Caféteatret vil lave Anders Breiviks manifest som monolog. Min gamle kollegiefælle Lasse, som bestyrer Baggårdteatret i Svendborg fortæller om at få tilsendt manuskripter med titlen Utøya med forslag om at sætte det op. "Det er både for tidligt og for sent" skriver Lasse begavet, og selv kan jeg ikke blive fri for tanken - at det meget mere ligner en higen efter skarp sovs til teaterscenen end det ligner teatret til undsætning til os allesammen med klangbund for hvad vi nu tænker om Breiviks usle massemord.
Gennem de sidste par år har jeg oplevet en stigende irritation når jeg har set kulturlivet trække f.eks. på holocaust for at signalere den endegyldige relevans og smerte. Det er for fattigt hvis litteratur, film og teater har givet så meget op at der skal døde jøder på bordet før man er autentisk og vigtig. Jeg har det lidt på samme måde med massemordsteater. Det er vist mest for teatrets skyld det bliver til; så man kan påstå at man er derude med noget stærkt om nutiden.
Hvad skal vi leve af i fremtiden? Det er et spørgsmål, der trænger sig levende på her i krisen, hvor jobs forsvinder og de nye fag ikke formår at lægge nye jobs til.
Weekendavisen havde for nogle uger siden, en serie om det, påstås det, skjulte Produktionsdanmark ude vestpå, der hvor alle fabrikkerne ligger. Og der hvor alle arbejdspladserne tabes i disse år. Det er næppe noget tilfælde at artiklerne er skrevet af Jesper Vind Jensen, der vist voksede lidt længere nede af den samme gade i Ribe vi boede på.
Jeg ved ikke om jeg køber præmissen om at det vestlige industri-Danmark lever skjult, men reelt er det at der ryger en masse faglærte og ufaglærte jobs på fabrikkerne i de her år - og at de nyligt arbejdsløse fabriksarbejdere næppe bliver omskolet til symbolanalytikere lige i morgen, med lovende jobudsigter i organisationsudvikling og kommunikation nede på kommunen.
Det er jo noget juks, og som teknolog, en af de, der arbejder i mandskabsfrie, nærvirtuelle virksomheder, er der naturligvis lidt ekstra at tænke over, hvis man ellers godt kan lide det her og også ønsker naboen velstand og et godt liv.
Artiklen fik mig til at tænke på hvad for nogle jobs sådan nogen som jeg selv egentlig er med til at skabe. Jeg har arbejdet 4-5 forskellige steder. 3 af dem så tidlige projekter at der ikke rigtig foregik andet end udvikling, og de to andre "rigtige" virksomheder med omsætning og den slags. Så længe man er i de små udviklingsvirksomheder så producerer man ingen jobs, udover det man selv har. Jobskabelsen starter først når der faktisk er omsætning; så skal man have sælgere, supportere, regnskabsfolk osv.
De steder jeg har arbejdet var development/andre mixet noget i stil med
Ingen af stederne - undtagen i Ascio - har jeg været mere til at producere en fornuftig mængde non-tech jobs. Jacob Bøtter ville i en serie tweets have den type virksomheder, der ingen jobs skaber, til at være en ny økonomisk verdensorden, men pointen er jo lige præcis at de ikke bliver en ny økonomisk verdensorden! Der udbetales formodentlig mere i løn til de supermarkedsansatte på Vesterbrogade end til de IT-startupansatte, uanset at supermarkedet betaler dårligere.
Jeg sad for noget tid siden over en middag og diskuterede hvad teknologi gør ved ens job, og konklusionen er brutal men indlysende. Teknologis hele virkemåde er at slide de ansattes kompetencer ned. Det er ikke fordi teknologien forsvinder med tiden.
Jeg læste engang at Bill Gates på et tidspunkt havde sagt til en amerikansk politiker noget i stil med "hvad angår landets fremtid, så kan I ikke satse på os. Der skal bygges nogle biler. Der skal fabriksgulve til." - underforstået; vi i tech kommer ikke til at skabe arbejdspladser der ikke kræver tech skills. Der skal skabes nogle jobs med at flytte rundt på nogle atomer, der vejer noget, hvis vi skal have fuld beskæftigelse her i landet. Så hvis vi skal tage den påstand alvorligt - hvilken startup skal man så gå ind i næste gang?
So, I was a little underwhelmed, initially, by Program or Be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff, and I still think the book is too alarmist for its own good. There are however a number of great observations of bad patterns in the digital experience, and I have a clear feeling that I'll be taking them with me when evaluating digital stuff in the future.
The first great use of the book since reading came on the news of Osama Bin Laden's death in an American attack. All of a sudden practically all digital media were afloat in a right or wrong-debate over the killing and the reactions to it. And this is where the following Rushkoff quote comes to mind
The digital realm is biased toward choice, because everything must be expressed in the terms of a discrete, yes-or-no, symbolic language. This, in turn, often forces choices on humans operating within the digital sphere. We must come to recognize the increased number of choices in our lives as largely a side effect of the digital; we always have the choice of making no choice at all.
Ikke for at dramatisere, men at følge med i situationen omkring atomkraftværket i Japan, føles på mange måder ligesom dengang vi sad og ventede på at min far skulle dø. Han havde fået et slagtilfælde, og så fulgte 3 ugers limbo, hvor man ikke rigtig fik nogen gode nyheder, men heller ikke meddelelsen om katastrofen. Man kunne ikke rigtig gøre noget, men man kunne sige sig selv at man var på vej mod en virkelig drastisk forandring.
Så tager man sig i bare at ønske sig at få det overstået, sådan at man kan få gjort kontoen op og komme igang med at se på hvordan man kommer videre. Og det kommer man jo.
Det er også slet ikke ligesom dengang, for ulykken i Japan er ikke vores ulykke. Vi kommer ikke til at lide under den. Ligeså meget man kan føle for japanernee i situationen, lige så forkert er det at bilde sig selv ind, at det her er noget der sker for os. Vi har ingen ret til at blive lammede af det.
Det er pokkers svært at få overblikket. Svært at få en skala på. Helt konkret så har jeg det problem lige nu at Wikipedia opslaget om Tjernobylulykken taler om stråling i fysiske enheder (becquerel), mens alle de data vi får fra Japan er i strålefareenheder (sievert), som er en omregnet skala. Sievert er godt at kende for de, der er inden for 20km fra atomkraftværket, men vil næppe være en relevant målestok for en større region, for det vil ikke være akut strålefare en større region bliver udsat for. De ved formodentlig endnu ikke hvad storskalaeffekterne kan blive endnu.
Venten kan være det værste.
Via Dorte Toft bliver jeg opmærksom på denne triste statistik. Pigerne står af matematik - og ad den vej praktisk taget alle naturvidenskaberne - meget tidligt. Det gør det lidt svært at tage kvotesnak alvorligt, når forudsætningerne for at komme ud på arbejdsmarkedet senere, i den grad bliver skudt ned allerede i folkeskolen.
Når der hvert år er Ada-dag for at fejre kvinder i de tekniske fag, dukker der altid en masse lister op med kvinder på, der ret beset ikke er aktive i de tekniske fag, men i stedet i en masse af de støttediscipliner, der omgiver de tekniske fag.
Det er dejligt at internettets altomfavnende almindelighed har gjort at teknologi ikke er et lukket maskinrum uden forbindelse med andre kompetencer end ingeniørens, men det er lidt skidt at det er det bedste vi kan stille op med på en dag, der ellers skulle prøve på at finde nogle rollemodeller i teknologiens verden. Det er rigtigt nok at teknologi er mere værd, når det kommer ud i hænderne på folk - men vi kan ikke leve af at formidle alle sammen.
Det er lidt af en tragedie, i disse for hvor fremtid så trange tider, at det er så gængst bare at give op.
Så næste Ada-dag, så giv dig selv en udfordring: Hvor er inspirationen til at lade være med at droppe tingenes verden på gulvet? Hvor er inspirationen til faktisk at beskæftige sig med at undersøge verden, med matematik og med andre midler?
Her er min hurtige påstand om valget 2011 og sociale medier, formuleret på Twitter i går aftes:
Skal vi ikke bare være helt ærlige fra bunden af: Heller ikke dette folketingsvalg vil blive afgjort på de sociale medier.
Et gængst argument om politikerlede og vælgerpassivitet og vælgeruforudsigelighed og designerpolitik er at politikken er blevet meningsløs fordi den ikke længere afspejler livsstile, sådan som i gamle dage hvor en arbejder simpelthen bare *var* en socialdemokrat og en bonde en venstremand - og vice versa. Vi lider altså af en slem mangel på relationer med den politik, der er på bordet i folketinget. Mulighederne i den situation fik vi illustreret henover sommeren i varmluftsballonen Udkantsdanmark og med Fælleslisten, der så ud til at kapitalisere politisk på skismaet i den danske vækst, der skabes i de store byområder, mens industriproduktionen lukker ned ude i lavtlønsområderne. Det viste sig bare, at der ikke rigtig var nogen politikere inde i Fælleslisten. Det var bare en dampventil. Politik er kultur, og der var ingen politisk kultur i den harme, Fælleslisten gav luft for.
Det minder fuldstændig om hvad vi så med Ny Alliance for fire år siden. Liberal alliance har denne gang langt bedre odds end Ny Alliance havde sidst, simpelthen fordi Liberal Alliance bare er en slags venstrefraktion, peppet op med de mest borgerlige radikale.
De sociale medier er relationsmedier, ikke kampagnemedier, sådan plejer vi jo at sige om dem, når vi skal kritisere politikere der kun liige blogger i en måned op til valget og den slags ret hule forsøg på at komme i øjenhøjde med vælgerne. Relationsmedier burde jo passe lige ind i billedet. Men hvis det skulle passe på den politiske situation, så skulle vi jo allerede se det nu. Selv online tager det tid at lave relationer. Og ærligt talt, det gør vi bare overhovedet ikke. Liberal Alliance har været dygtige til at markedsføre deres skatteberegner med spareeksempler, men det er der jo ikke meget socialt fællesskab i, og Fælleslisten er dykket grundigt under opmærksomhedsgrænsen igen.
Konklusionen er derfor den nogenlunde enkle: Det bliver en kampagne. Den bliver domineret af kombattanter vi kender til bevidstløshed. Der bliver svinestreger og overfladisk leflen, og en pressedækning, der - værre end nogensinde før - vil svigte i at skille spin og human interest fra politik. Og vi kommer til at snakke om den på Facebook, ligesom vi snakker om hvad vi ellers ser på TV. Og så ikke meget mere end det.
You can still propagandize with it. Pete Warden offers some important reflections on how data journalism will not - in and of itself - be a positive change to 'rational' or 'objective' journalism. There's no reason to think that data journalism isn't as amenable to biased storytelling as any other kind of journalism.
At the time of writing, the two Kickstarter projects Blue Like Jazz and Diaspora have raised almost exactly the same amount of money - about $200K. But take a look at the graph above. Do these projects look almost the same to you? Clearly they're not. Diaspora's donations are dominated by large numbers of small donations, and Blue Like Jazz is dominated by a few very large donations.
So much for power laws and treating people like statistics. Clearly huge cultural differences are hidden in the crowds and in the almost identical sum of the donations.
That being said, I would love for Kickstarter to generate sparklines similar to the graph above for all their projects. Gives you an immediate idea of the flavor of the community around a project. Is it a "mass project" or is it more a strong core with fans.
Beundringsværdig indstilling hos Anders Matthesen
Jeg havde et møde med med Thomas Vinterberg, der spurgte om ikke jeg kunne tænke mig at skrive en film. Og jeg havde lidt den holdning til det, at det der med at skrive det, og så bagefter prøve at søge støtte, så bliver det sådan en årelang proces, hvor man skal have godkendt sit arbejde hele tiden, og det gider jeg ikke.
Mine ideer er for mig meget dyrebare, og det der med at smide dem på bordet til en reklamekampagne, eller et eller andet tilfældigt, du ved "skal vi ikke prøve at få nogen ideer i omløb?" - altså, jeg ser dem som små babyer der skal sættes i verden og følges helt hen til børnehaven. Jeg gider ikke bare at sidde og lade ideerne sprudle, og så ikke følge op på det. Jeg booker en sal, så laver jeg en plakat, og så skriver jeg showet. Altså, jeg gider ikke løfte en finger, hvis ikke jeg er helt sikker på det bliver til noget. Det gør for ondt på mig, hvis de kreative ideer og tanker, der kommer på bordet, de ligger i en eller anden skuff. Altså folk der har det sådan "Det var noget jeg skrev på engang, men vi fik det aldrig solgt.", det gider jeg ikke. Hvis jeg bruger min energi og tankeenergi på noget, så skal det også ud.
Selvfølgelig har det ligget i Man On Wire hele tiden, men det ramte først mit centralnervesystem for alvor tidligere idag, da SVT1 sendte dokumentaren, mens man på nyhedskanalerne kunne følge med i politiets pressemøde i anledning af bombesprængningen på Israels Plads: Uskylden i linedanserens omhyggelige planlægning af hvordan man skaffer sig ulovlig adgang til World Trade Center, med falske identitetspapirer, og camoufleret linedansergrej, er blæst væk, for en overskuelig fremtid. Det kan ikke lade sig gøre, slet ikke på en sådan en søndag morgen lige efter 11. september, mens politiet efterforsker en identitetsløs bombemands færden, at lade være med at tænke: Hvad nu hvis det var noget andet de ville i højhusene dengang?
Iøvrigt, så formoder jeg at manuskriptforfatterne allerede er svinget igang, ovenpå bombehistorien. En identitetsløs bombemand, midt i København. Det er en mageløs historie, og man glædes over at mandens talentløshed som bombemager gør en fri til at fantasere ud fra det, istedet for at skulle tænke på en tragisk hændelse.
Der skulle være nok at gå igang med. Kunstigt ben. Og mageløse dæknavne som Raoul Foltz, David Francois J de Vicq de Cumptich og Hans Veller.
Jeg tror det var Christopher Arzrouni jeg så skrive en klumme hvor han mente at nogen andre var gak gak fordi de snakkede om krig og terror som kulturelle konstruktioner. Det er nemt at forstå hvad han mener, og der er ikke så meget kultur i folk, der er døde, men klummen var klassisk overreach. Jeg er ikke et sekund i tvivl om at Raoul Foltz mentalt er med i en agentfilm af en art. Bare de mageløse navne, fortæller en historie.
1971: Skurkene i Sang om Merværdi er mennesker, der blir rige uden at lave noget.
2010: Det gode samfund er et med lav arbejdstid og efterløn og orlovsordninger og retten til et liv uden konkurrence.
Hvordan kom man fra A til B? Er det hemmeligheden bag alle historier, at skurken er ham, der gør det helten drømmer om?
Hvis man gerne vil vide hvorfor offentlige IT-projekter bliver så dyre og dårlige, så kan man starte med at læse her. Det er sund fornuft at have en institution som Datatilsynet, men hvis udgangspunktet er not-invented-her syndrom som f.eks. udtalelsen "Allerede det forhold, at medarbejdernes login sker uden digital signatur, gør, at den er vi ikke med på", som nævnt i artiklen, så umuliggør man en fleksibel adgang til at prøve med ny teknologi i de offentlige IT-systemer. Farvel til de utallige fordele vi andre høster på Facebook, Twitter o.l.. De kommer aldrig i spil i offentlig sammenhæng.
Det bliver et enormt problem, i et land hvor den offentlige sektor er så stor. Hvis vi skal have vækst og velstand i Danmark, så er vi nødt til at finde ud af at bruge IT så godt som muligt, og så hurtigt som muligt, pg så er det en katastrofe at halvdelen af vores økonomi simpelthen har annuleret innovation på den måde.
De der gider lege med på den form for defensivt kravrytteri tager sig godt betalt for det, og når de defensive kravlister får lov at vokse uden begrænsninger, jamen, så bliver det dem og ikke anvendelighed eller nye funktionsmåder, der kommer til at bestemme de webtjenester vi får.
Det bizarre her er at lovgivningen - og Datatilsynet - ikke skelner mellem data, som der er tale om her - elevplaner - og så de virkelige kernedata i systemet, vores skattedata osv. Hvis man fryser alle vores mellemværender med staten på Fort Knox-niveau, så lukker man ned for en masse kreativitet ude i kanten. Tænk nu hvis man tog det lige så sikkerhedsbevidste syn på sagen, at man skal arbejde på at undgå at risici for noget så harmløst som elevplaner eskalerer til alvorligere områder.
Er netop faldet over Chris Dixons blog og sidder og læser mig metodisk igennem den, bagud i tid, indtil jeg kom til denneher post fra sidste år, om den tillid og commitment, der skal til i en startup. Den virker simpelthen ikke hvis ikke det er en relationsarbejdsplads. Hvis du godt kan lide at brokke dig over kantinen, lønnen, firmafesterne eller arbejdstiden, så skal du nok lave noget andet. Hvis din chef godt kan lide at brokke sig over de same ting, så er det også en grund til at lave noget andet.
Jeg abonnerer også fuldt ud på den med bare at være åben om hvad det er man gerne vil. Jeg har haft den fornøjelse to ud af to gange jeg har prøvet det, at kunne tale helt frit med chefen om at der nok var en tidsgrænse på hvor længe jeg blev siddende, og har begge gange kun fået god hjælp til at prøve at få fremtiden til at gå op, der om 6-12 måneder.
Når jeg tænker over hvad politik handler om, og hvad forvaltning handler om, og hvad fagforeninger tilsyneladende handler om, så er det anti- alt det, der får sådan en situation til at virke. Udover hvad lønnen skulle være, så har intet jeg nogensinde har haft i en kontrakt med en arbejdsgiver, haft noget som helst at gøre med hvordan det så var at arbejde der. Tværtimod, så har jeg den klare fornemmelse, at enhver anvendelse af kontrakten havde taget livet af alt det gode i løbet af meget kort tid.
Det er lidt ligesom "lovliggørelsen" af cykling på ydersiden af Søerne (i København). Folk har cyklet der siden tidernes morgen, og det har virkelig ikke været noget særlig stort problem. Lovliggørelsen har derimod
Selvfølgelig kan vi ikke allesammen være venner hele tiden; det er det befriende ved markeder - at man slipper for at skulle mene noget om de andre, men bare kan vælge dem fra hvis man foretrækker noget andet, så jeg tror grundkonklusionen ovenfor er at jeg simpelthen aldrig har haft oplevelsen af at være på jobmarkedet, uanset at jeg har arbejdet i årevis.
Sådan er vi givetvis mange der har det, men hvis du ikke er en af dem, så kan jeg kun varmt anbefale at blive det.
So Apple passed Microsoft in market cap the other day, and the really interesting thing about it was that it wasn't really bubbly stock market frenzy that did it. Apple is trading at a 21.50 P/E which isn't absurd, even if it is higher than Microsoft's.
Why is Microsoft stalling? Because they already won.
Some years back, before she was fired from HP, Carly Fiorina made a remark about the future of HP to the effect that since the market for PCs is pretty much completely saturated already, you can't really expect the tech sector to outgrow the economy as a whole. Companies are already spending all they can on IT. There's a soft ceiling somewhere, for how much of your revenue can go into tech spending and the corporation is approaching that level.
Microsoft gets all it's revenue from this no longer expanding slice of tech spending, so there is simply no way to grow beyond the few percent of general growth.
The deflationary power of technology can push these limits a little, but the key deflationary force these days isn't the PC as such but rather the internet and the networking of businesses.
Apple on the other hand has a lot of market share to gain in laptops and phones. The only saturated Apple-market is digital music players.
Jeg glæder mig til at se dokumentaren om krigen i Afghanistan. Det er helt sikkert voldsomt og spændende, og grusomt og livsændrende både for de der bliver ramt og de der skyder.
Når jeg ser forskræppet for dokuen er det dog noget andet, der sidder fast, nemlig en dansk soldats ord i en avis for et stykke tid siden om hvor skuffende journalisters besøg i lejren altid var. Det eneste de vil er med ud at slås. Der skal action på drengen, for det er der de gode historier er. Der er ingen gode historier i at kede sig i lejren, eller bevogtningsopgaver i byer, hvor børn går i skole eller lignende mere fredsommelig indsats.
Carsten Jensen har sunget sig helt i sky på en "krig er grusomt"-rus i anledning af filmen og snakker meget om hvor "udansk" det er sådan at være med til noget grusomt, men man kan ikke blive fri for mistanken at der fanme skulle findes noget grusomt, for det er bare "stærkere" at være på den anden side af noget virkelig grusomt, end at være på den anden side af ... børns skolegang.
Jeg er glad for at jeg ikke er i Afghanistan og skal træffe nogle af de stenhårde valg, der skal træffes af de danske soldater; jeg tror ikke jeg ville være særlig god til det, simpelthen, men det er så - for mig - også det. Jeg stiller mig lidt tvivlende overfor den egentlige fordybelse i det kritiske blik, navnlig som det er skaffet gennem stærkt fortalt neodokumentar. Krigen set fra tusindevis af kilometers afstand kommer ikke af den grund til at handle om en grøft i Afghanistan på nogen ærlig måde. Her må det handle om Taliban, frihed, og danske soldaters liv og lemmer. Man er ikke mere involveret i krigen fordi man sidder i sin lænestol og bliver mere og mere anfægtet.
Jeg har en mistanke, måske endda en forhåbning, om at "for" i "fortalt" om nogle år vil blive aflæst på samme måde som det bliver i forædt, forvitret, forødet, som destruktionen af det man snakker om gennem en eller anden handling. Man fortæller verden helt i stykker. Frank Jensens kommuneadministration har efterhånden fået ansat over 100 fortællere af kommunens mission, et fuldstændig absurd antal, med mindre de bliver brugt til noget andet end titlen "kommunikationsmedarbejder". Hvis nu de lavede intern kommunikation, og på den måde omgjorde kommunen til en slagkraftig netværksorganisation, hvor de små enheder har ansvar og frihed til at gøre en forskel, navnlig hvis de kan gøre det nu og her for små midler uden at skulle lægge femårsplaner og rapportere på lovkrav, så kunne det være det gjorde en faktisk forskel for nogen - men man tvivler jo på at det er den slags kommunikation. Det er vist mere noget med at forklare hvorfor der ikke sker en skid. Eller hvorfor det ingenting, der sker, faktisk er en hel masse!.
Det er den samme underlige armslængdeprincip til virkeligheden som deltagelse per anfægtelse i Afghanistanmissionerne. Det ændrer ikke noget som helst. Indsigt og forståelse er afgørende, men det skal jo helst være den slags, der får os op af lænestolen, ikke bare en stærkere og stærkere fornemmelse af at lænestolen er et fantastisk sted at være vidne til det hele på.
Hvor ville jeg dog ønske det var det, der var pointen for den ene og den anden Jensen.
Sidste uge mødtes en lille gruppe mennesker og diskuterede Apples nye lukkede regler for brug af iPhone-platformen og Facebooks massive landgrab annonceret under den nyligt overståede F8 konference.
Snakken var god, men en smule svær at referere. Det kunne være blevet en meget aktivistisk samtale om principper, men det blev istedet en forholdsvis bred samtale om hvordan teknologiverdenen egentlig udvikler sig, i en dynamik mellem markedet - der er bedst til "dyb" innovation - og de enkelte virksomheder - der er bedst til fokuserede hurtige fremskridt. Vi snakkede om at der er en dynamik mellem de to måder at udvikle på. Virksomhedens forsøg på kontrol skaber værdier for virksomheden, men provokerer også konkurrence andre steder, og i det lange perspektiv udligner den slags sig så.
Virksomhedsperspektivet på åbenhed vil være at det er nødvendigt for at vokse - i et stykke tid. På et tidspunkt vil det ikke nødvendigvis, for den modne virksomhed, give mening mere, fordi det ikke genererer mere vækst - og så er det fokus flyttes ud på markedet igen, hvor åbenheden kan producere innovation.
Så diskuterede vi om der trods alt er noget anderledes ved de nye nær-monopoler. Ved Google, ved Facebook og ved app-storen. Om man kan udkonkurrere den enorme akkumulation af data som f.eks. Google har. Konsensusformodningen efter et stykke tid var nok "ja", men det tager helt klart tid.
Vi snakkede om hvad man bør stille af krav til sine platforme, for ikke pludselig at være med i en lang sej dødskamp, hvor kontrollen strammes for at tjene flere penge. "Der skal være en kattelem", sagde Niels Hartvig, og brugte sit eget Umbraco som eksempel. Der er ingen tvivl om at Umbraco-projektet primært drives af den sponserende virksomhed Umbraco, men kode er kode, og hvis balancen mellem Umbraco - virksomhedens - interesser og Umbraco - open source CMSet - bliver uspiselig for nogle af deltagerne/brugerne af projektet, så kan de gå deres vej og tage koden med sig. Det vil koste, måske, på innovationstempoet, men ikke på virksomhedens strategiske beslutninger.
Vi diskuterede også hvordan man ikke skal glemme at nogle af de her truende monopoler er blevet monopoler ved overhovedet at etablere et marked, og det er lige præcis det en god privat sponsor kan bidrage med. Det er Amazon, der med Kindle har skabt verdens første volumenmarked for e-bøger. Det er Apple, der med iTunes og App-store har skabt markeder for mobil musik og software. Det er Google, der har skabt moderne søgemaskinemarketing. Man kan ikke bare sådan på principper sige "åben=godt". Der er nogle kvaliteter - transparens etc. - der er gode for markedet, og nogle problemer når markedsdeltageren pludselig også er med som markedsdeltager f.eks., men det er ikke så sort hvidt.
Dynamikken er mellem de krav vi andre stiller til markedsdanneren før vi synes der er lavet et økosystem, og så de krav markedsdanneren har, før det overhovedet giver mening at lave et marked.
Vi snakkede om hvordan modstillingen "åbne platforme" vs "dybt integrerede, brugervenlige platforme" som man set lavet for Apple-casen, er forkert. Der er masser af convenience og brugervenlighed i at være åben; at lade folk drage de fordele af f.eks. iPhonen som de gerne vil.
Vi snakkede forbløffende lidt om Flash og de konkrete forhold v Apples særlige lukkethed. "Langsigtet dynamik vs direkte kontrol" opsummerer balancen i kontrollen fint der, kom vi vist frem til. Vi diskuterede om Apples argument at "kontrol giver bedre software" overhovedet passer. På kort sigt måske, men på langt sigt udelukker man innovation, og der er plausibelt at det gør platformens langtidshorisont mere ustabil, end den ville være som åbent marked.
Endelig så snakkede vi om, for tilfældet Facebook, hvorvidt Facebooks sociale graf er lock-in eller ej. Hvordan beskytter vi os mod en alt for absurd switching cost engang i fremtiden. Thomas Mygdal foreslog et par spørgsmål om det at runde aftenen af med.
Forslag til hvordan man kan lade være med at aflevere ejerskabet til al den adfærd Facebook samler ind. Til hvordan man kan satse på en distribueret identitet, istedet for den Facebook-identitet, der lige er blevet aktiveret på tusindevis af websites, og endelig om ikke Facebooks seneste afprivatisering af data vil føre til en øget offentlig opmærksomhed på om firmaet overhovedet lever op til databeskyttelseslovgivningen rundt om i Europa.
Der var almindelig tro på at der også er en vekselvirkning mellem det distribuerede og det monolitiske/monopolkontrollerede, men stor spredning i budene på hvad tidshorisonten så er for at det flipper over til mere individuel kontrol igen. Sådan som hovedregel, tror jeg budet var, at der måske er en 5-års horisont tilbage at være ubekymret monopolist i for Facebook.
[Sådan så aftenen ud, set fra min notesblok. Det er farvet af den ballast jeg selv kom ind i samtalen med, og dækker naturligvis ikke hvad alle de andre har tænkt; samtalen var god og mangfoldig. Men en slags referat er det dog]
(vi får se om jeg når op til konferencens 15 inden den slutter)
Mens de taler, så må man jo dykke lidt ned i materialet. Der er flere spørgsmål at undersøge.
Vil det virke at gøre noget? Her er Paul Krugman om hvorvidt de markedsmidler man har er istand til at fungere overhovedet. Indsatsen mod syreregn tilbage i 80erne brugte de samme midler, og det endte faktisk med at virke. Det vi har at satse på i den forbindelse er, at det kræver højtudviklede og meget regulerede industrisamfundt at bruge energien også - det vil sige, de regulatoriske mekanismer, der skal være på plads for at styre de klimaøkonomiske virkemidler, er på plads der hvor CO2en primært produceres.
Det der arbejder imod er at opvarmningen er en langt mere sammensat effekt end syreregnen. Alt fra sod på polernes iskapper, til kosmisk stråling og vulkanudbrud, fra sammensætningen af husdyrenes foder til farven af vejbelægningen, spiller ind. Der er så mange effekter, alle belagt med usikkerhed, at nettoeffekten stort set er uforudsigelig, hvad modellerne da også viser.
Er omkostningerne ved indsatsen uspiselige? Jeg kan ikke huske at have læst hos Lomborg nogle studier af den økonomiske effekt af f.eks. indsatsen mod syreregn, eller udfasningen af CFCer. Det er i virkeligheden det vi har brug for, en virkelighedsbaseret vurdering af hvad et kvotesystem gør. Har svovlkvoter f.eks. bare flyttet industrien væk fra vesten? Altså reddet det nordamerikanske og europæiske skove ved at ødelægge nogle andre? Gik industrierne under pga kvoterne. Jeg vil lede efter nogle papers om det.
Tager IPCC i tilstrækkelig grad stilling til konkurrerende teorier om det globale klima? Det svageste ved hele klimadebatten er at den består af politik, baseret på samfundsøkonomiske betragtninger, der henter deres sagsbaggrund i naturvidenskaberne. Rationalitetskrav, sandhedskrav og motivationer er vidt forskellige i de tre verdener. Politisk ræson har desværre ikke plads til naturvidenskabelig ræson. Naturvidenskabsmanden sandsynliggør, men han ved godt at han kun spiller på oddsene.
Det har den politiske logik ikke helt nerver til - og det er der vanskelighederne opstår. Det er helt givet usundt for videnskaben, at klimapolitikken har brug for at der ikke er nogen tvivl.
Men hvad så? Ja jeg er da helt bestemt selv i tvivl. Nogle lægger et absurd Pascalsk væddemål henover debatten, ud fra den idé at JORDEN GÅR UNDER hvis ikke vi gør noget, så en hvilken som helst pris for at undgå undergangen er fin nok. Det gør jorden ikke. Naturen heller ikke. De der har et klimaproblem er os, kun os, og ikke andre end os. Og om vi kan lide det eller ej, så dør mennesker også i dag i milliontal af problemer vi kunne gøre noget ved.
Undergangsretorikken er skinger, simpelthen. Til gengæld, så dukker alle omkostningerne ved en CO2-baseret klimapolitik jo ikke op i år. Hvis yderligere 10 års forskning viser at menneskeskabt CO2 alligevel ikke kan tilskrives så store virkninger som vi troede, så kan CO2-politikken jo rulles tilbage.
Og derfor bliver de ved med ikke at komme herud, det er virkelig for dårligt. Nå, men så kan vi da snakke lidt om klimaet imens.
Måske bliver verden varmere, godt nok ikke i de sidste 10 år, til trods for de ulykker vi ser billeder af rundt om på kloden, og måske er det menneskeskabt CO2 der skaber forandringerne. FNs klimapanel har meget lidt at gøre med den måde videnskab normalt fungerer på. Viden er ikke demokratisk, tværtimod, den er det stik modsatte, arrogant endda. Som Einstein engang sagde, vistnok, da han blev konfronteret med en liste på 100 fysikere, der mente relativitetsteorien var nonsens: "En havde været nok", hvis altså han havde haft noget at have sine indvendinger i.
Den offentlige samtale om klimavidenskaben er helt igennem defekt. Der er blot en samling af anekdoter og appel til autoritet; altid en advarselslampe.
Andre advarselslamper er at klimakampagnen passer for godt med målsætninger, der eksisterede længe før klimapolitikken kunne bære dem ("teknologi og vesten er ond, de fattige i d. 3. verden er gode").
MEN, det er jo også bare mistanker, og måske har de ret klimapanelet. Hvis bare de ikke tager fuldstændig fejl, så kan det jo være at CO2 reduktion hjælper, også hvis det skulle vise sig at man ikke kan tilskrive menneskeligt produceret CO2 hele udviklingen.
Der hvor problemet for alver bliver alvorligt er i tanken om at kontrollen vil virke; at verdensfællesskabet virkelig kan terraforme sig til et temperatur- orkan- og nedbørsniveau vi er glade for. Det er vildt usandsynligt. Der er for mange ting, der bliver bedre ved lige at brænde lidt olie eller kul af og lave mere energi.
Og er det i det hele taget fornuftigt at forestille sig at vi kan regulere verdensklimaet? At have den idé at hvis verden forandrer sig så er vi på den. Var det ikke smartere at gøre vores kulturer bedre, så vi bedre kan tåle forandringerne; at investere pengene der. Måske kunne de investeringer endda hjælpe på nogle af de andre problemer verden står overfor; mangel på rent vand, ørkenspredning osv.
Jeg håber virkelig at teksten på COP15 kommer til at handle mest om det progressive og mindst om at sætte ting i stå.
For en uge siden var jeg i Malmø for at høre Adam Greenfield tale om "networked urbanism", altså den fremtidige refleksive by, der er fyldt med data som vi kan interagere med. Det er en slags videreudvikling af hans tidligere interesse i ubicomp til en mere specifik setting, hvor det er byen der er ubikvitær rundt om dig.
Du kan se foredraget her.
Det foregik på Minc, et væksthus på havnen i Malmø, hvor bl.a. mine gode venner i Polarrose holder til, ligesom et hav af andre små virksomheder. Malmø (og Lund) er i det hele taget rigtig godt bestykket med startups.
Dagen før min smuttur til Malmø havde en CEPOS-mand ment i computerworld at "det danske system" forhindrer succeser i Bill Gates klassen herhjemme. Nu kan man starte med at spørge om det virkelig passer - Navision/Damgaard er da vel nok en ægte kassesucces, og Skypestifterne har da i det mindste mødt hinanden i København.... Når det nu er sagt, så snakkede jeg fredagen forinden med Nikolaj, Imity-cofounder og Polarrose-boss, og hans klare oplevelse er at dynamikken bare er en helt anden i Sydsverige end på den anden side af broen, her i København.
Her løber CEPOS's forklaringsevne jo tør. Sverige er lige så hårdt beskattet som Danmark, velfærdsstaten er lige så tryg. Og alligevel så er der åbenbart en kulturforskel der får unge svensker til at mene at de er den virkelige motherfucker, ham der skal gå hele vejen, og ikke bare forsøge sig som konsulent eller mellemleder og se hvad der sker.
Er det er spørgsmål om vaner og netværk? Er Sverige bare et par år foran, eller er der en central forskel vi skal have importeret til København?
Valleywag has a helpful chart of the stormy relationship between progressives and Twitter. It reminds me of how blogging developed. At first it seemed to be some kind of monoculture, talking about particular things - and a lot about itself, trying to constitute the environment in the first place. And people thought that "blogger" was an identity; which of course no media can stay, if it is successful as a mass media.
Later we found out that political blogging is more like talk radio than anything else. Really good for fringes on both sides, energizing the troops - less good as an actual agora of public opinion.
Twitter also seemed to be owned by progressives; they built it after all. But of course that doesn't work with mass adoption and now the monoculture there is going the way of that of blogs.
Det er ikke rigtigt i virkeligheden, men der findes et perspektiv på "det gode", hvor det gode i det gode ikke er de gode konsekvenser, men ofret. Det gode er en straf man finder sig i, fordi man er et godt menneske. Man ser det ofte i projekter der eksplicit mener at gøre det gode. Man ser det ofte i design. En vandspareanordning, der fortæller dig hvornår dit brusebad har varet for længe (istedet for en anordning der genbruger badevandet f.eks., eller noget andet der løser problemet på en anden måde). Personligt opfatter jeg også planlægning og personlige produktivitetsystemer som GTD som eksempler i genren, selv om jeg ved at de - ligesom gulv-, op- og tøjvask - har reelle nyttige effekter.
Tankegangen har mængder af fucked op konsekvenser. Fattigdom bliver moralsk i sig selv - og er man ufattig skal man altså straffes for at komme moralsk ajour. Hvorimod krav om almindelig gensidig ansvarlighed til den allerede udfordrede selvfølgelig bliver fuldstændig urimelige.
Det meningsløse CO2-tælleri har meget af tanken indbygget.
Hvad angår personlig produktivitet, så har jeg tænkt mig at gøre noget ved det via et passivt pointsystem som muligvis vil blive demoet på en snarlig demodag.
Placebos are more efficient now than ever. Is this our belief taking over for rational thinking? Are we more tuned to simply believing in medicine - hence the increase in placebo efficiency.
This could be an interesting side story to other examples of a return to a more medieval or even pre-christian world without monotheism, where various stories assume a status of beliefs, becoming narratives outside our control.
I've written about hypercomplexity as a return to greek mythology before. No controlling narrative, no supreme being keeping the stories in check, but rather a fight of ideas, constantly overlapping the same territory, with competing claims.
Torben Lund forlader socialdemokratiet "på grund af højredrejningen". Da jeg læste det, tænkte jeg at det var en lidt besynderlig begrundelse, for hvis socialdemokratiet for tiden gør noget, så er det da at dreje til venstre - med rigmandskat, skyggeregering med SF og absurde velfærdsløfte om et liv uden konkurrence. Men det er selvfølgelig rets- og indvandrerpolitikken Lund sigter til.
Socialdemokratiet er helt skizofrent. På den ene side en venstredrejet social profil, på den anden side ret og tvang.
Det er den naturlige konsekvens af den, i ordets egentligste forstand, værdiløse ledelse. Sass+Thorning mener ikke rigtig noget, så skiller man politikområderne ud og rykker sig for hvert område hen hvor der virker som om der er en ledig position. Til gengæld vrider man kroppen helt fra hinanden i forsøget på at favne fra den ene yderlighed til den anden.
Findes der et menneske, der faktisk sådan dybt inde i sjælen, føler at det identitetsmæssigt bliver dækket af den her meningsløse politikbuket? Findes der nogen der sådan helt ind i sjælen synes at hele den pakke er en god idë? Jeg gør ihvertfald ikke.
Det problem Velfærdskommissionen har arbejdet på at løse har stået klart for økonomerne i 15-20 år, og været centralt i den langsigtede økonomiske politik lige så længe. Aldersfordelingenen om 10 år hænger ikke økonomisk sammen, sådan som samfundet er skruet sammen nu. Da jeg i sin tid var studentermedhjælp på institut for nationaløkonomi var der stadig tid til at forestille sig at man kunne nå at omstrukturere fra et velfærdssamfund til et forsikringssamfund*, og der kunne vi sagtens ende alligevel - men vi er der ikke i 2020, ihvertfald ikke pga. en veludført plan. Regeringen Nyrup planlagde efter det, og regeringen Fogh også - men uden selvfølgelig helt at ville indrømme det. Der blev sparet op, for evt at kunne spare ned igen i 2020, men forsøgene på centralt at ændre i forventningerne til velfærden er strandet hver gang; hvorfor alle er holdt op med at prøve på den slags. Det er ligesom diskussionen om "de fremmede". Man kan kun tabe - eller markere sig som nicheparti - ved at være på den modsatte side af "nej til forandringer". Det har været kronede dage for antiforandringsparti nr 1, Dansk Folkeparti.
Men forandringer kommer der, og nu bliver det spændende hvilken forandring det så bliver. Der er kun to mulige løsninger: Man kan enten løse det finansielle problem eller det demografiske problem. At løse det finansielle problem kan ikke rigtig lade sig gøre uden at sænke servicen a la hvad Velfærdskommissionen foreslår. Regnskabet bliver for surt i de fremtidige generationers disfavør hvis man bare hæver skatten. Alternativet er at løse det demografiske problem med aldringen - altså at åbne sluserne for en større tilvandring af unge til arbejdsstyrken. Ligemeget hvad: En DF mærkesag går på gulvet. Enten den med serviceniveauet eller den med de fremmede.
Det gode spørgsmål er selvfølgelig hvem de andre tabere bliver, for der vil være flere. Og om vi allesammen taber lidt imens, fordi partierne kæmper for deres magt mens forandringerne sker.
* I velfærdsmodellen - den vi har nu - betaler de, der arbejder nu, for de der har brug for service nu. I forsikringsmodellen sparer man selv op til den service man har brug for senere.
Måske har Per Stig Møller ret - men det virker som en brøler at helt absurd format at stå og diskutere samtalestrategien i forbindelse med Iran i nyhederne. Det kan sagtens passe at en høge-retorik lige præcis passer til Ahmadinejads egen ditto; og derfor vil eskalere volden. Men at man tænker strategisk på den måde skal man da ikke stå at sige. Der skal man bare holde den moralske og principielle fane højt. Det har de protesterende iranere da krav på.
Men moral og indsigt fra sidelinjen er både for nemt og for svært. For nemt, fordi det ikke koster noget at mene A og heller ikke at mene B, og for svært fordi det er helt umuligt at danne sig noget som helst overblik. Over valgsvindlens niveau (tilsyneladende totalt), over alternativet til bare at tabe protestkampen, og over omfanget af vreden i Iran.
Præstestyret har indtil videre fejlet totalt i at lande sin damagecontrol. At indrømme svindlen, men på en så halvbagt måde, virker som det dummeste man kan vælge at gøre.
Ahmadinejad, siger de mest høgede kommentatorer, venter bare på en grund til et egtl. militærkup, og imens er det fuldstændig uklart om han så faktisk har militærbacking til virkelig at øge presset på demonstranterne med et knusende angreb med tanks og hele moletjavsen.
Fra sidelinjens sidelinje så en observation om borgerrapportering: Omkostningerne ved at danne sig et overblik er skyhøje; hvis det overhovedet kan lade sig gøre. Det er utrolig meget billigere at nøjes med den virkelighed ens egen avis kan få skrabet sammen.
Jeg har kigget en smule på fremtidsproblemet vand her på det sidste. Det der fik mig til at tænke på vand var et sci-fi koncept som tegningen ovenfor: Omvendte floder, store pipelines med havvand, der på ruten ind i de mere og mere vandsultne kontinenter destilleres til menneskebrug og til landbrug.
Hvor realistisk er sådan en plan? Det er lidt besværligt at få styr på nogen gode vandtal, men til sidst fandt jeg nogen et af de steder hvor problemet allerede er akut, nemlig Israel
Her bygger man for tiden en serie enorme afsaltningssanlæg der producerer 100 mio. kubikmeter drikkevand per år.
Israels totale tilgængelige vandressource før anlæggene er 2000 mio kubikmeter vand per år - egentlig alt for lidt til den befolkning der bor i området.
Et anlæg der producerer 100 mio kubikmeter, leverer altså 5% oven i den mængde. Man skal altså "bare" bygge 20 af dem for at have en fuld kunstig forsyning - incl. vand til et landbrug, der er nettoeksportør af fødevarer.
Hvor meget energi går der til at producere drikkevand? Hvis man skal gøre det selv uden smart udstyr så må man jo dampe vandet af og kondensere det igen.
Det er meget energikrævende. Det går en kalorie til at varme et gram vand en grad, her skal vi op til kogepunktet, og så også tilføre fordampningsvarmen - ca 5 gange så meget energi som opvarmningen fra 0 til 100.
I de højeffektive afsaltningsanlæg kan man ved at bruge filtrering under højtryk og genanvende den energi man hælder ind komme ned på at bruge 4 kalorier per gram vand, altså energi der svarer til blot at varme vandet fire grader, eller ca. 150 gange mindre end naiv fordampning.
Regnet om til den effekt der kræves til et anlæg i 100 mio kubikmeterklassen er det kun 55MW effekt der forgår. Under en tiendedel af hvad Avedøreværket producerer. Nogenlunde hvad man ville få ud af vindmølleparken i Københavns havn, hvis ellers den producerede på topkapacitet døgnet rundt.
Pointen ved de lidt kedelige omregninger er, at det faktisk lader sig gøre. Man skal ikke æde hele landskabet op med vindmøller, eller bygge 40 kraftværker, for at producere kunstigt vand nok til en hel nation. Et Avedøreværk eller to og 20 destillationsanlæg forsyner et land, hvor der bor omkring 10 mio mennesker.
Hvad angår prisen: Det israelske anlæg sælger vandet til ca en halv dollar per kubikmeter - en pris der dog sikkert varierer en del med prisen på energi. I København koster en kubikmeter vand for en husstand lidt over 40 kr.
En kunstig Jordanflod kunne man altså faktisk godt slippe afsted med at bygge på et par år. Det er ikke en mulighed for de fattigste, men det kan lade sig gøre. Vand til hele Israel for en milliard dollars om året.
Pyh, et elendigt EU-valg. Henrik Sass lavede en klassisk Sass, droppede kerneværdier i jagt på en flygtig folkestemning med et fjollet forslag om at hoppe ud af Schengen igen, eller noget i den stil. Jens Rohde dumpede med; måske endda i forvejen. Hvis man løber i hælene på Jens Rohde så er man virkelig tæt på fallitten. Jens Rohdes dumpekarakter var også i elementær europæisk statskundskab: Danmarks stemme i EU? Nej, det er regeringen der er det i den europæiske magtdeling. Parlamentet står for den paneuropæiske rimelighed og er demokratisk bagstopper, ikke national bagstopper.
Bendt Bendsten er ikke blevet mindre dum, men parlamentet er et sted hvor han vil gøre meget mindre skade end han har forvoldt i ministerrådet.
Man kan ikke klandre EU-modstanderpartierne deres EU-skepsis, men at alle de pro-europæiske partier, pånær de radikale, fodrer den indre svinehund med mere EU-angst er for ringe.
Og endelig selvfølgelig en særlig dumpepræmie til V og K for den idiotiske tronfølgekampagne. At spille hazard med noget så grundlæggende som grundloven, og noget så elementært som søde små (hypotetiske, endnu ukonciperede) prinsesser er virkelig demokratirespekt på et absolut lavpunkt.
I går var der 65-års jubilæum for D-dag. Den velnærede hverdag er unægtelig grimmere end det gamle heltemod, der gav os en chance for at have EU og et frit, fredeligt Europa overhovedet.
Holy shit, det her må være månedens, hvis ikke årets link - hvis altså det virkelig passer. Angiveligt er det her en samling covers fra Donald Rumsfelds tophemmelige briefinger om sikkerhedstilstanden. Action, fjender og bibelvers blandet op i det der burde have været amerikansk magtpolitik, men altså - hvis forsiderne skal tages for gode varer - af igangsætterne forstås som et kristent korstog af en slags.
Det er fuldstændig fucking ved siden af, hvad der burde drive politikken. Og endnu mere grotesk: Indadtil så kampagnen sådan her ud, mens udadtil Bush så en anledning til at spalte NATO fordi der ikke var opbakning til korstoget? Det var blevet total enegang, hvis materiale som det her var kommet ud før krigens start.
Aung San Soo Kiy er blevet fængslet for at være et offer for et indbrud. Jep, en amerikaner brød ind i hendes hus, og da hun ikke må have gæster er hun nu blevet fængslet for indbruddet. Det er ægte diktaturlogik. Lidt ligesom at få dødsdømte til selv at betale for henrettelsen.
Jeg betragter det som en anledning til at linke til protestudgaven af Mandalay.
Berlingerens erhvervstillæg kører hvert år en aktiekonkurrence, en sofaliga for aktieinvestering. Det er et godt sted at lære præcis de forkerte vaner, hvis man gerne vil investere. Vinderen af konkurrencen vil nemlig altid være den spade, der har taget den allerstørste risiko, men bare været heldig med det, i konkurrencens korte løbetid. Det er ikke så mærkeligt at årets vinder ikke bare bruger pokersprog, men også meddeler at det der gjorde forskellen var at han satsede hele butikken. Det gjorde rigtig mange af taberne givetvis også.
Konkurrencen præmierer altså lige præcis det forkerte, nemlig "Fuck det, vi kører"-tænkning, der virker for vinderen (for ellers havde han jo ikke vundet), men altså ikke i virkeligheden har noget som helst med energi, mod eller talent at gøre. Det er svineheld - som man bagefter i hovedet kan konstruere som egen dygtighed.
Desværre er det professionelle marked for investering lige så dårligt tankemæssigt funderet. Det er altid absolut gevinst, der fremhæves - ikke gevinst sat i forhold til risiko. Og forbandelsen er at den "succes" avler mere succes - pengene bliver flyttet over i de af de mest risikable investeringsforeninger etc., der i seneste runde havde mest held i lotto.
Det er ikke nogen hjælp her at se på "track record" over 2-3-5 år, det er stadig alt for kort tid, som vi kan lære af den cyklicitet vi nu oplever den dårlige side af.
SF har fået den fuldstændig vanvittige idé her i 2009 at foreslå ØD igen. Økonomisk Demokrati, hvor virksomhedernes ansatte bestemmer over (dele af) overskuddet, er taget lige ud af den dybrøde sangbog om hvordan nogle af borgerne er kapitalistsvin, mens nogle andre ikke er. Sangen lægger op til den implicitte påstand at de rige svin er et marginalt problem vi har og at de snylter på de mange.
Udover at man kan mene, politisk, at de rige svin er frie mennesker, der selv skal have lov til at bestemme over deres penge, ligesom arbejderne, og mene, økonomisk, at det ville være en national katastrofe at afskaffe almindelige menneskers ambition om en dag at kunne kalde sig rige svin, så er der også det demokratiske problem med forslaget at rigtig mange af de ansatte, hvis de gerne vil se et rigt svin bare skal kigge sig selv i spejlet.
Ansatte medejer deres arbejdspladser som aldrig før, enten direkte, via medarbejderaktier (jeg har aldrig arbejdet et sted hvor jeg ikke, via min ansættelse, blev medejer af virksomheden, hvor medarbejderne udgjorde en betydelig del af ejermassen) eller via den enorme opsparing i pensionskasserne.
For nogen år siden kunne man i forbindelse med en overenskomstforhandling høre en fagforeningsmad fra det daværende SiD, idag 3F, kombinere klassisk arbejderretorik og ordet "kapitalpension" uden at grine. Når arbejdskampen handler om kapitalpensioner, så er der kun rige svin tilbage.
En forlængst optaget video fra mit besøg hos min bror og hans familie i Bamako, Mali omkring jul/nytår. Det er min bror man kan høre fortælle om trafikken i Bamako mens vi kører. Jeg synes selv det superspraglede virvar har stor charme og er meget fremmedartet.
Der må findes omkring ved 5000 tusind blogposts om det her, men nu sad vi lige og snakkede om det over middag i torsdags, så derfor:
I den gamle 13-skala er der 3 point fra dumpekarakter til gennemsnit (8), men 5 fra gennemsnit til topkarakteren. I den nye 12-skala er der 7 point fra dumpet til gennemsnit (7), men 5 fra gennemsnit til topkarakteren. Man har altså flyttet karakterskalaens kernesatsning, der hvor indsats giver pote, væk fra "opnå det fremragende" til "opnå det middelmådige".
Specialisering straffes af samme grund også hårdt med den nye skala. Hvis man har fremragende karakterer i 1 eller to fag, men ser stort på de andre, får man idag mindre udbytte end før. Som eksempel: To topkarakterer og 3 kun beståede fag ville i gamle dage placere en studerende lige over middel (8.4). I dag giver samme resultat en score klart under middel (6).
Udbalancerer den gennemsnitssøgende skala bare den øgede mængde af tilbud om specialisering? Gymnasieskolen, f.eks. har mere valgfrihed end da jeg gik i den, og prisen er så at man ikke må sjofle de fag man ikke selv opprioriterer?
Eller er 12-skalaen simpelthen en nedprioritering af karaktersystemet som redskab - det er ikke det eleverne skal bruge energien på, når først bundniveauet er forsvaret.
[Teknisk slutnote: I og med at hele studenterpopulationen stadig proppes ind på en akse, og får pladser efter den relative placering, ikke karakterernes absolutte værdi, så er det lidt svært at sige hvad forandringen betyder for rekrutteringen til videregående uddannelser baseret på karaktersnit, men ombytningen af den stærkt specialiserede og den gennemført middelmådige elev i eksemplet ovenfor ændrer sføli indiskutabelt i rangordningen.]
Konklusionen på blogdødsposten for neden nåede ikke rigtig frem. Blogs er ikke døde, nogen af dem er, og så tror jeg mediet er blevet konsolideret - DIY-blogging er ikke hvad det har været, men i de mere beskyttede avisdrevne miljøer skriver de lystigt; jeg ku stadig godt tænke mig at se overskrifts nyeste graf om spørgsmålet, renset for døde blogs - for kurven tager et knæk i 2008 og renset for blogdød ku det job betyde alt muligt, jeg tror en høj migration til Facebook o.l.
Videre til pointen: Blogging så anderledes ud nede på bunden af skråningen, da det var nyt; ingen konsolidering havde fundet sted, ingen indflydelsesstruktur udover den, der var ved at etablere sig der. Sådan er der på skråninger. Jeg kan personligt bedst lide det sådan, men vækst skal der jo omvendt til, det er der dynamikken kommer fra, så det er en umulig situation.
Det er derfor der er sjovt på Twitter ca nu, måske endda mere for kort tid siden, for det er et andet sted man kan gentage legen. Konsolideringen har sat ind - "store medier" på twitter er "har en million followers" og Twitter markedsfører dem; marketingspammen er ved at blive dansk.
Men sådan er det selvfølgelig med skråninger. De bliver ikke ved med at være der hvis man går op ad dem.
(meninger om beslægtede spørgsmål hos Tveskov)
Industriel produktion er ved at blive social - jo mere social produktion bliver, jo flere sociale værktøjer får vi til at producere med.
Monome er en populær minimalistisk digital kontroldims til musikere og andre kreative mennesker. Eller, populær er måske så meget sagt, for den er kun lavet i et par meget små oplag - at producere storvolumen elektronik er dyrt og risikabelt. Til gengæld er det den eneste måde at lave elektronik billigt på, så man er lidt fanget i en "sjældent eller risikabelt" fælde. Man kan enten tabe penge, eller arbejde meget dyrere.
Sådan har det ihvertfald været indtil for ikke så lang tid siden, men regnestykket er ved at gå i opløsning. Monomes delvise løsning på problemet - at montage kun kan bestilles i volumen, hvis det skal laves af kinesere - er at sælge Monome som kits, i løsdele. Der er simpelthen nok mennesker, der kan samle selv, til at det giver en vis spredning.
Næste problem for den potentielle Monomekunde: Selv kitsene har der været underforsyning af.
Her kommer næste udvikling på banen, nemlig den stigende talentmasse for bare at gøre det selv. Folk er begyndt at tage deres arduinoboards og designe interface kits til dem, så de kan bygge deres egne Monomes op på Arduinoplatformen. Her stiger vanskeligedstærsklen ganske vist betragteligt - man skal fremstille et printkort, der kan bruges i sit designprogram, finde nogen til at lave det, og så skal man håbe på at det design man havde lavet ikke havde fejl, så kortet brænder sammen når man tester det.
På flickr var der en der gjorde lige netop det for Monome, uploadede et billede af printkortet, og startede en indsamling for at få produceret et batch - billigere i mængder, som sagt. Tom Armitage kalde det for fanufacture, når fans af noget fysisk overskrider tærsklen til produktion.
Den form for interesse er ved at gro sociale værktøjer til produktion frem. Fra Holland har vi i et stykke tid haft Shapeways, der printer ting i 3D - altså også din nydesignede Monomekasse. Shapeways har en social struktur - man kan dele sine objekter, så andre kan få dem trykt også. Nu har hobbyprintkortproducenten BatchPCB introduceret den samme sociale deling af printkort, der faktisk kan bruges. Så printkortdesign er nu blevet en social færdighed, hvor det før ikke rigtig havde noget socialt aspekt - undtagen i særtilfælde som med Ardinomen.
Det er vigtigt, for hverken 3D modellering eller printkortdesign er trivielt. Bare forskellen på 3D, som du gerne vil kigge på, og 3D, som du gerne vil holde i hånden, er stor (det sidste er vanskeligere).
Der mangler stadig en del - montage og lodning er ikke trivielt - men det er dog færdigheder, man langt nemmere kan lære end hele kæden fra idé til produkt.
Dagens læsematerialer bestod af lange tekster fundet på internettet. Først og mest er Lester Bangs portræt af Brian Eno (fundet via Bruce Sterling) essentiel læsning om Enos kreative proces, og da navnlig vurderet i begyndelsen af 80erne, hvor den ser lidt mærkelig ud med idags øjne, men dens intense oprigtighed, og mødet mellem kortformatets energi og 70ernes vilje til bare at lade den køre er fantastisk. Hvis bare aviserne var skrevet sådan, så var de slet ikke i krise (hvis altså folk som mig er nok).
Teksten er næsten ulæselig som præsenteret, men du kan sakse den herfra istedet. (Tryk "edit" for at få fat i det hele).
Næste punkt: Når huse koster 500kr så har man råd til at gå drastisk til værks med indretningen. Den dybe boligkrise i byer som Detroit giver også plads til udvikling.
Men mulighederne for at købe billigt giver også andre, mere deprimerende muligheder, som en hurtig recessionsniveau gentagelse af subprimeskandalen.
Hvorfor går flere af de mange penge, der bliver pøset på verdensøkonomierne ikke til investering i nye virksomheder og ny teknologi - i fremtiden kort sagt?
Reid Hoffman har en række USA-specifikke forslagi den retning, men Mike Masnick på TechDirt har fat i den lange ende, vil jeg tro, når han forklarer hvorfor det ikke går sådan:
Here's a problem with the global warming campaign I can't get out of my head.
Let's assume the dark outlook is right. Let's assume we act on it. Let's assume we stop the growth in energy expenditure per capita - maybe even cut it in half.
That's all fine - but the world's population is growing, so we're going to end up at the energy usage levels we dread; it's
just not going to be reached at 7 billion people but at 10 or 14 billion people.
So we're going to run into global warming-type problems in the end anyway. Will it really matter to the coastal populations of the world whether their homes are flooded because of 10 billion other people and not 7?
I doubt that very much.
Unless of course we can stop population growth. What is the only* known cure against insane population growth: Wealth. The richest countries consistently have the lovest population growth. Who uses the most energy? The richest. Of course there's the related problem that we can't invest in making the poor rich and childless if we're investing all our money in climate change.
This is kind of a Malthusian counterpoint to the Pascal climate wager people are throwing around. Using Pascal's Wager** - as in that pretty stupid video - strikes me as a criticism of the climate movement, not a recommendation. Especially in the light of the complete absence of demographic concerns in the debate.
* (OK, there's two: Untreated disease (e.g. AIDS) is the other)
** Imagine the horrible consequences if you don't believe in God and he does exist. It's safer to believe to avoid the risk.
Nick Denton, udgiver af Gawker, planlægger ud fra denne der-er-langt-til-bunden analyse af medieannoncemarkedet i 2009 og frem.
Gad vide hvor mange danske avisudgivere der deler det sortsyn? Gad vide hvor mange af dem, der har læst (og facttjekket) Dentons analyse?
Man fornemmer den frydefulde skam det har været for Politiken at kunne lave deres udgave af dagens Jesus-hader-os historie. Jesus er ikke vred, han er skuffet. Som så ofte før er det et ordvalg der ikke er dækning for i originalmaterialet, der forresten ikke er nyt, men fra valgkampen, fra en af den slags alenlange lister med holdninger alle kandidater laver i den forbindelse. Der er kort sagt ingen historie, selv om alle aviserne bringer den, og i nutid, som om det var rigtig eftervalgs-politik.
Det er hårdt at være overpumpet islandsk bobledetailhandelsopkøb i Danmark her i efteråret. Sterling og Merlin er gået. Hvornår går Magasin?
Den giver sig selv : Kombiner gårsdagens falske Bush-attentat med "gammel nyhed om United Airlines kommer på forsiden af Google News og kursen mister 75% af sin værdi"-historien og igen med denne uges turbulens på børsmarkedet. Det burde være den ultimative teknologiparanoiathriller.
The Google News/United Airlines sell off sounds more and more like an easily doable, virtually anonymous way to make a lot of money. If all it takes to promote an enormous drop in a highly liquid stock is a large number of clicks on an article in a regional newspaper's website, then the information ecosystem around the stock market is just too porous and dispersed for anyone to effectively control.
One wonders if the original website clicker later bought United stock.
Fremragende blogpost af Peter Wivel, der får sat den planlagte forskruede menneskerettighedskonference, der vil forsøge at skubbe blasfemi ind i FNs menneskerettigheder, ind i det helt store perspektiv. Konferencens ledes af verdens slyngelstater, en række nationer der rutinemæssige svigter de menneskerettigheder vi havde i forvejen og altså derfor har brug for nogen nye.
Den nutidspolitiske ramme er enkel og uhyggelig nok, men det Peter Wivel skal have tak for er hans udpegning af at den vestlige kulturs to væsentligste grundpiller - Den klassiske græske tanke, herunder demokratiet, og kristendommen - har rod i to berømte blasfemisager, med de henrettede som de sejrende tænkere, henholdsvis Sokrates i Athen og Jesus i Jerusalem.
Det er da er perspektiv på en skala man kan forstå og med en alvor der giver mening.
The slow ongoing dissolution of the soul - a topic near and dear to classy.dk as part of our ongoing Hypercomplex Society coverage - was the subject of this Tom Wolfe essay some 11 years ago. The title of the essay, repurposed by The Guardian to describe more posthuman thinking by Francis Fukuyama six years ago.
There are plenty of non-nightmare futures where the dissolve remains the case.
Hvis man skal forstå det nyvedtagne forbud mod højhuse i middelalderbyen som et potentielt OK udenfor, så er jeg helt med på den - det ville virke mærkeligt med et højhus på Gråbrødre Torv f.eks.
Mere problematisk er den lille kokette bue som middelalderbyen iflg Borgerrepræsentationen tager rundt om Tivoli. Historisk noget vrøvl og bevaringsmæssigt rent bullshit. Det lugter af en direkte politisk huskekage til Tivoli og altså af at loven ikke er lige for alle, hvad angår byggetilladelser.
Very nice idea, a WiFi telescope, spatially resolving available wifi, so you can see where on the horizon the Wifi is, and whether it is open or not.
Virkelighedsfornemmelsen er helt ude at svømme i et svar på tiltale fra Dagen doku producer Lars Seidelin. Han er ude af stand til at erkende en forskel på f.eks. EBs for tiden rullende pædofili-agentvirksomhed og hans egen opfundne TV-virkelighed.
Det er rigtigt at journalisterne i begge tilfælde har skabt nyhederne, men i EB tilfældet har journalisterne skabt nyheder der er faktiske nyheder. Det er ikke fiktion at en række mænd har bidt på krogen. I Dagen-doku tilfældet lyves der for seerne.
Man skal nok ikke arbejde med aktualitetsstof hvis man ikke ved at journalistikkens sandhedsbud omhandler relationen mellem journalist og seer, og ikke nogen af de andre relationer journalisten har med hvem det nu er. Tværtimod kunne man sige. Hvis journalistikken f.eks. formes af et loyalitetsforhold til en bestemt politiker, så laver man jo en slags undladelelsesløgn over for læser/seeren.
Hvis ikke man har hørt det endnu så skylder man sig selv at høre det lange og gode indslag om Yossi Vardi og den israelsk teknologi-sektor i fredagens udgave af harddisken. Yossi Vardi var en af pengemændene bag ICQ i sin tid, og bruger stadig sin energi på at hjælpe nye bikse igang og netværke på fuld tid. Det kan man måske også finde herhjemme, men der er et schwung over Vardis måde at gøre det på, der er mere sjældent. Jeg kan ikke lige komme i tanke om en dansk angel investor, der holder et årligt hackathon med gæster fra hele kloden for at netværke med og inspirere hinanden.
I indslaget hører man også en kort lydbid med en af de iværksættere Vardi backer, og hans kombination af selvdrift, nationalfølelse og udsyn er også imponerende. Parafraseret siger han noget med: "Vi er et lille land, så vi er nødt til at være internationale. Så vi starter virksomheder, for gør vi det ikke overlever landet ikke".
Holy Cow, den amerikanske vækst i sidste kvartal var 0.6% annualiseret, og ifølge den linkede artikel var den kun positiv fordi virksomhederne ikke har opdaget hvor slemt det står til og derfor opbygger øgede varelagre, af varer de ikke kan afsætte.
Det er en vaskeægte krise.
Time has a proud history of naming people of questionable qualities man of the year but still it is somewhat disheartening (and laughable) that the magazine has carefully cleaned up the title to "person of the year" - while keeping to the tradition of awarding the title to non-democrats on the eve of their grandest moment of evil.
In other news: The Russian saber rattling, bombers violating the air space of Russia's westernized neighbors, has become almost routine in Scandinavia.
Super slidesæt om venture kapitalisters syn på fremtiden. De tror allesamen det kommer til at gå skidt og at miljøteknologi bliver vildt overvurderet næste år. De regner også allesammen med at investere i det og tjene en ordentlig bunke på det. Og så er slidesene super bisnæsblå.
OK, so the study is paid for by fair users, but still: A study shows that fair use provisions in copyright adds more to the american economy than the copyright industries owning the fairly used material.
Arguments from this could be made in various directions :"See, you're already benefiting enormously from fair use, is it really fair that you should be making most of the money from our material" could work as well as the prima facie conclusion that free culture is Good.
But everybody should know the value of fair use. Nobody has made more money from public domain culture than...Disney (think Little Mermaid, Snow White, Cinderella, Robin Hood - the list goes on) and now they would very much like to be the last company to be able to do this. That any politician considers this reasonable boggles the mind.
Holdaop, Eben Moglen er godt nok muggen her. Det er velstuderet materiale, men Moglens belærende og nedladende tone virker til tider mere optaget af at være vred end af at finde frem til noget nyt eller faktisk diskutere nogetsomhelst.
Og det er synd for Eben Moglens sag, for de ting han siger bl.a. om de indbyggede konflikter i forskellige naturlige rettigheder med fri software, er et mere imødekommende forsvar værd.
Det er klart at der er intern magtpolitik i Naser Khaders afradikalisering, men er meldingen om et nyt parti måske også et udtryk for en radikal fejlberegning omkring den meget diskuterede kreative klasse? Ligesom socialdemokratiet har et klassedelingsproblem - som forhindrer det folkelige udbetalingssocialdemokrati fra at mødes med det ufolkelige socialreformssocialdemokrati, så har de radikale måske et folkeskolelærerproblem - nogen traditioner der er mere sociale end de er liberale, og i sin grundindstilling konservative på samme måde som arbejdsklassesocialdemokratiet heller ikke er meget for, eller har let ved at forstå, forandringer.
Jeg synes det er let at få det indtryk at det var den kontante kampagne, der vandt valget, men den bløde politik, der driver hverdagen, og at det er blevet et problem at det er sådan.
(Kedelig internetbonustanke: Det her er den første partidannelse med solide politiske varemærker i front siden nætted for alvor er blevet til noget. Selvfølgelig er websiden oppe. Gad vide hvad der ellers skal ske i den retning)
((dobbelt internetbonus: Hvor finder man den mest absurde politisk-coke-sniffende overreaktion på dagens nyhed: Hos David Trads, naturligvis))
Vonage starts smelling funny because of the Verizon patent issue. Once again a software patent that serves that just hinders innovation instead of supporting it.
What a jackass - turning European anti-trust investigations into a nationalist problem. Monopolies, like that enjoyed by Microsoft, do not foster innovation. That should be abundantly clear from Microsoft's own track record. Still milking the same two old monopolies (Windows and Office), failing to change any of these products in any significant way. Fighting against open standards every step of the way. Also, Armey is a little late to the "We hate Old Europe"-attack isn't he? CNET has a bad history of running this kind of pro-monopoly puff. They were fightfing for monopoly lock in on the net nutrality issue also.
Komplekst men informativt billede af verdens energiproduktion og energiforbrug. Grafen ovenfor er et stykke fra forholdene i Danmark - hvor vind faktisk producerer langt højere procentdel af forbruget af strøm end angivet her. Særlig tankevækkende er de 50% af forbruget der går tabt uden anvendelse - hovedsagelig som varme spildt hvor vi ikke har nogen anvendelse for den (bilmotorer og el-ledninger).
(som man kan se, flere guldkorn fra de utallige videnskabsblogs jeg er begyndt at læse)
* (...bla bla ironic you would post a link to Google in a post about Google's bad moves bla bla bla ...)
I once had a cellmate in federal lockup who was convinced the government, with the help of university scientists, had planted a microchip in his brain.Who gets to say lines like that and actually mean it? Kevin Poulsen does - former black hat hacker turned pretty good journalist. Highly readable piece.
The way Flickr is handling the unhappiness with the switchover to Yahoo accounts - a Flickr employee will be personally discounting unhappy pro users who would rather quit than switch, because the legal implications of the corporate entity Flickr giving money to customers are too expensive to figure out* - reminds me of this story on a Sun hardware donation remarkable because of the sound bite: "No offense, but the legal cost of any more 'terms' than above exceeds our cost of the hardware." and, if only slightly, of the recent proceed and permit letter from Linden Labs to spoof site get a first life. Distrust (and the papertrail that follows in its wake) is just waaaay to expensive to work in the long run. Even further away but still related, the recent spate of completely ridiculous paranoia. Distrust is very expensive.
At the personal level, can I get a show of hands: How many of you at one time or another purchased stuff your company needed to procure so you could do the job and never asked for money back? Simply because the bitching with procurement just wasn't worth your time? I know I have many, many times.
* Note: I realize there's a distrust angle to this too, if you're a well trained cynic: It's just a sinister to ploy to limit the refund, because people will respond kindly and not ask for their money back when it comes out of the pocket of a nice personal person - but I'm going with trust on this one, personally.
Bonus link: Photo uploaded by the flickr outrage discount person while all the hating is going on.
Bonus link II: Witness the psychological mechanisms that spin into action because there's a person in the process.
Of course there could be real trouble. You can never know. But personally I consider this video a theater of fear. If the guy staging the whole thing was an artist he should win awards.
A man does something strange, spilling a substance on a subway station. And not just any substance, a brilliant MacGuffin - mercury. The paranoia quickly kicks in and is very rich and complete.
"This could be a dry run for a terrorist attack" is the lead off, but we soon get truly paranoid responses like "There's no good reason to bring mercury onto a subway platform" (as if we need one to do anything). The man ("white or middle eastern", of course) is wanted for "questioning for an unexplained activity in connection with a possible act of terror". (I sure hope I'll never have to explain my activities. it would make sense to want him for scaring people and disturbing traffic first). The TV-heads agree that "it's a good thing we have those cameras in there so we can get an idea of what's going on" (nothing really happened) but still "all these security systems are really starting to pay off" and the conclusion: "Are we being too careful? Experts say there's no such thing" (of course there is).
There's something wrong with how society mimics our own neural danger response. Society doesn't have a good mechanism to get rid of the fear again. No dreams, or forgetful filter to keep us sane. On the contrary, there's all kinds of subsystems of the hive mind with a strong interest in keeping the fear going.
Thomas Barnett calls the ongoing clash between Israel and Hisbollah a war instigated by Iran by proxy (Hisbollah) to defuse western intrest in Irans nuclear build up (or just general military build up). Barnett seems to dislike the current neocon government, but he comes from the same school of politics where recognizable players of a strategy game are moving recognizable pieces, strategic resources around on a global scale. Classic superpower thinking, only redone with a view towards the postwar scenarios. I liked one of his assertions elsewhere: There's just no way an increasingly connected 3 billion plus world of unwarring capitalists (remember India and China in this group) will continue to accept the Middle Eastern disarray for this entire century, so sooner or later the Middle East will change.
In other news from this kind of practical power politics there's a discussion on whether assymmetric warfara aka 4th generation warfare aka 4GW can win. The idea is that terrorists eem to be retargetting from symbolic warfare to effective warfare by hitting transportation infrastructure in urban centers instead of symbolic targets (which - even if the horror that resulted was truly horrific - the WTC bombings were). The argument continues that if terrorist can succesfully make urban concentration untenable by increasing the cost of urbanization (a terrorism tax), complex societies that rely on urban centers to achieve high economic output will suffer the most. I find it implausible that these complex societies wouldn't just turn up the complexity in response: e.g. move to wireless to have less communication infrastructure to hit and move to local power generation to have less power grid to hit. Interestingly the kind of challenges available for terrorists to exert are already exerted at a lesser scale by the market: Monopolies threaten the efficiency of network and WiMax grows to balance them out. The California energy crisis of the Enron years provoked an enormous interest in alternate means of power generation.
Isn't the best economic threat available to islamic terrorists extremely high oil prices? Won't the world will survive that too?
I don't know if this San Francisco adbusting poster has got anything to do with saturday's DRM protests in the Apple Store here, but at least it's topical.
Paramount permits Trek-related fan projects, as long as the creators don't profit from them.From this Wired story on Star Trek New Voyages. You may laugh at the trekkies, and you may find the result of their efforts somewhere between horrible and ridiculous (I personally think it looks like some of the between-sex-shots action from the porn in Boogie Nights), but the freedom to interact with the Star Trek universe that trekkies have had over the years should just be the default for everybody.
Lovely story on a ridiculous class action lawsuit against Netflix for not honoring obviously bogus marketing nonsense. The suit has been settled with the following consequences.
Of course all the poor Netflix subscribers unwittingly included in the legal threat to scare the money out of Netflix in the first place get nothing at all - except an invitation to be at the receiving end of a Netflix upsale opportunity.
A while back I mentioned the ridiculous notion of 'the analog hole' - which is the "priacy problem" of reality it self. Sooner or later music and video passes through the ether towards our sensory inputs and along that route it can be intercepted and pirated. We all know this and it is why DRM will never work. However, ridiculous legislation is being proposed (not yet here in Europe, but that can only be a timing issue) to stop even this.
Idiots. Bloody dangerous idiots.
TiVO's now delete programs someone for some reason don't want you to have. Expect embarrasing news footage of politicians favoured by TV networks to suddenly disappear even though you stored them for posterity.
In other news, Websense, one of the many companies exploiting the mandatory categorizes boring thoroughly unexplicit weblogs as 'sex'.
These stories are examples of the exact same thing: Once you start limiting free speech and once you start censoring under any disguise, you're censoring and limiting free speech. Period. Your intentions do not matter. Semantic drift will make them meaningless soon anyway. Someone will come up with some language that 'justifies' what ever it is they are trying to justify.
So, everybody's up on the Kanye West incident, a TV ad lib wherein West says that George Bush doesn't care about black people - with reference to the delayed help (and presidential appearance) to the Katrina disaster area.
At least now we know who his mother cares about: Barbara Bush is on tape saying that since most of the evacuees were underprivileged anyway, being a hurricane evacuee without a home, having suffered several days without food or water, possibly missing some of your relatives, sitting in a gigantic shelter with other people also deprived of everything, is actually a good deal.
And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them.
New Orleans ain't so pretty right now:
Even as stopping the looting became a top priority, Tenet HealthCare Corp. asked authorities late Wednesday to help evacuate a fully functioning hospital in Gretna after a supply truck carrying food, water and medical supplies was held up at gunpoint.
I've written before about the bogosity of the currently accepted practise of computing loss to piracy as "total store price of total number of downloaded songs/films". Kottke sums up the bogosity in a brilliant footnote:
 Well, [Sony's loss is] $10.50 if you live in Manhattan. If you live in rural Wisconsin, you're only cheating Sony out of $8.00 or so. Well, until the movie comes out on pay-per-view and it costs $3.95. But then when the DVD comes out, Sony's loss will shoot back to $26.99. Twelve months after the DVD release, when Bewitched is available in a value two-pack with Anchorman, Sony will only be losing $6. Whew, must be hard to keep all those losses straight.
The disinformation in calling your latest DRM handicapping of content PlaysForSure.
MP3's also play for sure - without the handicap.
Co-opting good language to do bad is right at the top of the list of the reasons to hate big brands.
(The rape of public space with uniform, heavy handed corporate identity advertising is a close second)
Excellent terrorism notes. I like the title phrase on its own. I think it also speaks to some of the reasons software isn't always made usable. Developers admiring their problem. Admiration is harder to shed than just "problem solving mode".
Martha Stewart is set to do her own version of Donald Trump reality show "The Apprentice" but says she finds the signature "You're fired!" line 'harsh'.
"We are trying to come up with other ways to say it," she says. "For instance, if someone is from Idaho, I could say, `You're back in Boise for apple-picking time.'"
But it is also the wave of the future. This is the Big Mother one could worry we're currently heading for. Non-authoritarian totalitarianism.
[Update: It's No on patents. The directive has been thrown out by the Parliament]
[Update II: And it's London!]
Today is the day that the EU parlament votes on software patents as well as the day the IOC votes on the location of the 2012 Olympic Games.
My votes would be "No" (if possible, if not "Rocard") and "London".
So "small is the new big" we're told. That means it's probably time to read or reread Joel Spolsky's excellent comparison of two kinds of company - organic growth vs. forced growth you could call it.
It's no surprise that for the Web 2.0 wave, most of the companies we hear of are organic growth in some respect. It is only rarely visible for these companies that they have indeed broken free and created a 'space' all their own to dominate - for the web at large the 800 pound gorillas already roam the jungle.
Maybe the article would be better by acknowledging some successful transitions from organic to forced (the other way I think is close to impossible with anything like the original idea of the company intact). Google is, I think, an example. I think you could argue that Google started out organic, even launched product (in beta) in organic fashion, and only later switched the commercial engine of adwords into full growth gear.
Interessante tal om mængden af ansøgninger per land til Google Summer of Code. Både i absolutte tal og per capita rater Danmark virkelig elendigt. Vi er det lavest ratede land i Norden.
De højrratede lande er alle sultne østeuropæiske lande efterfulgt af de kendte tekniklande incl. hele skandinavien, men ekslusiv Danmark. Muligvis er den virkelige grund det kedelige fact at Danmark er et rigtigt Microsoft-land.
Good post by Don Park on an web-based witch hunt for a girl who acted bad in public:
Among the comments to the Korean news story I linked to above was this:
"Thanks to technology, we are able to build a better society in which citizens are the police, prosecutors, and judges."
This problem will visit us rest of us with more immediacy in the near future.
I think it is reason enough to disallow software patents that the system is so extremely abusable and that the incentive to abuse the system is extremely high. The abuse: Throwing the book at the patent office. A massive landgrab in ideaspace. There's just no chance that patent offices anywhere will be able to properly evaluate all patent claims and momentum being what it is patents will most likely be awarded not discarded by default in lieu of a proper examination.
A good case in point is the XML serialization patent story - patent flip-flopping software behemoth Microsoft has done the equivalent of patenting the wheel in patenting, successfully, XML serialization of objects.
Not only is there plenty of prior art that will eventually lead to the patent being discarded, but at a deeper level, that's pretty much what XML is from a certain point of view.
The morale of the story is obvious: It doesn't really matter that the patent will hopefully be discarded at some point, the friction it has already created wil slow evolution of software. Absolutely no invention of anything was protected by the grant of this patent.
If it doesn't work all the time it just doesn't work: This week I was on a business trip to Romania and when I got home I found out that I had inadvertently made the entire trip carrying my swiss army knife. I have walked through 4 metal detectors without anyone noticing. At one of the detectors there was a huge container filled with all kinds of scissors and nail files that people forgot to take out of their hand luggage - but my knife has been with me in cabin luggage on all flights.
Control mechanisms are always abused when civil rights guards go out the window: What on earth does bittorrent have to do with Homeland Security? If this press report is correct that they were in fact involved, there are two possible explanations for the use of Homeland Security staff in taking down bittorrent trackers. Either "Homeland Security" is just a marketing exercise - and these are simply law enforcement professionals doing what they've been doing since before 911, or - the more chilling interpretation: Homeland Security is growing into a Ministerium für Staatssicherheit. Very 1984.
[UPDATE: Maybe the real story can be inferred from this report. Somethign along the lines of "We've built better surveilllance technology as part of the security effort and now we might as well use it for other purposes as well"]
The copyfight goes even more Orwellian: Microsoft wants to spread the meme that "intellectual property theft" is done by Thought Thieves. Glad you unintentionally brought up 1984, Bill - but you might want to read up on ThoughtCrime before you apply it to defend a policy that tries to limit what people can freely say.
In Shakespeare's play The Tempest Prospero, the main character, plots to hinder the union of Ferdinand and Prospero's daughter Miranda, not out of spite but because
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning
Make the prize light.
A lot of stuff gets done in a particular way on that motivation. It certainly happens in software.
The NY Times carries a story on the pompous, self righteous jerk who gloatingly takes credit for Microsoft's backing down from supporting an anti-discrimination bill.
He sounds like a completely horrible person and a perfect example of all that is wrong with conservative "god fearing" christianity, wielding his faith like a blunt weapon in a crusade that sounds more like it's about furthering himself than his faith.
If you can stomach the high density of numbers, here is solid evidence why Labour is absolutely certain to win the election in the form of Gordon Brown's budget presentation a 45 minute barrage of Labour policy performance. Numbers heavy, serious, strong political rhetoric with tremendous power.
[UPDATE: It just occured to me, that people might msiread my use of this quotation to equate nazi germany with modern day America. That is absolutely not the intention. We wouldn't have freedom in Europe without America. End of story. What I am saying is that systems of control tend to get out of hand, and that this observation applies in a broader context]
Everybody knows the famous "In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. [...] Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me." quote from Martin Niemöller. If you were thinking the american borders were only closed to arabs and people named David Nelson, think again. An english speaking Canadian blogger, Jeremy Wright, was recently turned back at the border - after being detained and strip searched. The reason for all this: Wright stating "blogger" as profession, and being somewhat snippy when asked questions. And here I thought Canadians and Americans crossed the border as freely as I go to Sweden. What's extra sad is that Wright has pulled his post on the matter, since he can't risk not being able to enter ever again.
Great blog post by Joe Kraus on how The Long Tail applies to software.
Ideas (music, search, books, films, software) are network phenomena, and the "natural" supply and demand laws for ideas should therefore be expected to follow network laws. The world wide web (and the presence of good long tail advertising models) reduces the friction in the model, making it feasible to market to the far end of the tail.
Patents increase the friction again, pulling us back into a mass market model for software. Good for the mass marketer, but bad for everone else: The market as a whole decreases in volume. And demand at the far end of the tail is not met by supply. This is yet another reason why the "patents increase innovation" argument is wrong. Not only does the continuous recycling of ideas that technology innovation relies on not take place, but entire microscopic markets for software aren't adressed by vendors.
This notion, that small aggressive competitors reach out to markets incumbents cannot ever hope to address is also completely consistent with the finding of "The Innovators Dilemma".
The soundbite is
If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.Link.
The memo is interesting besides the mention of patents. In 1991 Microsoft did not yet totally dominate desktop software. Much of the memo is taken up by discussion of the various kinds of infighting among the big software vendors - the relationship to IBM, Adobe's superiority in printing (this was back when printing was a difficulty) and so on. One of the worries back then was patents. Microsoft didn't own the desktop space yet, so the Microsoft outlook on patents was patents as threat not patents as opportunity. Now obviously the roles are reversed as is Microsoft's position on patents. No surprises there and one of the reasons to be wary of software patents.
In 1991 BillG recommended this memo on the particular problems for patents related to software.
Some of the problems listed are historical artifacts (e.g. poor patent database search facilities), but some still apply. I stress the objection related to the innovative proces described by Clayton Christensen. It's given a slightly different spin here:
In Software, Independent Reinvention Is Commonplace
A patent is an absolute monopoly; everyone is forbidden to use the patented process, even those who reinvent it independently. This policy implicitly assumes that inventions are rare and precious, since only in those circumstances is it beneficial.
The field of software is one of constant reinvention; as some people say, programmers throw away more "inventions" each week than other people develop in a year. And the comparative ease of designing large software systems makes it easy for many people to do work in the field. A programmer solves many problems in developing each program. These solutions are likely to be reinvented frequently as other programmers tackle similar problems.
The prevalence of independent reinvention negates the usual purpose of patents. Patents are intended to encourage inventions and, above all, the disclosure of inventions. If a technique will be reinvented frequently, there is no need to encourage more people to invent it; since some of the developers will choose to publish it (if publication is merited), there is no point in encouraging a particular inventor to publish it--not at the cost of inhibiting use of the technique.
[UPDATE: This story is now reported to be bogus (links in Danish)]
No, its not about pending litigation - but according to Danish news broadcasts today (and apparantly tomorrows edition of Danish newspaper Børsen) Microsoft openly threatened to close down Microsoft Business Solutions development departments in Denmark, if the EU does not adopt the planned, but controversial, software patents directive. This is pure extortion. According to the news story, the Danish government plans to give in to this blatant politicising by Microsoft. Sickening if true (FFII has another Danish angle).
We may have to rely on Dutch democracy instead of our own.
Remember to just say no to software patents.
Please note that the current fight within the EU system between the council and the parliament is not even about adopting a software patent system, but only about stopping the kinds of ridiculous bland "no invention" patents that block invention instead of creating it. Details in the different wordings here.
Google receives patent on highlighting search results. Sounds evil to me. Not what we're taught to expect by Google marketing. I hate Google bashing personally, too many are doing it too badly, but this should at least be watched for abuse.
On the other hand, these guys have a more relaxed attitude towards evil, while these guys can't seem to make up their mind.
It would seem Bill Gates thinks so. Completely oblivious to the very serious discussion on the serious impact on free speech commercial censorship via copyright control is having, Bill Gates calls anyone opposed to heavyhanded DRM 'communists'. I'm sure he also thinks all Europeans are communists, if for no other reason then for maintaining anti-trust lawsuits against Microsoft.
Sounds like he's ready to run for office as yet another republican scaremonger next to Arnold 'Girlie Men' Schwarzenegger and Dick 'why don't you go F*** yourself' Cheney and let's not forget FCC chairmain Michael 'Wardrobe Incident' Powell.
[UPDATE, cognitive typo fixed]
In offline comments it was suggested that the actions of the FCC (introduction of broad censorship including crackdowns on Howard Stern and others on the pretense of the superbowl 'wardrobe incident') were not on the same scale as these other attacks on basic freedoms. I think it is just as bad. Free speech is also for swearing assholes, furthermore, the lines between form and content are blurry. Form, including obscenities, occasionally speaks volumes. One person's moral complaints is another person's political message.
Turns out there's no need for me to keep a compendium of ridiculous lawsuits. It's already done excellentely at Overlawyered.
Its mainly about the American legal system, but the current most recent story is actually about the chilling effects of anti-terror legislation in the UK. In this case a man being randomly searched, then randomly arrested for having a swiss army knife in his briefcase. Random searches in a western democracy in peace time - that's just great. 1984 really is not very far off. It was presented to the arrested man as "a training exercise", but here was no exercise about his subsequent arrest.
I thought the ones I mentioned recently were good, but this lawsuit beats them all: Restaurant chain Benihana is being sued for their responsibility in the death of one Jerry Colaitis. He died because of an infection that contracted after surgery he had to correct previous surgery that he had to correct a dislocation of two of the vertebrae in his neck. He allegedly dislocated his neck, because a chef at a Benihana restaurant threw a piece of shrimp at him, so now the family is, obviously, suing the restaurant.
It's almost like a childrens rhyme:
This is the ambulance chaser,
who chased the ambulance,
that carried the man,
that carried the infection,
that was contracted during surgery,
that was to correct surgery,
that was to correct a dislocation of the neck,
that swerved to avoid the shrimp,
that was thrown by the chef,
that works at the restaurant,
that is owned by Benihana Inc.
Greek lawyers are considering suing Colin Farrell for depicting Alexander The Great as bisexual. Have they found a guy in Alexanders direct bloodline who could legitimately claim to have any recourse to sue. Are they counting on nationalist sentiment to allow this obviously bogus lawsuit to go forward anyway?
A porn company sues Google for indexing websites pirating their material. A classic "They have money, we should sue" case. I can't wait for the defamation cases coming from Bill Gates. Oh wait. He has money too, so that lawsuit is unlikely.
A must read open letter to the Devil Dogs of the 3.1 - by the reporter holding the camera in Falluja that taped a marine shooting, what seemed to be an unarmed non-aggresive wounded man. As usual the story is a lot more complicated than what gets reported on TV.
Jon Udell points to an excellent infographic from The New York Times (I can't find it there though)
It combines margin of victory (width of columns), electoral collage vote results (each block a state, height indicates number of votes), and shifts in victory (darker colours) for American presidential elections from 1940 to 2000. Blue means democrat and red republican as usual. Udell combined the different images into a Flash movie. Living history.
Kerry is behind Bush in Ohio but the numbers are improving. From 89% counted to 93& counted, Kerry outscored Bush by 1.8 to 1. If that keeps up for the remainder of the vote count Kerry wins Ohio.
Fox almost called it, Drudge called it, but it could still change if Kerry can maintain this kind of margin.
[UPDATE: Those are no longer the last 3% - Bush rebuilding lead now]
A Green vote of 6%? That sounds absolutely strange. Let's hope this is just a fluke and not a case of badly designed ballots and/or left wing idiocy.
[UPDATE: At 6% the votes for David Keith Cobb are gone again]
[UPDATE: Credit where it's due: It seems the fears reported below have not been realized.]
There will be republicans at all Ohio polling places to challenge voters (i.e. intimidate them) after all.
If Ohio goes to Bush and if that determines the election then we now have the 'hanging chad' of 2004 - and it was discovered before the election, but still allowed to go forward.
Turns out electoral-vote.com is the brain child of Andrew Tanenbaum, of Minix and textbook fame and "Linux vs. Minix"-flame notoriety. I'm sure this information has been in plain sight all the time, but I didn't notice until I saw the fact on Tim Bray's weblog.
A collection of news clips and film clips. A reaction to the infamous swiftboat veterans for truth, and a pro-Kerry entry at the end of the American presidential election campaign. I dislike the inclusion of 9/11 - arguably some of the most over the top propagande of the election - but this TV-clip (Quicktime) from the floor of the House of Representatives is power rhetoric.
Excellent: Creative Commons has defined licenses specifically for sampling of music, legalizing mash-ups. Name brand artists are currently promoting the license on a Wired sponsored CD
Another of the Pop!Tech talks at the amazing ITConversations website is Thomas Barnett's presentation on American security policy in a globalized world. The most interesting thing about this presentation is that you can hear the no nonsense tough talk delivery one assumes is required in a military environment.
For his actual message on new international strategies go to his website.
This lack of proportion in the Cornyn-Feinstein anti-piracy bill - and the fact that it still was passed through the Senate - boggles the mind. Five years in prison for filming in a movie theater? This is a copyright war nuclear weapon that just got fired. But of course it was already fired months ago, only in California. While not quite as bad as the proposals to make it legal for record and movie companies to hack back vigilante style, it's pretty bad as it is.
Meanwhile were still waiting for reasonable computations of "losses" in the file sharing lawsuits.
[Sidenote II: Among other things, the law is making this artists work illegal. Demonstrating that there are fair uses of the kind of action this is outlawing. A clear indication something is wrong]
This is just Sad news. A mindnumbingly simple political quiz was given to a lot of people and viewers of Jon Stewart's Daily Show news satire came out on top.
Good job for Stewart - although you would obviously have to be interested in these things to even consider watching his show, which gives some bias.
I think it's more sad that people on average scored only less than 50% correct on a really simple test (If you can figure out who favours tax cuts, who favours gun control, and who favours labor unions you're well on your way to acing the test).
An overlooked point from the much talked about long tail feature in the most recent edition of Wired is that it is in fact only Amazon that makes more money from "not in physical stores" inventory. But the good question is whether Amazon in fact created that phenomenon by aggresively pursuing a big catalog.
As far as I know Amazon publishes quite simply everything available in print in English. Even a lot of stuff not in print is available second hand through Amazon's interface. In contrast, the Netflix 25000 film catalog is only 8 times that of a typical Blockbuster according to the article; where Amazon has 18 times the catalog of a typical Barnes & Noble. Is Netflix offering everything that is available at 25000? That seems like a low number (Hitchcock made 50 films, do you mean to tell me there's only 500 times as many in total?).
Same thing with Rhapsody's 735000 song catalog. At at 19 multiplier against Wal-Mart they seem to have a lot, but is Wal-Mart who you want to compare yourself to in music retail? I doubt very much that 735000 songs is really a very full catalog. I have about 1000 albums on tape, disc and vinyl, so my collection is maybe on the order of 10000 songs. I would expect even a half way decent record shop to have at least ten times that number, possibly more, and someone offering a full catalog to have several million tracks, just in popular music (The Rolling Stones catalog is over 300 songs. Do you mean to tell me there's only 2000 times as much music as that put out by The Stones?).
Isn't Rhapsody and Netflix in fact failing right now at capitalizing on the law of the long tail?
It seems the mind is almost incapable of "getting" power laws. In the context of the fat tails of financial markets, Nassim Taleb makes this point. In the context of weblogs Clay Shirky does. And in the context of ecommerce it's made (in a roundabout way) in a a feature in the current issue of Wired.
[UPDATE: Good commentary (but in danish) by Henrik Føhns.]
Greed got in the way of good manners, when the original developer for The .NET port of the Lucene indexer pulled the original sourceforge project, and started marketing his open source software as a closed source commercial product!
It's one thing if he had actually come up with an independent idea and just regretted his open source licence, but he's just ripping off the (free) work of others. What an asshole. He even had the poor taste of leaving advertising for his commercial rip off at the original sourceforge project page (Google Lucene.Net - I'm not going to add Google juice). Thankfully this didn't go down quietly - the open source project is back as another sourceforge project in less greedy hands.
Upstreaming apparently means moving up the food chain. Make yourself more valuable, specialize even further. Extend. Grow. It's not quite the same thing as an old school career track - it's more like a creative world analogou of old school career planning.
TiVohas agreed to media use restrictions dictated by broadcasters. So don't but that TiVo yet. The notion that I would want broadcasters to control my use of a device I specifically purchased to take personal control of when and how I consume broadcast media is absurd.
Thank god for the DIY or no-brand Taiwanese/Chinese alternatives to this kind of commercial control.
Max Ochoa, associate general counsel of San Jose-based TiVo, said consumers won't be ambushed by the copy restrictions.
Predictably, Fahrenheit 9/11 has taken a lot of fire because it is partisan propaganda. Michael Moore is being described as a money grabbing, left wing liar. I don't like propaganda in any way shape or form, so while I think George W. Bush is the worst president in my lifetime (possibly more corrupt than the other candidate Nixon, certainly more incompetent) I'm not particularly happy that the fight against Bush has to be fought like this. I'm happy we don't have completely frivolous political messages dominating elections in Denmark.
Still, when you look at a backlash like this and compare F9/11 to some of the political advertising that is allowed to air, Moore is a model for balanced, politically centered messages. Lisa Rein points to the story of how an attack ad, calling John Kerry's decorated Vietnam history bogus is basically complete fiction by a right wing group. The ad shows testimonials by people who say they served with Kerry and that his war record wasn't that great after all, but on closer inspection it turns out that none of the people really did serve with Kerry at all. The story was debunked on The Daily Show. Rein has the clip.
Obviously Bush has deniability wrt. to this group; he didn't instruct them to lie, but the lie serves his purpose so its not like he's complaining either. In another clip, linked to here, Bill Clinton relates the story of how the same group called white voters during the 2000 republican primaries to let people know that John McCain had a black child. The idea was to appeal to the inner racist of the voters of course, but it just turns your stomach that this kind of thing is allowed to go on. And btw. that black child was a girl adopted from Bangladesh, so not that it matters, but they even got their racial stereotypes wrong.
Michael Moores propaganda is pretty harsh, but I think it is pretty consistent that the outright lies and the pure hate ads are all right wing. Why would any reasonable person vote for a party that, if not exactly condones, then half silently accepts the benefits of this kind of shameful campaigning.
If it's true that Apple is considering suing RealNetworks for making an iPod compatible online music service as reported here then I'm so not getting an iPod. It's ironic and disheartening that the open source dependent, monopoly squeezed PC maker Apple is using this kind of heavyhanded IP-rights tactic in the digital player market.
A producer of a sunday comics section carried by some 38 newspapers suggesting they agree to drop Doonesbury "because of the many complaints" (one assumes from irate dittoheads). Enough did that Dooensbury got dropped. This kind of commercial censorship is becoming more and more common as the poltical climate gets increasingly polarized. In other news: Governor Schwarzenegger will not apologize for calling democrats girlie men.
What the hell is happening.
The main interest in the 9/11 commision report (downloads here) is whether or not it will help John Kerry beat Bush in the upcoming elections, but it's no wonder that CNN isn't leading with the political story but with the real life drama of the passengers who fought back.
It's a dramatic story and shows what an absolute nightmare september 11 was on board that plane. Once the passengers attacked the hijackers, the hijackers started to roll the plane first and when that proved inefficent abruptly diving and climbing. The cabin must have been a complete mess. Furthermore - the pilots actually received a warning before the hijackers attacked the cockpit, it was just such an unexpected warning that the pilots asked for confirmation. A lot could have been different with locked, steel reinforced cockpit doors and with the warning being taken seriously. But at the time, the content of the warning was just too unimaginable to be accepted at face value without double checking.
What is a little harder to estimate is the political dynamite. Danish newspapers carried a list of some 10 early indications that something was afoot where the same names cropped up again and again, but I have to say that I believe very much that this is one of thoses cases with 20/20 hindsight. I have no idea how many names and people the CIA, FBI, and NSA combined are trying to keep taps on, but it must be thousands.
It's no simple task to make sure that all the information about any specific person or name gets collated and accumulated in one place, and once it does you have to recognize what level of threat there is.
Secondly, let's assume the engineering effort of large scale monitoring of intelligence targets can be solved, then there is the matter of public oversight. It's not a very pleasing alternative to have >100K staff controlloing the whereabouts of millions of people on a daily basis. There has to be balance as well.
Microsoft plans to pay out $75 Billion to shareholders over a 4 year period in the form of dividends and stock buy backs. That is a staggering amount of money for one company to sit on. Its comparable to the entire public sector budget of Denmark for a year. While Denmark is a small country, it is also a rich country and we have an enormous public sector.
To get another, non-inflation adjusted, perspective on that figure: The Marshall Plan paid out $15 Billion to resurrect Europe after the damages of WW2.
15 $Billion is also approximately the US foreign aid budget by the way, and speaking of aid - Bill Gates has announced that his portion of the dividend payouts, some $3 Billion, will go into his foundation.
Order an ACLU Pizza for that Total Information Awareness experience (turn on your speakers).
a) Tim O'Reilly's data collection experience:
Heck, just recently, I was shopping in Bath, England, and made a large purchase in an antiquarian bookshop. Fifteen minutes later, I was four buildings down the street in a second bookshop, tried to make another purchase, and had my card rejected. Meanwhile, back in California, my wife was receiving a call, wondering if the card had been stolen. "Why would someone halfway around the world be spending so much on books?" they wanted to know.
Good find by David Weinberger - a new CMP magazine called Managing Offshore devoted entirely to speeding along your outsourcing and/or offshoring to India and other places.
With product news of new contractors for call centers, software development or business processing as well as helpful tips on multicultural management, legal problems of accountability and security and also we learn some good biz speak, namely "captive operations", meaning those you have to actually run yourself and cannot or will not outsource. As one of Weinberger's commenters points out:
Ah, pleased to know I'm known in the trade as a captive worker because I work directly for my employer... I'd only just recently got used to being referred to as "a resource" rather than "a person".
...they will stoop to to fence culture with copyrights. Latest reminder of this sad fact is a new bill being proposed that tries to characterize P2P software makers (and presumably streaming media player makers by extension) as child abusers. No, it's not a joke. Here's how it works:
The bill is called the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act and it is backed by some choice guilt by association rhetoric:
“It is illegal and immoral to induce or encourage children to commit crimes,” said Hatch.
“Tragically, some corporations now seem to think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal,” said Hatch. “Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises of ‘free music.’”
Have these people got no shame. This is almost as crazy as the an eye for an eye, a hack for a hack bill of yesteryear.
How about an "Inducing Acceleration of Obesity Act" to sue McDonald's now you're at it. Oh wait, I forgot that somebody already did that. Let's hope Hatch's insane legislation meets the same destiny as at least some of these lawsuits.
A few weeks ago Cory Doctorow spoke at Microsoft about DRM (full talk here) and recently David Weinberger did too, although he was asked there for different reasons. I like the following answer to a question on what's wrong with digital rights management and aggresvie use based copyright control:
When it comes to creative works, we are not "consumers," and we are not users. Rather we appropriate creative works, that is, we make them our own. We apply them to our own context. We get them somewhat right or entirely wrong. They become part of us. That's how how we learn and how culture changes. But that means that creators should lose control of their works as quickly as possible. [...] A pay-per-use system and allowing artists to control their works much past launching them into the world will kill culture. Further, since publishing creates the public [a point I'd made earlier], building an infrastructure designed to allow that type of control will damage the new public of the Web as well as cripple culture. It's a really really really bad idea, so don't do it.
Amen to both points (the one of co-creation and the one on the public). In fact I made the exact same point almost exactly 2 years ago:
[T]he act of comprehension of any text or other intellectual content, is in fact a long running, never ending and many faceted process. In the simplest form [of DRM/use based licensing], you would skirt an issue such as this, and go with something simple like "hours of direct personal exposure to content via some digital device". That works for simple kinds of use [listening to a record], but not for complicated use [e.g. software]. And is should be clear from endless "fair use" discussions that content owners are very aware of the presence of ideas made available in their content in later acts of expression.
A wild farfetched guess would be that as we digitize our personal space more and more, expression will be carried to a greater and greater extent over digital devices, so that the act of thought is actually external, published and visible (witness the weblog phenomenon). In such a world, the notion that reference is use becomes quite oppresive.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Dennis Hastert made the following wonderful blunder of a remark:
It's extremely difficult to govern when you control all three branches of government
Perhaps Hastert or his spokesperson needs to read op on their Montesquieu and the importance for democracy of the Separation of Powers. The complete lack of basic respect for democracy of the current American government is one of those problems that keeps one up sleepless. Please, Americans, vote for Kerry, not Bush.
CNN is not having one of their proudest moments on what must be a rather slow newsday apparently.
Among their top stories today you will find:
Not exactly world stopping stuff.
The following story seems bonafide, although given the content one has to be on the lookout for any manipulation: Some ingenious deciphering is going on of a photo of handwritten talking points for George W. Bush from a cabinet meeting. The notes on the other hand are less than ingenious, being the same key points hammered upon on every occasion, still without any depth of argument.
Not that we didn't know from "The West Wing", but the talking order of press reporters after a meeting is no conincidence either. Bush has a list of reporters to allow questions from in the order in which they are to be prompted to ask.
It's easy to joke about the simplicity of the messages but on the other hand if one has ever worked in any kind of organization trying to maintain a long term goal in spite of endliss lists of little problems one will recognize the importance of returning to the original message all the time.
(via netSummary (in Danish))
One of the most admirable qualities of the USA and its tremendous military force is that there is not a trace of doubt that the US military is under firm democratic control. The army acts because it is asked to act by elected officials. There simply is no history to back any suspicion that it should be any other way. This is an essential difference between America and any other major aggresive military power the world has known in the last couple of decades.
On the other hand this indicates quite clearly to me that is Ricardo Sanchez approved the use of turture at Abu Ghraib, as reported by The Washington Post, he was told to do so by somebody even higher up in the Bush administration even if there is no paper trail (yet).
[UPDATE: The y stayed with the IETF]
I simply don't get how a situation like the Atom standardization stalemate (original info linked here) is at all possible. While it sounds reasonable enough to debate whether a body of standards will be consistent if developed by different standards bodies, the current situation sounds too much like organizational turf war to me. In fact it sounds like corporate infighting, only the actors are standards bodies (one or more of the organizations might object to this term, being usually applied to expensive government run organizations).
What makes it absurd is the simple fact that the people seeking to standardize Atom have expressed no desire to work with the W3C. For all I care they could start up the Atom Standardization Organization, I am - and I think most everybody else is as well - mostly interested in seeing the actual specs solidify to everybodys satisfaction. I don't see how the W3C is really helping that at the moment, and I don't see why they would want to hinder that process.
The most important argument seems to be that the W3C has a better process for dealing with IP rights issues. The right way is to waive any rights on the work done of course but at the current medieval stage in the history of ideas - where knowlegde may be forbidden as it was in the dark ages - that seems out the question maybe.
Network associates gets a patent on bayesian spam filters. Of course the patent filing is newer than Paul Grahams famous A Plan for Spam article which of course is not a reference in the patent filing.
This is the worst news in the spamwar in ages.
Here's a brilliant example of too slick corporate communication:
The website of the Coca-Cola company states in a FAQ entry that "cocaine has never been an added ingredient for Coca-Cola". While that's technically true Coke did contain cocaine originally because it was a natural part of the coca leaf extract used to make Coca-Cola. It wasn't added it was already there.
Snopes has the story. The cocaine was only present in small amounts, but it was there. The amount of coca extract present in Coca-Cola was cut back in 1891 only a few years after the product was first invented, but trace amounts of cocaine remained until it was completely eliminated in 1929.
Hidden in this Rushkoff rant on the closing of America the permanent loss of liberty and values due to an opportunistic government without any hint of a basic respect for liberty of anybody of a differing opinion (see below for details) is a great term that I will immediately start using, instead of the tired terms flack, pr-person, spin doctor, etc. he simply calls the prefessionals of the rhetoric business influence professionals. That has just the right bland yet ominous connotations it needs to have to describe the sad state of politics and other systems of influence.
As an example I still can't understand at all how Scoble sleeps at night. Having an organisation that is conversationally open is good. Working for that organisation and using, seemingly without any reservations, your own personal identity to market the organization is not.
Here's a partial shortlist of suspecious looking actions or rhetoric by the current administration and its cronies. What's interesting about the list is how total it is. It's not just anti-terrorism. It's everything.
Approx 1 hour ago the EU grew by more than 10% population wise as 10 new countries entered the EU. The majority of the new EUropeans are Polish. The EU zone now holds a staggering 450 million people who speak more than 20 different languages. Eastern Europe is "The India of Western Europe" - low wage, high education, understandable culture, good language skills. The fear Americans have this season of outsourcing to India is mirrored in Denmark and elsewhere by fear of an invasion of Polish workers undercutting the standard of living in Denmark.
Here at classy.dk we welcome our new relatives - this extension of the EU is the final nail in the coffin of the protectionist fears that were the sole weapon of the left wing anti-EU oposition through the 90s. There's a nationalist right wing opposition also - but that's another matter.
Following up on the not-funny-at-all Onion story on the holocaust, here's Arnold Distlers account of escaping a nazi forced labor camp in Poland and hiding out in an underground bunker in a nearby forest.
Via his son, Jacques Distler's weblog.
American military sources are confident in their military control of Iraq but unsure about the political future as reported in the NYTimes referenced on defencetech:
"We can beat these guys, and we're proving our resolve," one officer tells the paper. "But unless the political side keeps up, we'll have to do it again after July 1 and maybe in September and again next year and again and again."
Reports are coming in that the Bush administration will no longer protect homosexuals from discrimination in the workplace (getting fired). This right after watching a heated and interesting debat over whether (lack of) democracy in and of itself would have been a sufficient reason to fight the war in Iraq.
Like David Weinberger (from whom I stole the link) I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the details. But the story that offices within the Bush Administration is looking into the Legal Interpretation of Discrimination Statutes is correct.
How is it possible, even thinkable, that Bill Clinton's unwillingness to answer completely unjustified questions about his sexlife (yes I know he was giving testimoy at the time) can cause him years of political trouble, turning him into a lame duck president for a considerable time, whereas a consistent rhetoric of lies from all senior members of George Bush's staff for over a year only threatens to cost Bush the election. I realize George Lakoff has an explanation but I still can't comprehend how half a nation could be so happy to close its eyes on so obvious, consistent and wide ranging deception.
There is no scale to lies apparently. The importance of the lie does not scale with the consequences of it.
At the same time these people are quickly stealing free speech - no courts involved - Doc Searls follows this scandal closely and eloquently.
The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is in charge of an enormous cross ministerial effort to define a coherent plan for digitizing the rather large Danish public sector. This is the true definition of programming in the large: thousands and thousands of jobs are being redefined as part of this effort since a digitized public sector is a chenged public sector. Obviously no central office could possibly hope to design the entire framework for this kind of system with any level of detail but nonetheless the strategy is being defined and documents on it have been published.
The top down focus is wisely on document standards, security standards and openness (as in the ability to review public data on yourself). The large consultancies must be salivating.
I realize my track record is less than perfect - I like conspiracy theories only a little less than the next guy - but isn't guilt by association a particularly right wing tactic these days. Obviously in the 70s everybody was throwing guilt around like it was in infinite supply but these days all the major guilt trips are orchestrated by conservative forces. Let's (partially) list some popular guilt by association tactics:
Iraq ~ Islam ~ Terrorism ~ 911
Howard Stern ~ Breasts ~ Nipples ~ Janet Jackson ~ "Is the entire family sexually depraved?"
Gay married couple - Homosexual couple - Sexually depraved - Unamerican
Open Source ~ Noncommercial ~ Socialist ~ Unamerican ~ Unconstitutional
File Sharing ~ Noncommercial ~ Unamerican
VOIP ~ Noncommercial ~ Unamerican
Europe ~ Unamerican
- the list goes on and includes some cloudy argument why basic human rights do not apply to Taliba soldies imprisoned at Guantanamo by the american military.
All of the above are examples of something linked to pure evil by association. In the topmost case there is actual evil also - but that does not make the guilt by association strategy politcally defensible.
Maybe its just the American bias of the internet but I find that all of these issues - many of which are really American interior politics - are increasingly important for Europeans as well because they are so clearly attempts at turning all politics into values, and because the goverment of the world's only superpower is willing to act on and support any of these cases with complete disregard for whether these shallow arguments will prove viable in the long term. In all of the above cases the value based attack on the opposition are simply performed to get something done today with complete disregard for how that may be written up in future history books. One has to assume the republican administration is betting that the victor will get to write those history books.
What are the European equivalents? For IP rights we have the exact same issues, but for most of the other issues we have nothing on the same scale going on. I think it is safe to say that pan-europaeism is the reason for that: Through the EU systems the various European governments are under the scrutiny of the the other governments and the EU itself is under the scrutiny by all the governments. That makes for indecisive government with unclear democratic autority at its worst but it also makes for very public disagreements and therefore a very strong indirect public control.
Eric S. Raymond has published a leaked SCO memo describing a recent investment in SCO as hidden Microsoft funding of the Linux IP rights lawsuit. The memo has been confirmed as authentic according to ESR's website - but obviously SCO's people are nuw busy disputing the accuracy of the information despite acknowledging the memo. It seems entrely implausible that a discussion as given in the letter - a consultant argues over what fee he should earn for bringing in the Microsoft money - would go on at all if nobody at SCO thinks this is the service the consultant has provided.
This is just appalling if true. A 100 mio$ exercise in abusing the legal system with bogus lawsuits against the opposition. In fact this is so bad that I'm surprised SCO and MS is not controlling this in a different way through the argument along the lines of "We at MS share the belief held by SCO that open source is a threat to the American way of life so we're offering our economic assistance to beleaguered SCO so they can fight the unamerican, property invading behemoth that is IBM". We've certainly heard a lot about those teenage commie Chinese renegade, open source slackers/hackers you're entrusting your vital business information to when you use open source software.
(Coverage of the whole story in Wired)
[UPDATE (The Register also comments wrapping up some dissenting commentary indicating that the plot involving Microsoft simply does not add up]
[UPDATE II: MS actively denies these rumours]
The SCO protection racket to force companies to pay a license fee for Linux has been accelerated as the first lawsuits against Linux-users (not distributors) got filed.
Meanwhile SCO has made no progress in making their complaint against IBM seem reasonable. In fact, in an extremely boring article on Groklaw a guy named Warren Toomey chronicles the history of a few of the files SCO claims has been copied verbatim to ther real roots. The probable root turns out to be Minix header files. Linux famously based Linux on Minix and got into a much celebrated flamewar with Minix creator Andy Tanenbaum on the relative merits of the two operating systems. Even more damaging to the SCO case is Toomey's documentation that copying from the UNIX source files in question was widespread as early as 1978 making the notion that IBM recently and illegally contributed the contents to Linux seem even more bogus.
The EFF's campaign for radio style licensing terms for file sharing continoues. The EFF proposes a license form where a collection agency charges a resonable use-based for music (or other copyrighted) file sharing and in return file sharers get freedom to download and share without risk of litigation.
Perhaps we should simply start a collection in escrow and then see if we can find a record company to take the bait, err.. money.
Here's a new conspiracy theory for you:
American 20$ bills now contain RFID tags. The site sourcing the story triggers all conspiracy theory alerts and the exploive evidence given for the presence of the Radio Frequency Identifier is apparently phony: There's a metal strip in the 20$ bill approximately at the explosion point [According to the accompanying slashdot thread this may not even be true - I really wouldn't know - it's been a while since I had a 20$ bill in my possession being a Dane, living in Europe and all]
BUT, the government is considering the idea.
I am still unsure as to whether RFID tags are produced completely unique or just unique per product, but as far as I can recall theres a 96 bit identifier space so completely unique tags are certainly possible in theory. That of course means that all 20$ bills would then be "marked bills" traceable forever. Bad news for bank robbers - and for the first unsuspecting perfectly lawabiding citizen tracked for no reason through this new tracking mechanism.
The American Bar Association is pro-monopoly it would seem, since they have appointed Microsoft associate general counsel Richard J. Wallis chairman of an antitrust panel. Nonsurprisingly the panel is organizing opposition to aggresive enforcement of antitrust law.
Via Tim O'Reilly
Now SCO is claiming that it is difficult for them to find out what exactly is contained in an open source operating system. Fortunately nobody found that easy to believe.
Obviously the proposal wont fly now it it's a news story, but that doesn't make the proposal to ban "evolution" from school books in Georgia because of pressure from creationist idiots any less of a landmark. "It fits into a pattern" of right wing backlashes against sanity.
If you're in the United States as a non U.S. Citizen you no longer have any human rights.
Bruce Schneier, as always, has the right take on this. Total control does not prevent serious crime it's just a slippery slope away from democracy and freedom.
The Bush administration has got to go. This is getting scarier and scarier. It is extremely disconcerting to have an ally that at the same time is run by protectionist, closed mind, right wing assholes and want international backing to support its policies. There's just no way these two sentiments add up.
Clay Shirky comments on the remarkable quick decline in popularity of the Dean campaign in the primaries. His asks the interesting question whether the intensity of the believers in the highly praised Digital Dean Campaign actually turned non-believers off Dean. There's that, and then there's the framing phenomenon I wrote of earlier.
Was Howard Dean the victim, and John Kerry the beneficiary, of the phenomenon of psychological framing as explained in this product pricing example?
In a political context the framing would go like this: Through his early lead and absurd amounts of press coverage of Deans "acerbic" rhetoric, Dean has established a boundary of the reasonable that makes Kerry's Bush bashing seem like solid middle ground? If that is the case then Dean should be commended for moving the middle ground off the usual "We all cut taxes and we all support the troops, believe in god and stay silent on abortien" middle ground driven by the christian right in another fine exercise of psychological framing.
[UPDATE] - I think this was Kevin Werbach's point also.
The darkness of the copyright wars gets deeper:
Starting Jan. 1, toting a camcorder into a movie theater will be a crime in California. Under the law, moviegoers who see a person with a camcorder in a theater may make a citizen's arrest. Those convicted could spend a maximum of a year in jail and be fined up to $2,500.
That innovation is a great destructor of value is nothing new. The telegraph was famously obsoleted by telephones and railways (at least for personal transport) by cars and planes. By not adapting their products to new technology the movie and music industries are building another exampe of this. It is not a given, nor should be a requirement, that new technology supports old businessmodels. Television makes an interesting example: Suppose media owners of the time had tried a use based pricing scheme. Broadcast television made use based pricing unmanageble and use based rights regulation unenforceable. Insted the advertising model was invented, and that model was a perfect match for broadcast television. Televison was not built on the businessmodel of cinema or live performance and it would have been a complete failure if it had. The fact that the new businessmodel has been such a success may lead one to forget that television did destroy a lot of businesses, namely movie theaters. I'm sure one can find complaints from disgruntled theater owners at the time, that television was killing their industry, that sound almost similar to the current complaints about internet based media devices.
Note how the telecom regulation story and the Sims Online story provide nice counterpoint to one another. One suggests we need government because even without governemt there will be power, and it is better to have power of the people, for the people, by the people. The other story however indicates that the power that will be is the problem in and of itself, whether it is corporate power og government power. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Publicized in many places, a judge has ordered SCO to turn over the code they claim IBM has violated rights to, as reported on CNET. What I hadn't seen was that SCO has actually produced the documentation on 1 million sheets of paper in a ridiculous delaying tactic. If you needed convincing that SCO is only in this game to extract money by strong arming nervous linux users, this ought to do it.
As pointed out by one commenter on Dan Gillmor's blog IBM resorted to the same tactics back in 1975, producing a staggering 41 linear feet of documents. By my count the SCO source should take up considerably more space than that (closer to 300 linear feet of paper)
Some notes on JOHO the Blog concerning the regulation of Voice over IP, as telephony is set to disappear completely as an independent infrastructure. Kevin Werbach is absolutely right in saying:
...the real issue is the transformation from the Internet as a subset of telecom to telecom as a subset of the Internet. That means treating voice as an application that can run on any platform, not as the platform itself. The regulatory status of VOIP is just the tip of the iceberg.
Obviously my media selection is biased. But I can't seem to recall a similar depth and breadth of criticism being waged on the current Bush's father when he was president as one can find now. It's not just micropublishing:
Al Gore goes left by endorsing Howard Dean in the primaries.
A presidential race with a non-apologetic democrat, proud of democratic values would be at least be interesting if not close. What's also interesting is whether or not (i think it was) Stewart Brand's prediction that the discontent with the current political climate is deep enough that the presidential election will be won by the "I'm not G.W. Bush" candiate will hold true. If anybody needs it, it's probably Dean.
It is a rather natural conclusion: As the tech sector's GDP share of economic activity approaches a "soft limit" (the only known hard limit is 100%), the growth in the tech sector will start to slow to a level comparable to general levels of growth. Technology of course induces growth in other sectors but not as much growth as technology has been able to create for itself, so the final result is a long term irreversible slowdown in the tech sector. This seems to have been a dominant meme of 2003.
Carly Fiorina commented on that at the beginning of this interview (streaming video) and in other media. Before they closed down The Red Herring carried this piece on Moore's law and how the economics of the law may start to slow down the technological promise of the law.
[UPDATE] It seems there may even be visible technical barriers to Moore's Law.
How on earth can a voting machine manufacturer think it is acceptable to be a strong supporter of a political party. The CEO of much criticized voting machine manufacturer Diebold plants foot in mouth.
Be insanely afraid.
Like I said just a little while ago, blacklist are evil no matter what reason you had for having them. Here's a case in point: Censorware generally censors blogs. That's a lot to miss to stay porn free. In fact I think you could argue that censoring technology this broad shouldn't even be legal - certainly not for any public system. That smacks a little too much of government censorship to be acceptable. Of course the tendency is to go the other way - since public systems (e.g. school computer rooms) need to fight complaint from a varied group of conservatives and the generally anxious.
The DMCA is not the only law put forward recently that is too broad and is being misused because of that. John Allen Muhammad 'The Washington Sniper' has been found guilty of 'terrorism'. While his crime was terrible and he did, in a broad sense, terrorize the public, I think terrorism has to be understood as something saner (hence more dangerous), more organized and more 'intentful'. A lone gunman is hardly ever a terrorist, and to qualify he would have to fit into a broader picture of threats than this outrageous series of murders.
Muhammad may end up being convicted of the crimes feared while he was still on the loose (namely organized domestic terrorism) instead of the crimes he committed (a series of meaningless murders).
I still hope that we will one day remember the last few years as "The Prohibition". This time it is ideas and knowledge sharing that is outlawed and not alcolhol - which of course makes this prohibition a lot nastier than the last one. But there are so many similarities. The law is patently absurd (pun intended) completely out of step with reality and everybody is violating the law all the time.
Here's a round up of reasons the DMCA should be repealed
I must not be reading my newspapers properly, because I missed the story of Donald Rumsfeld's leaked memo of doubt. Good coverage here. I remember exactly one TV debate where somebody admitted doubt as to what was the right thing to do aginst the threat of militant islam, but that was just a Danish media pundit, and it was pre-Iraq. It's long gone now. So it is refreshing to see any kind of doubt or questioning of standard operating procedure - even if the thinking is mainly about how to organize the military and not whether to organize the military. Of course hardliners do have point in that you cannot really succeed through diplomacy against terrorism. Who do you talk to?
The DMCA (and supposedly its European equivalent) is a living nightmare. While they apparantly thought better of it, a company with a deeply flawed copy protection product was considering legal action against a report proving how inept their technology was, instead of doing something worthwhile like fixing or pulling the product, as reported by Dan Gillmor. It is hard to come up with a better fictional example why the DMCA (and European equivalents) should be repealed.
Imagine if DMCA-like powers were given to pharmaceitical companies. They would then have actual legal power to discourage research on the effectiveness of their medicine. Does that really sound like a good idea to you? Do you consider recording companies more or less important to society than pharmaceutical companies? Wouldn't you expect the more important property to be better protected that the less important? So what's the conclusion: Blanket licences to produce snake oil, or an end to the DMCA? It is completely absurd that democracies are enforcing more and more legislation like the DMCA. It is in the direct counter-interest of the people, i.e us.
The question of the title is a remark by Esther Dyson in an interview at Foo Camp. To understand the question: There's a lot of talk about new reputation based networks, socalled social software, that is supposed to help us establish the various layers of acquiantance in virtual space, that we are accustomed to in our own physical space. Everybody is saying that social software will provide a new coherence to the digital lifestyle - and tons of money for the new top brands in this new software category. Dyson's answer to the question is 'no'. The reasoning, which I think is correct, is that governments work from some basic fairness principle that assume the initial anonymity and innocense of the citizens. This is firmly embedded in (western) ideas of a fair society. Social networks in general and reputation networks in particular apply the direct opposite logic. Youi have to prove yourself to enter into the network.
In my opinion, Dyson's point is exactly why ideas of minimal government are bad ideas. You have to give people a fighting chance and that requires a certain openness of society. It's one thing to have a legal system that is based on these fairness principles, but freedom means very little if welfare and opportunities for a livelihood and education aren't available to citizens in general.
It is important to note though, that in practice governments often run lots of reputation networks, and civil society provide plenty of fair and open opportunities (e.g. free markets), which is why the politics of equality always has to remain a fight. No institution can provide fairness and equality by it's existence alone.
Ideas are malleable and may be transformed into almost anything when seen in the proper light. That's why, when intellectual property rights advocates argue for copyright extensions, they think of their intellectual property as property: Even though they have been selling it to customers for years it is still their property. When they think of copyright violations the situation is reversed: Even though they still have the use of their material, they argue that you've stolen it from them. The metaphor of ownership and property simply doesn't work very well for ideas.
In general I think IP rights owners are in favour of use based pricing (material is provided on a time limited rental basis), whereas consumer advocates favour a notion of transfer of ownership via some 'physical act'. A token of ownership - either a unique physical copy of the material, or maybe a transfer of some unique digital token - gives you unlimited usage rights for the file. The reasoning behind the two positions is easily understood: For rights owners use based pricing preserves control of the copyrighted material, and adds repeated revenue from later reuse of the material. For consumer advocates transfer of a physical token of ownership does the exact opposite.
When evaluating the RIAA lawsuit campaign (Previous mentions here and here) I think it is actually in the consumer interest to turn the tables and argue for use based pricing when figuring out a reasonable settlement amount.
Lets suppose the entire revenue of the music industry came from use based pricing, and lets just suppose that the growth streak of the '90s had continued so that annual revenue of shipments when sold at suggested retail price was $20 billion (actual figure for 2002 is $12.6 billion down from a record high of $14.6 billion in 1999). That's $100 per adult american. Lets figure in a very uneven distribution of use, and only count the americans between 15 and 35 as music consumers.That's on the order of 75 mio people so we say $260 per consumer instead. That's like buying a CD or two every month - not too unreasonable an assumption. So if the way we paid for music was by use, a reasonable assumption on the loss of income from one consumer spending absolutely no money on music would be in the range of $250, say $1000 at the very high end of consumption. Instead we're hearing about $12000 settlements. The unsurprising conclusion: The settling file sharers are being railroaded.
Has anybody argued for a use based settlement point of view in court? If so, what happened? If it failed, why?
This, inspired by a longish post by David Weinberger covering Larry Lessig's pro-freedom copyright talk at Pop!Tech. As usual it is really good stuff. It is a blessing that someone keeps saying these completely obvious things about copyright and the way it is enforced today.
An alarming graph:
Created from numbers in a report on public knowledge of Iraq involvement with terrorist activity. The report uses the term 'misperception of Iraq' - a politically charged term - so one has to be careful in reviewing these findings: The questions asked are available and they seem reasonable as do the classification into right or wrong for the answers. On the other hand the graph above indicates an incorrect answer on any of the questions on Iraq that were asked, and that clearly increases the numbers, which may or may not be politically motivated. The variation in knowledge among viewers of the different networks is scary no matter how they scored the quiz though.
Link via isen.blog.
A short, well concerted and well funded media campaign by a wealthy and popular media person was all it took to make Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California. While fixed four year terms for governors are not a natural law or essential for the democratic process, some degree of consistency is. As some commentators say; now that the recall has been established as doable (its been tried 32 times in California after various elections) one has to expect more aggresive attempts to repeat the success in the future which will take away time and energy from real politics. The only good news - and some will argue it is enough good news, is that election turnout was high and the position of voters clear on both recall and preferred candidate. But there is no way to know if Schwarzenegger could have put together support like this in a regular election - the drama of the campaign goes well with his character. Nor is there any way to know if election turnout would have been as high for a regular election, so the recally may mean nothing for the political consciousness of californians at all. And finally one has to wonder what would have happened with an alternate democratic strategy of "Just say no", instead of the chosen "If you do say yes to recall,vote for a democrat". That plan just seems so wishy washy. Especially in a pure character election like this one, that is very dangerous.
When you have a monopoly you should be required to be a little nicer than everybody else, not a lot worse. If this is true...
I've heard rumors that Microsoft is moving to protect Office file formats under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect them against reverse-engineering.
...then no self respecting public institution can use these file formats for their works. Otherwise freedom of information is just a joke.
The Red Herring died, and the piece is not dated so it's impossible to tell when this piece on social tech was from. It argues that the many attempts at social software have two main flaws:
In a way, the incompatible and incomplete protocols protect us from waking up in such a flat nightmare society where relationships are indistinguishable from one another. Suppose the technical issues above we're fixed. We would immediately require the implementation of new barriers and ways to hide aspects of ourselves from others in particular situations and expose them in others.
The recent introduction of VeriSigns obnoxious SiteFinder service is , fortunately being fought from all angles. If ICANN let's VeriSign do this without taking away the com/net monopoly, we will need a new ICANN. VeriSign is not only hijacking the domain industry, but also the search industry and DNS itself. Meanwhile VeriSign is busy putting a 'we put customers first' spin on this abomination. Keep the lawsuits coming.
While we're waiting for this, we have to investigate the technical means for fightiing this service. Complete filtering of all traffic from the SiteFinder address is the most appealing option. This could be a very popular browser plugin.
BUT of course the ultimate solution is to 'fix' the DNS lookup itself - simply treating the SiteFinder ip-address as a black hole. Bind is currently being patched to do exactly that.
Here's a partial quick fix for the problem: Route the traffic to sitefinder via a nonexistent address. It is not efficient - it takes a while to fail - but it will give you the satisfaction of not generating traffic for SiteFinder...
If you're on a Windows NT/2000/XP machine here's how: Open a command prompt and use the following command
route -p ADD 184.108.40.206 MASK 255.255.255.255 10.100.10.0
What this does is force traffic to the SiteFinder address to route via the nonexistent 10.100.10.0 address. This assumes that you're actually on the same network as 10.100.10.0 (eg your address is 10.100.10.xxx and your subnet mask 255.255.255.0 or similar). The -p makes this route persistent so it remains after reboot.
Do let me know if you know of a good reason not to do this (i.e. harm to others of some kind. The local damage I can deal with)
The sadly pro-Arnold AlwaysOn network is, annoyingly, using their technology site and newsletters to run pro-Arnold politics. Lately in one of the blogs on the site, there's an interesting headline: California%u2019s Recall Hijacked :: AO. Perception is everything it seems. While the vote on voting machines does seem rather political, let's not forget who are the original hijackers here: The republican recall activists.
All the right people are objecting to a proposed e-voting standard. The standards effort is apparantly railroaded by the voting machine industry (and doesn't the fact that they're already doing this immediately disqualify the same industry from the trust we need in their product?) and the standard lives under the hideous assumption that voting is a technological problem in need of a technological fix. Of course not. Voting is politics and emotions, and the old adage on justice applies: 'Justice must not just be done, it must also be seen to be done'. In the same way our ability to understand and failure proof and manually verify the voting process is essential to the integrity of the vote. There is no technological fix to guarantee that. The only possible verification is bi-partisan verification of paper ballots. No amount of crypto, and certainly no signed guarantee from a closed source voting software company can provide the same assurance.
When democracy is at stake, price is just not an issue.
"I Java-tized my applications."
"I improved my applications with Java technology."
In a lengthy and technical (for a newspaper) account of the American tax system, "The Tax-Cut Con" in NY Times magazine, Paul Krugman dispells some of the myths of the tax haters, and reveals what looks like the master plan behind bush-o-nomics. A massive planned federal fiscal disaster that will make drastic cuts of social security and healtcare systems to a pre-depression level.
A abbreviated version of the argument goes like this: The current fiscal deficit is so drastic that it will not last another decade. When catastrophe ensues it will be completely impossible to combat the disaster by raising taxes, since that will shock the economoy badly if the taxes go up enough to have a meaningfull effect on the deficit. The only other alternative is drastic cuts in public spending and welfare programs are the only ones of sufficient size to matter in such a disaster.
In other words: According to Krugman, any notion that Bush is cutting 'responsibly' must be viewed as pure spin. He's just comforting voters until, faced with a complete disaster, they come around to his view of minimal government. Krugman also picks apart the anti-tax propaganda, describing it as consistently wrong and misleading in its description of the damages of taxation. In particular, the tax cuts consistently are marketed at the middle class, whil ein fact they rarely benefit anybody but the affluent.
David weinberger recommends this piece of anti-Bush propaganda. That disappoints me. The data in the report may be accurate but the piece is still just propaganda and that is bad news. While a robust fight against the end of democracy is required it shouldn't be carried using the weapons of totalitarianism (just as the fight against fundamentalism and nationalism in the middle-east shouldn't be carried out by falling back to more and more nationalism and fundamentalism at home). This is not in my mind a 'hawks vs. doves' issue - I wouldn't recommend any compromise on the issues - but clearly the messages just blur together into a large blitz of value based attack ads, and nobody is the winner after such a thorough destruction of reason and sanity.
Some further evidence that the Bush administration simply don't care about freedom and equality at all. The Attorney General, John Ashcroft, is now refusing select members of the press access to press conferences on tricky issues like the Patriot Act as reported here.
Only if your sense of fairness, openness and democracy has gone completely dark is that acceptable. Furthermore, the people doing the blocking are not his press people but Secret Service agents.
He should be fired just for this.
So today is now:
And finally, today is also the 100th birthday of Theodor Adorno. Oddly appropriate that such a staunch critic of the modern world should find himself in accidental relationship with so much modern world sadness.
As an aside to Theodor Adorno's anniversary, it has been interesting being in Austria in the days leading up to his anniversary. His name was simply everywhere, in a way that would be unimaginable for any writer of books in Denmark, let alone a philosopher. He was on the cover of newspapers. Books published to commemorate the anniversary filled bookstore windows. Even the german language music video channel on my hotel TV set had a VJ who talked about Adorno (seriously! I'm not making this up).
I am not sure how much this is just a different 'sense of duty' wrt to the past and how much this is old fashioned book learning that is still alive and kicking in a broader sense in the German speaking world than in Denmark, but I think that it must mean that there still is a living Bildungsideal in a completely different sense than what's left of that kind of bookish culture in Denmark.
VJ's namedropping philosophers may not seem hot to you, but I think it is infinitely cool.
The Swedish social democratic party has lost once again one of its leading members, and Sweden its foreign minister as Anna Lind dies after being stabbed yesterday.
The circumstances of the event shows you how unused and unprepared we are for violence. An attack by a single person, in a (one supposes) busy Stockholm department store, and still the killer was able to get away.
As was the case with the murder of Olof Palme we now have to wait in unpleasant uncertainty, not knowing whether this was a random attack, an attack by a mentally unstable person or political violence.
The most beautiful words heard yet in the many eulogies: 'She knew much about what had already happened but was intent on what was to happen [in the future]'. Source escapes me right now, but it was a Swedish political colleague of hers.
I've been reading lately on the American presidential race, and following that on the web is difficult to do in a balanced fashion. The web - as a forum for public discourse is characterized by the absence of dialogue and a proliferation of soapboxes (this being one of them) where people say exactly what they think is true. Some are worse than others of course - and I can't think of anything worse than the many right wing publications. The kind who do 'value politics'. The kind to whom all opposition therefore is immoral, and therefore not something to consider the merit of, but something to strike down. That position of course is as unsound and dangerous as any other fundamentalist position, be it left or right wing. Furthermore, the kind of argument put forward in favour of the cause always buts the cause first and the argument second. They couldn't care less about beating democrats on the issues. They just want to beat the democrats, since the democrats are quite simply evil. A case in point is a complete slamming of The BBC. The reason the right cares is of course the recent backlash against the strongly right wing Fox News channel after the war in Iraq. This has given BBC a foothold in North America, so now some countermeasures are needed.
The article even plays on the Fox News debate be reusing the words at the center of that debate - namely "Fair and Balanced"
Of course the author reaches the conclusion that the BBC is a wholly untrustworthy, pro-Hussein, tax payed, evil, out of control mammooth. Any and all means are used to reach the conclusion. At the center a coverage of the David Kelly hearings. This is laced with charcater attacks on the BBC personnel involved in that inquiry, attacks on BBC reporters pronunciation of "Paul Wolfowitz", quotes from other BBC bashers (who are quoted simply as the received opinion on the BBC, which they are not of course) even down to a mention of George Orwell and how he also hated the BBC. That BBC was critical of the decisions leading the the war in Iraq is of course interpreted as evidence of "the BBC's desire to prevent the death of Saddam's regime".
To give you an idea of the climate of this coverage, the story ends with a "funny" quote from another BBC basher: "About the only thing in Saddam's favor was that you could get the death penalty for listening to the BBC".
In short, there is quite simply nothing american right wingers won't say as long as it helps the goal of power.
I previously mentioned the AlwaysOn network - where Tony Perkins went after The Red Herring Folded as a usable resource. Seing the strong backing strong backing the these people are giving the 'Arnold for Governor' campaign I have to hold that endorsement.
Based on the premises that 'The recall is a good and democratic process', 'Arnold is a moderate' and 'It's a fresh start for California' a lot of AlwaysOn regulars and high profile tech businessmen endorse Schwarzenegger. A good idea? If the ability by 12 percent of voters (actual not registered) to stifle all political action for half a year was widespread we wouldn't have democracies at all. Surely the christian right would have had the ability to throw out Clinton. Surely Gore supporters would have been able to get together considerable recall momentum after the flawed presidential elections in Florida. Its like having democracy, but then having an escape mechanism if somebody is unhappy with that democracy. Moderate? Based on his campaign team - made up of republican veterans and even drawing on members of the current ruling republican faction -one should expect as little moderation as is exhibited by the Bush administration and its supporters. A fresh start? See previous answer. If it is such good news why all the republican veterans.
Isn't Arnold just a front for the same republican caste that currently runs the Bush administration?
Tim Bray tells a story on how bad the job market is.
136 applicants for a non-descript job managing a computer room and maybe teach users about the stuff on the computers. Doesn't say where, but presumably we're in Canada.
It makes Bray think about getting out of tech-jobs (not personally, but the general idea) - BUT the sad news is that this same story could have been told about so many other lines of work currently. There was one case here in Denmark of 2000 applicants for a public relations job (1 position to fill) at BMW. Assume a cursory 5 minute examination of just half these applications and the first 83 man hours zip by, a little more than two weeks worth, and you haven't even begun to consider the applications seriously. You basically have to just throw most of them away and consider the luck of the remaining applicants a qualification.
Mel Gibson and his parents are under fire today from a leading Jewish group for reportedly anti-semitic impulses in the former's new film and the latter's denial that Al Qaeda executed the Sept. 11 attacks.
It appears that at least Gibson's parents are holocaust deniers, and more recently and implausibly 911 deniers. Gibson has apparently not commented on this, but is busy making an 'accurate' ,'bible-true' account of the Passion of Christ - which of course means a film depicting (some) jews as evil and wrong.
A few PR friendly messages that "Mel loves everybody" will be a completely insufficient reply to criticism, considering the views of Gibsons father.
Yes, American politics has gone dark. Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for governor in California. And he is not by a wide stretch the craziest candidate to announce his candidacy. Of course there are joke candidates in elections in any country - it's part of democracy - but there seem to be a lot of them in this particular election. With only a very brief election campaign for all the unknowns and poor candidates to put together a campaign, and Arnold currently being promoted at 1910 theaters of course he looks good in the campaign, unless of course voters find his bid for office a bit too opportunistic.
Election bureaucrats dismiss this as "paranoid," but (1) I trust professors of computer science more than courthouse hacks; and (2) Even to the extent that's true, a voting system that inspires paranoia is hardly a good thing.This should be so obvious to everybody. It is similar to the old adage "Justice must not just be done, it must also be seen to be done". We simply cannot allow any doubts about the legitimacy of the vote. And this is likely to mean that we need a bi-partisan group of people to sit down and count X'es on pieces of paper.
Paul Boutin is also concerned.
While I'm sure the republicans would have you believe that they are the true keepers of the flame of freedom, they are also engineering more and more totalitarian schemes curbing that freedom, among the more serious are the secret no-fly lists. These non-published (as well in size as in actual content) list are banning thousands from the flying from American airports. Seeing as flying is the only reasonable means of transportation out of America this is a pretty clear violation of an individual's right to freedom of movement, one of the really old and really basic and uncontested human rights. It's is beeing used not just for clear dangers but also simply to stop some people who are merely 'inconvenient'
A 71-year-old Milwaukee nun and peace activist was stopped from boarding a flight to Washington, where she and a group of students planned to lobby the Wisconsin congressional delegation against U.S. military aid to Colombia. An art dealer who'd been a high-ranking staffer in Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign had been barred from a flight to Germany after telling other passengers in the check-in line that President George W. Bush "is dumb as a rock." And two journalists, Rebecca Gordon and Jan Adams of the antiwar magazine War Times, were told by an airline clerk that the were on "the FBI no-fly list."
This is not just nearly as bad as policies in the socialist Eastern Europe, but in fact exactly as bad as socialist Eastern Europe. It would have been unthinkable without the Bush administration.
Although the dot.com boom shows that VC's aren't necessarily a sign of good times and certainly not one of good technology, you need money to grow technology. So the news that funding has stopped sliding is good. this report says that VC spending for the second quarter of the year showed a sequential increase for the first time in about two years.
Height or rather a shortness thereof has now become a problem that you can just medicate your way out of, as
the FDA Clears use of growth hormone on healthy kids
U.S. regulators on Friday approved use of a growth hormone for boosting the height of children who are short but in good health.
If you're hoping for a career in basketball, short of course means "less than 2 metres tall", se let's see the boundaries of application shift gradually.
The results are clearly not best possible, not even Microsoft could pull that lie off. They're just plugs for Microsoft products.
Events like this makes it easy to imagine a world where the copyright cartel has won the battle of the digital realm, where websites are 'pay as you go', where you yourself have to put up your sites as 'pay as you go' sites because the majority of consumers are using a 'trusted' operating system that protect their eyes from freedom.
It could all come to happen. People are actively trying to make it happen.
Weblogs are turning into an interesting space for debate on politics and other issues where people disagree violently. The joy of the blog is that you get to say anything you like. It's yours. However if that freedom is to mean anything then it comes attached with an obligation to honor dissent at least to the extent of acknowledging it. This can be quite annoying of course if somebody is trolling your website.
That's why TrackBacks are such a wonderful opportunity to allow comments but still let your own site be about your opinion and not of those who disagree. It's simply a mechanism to tell other people that somebody elsewhere disagrees or has an opinion related to your opinion. That's why I disagree with Mark Pilgrims Comment Posting Policy [dive into mark] on TrackBacks:
Trackbacks are remote comments and are subject to these same rules [as local comments].
IF the rules were "no defamation, no ads, no off topic comment" that would be fine, but the rules are also "Not all posts have comments enabled, and this is intentional. Some posts have comments enabled for a limited time, and then no more comments may be added; this is also intentional." and then it really matters that TrackBack's are remote.
It helps the integrity of the weblog if TrackBack's aren't censored. TrackBack's acknowledge the fact that nobody owns an online discussion, and I think they should do so to any extent technically possible as long as defamation and off-topicness (commercial or otherwise) isn't an issue.
Doc Searls has written a soon to be classic piece about liberty and corporate censorship as it applies to the web and the internet. Brilliant stuff. Read it.
It tackles the monopolistic tendencies of the copyright wars, and of the current American government head on, in an open and level headed manner. It's all cluetrain stuff, but the important news is that it is written post DMCA, post Napster, so the celebratory 'We're all going to get along and make sense and be important' stance of ClueTrain is tempered with a knowledge that other forces are also at play and that they need to be addressed in a proper account of the internet.
The RIAA are suing everybody and have kranked up their legal gears to 75 subpoenas a day to violate your online privacy, as reported by Dan Gillmor. This is wrong and should be stopped, but it is unlikely to be since nobody - except online pundits like Gillmor - seems to fight against it.
Wouldn't this practice of mass privacy invasion be illegal if it occured in physical space? Imagine an organization finding it appropriate to obtain access to 75 homes per day to enforce their copyrights. Wouldn't that be unthinkable?
Retten til online privatliv er ligeså dårligt beskyttet som den er diffus at definere. Spørgsmålet om præcis hvad der udgør barrieren mellem privatsfære og offentlighed er svært. Jeg er fristet til den definition at digitale data om dig faktisk bør regnes for private ligegyldigt hvilke betingelser du oplyste dem under. Publicering eller oplysning af dine persondetaljer (det vil også salg af adressekataloger, etc.) bør som udgangspunkt være forbudt.
Talk about a geeky proposal for a legal principle:
Our thesis is that legal regulation of the Internet should be governed by the layers principle - the law should respect the integrity of layered Internet architecture. This principle has two corollaries. The first corollary is the principle of layer separation: Internet regulation should not violate or compromise the separation between layers designed into the basic architecture of the Internet. The second corollary is the principle of minimizing layer crossing, i.e., minimize the distance between the layer at which the law aims to produce an affect and the layer directly affected by legal regulation
I like the idea. It highlights at least some of the ridiculous attempts at legislation in cyberspace, by understanding (correctly) that the basic architecture is not something the individual can change, and that it would not only be unjust, but a downright violation of my basic rights, if the medium in which I express myself (i.e. lower layers of architecture, like e.g. the http based servers and clients this message reaches you through) had built in mechanisms to examine the data I pass around.
Unfortunately (for the principle, but great for us) the nature of simulation and virtual machines means that you can always travel up and down the layer stack via simulation embedded in a layer under your control - as I have previously explained. Cory Doctorow's short story ownz0red covers the same stuff beautifully in the first couple of pages.
The Internet might soon be the last place where open dialogue occurs. One of the most dangerous things that has happened in the past few years is the deregulation of media ownership rules that began in 1996. Michael Powell and the Bush FCC are continuing that assault today (see the June 2nd ruling). The danger of relaxing media ownership rules became clear to me when I saw what happened with the Dixie Chicks. But there's an even bigger danger in the future, on the Internet. The FCC recently ruled that cable and phone based broadband providers be classified as information rather than telecommunications services. This is the first step in a process that could allow Internet providers to arbitrarily limit the content that users can access. The phone and cable industries could have the power to discriminate against content that they don't control or-- even worse-- simply don't like
Scary perspective indeed, and a very real threat. Dean doesn't even mention the hideous Fox 'News' or other parts of the News Corp. republican campaign (New York Post with the original WW2 graves on the cover attacking France is also owned by News Corp.)
For a look at what Dean and others are up against check out this impressive list of books by right wing assholes. I wish I knew a nicer word for this kind of thinking, but I don't. The American right (well, some elements of it - of course there are decent poeple too) has a unique disregard for opinions other than their own, that is threatening all the life, the liberty and the pursuit of happiness for anyone who dares to disagree.
And these right wingers are the same people telling us about the totalitarian nightmares of communism. It's time for a new banner on classy.dk I think : 'Ideas don't pervert people. People pervert ideas'.
Your Farm Subsidies Are Strangling Us, says the presidents of Mali and Burkina Faso:
Apply free trade rules not only to those products that are of interest to the rich and powerful, but also to those products where poor countries have a proven comparative advantage.
Only spokespeople get to say glorious crap like this (on Saddam's missing weapons of mass destruction):"I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are."
I think I might have misunderestimated Ari Fleischer.
Oddly related to the fight against Warnock's dilemma is this Onion piece: Bush Asks Congress For $30 Billion To Help Fight War On Criticism
"Sadly, the threat of criticism is still with us," Bush told members of Congress during a 2 p.m. televised address. "We thought we had defeated criticism with our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thought we had struck at its very heart with the broad discretionary powers of the USA Patriot Act. And we thought that the ratings victory of Fox News, America's News Channel, might signal the beginning of a lasting peace with the media. Yet, despite all this, criticism abounds."
CNET has a report on how Google's cache raises copyright concerns.
"We are working with Google to fix that problem--we're going to close it so when you click on a link it will take you to a registration page," said Christine Mohan, a spokeswoman at New York Times Digital, the publisher of NYTimes.com. "We have established these archived links and want to maintain consistency across all these access points."
Google offers publishers a simple way to opt out of its temporary archive, and scuffles have yet to erupt into open warfare or lawsuits. Still, Google's cache links illustrate a slippery side of innovation on the Web, where cool new features that seem benign on the surface often carry unintended consequences.
BUT: CNET gets it wrong, as does the New York Times and Google for that matter. The problem is not that the pages stay up, but rather that they go away. The approach copyright holders is taking to the webspace (that information presented on the web is really a service, and that copyright holders may discontinue that service) is a threat both to consumers and to public space and to freedom of speech. The CNET piece has ample evidence of this: When some public office publishes material on the web, that material should be a matter of public record - and not something you can yank from the site if it turns out to hold unpleasent surprises for you. The same thing should go for other web content. If you have presented me with information, I should have the implicit right to hang on to that information, simply because my right to hold you accountable for having published the information is essential. Everything in our history tells us that there are no good reasons to hold a contrary position to this and that the right to know is essential for the right to speech to hold any meaning.
Digital copyright law as it exists should be illegal and if we all had good constitutions it would be unconstitutional.
Could somebody please enlighten me on the difference between this kind of box office numbers and this kind of campaign financing.
The language used by NY Times to assess the 'power' of the candidates by looking at their fundraising ability is strikingly similar with the lingo used by Hollywood box-office trackers. The primaries seem to be turning into a sports fight on funding. Could it be that elections have now gone so deeply meta that the public relations of the fund drive is beating the politics the funding is used to promote for media interest?
I am not a big Kevin Werbach fan, but he has posedan interesting question: Is Howard Dean Barry Goldwater? Meaning, "Dean is probably too liberal and too New Englandy to get elected, but he does provide a voice for liberal sentiment without the usual excuses of a democratic that is routinely attacked as morally inferior". That is an interesting point.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced Sunday that they are suspending attacks against Israel for three months, a leader of the group said. But there was still no announcement by Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, with wrangling still going on over the final wording of the truce statement.
Let's suppose the announcement is for real, and that the militant palestinian opposition to Israel is as organized as the Israelis say they believe it is.
While it takes just one man with a bomb to break the truce, this announcement could be a true test on the resolve of Ariel Sharon's government to follow up the good intentions from the Bush, Sharon, Abbas meeting a month ago.
Some news from tomorrow about this and other developments in the middle east.
Some old news (a month or so):
The hideous practice of publishing 'open' standards while asserting commercial ownership of ideas included in the standard has been adressed over the last couple of years by the W3C. That effort has been completed with the announcement of a royalty-free patent policy.
The effect of the patent policy is that all who participate in developing a W3C Recommendation must agree to license patents that block interoperability on a royalty-free basis
That's only half of what corporations interested in a standards organization Stamp of Approval should do, but on the other hand, if maintaining property of the specs can thwart other vendors effort to 'embrace and extend' (that's 'engulf and emasculate' in non-vendor speak) standards then fine by me.
The Gartner Group has thought up the simultaneously serious and hilarious notion of the hype cycle as in : .NET Magazine - Navigate the Web Services Hype Cycle
Much funnier than Wired Magazines memewatch and tired/wired/expired lists or any of the old-school 'in/out' lists popular in the 80s.
Steve Talbott and I agree that science radically challenges and changes our understanding of who we are and what it means to be a human being. Talbott thinks this is a bad thing whereas I think it is a good thing.
I also think however that Talbott defeats his own argument, in an otherwise brilliant debunking of Bill McKibbon's 'Enough' that can be found in
McKibbon is worried that we should lose ourselves completely through genetic alteration. Talbott rightfully challenges this idea: "No one can, in absolute terms, rob someone else of meaning."
And he is right of course: No amount of genetic alteration will undo the fact that even the genetically altered human being will be a self, and experience as a self. It is not robbed of meaning.
So what then does science in fact do to humanity? It clearly does not rob us of introspection. It liberates our understanding of self from any binding it might have had to arbitrary facts of the flesh such as 'we can only run 35 km/h - and only for a short while'. As far as I am concerned that purifies our spirit. It doesn't debase it.
The notion that once upon a time there was some 'ur'-people, living in a golden age, and being essentially and purely human is one of the really old chestnuts of (political) philosophy and it is almost implied by Talbott's reasoning. Talbott makes repeated reference to meaning and purity of human spirit that once was ours but now is lost:
He adopts from McKibbons book the idea that The automobile wrenched us loose from local community; television isolated us from our immediate neighbors; divorce as a mass phenomenon cast a shadow of uncertainty over every family; and the natural world itself has been arbitrarily re-shaped according to our habits and appetites, so that it no longer offers us "a doorway into a deeper world".
But there has never been a golden age. The car less (preindustrial) society kept masses of peasants unfree and poor, since industrialization was not feasible when transportation was slow and difficult and expensive and thus did not offer as many jobs in the factories and the cities. Televison taught me English, so that I could understand Talbott's and McKibbon's reasoning. The divorce free society kept women all over the world bound to their homes, unfree and entirely at the mercy of their husbands, relying solely on his income for stability. I do grant that medicine has deprived us of some of the profound insights of the past, such as the fact that pneumonia and tuberculosis kills you with almost absolute certainty.
George Lakoff on "Metaphor, Morality, and Politics". Subtitled
Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals In the Dust the piece sets out to explain the morals of American politics from an abstract metaphorical basis. Fascinating stuff.
Link via Doc Searls' weblog.
According to Salon (and stories like this makes me agree) republicans are evil: Gray Davis and the vast right-wing conspiracy
The effort to recall California's Democratic governor shows again that the GOP will stop at nothing to win more power.
While failing to produce any evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (leaving the Iraqi invasion exposed as pure power politics, so pure in fact that the arab world will likely keep screaming 'imperialism') the American military continues it's hunt for Saddam.
a convoy of vehicles struck last week by US forces following 'firm' information that the former Iraqi leader and members of his family were travelling in the Western Desert near Syria
While a live uncaptured Saddam poses a strong risk as martyr material, I suppose it is unlikely that he has survived as an actual political or military threat.
As for myself, I am still undecided on the recent war. Saddam will not be missed, but it is uncomforting to be living again in a world where geopolitics also means large scale unilateral invasions of foreign countries.
Combine with the stifling of human rights even in the western world in the name of anti-terrorism. There's a newfound innocence that has been lost again, and a freedom that needs to be regained.
As we're ramping up for presidential elections, and Bush is fumbling the ball in Iraq and in economics Doc Searls located WatchBlog: 2004 Election News, Opinion and Commentary - the novelty is that three blogs are maintained on one page, one for the democrats, one for the republicans and one for 'third way' dissenters.
Dan Gillmor on US anti-terrorism bills. And once again, cowed European politicians were quick to follow. I'm scanning for the news story from yesterday on danish legislation requiring ISP's to register and store one year of connection records for their customers for later anti-terrorism review.
This is a problem in itself, but we probably heard less about it than we could have because it makes it prohibitively expensive to grow 'cottage networks' in local neighbourhoods, which of course is good news for the big ISPs.
On of the things Cory Doctorow pointed out at Reboot was the sad evolution of copyright law into more and more restrictive policies undermining individual freedem. Campaign for Digital Rights is a British advocacy group fighting the European Union Copyright Directive. Important reading.
Bill McDermott, CEO and president of SAP Americas, said advertisements run last week in the Financial Times and other publications were designed to woo J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft customers grappling with uncertainty about those companies' directions
The only nice thing there seems to be to say about prime minister Berlusconi is that he's only in it for the money. It could have been world domination. But still, his reign in italy constitutes the most rabid abuse of power for personal gain in memory. The recent accelerated legislation providing immunity is just one more sad piece of evidence.
What is most interesting about Berlusconi is the brazenness with which he flaunts his power. Open (commercial) censorship. Changes to the criminal justice system.
Compared to that the redistribution from poor to rich in America (through extreme tax reforms) and the strong ties between the republican party providing the government funds and industry providing the election capital in America seems to be under much better control: American politics is about government power and state security, and not personal gain, even if the spoils of war are harvested with great energy. And presidents don't always get reelected.
By the way, you may enjoy the profound insight of the Leader Of The Free World on his father's famous 'lip sync' accident: I think the mistake was to say, `read my lips' ... and then raise the taxes.. Deep, deep stuff.
The Oracle, PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards love triangle is heating up. It is interesting that J.D. Edwards is able to bring a lawsuit forward at all. They are (not yet) owned by PeopleSoft and Oracle has made no bid for them, so the legal relationship between Oracle and J.D. Edwards is formally accidental, even if everybody seems to smell a rat.
The notion that actions of A against B makes A liable for harm done to C opens up a wonderful, huge gray area to interpretation. Suppose a creditor of Your Essential Supplier puts the squeeze on YES so they can't deliver to you. Could you then sue the creditor for claiming his payment?
I haven't read it yet, but Joi Ito's Privacy Report is a comprehensive survey on legislation and technology related to privacy issues in the industrialized world.
The compiled report will show us the latest status of privacy situation and Privacy Enhancing Technologies in international community in the beginning of year 2003
Strangely (if you're a hobbyist Redmond basher like me), the Microsoft sponsored magazine Slate has teeth: In "The Return of Class War - Bush and the new tyranny of the rich." by Michael Kinsley, Bush's recent tex reform is criticized quite sharply. And of course the recent complete sellout on media diversity did turn a lot of heads.
Then there's the failure to find WoMD's in Irag, and the still soft economy. Bush's power as president could be waning.
In a news story with the good news that Novell challenges SCO's Unix claims - important since Novell sold whatever rights SCO may have to SCO - the SCO CEO is beginning to sound desperate:
McBride added that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds.
In short, they've now traded a possibly legitimate dispute with IBM for full-on berserk fear campaign (YOU could be SUED!!!)
So what is there to do:
The Volvo photo ban is part of a general trend. Lawrence Lessig reports two separate incidents of gratuitous no-photo policies at Starbucks. And they try to turn their locations into homey hangouts where people go to be. Who would want to be there if you can't do normal harmless things like taking snapshots of your friends.
In a museum or other place where exploitable copyrighted material exists it makes sense. Elsewhere it's just an invasion on your freedom.
In a nice bit of Newspeak, the Bush administration has renamed the "Total Information Awareness" program "Terrorism Information Awareness". It's the same thing presumably. Large scale datamining with automatic text translation of foreign information sources. No public control. No policies for what bodies of data this new capability can be employed on.
The rise of better and better tools for analyzing the data floating around will mean that we will desire more and more data to not float around. The public space is closing.
On MSNBC a pro-Bush reporter is proud to stifle opposition. I wouldn't trust the views he presents as Danny Glover's either, but actively trying to take away Glover's income as a way of stifling him and being proud about it is just terrible.
Meanwhile, on Danish television, an episode of "The Practice" airs - presenting the 'controversial' idea of an airline company refusing all arabs as passengers. The notion that this is 'controversial' and not just dismissable as flat out unacceptable is another sad case of American politics gone berserk. I know shows like 'The Practice' breed of the emotional charge of the storyline - but since it's a given the policy will stand (no point to the story if the company was found guilty of racism) this isn't controversial but just a throwback to the darkness of the 50s. A conflict founded in the deserts of the Middle East can hardly be called a cold war, but is certainly looking a lot like one.
While we're on the subject: Freedom fries instead of french fries? When are they going to tear down the Statue of Liberty? That was a gift from the French - remember.
At last! Everybody is saying that Apple's new online music store has a shot at surviving. About time. The catalogue available will be rather limited, but I will for instance be able to keep up with the best of super producer team The Neptunes' work without having to but the other trash american 'R&B' starts put on their albums.
One dollar per song sounds about reasonable for permanent ownership. It is comparable to record store prices.
It is not surprising that Steve Jobs was the one who pulled it together now that it has been pulled together, he is after all equipped with his own personal 'reality distortion field', but what a struggle it has been.
What's next? Well, I would like this to end as an above-board Napster. The record labels fail to make their catalogues available in any sensible way. The joy of Napster was not the 2 million servers offering Britney Spears' latest hit but that one guy in Singapore who happened to have digitized that obscure B-side from that Los Angeles Negros single you loved so much.
If iTunes made it possible to come forward with material like this, I would gladly pay the copyright holder the requisite dollar, if Apple would be willing to act as the exchange. It is the possibility of actually getting rare recorded material that is compelling.
The reference de jour for the important issue of the new activist doctrine for American foreign policy seems to be The Mission by Washington Post reporter Dana Priest.
It is important to point out, though, that it is the civil leaders of the Pentagon - not the actual leaders of the military - who are advocating this new activism. In an interview on the Danish TV news show 'Deadline', political scientist Barry Posen made this important point. It is of course important (and very reassuring) that the military itself is not advocating this new political role, so that the application of this kind of forign policy is under firm democratic control.
The use of force instead of diplomacy on the foreign policy front is accompanied by an equally disturbing abuse of the legal system on the home front as the Bush administration is speeding America into darkness.
The abuse of POW status as a way to deny civil rights to prisoners is twisted this time around as a suspect is held without rights as a witness in relation to the 'war against terror'.
It's like the linked story says: Kafkaesque, or just plain old totalitarian, methods in the land of the free. Scary indeed.
As a giveaway of my eager consumption of pop-culture trash, I once again remark that George Lucas could end up having created some important pop trash with the new 'how did the world go evil' Star Wars prequel. The resemblances to the current situation are interesting, even if one should be careful to refer to anything present in the Sar Wars films as 'scary' or 'important'
It is interesting to remember the key point of Paul Kennedy's book "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" - namely that the sheer cost of maintaining the military power required to hold on to power is what eventually weakens and destroys powerful nations.
This sound like a theory that could have been put forward in the year 1400 as well, when the role of the king was just the upkeep of his own household and his army, but the point of Kennedy's book is that it remains true even for more modern regimes. When the Soviet regime collapsed it became clear that an unsound proportion of the GDP was pumped into the military, so the next question remains: Will this apply to the United States also?
The recently approved cost of approximately $80bn for the "War against terror" - mainly the fight against Iraq, adds 30%-50% to the budget deficit. The economy is weak already, and it is no entirely clear that America wil be able to foot this bill without dire economic consequences.
Add to that the recent turn in american politics reducing the Secretary of State to a more marginal role and focusing on America's ability to act with force. If the Iraq war cannot be contained in Iraq, of if success in Iraq proves to Bush that massive military action is a quick and effective way to deal with foreign policy then we could be at a world-order toppling economic disaster.
Classy.dk - the finest unread news source I write - is of course not alien to the requirements of the media. They are unavoidable. Scans of my referrer logs reveal the strangest porn searches - searches for which I crop up as the umpteenth possible link - are still generating hits. And of course the default style sheet of moveable type looks positively ugly when the text doesn flow ad infinitum down the screen. That must be the blog version of dead air.
I think I've posted this before - but let me just briefly remind you that the sculptor Hein Heinsen has developed a beautiful response to the constantly escaliting attention grabbing nature of the culture of ideas, namely to produce only very few of them. In fact he tries entirely to avoid ideas - making only hard to define constantly shifting sculptures meant to be simple being as opposed to being about. A beautiful sentiment - even if it is a complete failure inasmuch as he is doing this in a museum as a proxy for actual being outside the museum, and in that respect merely being about being instead of being being (all with me sofar?)
As a darwinistic strategy for the attention or idea economy (same thing) that clearly sucks - which of course is why we don't see it much in the media. The people getting your attention are most definitely trying to do so.
This observation about the media is also the first warning against believing in the 1-1 society promised to us by the cluetrain people. Attention and networks constructed from it just don't work that way.
An indication of how skewed the world of attention is can be found in the beforementioned referrer logs. Basically the demand curve for information is so incredibly skewed that I get as many hits from being at the absolute periphery of some of the big ideas (like porn) as I get from being at the center of whatever classy.dk is really about.
In fact it might be worthwhile to write down the math of search according to some decent model of site popularity distribution and search term occurence statistics. If the demand curve for information was flat I would all my hits from searches where my site was basically the single most important match (as evidenced by the surrender monkeys incident). If the curve was skewed excessively compared to 'supply curve' of page indexes, then mismatches from failed searches should outrank the relevant matches.
The end result is probably a slight skew towards relevancy, indicating that the web is more polarized than the demand statistic.
This seat of the pants math may be all wrong (it's late) but it should be good fun to examine this in more detail.
If you were wondering about the legitimacy of the news-coverage of the war in Iraq you need look no further than the banner ads for CNN's war tracker that I found here. A convenient little desktop application giving you access to the latest and greatest in blood and mayhem - and served to you with the light hearted slogan "Click! It's quick!". I'm sure that slogan was also in the hopeful minds of President Bush and his staff when they pushed the button and decided to go to war, but really... Even trashy news sources like CNN should be able to do better than 'a convenient desktop tracker' in covering this very real and deadly crisis.
The champion of 'humanistic intelligence', Steve Mann has defined a new buzzword: Sousveillance. As a piece of language the term is a bit contrived but the idea is interesting. The claim is that what's bad about surveillance is not really the act of surveillance itself, but it is the secrecy and the dehumanizing anonymity of eyes in the sky.
He proposes another way to add further introspection to the commons that keeps societey open but still makes the world smaller and safer - namely surveillance 'from below' (hence the new term 'sur' is 'over', 'sous' is 'under') - meaning technology enhanced 1-1 interactions as the legitimate way to information augment society. His thinking is that it's not really the permanent record the being remembered and held accountable for individual actions, but the correlating and anonymous collection of data instead.
It's an interesting idea to think about even if the idea of the 'sousveillance society' remains rather half baked. It has a strong interplay with ideas of identity in web-space, where ideas of signed encrypted person to person exchanges of identity tokens are beginning to take shape along side more bigbrotherian identity from above, pushed by governments and big corporations (As an aside, Orwell would have loved the newspeak inherent in the name Liberty Alliance. What has emerged from this organization is nothing but big-iron heavy handed control organization identity. No freedom inside.)
So while on my day off, contemplating the fate of NATO I went looking for some links to acidic rhetoric (or is rhetoric base - I forget). The best page on the Simpson invented insult 'Cheese eating surrender monkeys' must be this one.
In fact this guy is funny all the way. Among the good stuff he's dug up is a reality-show golddigger who freudian-slips and confuses 'merciful' or 'missionary' with 'mercenary'...
If you're not following Warblogging you should be. It is a very good review of the dangers that American freedom is failing entirely to deal with in response to 911. All the freedom invading legislation, and the practices in the face of legislation are reviewed as is the current NATO crisis which is of course a sad case of no one doing the right thing. The decision by France and Germany to up the ante and force the decomission of NATO is the most terrible abuse of an international organization for local means I can think of. That the veto should be anything but is ridiculous. France and Germany must know that what is going to happen will happen regardless of the veto, they have only assured the destruction of NATO with the destruction of Iraq. It looks mainly like domestic policy use of NATO run amok.
In contrast - even if you do disagree with Bush - you can't really accuse him of doing this as a pure interior policy initiative since it might very well be political suicide. If the war drags on into 2004, Bush will not look good as the creator of the next Vietnam, i.e. an unclear conflict on unfriendly soil against an unclear group of enemies without a clear goal. Clearly a war that cannot be won.
The changes in legislation to curb terrorism are a lot scarier than this, since this is erosion of the democracy of the worlds only superpower - 'our former ally' as we may soon have to say. Arguments for the legislation and limitation of rights invariably invoke an image of martial law, i.e. a time limited voluntary restriction of rights to defeat the enemy. But the war on terrorism will not be won in any clear sense of the word. That's not saying that it shouldn't be fought -I think by and large it should - its just that it will never end, or it will not end as a result of American actions at least.So this legislation will never go away again. And that is a very real threat to democracy. It is not really important whether it is to protect the personal safety of a dictator or the public safety of most of the population; if a society is based on a basic and widespread fear of the anonymous citizen it can never be a democracy. The new legislation being proposed seems very much to be that.
The politics of George Paine (anti-Bush and anti-war) are clear, but even if you disagree the summary of the situation he offers is sober and worthwhile.
Interestingly, the site called StagNation does not contain gay porn as suggested by the name, but rather a criticism of the failure of invention in aerospace since the 70s.
In a previous post I hyperlinked a short text by Clayton M. Christensen - remarking then that the article may have just been a rehash of the ideas from his bestselling book The Innovator's Dilemma. It was.
It is a very interesting book and it is well researched, with precise accounts of cases of disruptive and sustaining innovation in a number of different markets.
The ideas presented are clear, and clearly backed up by the cases given. After having read it one can't help though to be left with two feelings:
As to the first point: The description of Christensen's discovery is quite adequate in the Tech Review article. What is not there, is the accounts of how to deal with disruptive change, as well of course as the detailed case stories.
As to the second point: There is a passing reference only to the almost complete analogy to the theory of evolution Christensen's ideas present.
We can give his findings in biological terms, cluetrain style. First in Christiansens terms:
The analogy is perfect and explains Christensen's findings. The fact that companies fail to see the disruptions as competition may be seen simply as a case of the disruptors utilizing different resources. Eventually the disruptors migrate towards the resources consumed by the incumbents but not at onset.
Clearly the evolutionary pressure does not pitch the disruptors against the incumbents, since they occupy different niches, so the incumbents do not evolve to fight the disruptors.
Christensen does mention ideas like this that apparently appear in the literature, but he dismisses them, even though they perfectly explain his findings. His dismissal comes from a an unwillingness to accept the determinsm inherent in this biological mapping, but even his alternative theory of how organisms, er companies, adapt to disruption has biological interest.
Let's just review the two main competing ideas of evolution when that theory was new. The idea that environmental pressure forces change has been discovered by several scientists through history. Before Darwin there was Lamarck. Lamarck is mainly famous for his theory that behavioural change forced by environmental change is actually heriditary, which is obviously false for the theory of gene based evolution, that has been so successful.
The determinism in the economic uses of evolutionary theory comes about as a darwinian consequence of the mapping to biological terms.
While evolution in darwinian terms means that the species adapts, no individual organism can change to adapt, they merely fail or succeed. But companies can adapt. Indeed, the dstinguishing characteristic of cultural, knowledge based systems - as opposed to natural, gene based systems - is that culture is Lamarckian.
Cultural evolution is based on adapting individuals that are changed by the changes in their ecological niche.
The other reference that comes to mind related to this book is Thomas Kuhn's 'The strufture of scientific revolutions'. This too presents a mapping, an even more obvious one, where the disruptions constitutes paradigm shifts in the field of industry. This analogy is also absent from the book.
A modification of the copyright system that satisfies both the need to keep the public space open and the rights of ownership for intellectual property would be extending fair use to fair recovery. If copyrighted material languishes in the private space of the copyright claimant and a case can be made that the property rights of the material are not being exercised fairly (i.e. at non-ridiculous prices) then the rights to fair use should also include the right to obtain the material in the first place.
Lessig points to a suggestion for a copyright extension tax which adds a small charge to copyright extensions. Failure to pay for the extension immediately makes the copyrighted material available to the public.
This accomplishes approximately the same thing, but not quite. First of all people might object to the tax as 'yet another way to put money in government pockets', and secondly - it does not prevent the censorship by ownership that is becoming commonplace. To me that is the real target for the activity to keep the public domain open.
You might argue that the cost of litigating to exercise the right to fair recovery would likely incur a higher cost than the copyrigh extension tax, but that goes both ways and it is entirely likely that it is cheaper for copyright holders to make their material available through some kind of library system if not to the general public. Many countries have rules like this for archival purposes anyway.
A case has been presented to limit the possibility of extending copyrights perpetually - the most balanced account of the case seems to bethis one.
At Lawrence Lessigs website an account if made of how copyright holders by not exercising their exclusive marketing rights are effectively removing copyrighted works from history - since no one can get at them.
It seems clear - with a few well-run franchises (Elvis and Mickey) as the exception - that this does not really hinder the cultural evolution where the arts are concerned. A evolutionist view of the story would be that since copyright holders are so ineffective at deriving value from their memes other memes take over and dominate our cultural space, rendering the discussion insignificant. A Case in point would be the rise of Manga comics in the west. It satisfies curiosities the old memes fail to adapt to. Further witnesses to the insignificance of the lawsuit would be the short shelf-life of contemporary music, the short shelf-life of most movies etc.
Of course I am a little too much of an old-world character to actually think like that. We nostalgics do believe in historical value. But still it is a persuasive argument even if you like old culture.
In the case of technology and science time limits are essential to the extent that ownership of old ideas induces ownership of the new, but the pace of invention itself means that there are time limits on the economic viability of an idea, since it will be rendered meaningless by future ideas not yet discovered/created.
The plot of The Game - David Finchers third feature film - turns out to have a real counterpart almost as fantastic as the secret leisure organisation in the film. The players of Cthulhu Lives! stage highly realistic live-action games of tremendous dimensions in time and space. This is not like the Murder Mystery evening or weekend games that one can buy but lengthy, meticulously enacted excursions into the world of H.P. Lovecraft.
A while back I made a comment about the differences between e.g. drugs and software when it comes to intellectual rights, and how this should lead to different rules for copyrighting these very different intellectual properties. It seems from this article that I'm in good company. Well, in company at least. There's a quote in that article from Lawrence Lessig's The Future of Ideas that is almost to the same effect as my position. I gather Lessig is a controversial character - at least in the US - and all the talk of the commons would tend to brand him as left wing, but really I don't think this as to be a partisan issue.
The argument is not against the idea of property at all, but rather that the claims of property- in the case of software - are too weakly formulated to hold merit. Since nobody documents software properly, closed source means that the claim of property becomes rather vague and you can make all kinds of claims of infringement from a relatively broad purely functional definition of software. You need that physical aspect of the software that is the actual construction process, i.e. you need the source at some point.
The second part of that argument is that the vagueness of software interfaces means that any property claim is effectively much wider than it appears since nobody but the source holder can figure out how to make good use of the copyrighted software. This effectively broadens the patent beyond any original claim, which is of course very much the case with Windows and the blurry distinctions between the platform and the Office applications.
For a related discussion of the entertainment industry's killer grip in online freedom, this article is just great.
With a government unwilling to stop Microsoft from 'upselling' the operating system as everything they consider profitable or interesting (i.e. the Office suite etc. etc.) - leaving competitors without a fighting chance - there's little chance of stopping Microsoft. Latest case in point is the beginning of the end of an alternative platform for digital authentication as Liberty Alliance Waves White Flag at Passport.
Previously I made a comment about the link between digital technologies, intellectual property and personal freedom. It still seems to me that the digitization of our personal space means that we will to a greater and greater extent extrovert our thoughts into some technological device (e.g. classy.dk) - when we do that we are suddenly publishers - and intellectual property rights owners think they have some rights on our expression. The conflict between the principles of the information economy and the principles of individual liberty become very important and visible. The grandfather of digital risks to personal freedom is of course the fear of the universal personal ID
It is very hard to have a reasonable and workable opinion about these issues. The digitization presents remarkable opportunities for prosperity and a good life, but making them mandatory (btw as a left leaning Scandinavian I have been happily centrally registered for ages) makes them dangerous.
Our notions of society simply don't cover the networked society, and our network does not really support any notions of society at all (except a naively open one). Using current technology the digital life is essentially a public life.
Clearly 'freedom of speech' must be augmented with a constitutional principle of 'fair use' - since we will be users of so many technical and semi-technical interfaces, and since text and other forms of 'speech' more and more become something we use, i.e. more and more active functionally as opposed to purely being expression, but I'm not sure that does really cover what the notion of Networked Man should be.
This btw. relates to the very way we build our technology. Only open adaptable technology makes it possible for the individual to choose NOT to join the collective.
Danish science writer Tor Nørretranders (of "The User Illusion" (Mærk Verden in danish) fame) has written a new book on evolution, cooperation, the gift economy, and sex. The basix premise : Everything we do, we do basically for sex. Sex is the ONLY major driver for human endeavour.
Not having read it yet it sounds like this book fits into the same mould as his previous books. The basic premise can be inferred from general principles (The laws of evolution in this case) without writing a 330 page book. Scientific ideas used to sell the story are oversold as controversial and sometimes they are even oversold as new. A Case in point for this books seem to be 'the economics of cooperation' as analyzed using the Prisoners Dilemma. This is one of the oldest ideas in 'experimental mathematics', and newspapers were covering this story at least 10 years ago. Thirdly - once the creative (or other) juices start flowing, the story tends to get ahead of the basic premise, and some wild claim is added to the mix. In this case the merging of 'gift economy' (e.g. Open Source) and the whole sex thing.
It's a shame - the basic story is interesting in and of itself. The setup to make all this magical and exciting makes the story less appealing to me. I'd like just the facts - without the mystery. The notion that there has to be a msytery around for a phenomenon to be exciting is dangerous in my opionion.
While the domain business is 50% porn (and no, that is not a stupidly generalized exaggerated number, it is just a fact) I can assure you - talking from work, while updating the servers on a sunday afternoon, huge cold coming on, hung over from yesterdays birthday bash - that there is absolutely no sex involved in the actual work here at Ascio
Wanting to get into business - need a Superhot business concept. Look not further. Rapid fire, superhot idea generation for the patently absurd generation.
Just a brief summary of Wireless Networking Business Basics as I understand them.
The fact that Organic's idea so resembles what one hears about Boingo and the further fact that this idea seems so highly copyable reminds one of the early internet. The promises are the same, and may be summarized as Pure Network Effect. The business problem could also be the same : There is no barrier to entry, so a stampede effect at any sign of momentum is a very real danger. Basically there is no first mover advantage in pure wireless IP traffic. IP is the great equalizer of networks, which is of course both a blessing and a curse.
The winner would be anybody able to leverage a platform advantage in any way shape or form. For a while there the mobile phone networks looked as if they might be that advantage to their owners, having a solid network already established of radio transmitters and receivers. They are presently aggresively squandering their advantage by asking the same prices, that make some sense for voice, for data transmitted over the GPRS networks which makes no sense at all. The value of data, per unit of information, is significantly less than the value of voice traffic.
They seem to have no recollection of the speed with which proprietary network providers like CompuServe and Prodigy lost market power on initial web uptake. With WiFI on the horizon and fixed networks at flat rate prices widely deployed traffic prices like the current GPRS pricing seem positively archaic.
Ironically the phone-oligarchies (i.e. the almost monopolies that used to be monopolies) could have the platform advantage to beat out everybody in the WiFi space as well. A combined WiFi/ADSL plan with a rebate (e.g. more bandwidth at the same price) for letting your ADSL line serve as a WiFi hotspot could be a plausible way to cover metropolitan areas with WiFi.
It is of course easy to find something to criticize (the definite association with violent left wing activists in the 70s and some questionable pictures of Fischer taking part in violent protest himself) but the successful reinvention of Die Grünen as a reform-friendly pragmatic modern political party is impressive. And Fischer has actually been able to communicate this new line of policy to a sizable group of voters.
If only something similar could happen in Denmark, we, the right-moving left-wingers, would be happy.
We are unfortunately much more likely to see something like Gerhard Schröders power-clinging, cheap attacks on American foreign policy. A new low point in election time sellout. It is one thing to see isolationist foreign policy rhetoric at election time in American politics, but in modern European politics it is just completely out of place. What's next? An attack on France?
As previously reported, an absurd proposed legislation would allow invasion of privacy to interfere with P2P sharing of copyrighted data.Bruce Schneier has the quote: They're trying to invent a new crime: interference with a business model
This quote could also be applied to the ridiculously broad patents (btw. Software Patents : Just say no) on business models being issued during the Boom era (I'm guessing the failure of companies like priceline has tempered the pace of this particularly absurdity). Making first mover advantage a law is not a good idea.
No this is not an article about a failed 2M Invest company... Actual legislation is being proposed in the US Congress to allow any copyright holder to hack the hackersas reported on K5. In short, the proposed bill provides immunity for a number of possible liabilities caused by interfering with another party's computer, if the intent was explicitly - and upfront - to foil illegal use of copyrighted material.
This is the old "If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns" idea. Let the good guys give the bad guys a taste of their own medicine. Only, in the virtual world, where boundaries of location (especially in a P2P world) are abstract and hard to define, it seems to me that this bill is an extension of the right to self defence and the right to protect the sanctity of the home, to actually allowing aggresive vigilante incursions on other peoples property, when the other people are accused of copyright infringement.
It goes right to the core of current intellectual property debates, and raises in a very clear way the civil right issues involved in the constant and rapidly increasing attempts at limiting right-of-use for lawfully purchased intellectual property. Whose property IS intellectual property anyway?
In the olden days - when intellectual property was securely tied to some kind of totem, a physical stand-in for the intellectual property, in the form of the carrier of the information, i.e. a book or an LP or similar, there was a simple way to settle the issue. Possesion of the totem constituted an interminable right of use of the intellectual property. The only intellectual property available on a per-use basis was the movies. Live performance does not count in this regard, since live performance is tied to the presence of the performer, and the consumption of live performance is not therefore a transfer of an intellectual property to the consumer, in that it is neither copyable or transferable or repeatable.
It is of course the gestural similarity with live performance that has led to the rental model for film.
As the importance of the totem began to degrade, so began the attacks on the physical interpretation of intellectual property. We have seen these attacks and reinterpretations of purchase through the introduction of casette tapes, video tape, paper copiers, copyable CD rom media, and now just the pure digital file.
At each of these turning points attempts are made to limit the right-of-use to film-like terms. Use of intellectual property is really just witnessing of a performance. So you pay per impression, and not per posession.
What is interesting of late, and in relation to the lawsuit, is both the question of whether this 'artistic' pricing model is slowly being extended from the entertainment culture to all cultural interaction. Modern software licenses are moving towards a service-model with annual subscription fees. This could be seen as a step towards pure per-use fees for all consumable culture - an idea that is at least metaphorically consistent with the notion of the information grid. Information service (including the ability to interact) is an infrastructure service of modern society, provided by information utilities, and priced in the same way as electrical power.
In practice you do not own the utility endpoints in your home - the gasmeter and the electrical power connection to the grid. And ownership of any powercarrying of powerconsuming device does not constitute ownership of the power/energy carried or consumed. In the same way the content companies would have us think of hardware. And Microsoft would like you to think of Windows as content in this respect.
Secondly, there is the important question of how this interpretation of information and culture relates copyright to civil right.
The sanctity of physical space (i.e. the right of property) is a very clear and therefore very practical measure of freedom. Actions within the physical space are automatically protected through the protection of the physical space. There are very real and important differences between what is legal in the commons and what is legel in private space. And of course the most important additional freedom is the basic premise of total behavioural and mental freedom.
The content company view of intellectual property is a challenge to this basic notion of freedom. There is a fundamental distinction between the clear cut sanctity of a certain physical space, and the blurry concept of "use".
The act of use itself can be difficult to define, as property debates over "deep-linking" make clear.
In more practical terms, any use of digital data involves numerous acts of copying of the data. Which ones are the ones that are purchased, and which ones were merely technical circumstances of use. The legislation proposed enters this debate at the extreme content-provider biased end of the scale. Ownership of anything other than the intellectual rights to content are of lesser importance than the intellectual ownership.
The difficulty of these questions compromise the notion of single use and use-based pricing. And ultimately - as evidenced by the deep-link discussions - the later behaviour of the property user is also impacted by purchase of intellectual property according to the content sellers. This is a fundamental and important difference between the electrical grid and live performance on one hand, and intellectual property on the other. Intellectual property simply is not perishable, and, as if by magic, it appears when you talk about it.
Interestingly a person with a semiotics backgorund would probably be able to make the concept of "use" seem even more dubious, since the act of comprehension of any text or other intellectual content, is in fact a long running, never ending and many faceted process. In the simplest form, you would skirt an issue such as this, and go with something simple like "hours of direct personal exposure to content via some digital device". That works for simple kinds of use, but not for complicated use. And is should be clear from endless "fair use" discussions that content owners are very aware of the presence of ideas made available in their content in later acts of expression.
A wild farfetched guess would be that as we digitize our personal space more and more, expression will be carried to a greater and greater extent over digital devices, so that the act of thought is actually external, published and visible (witness the weblog phenomenon). In such a world, the notion that reference is use becomes quite oppresive.
Ultimately the concept of free thought and free expression is challenged by these notions of property. It is basically impossible to have free thought and free expression without free reference or at least some freedom of use of intellectual materials.
The best and most tasteless one I've found is on the recent Israeli strike against a militant Hamas leader - leading to the death of 15 others: Stevo suggests that if only the Isreali forces communicated with MSN Messenger and Exchange Server, surely the attacking plane would have been informed about the many civilians who died and their deaths could have been avoided.
Man - as previously mentioned - could degrade into biomass for information processing, if the pressure of divided attention cannot be tamed.
Listening to the radio program
This American Life | Give the People What They Want it becomes clear that we are biomass for information - and happily so - as long as were consuming and processing social information. The story is of a home for the Alzheimer plagued, where they stage fake weddings to please the diseased. The weddings are fake. Bride and groom were hired to play bride and groom. It's like Tony n'Tinas wedding without the pretense of any excitement, except that of a social situation in which you participate.
This helps the Alzheimers patients, by placing them in a social situation they can understand and consume mentally, perhaps remembering similar situations from their own life. However, since they are Alzheimer's patients, the memory of the event lasts only a few hours. The home could stage the wedding again the next day, and the attendees would attend as if yesterday had never happened.
I am reminded of a novel by the Danish novelist Svend Aage Madsen called Se Dagens Lys (literally translates to "See the Light of Day") about a man who wakes up each morning in a new world, with a new wife, and new neighbours to happily live though the social gestures of the day, and then wakes up next day with no emotional history, just more social gestures and a new but similar setting (and I am of course also reminded of "Once in a Lifetime", and "Brave New World" and "1984" and every other fictionalization of the modern emotionally disengaged life)
Som rapporteret i Computerworld Online kan der stadig tjenes penge i konsulentbranchen - dvs. blandt IT folk der arbejder med forretningsudvikling og på timetakst - altså forretninger hvor IT- konsulenten kan betragtes som bare endnu en rådgiver med endnu et speciale. I alle de brancher hvor software ellers VIRKELIG burde v?re profitabelt - dvs. software fremstillingsvirksomhed med en bruttomargin t?t på de 100% (fordi al udvikling er faste omkostninger) er der dyb krise.
Det er selvf?lgelig knap så overraskende at en virksomhed uden fleksible udgifter taber penge når markedet er dårligt. Men det er alligevel skidt at det er dem alle sammen der går så dårligt. Det der er galt med det er naturligvis at man som IT person så heller ikke har den fabelagtige mulighed for at geare sin personlige indsats ved at skyde sin produktivitet ud i oms?ttelige intellektuelle rettigheder - altså software.
Man er i stedet reduceret til en jobtype som l?gen og advokaten. Vell?nnet konsulentarbejde jovist, men bundet til ens fysiske tilstedev?relse og de timers arbejde man l?gger i det.
This is great! There's a guy who has actually purchased a sponsored link on Google for keyword Hell
There's a largeish site and a book about The Terrors of Hell being advertised.
Oddly enough - considering the web demographic - the sites found are not for satanist information but religious sites. Biblehelp also bought heaven, oddly enough no porn sites did.
The wired article Deep Link Foes Get Another Win comments on the sad, ridiculous outcome of a lawsuit by Danish newspapers against a link-digest service called Newsbooster. The predictable, but still idiotic, claim of the newspapers is that the forwarding of openly available links to openly available content on their webpages is somehow a violation of their copyright. Nonsense! If the articles were excerpted, so you could read the news without visiting the webpages that would be something, but the idea that you HAVE to arrive at a page through link navigation from a banner page is ridiculous, and the claims made by newspaper spokespersons that they are not trying to limit the availability of deep linking, is of course absurd - since the only thing Newsbooster is guilty of is deep linking.
What's even more ridiculous is that the newspapers could stop the deep linking by changing the way they implement their websites. If they are so intent on only offering links to one page - which of course reduces the value of their service to very little - this is completely possible by serving only dynamic pagereferences, modified on an hourly timescale.
The proper solution for the newspapers is to get with the program and turn their site into true hypertext where every page is a valid and compelling entry point to the entire website. Reworking newspaper sites in this fashion works with the hypertext publishing model instead of against it. Think Amazon. All of their book pages serve as an excellent introduction to further Amazon inventory.
With a proper implementation Newsbooster adds value to the newspapers instead of drawing value.
In fact I think that even with badly made newssites this is true. Peoply simply don't use their back button that much but continue through the newsflow after scanning pages.
Would be interesting to hear someone like Jakob Nielsens comments on this.
This whole humanistic intelligence thing is all fine and dandy - provided the new sensory experience of ever present communication impulses does not mean that we end up in an age of continuous partial attention. Neal Stephensons homepage (the link above) really does not want to be disturbed. His homepage is the longest single statement to the effect "Don't call me I'll call you" I have ever seen.
This entire thing about symbols/ideas/imagery reminds me of a talk I once heard the danish sculptor Hein Heinsen give. To put it briefly, Heinsen's approach to his work means there's a fundamental difference for him between sculpture and painting, in that the sculpture is a question of presence and being, whereas the painting is imagery and idea. As most everybody Heinsen believes there's a just too many ideas going around which of course becomes the grounding for working with sculpture. Of course the reality of it is that the sculpture as being is often a stand-in for some other 'real' being, so in fact merely the idea of being! Whereas the painting is often reduced from being an image to just being the traces of the imagining, so in fact more being. Heinsen claimed in all honesty that he was well aware of this flaw in his logic, and that his answer to the whole thing was to make very few sculptures! We should all have that luxury.
In simpler terms we can follow Stephenson and paraphrase
Donald Knuth: Email is a wonderful invention for people who want to be on top of things. I don't want to be on top of things. I want to be on the bottom of things.
Apparently you can beat even the distributed guerilla force of P2P file sharing. The finest current service for audio dies as announced here.
The good people at Amazon have the very best online shop (IMHO). Good service, good selection, easy discovery and very nice Encyclopediability (i.e. the property that you always learn something new when using their site by scanning the entry next to the one you were looking for - as when reading a paper encyclopedia). But even the best make mistakes. My latest receipt contains the following staggering numbers
Ordered Title Price Dispatched Subtotal
1 Speech and Language Processing 43.74 GBP 1 43.74 GBP
1 The Mythical Man-month 28.74 GBP 1 28.74 GBP
1 Applied Cryptography 47.29 GBP 1 47.29 GBP
1 How to Solve It 39.38 GBP 1 39.38 GBP
Subtotal Including VAT: 159.15 GBP
Delivery Charges Including VAT: 8.64 GBP
Total Including VAT: 3,286,790.31 GBP
VAT 25.00 GBP%: 33.57 GBP
The VAT comes in a only 0.001% (not the 25% mentioned) so the taxes are nothing to speak of - but the handling fee of 3286622.52 seems excessive.
It's obvious but I did not see this one until today: The ThinkGeek 9/11 T-shirt rm -rf /bin/laden.
Mainly driven by Germanys massive 8-0 defeat of Saudi Arabia the goals per match average of this years World Cup is still very high. The score for the first four games a staggering 3.5 goals per match. Sunday was a bit more relaxed, but only a bit - ending at 11/4 so we stay above a 3 goal average - nameley 25/8.
So Denmark is below average. But what goals they were! Not having seen Argentina yet, I still think ours is the best game yet.
Having now seen the awesome Argentina-Nigeria match it is now safe to say that Denmarks match is not the best one played at the World Cup. Both teams were very good. Sweden and England are in for some seriously tough opposition. The Nigerian team stayed well organized, had tremenous opportunities of their own, and only lost out because Argentina was - as expected - scary.
In a recent documentary on danish television a spokesperson for the radical fundamentalist Hizb-ut-tahrir movement angrily comments: Why is it that the west is always only told that in our society adulterers are stoned to death when 4 people have witnessed the adultery, and never that no one our society pays taxes? (quote not necessarily accurate - but the words were to this effect).
BECAUSE IT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS you idiot.