December 22, 2004
TDG Last Night
The first Technorati Developer Group was last night in SF. I really wanted to go, but had a house guest, and so instead, went with her to a dinner with the Dogster man, and his lovely bride. Delightful people, who are going to SXSW to speak, along with the houseguest, so we'll all meet again in Austin for our talks.
Fimoculous on Lists
They don't talk about lists.. they just show you every one they can find, for 2004.
Marvel at the breadth, and if you see one missing, email rex at fimoculous. Bravo!
December 21, 2004
The Last Linux Show
Cool.. except that it's the LAST.
Mark Pesce on BitTorrent: Chaos is Your Metaphor
Susan Mernit posts Mark Pesce's email on BitTorrent. Best part is the ending:
- It's said that the best sequels are just like the original, only bigger and louder. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for one hell of a crash. This baby is now fully out of control.
Subject: Out of Control: The Sequel
From: - "Mark Pesce"
Date: - Mon, December 20, 2004 6:35 am
Out of Control: The Sequel
This morning I woke up to find that the torrent had died. Someone - no
one knows who - had put enough pressure onto the operators of
Suprnova.org and TorrentBits.com to shut them down. SuprNova.org was
amazing, the Wal-Mart of torrents, a great big marketplace of piracy,
all neatly dished up and aiming to please. You want this new Hollywood
release? Here's a recording from someone who smuggled a camcorder into
a screening. - How about the latest episode of that hit HBO series?
There you go, and no subscription fees to pay. Just fire up your
favorite BitTorrent client - BitTornado, Azureus, Tomato, or that good
old-fashioned Bram Cohen code. Click on the torrent, and you're up and
downloading, sharing what you're getting with hundreds of others. Share
and share alike. What could be more friendly?
For those of you who found the last paragraph littered with weird
gobblygook, here's your opportunity to come up to speed: BitTorrent is a
computer protocol (a language computers use when communicating with each
other) which allows computers to freely and efficiently share
information with one another. This free-for-all of sharing is often
called peer-to-peer or P2P, and it has become one of the most popular
activities on the Internet. Many of you have heard how the record
companies are deathly afraid that their markets are about to evaporate
as their customers move from buying CDs to downloading pirated music.
This much is true: for the last several years, peer-to-peer software has
been used to help people find audio files on the internet - files being
offered up by other people for you to download, anonymously. Find a
song, click on it, and down it comes to your computer's hard drive.
All of this song swapping began before most Americans had access to
high-speed "broadband" internet connections. But, as of a month ago,
just about half of the home users in the USA access the Internet through
a broadband connection. These connections are anywhere from 10 and 50
times faster than the earlier "dial-up" connections which tied up phone
lines and kept you waiting for what seemed like weeks as you struggled
to download the latest gossip from your favorite website. While it
takes some time to download music over a dial-up connection, you'd only
wait about ten minutes for an average song. Movies and TV shows, which
are much "richer" (more data), take a lot more time to download. The
new U2 album, for example, might contain 45 million bytes of data. But
an episode of "Six Feet Under" - roughly the same length - would
probably run to 450 million bytes of information, ten times the amount.
Coincidentally, that's how much faster internet connections are,
compared to a few years ago.
This increase in bandwidth has led to an enormous underground trade in
all sorts of audiovisual media. It's not just current movies - classics
and cult films are available. (I downloaded Russ Meyer's Beyond the
Valley of the Dolls the day he died, watching it that evening, my homage
to the great schlock director.) And, more significantly, nearly every
new TV show that airs in the US or the UK is almost instantaneously
available globally, because someone watching that show is recording it
to their hard disk, publishing the recording to the Internet. This
isn't rocket science: computer peripherals which convert TV signals to
digital data cost less than $100, and millions of them are out there
If you're just one person with one recording of one show, and it's a
popular show, your computer's internet connection is going to get
swamped with requests for the show; eventually your computer will crash
or you'll take the show off the Internet, just so you can read your
email. And in the early days of peer-to-peer, that's how it was.
Someone would find a computer with a copy of the song they wanted to
listen to, connect to that computer, and download the data. It worked,
but anything that got very popular was likely to disappear almost
immediately. Popularity was a problem in first-generation peer-to-peer
In November 2002, an unemployed programmer named Bram Cohen decided
there had to be a better way, so he spent a few weeks writing an
improved version of the protocols used to create peer-to-peer networks,
and came up with BitTorrent. BitTorrent is a radical advance over the
peer-to-peer systems which preceded it. Cohen realized that popularity
is a good thing, and designed BitTorrent to take advantage of it. When
a file (movie, music, computer program, it's all just bits) is published
on BitTorrent, everyone who wants the file is required to share what
they have with everyone else. As you're downloading the file, those
parts you've already downloaded are available to other people looking to
download the file. This means that you're not just "leeching" the file,
taking without giving back; you're also sharing the file with anyone
else who wants it. As more people download the file, they offer up what
they've downloaded, and so on. As this process rolls on, there are
always more and more computers to download the file from. If a file
gets very popular, you might be getting bits of it from hundreds of
different computers, all over the Internet - simultaneously. This is a
very important point, because it means that as BitTorrent files grow in
popularity, they become progressively faster to download. Popularity
isn't a scourge in BitTorrent - it's a blessing.
It's such a blessing that, as of November, 35% of all traffic on the
Internet was BitTorrent-related. Unfortunately, that blessing looks more
like a curse if you're the head of a Hollywood studio, trying to fill
seats in megaplexes or move millions of units of your latest DVDs
releases. And, although BitTorrent is efficient, it isn't designed to
make data piracy easy; BitTorrent relies on a lot of information which
can be used to trace the location of every single user downloading a
file, and, more significantly, it also relies on a centralized "tracker"
- a computer program which registers the requests for the file, and
tells a requester how to hook up to the tens or hundreds of other
computers offering pieces of the file for download.
As any good network engineer knows (and I was a network engineer for
over a decade), a single point of failure (a single computer offering a
single torrent tracker) is a Bad Thing to have in a network. It's the
one shortcoming in Cohen's design for BitTorrent: kill the tracker and
you've killed the torrent. But network engineers know better than to
design systems with single points of failure: that's one of the reasons
the Internet is still around, despite the best efforts of hackers around
the world to kill it. Failure in any one part of the Internet is
expected and dealt with in short order. Various parts of the Internet
fail all the time and you only very rarely notice.
Back to today, when the hammer came down. SuprNova.org and
TorrentBits.com each played host to thousands of BitTorrent trackers.
When these sites went down the torrents went Poof!, as if they'd never
existed. This evening the members of the MPAA must be feeling quite
satisfied with themselves - they see this danger as passed; never again
will BitTorrent threaten the revenues of the Hollywood studios.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As Hollywood is so fond of sequels, it seems perfectly fitting that
today's suppression of the leading BitTorrent sites bears an uncanny
resemblance to an event which took place in July of 2000. Facing a
rising sea of lawsuits and numerous court orders demanding an immediate
shutdown, the archetypal peer-to-peer service, Napster, pulled the plug
on its own servers, silencing the millions of users who used the service
as a central exchange to locate songs to download. That should have
been the end of that. But it wasn't. Instead, the number of songs
traded on the Internet today dwarfs the number traded in Napster's
heyday. The suppression of Napster led to a profusion of alternatives -
Gnutella, Kazaa, and BitTorrent.
Gnutella is a particularly telling example of how the suppression of a
seductive technology (and peer-to-peer file trading is very seductive -
ask anyone who's done it) only results in an improved technology taking
its place. Instead of relying on a centralized server - a fault that
both Napster and BitTorrent share - Gnutella uses a process of discovery
to let peers share information with each other about what's available
where. The peers in a Gnutella peer-to-peer network self-organize into
an occasionally unreliable but undeniably expansive network of content.
Because of its distributed nature, shutting down any one Gnutella peer
has only a very limited effect on the overall network. One individual's
collection of music might evaporate, but there are still tens of
thousands of others to pick from. This network of Gnutella peers (and
its offspring, such as Kazaa, BearShare, and Acquisition) has been
growing since its introduction in 2001, mostly invisibly, but ever more
If Napster hadn't been run out of business by the RIAA, it's unlikely
that any need for Gnutella would have arisen; if the RIAA hadn't
attacked that single point of failure, there'd have been no need to
develop a solution which, by design, has no single point to failure.
It's as though both sides in the war over piracy and file sharing are
engaged in an evolutionary struggle: every time one side comes up with a
new strategy, the other side evolves a response to it. This isn't just
a cat-and-mouse game; each attack by the RIAA, generates a response of
increasing sophistication. And, today, the MPAA has blundered into this
arms race. This was, as will soon be seen, a Very Bad Idea.
Pointing up the single greatest weakness of BitTorrent take down the
tracker and the torrent dies - has only served to energize, inspire and
mobilize the resources of an entire global ecology of software
developers, network engineers and hackers-at-large who want nothing so
much, at this moment, as to make the MPAA pay for their insolence.
Imagine a parent reaching into a child's room and ripping a TV set out
of the wall while the child is watching it. That child would feel anger
and begin plotting his revenge. And that scene has been multiplied at
least hundred thousand times today, all around the world. It is quite
likely that, as I type these words, somewhere in the world a roomful of
college CS students, fueled by coke and pizza and righteous indignation,
are banging out some code which will fix the inherent weakness of
BitTorrent - removing the need for a single tracker. If they're smart
enough, they'll work out a system of dynamic trackers, which could
quickly pass control back and forth among a cloud of peers, so that no
one peer holds the hot potato long enough to be noticed. They'll take
the best of Gnutella and cross-breed it with the best of BitTorrent.
And that will be the MPAA's worst nightmare.
Hey, Hollywood! Can you feel the future slipping through your fingers?
Do you understand how badly you've screwed up? You took a perfectly
serviceable situation - a nice, centralized system for the distribution of media, and, through your own greed and shortsightedness, are giving birth to a system of digital distribution that you'll never, ever be able to defeat. In your avarice and arrogance you ignored the obvious: you should have cut a deal with SuprNova.org. In partnership you could have found a way to manage the disruptive change that's already well underway. Instead, you have repeated the mistakes made by the recording industry, chapter and verse. And thus you have spelled your own doom.
It's said that the best sequels are just like the original, only bigger and louder. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for one hell of a crash. This baby is now fully out of control.
20 December 2004
Released under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0
December 19, 2004
Phil Wolfe Comment
From the previous post.
- Just a note about the use case.
- Mary's power use may be leading edge, but it is well within scope. If you spend hours of each workday online or at your laptop, then any RSS client becomes integral. It replaces bookmarks. It replaces addressbook entries. It replaces listerv archives. It becomes the place you look for your own blog posts, a backup brain. To pick up threads of conversation. To detect trends and be a little smarter. The place to find contact info, places to go, things to do.
- So it's indispensable.
- But it must scale too.
- About the assumptions: disk is cheap (comparatively) so there's no cost to adding feeds and saving posts. Six months after I started adding feeds, I had 500. Six months later, more than a thousand. Ask Scoble how many he has these days. With time, and exploding feed availability, it will be nothing to pick up 20-100 a day. That's thousands a year, hundreds of thousands of posts before you know it. All reflecting your social and reading and writing behavior, your interests and values.
- Quite an asset, unique in all the world. And personal. (Something you might be upset about losing.)
- So don't scold Mary for pushing the envelope and holding the lovely developers accountable. It's in all of our interests. Because someday sooner than later, we'll all be in her shoes.
to this trackback: Backup Brain
December 18, 2004
Wow, So Fun! My Very Own Troll!
I have my very own troll! IP address: 184.108.40.206. So they've been posing as me and others leaving fake comments. I've deleted their comments because I don't want other's misled and the idea is to have a constructive discussion to get to something more useful about the post topics.
But how cool.. some person with so much time on their hands that they can sit around leaving fake comments on my blog. Love it! It's like having my own grinch. Hopefully they will come up with something that's entertaining instead of those sort of mundane posts from earlier. I'm just imagining them sitting at home, spending hours scheming up really creative pithy comments and then posting to try to fool us. Come on, try harder! Really put some time and effort into it and you can take that show on the road!
The Definition of Beta
Several people who've visited this site the last few days have defined 'beta' in the traditional way, as something distinctly unfinished, full of bugs and therefore to be regarded as something potentially dangerous, while others see it on everything and think it's lost it's meaning. Last night a developer friend called, and I mentioned the posts and the term 'beta' and asked for clarification and opinion.
Since everything is now marked 'beta', the term has lost it's meaning to users, according to many commenters as well as most of the folks I've talked with, including several developers. As this software developer said to me last night on the phone, it's like having Jordashe slapped on the back of your jeans in 1978 at Studio 54.. it's trendy, it's hip, and everyone does it to be cool. But do users pays attention? According to this person, it's just marketing, fashion, and a way to not commit... and since so many have issues committing to things in our society, users just sort of think developers are having trouble committing to finishing.
Google puts it on everything but search, so does Flickr, so do many software sellers, as Brent did at Ranchero. It's clear now that he obviously meant it in one strictly definied way, but since there is so much variety of definition and use by other developers, how should users take this overall? Isn't it up to developers to address a common definition so as not to confuse things.
Until then, blaming users for misunderstanding the definition of 'beta' seems unrealistic, and while developers can make users 'bad' for doing this, developers actually are the leaders here. They have the control and power to name and define. Developers have confused this issue, and users should ask them to get this aspect of software clear in the marketplace. Blame Google, et al, for causing problems like this. For now, users have been trained by the aggregate of developers to think 'beta' doesn't really mean anything.
Charging users for 'beta' reinforces the loose definition of 'beta', because we assume the software is for real. When I purchased NetNewsWire, the Ranchero site let me buy it, and didn't say anything about reporting bugs or that it was buggy on the payment page, was to be strictly, traditionally defined as a 'beta' or that there would be a loss of data, which they were aware was a distinct possiblity upon putting in the license code. I'm sorry that NetNewsWire continues to be the example here, because lots of other developers have done the same thing, but my experience was with NNW and so it's the concrete example I have to work with for this write up.
Not charging for beta means users will have a significantly lower chance of confusing the definition of 'beta' as it's traditionally held by developers.
December 17, 2004
User Developer Relations: What are The Social Norms
So yesterday's post is still raging down there in comments. I've been thinking about the larger issues, beyond my own loss of data on NetNewsWire. I got very upset about the loss of my data and posted a rant that was too harsh. But I would say that this is what a lot of users feel like when they run into system or software failure, especially if what the system lost is very important to them for some reason. I also realize that developers work very hard to structure and code their systems, and I respect that.
But there is something in-between, that is important to address. There are interface and translation between user and developer... and often these are given short shrift by developers, who appear to users to have all the control in making the software. Users feel that instead of starting user needs assessment and testing well before they begin to write the code, and doing iterative testing through the development process, developers often slap the interface on at the end of development, after deciding how to meet user's goals without actually talking with users, and done little or no user testing. For users, it often feels like the system was designed with only engineer's in mind.
There is also the issue of what the contract is when software is paid for... users often feel that paying for software or services means it should work, regardless of what the stated status of the software is. Developers often feel that their work is laborious, that users aren't appreciative or getting what is intended by the software, and that users should take more responsibility for backups and failures.
I want to know what people believe the social norms are for this new kind of software, that collects or enables social, multidirectional data, creations or communications. Not what the law says, and not what the licensing agreement says, but rather, what are the social norms and expectations each side has? How should the community understand these transactions and sales, and can we agree on some community norms for the sale of services and softwares? Or is this simply too much and therefore will the conflict continue unresolved? These questions of responsibility are not posed with money in mind, but rather, a social responsibility toward each other to either behave independently or interact in a certain way.
The discussion that has come up in the previous post on NetNewsWire is interesting. About 75% of respondents feel that users who pay for software have no recourse, are to blame for the failure, and because of their hostility toward the expression of the complaint, appear to feel that users shouldn't even complain publicly (or on blogs) about purchased software that malfunctions.
Regarding my specific case, I think it's likely that others have gotten software from parties or places other than the website selling the software and then paid for it ... and I think this will continue. People who develop things like it when their stuff spreads virally... and if that viralness takes the form of person-to-person sharing of demos, what is the responsibility of a software seller, who is just selling a license to someone, without the benefit of that person seeing the site, to users in order to notify them of known bugs?
Is a developer selling software responsible for having a Help section, or a bug reporting system (in NetNewsWire's case, their product area refers to a Help section, but 'Help' is not hyperlinked where it is described in the middle of this page, and a Help section is not available anywhere else. Apparently, they have bug tracking for users, but the link is not on this product page, though a commenter on the previous post listed it so it apparently does exist. However, how would users know how to find NNW-bugs)?
Are developers who sell software or services responsible for distinguishing between what they mean with 'Beta' and full release software specifically, and what should users expect from developers who put out Beta software for a charge? What if that Beta purchase is the only way to get the software after the trial period? Do users have some responsibility to developers, whether or not they pay for software? Should they not tell anyone but the developer if they experience a malfunction or warn others to avoid the same circumstances that led to the problem? What if they tell the developer and then experience more problems... do they have a responsibility to other users to warn them of the problems?
Should developers provide a way in the software to backup user data? If a user backs up data independently, have they fulfilled their data responsibilities? Or should users make several backup copies? Where should these copies be, and what is a reasonable expectation of user's to backup? What does this look like?
Should developers be emailing paying customers with software updates that fix known bugs (NNW has an update to the version I have, but I only found out about it due checking their site for help after the second loss of data; they didn't send it, but should they, or should users be expected to visit periodically to see if new versions have appeared)?
Should users expect to be told by developers about the state of the software directly? Where does this notice reside? Should online sellers of software include this information with the sale receipt, the licensing info, or elsewhere? Are users just consumers, or are they partners in the market conversation?
Can we make a constructive list of best practices for both sides? Please comment, and I will list them, along with the comments from the previous post, in the next post.
December 16, 2004
Don't F*** with My Data
UPDATE 12/17/04: I posted below a rant on the loss of data, that was too harsh. I admited in comments below.. but I wanted to state it at the top. Many commenters feel I should have had more than the one backup of data, and others feel the software failed. However, I was angry and shouldn't have posted in that state, but I was annoyed due to the second loss of data that a backup copy didn't solve. Please read the follow up post, asking about what and how users and developers are responsible to each other for the purchase or sale of software.
The person sitting next to me just said (she's requesting anonymity), "... usually when you're paying to get fucked, you get it how you want it." Well, NetNewsWire has totally messed with my data. Twice now.
The first time, I told them directly in email. Their system is set up to do a 30 day trial.. and who remembers exactly when the 30 days are up, right? But instead of alerting me with a notice that the 30 days were about to be up, before the system expired, they simply told me after the fact. No problem. Pay for license. Like it better than Shrook and two others I was testing. Big deal. EXCEPT. When they synced my local copy of NetNewsWire with their server, to make sure I'd paid for the license, they lost all my data from the previous 30 days.
I emailed them. And they knew they blew it, offering a refund, and said they'll fix this eventually. But they don't understand! I'm tracking data on tons of services, people, companies, websites, blogs, projects, as well as reading feeds. This is fucking social media after all, people. And it's my work, professional and academic. It's a huge part of what I do. This is aweful!
I don't want a fucking refund. I NEED the data. Moronic.
Anyway, now, yesterday, I realized that NetNewsWire had deleted all the entries on few of the meta search feeds, for the past two and a half months, retaining only the most recent searches. I have the system set to save all data for 999 days. ACK!!!!! It appeared only on Technorati watchlists at first, so I IM'd Dave Sifry last night to see if it was them. Can't tell.. but since this happened in the last two days (I happen to have screen shots of NetNewsWire from two days ago showing that all the posts from the last 2.5 months were there as of then)... I wasn't sure if they changed something or not. They are checking, but now, it's appeared with some other feeds like my Engadget feed, which only goes back 24 hours. I should have 5 months of Engadget posts saved in NetNewsWire. I want that kind of data to search and compare old posts to current ones. So I'm not sure if NetNewsWire changed their GUID structure or these feeds did.. but considering the feed data, including old data from my summer use, plus the last couple of days, are showing up correctly in Shrook, I'm thinking it's NetNewsWire's problem.
ANSWER: I'm paying for the Shrook license now, because I need a backup, because I can't trust NetNewsWire. But I will have Shrook's data from two months this summer, added to current data, which a huge 2.5 month hole in the middle.
Anyone know how to export the data (not just OPML feed list) so that I can save it somewhere for safe keeping?
December 15, 2004
World's Smallest P2P Code.
Alex Halderman and Ed Felten have done it again. They have their fingers in lots of cool pies.... They've made the code available for download, or cut and paste to iron it onto your favorite old T-Shirt. Tasty.
- # tinyp2p.py 1.0 (documentation at http://freedom-to-tinker.com/tinyp2p.html)
import sys, os, SimpleXMLRPCServer, xmlrpclib, re, hmac # (C) 2004, E.W. Felten
ar,pw,res = (sys.argv,lambda u:hmac.new(sys.argv,u).hexdigest(),re.search)
pxy,xs = (xmlrpclib.ServerProxy,SimpleXMLRPCServer.SimpleXMLRPCServer)
def ls(p=""):return filter(lambda n:(p=="")or res(p,n),os.listdir(os.getcwd()))
if ar!="client": # license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0
myU,prs,srv = ("http://"+ar+":"+ar, ar[5:],lambda x:x.serve_forever())
def pr(x=): return ([(y in prs) or prs.append(y) for y in x] or 1) and prs
def c(n): return ((lambda f: (f.read(), f.close()))(file(n)))
f=lambda p,n,a:(p==pw(myU))and(((n==0)and pr(a))or((n==1)and [ls(a)])or c(a))
def aug(u): return ((u==myU) and pr()) or pr(pxy(u).f(pw(u),0,pr([myU])))
pr() and [aug(s) for s in aug(pr())]
(lambda sv:sv.register_function(f,"f") or srv(sv))(xs((ar,int(ar))))
for url in pxy(ar).f(pw(ar),0,):
for fn in filter(lambda n:not n in ls(), (pxy(url).f(pw(url),1,ar))):
(lambda fi:fi.write(pxy(url).f(pw(url),2,fn)) or fi.close())(file(fn,"wc"))
December 14, 2004
Napsterizzazione: la musica era solo il principio
Yes. You are learning Italian. Napsterizzizione. Of course!
"E Wired ha una storia che parla della vita online - una tendenza, non più un'anomalia - di Mary Odder, colei la quale ha messo online Napsterization, e di migliaia, milioni come lei."
I'm completely taken with his accent. I don't even care that my name has been changed. Adorable.
Down in the extended entry is a translation provided by Babelfish. However, the end of his post talking about digital revolution is too good to miss:
- Now it happens, and it is like a underground earthquake, dug from a carsico river. And the crazy thing is that the premonitory ones, those that in the years had elaborated the first theories and the first systems, now are those that come burn to you from the flame of the innovationes. But thoughts you...
Yes. I'm feeling the burning flame of innovation right now.
Napsterizzazione: music was alone the principle
YOU CAN READ here: Napsterization tells, between the other things, in English and with slow step, as the world is changing to thanks to Napster (that old one, the version does not trade them today). And Wired has a history that speaks about the life online - a tendency, not more an anomaly - than Mary Odder, the one who which has put online Napsterization, and of migliaia, million like she.
We try to also be reflected: how much time to the day, how many resources, how much communication and how many contacts at a distance pass for channels, virtual (telephone, email, web, rss), regarding ten years ago? In order to cite William Gibson, the future has arrived but in scattered order. Also because the time that noialtri (just European, Italian we in head) pass of forehead to the television we are less and less, it comes replaced from the use of the computer and Internet and - above all in the field of the games online who are ways to communicate with the other persons, there are innovation to the horizon. Something is changing, insomma... (also the reading of newspapers and periodicals cove).
Sapete what? Me memory when three or four years ago these things were said (will change, decrease, change, thanks to the wide band, thanks to the truly multimediali and friendly computers, etc. etc) and all to try the change in the numbers and then to get angry because to the age it did not succeed nothing.
Now it happens, and it is like a underground earthquake, dug from a carsico river. And the crazy thing is that the premonitory ones, those that in the years had elaborated the first theories and the first systems, now are those that come burn to you from the flame of the innovationes. But thoughts you...
//posted by Antonio @ 2.12.04
The sense of the last period escapes me. In that sense the first teorizzatori "are those that come burns to you from the flame of the innovationes"? What you mean to say? That nobody recognizes they the merits? Or viceversa? Or other anchor? In any case I find normal the fact that the changes in the system of the communications are slowest. Of other song when us they have never been revolutions that have changed the situation from a day to the other? He cites some to me in the system of the communications. Also the TV, that it has been one of fastest in the imporsi to a multitude of customers, has put us however half century approximately for sedimentarsi in the daily habit to the consumption. Or mistake?
# posted by Smeerch : 2.12.04
In this period job with the boys of the Civic Net of Milan. Been born ten years ago. A technological miracle, based on a platform (FirstClass) particular, in a position to making things that still other software does not make. But then they are escapes a series of other instruments (software for the community virtual like Cms, or modality of use like the blog same) that they radically change to the approach and the use. And they but are not change to you radically therefore.
Approximately "old" the things, creed, the early adopters, the premonitory ones, often and gladly remains attacks you to their way of use, consolidated in the time, that valid but it was used mostly from the "pioneers". When the thing is made mainstream, the new models come used from the crowds (ok, do not give the crowds, give a little people ---) and the premonitory ones become a po' obsolete. I wanted to only say this, thinking also next to the fact that the New Economy, that blaze that for three years or down of lì has excited a lot the minds, proposed the revolution "between ten minuteren". There are intentional a little years, but ' it is blessed revolution seems that it is arriving, even if in scattered order.
# posted by Antonio : 2.12.04
Bari Koral on Adam Curry
Bari Koral's new song, Aspiring Angel is free for the downloading masses. Adam Curry used it today and Howard Greensteen (or -stein for you finnikee types) got to do the promo on users and developers partying together.
Rock on! We love those mp3 advertisements to go see people perform!
December 12, 2004
Doc, The Pool, The Laptop and A Lister's
Doc mentioned the shoot two weeks ago, but didn't think it would make the cover. Not sure, because I don't really see magazines except online. But there he is.
- The lesson is that there's a new force—spearheaded by people who work for no bosses and whose prose never sees an editor's pencil—that provides the water-cooler fodder for the larger high-tech community. Its power extends not only to high-tech cool-hunting but also to what's politically correct, geek style. (Open source... gooood. Onerous copy protection... eeeevil.) And the significance of this phenomenon has some important implications for the way opinions will be formed in the decentralized world of Internet media.
Distributed. Flat. Non-hierarchical. Channeling Doc: when demand supplies itself. Applying that to blogging: people want a point of view, so they make it with their own blogs and they get it from other blogs.
Reminds me of Jay Rosen last Friday at Votes, Bits and Bytes, saying that the time will come when someone says to a journalist, "... you're not really a blogger...." There is a place for reporting and a place for blogging as a tool; they overlap, but they are often very different. But they each serve their purposes.
December 11, 2004
Live Blogging My Session on Local Politics at Votes, Bits and Bytes
I asked about campaign's turning into governance.. and building online communities that make this transition.. what does it mean and how do you do it, practically speaking?
Jordan Pollock: being able to see responses to the blog.. filtering up .. having an effect on the campaign.. verses Kerry.. where is was more top down So, can you maintain the bottom up assembly of voices?
John Barth, public radio exchange.. res. of montclair NJ.. terrible local newspaper, NY times doesn't do NJ well, local gov doesn't
-- barristanet.com and there is a yahoo group..
they are trying to make it easy for everyone in town to make it easy to put up info about the local government...
-- citizen sunshine!!
challenges: if you run interchange on a local level.. trying to get a real dialog .. you get self directed niches of community.. very frustrating to maintain a discussion that is constructive.. how do you get to real conversation?
-- how to deal? holding a session to talk about how the moderators are doing..
Ben Ron, Act Blue -- transition from campaign to governance.. if it's the campaign's responsibility to make the transition.. but on blogs.. they aren't run on campaign so they keep going.. seems more natural to have the party do the transition..
Bruce McHenry - have a long standing cabinet that would make the transition like the british government..
Homes Wilson - Downhill Battle .. software and network .. and anyone at home to make their own TV channel.. to publish it.. BitTorrent.. their website is about IP advocacy and other stuff. want to make TV a democratic media..
ME: is there an inverse relationship between the production values of the content of the amount we know the people.. and our willingness to watch shows with low production values because we know the people..
podcasting.. microphone, computer.. talking.. authentic
production values and governance.. people go to blogs for reputation and authenticity.. and
bob lyons, WGBH radio..
regulation? on podcasting.. no limit on spectrum
Dave W... can have as many radio stations as you want as you can have domain names and subdomains..
BBC: building public values.. look at this doc!
BBC: ICAN.. civic portal.. a single integrated source of
Ben: big campaigns.. big tv.. big broadcast.. verses conversation.. bush in a coffee shop talking,, or fireside chats..
Nicco: can the candidate take the energy to the governance stage..
DaveW: channeling Cluetrain.. demand supplies itself..
Holmes -- the packaging is just something that gets between you and the listener...
DaveW.. Putnam.. was right but for the wrong reason.. we're bowling along but we can do it together.. Dave thinks we can have the best of the 20th century and the 19th century.. mass distribution of micro content.. mastered mass distribution of our own content..
John Barth: once a politician gets into office.. blogging.. some may ask.. if they are blogging why aren't they governing..
Bob Cox, National Debate: mentioning Ed Cone at BIII, at a local level.. someone blogs locally.. and makes constituency and talks about town.. they start to be an influencer.. people listen to them.. and running for office can start to be the platform.. but they were known as a blogger..
Bruce McHenry - the critical mass of branding needed.. because the cost of building the brand is so high.. that we need to get known people.. but the critical mass of branding..
Betsy Camblin? MIT - blogs give intimacy.. have a sense of who they are.. unedited.. no different that the mimic-ed intimacy that we get from celebrity..
Are press releases like blog posts? In the marketing sense? to CNN etc?
DaveW: campaigns become their own source of info with blogs...
??? from Erin, camera person: What happened with the shift? from Dean to Kerry? the platforms didn't line up.. the styles.. etc?
Britt Blaser: the campaign needs to be a host.. and the Kerry Campaign didn't welcome it.. the gestalt.. wasn't there.. our society likes new things in technology.. but not in politics.. you had to be a good orator 50 years ago.. but not now... you must be a good blogger .. in future campaigns..
Bruce: although Clinton could talk for 8 minutes even though the teleprompter went down.. Bush couldn't do that now..
William Davies: people used to be shocked by porn online.. and now they are used to it.. people will be shocked by things online in politics but they will get used to it..
Betsy.. brought underprivileged communities into conversation about how to change politics with technology.. and they aren't interested in blogs and online communities.. they don't want it
Holmes: Dan nailed it yesterday.. when he said that tech is cheap, but educational system isn't up to it..
Betsy: that's a cop out.. it's that the tech is not interesting to them..
Liza Sabater: Technology use needs to come out of those communities.. it needs to be of the community to make it work.. and just because a blogger who is of that community.. doesn't mean they speak for the community..
Joanne Orevek?: some answers will com from the school system.. but
Ian Landsman: mentioned Poukippsie
Britt Blaser: look on Technorati for Poukippsie..
Meetups.. people will come back for online discussions about things that matter to them..
Nicco: can we make the things that are happening in Montclair happen elsewhere..
Interesting things going on: Westportnow.com... guy who did that came to Bloggercon II..
Holmes: something bugging me.. about the divide issues.. we may be thinking about this too algorhimically.. where the tool that does this.. does that.. can we figure out ways to accelerate penetration into local areas.. there could be other tools beyond blogs.. that get more
Upmystreet.com.. put in zipcode and find discussion that is very local... things like crime, house prices, what's happening locally.. stuff gets done but it's local and mundane..
Murmur.ca.. leave a note when you see a sign.. and do it with a cell phone..
Joe is finishing our session with an Accordian rendition of The Gambler...
December 10, 2004
Sorry for the lack of posting.. been traveling.. was at a meeting of conspiratorial technologists and lawgeeks the other night.. at Google in NY... looking at new technologies. Now I'm in Boston at Votes, Bits and Bytes, and stuff is popping in here.. and out there!
First of all, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Grokster and Streamcast cases. EFF says they look forward to Betamax all over again! Sent via Jeff Jarvis.
Secondly, Google news has applied for a patent that may allow it to monetize Google News. Interesting, because it would allow for a permissions system that would allow more new story to be displayed by Google News in exchange for a some user information by Google (how many people click through, etc) as well as to figure out how to pay news sites for their content. Adam Penenberg wrote about this recently, wondering how they would go down this path.
Unrelated, but popping at the same moment:
Esther Dyson took this picture of Joi, Greg and me. (I hate the part that has me. I look a little odd.) It showed up immediately on my 1001 window on the side of my screen. But then Ross Mayfield immediately left a note on Greg's head, noting how his cool FotoNotes invention was the basis for Flickr's notes. Fotonotes, Flickr and 1001 rock!
December 04, 2004
The Red Couch
Very innovative. I like it. Though it appears from the first post that Shel is kicking and screaming about the public nature of it, as well as the Ebay. So far, those are the two things that make it so cool. The topic, business blogging, doesn't sound so interesting on the face of it. But maybe for people who know nothing of the blogosphere, including how to navigate here, here or here, it makes sense to sell them a business book on blogging.
However, I'm doubtful those folks will get the perpendicular nature of blogging (compared to analog communications) unless they actually engage in it. It's just too hard to describe something like this to someone who hasn't seen it. Imagine describing a car to someone who had never seen one, without showing them or giving them a ride. Think about the difference in your perceptions between walking down the street and drivng in a car... the ways we take in information and sensations of movement and time are so different. You simply have to get in the car to comprehend the difference fully. But who knows, maybe the readers will get something out of a book on blogging, before they start the blogging. Good luck to them both, describing this particular change in sensation and in meaning on so many levels, to folks who have no idea. Robert and Shel will have to heavily rely on metaphors and stories, which will distance the reader from the experience and reality of it, in order to bring comprehension. That makes this a very hard task.
Listen to Robert, Shel, on the openness and rights' sale, though. He knows whereof he speaks.
December 03, 2004
Last Night's Blogger Dinner
Was a great time. Lots of folks showed up... including Jeff Clavier, Sean Gilligan, Renee Blogdett, Ted Shelton, Doc Searls, Esme Vos, Christian Crumlish, who brought his partner, Briggs Nisbet (and who writes a lovely gardening blog), JD Lasica, Rafael Ebron (of Mozilla), Marc Brown (of Buzznet) who was up from LA, Naill Kennedy, Kaliya Hamlin of Integrative Activism and her husband Brian Hamlin, who ".. is like the world's foremost expert in computer recycling..." as some have said, Ian Kennedy, Damon Darlin of Business 2.0, Daniel Gould... I'm sure I'm forgetting a few folks here, but it you could, please note your blog in the comments... it would be nice to complete the list.
Thanks to everyone for coming out. You all made it a very nice evening.
Several of these people, including Ted and Ian, Damon, Marc and Briggs, among others, I hadn't met or had never really had a chance to chat with them. So that was a big treat. Great food, a very nice time, and terrific geek-centric fun.
Oh, and sorry for posting this so late. Today has been a doozy. Not complaining, as I'm very fortunate to be busy.. but each time I wanted to blog, I couldn't. I have a number of posts written part way that are more essay like, and I'd like to get them up over the break.. when there's time to contemplate a bit more what's going on right now online. There's so much interesting stuff, it's amazing!
December 02, 2004
Susan Mernit is blogging over at engadget. Rock on!
Remember the Blogger Dinner is Tonight, 7pm.
Beckett's. 2271 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley. (510) 647-1790. Email me (mary at hodder dot org) if you are coming, so I can let the restaurant know.
We have 22 so far. See previous blog post for map and directions. Looks to be fun!