If you have some wild notion that the current copyright regime has anything to do with paying the actual artists, then you need to see this article from Wired. The bottom line - it's all about the members of the RIAA and the MPAA:
Emerging online distribution methods are fueling the dispute, as Hollywood writers demand residual compensation for TV and film content sold through iTunes and other services. Producers want to delay those royalty payments, calling the technologies too new to know how much actual profits they generate.
There's a chuckle - the technologies are "too new" to know whether they generate profits (which is why companies like NBC are playing hardball with Apple, right?). I'm sure Sony, NBC (et. al.) aren't setting aside the revenues from these sources into a rainy day fund. What a complete set of tools.
In looking at the HTTP logs, I know that there are people who scan the download directories for the podcasts. The file name convention we had been using for the first year was:
Where the numbers correspond to month-day-year. I've decided to forgo that for the next year - instead, the new file name convention will be:
Where the numbers correspond to the episode number. There could be a -1 or -2 (etc.) for multi-part episodes. That ought to make tracking the shows by episode number easier :)
John Dvorak nails the "ethics" debate that sometimes crops up between "old" media and "new" media: it's all about reputation:
The public is the police. Things get even more complex as bloggers and new-media publishers arrive with a mix of news, hoaxes, and singular opinion. There are no standard ethics for any of these people, and despite stupid attempts to create a blogger's code of ethics, there never will be one except on a publication-by-publication basis. The holier-than-thou old media thinking will fall by the wayside. In new media publications, ethics are demanded by the readers, not the editors. With open forums, comment threads, and other mechanisms, the modern structure is policed by the public. Old media cannot grasp this concept.
Whether I trust the NY Times or not doesn't have anything to do with their code of ethics - it has to do with how I evaluate their track record over time. Oddly enough, the exact same standard applies to a small publication or blogger: either I rate them as reliable over time or I don't. The whole smokescreen of "layers of editors" and "clouds of ethical standards" is just that: a smokescreen. Either the writers have an agenda or they don't, and - more importantly - either they are honest about that agenda or they aren't. No one reading this blog is going to mistake me for a Java evangelist, for instance :)
His summary drives it home:
It seems very difficult to get a good grip on the changes taking place. What's really changed is that the barrier to entry, regarding newspapers and even television, has fallen away, and anyone can afford to put up a news site or produce a cheap video that gets freely distributed. In other words, the priesthood of the few who could manage to crawl into the sanctity of traditional media is over.
Fifteen years ago, as a product evangelist, I had one option: go to the trade press and analysts, and hope that they didn't mangle my message too much on the way out. Now? I can go for a bigger audience by approaching a well known trade journalist, but I don't have to - and I can also offer corrections to any story that gets posted if I think they are warranted (just as anyone is free to post corrections of me when they see fit). It's a whole different ballgame, and reputation is what drives it.
The Yankees took two of three from Boston (although that third game was certainly a nail biter) - and last night they narrowed the gap to 3 games in the loss column. There are only twelve left, so taking the eastern division is still a long shot - but boy, it would give Boston fans a whole new level of angst if that happened :)
Not only is the NY Times giving up on the paywall - they are opening their archives:
In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.
I think we can blame the ever expanding period of copyrights for the gap, but this is a good thing - I wonder if they've been reading Doc Searls on this stuff?
|I just finished reading "The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan". It could be looked at as a cautionary tale: the end of the British Raj in India led to the same kinds of problems that the death of Tito eventually led to in the balkans (and, for that matter, what the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires led to in Eastern Europ during the 20's). If anything, the end of the British era led to an accelerated period of violence and ethnic cleansing on the sub-continent - it was mostly over by the early 50's (although the author makes the point that the scars linger to this day).|
I literally had no idea how badly this had gone; what little I learned about this in school blipped over it as a non-event. The book doesn't go into great detail, and you'll want a map handy as you read it (unless the geography of the area is familiar to you) - but it's a great introduction to that era in Inidan and Pakistani history.
I think that Apple's insistence on the one button mouse had passed into absurdity a long time ago, but I had also thought that everyone knew you could just plug in a different mouse - most applications support context menus, and scroll wheels work fine. I was wrong though - Mark Cuban is hardly the only one who just (grudgingly) accepted the one button mouse:
The 2nd problem is the lack of the right mouse click. I know its a Mac thing to only have one button, but its a hassle. Sure there are work arounds, none of which are quick and easy for a longtime PC user.
Interestingly enough, there's a cool option on the MacBook's touchpad (I have no idea whether any PC notebooks support this - they should): Put two fingers on the touchpad, and then click the button - you get a right click. Swipe with two fingers - scroll wheel behavior. Yes, you have to turn that behavior on, but it is there. This is one of those cases where think Apple's stubborn take on things holds it back.
I see that the European monopoly case against Microsoft is still grinding on - which is funny, because Microsoft is busily inflicting wounds on themselves (Vista) - just as I predicted they would. Large corporate entities tend to get more rigid and less able to cope with changing markets over time; Microsoft is no exception. Let nature take its course.
I needed a break after this week, so it was off to the links for 18. It was beautiful today, around 70 and sunny. Great day for golf - too bad my game was off :)
It's been a momentous week in the Smalltalk world - as I announced here, we cancelled the Widgetry UI project. There's been (and continues to be) a lot of talk about this - so it was the obvious topic for this week's podcast. Dave, Michael, and I spoke for over an hour - I've split the podcast into 2 parts. I'l be releasing part 2 during the week - we'll be back with a new topic next week. Here's part 1, which mostly focuses on the decision itself. Part 2 is focused on where things are headed now, in light of this decision.
Cincom customer Caesar systems has made their paper on "Extreme Testing" - which they spoke about at Smalltalk Solutions earlier this year - available:
Caesar Systems of Houston, Texas, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, is offering copies of a paper by Leandro Caniglia, Ph.D., senior software architect for Caesar Systems, entitled ''Extreme Validation.'' Free copies of the paper are available at www.caesarsystems.com/pdf/Extreme_Validation.pdf. For an expanded version, please see www.caesarsystems.com/media_070913.htm.
Nice to see a customer getting noticed - one of our engineers, Andres Valloud, gets a mention in the article as well.
Miguel de Icaza notes that Apple's latest firmware update limits the iPod to Windows and Mac:
The new firmware will now refuse to play any songs that you legally own unless you use Apple's iTunes (which is only supported for Windows and MacOS)
Now, off the top of my head, I can't tell why Apple cares what platform an iPod is used on - which makes me wonder if this is Apple throwing a bone to the RIAA...
Well, today's podcast should be interesting - Michael, David, and I will be discussing last week's announcement about the VW UI. We aren't starting until 11, so if you have specific questions for us, you can send them directly to me - and if you can put them into a short mp3, send them to my private address, (uncompressed) since the Cincom mail servers can be fussy about attachments.
I was watching the Yankees/Sox game out of the corner of my eye as I was getting beaten at a card game this evening - I mostly stopped paying attention once the Sox went up 7-2. Then suddenly, there was the 8th inning - and the Yanks came back with 6 runs. The crowd at Fenway looked stunned - especially since those runs came against the best of the Boston bullpen. Now, if the Yankees can take the next two...
There's been a fair amount of traffic in the vwnc mailing list over the Widgetry decision for the last few days. This morning, I put together another message that I sent to the list - with a few changes for general posting, I'm going to post here, and expand on it a bit.
This is in response to a question that was asked about our reasoning: that reasoning being that evolving tools in the existing UI would be simpler and faster than building new ones from scratch in Widgetry. I thought that was clear, but I was asked why we didn't have our tools staff building in Widgetry. Well: here's the thing: we did.
A large part of this decision stems from the unhappy results of that. We took that path, and we were distinctly unhappy with how it was looking. Ultimately, in my role as Product Manager, I had to ask a simple question:
If our internal people are having this much trouble dealing with Widgetry, how are customers going to deal with it?
This does not imply that Wrapper is some shining city on a hill, or that Widgetry is a disaster. Here's the bottom line, though: In order to ask customers to migrate from Wrapper to Widgetry, Widgetry would have to be dramatically better than Wrapper. At the end of the day, we couldn't say that it was. It was an improvement in many areas, but it also has problems, and simply didn't "move the ball forward" enough to ask people to move to it.
It was also implied that I was creating "politically correct" responses based on some kind of secret feedback from a small group of customers. Nothing could be further from the truth - I rarely check with anyone before I post here, or in email. Heck, I created my blog, and offered to host other people, without getting formal permission to do so.
The decision to cancel Widgetry and move the current UI forward was made based on internal considerations, along with feedback from a number of customers over the course of the last few years.
Anyone who watches the UIUC VW Wiki knows what a spam magnet it's become - I do my part to restore pages regularly. I didn't want to have that sort of thing happen to our Wiki, so I put two levels of spam checks on it:
- "too many" hrefs
- A black list of keywords - new content matching any keyword fails
The problem was in the first check. I decided that "N" was too many hrefs, So I put in a check on that. However, it turns out that there are pages that already have more hrefs on them than "N", and my check was stupid - it didn't check for the difference between old and new, just the raw number.
That meant that no one could update pages like the Namespace reservation page. I fixed that this morning - sorry for the inconvenience.
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On today's Smalltalk Daily, we finally get down to extracting the calendar data from the gCal namespace in the Atom feed that comes back from the calendar request we've been working on this week. I've published package GData to the public store repository so you can see the code yourself; the workspace I've been using is in the package comment for GData.
It's all about gameplay: cool graphics are nice, but the superior experience is what counts - the Wii has now passed the 360 in total sales:
Not many would have predicted it a year ago, least of all that it would happen this fast: The Financial Times reports that the Wii has surpassed Microsoft's Xbox 360 in global sales. It's the first time in 17 years -- during the dominate 16 bit days of the SNES -- that Nintendo sits at the top spot of the console market.
I have to admit, I'm a casual gamer who loves the Wii. I'll ooh and ahh at the graphics on the 360 - but I can't justify the purchase based on how much I play. The Wii - whole different story there :)
I won't get to "Smalltalk Daily" today (unless I manage to squeeze out some time late in the day) - we are seeing my in-laws today, and that's simply going to chew up most of the day for me. Back tomorrow!
This post originated as a response to an email in the vwnc mailing list. The premise of that email was that our decision on Widgetry - and the stated justification - implied that there would be virtually no changes to the existing UI framework in VW. That's not true, and I thought it would be worth making a public explanation of the point. So:
The need for customers to make a significant change to their code was a major issue in the decision to cancel Widgetry. It was not the only one though. Widgetry was under development for 6 years before any effort was made to build tools or applications using it. This was a large mistake on our part, and one that won't be made again.
It is possible to make significant improvements to the UI frameworks without a complete migration to something new. You'll start to see improvements fairly quickly. Bear in mind that no real changes have been made to the UI framework for years. During the Parc/Digitalk merger, the VW UI was abandoned, and when the Jigsaw effort failed, the remaining team had no UI members left on it. Thus the UI stagnated.
When the decision to create Widgetry was made, no thought went into making changes to the UI, as "Pollock was coming". All work in that direction was frozen, as we waited. Plenty could have been done, plenty should have been done. Now, plenty will be done.
Now, as to the theory that the existing UI framework is essentially frozen:
Evolution of the existing code base may require changes to customer code, but the key thing is this: it will require relatively small changes over time, instead of a huge change all at once. For an example, look at the NetClients code in VW. I can speak to this one personally, having used the code extensively over the last few years (Silt, BottomFeeder). With each new release since VW 7, I've had to make minor changes to my code. They were all documented though, and all minor. I didn't have to drop all of my HTTP handling code and start over - I had to apply a change over here, a modification over there.
The difference between what would have happened with Widgetry and what is happening now is the difference between revolutionary change and evolutionary change. Change there will be, but it will not be massive and all at once.
I have no idea whether this will work, or whether there will be any interest. Having said that - if you have questions for us on the podcast, a cool thing would be sending us an mp3 file with your question. We'll play it, and then answer it. Interested? Email (unzipped) mp3 files to my private email address, email@example.com - my corporate address has been doing nasty things to mp3 attachments :)
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Mathew Ingram notes that businesses are starting to worry about time lost to Facebook (et. al.):
The BBC has a story about a survey that says businesses are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a day because employees are wasting time on Facebook and other social networking sites. According to this consulting firm, 233 million hours worth of work time is lost every day -- and the firm recommends that more businesses ban or block Facebook, as both the Ontario government and Toronto City Hall have done recently.
Here's a small suggestion for managers who have this idea cross their mind: How about you try doing your job? If you have staff that isn't getting assigned tasks done, then perhaps it behooves you to notice that fact and do something about it? Banning access to websites (or even the web in general) is simply an abdication of responsibility on the part of management.
Nick Carr completely misses the point on sites like Digg, Reddit (et. al.) - there's a reason "top stories" in traditional media tend not to hit big there: we already know where to find those stories. That simple thought apparently hasn't crossed his mind:
So what happens when "the people formally known as the audience," as the citizen journalism hypesters like to say , take charge of the dissemination of news? A study released today by the Project for Excellence in Journalism provides a hint, and it's not exactly encouraging.
The researchers examined the top stories appearing in the crowd-edited news sites Digg, Reddit, and Del.icio.us during a week in June and compared them to the top stories covered by the mainstream media. They found that the stories in the user-driven sites were "more diverse" but also "more fragmented and transitory." Hard news tended to be buried in a stream of soft news, gossip, product announcements and trivia.
Examining the front page of Digg in hopes of finding (say) coverage of a Supreme Court decision is like expecting to find coverage of that decision on the sports pages.
Having a bad copy of Smalltalk isn't enough - now Sun has a bad copy of the Smalltalk balloon :)
The topic of "accidental complexity" came up last week in a few posts about Smalltalk, Ruby, and code generation - but this NY Times piece speaks to the real thing - massive complexity due to the ad-hoc dependencies of various networks and services:
When the electrical grid went out in the summer of 2003 throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, “it wasn’t any one thing, it was a cascading set of things,” Mr. Bellovin noted.
That is why Andreas M. Antonopoulos, a founding partner at Nemertes Research, a technology research company in Mokena, Ill., says, “The threat is complexity itself.”
Some people will read this and advocate strict planning, but that's not going to do it. What we really need are systems that react better to error states - instead of "throw my hands in the air and die", "try to move on as if nothing happened" is probably a better answer in an awful lot of these cases. Not all, to be sure - there are catastrophic error states that require shutdown. However, a bad network card in one system really shouldn't be one of them :)
We appreciate all of the feedback that's come in - positive, negative, and otherwise. We understand that the decision announced here yesterday on Widgetry was a difficult one to understand, and we realize that our customers and community are going to have a variety of opinions on the matter. I'd like to take the time to do two things:
- This decision is not in any way meant as a slam on Sam Shuster, who was the main (usually the only) developer for Widgetry. Sam put in a lot of effort, and that is appreciated - even if it doesn't look like it right now
- Cincom Smalltalk will be moving forward, with incremental improvements in the existing UI tools and frameworks. For instance: here's a screen shot of the updated inspector, running on my Mac:
Other improvements will be coming, sooner rather than later. The largest mistake we made over the last few years with Widgetry was not working to build tools in it as we built out the framework. That's not a mistake we will make again.
On today's Smalltalk Daily, we plow forward with the Google calendar example - using the authentication information we got yesterday, we query an API and get back some data.
There's more to it though - Google is using a custom authentication scheme, rather than Basic or Digest. So, to use the API we first have to create a custom AuthenticationPolicy class, and plug that in. I need to thank Martin Kobetic and Tamara Kogan, two of our engineers, for their help - without them, this screencast would not be done.
I remember where I was, and what I was doing:
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