October 29, 2004
Sunset Scavenger: Claiming Trademark Violation by DJ Zeph
Because you might confuse garbage collection with music...
Intellectual property has so metastasized as an idea for clamping down on all expression, it's gone from Disney protecting mickey, to the garbage company protecting its trucks and name. Wide Hive Records, producer for DJ Zeph, got sued for trademark infringement for use of this image on the CD cover of DJ's latest record, Sunset Salvage, nee Sunset Scavenger. This is the original cover.
Apparently, after the CD was released, Sunset Scavenger, the GARBAGE collection company for San Francisco and the definition of totally clueless, decided they thought their customers might get confused between garbage collection and hip hop music, so they sued to force Wide Hive/DJ Zeph from using both a photo of their garbage trucks, and the title of the CD which is also their company name: Sunset Scavenger. Though I don't think Sunset Scavenger has much of a case (I've never confused hip hop with garbage collection, though there is hip hop music that some people might call garbage), who wants to mess with a garbage company?
I mean, isn't this the proverbial leg-breaking strong-arm business? Would you want to fight with a garbage company over the censorship of your artwork and commentary? To impress on upon them the subtleties of free speech and cultural expression, free publicity and a kind of hipness like they'll never otherwise know? The difference between garbage and entertainment?
Gregory Howe, Wide Hive Records founder and CEO said, "...we thought the likelihood of confusion was non-existent, but we couldn't afford to get dragged through the courts to defend ourselves in the kind of battle that can often take years to resolve."
This is the new cover artwork and new name that Wide Hive now is promoting for DJ Zeph:
Note, if you're lucky, you all bought a first run copy of the CD ... with its now highly collectable artwork. If not, might check eBay to see if the old one is available in a second sale... otherwise, go the Wide Hive and buy the new one directly from them. Songs online for free listening include Floorwax, Shake It On Down (Featuring Boots from "The Coup") and Underscore. Free MP3's make us purrrrrrrr.
October 27, 2004
48 Hours With Barely Any Internet
So I left CA for NY, forgot my powerbook powercord, and was able to sync for just a minute late yesterday. Had so many meetings last night and today, that I didn't get online until around 1pm today, after buying a new cable. And then my connection lasted an hour before the wifi failed and I lost connectivity. Having wonderful meetings with Peter Hirshberg, Jeff Jarvis and Susan Crawford, as well as a slew of other interesting new media folks. But alas, I had to borrow Susan's connection to check email and blog this. When I get back to the apartment later tonight, hopefully I can figure this out and get back online there. I can't live like this. Not when all the connections are online, IM, email, even skype.
October 25, 2004
Susan Crawford Proposes Net Ecology Day
No, you don't have to pick up spam up off the floor . Instead, Susan is proposing a day where we all (I'm assuming bloggers and wiki makers, because it's easy to change our web content) post a visual representation of some part of the networks that make up the internet:
- The central problem that we need to solve, the central complacency we need to overcome, is the general feeling that someone is (or should be) in charge of the internet. We need to show the difference between networks and hierarchies.
- What if, on one day a year, we globally built a picture of links together? Each person could put a dot on the global page, identify it, and then draw a line to something online that they care about. I bet the result would be a very interesting and dynamic network diagram that we could animate. You'd see the thing pulse and change, as some links became thicker through popularity and clusters connected all at once. Then, for one day, people could post this living, animated network diagram on their page or blog. Very zippy. We could make it possible for people to show "their" part of the network -- what they had decided was important. (There are, to be sure, a few hurdles to overcome, but don't bother me with your petty technical difficulties (PTD)).
Some visualizations could be strung together to make a movie. Interesting idea. I want to hear more.
October 24, 2004
This clever new blog on designer shoes, etc.. Manolo's Shoe Blog, has a blogroll way down the side, below the shoe references and eBay designer shoes sales, that is totally techy. Just noticed that the first half of it happens to be Doc Searls' blogroll.
Love the shoes, too!
October 23, 2004
Ebay Gets Closer to Blogging
Look at this... it's for the sale of 2 (3 more were added) invites to a wedding in England... since the wedding dress sale last April on Ebay, where the seller of that dress was only allowed about 5 entries, this new sale has 7 entries, and there are comments. For the record, the seller of the wedding invite doesn't want to attend because she doesn't like the bride and hasn't seen the groom since he started seeing the bride two years before. Turns out a number of other invitees saw the listing and threw in their invites for the same reason, so thats why the offer has gone up to 5 spots.
Funny stuff, but more importantly, Ebay has gone bloggy!
October 22, 2004
Call Me Ishmael
Been listening to Poptech on IT Conversations. I'm hearing lots of amazing stories about technology, the environment, science, human behavior and online interaction, all while working, in-between phone meetings, working out, etc.
Speakers tell of amazing feats of swashbuckling science, man-verses-nature Masterpiece Theater style, where Richard Attenborough-esque feats of daring-do by men who get knocked down and go home wounded but not broken, only to recoup before going out to attack the world all over again, and winning out over their metaphorical whales.
It is exciting, but masculine in language, perspective and ideas framing a male-dominated world. I swear to God, it feels like I'm hearing these talks after dinner, over Romeo y Julieta cigars with the speakers, while having a bourbon on the rocks in front of a roaring fire, sitting in a leather chair, under a giant stuffed white rhino shot at dawn as he charged on the plains of Kenya while a manservant, dressed in native red dress, and a big sword around his waist, made cappuccino back at the basecamp. Oh wait, that was someone else's fantasy life. (I don't even drink bourbon.) Anyway, aside from the one (single, only) woman speaker at Poptech, couldn't they find any women scientists or sociologists or technologists to talk about their work/research/understandings framed from a less masculine point of view? I mean, I love all this stuff where the men are men, and they conquer stuff, women swooning.... The scenario is sexy as hell. A lovely romantic fantasy. These are guys you'd love to have over for dinner because they're fun, adventurous, risk-taking and they tell a great story. But giving talks on stage to hundreds of people, one after the next, at a conference where the idea is to present the changing world of technology and the social impact of it on human life and the globe as it stands in 2004, where the boys label it all, framing life in masculine terms seems seriously lacking in balance and realness. What is power but to define and label? These are powerful guys. They are labeling the world in male-dominated power structures.
But goodness, women are half the world's human population and can't we celebrate and present frames of female power structures? And what do power structures of equality look like? Could we have some contrasting labels for describing what happens in the world? You know, it's not 1922 with Hemingway in Africa and it doesn't feel real to hear the world circa 2004 described in those terms exclusively. Doesn't sound true to me. It's not my experience at all. At times some of the speakers sound like romantic throwbacks to an earlier era and collectively, it feels very much so.
Actually, I don't even care if it's women who tell about other frames, but rather that other frames are available as part of the story of our current socio-technical life. It can be men telling it. But men who are highly accomplished AND understand other ways of thinking are not all that easy to find. Where is George Lakoff when you need him?
The thing is, it's often easiest to get people who embody the other frames to expose them, and so it makes sense that often there is a call for those women who have accomplishments to celebrate by those who feel there is something missing. But it is the varied framing and labels that are really what's missing. So while it would be nice to hear from others, and I'd like to see it, this isn't about just making sure women are there, or representatives of other ethnicities etc. It's about making the picture represent what is more true in the world. The rest will take care of itself in my view.
Oh wait, the audience just asked Ben the-current-swashbuckling-speaker to tell his polar bear tale, before dinner. Good story. Cute. And he sounds damned handsome.
Oh wait, again. A speaker just announced that for Poptech 2005, Caroline Porco, Dame Julia Pollock, and some space ship guy have agreed to speak. Well, they just doubled the number of women from one to two, at least in announced speakers for next year over this year. Bravo. But I think they need to work a little harder to reframe the world as both masculine and feminine, in order to even attract women, because who wants to speak at an all male party, were the world is framed in male dominated power structures? It's demoralizing. It's like a liberal going to a conservative party. The liberal will never be taken seriously there because everything will be on conservative terms.
Reframed, Poptech might then have a better chance of getting speakers who then frame the world in more balanced ways around their own work. In addition, it would be a huge success if it led to having a number of accomplished women presenting their work with more progressive frames.
October 20, 2004
Is Blogging Like Being In A Civic Club? At Least As Far As Value Is Concerned?
You know, I like what Doc is saying about his Bloggercon III session. Because to me, blogging is not about an equivalency (eg, I do this and get that). Blogs can direct value in a way, for example, with corporate blogging, in the sense that information is more transparent and humanly accessible, than before someone at the company blogged. And blogs can display ads and make some money, but most blogs don't and won't make real money. Overall, generalized, I think blogging is an action and practice that is about something else. A different sort of value than money or direct economic value.
Trying to quantify economic value doesn't work for blogging, or a lot of other online information activities. It is comparable to conversation in this way: people talk to each other, and they rarely expect to monitize the direct conversation. They don't walk up to someone at a party, say something, and expect to make some value in the words; people would think they were creepy and weird if they did.
It reminds me of when I was growing up and my father was in a civic club. He was in it because locally, he wanted to help the community, meet others who wanted to do the same, collaborate on projects that were interesting or fun for the community (very little of his business work applied to many of the civic club members there directly, though other locals did go for business networking of an indirect sort) and learn things because they had weekly speakers. And the fact that people in the community had regular contact also had the added benefit of putting a personal face and interaction on what otherwise would just be a business or institution that might feel distant and not accessible or human.
But it turns out that when it came time for him to work on getting the health non-profit he was CEO of set up in countries around the world, the network of men and women in that club around the world opened amazing doors for him, because he had participated in the place we lived and they saw that, it queued them to listen to and trust him, and they wanted to help. Their contacts and time were donations to a non-profit they believed in, run by people they liked. (In fact my parents are still friends with most of them, and they visit each often in retirement). The civic club was absolutely key to getting the non-profit into the networks of people who knew how to efficiently deal with each country's local government regulations, health networks, and navigating the bureaucracies. There was no money changing hands, no promise of economic gain. And his community work didn't set out to create a direct effect. But there was a connection and an indirect effect.
It feels odd to say this, in reference to what the question is that Doc poses, which is about a kind of information economics and value of online information and action, but it seems to me that there is a spiritual or karmic quality to this. People participate, share information, collaborate, help each other, discover things, for reasons that compel them, and it just doesn't seem to be about money. In fact, money would probably kill the desire to blog if it was some direct thing for most people. It's a desire to make something useful, helpful, or even if it's a statement, it might be a question they ponder. And for corporate or other more formal blogs, it's an opportunity to converse with customers more humanly, to share information that might later result in a sale, but isn't directly about selling the words.
Blogging is about participating, saying what you believe, changing the information possibilities. People don't always blog specific things for the best reasons, but regardless, it seems like this kind of sharing overall is similar to the civic club interactions my father used to go to for connecting, sharing, helping and discovery. I think blogging is closer to that old civic club sort of model than anything else I can think of at this moment, as far as any direct value is concerned.
Here is a Webnotes page on this graffiti-like thing that's been happening since posting on Webnotes yesterday. danah posted on it, then Will, who made the page I found first and linked to, responded in his blog about the activity occuring on his webnotes page because he saw people adding notes to his site, via his Bloglines page (through the RSS feed of changes)....
Webnotes reminds me a little of 3rd Voice, kind of like post-it notes, which people used to put around the web.... Kevin Marks mentioned that people would put porn ads on the front page of Yahoo... but it died off. This new toy is much more fun, because you make changes and additions like a wiki, going back to earlier versions if need be, and yet each little box is somewhat like a blog post, but also a note on another note, or a blog comment on another post or comment, and also because collaborative thoughts and overlaying words and presentation make things more about the group than any individual or single though, as danah notes.
I would like to be able to search Webnotes though, to find pages on topics, or by author, or title or links. And I want to post images and put little notes on those together with the other boxed notes. But I love the feed of changes. Never used e-quill though so I'm not sure how it worked.
October 19, 2004
More on Appending Stuff
John Battelle is quoted in the Business Standard (of India):
- Searchstreams analysis: What searchstreams offer, according to John Battelle of Searchblog, is the “ability to capture and record your search history as well as the things you looked at, all in one package.”
- Battelle, who is also writing a book on search, explains further: “What I really wish for, both to tell the story of my search, and to annotate my book, is the ability to take that searchstream and turn it into an object – a narrative thread of sorts, something I can hold and keep and refer to, a prop to aid in the telling and retelling of how I came to my answer.
So I would include in the definition of a search stream my RSS feeds of searches at about 10 search services, that I pull into my aggregator, as well as everything I search when I go out to search sites.. and so the ability to append this stuff, to leave my notes for myself easily at the place of the search or aggregator level, and maybe share them with people, would be cool. I want notes for lots more than photos or for putting contents into a discrete blog or a wiki, or the tool I mentioned earlier today.
October 18, 2004
Most Fun Wiki / Blog / Note Application
Look at this! Blog quotes in boxes, with a hyperlink back to the blog, editable by anyone! No difficult wiki interface that's hard for the great unwashed to grok. No blog posts with comments lost at the bottom and some interminable membership login process just to leave a damned thought in the mix.
It looks a bit like romper room. But oh my goodness, I can edit anything willy nilly. And so can everyone else. I've started my own page and it's wide open. Basically, they are letting me have my own blog on them without any sort of login, with wiki functionality for others to edit, with an overlay of notes.... Let the chaos begin!
It's not that this system does everything a wiki does (and for serious project or knowledge collaboration, I see this system as more whiteboard than full wiki) and it's not everything a blog does (for serious blogging and commenting, it's lacking the "home" quality and structure) but the tool is a reduction of these, plus notes features, blended into one interesting collaborative thing. Loads of potential for garbage, but then, so are lots of other things. It's people's desire to make better information that helps keep things like wikipedia good, and this has that potential as well.
So I want to be able to leave these boxes everywhere (with better colors) across the web. It's something I've been thinking about since the other day when I got a little fotonotes demo. I wanted to put fotonotes all over everything, not just fotos. Like blogs and webpages, and videos and music and search results. Maybe they could just remain on my machine attached to the webpage metadata, without ending up as graffiti all over other people's stuff, so that when I saw the URL again, the note would be there, or maybe be shared with others I know when we want to share. The ultimate distributed story. Now that is very delicious.
October 17, 2004
Networked Homes, Complexity and Suburbs
Friday I went to the Intel Research Labs / Berkeley open house. Lots of sensor network and RFID projects, along with Elizabeth Goodman's Familiar Stranger project, and a few others.
One in particular was around sensors for the wired, networked house. It had a poster board with all the possible wired, networked objects in the house of the future (felt kind of like a world's faire sort of thing -- E.L. Doctorow came to mind while I was talking with the guy standing there discussing it). So the guy was a young kid (he admitted to being born in India in 1983) who was very excited, gushing even, over the idea that every object in the home could be connected and talking, doing things for us while we were out, making life better, simpler, more possible (insert utopian fantasy here).
I felt a bit skeptical, because I think that by the time we get all this stuff connected and working correctly (washing machine, fridge, vacuum cleaner, lighting systems, smoke detectors, furnatiure, computers and network systems, HVAC, alarms, entertainment and communication systems) we may be living differently than the picture they are designing for, which is suburban fantasy, where everyone has a big house, lots of stuff, big lawns (he kept bringing up a computerized automated lawnmower that could mow those water guzzling laws on its own), or cars necessary due to vast distances required to get to stores, work or family/friends.
I just am not so sure that in the 10-15 years it might take to get existing houses set up, and appliances replaced (you've heard the old joke about the fridge that gets a virus and orders 20 pounds of cheese), that we will not have shifted to simpler, more environmentally conscious lives, where we may not have the big houses with lawns at all (replaced with drought tolerant plants due to large population need for water), or the need for a washer that reads the RFID tags to plan how to wash the clothes. Maybe there will be fabrics that simply don't need washing in the way we do it now. Don't know.
But what I can imagine is that in the Intel world they were showing on the poster, with so much dependency on connection, we must make sure our Palm equivalent is synced with everything and absolutely accuractly reflecting everything we do. Example: while we may put trips out of town into a datebook (note to fridge, don't order cheese), we might not put an event that is so explicitly important, it's on our minds and therefore doesn't require entry (fridge doesn't get note about cheese). But the bigness of that event also means that ordering food is not necessary. Maybe you'd only be out the $100 or whatever, of extra uneaten food that was wasted. But you get the point.
Also increasingly complex systems mean disasters will inevitablly come up with a corresponding level of the same increased complexity. I'm not so sure the convenience and networked control we gain from a highly connected computerized home will outweight complex disasters, especially if we shift our living paterns due to increased populations, or simplicity or environmental concerns. Because part of the assumption of wanting those sorts of controls and connections is due to the current dream of a large house with corresponding great distances between the people and things in the house, and the distances people must travel to and from the house to other outside activities. If those ways of living shift, the assumptions predicating the networked home system Intel Research is developing must also shift.
It's not that I don't think there are interesting aspects to networked home, but as I see in many engineering driven projects, the coolness of some new technology is imagined and planned and maybe even deployed, before a realistic user assessment for value and need is made, and so the way the technology is created ignores what those needs might be. I would love to see a needs assessment done for the networked home project that more closely mapped what seem like real household needs, before the answers are imagined and made, so it would look more like something we would use and appreciate in homes, and be worth the trouble and cost.
October 16, 2004
It's Gotten to the Point Where..
I guess this is a day of confessions, or realizations or cyber lifestyle testimonials.
Anyway, I have been thinking about something I said the other day, which is that it's gotten to the point where I only read things that people point me to. I mean, I read a lot of mainstream media online, but only when it comes through the aggregator as a pointer. Or someone (rarer and rarer these days) emails or tells me about it in person (they all have blogs, and know I aggregate them.. we even don't tell stories we've blogged to each other any more, because we have to stop each other short to say, 'I read that on your blog' before we resume the next part of the conversation). I don't even feel guilty about it.
Two years ago, when I started using an aggregator, I felt so guilty about not reading the NYTimes or SFGate's tech section, etc., so I vowed to balance the blogs with the mainstream, and diligently did so for a year. But the last year, I totally slipped. And I don't even care. Now I just read the metadata from mainstream news sections in the aggregator. Or worse, just search it and read that metadata set.
Anyway, I do still subscribe to food porn and house porn magazines (the pictures in mags are too good compared to online food porn) and the NYTimes on Sundays, but I only unwrap it around a week later, to look at the pictures... because everything is online, and comes through a pointer, an intermediary, a filter, a friend, my topic / semanticly-related communities centered around my interests. I gave up perusing the online sites months ago. Too busy, and the filters work better. Yeah, it's interesting to discover something. But there is so much. So I discover what about 200 people and 10 semantic communities point to and fact check. Otherwise, I get direct evidence in what I'm working on myself. One or the other.
So the other day, someone was at my house, and mentioned bobo's. Which he defined as people who are bourgeois bohemians, who won't buy extravagant stuff unless it has a practical purpose. And then he mentioned that these Bobo's typically like everything and so they don't just buy regular tomatoes, they buy heirloom tomatoes (we were eating a salad with 5 colors of heirloom tomatoes). They keep densely grained specialty bread in the freezer (I started laughing so hard because I had some dark whole wheat artisan bread in the freezer, with walnuts and cranberries and raisins) that costs ten dollars a loaf (mine actually was $2.39 a loaf from Trader Joe's, but still, I was totally nailed) and I admitted to keeping that, plus some sourdough in the freezer because it takes me a week to eat a loaf of bread, and in this climate, it will go stale in a day. And Bobo's won't buy a boat for $30k because that would be extravagant, but rather, will spend $30k on their bathrooms (he's not very familiar with the bay area, I guess, because I know many people here, who've spent more than twice that on a single bathroom -- though I have just painted mine, myself, for about $50 in supplies and put in some $12 Ikea lighting -- halogen! -- and added some inexpensive chrome towel bars.. but still! It's a faint yellow cream. And I refinished all the furniture myself, after buying it from garage sales...). I realize after doing some reading that there are also some counter-culture values that go along with this, but at the time, the definition I was given was purely around all this stuff. My stuff.
I have been labeled and I didn't even know this existed, a Bobo. I must have been in finals at school when that media event happened (the Trent Lott thing happened during one set of finals -- and I didn't even know he'd quit I was working so hard). But I've never heard anyone in the Bay Area talk about it. But he is totally right. Even though I like practical stuff, and do everything myself, I still have things around that fit the definition (it's actually also a delegation problem with the DIY, and too strong a sense that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, and the fact that I'm an insecure perfectionist.)
So then I looked around the house, and at myself (wearing, gasp, a suede shirt -- at least i had jeans on) and realized, he's totally right. I am a Bobo. I go OTT on many things, though I don't really shop much, never go to stores unless I need something which is rare, but when I do, I get that quality thing (the roast I made for dinner was not cooked in some cheap pan, but rather an Al Clad pan that cost a ridiculous sum -- and I admit, I have pans and knives that are really good -- though I'm not really into other kitchen gadgets -- the two that I have are like my kitchen aide mixer that is 80 years old, and came from an estate sale where it cost $2).
Anyway, you get from this confessional list that this is really bothering me. I don't want to be defined by some pejorative term, classified in some way like a consumer (I hate that term as well) of marketed products (I don't even get catalogues, that's how little I shop). And yet, I do have a few nice things, but now I question what they are here for, because I realize it is probably my ego that has been out of control, thinking that people would like more me if I had nice stuff in a way or that I would feel better with those things and it would gratify my ego and belief that I deserve nice things (the other reason I have these things is because I don't like shopping but once or twice a year, and I don't want stuff to break/rip/spoil and therefore also think these items will last longer -- back to the bobo definition of buying practical extravagant stuff that is justifiable somehow due to the practicality of it). The last example he pointed to was my 15" powerbook. Ack. It's true. I do spoil myself in certain ways. It's a combination of purchasing to self-indulge, a desire to be liked and respected, my overblown ego, and frustration when things break.
For a while I've been thinking I needed to get rid of more stuff (a few years ago I got rid of 80% of my possessions -- but I've bought a few things since then), and have less, be more practical, and live more minimally. But this makes me feel all the more transparently a faker with my things, and gives me an additional reason to divest from them, which have nothing to do with any of the things I really want, which is to be seen and loved for who I am. I guess I've felt that if I have certain things and do something useful, people will like me. If I didn't, they wouldn't.
I guess it's transparently obvious to others but I hadn't seen it or known the Bobo existed before. So I guess until I figure this out, you can refer to me as Bobo-at-Large.
October 12, 2004
My friend Ana, who just got back Sunday from 6 months of being in-sourced to India, has a few things to say about American culture. First, it's 'relax' -- apparently street lights in India, when red, say 'relax.' And she thinks we need to. She said everyone here is so anxious, zipping around and laboring on 'internet time.' Zanex in the water, anyone?
Second, when the software engineers in India who worked for her (she was the team lead on a project for a telco project for an Indian company there...) would say, 'sure, two weeks to code it' and months later it wasn't even touched, she realized that outsourcing as an issue in the US is a joke. There is no competition. We are too busy zipping around getting things done here, and there is no way they operate on that level. It's just not part of their culture.
And lastly, she noted that we eat a lot of fatty foods and part of her culture shock getting back is that as a society, we are pretty overweight. But then, she says, 'everyone looks good in a well placed Sari.' She brought back two gorgeous ones (and lost some serious weight).
My response? Six months was way too long, I missed her way too much, and I'm so happy she's back and living up the street. Thank goodness I'm so busy zipping around running on internet time that it passed quickly. Ana is one of my very favorite people I'd rather have her here coding than there.
October 11, 2004
The Tail of Sellers
Francis Pisani made a really interesting observation yesterday, when we were talking about the Chris Anderson article, during a chat about how the blogosphere hadn't post much in the way of criticism or interesting observation about the premise of the article (it's mostly just quotes or pointers).
Francis noted that the examples used to illustrate the power of selling items that range down the power law tail are actually at the top of the power law curve themselves: EBay, Amazon, NetFlix, iTunes. And yet they are profiting from sales at the other end of the curve, where more obscure items can be found. This is because the transaction costs are so low, that they can offer things stores can't because the stores must sell a certain number per month to cover the rent. But this constraint does not exist when there is no store in the traditional sense.
This caused me to think about what kinds of sellers exist further down the curve, and are selling profitably items at the tail. Rhino Records? I couldn't think of too much off the top of my head, but I wondered if the required aggregation, and the trust customers have in eBay et. al. still means that the top sellers do best selling items that range from hits to obscure products or content, or if those sellers further down with only more obscure content, and with far fewer sales, are also benefiting from this economic shift. Is it possible that the diversity of media and products can come from a diversity of companies? I also would like to know where the buyers fit into this. Do the top purchasing customers purchase a range, or at the tail, or the top? Where do the people who just purchase now and then fit into this? I would love to have figures on this as well as the product hit sales analysis, though I would imagine that most online sellers wouldn't want to give even aggregated customer information about how much people purchase correlated to where their purchases fit on the hits scale of content. But it would be interesting.
Who Are These People and Where do They Get This Link Policy Stuff?
Came across another clueless linking policy that is just absolutely revealing about how little people understand what is going on online. This time, it's the Pacific Research Institute. It starts out:
- Pacific Research Institute Linking Agreement and Link Conditions
- Pacific Research Institute (PRI) welcomes links to its Web site. However, before adding a link, you must obtain express written approval from PRI. To seek approval for such a link, please fill out the form below and click the submit button at the bottom of this form. You will be notified by e-mail if you are granted approval to link to pacificresearch.org.
- By establishing a link to the PRI Web site, you are deemed to have agreed to the Link Conditions (note: Ed. bold marks)
Right. I'm going to fill out a form to link to them, including a box for the "purpose of my site." WTF. The purpose of my site is to get C&D'd over your freaking linking policy. I'll add it to the pile of other ridiculous C&Ds.
However, I noticed that the language is almost the same as last week's linking policy dust-up. Where do they get this garbage and who is running around recommending to ignorant site owners/keepers that this is acceptible?
The rest of their link policy:
General Link Conditions
Upon approval, links may be established to the PRI home page at www.pacificresearch.org. Links may not be established to any other pages of the PRI Web site without PRI's prior written permission.
After link approval is given to the PRI Web site, PRI grants you a limited, non-exclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license to use the PRI service mark (logo) and Internet icon(s), if available, (the "Licensed Marks") solely for the purpose of serving as a link from your Web site to the PRI Web site. Except for the limited license to use the Licensed Marks granted in this paragraph, you may not use any of PRI's trademarks or service marks (the "Marks") for any reason without PRI's prior written permission.
You acknowledge that all rights to the Marks, the content appearing on the Web site, and the look and feel of the Web site belong to PRI. You will not at any time directly or indirectly contest or infringe these rights.
If you link to the PRI Web site, your Web site:
-Should not create frames around PRI's Web site or use any technique that alters the visual presentation of PRI's Web site.
-Should not imply that PRI is endorsing you or your products or services.
-In the absence of any affiliation with the PRI, should not imply an affiliation between your company and PRI without the prior written consent of PRI.
-Should not misrepresent your relationship with PRI or present false or misleading impressions about PRI's products or services.
-Should not contain materials that may be interpreted as distasteful or offensive; all materials should be appropriate for all age groups.
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October 08, 2004
Slide Show Bob
Kinda like powerpoint with out the proprietary skittles / $$. To quote Craig Newmark (from Web 2.0), "... as the kids say, I'm giving a shout out to ..." Eric Meyer, who makes a simple slide show system in S5. Nice.
October 07, 2004
See the George Bush / Tony Blair Love Duet. The one Larry Lessig has been showing for a while to demonstrate why permission culture sucks. So the lawyers who were asked, said no, "it's not funny." You be the judge. But since the lawyers said it wasn't funny, they won't give permission. That does suck, doesn't it?
Open Source Gets Cooler
Instead of top down, it's bottom up.
Instead of an industrial ego system, it's an eco system.
Web 2.0 arrived when demand began to supply itself.
Users pick up the tools. Like with Wikipedia. Like podcasting.
Process innovation is happening for software innovation, and Kim's new company, SpikeSource, is where they will make "automated systems for assembling open source software... with validation, integration, testing, and support".
Cool. Absolutely love seeing a really brainy smart, cool woman running a company like this. Go Kim!
Oh, and here's the link to the Linux Supervillian cartoon she showed.
The Media Panel
Really? This was in response to a question from Cory Doctorow asking why Tivo didn't take on the studios (who dick over the innovators and the users) together with Replay to defeat the incumbents.
Web 2.0 Overheard
It's astounding to have Vonage and AT&T on the same panel.. treated as equals, with Vonage explaining what the applications are and AT&T comparing everything to the old business model.
October 06, 2004
The Tail, Instead of the Top: Micro-Interests Distributed
That would be the tail of the power law curve. Wired/Chris Anderson write about it here:
Chris was at Web 2.0 today. Well done article. I have to read it again to take it apart. For a long time, I've been thinking about why the power law distribution and those at the top are not what matters on the web. Rather, in the case of linking and blogs, the middle section, where the symmetric conversations happen -- when a blog has 50-150 inbound links and in a month's time, links out to that many -- are interesting. In contrast, blogs that have thousands of inbound links, but don't link out to thousands in a month are at the top. Those blogs at the top resemble broadcast media. So Chris has examined this concept even further down, at the tail of a power law curve, where the tail reflects the distributed micro-interests across millions of people, a few at a time.
Today at Web 2.0, stats were bandied about like the one where 25% of Amazon's sales come from products that never see a store shelf because regular stores just couldn't carry that many items, selling so few. It's the power of the tail. But the question is, where else does this apply, can it be transfered, and where are the weaknesses in this theory?
Keyhole... I Think You Should Love Your Macs More!
Wow. Just saw a demo of the coolest new mapping thing (hopefully they have a cool linking policy...) here at Web 2.0. Keyhole. Except now that I have a Mac laptop, I'm not able to download the free 7-day trial, except on my home machine. Bummer. Because it would be perfect for the Mac environment.
BTW, since I've become a Mac user, I don't think I mentioned how amazing it is. For the last 7 years, it's been all windows all the time (tried to install Linux about 5 times, but couldn't get it...). Anyway, the difference? Well, it's not an easy change over. Took about two months, with lots of help from Kevin Marks and a couple of others here and there, to figure out substitute programs that had functions I wanted or needed that were similar to the Windows features I was used to using. Not to mention switching takes on the quality of driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Basically, I would hit commands or keys that felt right, but did the opposite of what I was expecting because I was used to Windows. It was like turning right on right, and driving straight into traffic, because everyone drives on the left side. But I've adjusted.
But regardless of those adjustments, as soon as I started using the Mac (15" laptop), I realized it was like driving a very fine sportscar. And that before, with Windows, I was driving an inexpensive mid-priced car. Like going from a Mercury LeSabre to a 5-series BMW. Lovely. Delicious. I feel loved by my computer. And what I can now do and make is so beautiful.
Yesterday, late in the afternoon, at Web 2.0, we got an intro to Snap, a new search engine. It looked cool because of all the parameters available for sorting, even if the search results are a bit hard to grok and need some UI love:
- Linking to the Site
Unless a User has a written agreement in effect with us which states otherwise, User may only provide a hyperlink to the Site on another Web site, if you comply with all of the following: (a) the link must be a text-only link clearly marked "snap.com" or "www.snap.com"; (b) the link must "point" to the URL "http://www.snap.com" and not to other pages within the Site; (c) the link, when activated by a User, must display the Site full-screen and not within a "frame" on the linking Web site; and (d) the appearance, position and other aspects of the link must not be such as to damage or dilute the goodwill associated with our name and trademarks or create the false appearance we are associated with or sponsor the linking Web site. Perfect Market reserves the right to revoke its consent to any link at any time in its sole discretion.
How absolutely clueless. Uh, seems they've lost their cluetrain ticket too. They must know about the Athens 2004 incident. I mean, at least with those guys, you could understand somewhat the utter cluelessness, because well, you know, they are all about old media. But Snap? Okay. Well, way to get on the Web 2.0-train, SnapBack.
October 05, 2004
Web 2.0 is About Making the Internet Useful for Computers?
and Web 1.0 was about making the internet useful for people. ~Jeff Bezos. On stage. At the Web 2.0 conference. Just now.
Wow. My first thought? That's just crazy. I mean, it may be true, and it might make sense in a way, but first this has to be about users, not machines. Though he did show us the very first Amazon site, which he coded himself, with static html. And then the current site. Which he called Web 1.0. And then the new site.
I totally disagree. If Web 1.0 was about making the internet usable for users, I'm stumped. Cause it's not very usable. Ask new users (not the 600 geeks in this room). Amazon, which now and then (depending on the number of tabs they show you) often looks like a cash register, is all a clutter with everything and anything and the kitchen sink showing all. Give us some air please! And then, the interaction to me is not simple. Yes, searching for a book is simple. But other things, if you don't have the exact name they use, aren't so easy. Browsing is okay, but they have all the clutter in there too.
And Web 2.0 is about making the internet easy for machines? Maybe, in the metadata, with feeds and other machine-readable data, but I think the major challenge we face is the the UI (stupid). People are using systems that work fabulously well for engineers that work at internet companies. But not for very many others, except those that submit to their own reconfiguring. (The first rule of making masochistic interfaces is to plan the reconfiguration of the users.)
I think Bezos is wrong, and I hope he's wrong. I hope Web 2.0 is not so much about engineering, but about understanding the human computer interaction, about how to present data people will actually understand, about how to design and build first based on what people need, not what engineers dream up. I mean, they are brilliant, and I have enormous respect for coders and other engineers, but this is about people. People connecting, communicating, finding what they need and sharing it.
Remember the telephone? When it was first deployed, they, the engineers and biz people, thought it would be 90% about users making business calls. You know, to the dentist to make an appointment, or to the mechanic. But immediately, 90% of the calls were personal. People just want to connect with other people. I believe Web 2.0 is about making it possible for people to connect and share and compose information in meaningful ways. The rest is just under-the-hood engineering. Let's leave it there.
October 04, 2004
Giving People Information to Get Them to See
- Democrats have a false theory of the electorate.. and of how people vote: give people the facts and they will reach the right conclusion.. and they see framing as spin... and resist it.. -- from the Class 5 notes
This particular statement made in class last Tuesday reminded me of what I often heard journalism students and the occasional visiting professional journalist giving a lecture at the JSchool at UCBerkeley say, though they were speaking from the journalistic model, not the voting model. It would always make me stop then too. It's the idea that given the right information, people will choose wisely (code word for the 'right' way, which is the way the speaker thinks is right). In a way, the theory is understandable in that given better information, people will make better decisions. But economists know this doesn't happen. Given lower pricing, many people do not buy the generic brand over the branded brand even though the same manufacturer may have made it. And given the right information, or the facts, people do not necessarily choose a particular course of action, for one reason or another.
It might be due to their perception that the facts as delivered by either liberals or journalists is incorrect, to be disregarded because the facts don't fit the person's framework of life, are not trustworthy for some other reason, or are less trustworthy than some other conflicting fact. But it may also be because people don't like being condescended to, don't like being told what is right or good or correct. I believe this is one of the issues top down media currently faces today: the masses, who were supposed to be reading newspapers and getting the right info so they could make the right decisions and be 'well-informed', realized some time ago that newspapers in their old form were in one way or another out of touch with their lives and what they needed from their information deliverers. It might have been the paper-paper delivery, the generalist nature of the coverage, or the occasional journalist whose lack of humility or disregard for the truth or the intelligence of those they were reporting for just didn't sit well with the great unwashed. But when media has screwed up, anger toward top-down media has showed up in some surprising ways, and at least for me, and the few that I've spoken with, the anger and distrust comes in part from the sense of condescension we've felt. Liberal views of knowing what's best have also provoked this same sort of anger in the public. That's not to say that I or those I've talked with about this are libertarians.. though there is some flavor of it there, balanced by other sensibilities that government has a responsibility to control certain things for all of us, whether we like it or not (keeping industrial pollution regulated, making everyone stop at stop signs, providing education -- though you probably realize that I see us doing a better job on the stop signs and falling down with our responsibility to kids and the environment).
So does better information matter? Absolutely, as does education, so that people understand many ways of looking at fact, theory and argument. But I don't believe that given better information, people will the see 'the light', especially the one particular light the information giver wants to make people to see. Yes, some will see it, but the most responsible thing to do is to give people honest information no matter what position it supports and let them make up their own minds. It's why I love blogging and other newer forms of online information passing. It may not always be right.. it maybe require us to be continuously asking about whether the information appears true, whether we trust the purveyor, or should put our trust in the search for information that is more truthful. But expecting others to get some particular notion afterward is condescending, and will never get the liberals, or top down journalists, a considered place at the table of most folks. Because the bristling nature of that condescension just makes people feel funny and that leads to distrust. But sharing information across many information sources, blogs and top-down media online, and wikis and via word of mouth, gives us the opportunity to lose the condescension so that we do our own fact checking and are apart of the process of getting the best information for the sake of getting the best information no matter what its provenance.