I made a couple of corrections to the build script I posted the other day; I had some case sensitivity issues, and also two parcel paths that assumed my specific system setup. I've tested the script out on my Mac (works fine), so you should be able to use it without trouble now.
The AACS control folks are just starting to figure out how much people hate copy-protection schemes:
Mr Ayers would not comment specifically on the AACS group’s plans, but said it would take “whatever action is appropriate. We hope the public respects our position and complies with applicable laws.”
He said that tracking down those who had published the key was a "resource-intensive exercise".
According to a Google search, almost 700,000 pages have published the key.
Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of internet law at Harvard Law School, said that assuming the key could break a DVD, it's distribution would infringe the provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA).
Good luck getting all 700,000+ sites to take down the key - especially those outside the US, where the DMCA isn't law. Sure, some of the people involved in this are pirating DVDs - but that's not really the issue. There are perfectly valid reasons to want to copy a DVD (what if I want to watch LOTR, but not carry my DVDs with me when I travel?). These schemes just piss off law abiding people, and they don't throw up so much as a speed bump to the pirates. Assuming that all of your customers are crooks is not a great CRM strategy.
I recorded my roadmap session at Smalltalk Solutions on Tuesday, May 1st. I had to replace the audience questions with my own paraphrasing; the noise levels on those were just too high. It was a fun talk, with a lot of good audience interaction - I'm hoping that most of that came through.
Doc Searls reports that Time Magazine has made their archives available:
TIME Magazine exposes all their archive editorial, going back to 1923. For free. So, when Joe Klein writes an essay for the magazine, he doesn't have to worry that his writing goes down what writers at less enlightened publications call "the $2.50 hole", within which which all old "content" continues to be "monetized" until the end of time (no pun intended). Even if it never sells to a single reader.
This is an example other media ought to follow.
When your pitching staff if giving up runs like a waterfall gives up water, the answer is not to hire another pitcher my age... Here's an idea - find some guys in their 20s!
This is good news: "Lost" now has a definite end date:
ABC has agreed to let the producers of Lost set an expiration date for the series: three years in the future, Variety reported. The series will wrap after the production of 48 additional episodes that will be divided into three, shortened 16-episode seasons.
It sounds like the writers were starting to hear the criticism:
Cuse and Lindelof wanted an end date in order to mollify critics of the show who worried producers were simply spinning their wheels as they worked through the show's layer upon layer of mystery.
|I just picked up a fascinating little book that Joseph Pelrine mentioned during his Scrum talk at StS 2007: "A Geography of Time", by Robert Levine. It's a tour of time perceptions - both culturally (around the world), and individually (how we perceive the flow of time based on events). I'm finding a lot to like about the book - the anecdotes about the introduction of 4 standard time zones to the US in the late 19th century was worth the price all by itself - based on who I works for (Cincom, based in Cincinnati, Ohio) - I found this amusing:|
Some of the most vocal objections came from the state of Ohio. The Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, whose local time was being put back 22 minutes, wrote: "The Proposition that we should put ourselves out of the way nearly half an hour from the facts so as to harmonize with an imaginary lines through Pittsburgh is simply preposterous... let the people of Cincinnati stick to the truth as it is written by the sun, moon, and stars." The Commercial Gazette, calling it a "great stupidity" to acommodate the railroad's needs, continued until 1890 to publish railroad timetables under the heading "This is Cincinnati Time. Twenty Two minutes faster than railroad time".
Heh. It's a fun little book.
John Dvorak has some condensed wisdom for corporate lawyers: you're in PR now, whether you like it or not:
First of all, lawyers can be idiots and have no sense of public relations. According to the New York Times and others, this entire current fiasco was started by the too-common threatening letter.
When an attorney sends out threatening letters to people these days, especially to bloggers and other Internet mavens, these documents get scanned and published online to be widely distributed.
This is in relation to the HD-DVD key fiasco, but it could be just about any of the recent bone-headed moves by lawyers without a working knowledge of the new rules of the game. As recently as 10 years ago, a threatening letter sent out would have silenced most people - the raw fear of being sued put most of the power in the hands of the lawyers. Now? It's far more balanced, as "word of mouth" often carries beyond a small circle of friends. Any company that's considering legal action should check with their web-savvy PR people first.
Technorati Tags: marketing
If you head on over to the public store and load the latest rev of Tools-Refactoring Browser. You may get an exception while loading (this is development code) - just open the debugger on the exception and hit the "Run" button. It will load fine.
Then open a new browser, you'll see this:
Scroll down, and you'll see that the RB has entered the current century - links that will launch a browser:
The Minneapolis Star Tribune must be one of the stupidiest outfits around - they decided to re-assign Lileks from columns to straight news reporting. Lileks is one of the funniest writers around - I wish I could turn phrases like he does. But hey - don't listen to me - listen to Dave Barry:
James Lileks, a terrific writer and one of the best newspaper columnists in America, says on his blog today that his newspaper, the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star-Tribune, has decided to kill his column and have him write straight local news stories. This is like the Miami Heat deciding to relieve Dwyane Wade of his basketball-playing obligations so he can keep stats.
Technorati Tags: newspapers
Just when I thought the RIAA couldn't possibly get stupider, I found this story on Ars Technica:
In Florida, Utah, and soon in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, selling your used CDs to the local record joint will be more scrutinized than then getting a driver's license in those states. For retailers in Florida, for instance, there's a "waiting period" statue that prohibits them from selling used CDs that they've acquired until 30 days have passed. Furthermore, the Florida law disallows stores from providing anything but store credit for used CDs. It looks like college students will need to stick to blood plasma donations for beer money.
That's right campers, the RIAA thinks that second hand CDs are dangerous weapons. Treating your customers like common criminals: it's bound to bring in new sales!
Here's the difference between good writing and annoying writing: with each episode of "Heroes", it always ends too soon. With each episode of "Lost", there's another plot twist that mostly serves to make the audience wonder "why am I still watching this?" In two weeks, "Heroes" will wrap the season and give us answers. Meanwhile, "Lost" will keep playing with our heads.
Matthew Ingram finds some encouraging numbers in the latest Pew internet survey (PDF) - he highlights the finding that 37% of people say they've blogged, commented, created a web page, or uploaded a photo (the proxy for "web 2.0 use"):
What’s not to like about a number like that? I was expecting the proportion to be much smaller -- along the lines of the emerging 1-9-90 rule of thumb for social media, where about one per cent of people create content, 9 or 10 per cent consume it and about 90 per cent couldn’t care less about it. I find the fact that almost 40 per cent of people blog, upload photos, post comments and so on cause for considerable optimism.
Well, I'd step back and wonder if that really does go against the 1-9-90 rule. The thing I'd like to know would be this: of that 37%, how many actively and regularly do any of those things?
I'm sure that some presenter at JavaOne could have gotten a laugh by using this graphic in their presentation :)
Normally, I'd call Disney a great marketing firm - but they fall into the same "screw the customer" bucket as everyone else when it comes to video:
Walt Disney's ABC and ESPN are expected to announce Tuesday a deal with cable operator Cox Communications to offer shows on demand, but there's a catch. Cox will have to disable its fast-forward feature that lets viewers skip ads, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Tuesday.
Next: Cox will start fielding lots of phone calls claiming that the remote is broken. This breaks expected behavior, and it's a fairly large UI error; the sort that really torques people off. This shouldn't be that hard, actually: cable companies can tell exactly which videos (owned by which entities) have been requested via Video on Demand. Some kind of subscription based revenue sharing plan would be pretty easy to do, and wouldn't piss off customers. But hey - media companies are now all about pissing off customers.
Technorati Tags: marketing
Nick Carr reports that Google is starting to "police" the web:
To address this problem and to protect users from being infected while browsing the web, we have started an effort to identify all web pages on the Internet that could potentially be malicious. Google already crawls billions of web pages on the Internet. We apply simple heuristics to the crawled pages repository to determine which pages attempt to exploit web browsers. The heuristics reduce the number of URLs we subject to further processing significantly. The pages classified as potentially malicious are used as input to instrumented browser instances running under virtual machines. Our goal is to observe the malware behavior when visiting malicious URLs and discover if malware binaries are being downloaded as a result of visiting a URL. Web sites that have been identified as malicious, using our verification procedure, are labeled as potentially harmful when returned as a search result. Marking pages with a label allows users to avoid exposure to such sites and results in fewer users being infected.
That will be mostly a good thing, but I wonder how high the false positive rate will be? And - what will be your recourse with Google if your site gets marked as malware?
What the MPAA says (via Matthew Ingram):
There have been other gestures as well. Studios and movie distributors have been lobbying to have Canada placed on a high-priority international piracy “watchlist” along with countries like China and Russia. And Twentieth Century Fox made some vague threats earlier this year to hold back some of its top movies from Canadian release, because the risk of piracy was reportedly so high. One Fox executive said in January that Canadian cam-corder copies were “like an out-of-control epidemic,” and that the country had become ”a leading source of worldwide Internet film piracy.” He said Canada accounted for close to 50 per cent of illegal camcorder copies.
What reality says:
Dr. Geist notes that one of the most recent studies of movie piracy found the majority of illegally copied movies over 75 per cent -- come from review copies or early releases that are sent to movie industry insiders, including reviewers at newspapers and magazines. Piracy experts say that camcorder copies are really only in demand for that brief window between when a movie is released for preview screenings and when the DVD is released. Canada obviously has DVD copiers too, but no one is saying we are an international leader (at least not yet).
It would be nice if the MPAA and the RIAA at least visited reality occasionally.
Technorati Tags: mpaa
"The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation," Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said, referring to the Civil War American general George Custer who was defeated by Native Americans in a battle dubbed "Custer's Last Stand".
"They will lose this war if they go to war," Parsons added, "The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion."
Hmm - last time I looked, the Sioux didn't win that war. Parsons might want to reconsider his metaphors :)
It seems that Second Life is having problems with illicit materials being passed through their system - which is a direct result of Linden Labs deciding to allow complete anonymity (on the back end - anonymity within Second Life could be maintained) on the part of users.
I'm wary of demands for authentication, but it all depends on what you're trying to build. Based on the article I linked to, Linden Labs is going through some fairly extreme contortions due to that policy. It's not clear to me why they don't just return to a policy of demanding a real credit card linked to a real address - seems to me that such a demand is a gate mostly for people who are unwilling to pay anyway.
Valleywag says that Natalie Portman is working on a “lifecast” of her personal and working life, a la Justin.tv’s 24-hour streaming EdTV experiment. Said news, apparently, was leaked via a Twitter message by someone whose firm had been approached to fund her new venture (allegedly Silicon Valley VC oufit Charles River Ventures). This wouldn’t be the only time that Silicon Valley has met Silicone Valley, of course, but it still seems a little far-fetched to me -- but then, so did Justin.tv.
Ingram is right to be skeptical of anything coming out of ValleyWag, but even if this story is a bust, I suspect the trend itself will start rolling.
This sounds encouraging:
Comcast Corp. Chief Executive Brian Roberts dazzled a cable industry audience Tuesday, showing off for the first time in public new technology that enabled a data download speed of 150 megabits per second, or roughly 25 times faster than today's standard cable modems.
Here's what I want to know: will they still be limiting the upstream bandwidth to single digits? Recently, Verizon came through our area and installed FIOS. I was interested, until they came by and offered me exactly the same service Comcast does, at exactly the same price. You want me to buy something new? Offer me value somewhere!
Adtech is reporting that click through rates for banner ads are dropping:
ADTECH, global providers of ad server technology has today revealed the results of its latest browser analysis and has revealed that just two out of a thousand viewed banners trigger a reaction from European Internet users. The current click-through rate of 0.18 per cent is the lowest since ADTECH started banner analyses in 2004. Then, the average was 0.33 per cent.
This isn't a huge surprise - I can't recall (other than by accident) the last time I so much as looked at a banner ad, much less clicked through one. The entire model is shifting to things like Google's AdSense, which tries to push up ads that you might actually be interested in (although even there, I wouldn't be surprised if click through rates are low and dropping).
What advertisers really need is "just in time information" - an ad for a product at the point that I'm looking for to buy something. AdSense delivers some of that - but the thinking in some parts of the industry is still reflective of the TV "broadcast model":
Freytag continued: “The decreasing numbers overall in my opinion are due to the fact that the users have increasingly gotten used to online advertising during the last years. Banners are now commonplace on the Internet. New formats, such as video ads are needed to draw attention and generate clicks. Layer and Leaderboards in contrast have a high reminder potential even beyond the Web.”
That's the kind of thinking that leads to those cover up Flash ads (is there anything more annoying on the web right now?). I think there's going to be a lot more suffering in this sector before the old-line advertising bromides die off.
Technorati Tags: advertising
SciFi Wire reports that a new Terminator flick - possibly the start of a new trilogy - is on the boards. If they stay with the idea of showing us the post-SkyNet future, that could work. I just hope they don't get all Lucas-esque on us, and get high on their own fame and deliver the equivalent of the last three Star Wars flicks (utter dreck), or - gosh forbid - the hash that was the last Matrix movie.
Technorati Tags: scifi
Looks like the lawyers and the media are starting to figure out that they've (the lawyers) received an involuntary promotion into PR. It's really too bad that lawyers suck at PR:
Some of Hollywood's more aggressive lawyers are learning a painful lesson: The Web doesn't have a delete key.
That lesson was especially humiliating for them last week, when a key that could unlock copyright protections on some high-definition movie discs became Topic A on the Web -- precisely because a movie industry trade group tried to squelch any mention of it.
The day when a threatening letter from a lawyer was enough is on its way out - in the meantime, it looks like an awful lot of companies are going to find out that the legal department is not a place where positive PR happens.
This talk mentioned in the Product Management View - Product Management in an Agile Environment - is a talk I wish I could attend, but Toronto is a bit out of the way for me, especially in the middle of the week. Sounds like something I'd enjoy.
I thought it was pretty stupid of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to move humorist James Lileks from column work to beat reporting, but Mike Malone captures the real problem:
One of the reasons for this intense reaction is that for most of us in the rest of the world, the only thing we know about Minneapolis these days, and certainly about the Star-Tribune, is what we read in Lileks.com. In other words, James Lileks is far bigger than the newspaper that employs him, is its single most effective bastion against falling subscription revenues, and is its most powerful marketing and promotion tool.
That's the reality, and I have to wonder if the owners of the paper get that: their brand is now less valuable than the Lileks brand. They could have worked with him; my guess is that they'll be working without him soon. Like buggy whip peddlers in 1925, they don't seem to have any idea what that noise in the distance means...
Technorati Tags: newspapers
I hadn't thought that newspapers could get dumber, but hey - I was wrong:
“We seek a newspaper journalist based in India to report on the city government and political scene of Pasadena, California, USA.”
James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the two-year-old Web site pasadenanow.com, acknowledged it sounds strange to have journalists in India cover news in this wealthy city just outside Los Angeles.
But he said it can be done from afar now that weekly Pasadena City Council meetings can be watched over the Internet. And he said the idea makes business sense because of India’s lower labor costs.
Local news outlets have exactly one area in which they can add value: local news. Turning that into a copy/paste exercise with remote staffers just makes the local news into the same kind of dull sameness you see in wire service copy/pastage - no value add, no reason to read it at all.
If a local news source wants readers, it's going to have to do local news coverage. This is what you call "penny wise and pound foolish".
Technorati Tags: newspapers
This package implements the Look & Feel "Chimera". Chimera was designed to provide a platform-neutral, minimalistic look, inspired by Swing and AWT. The idea behind Chimera was to provide a consistent design on all operating systems (Windows and OSX currently). The emulated native looks are instantly recognized as being not the "real thing" - so why pretend? A slick custom design has proven to be a viable solution for many applications that can not deal with native widgets for whatever reason.
Chimera comes with some performance optimizations under the hood, most notably faster and smoother window updates, especially for tab controls and resizing splitters. It was tested for VisualWorks 7.4.1. Chimera has no prerequisites and integrates with the VisualWorks L&F framework. After loading the package, go to the VisualWorks settings panel and select "Chimera Windows XP" for Windows and "Chimera MacOS X" for a Mac. Although both versions run on either platform, font sizes and menus look best on the designated machines.
I pushed a copy up to the public store - just load the package CGN Chimera Look. Here's BottomFeeder running under the Chimera XP Look (click for a larger image):
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Matthew Ingram finds another nail in the coffin for newspapers: Facebook is launching classified ads:
It’s clear to me, as it is to Scott, that one of the things that makes Facebook so powerful as a competitor in this particular space is the social aspect it brings. Does anyone feel like they have really connected with someone through their newspaper classifieds? Unlikely. But Facebook and other social networks -- including craigslist -- are more like the bulletin board at the local campus centre, multiplied by a million. That is a powerful force.
What's absolutely killing newspapers is the loss of income from the classifieds. That used to be a gold mine, and it allowed them to become lazy in other areas (see yesterday's post, for instance). Now their private gold mine has been hauled off, and they have absolutely no idea what to do. Their various money-saving schemes range from the stupid to the insane, and then they go and blame Google. As if a search engine that lets me find a news source is a problem.
The upshot of this is, an awful lot of newspapers are going to disappear over the next few years, as team after team of executives fail to understand (and cope with) the problem: witness the Minneapolis Star Tribune, deciding to put a talented columnist on the news beat, for instance. Will they retain Lileks? I seriously doubt it, and that loss is going to hurt them. Smaller (and larger) versions of that are going to be played out in newsrooms across the country, and it will be painful to watch.
Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, had some things to say about the Wii that I found somewhat surprising:
I'm actually not -- the product has gotten more broad-base acclaim that I would have expected. It's a very nice product, but it actually has a relatively specific audience and a fairly specific appeal, frankly, based on one feature, which is the controller itself. And the rest of the product is actually not a great product -- no disrespect, but … the video graphics on it aren't very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn't play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren't actually that interesting.
So the challenge for us is how do we drive to more casual users, and how do we bring more casual experiences to Xbox and Windows? And the challenge for them is figuring out, "Hey, how do I broaden beyond a casual demographic?" We'll see how that plays out.
See, that's a complete misunderstanding (or misstatement) of where Nintendo is at - they aren't really trying to go after the crowd that wants to play Halo, or Gears of War. They recognized that the market for casual games (at an affordable price) is much, much larger than the one for "hard core" games. They don't need to broaden their audience; they just did that by offering better game play. I think Nintendo is quite happy to let MS and Sony duke it out in the "we lose money on each sale of expensive hard core systems" space. While they do that, Nintendo just quietly cashes checks.
Technorati Tags: marketing
Just when I thought the approaches taken to DRM couldn't get stupider, I find out I'm wrong. Witness the tools at Media Rights Technologies: they claim that all the big players in the media player space are violating the law by not using their product:
A California company that makes technology designed to prevent ripping of digital audio streams has accused Apple, Microsoft, RealNetworks and Adobe Systems of violating federal copyright law by "actively avoiding" use of its products.
Media Rights Technologies and its digital radio subsidiary BlueBeat.com said in a press release on Thursday that it had issued cease and desist letters to the high-tech titans. They argue that the companies have manufactured billions of copies of Windows Vista, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player and Apple's iTunes and iPod "without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners."
Geez - about all I can come up with on that is this: there's a business strategy that Tony Soprano would appreciate.
Looks like the next season of Battlestar Galactica will wrap things up:
When asked about the next season of Battlestar, Olmos had this to say, “This will probably be the most extraordinary season of Battlestar, it’s the final season so, it’s definitely going to be the most vicious.”
While I'd like to see more of the show, I'm happy to see it go out on top.
Contrary to comments by Edward James Olmos (Adm. Adama) at the Saturn Awards on May10, no end has been announced for the award-winning show. Battlestar Galactica is preparing to film its fourth season, one that will include 22 episodes, rather than the previously announced 13.
Summer is fast approaching, and it's time for another look at the logs. BottomFeeder downloads are back to a more normal rate - 188/day. The details:
On to the HTML page accesses:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
And finally, the Syndication numbers:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||3.6%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||3.5%|
|Feed On Feeds||2.6%|
In an article about Open Source software and its impact on vendors, I think I ran across one of the stupidest paragraphs I've ever seen - here's Dana Blankenhorn:
Many of these vendor fears are wrapped up in the phrase "intellectual property." What you do for me becomes my property. But why should it? Why should you, as an employer, continue to profit from the work I perform as your employee?
It's called a paycheck. If you want to have full ownership of what you do, then you do it as an independent, and take the risks that come with that. If you want to take the security of a paycheck, then you also take the restrictions that come with that. It's not that complicated - TANSTAAFL pretty much sums the whole thing up.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
This week, Dave, Michael, and I spoke a little bit about Smalltalk Solutions (which took place 2 weeks ago), and that led into a conversation about Cairo and Pango. We also delved a bit into UI frameworks, after Arden Thomas' talk at the show came up. We held the talk to about thirty minutes - as usual, if you like it, please head on over to Podcast Alley and vote for the show, or leave a review on iTunes. Feedback? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scoble sums up his travel advice with this:
Anyway, the new rule we recommend? 1:30 for any domestic flight and three hours for any international flight. If you can add more, do. There’s nothing more stressful than seeing a super long security line or, worse, being caught in traffic on the way to the airport knowing you are about to miss the only flight of the day.
Maybe I'm just lucky - I never allow that much time at the airport, unless the airport in question is Heathrow (it's often miserable to get through). When I fly from BWI, I usually don't leave the house until an hour before the flight, leaving 40 minutes or so at the airport.
As to what he says about checking bags - the best advice I can give is this: make it fit in two bags so that you can completely avoid baggage check. Nothing adds time to your trip like checking and retrieving bags.
Scoble talks web stats:
The thing is these services rely on toolbars (I can’t even use any of the toolbars on the Macintosh for some reason, and how many of you even have one of these folks’ toolbars loaded? None of my friends do and I’ve been checking). Or they rely on “panels” of Web users that they survey regularly. Do you know the selection mechanisms? How do they know they are getting a representative sample? Clearly very few people who run Web companies find their stats accurate. Yet we’re supposed to believe in them?
Looks like everything old is new again - we still have this problem with TV shows. The thing that isn't getting across yet is the difference between the mass audience that advertisers would like (this is the business model they know), and the niche audience they actually get.
The mass audience was an artifact of the lack of choice in early media. When all you had was 3-5 TV stations and a radio dial, you picked one of the available poisons. Now? Your choices are virtually unlimited: 500+ TV channels, internet radio and TV, time slicing (TiVO, podcasts) - it's no longer a finite entertainment menu. The people doing the stats act like it's a finite menu though, and the advertisers behind them play along with the fiction so as to preserve their current behavior.
Sometime soon, reality is going to crash the party.
How can you tell when the well of new ideas is empty, and all that's left is a desperate attempt to preserve existing revenues?
Microsoft claims that free and open-source software violates more than 230 of its patents, according to a magazine report published Sunday.
Microsoft isn't "dead", but they have turned off all of the intellectual lights...