Looks to me like the recording industry finally figured out that the law wasn't the best attack vector for going after allofmp3.com - instead, they hit them directly in the wallet: Visa and Mastercard have announced that they will no longer process payments there.
That's going to affect their behavior a lot more than arcane negotiations at the trade talk level ever would have.
Awhile back, Scott McNealy said "Privacy is dead, deal with it". That got a lot of play at the time, but fell into bit bucket over time.
Today, Bruce Schneier explains just how far reaching that assumption is:
Everyday conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Of course, organized crime bosses worried about phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was the default assumption.
This has changed. We now type our casual conversations. We chat in e-mail, with instant messages on our computer and SMS messages on our cellphones, and in comments on social networking Web sites like Friendster, LiveJournal and News Corp.'s (nyse: NWS - news - people ) MySpace. These conversations--with friends, lovers, colleagues, fellow employees--are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails.
We know this intellectually, but we haven’t truly internalized it. We type on, engrossed in conversation, forgetting that we’re being recorded.
This goes well beyond any legal worries over government monitoring. That sounds like I'm back burnering that issue, and - for the purposes of a larger point, I am. Let me start with an example.
I communicate with other Cincomers (and a variety of other people) via an IRC channel. I'm on that channel most of the time, and the traffic is all being logged - both by my IRC client, and probably by every other IRC client. Ten years from now, someone who I've had a falling out with could dredge up some extended bout of silliness we engage in from time to time, take it out of context, and embarrass me greatly. Heck, it might go beyond embarrassment - if it was stupid enough "bathroom humor", it might do actual damage.
IM is another communication channel I use, along with email. Email is persistent, and IM logs can be saved. There's no telling what someone could do with an out of context message (or, an in context one made under a presumption of privacy). As Bruce says above, we operate as if we're engaged in an "over the fence" chat, only these are all logged, and could come back to haunt us.
I'm grateful that I didn't have blogs, email, IM, and IRC chats to leave a paper trail on me when I was in college - today's students do though, and their transient acts of silliness - acts that would have dropped into the ether 20 years ago - could easily come back to haunt them in 2 or 3 decades. I fully expect politicians to get chased by decades old logs in the coming years, and for political battles at corporations to work the same way.
Unlike Bruce, I don't really think legislation will help much. I chat with people in other countries on the Smalltalk IRC channel all the time. US law won't mean anything to them. Likewise, overseas emails and IMs won't be affected by whatever privacy regime Schneier idealizes. Ultimately, I think we are going to have to internalize the new reality of a logged world. I'd recommend a book - James Halperin's "The Truth Machine". part of the world built in that book is a constant logging (video, audio, etc) of everything - mostly by people themselves.
Technorati Tags: privacy
I have an an idea for Smalltalk user groups - if you can record your meetings (hopefully with compelling speakers), I'll be happy to post the recordings in my podcast feed. Just send me an audio file (compressed in a zip or gzip would be best). I'd advise sending any such things to my gmail address, as the Cincom email filter might well eat the attachment.
Scoble lays out the issues with making money for online video solely through advertising:
Here’s the trouble. Most people I know are getting advertising revenues of between $10 and $40 CPM. That means that for every 1,000 people who visit a Web site, an advertiser is paying somewhere around $10 usually (often less, and in some cases, far less — Jeremy Wright told me he was only getting about $.50 CPM when he runs Google’s ad bar).
Now, that sounds great, particularly if you can get a big audience and when you write a blog that has minimum creation costs (yeah, some posts take hours, but others can be done in minutes and you don’t need anything but a computer to do this). That low cost of production is why Jason Calacanis was able to create $25 million in value by lashing together 100 bloggers. But, let’s look deeper at video.
First, the videos I’m putting up are around 200MB a piece. The bandwidth distributors I know are charging $.14 or more PER GIGABYTE to distribute those videos. So, that comes to $28, or more for 1,000 downloads (if my math is right).
That's going to be a problem, I think. It's just going to be very hard to get arbitrary video segments paid for - sponsorship works, but does have strings (implicit or otherwise). For those of us using podcasts and screencasts strictly for promotional purposes, this isn't really an issue - it's just part of the overall marketing budget. For others, it's currently a challenge.
Jeff Jarvis spots a nascent trend in the newspaper business:
Virtually every major paper is making the shift to local coverage, often as it cuts deeper into editorial operations. Only recently, the Dallas Morning News announced it was closing its national bureaus while cutting 20 percent of its newsroom staff. It was becoming a local paper again after several decades of rising stature for its national and international coverage. More than 100 people were let go.
Similar, if less dramatic, changes are taking place at such papers as The Washington Post, New Jersey’s Bergen Record and Herald News, and the Richmond Times Dispatch. And joining them all is Gannett, the largest newspaper chain and publisher of USA Today.
“We’re going to get hyper-local,” says Tara Connell, a Gannett spokesperson.
I'm not sure what that means for USA Today, but it makes a lot of sense for other papers. I can get national and international news from a bunch of sources, and my local paper is not the first place I'd look for that stuff. On the other hand, who else is going to cover the local crime beat, or the meetings of the local county council? The national networks won't do that stuff, nor will the newswires. The local papers could do that, and they could easily do it better than anyone else.
It doesn't even have to cost that much - local reporters won't command (or even need - you might well get by with a bunch of stringers interested in specific local areas) nearly the salary requirements of a "big" reporter. It's back to the future time for local media, and not a minute too soon, IMHO.
Technorati Tags: news
Whenever the bright boys at the RIAA wonder why the public hates them, they might look at stories like this one: a firmware update to the Zen Vision:M product disabled the FM radio capability, due to "copyright issues". Yeah - recording songs off the radio, complete with the station lead-in and out is really a threat to music sales. There's a reason people don't have any respect for these clowns; they don't deserve any respect.
It's time for the weekly look at the logs. BottomFeeder downloads were at 182/day last week; the details:
Next, the HTML traffic. Total site traffic was up again, which is always good:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
IE 7 use must be up - or my audience demographics are changing. Last, the RSS distribution:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.2%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||5.6%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
Nick Carr is truly a curmudgeon - in a post about Google, he wraps up with this:
Those Japanese commodes are nice, but it's important to remember that they're merely transitional devices. We'll know that Google has truly fulfilled its vision when the Googleplex no longer needs toilets at all.
Technorati Tags: humor
Michael, David, and I got together this morning and had a chat about image based development - and responded to some listener email. This week's topic: Image based development and deployment. Stay tuned at the end for James Savidge's Smalltalk Jobs Report. You can grab the mp3 here - this week's chat was nearly 45 minutes.
If you have feedback, send it to email@example.com. If you send an mp3 file, we'll try to play it on the air.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
This is pretty cool. Follow the link to see what the actors saw, as opposed to what Sam and Frodo saw, when they first caught site of Mount Doom.
Scoble points to the last Gillmore Gang - Dana Gardner and Jason Calacanis got into a pretty good fight over public/private charity. I started listening to that a week ago while jogging; I've actually looked into some of the issues they were arguing over, and was a teacher 20 years ago. I stopped listening, because every additional second I listened, I lost respect for Gardner. Why?
He was arguing that Jason Calacanis' entirely admirable efforts to rescue a few children from bad schools was an act of evil, designed to "destroy" public education. That's a really, really stupid argument, without regard to what issue you try and deploy it against. The bottom line is, any effort to help people in need is admirable, and Jason should be saluted for caring enough to try. Gardner can go suck eggs. When you let ideology (of any stripe) blind you to good acts, you've lost some of your humanity.
Jeff Jarvis charts the ongoing decline of the newspaper business - it's been a bad week for the news business. In reading through the cuts and changes, I realized that I was reading a proxy for the fears of the RIAA (and eventually, the MPAA).
The news business is changing, due to a number of related events:
- The non-stop, 24x7 news cycle that the cable news outlets can cover
- The availability of 24x7 news online - delivered in ways that fit nearly any ideological or taste niche
Daily newspapers can't keep up with that unless they go digital - and that business is mostly ad supported (as opposed to ad and subscription supported). The music business sees that same thing coming at them - a digital juggernaught of ad-supported, no copy protection data files. The margins there are a lot lower, and (literally) thousands of the current middle men have no place in that future.
The newspapers can't fight the future with DRM and the DMCA; they have to adapt, no matter how painful and gut wrenching that adaptation is. The music business, thus far, has taken the "preserve our business model at all costs" route instead. When their fall comes, it will be all the more catastrophic for them, because they'll have been living in denial for too long.
Andres Valloud has been keeping up with Smalltalkers and Smalltalk related goings on at OOPLSA.
Technorati Tags: OOPSLA
The US government has banned Vegemite?
The bizarre crackdown was prompted because Vegemite has been deemed illegal under US food laws.
The great Aussie icon - faithfully carried around the world by travellers from downunder - contains folate, which under a technicality, America allows to be added only to breads and cereals.
Say what? What moron decided to do this?
Technorati Tags: vegemite
Personally I think it’s cool that Tim Bray thinks Sun’s new product is cool enough to use salty language about.
Actually, it's very much not cool, and I'm utterly unimpressed with Bray's handwaving about it. Here's the thing: when you use coarse language, there's no upside. That's right - none. At best, part of your audience won't care, or won't care that much. It's an absolute certainty that some of your audience (who knows how much) will be put off by it.
In marketing terms, that's a pretty large net negative. No one (or, almost no one) is going to have a positive reaction. Some people will blip past it. However, some of your readers (or listeners) will be offended - possibly enough to damage the way they look at your product, service or company.
So no, that usage wasn't cool, not by a longshot. The best we can say about it is that it might not do much damage. For those of you who think such usage is somehow more "authentic", I have two words: grow up.
Technorati Tags: PR
This is funny - I especially likes this bit:
If someone drops a Smalltalk book on your desk, and you start to shiver uncontrollably, your eyes rolling back in your head as strange gutteral voices shout from your throat ‘Never! I shall never release his soul!' - you might be a Blub programmer
Lessig may have his heart in the right place, but he's awfully unrealistic. I grow increasingly tired of the "but they have better broadband in (insert country here)" arguments:
I. and many, have concluded it is not. I take it, that is the view of the more than a million who have written to policy-makers arguing for network neutrality legislation. These people want policy that will finally push broadband providers to provide at least the quality and price of broadband in France. The online campaign to get Congress to do something here has been amazing, rivaling only the campaign to stop the FCC from passing rules that would permit even more concentration in media ownership.
Perhaps Lessig could pull out a map. If he did, he might notice that France is roughly the size of Texas, and that we have 49 other states besides. That's a lot less territory in which to pull cables. He might consider what net neutrality laws would accomplish in practice, as opposed to his theory. In practice, a real congressional committee (with real lobbyists) would push something through, and then the various providers would start fishing for interesting ways to take advantage of it. Under the current system, with no law in that area, public pressure on particularly egregious acts can work. Under Lessig's system, every provider would answer complaints this way:
We're just following the law; direct your complaints to Congress
Yeah Larry, that's a huge improvement. Thanks so much for trying to take an admittedly bad system and screw it up even worse. Do the rest of us a favor - stop advocating for law in this area. You just might get your wish, and the rest of us will spend years regretting it.
Peter Fisk identifies the crux of Microsoft's problem:
Their problem isn’t a lack of talent, it is a lack of direction - and no amount of hiring is going to fix it.
I always figured that MS would be ok, so long as Gates was having fun. Whenever that ended, and he moved on to something else - the company was going to start drifting. It looks like I wasn't wrong. This doesn't imply that MS is "doomed", or anything - but I think they are going to end up sliding through the same tunnel of malaise that IBM went through during the 80's and early 90's.
Technorati Tags: Microsoft
Rogers Cadenhead is being threatened with a lawsuit by conspiracy nut Art Bell - over comments made to his blog. Rogers notes that part of the CDA protects him from having to police those comments:
Though I give readers wide latitude in the comments they post, I remove libelous comments when they're called to my attention, as I told him in our email exchange. But I'm under no legal obligation to do so, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
I think Rogers should be get support if he gets sued over this - no one wants to live in fear of commenters wrecking their lives.
The quick cancellation of “Smith” elucidates how television, like the movie industry, has become a business where there is little room for the modest success. Network executives might talk endlessly about how, in an era where the attention of audiences is ever more scattered, new shows need time to find themselves. But those same executives are often quick to pull the plug on an expensive production that does not immediately perform to expectations.
Not so fast, Jeff. I watched a little over half of the first episode, and I can tell you why I stopped - the "heroes" of the story are a bunch of slimeballs. In the first episode, as they rip off a museum, they kill a guard who's just doing his job. I have no ability to sympathize with that kind of plot line; none at all. I might be an outlier on that, but with that show, I really hope I was in the majority. I say good riddance to that, and I'd be happy to learn that the writers involved never work again.
Technorati Tags: media
We had a small outage this afternoon - it seems one of the images posted on Troy's blog was linked over at MySpace, and it was being served dynamically (rather than statically). That caused a few problems. Everything is back to normal now, and we are in the process of trying to prevent that particular problem from cropping up again.
Technorati Tags: downtime
Phil Windley notes that video podcasting is a different animal than audio:
Brett comments that when he's at his computer watching video its far more likely to be YouTube than it is a video podcast on technology 'ala the Scobleshow. Audio podcasts compete with radio, music, or, in some cases, non-consumption (i.e. the fill time that the listener wouldn't be listening to anything else). This doesn't change with better video iPods.
For me, it's like this: I jog between 35-60 minutes at lunchtime every day. I can listen to audio then. Even if my iPod could handle video (it's an old mini), I couldn't watch it - I'm paying attention to my surroundings. When I'm back at my desk, I can have audio up while I'm working - but video requires most of my attention. So a 5 minute YouTube clip, or something of similar duration - sure, I can find time for that. A long interview? Not a chance.
Now, I know some people prefer video, but why not provide a separate audio link, and see what your download stats look like? I could be wrong, but I'd bet that the audio files will be hit harder.
Technorati Tags: vlog
Ed Foster spots more excitement in the Vista EULA - the rules governing benchmarking, and what you can say about it:
But the bigger problem is the fact that the actual censorship restrictions for Windows Vista are, in classic sneakwrap fashion, dependent on what a particular webpage says at a particular moment. That in itself could have a chilling effect on what people can say about Vista. Consumers who don't even know what .NET Framework is will, if they want to make sure any public statements they make about Vista "comply with the conditions" of Microsoft's license, have to first decipher what that webpage means. And, of course, Microsoft could change the conditions at any time, so you'll have to check back anytime you make any more comments about Vista. Perhaps as written now it's OK for you to tell your neighbor over the back fence that Vista seems to take twice as long to boot up as MacOS XI, but what if Redmond changes the conditions at some point in the future to prohibit such activities?
The internal takeover by lawyers seems nearly complete up in Redmond. This happened at IBM, too - and they went through an awfully rough patch before they came out on the other side of that.
I take a live and let live attitude toward religion - my beliefs can probably best be described as agnostic, tending to notional Christianity. Richard Dawkins, on the other hand, has decided that any religious belief is not only incorrect, but should be stamped out. If he wants to evangelize atheism, that's fine - more power to him. This (from Wired) is the road to you know where, paved with intentions that I'm not sure how to classify:
"How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?" Dawkins asks. "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?"
Well, that's just great. He has his belief, which he cannot prove scientifically (he admits as much here):
"There's an infinite number of things that we can't disprove," he said. "You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it's wrong to say therefore we don't need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don't need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There's an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there's not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it."
Lacking an actual argument, he just goes ad homeneim. Great use of the scientific method there, dude. Based on the article, he seems to think that atheism will usher in a new age of reason, untainted by fanaticism. Here, he's pretty clear about that:
For the New Atheists, the problem is not any specific doctrine, but religion in general. Or, as Dawkins writes in The God Delusion, "As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers."
There was a movement that had that theory - perhaps Dawkins has heard of it. It worked out so well for the millions and millions of people sacrificed on that particular altar.
People like to believe in things. Remove deist belief, and that need won't go away - it will simply shift to some other kind of belief. Take a look at the far reaches of the environmental movement, for instance - if that's not secular religion, then nothing is. Dawkins has an abiding faith in the idea that "reason" can save people from fanaticism. History simply doesn't bear that out. The Soviet Communists and the German Nazis didn't kill for God - but kill they did. I fail to see how Dawkins' faith is any better than the people who walk my neighborhood handing out pamphlets. At the very least, they aren't trying to get children forcibly removed in order to teach them a "higher truth".
Larry O'Brien explains how he unit tested his way to solving a performance problem. This part of his exploration is something I've learned the hard way:
As the race condition clobbered more threads, though, the relative amount of time each remaining thread spent inside the critical section decreased! Eventually the system would degrade to one or two threads, providing the illusion that the system was “limping along.” And making me ass-u-me that the problem had to do with the database.
That last sentence is the key thing: Most of us don't guess the problem at all well. Tools - whether tests or profilers (or, more likely, both) - help us identify the real problems.
Steve Gillmor says that TV is dead - the first paragraph is in reference to high end teleconferencing systems:
That's what this is about, tricking time, teleporting yourself across the country. We all wish Doc could actually enjoy his new house instead of rocketing off to Berkman one week a month. I could imagine the Gillmor Gang using the TelePort room from time to time. Remember that the next OS/X enables recording of iSight cons. It's on the way.
Meanwhile TV is dead. The kids still argue over carving out enough time to watch Heroes, the only consensus family show left alive.
Hmm. I think he has that very, very wrong. We have two ReplayTV devices, and a MediaCenter PC. They enable us to watch more of what we actually want to watch - the network cross programming games simply don't faze us anymore. There are plenty of great things on TV to watch, if you are so inclined. Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Heroes - tons of interesting things across the history, science, and discovery channels. My wife and daughter love the medical shows, for instance.
What's dying is the traditional advertising model. Time shifting and the 30 second skip are wreaking havoc there, and the business is in flux as a result. It's not going to go away though, and the sheer spread of niche programming - both on the net and on cable - has made the space more interesting, not less.
Soemirno Kartosoewito has started up a Smalltalk blog in Dutch, for all you Dutch speaking Smalltalkers.
Looks like Smalltalk and Seaside are paying the bills over here:
Well, there are plenty of really neat ways to produce web applications. Most of you (like me) will work with php, mysql and probably enrich those with new AJAX features using one the available libraries like rico, SAJAX or script.aculo.us. Well, there is yet another way. Some of you may have heard about Smalltalk and/or are using it. It's a nice language and at the company I work everybody is using it or, to be more precise, we do most of our stuff in Squeak, which is build and run with Smalltalk.
Hong Kong, October 24th of 2006 - Lik-Sang.com, the popular gaming retailer from Hong Kong, has today announced that it is forced to close down due to multiple legal actions brought against it by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Sony claimed that Lik-Sang infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights by selling Sony PSP consoles from Asia to European customers, and have recently obtained a judgment in the High Court of London (England) rendering Lik-Sang's sales of PSP consoles unlawful.
That sounds weird to me. It's getting to be more and more of a global market, especially for things like electronics. Sure, there are voltage differences (110 here in North America, 220 most everywhere else) - but the power bricks on game consoles and laptops are typically set to deal with both. This sounds like what Sony's on about:
Furthermore, Sony have failed to disclose to the London High Court that not only the world wide gaming community in more than 100 countries relied on Lik-Sang for their gaming needs, but also Sony Europe's very own top directors repeatedly got their Sony PSP hard or software imports in nicely packed Lik-Sang parcels with free Lik-Sang Mugs or Lik-Sang Badge Holders, starting just two days after Japan's official release, as early as 14th of December 2004 (more than nine months earlier than the legal action). The list of PSP related Sony Europe orders reads like the who's who of the videogames industry
There's still region based roll out for many things (especially with TV and movies). Looks like Sony is trying to play whack-a-mole with reality of global shipping. They won this case, but I don't think the war is winnable.
The other day, I was looking for a way to extract the audio from digital video - specifically, there are some video blogs - mostly interviews - that I'd like to listen to, but don't really want to be bothered with the video portion. Sure, I could put them up an iconify the video, but I do most of my podcast listening while jogging.
Anyway, Gary Short recommended Xilisoft Video Converter, which sells for about $20. I grabbed the demo, which allows you to convert up to five minutes worth. Seemed to work great, and the price is certainly right. I sure wish that amenable vlogs were available as both video and audio-only, but at least I can do that myself for stuff that looks interesting enough.
Don Park is not happy with Microsoft's WPF, and I can see why - his list of reasons hits some real issues. To wit:
WPF can't play Flash movies nor non-Microsoft movie formats seamlessly.
WPF is not available or problematic on non-Windows platforms.
Microsoft is still acting like they could "own" the internet space. That's kind of a blinkered view, and I think they're going to pay for that.
Martin Fowler has a nice roundup of some of the better boardgames out there. My personal favorite right now is Caylus. It's a tile laying and resource management game, so it hits a number of interesting strategy points. A fascinating kicker is that turn order is not set - one of the available plays during the game is changing your position.
Caylus is not a beginner game though - if you are just getting started with this class of game, head over to Martin's place and read his recommendations.
Andres Valloud lays out why he prefers dynamic typing. Agree or disagree, I think he makes a good case, and explains how and why he comes down on the side of dynamic typing.
Update: Andres followed up his own post with some additional thoughts.
Sci Fi Wire reports that Lost will be taking a mid-season hiatus:
ABC's hit series Lost will return for the second half of its third season on Feb. 7, after a 13-week hiatus; it will then run without repeats until the end of the season, Zap2it.com reported.
Sci Fi channel does a lot of that - BSG and the Stargates have operated this way for years. If the idea is to avoid reruns, I wonder if we'll start seeing pressure to move beyond the 20-26 episode season?
Engadget notes the decidedly non-agile state of voting machine development:
Even though this flaw was evident as far back as 2002, secretary of the State Board of Elections Jean Jansen said she only recently became aware it; meanwhile Hart InterCivic can't touch the machines until it performs a system-wide firmware upgrade next year, and even that is contingent upon certification from state regulators.
I'm not sure how you would classify that kind of development cycle, but it sure isn't agile. There should be some kind of compromise position between "we can't touch it, ever" and "hack on it anytime".
James McGovern makes an interesting point, although it might not be the one he was looking to make:
Many enterprisey folks aren't capable of researching the marketplace for themselves and therefore rely on large analyst firms to put things into nice charts and graphs for them. If the large analyst firms don't have enough integrity to also list open source projects in their matrix then enterprisey folks will not even learn about what benefits them.
That's a failure on so many levels. First, the people within the enterprise. If they can't research the market themselves, then management has a problem. Then there's management - why are they happy paying large dollar figures to large analyst firms just to get conventional wisdom? Some of the nimbler firms - Redmonk comes to mind - don't seem to fall into herd think.
Maybe those enterprisey folks should start doing some of the work themselves, so that they could draw their own conclusions.
Technorati Tags: management
I love the idiotic chatter about A-Rod, and how his sub-par (not awful, just sub-par) season led the Yankees to disaster. ESPN reports that A-Rod won't be traded, which might just demonstrate that Cashman (Yankees GM) understand the real problem: pitching:
"Brian Cashman and I had a discussion and he made it clear that he has no intention of trading Alex," Boras told the Daily News, "and I told him that Alex Rodriguez has a no-trade clause.
"There will be no movement of Alex Rodriguez this offseason," Boras said.
However, baseball executives are unsure whether Boras' statements are believable, particularly given Rodriguez's postseason struggles and the media scrutiny in New York.
Here's the real problem, and it has Steinbrenner written all over it: how many decent young arms could have been picked up for the money they are shelling out to Randy Johnson? Johnson is my age, and - as I've said before - that's not a good thing. He's well past his prime, and his ERA shows that.
Let's say that they could have acquired 3-5 young arms for that money. If even 1 had worked out, the Yankees would be better off. Forget A-Rod. He's not the issue. The issue is pitching, period.
Scoble makes a call for a useful metric: engagement. What does that mean?
Well, I’ve compared notes with several bloggers and journalists and when the Register links to us we get almost no traffic. But they claim to have millions of readers. So, if millions of people are hanging out there but no one is willing to click a link, that means their audience has low engagement. The Register is among the lowest that I can see.
That sounds like a good measure, if we can get it. The trouble is, it's probably hard to get. Consider: I don't see much of an uptick in traffic when I get linked on various high traffic blogs, but I don't think it's due to non-engagement. Rather, it's due to a significant shared audience.
When a big social site - like Digg, Slashdot, or Reddit links to you, the overlap is smaller (in percentage terms), so you see a much bigger avalanche - from people who aren't aware that you exist. Over in the political sphere, it sounds like a link from Instapundit can have the same effect. So the measure Scoble wants would be highly useful, but I expect it'll be hard to get - it's in that "I know it when I see it" category, seems to me.
Technorati Tags: metrics
So what happened? Sometime around JavaOne we heard about the Ruby KaiGi in Japan, a Ruby conference or get-together of some sort. If RubyConf is the big conference for us Westerners, this at least provided a mid-year update for English-speaking Rubyists. Matz was there, Koichi was there, and I believe other Ruby dignitaries made the trip as well.
And then Matz and Koichi dropped the bomb: Ruby 2.0 would support neither continuations nor green threads.
I'm not so sure that's a good thing - it removes power from application developers, that's for sure. Anyone else have thoughts on that?
Scoble quotes Jonathan Klein on the changes in the stock photo business being wrought by people like Thomas Hawk:
This is a business that’s seeing radical changes due to folks like Thomas. Thomas is an amateur. He gives his high-res images away for free, or for a low price if you want to use them commercially. He uses the same Canon 5D that other professionals are using. And, his images are often as good or better than the ones the pros are getting.
We know a semi-pro photographer (she helped my daughter's girl scout troop with a photography badge last year) who is running into the same thing, only she's far better prepared for those changes than the big photo warehouses like Getty are.
That's exactly what the music (and TV, and movie) businesses fear - becoming a commodity. The photo business is getting hit hard, because there's simply no way to lock up most photos. Some - of historical events - sure. There's going to be less and less of that as we go forward though, due to the sheer proliferation of good cameras. A decent amateur will be happy selling for a lot less than the pros do.
Now, as musical recording gets easier, we'll start to see some of the same thing happen. There are lots and lots of small bands that have no real interest in going pro - my cousin is in one. He has a wife and son, and doesn't really want to do the kind of road work that it would require. He also has a fulltime job, which makes music a hobby. As with photos, the band he's in would sell for a lot less than the pros and studios want to sell for - and they don't seem to be hung up on DRM, either.
It's going to be a rough transition for the studios to make, and they'll keep resisting it every inch of the way. In the end, I don't think they'll win. TV and movies - that will probably hold up longer. Doing quality story lines takes an actual budget - you have props, special effects, and - more importantly - time management. If you want to record a 2 hour movie that holds together, it's real work, and that requires paid time on the part of the people involved.
Patrick Logan calls a spade a spade:
Seriously, Ruby is in dire need of a decent implementation. The JVM and the CLR are fine for what they are, old legacy. But Ruby needs its own *modern* implementation.
I'd love to have a Ruby implementation on our VM. The difficulty is in figuring out a business model that would support doing the investment.
Rogers Cadenhead has come up with a rather innovating anti-spam technique:
I'm trying a new technique this week that makes spam easy to detect by putting a bunch of bogus text areas on a weblog form, hiding them with Cascading Style Sheets, and checking them for input when the comment is submitted. I call these fields comment flak .
Spammers typically put their junk comment in every text area on a form. When text shows up in any of these flak fields, my blogging software treats it as spam.
That's a brilliant idea. I'll have to look into that.
Nick Carr locates the soft, white underbelly of the OSS "community" model - it makes it fairly easy for a large corporation to slap down a trouble-making (in their mind) smaller company:
Are there economic or other barriers that prevent competitors from capitalizing on the investments of the open-source companies?
We're about to get a lot closer to an answer to that question, thanks to that great clarifying force in the technology business, Larry Ellison. Yesterday, Ellison announced that his company, Oracle, fully intends to eat the fruits of the labor of Red Hat, the leading for-profit supplier of the open-source Linux operating system. Oracle is taking the version of Linux developed by Red Hat and distributing it under its own brand, as "Unbreakable Linux." And, in a stab at Red Hat's very heart, Ellison claims that Oracle will substantially undercut the open-source firm's prices for supporting the software. It seems like a claim that shouldn't be hard to fulfill. After all, Oracle doesn't have to pay those labor costs.
It should be interesting to watch that play out - and it demonstrates why I'm leery of any Open Source business strategy for our product.
Andres Valloud attended a keynote at OOPSLA that covered type inference (using Haskell, sounds like):
Haskell's type classes are, as I understood them, a way to pass a sort of "method dictionary" so that type inference works. However, the type inference breaks when not all sends are "monomorphic". Well right, if all sends are monomorphic, then types are essentially method lookups --- hence my previous claim that good type inference engines are hard to come by
Go read the whole thing - Andres draws some conclusions, and they come from his experience in the field.
Update: With a tip of the hat to Giovanni, the link is fixed
Engineering has released new 7.x VMs - the following bugs have been addressed:
- 50949: Launching an image gives write permission to it
- 51236: Bus Error when VI is reading/accepting socket data on intel macosx engine
- 51239: Sentinel in win vm's io semaphore array's free list is wrong.
- 51255: Windows socket performance 100 times worse if background processes are running
- 51316: description of primitive 390 for OS8
- 51328: 51077 introduced a bug on Solaris causing lost delays when moving windows
- 51330: Revert to VC++ v6
- 51359: StrAllocate needs an OE function for fixed space
- 51363: ZLib code fails to export all functions in the zlib interface.
The following ARs were fixed in the preceding 7.4c engines:
- 46964: Moving mouse speeds up thapi queries 30-fold on Linux MP.
- 50990: Moving low-level event dispatch from the VM up into the VI
- 50992: Wave Core parcel crashes engine upon load on 64 bit linux (VM)
- 50994: A remote Postgres connection makes the Linux VM run hot
- 51077: Fix to debug engine's interminable stream of "lost time signal in waitForIO"
- 51078: LAZY_UNLINKING regime fails to void cached MNU PICs
- 51081: crash in LESS application looks like a Visualworks bug
- 43106: Attempting to receive data on a SocketAccessor results in UHE: WSAECONNRESET under Windows 2000
- 51155: soft heap ulimit restricts memoryUpperBound on Solaris since 7.4
- 51174: 64-bit Linux hot hang in #waitNoButton
Grab 'em and go
Looks like the RIAA's "fire and forget" lawsuit strategy may end up costing them, if lawyer Barringer-Thomson has her way:
Oklahoma based attorney Marilyn Barringer-Thomson is proving to be a giant pain in the tucas for the RIAA. You may remember the case of Debbie Foster, in which Barringer-Thomson beat the RIAA at their own game by making a motion for summary judgment. The RIAA withdrew the case, presumably because they didn't feel that laying their cards on the table was the smartest move at that juncture. The judge in the case allowed the RIAA to withdraw their lawsuit, but ruled that it was "with prejudice", meaning the RIAA is at fault and opening the door for Foster to recover legal fees accrued from her defense.
Anything that causes the RIAA pain is just fine with me. Those guys are trying to hang on to an increasingly outdated business model by their fingernails. Like a wounded animal, they need to be put down.
Jeff Jarvis notes how much extra cost there is in TV production:
On the way to one of three meetings I happened to have this week with people who are starting new, lightweight networks — because the internet lets them — I walked by a location shoot for a TV show. We see them all the time, we jaded New Yorkers, and so we’re never amazed. But what does not cease to amaze me is all the stuff it takes — or they think it takes — to shoot a show: trucks filled with lights and cables and plugs, handcarts filled just with the director’s chairs with stars names on the back, bins overflowing even with wooden boxes with the Paramount logo on the side, assistant directors running around trying to act more important than the snotty gophers they are, catering trucks with expensive caterers: expense everywhere.
I mentioned last week that I thought TV would hold up against the "DIY" juggernaught, but I could be wrong - there's a lot of extra cost mentioned above. How much do you really need, if you just want to capture a scene, and are willing to use actors who don't have egos the size of Montana?
I don't know the answer - I suspect know one does, yet - but there are tons of amateur and semi-pro actors around - many of them are doing part time local theater. Would they be willing to do full-time drama for a lot less than the cost for (insert star here)? I expect the answer is yes. Jeff touches on that, and other costs, here:
Do they really need all that to shoot three minutes of obvious primetime drama? Of course, they don’t. Studio and network executives have lamented the cost for a long time, but they haven’t been able to change it. That’s how TV is made — or that’s how the priests of the TV tools told us it is made. But with ratings and now revenue facing merciless shrinkage, the networks will attack this cost structure. The first, stupid response was to invent stupid, cheap, reality shows: NBC’s answer to its declining economics was to declare defeat at shovel us **** at 8 p.m.
I predict that one smarter network will soon discover a show made cheap, handheld cameras, no location trucks, no gaffers, no ADs, no caterers, and no numbing studio structure but lots of creativity and passion and independence: a show made by one of those three ventures I met with this week. That show will go on the air and be a hit, not because of how it is shot but because of what it says. The networks will discover that they can get quality TV that is still popular — not as popular as the blockbusters of old, yes, but popular enough to be profitable so long as the costs are low. That will be great news for the creative class, because it will lower the barrier to an audience. And that will be good news for us, formerly known as the audience, because we’ll see TV that is valued for its creativity over its infrastructure.
Consider RocketBoom - it's not a newscast in the same sense that the evening news is, but it easily could be (or something like it could be). How much lower do you think Andrew's production costs are? Now apply that thought to entertainment shows, using actors who make average salaries (instead of millions per show). Further imagine that said shows show up on iTunes, with some kind of slipstreamed ads (product placement, short spots) for free download.
Now you start to understand why the studios want a DRM wall between your PC and your TV - the last thing they want is inexpensive (and inexpensively produced) content streaming to the living room TV. They would much rather keep you on their plantation. What's going on now is a modern-day replay of the luddite's war against mechanical looms - only with the media machine cast into the part of Ned Ludd.
Boris Popov has some pointers for deploying a Seaside application with Apache:
If you’re about to deploy a new shiny application you developed with Seaside, you’re probably wondering how to go about it. Well, here’s one way of doing it and its generic enough that it may just work or require very little tweaking if you already have Apache2 installed.
Technorati Tags: seaside