attorney, 2007 - 2010
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Pietersen Inc
www.pietersens.co.za

Pietersen Incorporated is a multidisciplinary law firm with its head office in Illovo, Johannesburg and a national and continental footprint