Sunday, 28 December 2003
So here's my initial straw man suggestion for how to do this.
1. create a new playist format that refers to songs by a canonical naming scheme - MusicBrainz has a good starting point. These get put in URI's that look something like:
How does one resolve this URI?
Implement an app that tries several alternatives:
1. Is it in the local music collection?
2. Is it available on a label or artist website/bittorrent?
3. Is a promotional extract up on Amazon or iTunes store?
4. allow further plugins
In each case the name/title are used for an initial match, and the sing identification process defined by MusicBrainz used to be sure we have a real match.
Tuesday, 23 December 2003
Remarkably honest reporting by DRM Watch here. The DRM 'Industry' has a vested interest in destroying the free transmission of information over the public internet in favour of closed, restricted networks.
Saturday, 13 December 2003
As I worked on the first official release of Ansel Adams images in digital form - the Ansel Adams screensaver - I feel somewhat qualified to pontificate on this.
What everyone is missing is that it is not a question of resolution, but of dynamic range.
With film the issue is blurred by questions of grain, but with digital the problem is which image format to use.
TIFF supports more than 8-bits per channel, but JPEG does not, nor do most computer displays. Most digital cameras only generate 8-bits per channel of dynamic range, and are still competing on resolution.
On the other hand, even the $30 scanners do 12-bits per channel these days, and 14-bits per channel (42-bit) are only about $50.
I expect that digital cameras will pick up on this soon, but we'll need a file-format change (and possibly a better transient storage device than flash memory) and new low-cost software to make it mainstream. Ironically, all the sophisticated exposure calculation that makes many digital cameras too slow to use for action snapshots could be reduced if they upped the dynamic range a few stops.
If you want to see what kinds of dynamic range digital photography is really capable of, have a look at the Hubble images, where every photon is carefully counted.
Tuesday, 9 December 2003
Monday, 8 December 2003
Steve, there is an existing HTML RFC for sending diffs that is perfectly suited to this - RFC3229. I mentioned this when it came out in Jan 2002.
Friday, 5 December 2003
This rests on one of the fundamental pillars of Computer Science - the Church Turing Thesis that states that any computer can emulate any other. When this is combined with the continual improvement in computing power available, it means we will always be able to run old software, or indeed protected software, by emulating the environment it runs within.
Simson Garfinkel describes how emulation saved the BBC Domesday Project, the authors of which I worked with at the BBC and the MMC.
"But that wasn't DRM" I hear the cry, "just obsolete hardware and data formats".
How about a systematic program that defeats the hardware protection for pay per use interactive experiences that works in a general enough way to encompass 25 years worth of hardware design?
It's called MAME and it has just been ported to the Nokia N-Gage cellphone/game gadget. It has emulators for various CPUs (and graphics and sound chips) to run the code directly from the original game ROMs - they look and feel just like the real thing
If Nokia are smart they will license this and the games and use it to promote the gadget - this company has licensed Atari ROMs for sale. After all, those 80s games are smaller than most MMS photos that get sent, and they're lots more fun than ringtones.
I hope Ed Felten and maybe can explain this to the assembled lawyers at the Berkman conference today. Most of them seem to like on compulsory licensing schemes.
I wish I had been able to take the chance offered to join them and present mediAgora to them. I look forward to reading the blogging of the event.
Here's a cartoon I made with the wonderfully silly Bayeux Tapestry Construction Kit
Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Tim - you're in VC. You should know the difference between a demo and a product.
If it weren't for commodities, we wouldn't have civilization. Or food.
There's plenty of money to be made in - and on (or choose any other preposition) - commodities. You just have to think smart about the stupid stuff. Is it that hard?
Commodities are great - to paraphrase something Clayton Christensen said - once your business has become commoditized it is simple enough that you can hire some MBAs to run it for you.
It is a great essay until this paragraph::
This aspiration: "It should also be compatible with the current generation of digital playback devices, including CD players." is impossible. CD players play unencrypted, uncompressed digital audio. A drm'd format would require new players.
Monday, 1 December 2003
Dave W said: I feel we're at a turning point in the weblog world, either we're going to be like every other hierarchy that's ever been, with secret deals, lots of impediments to progress, eventual stagnation; or we're going to overcome that.
Dave thinks in hierarchies; whether this is because he invented outlining, or why he invented outlining I'm not sure. Along the way he added links into the picture, so his hierarchies can link to other nodes, or other hierarchies to get as complex as you like.
The conventional wisdom is that links beat out hierarchies - Google's link-centric approach beat out Yahoo's hierarchy-centric approach (the HO in Yahoo stood for Hierarchically Oriented).
However, another way of looking at it is top-down versus bottom-up - central design versus emergence.
Dave W wants to build a bottom-up emergent taxonomy, using open debate and open standards.
Steve Gillmor is saying something similar about how we can grow new things.
I have a couple of ideas that I need to write up as spec proposals to try to start such discussions - one about 'vote links', one a new bit of metadata for feeds saying whether they are complete or not.
However, I look at blogs like this and feel like Ginger in Gary Larson's classic What Dogs Hear.
'squiggle squiggle squiggle Blog squiggle squiggle squiggle Permalink'
Friday, 28 November 2003
"So sue me" stated young Norwegian hacker Jon Lech Johansen last week after he posted a program to crack iTunes air-tight security.
Johansen posted the program called "QTFairUse", with the previously mentioned quote, on his own website. The free software has the uncanny ability to sidestep iTunes anti-copying software, MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding that once installed illegally views protected music files in QuickTime without paying a fee or royalty.
1) 'air-tight' security is remarkably meaningless. In fact, oscillating air is the primary security 'hole' in iTunes, followed closely by the built-in CD-burning code.
2) 'uncanny' is an odd thing to say about source code. It's pretty clear what he is doing if you can read C, and if you can't why not talk to someone who can first?
3) MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding is not anti-copying software, it is a compression format. The anti-copying stuff is called FairPlay.
4) That last sentence manages to call AAC illegal.
5) You can already listen to (not view, unless you count the tiny spectrum display) the protected music files in QT Player, as long as you know the username/password.
6) You have to have already paid for the music for this to work. All it does it replace the 'burn to CD' option with a less convenient way to extract the audio (It only works on one song at a time as it is played).
7) It's highly arguable that this is illegal, given that transferring music to other forms is explicitly legal - indeed were it not, the CD to MP3/AAC part of iTunes would be illegal. There may be a DMCA case on circumvention grounds here, but it isn't a good one, given the fact that iTunes will let you make CDs from the same file. In any case the DMCA is not Norwegian law.
Still, I'm surprised it took this long for someone to start the arms race in this instance. I hope my old friends in Apple don't get dragged into it.
Wednesday, 26 November 2003
Donate to Rupert - the True Survivor
Andrew drew the picture.
He made a t-shirt too.
Sunday, 23 November 2003
Let's start with abandoned trolls. Thanks to busy debunkers trolling has got harder.
The most obvious reason for abandonment is simple boredom. Writing is tiresome. Why anyone would do it voluntarily on a troll mystifies a lot of professional writers. This is compounded by a lack of feedback, positive or otherwise. Perseus thinks that most trolls have an audience of about 12 readers. Leaflets posted on the corkboard at Albertsons attract a larger readership than many trolls. Some people must feel the futility.
The problem is further compounded by professional writers who promote trolling, with the thought that they are increasing their own readership. It's no coincidence that the most-read trolls are created by professional writers. They have essentially suckered thousands of newbies, mavens, and just plain folk into trolling, solely to get return links in the form of the blogrolls and citations. This is, in fact, a remarkably slick grassroots marketing scheme that is in many ways awesome, albeit insincere.
Unfortunately, at some point, people will realize they've been used. This will happen sooner rather than later, since many mainstream publishers now see the opportunity for exploitation. Thus you find professionally written and edited faux trolls appearing on MSNBC's site, the Washington Post site, and elsewhere. This seems to be where trolling is headed�Big Media. So much for the independent thinking and reporting that are supposed to earmark blog journalism.
So now we have the emergence of the professional troll working for large media conglomerates and spewing the same measured news and opinions we've always had�except for fake edginess, which suggests some sort of independent, counterculture, free-thinking observers. But who signs the checks? The faux troll will replace the old personality columns that were once the rage in newspaperdom. Can you spell retro? These are not the hard-hitting independent voices we were promised. They are just a new breed of columnist with a gimmick and a stern corporate editor.
By� John C. Mahler
Previously by this author: Deconstructing the Troll
Thursday, 20 November 2003
|Information - Spread Innovation||Commercial - Improve the Status Quo||Guardian - Maintain the Status Quo|
Imagine a programmer working at 2 AM to add a feature to an Open Source program he didn't write. The programmer is not paid for this work; he does it because he wants the program to be more usable and more popular; he has been working for ten hours without a break. At 2:30 AM he adds his name to the list of authors, uploads the improved program to a web site for free distribution, then spends the next hour reading free articles on-line.
Imagine a small neighborhood shop. The employees should be ready to do business with anyone who walks in, and must maintain a reputation of honesty with both suppliers and customers. The store must continually improve, or the other stores will lure away its customers. A small business owner does not have a lot of free time and must work efficiently.
Imagine a fortress guarding a frontier. The soldiers must always be prepared to fight, but most of the time they are training or relaxing. Strict discipline is necessary to make them a unified fighting force. One traitor, or paid spy, can get them all killed. Visiting merchants are a distraction and a security problem; too much money floating around can weaken their dedication to the task.
|Shun force||Shun force||[Rely on force]|
|Shun trading||[Rely on trading]||Shun trading|
|Use intelligence||Use initiative and enterprise||Exert prowess|
|Publish all information||Be honest||Deceive for the sake of the task|
|Be idealistic||Be optimistic||Be fatalistic|
|Ignore comfort||Promote comfort and convenience||Make rich use of leisure|
|Respect authorship; Ignore ownership||Respect contracts|
[Defend your territory]
|Demonstrate the superiority of your own ideal||Dissent for the sake of the task||Be obedient and disciplined|
|Invent and create||Be open to inventiveness and novelty||Adhere to tradition|
|Shun authority||[Adapt to the system]||Respect hierarchy|
|Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens||Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens||Be exclusive|
|Accept largesse||Be thrifty||Dispense largesse|
|Be unique; Develop a reputation||Be industrious||Be ostentatious|
|Be productive||Invest for productive purposes||Take vengeance|
|Cooperate||Compete||[Fight, when necessary]|
|Be skillful||Be efficient||Be loyal|
|Gain mindshare||Come to voluntary agreements||Show fortitude|
|Treasure reputation||[Treasure financial success]||Treasure honor|
Supposedly, virtual worlds will eventually be our interface for everything online, a far friendlier and more fun and "easier" interface than, say, eBay. This is, when you think about it, a crock of shit; when I want to buy a shirt, I for sure don't want to walk through a virtual mall. In fact, the reason I go online to buy a shirt is to avoid walking through a goddamn mall. Give me quick access to your shirts and swift checkout, and I'm a happy puppy. Search and shopping cart in a web browser is what I want, thanks, not some high-concept notion of a high-touch universe. 3D worlds are lousy ways to find most of the things you want, precisely because they use the phenomenological universe as a metaphor.
Exactly. We can transcend space and time here, and we like it that way.
Wednesday, 19 November 2003
Our records indicate that you have purchased a PowerMac in 2001 . Do you still use this computer?
Which of the following best describes your current employment status? (Please select all that apply)
went on to ask lots of detailed questions about the Calendar software I use both at home and work.
It didn't give an opportunity to say what I did like about iCal (open file format, easy calendar publishing, easy to incorporate conference schedules) or what I dislike (UI is still really clunky and frequently messes up on my intentions), but asked lots of 'competitive analysis type questions.
Tuesday, 18 November 2003
1. First, I'm part of a constituency, like many others, who are looking for a candidate to vote for who supports our primary issue. Nothing unusual about that, easy to understand.
2. But as important, it would signal that the candidate is not beholden to the media companies. I would happily give money to candidates for ads that warn that the media industry is trying to rob us of our future, and explains how important it is to protect the independence of the Internet. Use the media industry channels to undermine their efforts to the�control channels they don't own, yet.
I previously blogged how 'pirate' Radio Caroline swung an election in the UK in 1970 and issued a call for copyright focused campaign weblogs.
Good to see Doc, Dan, Donna, Glenn, Cory and Jeff picking up on it this time round.
In presentations at conferences (and to students) lately, I've been talking about the importance of technologies like zero-conf networking, particularly as evidenced in OS X Rendezvous-enabled tools like iChat, iTunes, and SubEthaEdit (formerly Hydra). [...]
When I open iTunes these days, I often see shared music libraries from people I don't know;mostly students, some colleagues from other departments. The same people often show up in my Rendezvous iChat window. I don't know them, I don't interact with them, but I see them regularly, recognize their virtual presence.
Virtual shared public spaces need to get fairly large for this to happen, but it is happening. As fewer people travel by public transport or congregate in public spaces, these can perhaps re-kindle a sense of others around.
Monday, 17 November 2003
Teresa asks for help
wishing she heard more from
We're adding more servers
to help one find websites
linked back to thee
adding nine thousand to
one point two million
Improves your chances of
getting that egoboo.
New infrastructure will
keep you au fait.
Wednesday, 12 November 2003
Tuesday, 11 November 2003
Teresa Nielsen Heyden: Ghosts of the Great War
I remember in 1982, when at school in the UK, there was a vogue for wearing white 'peace poppies' that funded CND. On November the 11th, my history teacher, Mr. Evans, came in wearing a red poppy, and noticing some of the white ones, scrapped his lesson plan and told us about the Somme.
The part that sticks with me is him saying "The machine guns on the front used soft lead bullets about 4 inches long. They flattened and spread out on impact, making a hole the size of a soup plate on the way out of the soldiers body. Money given for the red poppies goes to care for the soldiers who survived this."
Sunday, 9 November 2003
If I google for wonder why science , Rosie comes out number 2, but the text at the top says
"why" is a very common word and was not included in your search.
If I google for wonder science , I get a completely different result set and Rosie is nowhere to be seen.
I think this is another example of Google weighting <title> tags above PageRank, but the disclaimers haven't caught up.
Thursday, 6 November 2003
Jacobs identifies two moral syndromes - a Guardian one and a Commercial one - takers and traders. You need both, but you shouldn't mix moral messages from each group.
Monday, 3 November 2003
It's a strong model: the end nodes are secure and the middle is not. It's clean, it's simple, and we just happen to have a solution for it.
Problem is, it's also wrong. The end systems are not secure, and the comms in the middle is actually remarkably safe.
(Whoa! Did he say that?) Yep, I surely did: the systems are insecure, and, the wire is safe. [...]
...in practice, we can conclude, nobody much listens to our traffic. Really, so close to nobody that nobody in reality worries about it.
But, every sumbitch is trying to hack into our machine, everyone has a virus scanner, a firewall,
etc etc. I'm sure we've all shared that weird feeling when we install a new firewall that notifies when your machine is being port scanned?
A new machine can be put on a totally new IP, and almost immediately, ports are being scanned....
Friday, 31 October 2003
Saturday, 25 October 2003
The net extends the range of the power law distribution.
If you look at relative popularity on the web, using something like Technorati, you get a power law curve that goes all the way down smoothly, to the bottom where you see pages that got just a single link.
If you look at popularity in the publishing world - movies, chart music or books - the curve starts out with a power law, but soon drops like a stone.
That's because in order to get a movie made, a recording contract or a book published, you have to convince somebody that you're going to sell a million tickets, a hundred thousand CDs or tens of thousands of books.
You end up in a zero-sum game, where people pour enormous resources into being number one, because number two is only half as good. The promise of the net is that the power of all those little links can outweigh the power of the top ten.
Tim Oren is saying much the same thing, with a different metaphor.
Hear my original comment. It starts about 59 minutes into this stream.
I want the BBC to release radio programs as MP3's instead of streams, so I can listen to them without a computer with a live net connection.
Speech radio programs don't go with using a computer to read and type.
Friday, 24 October 2003
All of Amazon's important innovations - starting from the concept of a Web bookstore - have suggested a profound change in the bookselling business, a change that makes it possible to earn a profit by selling a much wider variety of books than any previous retailer, including many titles from the so-called long tail of the popularity curve. 'If I have 100,000 books that sell one copy every other year,' says Steve Kessel, an Amazon VP, 'then in 10 years I've sold more of these, together, than I have of the latest Harry Potter.'
So digitise and index all books - brilliant.
Monday, 20 October 2003
Saturday, 18 October 2003
The key point of digital media is that we can all edit, so I edited him:
If that fails due to bandwidth Click here
NB - QuickTime 6.4 broke this. See above.
Thursday, 16 October 2003
Diary of a Pilgrimage - Part I:
What a wonderful piece of Socialism modern civilisation has become!--not the Socialism of the so-called Socialists--a system modelled apparently upon the methods of the convict prison--a system under which each miserable sinner is to be compelled to labour, like a beast of burden, for no personal benefit to himself, but only for the good of the community--a world where there are to be no men, but only numbers--where there is to be no ambition and no hope and no fear,--but the Socialism of free men, working side by side in the common workshop, each one for the wage to which his skill and energy entitle him; the Socialism of responsible, thinking individuals, not of State-directed automata.
Here was I, in exchange for the result of some of my labour, going to be taken by Society for a treat, to the middle of Europe and back. Railway lines had been laid over the whole 700 or 800 miles to facilitate my progress; bridges had been built, and tunnels made; an army of engineers, and guards, and signal-men, and porters, and clerks were waiting to take charge of me, and to see to my comfort and safety. All I had to do was to tell Society (here represented by a railway booking-clerk) where I wanted to go, and to step into a carriage; all the rest would be done for me. Books and papers had been written and printed; so that if I wished to beguile the journey by reading, I could do so. At various places on the route, thoughtful Society had taken care to be ready for me with all kinds of refreshment (her sandwiches might be a little fresher, but maybe she thinks new bread injurious for me). When I am tired of travelling and want to rest, I find Society waiting for me with dinner and a comfortable bed, with hot and cold water to wash in and towels to wipe upon. Wherever I go, whatever I need, Society, like the enslaved genii of some Eastern tale, is ready and anxious to help me, to serve me, to do my bidding, to give me enjoyment and pleasure. Society will take me to Ober-Ammergau, will provide for all my wants on the way, and, when I am there, will show me the Passion Play, which she has arranged and rehearsed and will play for my instruction; will bring me back any way I like to come, explaining, by means of her guide-books and histories, everything upon the way that she thinks can interest me; will, while I am absent, carry my messages to those I have left behind me in England, and will bring me theirs in return; will look after me and take care of me and protect me like a mother--as no mother ever could.
All that she asks in return is, that I shall do the work she has given me to do. As a man works, so Society deals by him.
To me Society says: 'You sit at your desk and write, that is all I want you to do. You are not good for much, but you can spin out yards of what you and your friends, I suppose, call literature; and some people seem to enjoy reading it. Very well: you sit there and write this literature, or whatever it is, and keep your mind fixed on that. I will see to everything else for you. I will provide you with writing materials, and books of wit and humour, and paste and scissors, and everything else that may be necessary to you in your trade; and I will feed you and clothe you and lodge you, and I will take you about to places that you wish to go to; and I will see that you have plenty of tobacco and all other things practicable that you may desire--provided that you work well. The more work you do, and the better work you do, the better I shall look after you. You write--that is all I want you to do.'
'But,' I say to Society, 'I don't like work; I don't want to work. Why should I be a slave and work?'
'All right,' answers Society, 'don't work. I'm not forcing you. All I say is, that if you don't work for me, I shall not work for you. No work from you, no dinner from me--no holidays, no tobacco.'
And I decide to be a slave, and work.
Society has no notion of paying all men equally. Her great object is to encourage brain. The man who merely works by his muscles she regards as very little superior to the horse or the ox, and provides for him just a little better. But the moment he begins to use his head, and from the labourer rises to the artisan, she begins to raise his wages.
Of course hers is a very imperfect method of encouraging thought. She is of the world, and takes a worldly standard of cleverness. To the shallow, showy writer, I fear, she generally pays far more than to the deep and brilliant thinker; and clever roguery seems often more to her liking than honest worth. But her scheme is a right and sound one; her aims and intentions are clear; her methods, on the whole, work fairly well; and every year she grows in judgment.
One day she will arrive at perfect wisdom, and will pay each man according to his deserts.
But do not be alarmed. This will not happen in our time.
Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Finding the �Site� Isn�t Simple
There�s just no way, as far as I can tell, to look at a URI and figure out what site it�s from. Some sites just aren�t hierarchical, sometimes the site isn�t rooted at the top level. For example, the root of ongoing is at http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/, but there are things that are part of ongoing that don�t start with http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/ and there are things elsewhere on http://www.tbray.org/ that are part of other web sites.[...]
Grabbing Pieces of Namespace Isn't OK
Now, let's assume that we could somehow find the 'root' of a web site by some magic. I just don't think it's OK now in 2003, when we're maybe 1% of the way into the Web's lifespan, to start gobbling up little bits of the namespace. As it is, the names robots.txt and favicon.ico are stolen forever, nobody will ever be able to use them for their own purposes again.
OK, so how about we go back to Plan A and define DNS SRV records for domains to point to these?
It is a way to avoid well known ports, and it could be a way to avoid well know relative URL's too.
Tuesday, 14 October 2003
In the real world, we have conversations in public, in private, and in secret. All three are quite separate. The public is what we say to a crowd; the private is what we chatter amongst ourselves, when free from the demands of the crowd; and the secret is what we keep from everyone but our confidant. Secrecy implies intrigue, implies you have something to hide. Being private doesn't. You can have a private gathering, but it isn't necessarily a secret. All these conversations have different implications, different tones.
Most people have, in the back of their mind, the belief that what they say to their friends, they would be happy to say in public, in the same words. It isn't true, and if you don't believe me, tape-record yourself talking to your friends one day, and then upload it to your website for the world to hear.
This is the trap that makes fly-on-the-wall documentaries and reality TV so entertaining. It's why politicians are so weirdly mannered, and why everyone gets a bit freaked out when the videocamera looms at the wedding. It's what makes a particular kind of gossip - the 'I can't believe he said that!' - so virulent. No matter how constant a person you are, no matter how unwavering your beliefs, something you say in the private register will sound horrific, dismissive, egotistical or trite when blazoned on the front page of the Daily Mirror. This is the context that we are quoted out of.
But in the real world, private conversations stay private. Not because everyone is sworn to secrecy, but because their expression is ephemeral and contained to an audience. There are few secrets in private conversations; but in transmitting the information contained in the conversation, the register is subtly changed. I say to a journalist, 'Look, Dave, err, frankly the guy is a bit, you know. Sheesh. He's just not the sort of person that we'd ever approve of hiring.'. The journalist, filtering, prints, 'Sources are said to disapprove of the appointment.'
Read the whole thing - it is deep stuff, I found to helped me think about this more clearly.
One of the reasons I find 'Trusted Computing' so mistaken is that it confuses the private and the secret, and tries to solve these problems of human trust and community with encryption technology.
Mediation via journalist is less useful than it was, especially given the the frames that they force us into.
The semi-public voice of blogs is a new kind of mediation, and a promising one.
Try OS X Panther Discussion for size: it's a Google query for OS X Panther discussion. In what must be a record, Google is - at time of writing - returning empty Trackback pages as No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4 positions. No.5 gets you to a real web page - an Apple Insider bulletin board. Then it's back to empty Trackback pages for results No.6, No.7 and No.10. In short, Google returns blog-infested blanks for seven of the top entries.
Orlowski blames this on bloggers for corrupting PageRank.
He is wrong - this is a consequence of Google giving strong weight to the <title> tag, over and above the PageRank involved. I believe they did this to reduce the alleged blog pollution he rants about interminably.
Saturday, 11 October 2003
Consequently, there are cellphones that run 802.11 and VoIP, but the customers don't know this, as the phones just work.
Routing round incumbent telcos this way is easier there - nations like Niu� and Tonga have open public wireless networks, and countries like Nigeria are growing urban-area wireless networks too, with huge zones bridging between basestations across town.
I was thinking the other day that for what I spend a month on cellphone services, I could buy a wireless basestation every month and put one every place I go.
I said we need a Rendezvous way to find blog feeds - Dave said 'use OPML'.
So, the idea is to advertise local blog feeds via OPML, over Rendezvous.
Usage scenario: walk into a conference, open your Aggregator, and it shows you all the locally relevant feeds - bloggers attending the conference, a session time feed, local info feeds. You subscribe to the ones you find interesting.
Thursday, 9 October 2003
SunnComm Technologies, a developer of CD antipiracy technology, said Thursday that it will likely sue a Princeton student who early this week showed how to evade the company's copy protection by pushing a computer's Shift key.
Princeton Ph.D. student John 'Alex' Halderman published a paper on his Web site on Monday that gave detailed instructions on how to disarm the SunnComm technology, which aims to block unauthorized CD copying and MP3 ripping. The technology is included on an album by Anthony Hamilton that was recently distributed by BMG Music.
On Thursday, SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs said the company plans legal action and is considering both criminal and civil suits. He said it may charge the student with maligning the company's reputation and, possibly, with violating copyright law that bans the distribution of tools for breaking through digital piracy safeguards.
Suncomm sold a product to damage CDs. Haldemann showed how to get the value back.
'We feel we were the victim of an unannounced agenda and that the company has been wronged,' Jacobs said. 'I think the agenda is: 'Digital property should belong to everyone on the Internet.' I'm not sure that works in the marketplace.' "
The agenda is 'I want to have control of software running on my computer'. Suing for the right to install software on my computer without my permission would (I hope) be thrown out.
Mr Jacobs, it is DRM that doesn't work in the marketplace. Customers don't want to buy damaged CDs that have missing features.
My suggestion to computer manufacturers is as follows.
When the user inserts a 'protected' CD, the computer says:
"This CD appears to be damaged - it has a corrupt Table of Contents."
"Would you like to burn a corrected copy? [Eject] [Play] [Burn]"
'I wrote up a proposal, which I posted on my Weblog, for a new format called RSS-Data, which would provide an ability to provide richer data in RSS feeds,' Allaire said. 'So that people who want to use RSS as a way to do syndication of information, can syndicate not just news content but they'd be able to syndicate application data as well, data from a database or object data from programs.'
How to pass around data structures without meaning. If RDF is the Semantic Web, this is the Syntactic web.
...future TV will may be unrecognisable from today, defined not just by linear TV channels, packaged and scheduled by television executives, but instead will resemble more of a kaleidoscope, thousands of streams of content, some indistinguishable as actual channels. These streams will mix together broadcasters' content and programmes, and our viewers' contributions. At the simplest level -- audiences will want to organize and re-order content the way they want it. They'll add comments to our programmes,programmes, vote on them and generally mess about with them. But at another level, audiences will want to create these streams of video themselves from scratch, with or without our help. At this end of the spectrum, the traditional 'monologue broadcaster' to 'grateful viewer' relationship will break down, and traditional advertising and subscription models will no longer be viable.
This is so close, but he is still talking about streams. If he can start thinking 'files' not 'streams' he will have the right model maped out.
TiVo's and iPods are hardware devices that customers willingly buy to turn streams into files. If they could get the files directly the whole enterprise is far simpler and more attractive.
Monday, 6 October 2003
'So, you got fired for blogging?'
'No, it wasn't like that. I wrote an explanatory piece, why don't you read it?'
He wasn't interested in that, so I explained a bit more that Apple discourages employees from talking to the press, and that I had found new work through my blogging.
He managed to imply his original line in the story instead.
je_apostrophe has a nice editorialised roundup.
Dan Bricklin has great pictures
Betsy Devine is just making me blush
I had a great time - many thanks to Dave Winer and Wendy Koslow for making it happen.
Saturday, 4 October 2003
Being able to do a live broadcast to the world on a whim with the contents of my backpack, an ethernet cable and a friendly server in Japan is something I would not have predicted when I started working for the BBC in 1988 - especially as I was also using the same computer to share wireless connectivity with half the room, to chat with people on 3 continents, and to write and debug code in the session.
Something I said a few times at Bloggercon is that video and audio are missing the essence of blogging. You can do live video, or you can use your computer to edit together a professional-looking video presentation, but the equivalent of the 'just-in-time' publishing that blogging provide is not there.
I spoke to Jennifer Neal of VidiBlog about this - their's is a live event service, which isn't VidiBlog, it's VidiChatRoom - it may still be interesting though.
Adam Curry and I had a chat about trying something more like blogging using the RSS 'enclosures'. I have the beginnings of a tool to automatically move audio posts into iTunes (and hence iPods) as I just can't listen to speech radio at the computer - I need to do it while driving.
There are two aspects we need to solve to make this work. One is on the capture side - making this straightforward. Audblog and similar services do this, but their output is effectively voicemail in the browser, and voicemail suffers from the problem of being easier t make than to listen to.
Coming up with a new grammar for presenting video and audio in a 'skimmable' way (as Dan Bricklin put it) is going to be interesting to work out.
Friday, 26 September 2003
After aeons drifting hopelessly lost in the space/time continuum, Doctor Who is finally coming back to Earth.
In a move that heralds the most eagerly anticipated comeback in television history, BBC1 said yesterday that it is developing a new series of the sci-fi classic.
I'd like to repeat my vote for Stephen Fry as Dr Who.
Update: Tom Baker tips Eddie Izzard for the role
Thursday, 25 September 2003
According to her, looking for contract work counts as running a business, and I need to apply for a San Jose business license.
Also, as I didn't apply when I started looking in August, I will be charged interest on the fees. And she wants a copy of my 2002 tax return.
Apparently, looking for full-time (W2) employment is fine, but if you say you'll accept contact work too, you need to register as a business.
This seems a classic example of the failure to apply leeway that Weinberger explains so well.
Monday, 22 September 2003
Why is so much children's software so bad? Is it the need to appeal to parents with the proposition that it's "educational", which usually results in insincere, uninvolving, hack-design work in children's culture as a whole? Anybody got any ideas?
The problem is twofold. Childrens 'culture' in games or TV is triply disintermediated - by parents, publishers and producers. Most staff actually working in this business are too young to have children, and are ready prey for poorly justified ideology about learning from the second-rate academics they hire as consultants.
I've been there. I helped make forgettable software for small children that did not engage or teach them.
Software in these fields goes through storyboards, linearizing it to the point of dullness; the children often end up with the equivalent of watching a PowerPoint marketing presentation.
The key is, as Liz and Tim imply, is build model worlds for the children to explore and create in, not linearized presentations. The best children's software - Zoombinis, Zap!, SockWorks and Cocoa do this.
Microsoft claims consumers and businesses can do lots of cool and productive things with Windows. But for all Windows' features, I find what I miss the most is the Internet. Or so I learned a few hours into my three days without Internet access.
Until this afternoon, when Comcast kicked local service back on, my computer was uncharacteristically idle, in spite of all the things I should be able to do with a Windows PC. It's the Internet, a creation apart from anything invented by Microsoft, that I missed. E-mail, instant messaging, (legal) downloadable music, online newspapers and wire feeds: These are the things for which I most use my PC and for which I sorely suffered without.
The Web has always been about content. Some of the most interesting stuff that could be delivered over the Web, such as movies and music, is not necessarily dependant on Windows for delivery.
He almost saw it, but then dropped the ball in the last paragraph. The Net is about people. The computer is the conduit to the other people through email, music, IM and the web.
'Content' is a word for the byproducts of these connections.
Sunday, 21 September 2003
They're all missing how 'embrace and extend' works. Imagine I'm a developer who wants to write a tool that can read and write to weblogs. I look into it and discover that there are multiple conflicting versions of syndication formats, and multiple inconsistent blog posting APIs.
I have to pick which ones to start with, and implement multiple parsers and an outer API to talk to the various blog types available.
If Atom or Microsoft or RSS 2.0 or whomever wants to win converts in the future they need to solve this problem for would-be adopters. Here's how to do it (for clarity, I'm using Atom as the putative protagonist, largely because I can then use the pun 'Atomizer').
Take Postel's law seriously.
Implement a web service at atomizer.org that, presented with a feed URI in arbitrary format, returns a usable feed in Atom format. (For extra credit, provide an API in mainstream languages that does this transparently when parsing fails).
Implement another web service there that presents the atom API fro arbitrary blog URI's. It bridges the Blogger, Userland, MT, LiveJournal, etc. APis transparently.
Given such services, the choice should become obvious for all future developers.
Will any of these players pull this off? I don't know.
Saturday, 20 September 2003
This is incredibly important work. They are causing a great deal of impact already, but I think blogs could help increase their ability to reach a broader audience. This is such a great reason to figure out video blogging.
He mentions later that he wants to 'deep-link' video.
By this I think he means he wants to excerpt a shorter clip from a longer video and use this as a link. Most web video models don't do this very well; because of inter-frame dependencies in both video and audio, you usually get either a visual glitch or a big bandwidth spike at the beginning of each excerpted clip. A standalone clip may work, a sequence of them will often fail to play right.
In addition, clip selection is fiddly to do well, and all-but impossible for streaming.
I have some ideas on how to get round this issue; it also needs some work on the presentation side for improved effect.
Yahoo and Google are permanently popular; they have low Zipf volatility. But my hypothesis is that there's a middle tier of blogs with high Zipf volatility, where a well expressed idea or a funny story or a new factoid can rapidly catapult a blog from #100,000 to #1000, or in rare cases even to #10, in a matter of hours.
I am not sure how you'd test this idea experimentally (comments appreciated), and I am afraid that if you take 100 blogs, say between #100 and #200, and look at their delta-rank over a one week period, they might not look any different than the blogs between #20,000 and #20,100. Despite this caution, I strongly suspect that blog rank (and web site rank, to a lesser extent) has a burstiness that is not characteristic of other media, that permits new ideas (and new sites and blogs) to bubble up and subside, to move more readily than other media along the x-axis of Zipf's Law.
His intuition is right, but it doesn't just apply to blogs. Consider other power-law distributed things, such as music and movies - their rankings suffer sudden volatility too.
In one sense, the argument is obviously true - with a true power law distribution, once you get down to the smaller numbers there are many with the same value, so a change of one in your value can move you a long way up (or down) the rankings.
However, the underlying catastrophe theory that predicts power laws also predicts cascades of arbritrary size too, so Isenberg's theory is likely to be right.
Friday, 19 September 2003
She was a wonderful, kindly, loving lady. With her husband Bruce, she grew us vegetables in her garden, showed us interesting parts of California, and was always the neighbour you dream to have. We will miss her a lot.
Thursday, 18 September 2003
Wednesday, 17 September 2003
Monday, 15 September 2003
Saturday, 13 September 2003
Friday, 12 September 2003
Thursday, 11 September 2003
They have taken an interesting approach to the power law distribution of people with video cameras. They taregt the long tail who can't be botherd to edit it themselves. Instead they drop off the videotape at Walgreens with the photos, it gets shipped to Yesvideo, and they digitise it, make a DVD and ship it back. They have smart image processing to pick good chapter points and even make short highlights video.
Watching the multiple screens of people's home movie in the processing plan there I was forcefully reminded of Andrew Odlyzko's point about how much privately made media there is:
Historically, it appears that privately taken pictures have traditionally been the dominant source of data. An interesting accounting of all the information stored in the world in 1997 by Michael Lesk [Lesk] found that home photographs were the dominant component. (For a more complete and up-to-date accounting of information, see [LymanV]].) They contributed about 500,000 TB each year (even when one assumes that each picture is stored as a modest 10 KB JPEG file). By comparison, all the texts in the Library of Congress amounted to around 20 TB, while the graphics and music in that collection came to about 3,000 TB. Thus even this great library contained less than 1% of the world's information. (The publicly accessible Web pages currently contain a few tens of terabytes, just a few percent of what the Library of Congress has, but comparable to the text collections in that library.)
An obvious comment to the estimates above is that the purpose of a library is to select the most valuable material, and that most of those photographs contributing to the 500,000 TB are of no interest to most people. That is true, but that does not stop those pictures from being taken, and it will not stop an explosion in volumes of data collected this way in the future. A few pictures or video clips will turn out to be of great interest, in spite of amateur production. Just think of the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination, or the Rodney King video. More importantly, many of the pictures being taken are of interest, or might be of potential interest, to at least one person. Most of the world will have no interest in a picture of your newborn baby, but your mother will cherish it. Similarly, in the future you will be taking digital video clips of your children and sending at least some of them to your mother.
Imagine if this company was hooked up to the Internet Archive
Wednesday, 10 September 2003
He later blogged a splendid rant on all the ways the labels destroy value apart from DRM.
Monday, 8 September 2003
Here she is demonstrating kinetic theory with blue ink in cold water and red in warm water:
The hot water molecules are moving faster, and hence mix the ink up more quickly.
Friday, 5 September 2003
This is where the dream of DRM comes from - making digital goods scarce, and enforcing payment.
Now using machines to enforce laws is bad. They have no capacity for mercy, latitude or leeway.
And all DRM is readily circumvented as, eventually, it has to turn into patterns of light and sound for people to see and hear, and at this point cameras and microphones can record it. So for the determined adversary, it will be broken.
What this means is that DRM can never thwart the real enemy, it can only annoy the legitimate customers, and they will thus Pay less for the product, or not buy it at all.
There is a very odd reward curve here - the paying customers are getting less value than the non-paying circumventers. DRM is all stick and no carrot.
It is for this reason that DRM destroys value, and business models based on DRM always fail.
The putative counter example at the moment is the iTunes Music store, but as Apple ships a circumvention device with the application, by allowing you to burn the songs to CD, the case is unproven to put it mildly. Remember, the $7M that Apple has grossed from the iTMS is small change to them; they make many times that from selling iPods.
If the labels succeed in making iTMS Windows stricter it will sell fewer songs.
This week I have been reading Hernando de Soto's The Mystery of Capital in which he explains how US property law changed to recognise what was really happening on the ground, rather than what the large landowners wished for. This set off the accumulation of capital that made the US the wealthiest country in the world.
Last week I read The Perfect Store about how Pierre Omidyar created a market for goods online, that was built on mutual trust, and it grew to become eBay, the most profitable of all online businesses.
The time is ripe to do the same for online media, and create a marketplace that reflects people's desires and trust.
Thursday, 4 September 2003
Wednesday, 3 September 2003
Tuesday, 2 September 2003
Monday, 1 September 2003
Friday, 29 August 2003
Brewster manages to get a great deal done with a very small staff and a huge penumbra of friends and volunteers. Lots of fascinating stuff about the Bookmobile abroad in Africa and Asia, and met Rick Prelinger and Lisa Rein too.
Afterwards we drove back to the Santa Cruz mountains for a great Mars watching Party, and had to go via Highway 9 to avoid the complete blockage of 17, Rosie winning the skilled driver award again.
Thursday, 28 August 2003
I'll be on the 'Tech' Panel, where blog users talk back to vendors about technical needs, and I'm putting together a talk on the Sunday about the need for a new model for video and audio to make them more blog-like and less like voicemail.
I also think I persuaded Dave to include live IRC at the conference - more on that later.
Wednesday, 27 August 2003
Tuesday, 26 August 2003
I think there is potential in extending the 'third place' of an online conference chatspace and combining it with a real-world cafe/bar at the conference, but you'd need a friendly host like Jeannie to make it work.
Monday, 25 August 2003
Some people have said that the issue with not well-formed feeds and aggregators is a kind of prisoner�s dilemma.
In other words, if all aggregator developers pledged to reject not well-formed feeds, then that would be incentive for people to fix their feeds.
It is a kind of Prisoner's Dilemma, but it is an iterated one. If the aggregators are relatively forgiving, users will trust them, but poorly formed feeds will end up somewhat mangled in different aggregators, leading to less trust in the feeds. Over time, the forgiving aggregators and clean feeds win out.
The power of forgiveness has been demonstrated experimentally.
15 years ago, I joined the BBC as a video engineer with Television Film Services, an odd department that had dominion over (among other odd sites) Ealing Studios and the film & video archive at Windmill Road.
I spent a couple of weeks at Windmill Road, working on the 2-inch Videotape machines which you could edit videotape like film on - a razorblade to cut the tape and splice with sticky tape. You needed to cut at a frame boundary, which you found by looking for the sync pulses on the tape by holding a plastic box full of iron filings over the tape, making the tracks visible.
I walked through the archives, seeing rack after rack of old editions of Nationwide, film canisters of a forgotten adaptation of Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy, and many more fascinating looking can's and tapes.
At the time the BBC did not have a rolling re-copying program, and many programs on tape were lost to oxide decay, not recorded at all, or had the tapes re-used. Some missing Dr Who and Top of the Pops and Dad's Armyhave been recovered, and Rosie's cousin Rob Greenwood spent a great deal of time restoring video for Dr Who and other programs at BBC Enterprises in the 90s, in many cases from 'illicit' off-air recordings by hobbyists.
I hope the BBC can cut through the tangle of copyright restrictions on music in the programs and performance fees for all the old programs; if not the release may be very spotty.
The issue of non-commercial re-use only is also tricky; when purchasing archive footage from the BBC for MMC museum and CD-ROM projects, we often got a tape full of useful material, only to be told that rights on the bits we wanted were unknown or unavailable, and we had to re-edit.
I've heard odd tales about BBC trying to constrain rights geographically before - when they launched the BBC Choice satellite channel, they webcast it for a bit, but tried to only allow UK people to see it, which is a nonsense on the internet.
Danny has more discusion
Sunday, 24 August 2003
Thursday, 21 August 2003
Silicon Valley's perfect weather means you don't need backup plans, just in case it rains. It means you don't resent spending a beautiful day inside at work, because tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will be just as gorgeous. It means you have more energy, sapped neither by sleep-inducing clouds nor enervating heat and humidity. It means fewer days dragging into the office with a brain dulled by allergies and winter colds. It means you have more life.
BUT AGAINST THE BEAUTIFUL blue skies of the valley sprawl its tawny hills, their curves clearly visible beneath a bare wisp of foliage. In the dry landscape of the West, the earth is not camouflaged by trees and vines and underbrush. In the valley, the ground itself is omnipresent.
And, as everyone knows, it is also unstable.
Good weather plus earthquakes creates an utterly different environment. On a day-to-day basis, you can concentrate on your goals, with no need for contingency plans. Your softball game, your picnic, your wedding won't be rained out. But everything could change in an instant. You can't anticipate earthquakes, can't plan for them, can't even predict when and where they'll strike. Instead of providing the certainty of seasons, nature promises a future of random shocks. All you can do is develop general coping skills and resources. There is nothing familiar about the aftermath of an earthquake, and no one survives it alone.
Once they hit the light, no one can anticipate just where innovations will lead--or whether they will in fact succeed. It is by trusting the search, permitting experiments whose results no one can know, that we allow advances to occur. In a 1979 paper, Wildavsky prefigured his discussion of anticipation and resilience with a meditation on the sources of progress. It depends, he suggested, on spontaneity and serendipity, on discoveries no one can predict or foresee: "Incessant search by many minds...produces more (and more valuable) knowledge than the attempt to program the paths to discovery by a single one....Not only markets rely on spontaneity; science and democracy do as well....Looking back over past performance, adherents of free science, politics, and markets argue that on average their results are better than alternatives, but they cannot say what these will be....The strength of spontaneity, its ability to seek out serendipity, is also its shortcoming--exactly what it will do, as well as precisely how it will do it, cannot be specified in advance."
Nowadays it seems that every place wants to be like Silicon Valley--to discover its secrets and copy them. Here, then, is a secret that can be copied, even in places with lousy weather and stable ground: Don't ask for answers in advance. Don't try to create a life without surprises. Trust serendipity.
Tuesday, 19 August 2003
The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films - sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend.
"In the old days, there used to be a term, 'buying your gross,' " Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. "You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience."
Monday, 18 August 2003
I came to Apple in 1998 through just such a route - I had been a regular contributor to the QuickTime-API and QuickTime-Talk mailing lists, so when I was interviewed and hired, many of my new colleagues were people I'd been sharing software hacks, hints and jokes with for many years. The trust I had built up in them meant that I was ready to leave the UK and my successful software publishing management career to become an engineer in the US.
I had been hired with the same kind of trust, rather than with any specific job in mind, and so I always had a broader set of contacts than the org chart implied, and we would help one another out.
I carried on as before, talking about my work on mailing lists, and joining ones relevant to the areas I worked in - video editing and streaming media, among others. I had found another group of people with common interests to talk with. Gradually, however, constraints became tighter.
When you are a hardware company, you really need to keep new hardware secret to avoid the Osborne effect - that customers won't buy today because they are waiting for your newer model. Apple's secrecy and PR policies are shaped with this in mind, so when I started arguing in the abstract against DRM, I was warned not to do so using my Apple account, as it might be taken as a corporate position, or foreshadow future products.
I stopped using my Apple email address in public, and began to avoid talking about the technology I worked on - after all there are plenty of other fascinating subjects, and I didn't want to inadvertently reveal something confidential.
Gradually, almost insensibly, my interests changed. While following up on my mediAgora ideas, I got more and more involved in the details of small world networks and catastrophe theory, and different kinds of social software.
I brought some of these ideas back to work - using a wiki to describe and discuss my ideas for how to improve QuickTime. My manager liked the idea of the wiki, subsuming it into corporate processes to the point where we had meetings to discuss wiki pages, but the ideas were deferred from release to release. My work was ongoing maintenance of the existing code to keep pace with the OS and hardware changes below it, and minor feature requests for the Apps above it.
Now, when compiling on my ageing hardware took too long, or reinstalling the OS every 2 days ate into development time, I spent some downtime on my new interests, as well as helping other Apple employees as before. The work continued, but the passion was gone.
My corporate manager fired me on Friday for not meeting his goals.
Rather than fight it, I am going to take this as a cue to follow a new direction. I'll look to my new 'weak ties' for inspiration.
And I'll still be using hardware and software from Apple and QuickTime - there are a lot of good people still inside.
Saturday, 9 August 2003
We have to remind ourselves that this viewer is only another aspect of ourselves, that we have also in us-as he does-a better part, that needs to be cultivated and to express itself. There is no single audience with a single personality. There is the larger audience-currently under-served-that has vast variety of appetites that we can, we must, satisfy. [...]
Our defense is the farmers' market, the yard sale, the auctions. We had hopes for the Internet, but that's being turned into a marketing tool. In the field of entertainment and the arts our last defense may be Tivo and the remote control.
Liberal critics have raised the alarm over corporate censorship, the exclusion from theaters and TV of anything except what seems marketable and the eliminations of anything that might offend somebody anywhere. But the danger of censorship in America is less from business or the religious right or the self righteous left, than to self-censorship by artists themselves, who simply give up. If we can't see a way to get our story told, what is the point of trying? I wonder how many fine, inspiring ideas in every walk of life are strangled in the womb of the imagination because there's no way past the gates of commerce? [...]
You are now our future, and this is the challenge you face. It is a bigger challenge than it seems because you cannot recapture something you never knew. It is your gargantuan task to create this spirit out of thin air, in the face of resistance and lack of interest, in your own style and out of your own imagination. Something new and as yet unknown.
I'm ready when you are
Friday, 8 August 2003
As well as getting this backwards, the article says:
The researchers were surprised to discover that message chains did not rely on a few highly connected individuals, so-called "hubs". Previous research by Watts and fellow Cornell mathematician Steven Strogatz had suggested that such "hubs" were important to all social chains.
This is a common misunderstanding - the hubs are a simplifications, and don't really exist; with enough elements, power law distributions are fairly smooth, and the variety of scales of connectedness is important.
The stock market has a complementary problem. Options pricing is done using a model known as Black-Scholes, that has as a key parameter historical volatility, and the variance of price fluctuation is used for this. Now it has long been noticed that Stock market price fluctuations are not distributed as a gaussian - Mandelbrot pointed out they follow a scale-free Power law distribution decades ago..
However, gaussians are still used all the time in quant analysis. In this case it is the other end of the curve that fails - they see the small fluctuations and model them, but the big disturbances are far more common than is predicted. It is essentially this error that caused the LTCM collapse. The quant's dismiss this effect as acts of god, and unmodellable, but these are exactly the events that destroy your portfolio.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a profile of Nassim Taleb, one trader who does use power laws rather than gaussians, and does well out of it.
Thursday, 7 August 2003
Wednesday, 6 August 2003
Tuesday, 29 July 2003
First, let's define what a currency is, because most textbooks don't teach what money is. They only explain its functions, that is, what money does. I define money, or currency, as an agreement within a community to use something as a medium of exchange. It's therefore not a thing, it's only an agreement—like a marriage, like a political party, like a business deal. And most of the time, it's done unconsciously. Nobody's polled about whether you want to use dollars. We're living in this money world like fish in water, taking it completely for granted.
Now the point is: there are many new agreements being made within communities as to the kind of medium of exchange they are willing to accept. As I said, in Britain, you can use frequent flier miles as currency. It's not a universal currency, it's not legal tender, but you can go to the supermarket and buy stuff. And in the United States, it's just a question of time before privately issued currencies will be used to make purchases. Even Alan Greenspan, the governor of the Federal Reserve and the official guardian of the conventional money system, says, "We will see a return of private currencies in the 21st century."
I think Heinlein once wrote that money should be an adjective, not a verb, that we should talk bout the moneyness of things.
Company Stock is in effect private currency, with a fluctuating exchange rate tracked by the Stock Market, and much of the net runs on non-monetary exchange.
Bridging these complementary currencies into the dollar economy is an interesting challenge.
Monday, 28 July 2003
called Markets and Antimarkets in the World Economy.
It reminds me a bit of my father's 1985 Two Kinds of Order paper.
Delanda talks of how bottom-up emergent meshwork markets compete with top-down hierarchic anti-markets, discusses historic exmples, and ends on this note:
Computers, in the form of embedded intelligence in the buildings that house small firms, can aid this catalytic process, allowing the firm's members to reach some measure of self-organization. Although these efforts are in their infancy, they may one day play a crucial role in adding some heterogeneity to a world-economy that's becoming increasingly homogenized.
As David Weinberger succinctly put it -'Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy'
Sunday, 27 July 2003
Scoble's chums are suggesting autonomous robots, some of which have been built, but it's more fun to be carried around by someone really there, and pop up on the screen of the presenters to correct them.
Monday, 21 July 2003
It's a good summary, but it misses a key point. By emphasising the difference between commercially produced 'content' and user-created 'micro-content' he is ignoring the enormous area inbetween.
The current content publishing model is only efficient for large-runs of sales - sell under a few thousand books, a few hundred thousand CDs, or a few million cinema seats, and you won't be welcome in commercial publishing.
This gap is gradually being bridged by innovative companies, such as Cafepress and Customflix, but both of these are still creating physical goods.
I think there is a huge opportunity here to be the eBay of digital media, and I think mediAgora is the way to go about it.
Monday, 14 July 2003
For online reading, however, PDF is the monster from the Black Lagoon. It puts its clammy hands all over people with a cruel grip that doesn't let go. [...]
Here's a quote from a customer who shunned those parts of the site that were in PDF:
"It looks like I'm going to have to go to PDF, which I'm dreading."
Scoble explains how jealous Microsoft is:
Let's see, Adobe makes money off of Acrobat. About a billion a year (Acrobat is funding an entire additional Silicon Valley skyscraper, Adobe's CEO said in a recent magazine article I read). Macromedia makes money off of Flash. Borland makes money off of tools. One of Microsoft's biggest buildings (#42) is full of guys writing tools.
The Palladium/NGSCB information locking is what Scoble is getting at here - he argues that stopping people reading things is the glorious future of profitability for the no-longer-growth-stock MSFT.
Ballmer explains what is really going on here.
A senior partner in an accounting firm needs to send email to his partners with a confidential contract proposal attached. Besides specifying who may read the proposal and that they may not copy, paste or edit the information, he specifies that the email itself cannot be forwarded. The recipients' email and word processing applications transparently enforce these policies. All partners worry less about information leaks that might damage ongoing negotiations.
Ballmer's key mistake here is assuming you can rely on computers when you don't trust people to trust you.
Why are Microsoft so obsessed with this?
I think they still bear the psychological scars from having their internal emails spread all over the papers, and are subconsciously trying to fix this with code...
Personally, I'm all in favour of anyone who thinks this way having their writings made unreadable by others.