November 27, 2004
Blogger Dinner Thursday, Dec 2 in Berkeley, 7pm
7pm December 2. At Beckett's. 2271 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley. (510) 647-1790
Doc Searls is going to be visiting and we were talking about how there are rarely blogger events in Berkeley, and we'd like to have one here. Please send me email at mary at hodder dot org to RSVP so that we can give Beckett's some idea of how many.
Thanks, and see you there.
November 24, 2004
Treo 650? Don't Buy It
I purchased the Treo 600 last year. I love the integration in a single device. Camera, Palm Pilot for calendar and contacts, MP3 Player, web access, all with the phone. One device. The camera isn't great, but in a pinch.. you've got it, and the web access is slow.. and the palm OS is funky a lot of the time.
But the phone itself, the four phones I've had since I bought it one year ago today, have never been right.
* All four broke in the same way: the up/down volume on the phone is right in the spot where you hold the phone as you talk. During a call, after a while, it's easy to push the volume up, not realize it, and at the top level, the next time the person speaks, the outgoing speaker blows out. After that, you can only talk using a headset. The fifth one is on the verge of breaking... I can tell the speaker is on it's way out... it's getting funny even as I try to keep the volume on low.
* The Infrared worked on the first phone... which I had from last December through Jan 15 when the speaker blew. The following three have never had working inferred.
* Calls have to be dialed at least three times before they actually "take" and are put through to Cingular, starting with the firmware that came with phones 5 and 5, which is 03.05.
So here is what happened to the phones:
Phone 1: Dec, 03 - Jan 04.. replacement came in mid Feb 04. For one month, I could only talk using a headset. Incredibly frustrating and annoying. Treo 600 Serial no: HAAAD3463A00V
Phone 2: Feb 04 - May 04.. replacement came in June, 04. Serial No: HAAAD3463A0BL. Inferred never worked. Speaker blew in May, 04. Could only talk on headset.
Phone 3: June, 04 - July 04.. Serial No: HAAAD3453A0GB. Infrared never worked so I couldn't trade biz cards. Speaker blew -- so could only talk on headset. Replacement in September.. was busy and just couldn't deal with the whole nightmare again.
Phone 4: October 04 - Nov 04. Serial No: HAAAD4366A1VR. Speaker is going out on it now, infrared has never worked. Most called have to be dialed three times before the phone will attempt to connect to the network. Web access is hard to get going. Also, the phone jams constantly, and I am continuously resetting the phone by putting a little pin Palm provideds into the back of the machine. This is really annoying too, especially if the phone jams on a call or in the middle of something important. The whole thing just freezes. Resetting means redialing whatever call you were on, and if it's somewhere where you already waited on hold, you have to start all over.
Interestingly, when I called on the most recent phone, and they looked up the old serial no.s, they were registered to other people. Which means that Palm fixed the problem and sent the phone on to others, probably as a refurbished model. But they were mine first, and even though they were defective. In fact, these phones are so prone to breaking in the speaker on high volume, that when I call, they don't even ask me to check the phone. They just offer to send another.
However, since I'm at the end of the warranty, with a partially broken phone that will be fully broken shortly, I'm returning the last one and demanding a refund.. based on this information California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, RETAILERS AND WARRANTY SERVICE DEALERS Advisory - Warranty Disclosures - May 2004 which is more fully stated in the CA civil code:
- Please Note: As previously required, work orders and repair invoices must still contain the following specific wording in 10-point boldface type:
- “A buyer of this product in California has the right to have this product serviced or repaired during the warranty period. The warranty period will be extended for the number of whole days that the product has been out of the buyer’s hands for warranty repairs. If a defect exists within the warranty period, the warranty will not expire until the defect has been fixed. The warranty period will also be extended if the warranty repairs have not been performed due to delays caused by circumstances beyond the control of the buyer, or if the warranty repairs did not remedy the defect and the buyer notifies the manufacturer or seller of the failure of the repairs within 60 days after they were completed. If, after a reasonable number of attempts, the defect has not been fixed, the buyer may return this product for a replacement or a refund subject, in either case, to a deduction of a reasonable charge for usage. This time extension does not affect the protections or remedies the buyer has under other laws.”
Though I should note that the original phone, and all the replacements, never came with this disclosure.
So, why not buy the Treo 650? Well, the 650 does apprently fix the speaker problem, but does not have compatible connectors.. in other words, everything you bought for the Treo 600, like a car adaptor, or keyboard, or USB power/sync for your laptop, won't work on the Treo 650. How cynical is Palm anyway? That's ridiculous. This phone is a year old, and if I wanted to upgrade, I would be out of luck on all that stuff. And frankly their answer for all my problems is to just keep replacing the phone, instead of actually fixing the defect and giving me a good phone.
They don't care about customers. I now regret the 20 or so people I got to buy the phone, including my doctor, who bought one for her daughter, during a checkup I had. They are incredibly unreliable, and throwing more money at Palm for the 650 would be a real mistake.
November 23, 2004
DIGITAL MIX at Yale, December 10th
DIGITAL MIX, a one-of-a-kind musical event, brings the avant-garde of music to the future of law in the digital age
A Paysonn Wolff Lecture
Friday, December 10, 2004 6:30pm - 11:00pm EST
Levinson Auditorium, Yale Law School, 127 Wall St.
presenting "Rhythm Science"--a live multi-media presentation of the history of digital art and media
**Mark Hosler of Negativland**
presenting "Adventures in Illegal Art"--a presentation illustrating the many creative projects, hoaxes, pranks and "culture jamming" of the band Negativland
**Mike Godwin, Legal Director of Public Knowledge**
discussing the legal issues involved in appropriation art
**Nelson Pavlosky, Founder of the Free Culture campus chapter movement**
introducing the Free Culture campus chapter movement
What they say about the event:
Musical creation has historically evolved independent of the law. Copyright law, which protects musical works from unauthorized copying, has traditionally steered clear of intervening with the creation of music. An exploding new musical movement however, the art of the DJ, has grown in tension with the law. Rooted in the digital appropriation of sound samples and image clips, DJ music takes shape in conflict with the legal regime of copyright not yet comfortably adapted to the digital age. The event Digital Mix provides a sample of some of the hottest artists producing DJ music and digital video, as well as a lawyer and an activist working on the front line of artist-friendly copyright law reform. The event hopes to provoke not only artistic reflection, but a re-examination of how law and music can evolve together.
The Information Society Project New Haven Advocate
November 22, 2004
1001 - Exposing Your Flickr Contact's Photos
With just a small box, sheer, discreet, a thumbnail in the middle... people you have as contacts upload photos into Flickr and as they do, you see them in the little box, which I keep in the lower right of my desktop. I first tried this little app three weeks ago, sent to me by DavidX.
At first, I thought, oh, another thing to pay attention to.. and clutter my desktop. But I'm so loving this. People are out.. doing things... taking snapshots and I see them, a few here, a few there... it changes the way I see my contacts... I know who is more active on Flickr without going to the site, what they want to save or share, what they are seeing, where they are (Esther was in Russia yesterday for example, or last week, David was on the bus in SF, and Jerry was visiting his mother in Washington, and so when the photos appear on Flickr, they also end up as the top photo in a little 1001 stack I can scroll back through). I feel much more connected to them in a way I didn't so much before.. because it's immediate, because I feel that I'm seeing what they are seeing closer to the time when they took the photos. Before I would just go to Flickr when I thought about it, and it would take time to click around, and so I realize now in comparison that it felt somewhat disconnected from their experience.
Only thing, it's just for the Mac, and so far, the 1001 beta is only good through November 30th. Bad. Very bad. I'm hooked and I want this always.
November 21, 2004
Open Source at the Hillside Club, Berkeley
Kim Polese, Kirk McKusick, Eric Allman, Brian Behlendorf, and Marten Mickos all talked tonight about Open Source.
Ideas like... open source is free as in free-to-be-changed, improved, reused. And that there is value to getting lots of people to look at code because it ensures that it's better than when only a few people. Also, forking of projects and licensing... commercial verses open source, collaboration between IT people in big companies and open source developers, openness in systems and with source code generally. In order for any OS project to succeed, a critical mass of developers is needed to make something.. and things like Open Office didn't have that.. but may get good enough soon to be a threat to Office. But then we talked about what applications are or are becoming open source (more and more, in almost every software category), that there are many more apps that are not. Some of this is about people with itches, who scratch their own, instead of buying proprietary or waiting to get it scratched.
There was a lot there.. and due to a lot of traveling and not too much sleep, I didn't get all that was said around this stuff. I really just wanted to listen and take in the stories about this area I'm getting more and more interested in, beyond just being all for it. However, the Hillside Club will put this up on their site shortly.. so we can all listen.
24hrs of Poetry
This is an aside to the idea of napsterization. Yesterday, I went to Tom Mandel's
Both were great, and if you have the chance to hear either one perform, you must go.
November 19, 2004
PubSub Launches Their New Site
So at the PubSub party last night, I chatted with Bob and Salim about what's going on there.
First of all, they are monitoring 6.5 million blogs and seeing 600,000 posts a day. That's pretty amazing. However, many of the 6.5 million blogs have feeds that haven't pinged them or updated in some time, so they prefer the more conservative 3,606,000 active blogs as the number they actually monitor day-to-day.
They've also changed the interface, making it far easier for users to see that PubSub is really about defining a search for subscribing in my aggregator (those searches can actually include several searches, for example: napsterization.org/stories -- to get all instances of someone linking to me, combined with "mary hodder" and "napsterization" to get all instances of the keyword use in posts, and then being able to define interesting subsets of the blogosphere.. so that I only get posts say, in the 40% to 80% conversational middle of blogs as they are ranked by inbound links... and on and on...).
PubSub does something interesting that the other blog services don't do... which is that they don't collect the data and store it... instead they match the data to the subscription searches and other things they collect and monitor, and then toss it. So they don't have to worry about structuring it in a database for later. It's an interesting premise, this idea of not searching historically but rather searching just what comes through, which they call "prospective search."
Nice work guys.
Last night I attended the PubSub Launch Party at Galaxy in the Union Square area of NY. Salim Ismal and Bob Wyman threw a lovely little todo and lots of interesting folks were there, including Susan Crawford>, Andrew Rasiej, Britt Blaser, Isabel Walcott, Steve Rubel and several members of his team at Cooper Katz, Tom from the Media Drop, and Francis Hwang of Rhizome, a cool art/tech org that's having a panel on Blogging and the Arts at New Museum of Contemporary Art in Chelsea Tuesday night.
Lots of fun to see everyone and hang out!
BTW, congratulations to Susan Crawford! Her post the other day on the FCC's latest silliness where they want to control everything that might fit the category of TV receiving equipment..., got slash-dotted and she had 15,000 hits all of the sudden. Check it out.
Afterward, I caught up with Susan Mernit and her husband, Spencer for a late night chat at 71 Irving.
November 15, 2004
Micah Sifry on NPR/Future Tense: Distributed Politics Online
Seconds ago.. on KALW 91.7 from SF! I missed the intro.. but it was a great interview about his new project, The Personal Democracy Forum and the idea of open source politics. The interviewer seemed taken with the idea that open source could be applied to something else besides software development. And Micah explained about the idea that distributed networks / communication and personal participation come together to shift politics in a compelling new way, and he's trying to harness some of that activitiy for the PDF. In other words: it's the community, stupid.
You can listen here online if you like.
November 13, 2004
Journalism, Blogs, etc.
Also, Staci Krammer, whom I met for the first time last week at Bloggercon III, but have been reading for a long time, wrote about it (nice mention of my led discussion on core values) at OJR. She was an active participant with interesting thoughts about the topics we discussed, and I loved chatting with her about other stuff as well. She's at ONA this weekend. I thought about going, but couldn't spare the time. I hope it's fun, and Jay Rosen wins an award tonight!
November 11, 2004
Searching Metadata on Podcasts Isn't Enough
- Podderati ? I don't think so!!! Sorry this is nothing like Napster except maybe the downloading part. The only Power Laws used by Napster were wired in your brain long before Napster came on the scene sometime back when you were growing up listening to AM/FM Radio. If you weren't old enough to grow up on AM/FM radio you went looking for what you heard on VH1 and MTV. The point is the mass majority of Napster users went looking for what they listened to and owned in their childhood or heard through another medium besides the Internet or Napster. Very little or any new discovery was communicated through the system!
I'm not sure why Napster is apart of this discussion. That I know of, podcasting right now tends to be not-always-well-known people recording small talk radio-like information and sending it out via RSS to subscribers. The difference with the podcasts I know of, and say, the last 50 years of music, is that you already were exposed to some of the music because of radio, friends, commercials, etc. Podcasts are new, we haven't been exposed to the content yet, and they do need some way to be searchable. If we only have metadata such as the name of the person talking, the subject categories, title, interviewees if they exist, the searches will all focus on that metadata and people will be driven to content created by those they know instead of also looking at content that covers subjects they are interested in because they see that the words are interesting before they listen to the podcast.
So, we need to search the transcript, to find information not covered in the metadata, to find creators that may be unknown but doing something interesting.
- By the way this lack of discovery is shared by most P2P file sharing systems. People go there knowing what they want not with an open mind to choose music file that is totally new and different.
So why not try to make podcasting different and better than P2P networks that rely just on metadata, early on in the development of this medium, while we still can? Search on P2P networks sucks, so why not try for something better here? Searching the transcripts would be much like searching key words across blogs with any of the blog search services.
- PODCasting and Audioblogging scream a new, vastly different communications model that is built on the sharing of discovery with others especially since both are architected on top of the Blogosphere and BlogAudSphere. The main difference is the system feeds on itself adding user generated valid meta data that drives the many approaches to discovery that are built on top of it.
Okay, so let this new system be more democratic, and searchable, by creating a standard transcript system, to make the full content more searchable. What's wrong with that? Why not try to actively disrupt the power laws that will form around a metadata-only search that will push people to listen mostly to know podcasters? This is new, and different, as Howard says. So lets figure out a good way to discover new voices in podcasting. Searching the content is one way, but I sure there are others. So what do people recommend to accomplish this power law disruption for podcasts?
November 10, 2004
HiFi: Networking at 41,000 Feet
Brian Sugar, of the famous PopSugar, was just on a plane and networked together his wife's, his company CTO's and his computers on an airplane... he listed it on his 'blink' -- his link blog. Except it's more of a little story.
They shared music and files... I can't wait to take jetblue and see who's on the plane and send them content... It's 'hifi wan'... I'm going to load up my laptop with content, to become a central server for everyone and share it all on the plane.
It's like being Yahoo in 1994 -- I could make 8 webpages and BE the internet on the plane! I could spoof the airline's site, no one would know it was me!!!
November 09, 2004
These are variations on podcasting, named for the iPod. It's not that this new media idea can't be done on devices other than an iPod. It can. But I think people love playing with the "pod" and I have to say, I love hearing all the variants on pod.
In fact, I was thinking of getting iHodder.com or iHod.com. Just for the fun of it.
Bonus: Alison with The Temptation of Podcasting: NUTS! MUST RESIST! DAAAMN YOU PODCASTERS!!! Oh, but it gets worse...! Love it!
November 08, 2004
It's something I love about the blogosphere. Especially in combination with information economics. Because the more you give, the more you get back. And the more the information and ideas are valuable if they are highly shared and can be further morphed, iterated, formed and reformed in the most basic sense of what in.form.ation originated from. How 'bout that.
The Musician's Era: Do We Still Say 'Album'?
We use the word, album, to mean several things. We are describing old style vinyl records as in physical media, a metaphorical little box with songs poured into it and packaged for sale, a collection of artistic musical expression, and a particular musician's style and mini-era.
You know it when someone mentions, say, The White Album. They are speaking about a grouping of songs, maybe the idea that they actually purchased it when it came out which would mean they really were referring to vinyl, but they are also talking about the Beatles at a particular time and place in their musical odyssey. And maybe they are also alluding to the Grey Album (BTW, Chilling Effects posted my C&D for that...) that came after. In fact, I would say the Grey Album is an interesting mix of sensibilities: digital music that can be mixed, but with an understanding of 'album as complete musical work' that can somehow coexist in our collective minds right now, in the simultaneous era's analog and digital. So when JayZ put the Grey Album out last spring, we all understood both metaphors of album as a work, and digital remix work. In fact, it is one of the things I found so delightful about the work.
So, now that we've ditched the idea of the little box full of songs, instead buying one song at a time, and we listen to 10,000 song on the biggest remix tape you can imagine via our iPods or phones or whatever, and we don't think about physical media except in relation to the speaker/player system, how will we refer to the musical development and era transitions an artist goes through?
Before, and often still, artists go to the studio (or maybe just crack open their powerbooks) and create a body of work. The assembled songs, in the album format, if successful in terms of an album, would often be similar to a visual artist's gallery show, or a book or movie, as an all encompassing work. The set of songs would be variants, sometimes, or associated in some artistic way. But the concept of the album, the label of it, was what could mark it in our collective minds as a placeholder label that was about the creator as much as the music and time.
When we talk about Brian Wilson in terms of Good Vibrations, verses Pet Sounds there is the meaning of the Beach Boys and Wilson's development artistically. I suppose we could talk about "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" verses "Little Surfer Girl" and it would evoke the differences in the work over time, but the album reference encompasses more. It's richer, marks a lengthier time of development and breadth, conveys a kind of beginning, middle and end to a particular stage of musical meaning, art, style, fashion, references to older work, influence on newer work, etc.
So will musical development change as more people download by the song and musicians know and work with this new way of interacting with music? Or will both musicians and listeners maintain the convention of the reference to an album, even though we don't have them for the other reasons mentioned, to describe an associated grouping of music as a complete work?
Also, could someone, Adam Curry, or maybe a podcasting protégé, please start podcasting on what music is about, styles, eras, musician's works and eras? And could they comment on the shifting interactions between the loss of physical media, musical development, listeners and the art of making music? I would love to listen to a show that was about the history of pop music, from the 50s forward, that played examples and exposed me to new stuff. I really only get new stuff from friends or by listening to KALX (the UCBerkeley station) but no one really tackles the lineage of the music, the history, the relationships between styles and eras. I'd subscribe to that RSS feed in a second.
I Vote for Rosencon
Just went live. Import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music and video games with Delicious Library.
The idea is that you scan the barcode of some media you own into their system, and all the metadata, current value, and see what others are reading, playing or listening to in this thing that appears to be a sort of digtial online recommendation and organization system.
I like it, but I don't yet have an iSight or other scanner thingy, and I'm not sure I want to spend a bunch of time on that right now. It does sound cool though. Will check it out soon.
November 07, 2004
Last Sunday... NY
Happened to be in NY and was, for about a half hour, checking out the new Time Warner building at Columbus Circle while waiting for a friend to arrive on the subway. I walked to the second floor landing area... between the wings of stores, where Crossfire was setting up for a Monday night show. Outside the roped area, there was seating. I sat down next to a middle aged white guy, with ear-bud. Looked like a technician. We started chatting, and I asked what he did. He said he was the lead cameraman for Crossfire. I asked what he thought of the previous weeks events, with Jon Stewart, and the fact that 1.5 million downloads of the 15 minute clip had taken place within 24 hours of the show. He wasn't even aware that it had happened. And from the look on his face, he seemed not to understand what 1.5 million downloads meant (a lot, a little...).
Then he told me that when they do the show, the hosts typically keep chatting with the guests, while the audience files out. This time, after Jon Stewart, the audience was begging for more, and refused to leave. So they cut the microphones, and the audience still wouldn't leave. So the hosts and Jon Stewart had to leave the stage to continue their talk, in order to get the audience to leave.
Most amazing though, that this broadcast camera guy had no idea that people were downloading the Jon Stewart/Crossfire clip, much less at such incredible rates right after the show.
Summary of Core Values of the Web Session at Bloggercon
Others commented to me in person and in posts, and so this summary includes some of those perspectives, but I'm sure I'm not going to get everything. However, I hope this gives a flavor of what happened.
Also, thanks to Dave for inviting me to lead the session. I think this was my favorite speaking event, mainly because the attendees were so engaging and we exposed some interesting personal examples of edge cases and interesting issues which we all grapple with in the blogosphere.
We started out with a rule: if you mention your personal value system, that you relate it to the topic at hand, and if you go on too long about it, I might have to redirect the session to the next topic. But I was very lucky to have such a thoughtful, smart group of folks to discuss this issue, and the rule never was invoked.
I read the first couple of the items in a list (at bottom)... folks commented sharing their experiences. Periodically, I would throw out another issue. Many other issues came up from the discussants: online trust, reputation, why we care about transparency. Because people shared different needs they have as they write or read blog posts, it became apparent that different value systems come into play, and we need different levels of transparency. In reaction to some of this, people suggested either legal or technical controls. I feel that controls like this are often heavy-handed and I prefer community moderation, but didn't want to say that. I wanted to see if people would come up with that on their own, and within a half hour of discussing various control scenarios, among other things, and sharing values and the subtleties of face-to-face interaction verses online interaction, people began to express that legal and overbearing technical controls to reduce unsavory behavior felt bad. They wanted to use the community interaction to ferret out bad behavior, discuss it as it comes up, and then moderate it down. And a couple of folks expressed that they feel this currently works in the blogosphere. This is often what I see in online behavior with groups. I watched our discussion take on really interesting issues and decide that trusting the community to moderate behavior, trust and the value of information was better than heavy handed centralized controls.
We also talked about how our social norms might shift as the blogosphere grows, what it means to feel cheated by someone apparently giving their own opinion, after which we find out they are being paid to write. We want disclosure and the chance to evaluate the biases people have. We want more subtle ways to understand bloggers we don't know than simple inbound link counts, and I pointed out that top 100 lists don't mean very much to me. There was a request for a categorization system for blogs similar to DMOZ, so that we can more easily find people talking in smaller communities.
We talked about whether the values we were discussing applied to the whole web, as the title suggests, or what aspects might just apply to the blogosphere. We talked about finding new voices and how power laws might be disrupted. We also noted that with podcasting, there is a need for more than just metadata to search, so that more than just highly linked or known authors can be found based on content and topics, if the author is not known already. We also talked about the internet as a place (metaphor) verses as a delivery system for content that includes the metaphor of shipping reflecting the old analog content system, and why the place metaphor may need more thought and integration into the digital.
We described why anonymity works in some situations, and why it doesn't work in others, and why it's very necessary in some circumstances. We talked about the assumptions we make, based on certain social and informational cues online, and whether these assumptions make sense. We agreed that relationships are very important, and behind them are various kinds of trust about the person and the information, and we need trust, good information and reputation to varying degrees to maintain our online relationships well.
At the end of the session, we made a list of things we value:
Transparency – disclosure
Knowing who people are
Things we devalue:
Power law economics
Lack of Attribution
Links for money
I was very pleased that afterwards, some folks commented that it was a meaty discussion and they would need some time to think through the issues. I also really liked that at least half of the 80 or so people in the room were not folks I knew, but could enjoy finding new voices, as I do online in the blogosphere. Other folks said they hadn't spent any time with other bloggers discussing these issues and so very much appreciated the chance to share experiences and values around them.
Here is the list I worked from, throwing out these ideas one at a time for comment through the session:
1. transparency of relationships and motivations for writing and linking
2. transparency of identity, including pseudonymous writing
3. excellence of content—by which I mean writers honestly writing what they believe, even if it turns out to be untrue in the iterative process, versus publishing known untruths
4. editorial independence
5. linking to attribute ideas
6. systems and behaviors that encourage new voices...
-- how to deal with rankisms, like top 100s, power laws, etc.
-- can we have that for context, but have other ways to find and value new people.... to make more democracy and bring new voices out...
-- to trust others...
7. link trading? what does it mean?
One other thing: for my room -- the smallest one that seated 60 and had about 20 other people, with two microphone guys, where I could send them both to a current commenter, and get the second mic ready for the next comment -- worked well and was pretty efficient. However, in the big room, I think it might make sense to have three mics, and have speakers line up the mic runners so that things run more efficiently and smoothly. I also really appreciated having a mic, because I speak softly, and it allowed me to be calm while still moderating and not yell. Several people commented to me that they liked that quality because it felt like the discussion was never going to get out of control.
"...the uncontrolled desires of people can be a very unpleasant thing" - Ed Castronova
This was said in relation to online community systems and games. I was at this conference at NY Law School a week ago last Friday and Saturday... The State of Play. Heard a great panel called Intellectual Property/Digial Property, with David Johnson (New York Law School) moderating with Yochai Benkler (Yale Law School), Edward Castronova (Indiana University, Bloomington), Cory Ondrejka (Vice President of Product Development, Linden Lab, creators of Second Life) and David Post (Temple University Law School).
Yochai Benker talked about "second generation creativity" where users make one thing and then others modify... also talking about the logic behind why creative commons did not allow people to prohibit attribution...
I listened a lot and didn't take very good notes... because it was the first time I'd been online and been able to really do stuff in about four days, uninterupted.
Cool folks were there either speaking, posting papers or just taking in the ideas: Ernie Miller, James Grimmelman, Eddan Katz, Jack Balkin, Susan Crawford... lots of gamers, lawyers, some engineers. The conference wasn't just about gaming, but also about the future of online expression in other media, and the ways to control behavior with law, social norms, technical controls, or system architectures.
November 06, 2004
Podrolling. It's Adam Curry's session on podcasting.
Stacy Krammer notes that it's not all pod. It's laptops and cellphones and car radios and other devices too. But it doesn't work very easily. Yet.
I'm working on something that will use this in the near future and I can't wait to play around with this. Though it's true as many are noting here that we need a good metadata system. I also want to be able to mark sections of podcasts so that I can skip around like we do with CD tracks.
Bob Wyman made an excellent comment outside after the session: he noted that new technologies tend to cement certain practices pretty quickly. And it's likely this will happen with podcasting as it grows. But the problem with this sort of technology is that it does need better metadata, but it also needs to have another kind of data to make it searchable. Otherwise a power law problem will develop. How? These are radio shows, essentially, and so metadata being data about the data, means it's the title of the show, the people talking, the date, etc. But it's not the transcript. And so the shows rise based on reputation and linking and pointing, and metadata, but not the content specifically. We cannot search the actual words of the shows, and therefore, if a new voice emerges, how will we find it? In systems like Pubsub, Feedster, Technorati, Bloglines, Blogpulse? These search systems have a democratizing effect, because anything can come up in the searches. But without the content itself being searchable, we will likely end up with a very strong powerlaw effect.
So Bob suggests that we work now to make podcasting searchable in the content in some way, to prevent this from happening.
November 05, 2004
Giant Blog Lovefest
November 04, 2004
Core Values of the Web Discussion Ideas for Bloggercon
(Cross posted on the Bloggercon III blog.)
In thinking more about core values we believe ought to be brought to our online dealings—either as a practice, as guideline or in theory—I wanted to understand more about instances where people have trouble with certain behaviors. I wanted to look at why we are concerned and what we want or need in order to create trust and value with each other.
I'm interested in these things: Why we value information online; What context or peripheral information cause information to be more trusted; Why we respect people; and What we need to see visually to trust information we find online, if that is possible or desirable. We appreciate it when people help us with information we need, share insights we hadn't thought of, or give us new windows into previously closed systems or institutions.. Those types of information, presented in a particular format, largely explain why blogging is so popular and appears to be so persistent. (I’m specifically referring here to topic blogging, versus say journaling, though depending on the relationships between reader and writer, what appears to strictly be a journal to some may actually provide insight for others....)
We also appreciate it when people are honest with us. We like it when they share their motivation for publishing, or at least lead us to believe that we know what their motivation is, based on their blog's content. And we like it when we feel we can trust that they're telling us about ethical issues we can't see. The blogosphere has a history of outrage over blogs that have been less than honest about their origins, identity or economic relationships in an attempt to fool readers and linkers into believing things are other than they actually are. However, we cannot force disclosure. We rely on and trust people to tell us the truth about their economic or other relationships.
One thing we've enjoyed the past few years in the blogosphere is a relatively pure state, where people are motivated to blog, link, and connect for many reasons other than money. This is partly because it's been difficult to make money with most blogs. It's the reason that “money and blogging” have been discussion topics at previous events, and at this one, because some bloggers do want to figure out how to make money with their blogs in ways that don't conflict with readers’ sense of ethics, so that they can keep their readers. It has also been possible to blog for profit or other hidden reasons, and therefore online communities have reacted strongly when these examples were discovered.
Many blogs exist without any advertising support, and readers have expressed respect and appreciation for the idea that these blogs are as pure as possible. Because there is no monetary support for the writer, these writers are simply expressing themselves for their love of getting out opinions and ideas. Or because they love to connect with people, and to iterate ideas and talk back to media or other institutions that used to be difficult for individuals to talk back to due to the high transaction costs of mass publishing. Whether this is actually true, or real, it has been people's perception, and supporters of blogging have held up this kind of not-for-profit blogging as laudable, showing examples of how blogging has changed things for the better.
Another model, a slight variation on the one above, has also developed. In this case bloggers who otherwise appear to be operating under the intentions, ideals, and principles of the pure blog model, have taken ads that are unconnected to who or what the blog writer is, how the writing is done, or (mostly) what the subject is. This kind of blogging has been perceived as mostly pure. And those well-schooled in the cues of online communication have believed they could differentiate between when some economic or other benefit has gone to the blogger for her writing versus when an algorithm randomly placed an ad on her blog via some program. AdSense, Blogads, and many self-negotiated ads and sponsors are present on some blogs, but we see them and believe that some sense of integrity has prevailed where the blogger is not paid directly for writing, either writing a certain way, or for writing anything at all. Rather, the ads have often been dependent on readers clicking through, and thus, we haven't seen that ad model as inherently corrupt. Most bloggers I know make between $10 and $100 a month with ads, though I know a few who make thousands of dollars. However, because we can watch the quality of the blogging and because it appears to us that that is not influenced by the ad relationship, we believe we are still seeing the bloggers’ unadulterated voice, opinion, and link referrals—which is the reason we want to read blogs.
Some people may be upset about the monetizing of blogs because they feel that if bloggers have any economic interest in what they write as it is tied to a business model that rewards sales of say, a product they have written about, or if they are paid to write at all, bloggers will be less free to say what they want or believe, because their motivations for writing change. People have gotten a taste of something that didn’t easily exist before: mass distributed and searchable publishing with individual voice, and they don’t want to give that up, even if it isn’t as pure as they perceive.
Others think writers who profit from more than randomly placed ads may be steering themselves and some part of the blogosphere back to top-down media model. They don’t want to see blogs dependent on and beholden to the business side of things, as large media organizations are with other interests than just finding some measure or kind of pure truth, or having biases in ways that purport to show one view when in fact they show another, among other criticisms.
We could label blogs without any ads, sponsors or other monetization as being the pure blogs as ‘angelic,’ the ones with AdSense, etc on the side as slightly ‘heathenish,’ and the ones with actual business models as ‘devilish.’ This sort of labeling construct at times seems to underlay criticisms about blogs that make money, but I think it is unconstructive. Although it is important to bring it to the surface, to make it explicit and discuss it, if only to make clear that it's there. For those who get to define the labels, labeling values and behaviors is powerful, but purity or devilishness only reflect one set of values. People, like the blogosphere, are much more dynamic and varied than those few labels, and therefore they need more dynamic cues in online systems to tell what sort of actions are taking place so that they can make up their own minds about whom to trust and read.
Other value systems that could be applied to blogs without ad systems versus blogs that make money of some sort, could be that of a protestant work ethic or a capitalist ethic, where earning money is much admired, if done relatively honestly. Therefore, money-making blogs that explicitly tell us they do so are the heross of that framework. Or there’s the communitarian value system that values those who promote and enrich the community, those who promote the good work of others, those who share credit, those who collaborate well, etc..., There is also the leadership value system, where those who ferret out good information or push memes or are especially innovative are valued.
Another thing to consider with value systems such as these applied to what is specifically seen on a blog is that they don't take into account other ways authors benefit from blogging. This is because they only consider the direct act of blogging and not the secondary effects outside of the blogosphere inn the author's life or work. I know many bloggers who have found opportunities due to their blogs. I myself have been offered jobs, have been asked to edit books, have been asked to dinner with interesting people that I didn't know but who read my blogs, have been asked on dates, and have generally been treated very differently and much more invitingly in a wide variety of situations because of my blogs, than if I didn't have them. But because these opportunities are not openly apparent on my blog, unless I write about them, readers are not aware of these secondary opportunities. Yet they happen regularly, and have been an extremely positive benefit of blogging, though I didn't start blogging for this reason, and I don't write anything in particular to make anything happen. However, this second degree of reward is potentially corrupting, depending on the circumstances. A blogger who takes a different job might find the blog more highly scrutinized, or that there is pressure to write differently by the new boss. Jeremy Zawodny recently wrote about this after moving back to the search division within Yahoo.
So what values do we use to understand online communication and communities? How are we going to show information about our activities, so that people with different value systems can make their own decisions about our blogs and the information they come across?
Also, are the acts and cues to understand online information presented with these core values different if blogs make money in some way, versus if they do not?
I'm interested in making a list of the values we believe are necessary for blogging or are open questions to discuss in the Core Values of the Web session. I'll start it here:
1. transparency of relationships and motivations for writing and linking
2. transparency of identity, including pseudonymous writing
3. excellence of content—by which I mean writers honestly writing what they believe, even if it turns out to be untrue in the iterative process, versus publishing known untruths
4. editorial independence
5. linking for attribution of ideas
Please add to this list via comments below or bring ideas to the session Saturday.