Wednesday, September 29

For your discussion — A call for further protection and clarification of fair use rights!

From: U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use
"The distinction between 'fair use' and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: 'quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.'

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of 'fair use' would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered 'fair' nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney."
The above is all the protection, direction, and definition the U.S. copyright law provides its citizens on fair use. Even if this may have been adequet in the physical world in the online world everything is a copy and when faced with such simple everyday issues as how to properly and legally quote a song for the pupose of discussion the only practical right that can be derived from U.S. Copyright Office is your right to "consult an attorney".

I needn't point out that "consulting an attorney" is still no guarentee of your rights, is a might bit expensive, and slightly impracticle to do on a daily basis. Consulting an attorney should only be a requirement as a last resort of the law. The general dependancy of fair use on lawyers alone makes fair use protections anavailable and inadequete to 99.99% of all citizens and in 99.99% of all cases?

The founding fathers of United States and framers of the constitution would be appauled at the abuse and mockery with which corporations, special interest money, and congress have made of copyright law and with it individual rights, freedom of speach and our freedom of public assembly.

I would bet my last dollar that in their revolutionary hearts our founding fathers would be proud of the spirit of the people and the lengths to which the people have gone thus far to maintain their rights. So why then has nothing been done to correct this vast inadequecy in the law, and why is our Congress in fact spending it's time debatinging acts like the Induce Act to give a tiny minority of copyright holding coporations more opportunities to litigate at the cost of individual freedoms?

If new laws are needed to protect
the greater good,
the vitality of American culture,
the rights of the individual,
and the free market system
then new laws are needed to protect and further establish FAIR USE rights.

We do not need laws that might further stifle innovation and freedom to protect the special interests of a tiny faction of corporations whom peddle artifacts of popular culture such as those represented by the RIAA and MPAA lobbiests. We need fair use rights and we need them now!

The debates in congress are clearly and completely askew. The congressional debate is focused purely on protecting special interests which are very much in the minority and whom have lobbied heavily to tilt the ear of and the debate of congressmen in their favor. If we need new laws then we certainly do not need new laws to protect the outdated and inflexible business plans of large incumbent corporations that peddle only a tiny fraction of the most popular of cultural artificats such as those represented by the RIAA and MPAA. To let the debate be dictated by such a tiny faction of only the most comercial peddlers of culture means we all lose.

I have watched congressional debates on the Induce Act, P2P, and other issues of the day, and I am appauled by the lack of representation by the average american citizen and the dominance of the debate by RIAA, MPAA and P2P representatives. If I were to have a voice as indeed I should as an US citizen I would say simply this.
Get over yourselves MPAA and RIAA lobiests,

Your interests do not in any way represent the interests of the majority of U.S. citizens. The fact that your business models are no longer relevant is NOT the problem of the government. Your business models and indeed your entitlement to sell music or movies on little plastic disks for large profit margins or any profit margin is not a guarenteed right. If you cannot find some other way to conduct your business that is suitable to the people and profitable then in fact you should be questioning your own right to exist because in fact you have no god given or constitutionally protected right to exist. On the other hand people do have rights and you are trampling on them through widespread threat of litigation.

The problem that has driven the masses to and created innovation in closed systems and marketplaces like P2P is the lack of legal protections from litigation. Lack of protections, lack of foreclosure of protections, and lack of human accessibility to these legal protections have created the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) over fair use that you have preyed upon. It has put the fear of litigation into the minds of the average citizen which has driven the debate of popular culture off the open internet and into darkent systems such as P2P. It is the fear which you continue to play upon with your litigations and your litiguous advertising campaigns that continues to fuel the marketplace and innovation for these cloak and dagger systems.

The debate should now be on how to correct the dirth of innovation, open marketplaces, and business models for intellectual property in this new frontier so we may bring american culture back out of hidding and reaffirm it's place at the center of american life, online as it has been offline. As such if any new laws should be considered and are necissary then it is time to consider further protections of the individual's right to fairly discuss, quote, debate, and parody popular culture so that the people may PARTICIPATE in the creation and dissemination of their culture.

PARTICPIATION is the hallmark of the internet and every citizen should not only "be free", but "KNOW they are free" to openly quote all media. People must be as free to express themselves in this new medium as they are free express themselves through the age old medium of writing. Quoting video or music must be as second nature as quoting from a book. People must be free to assemble publically online as they may. People must be free to speak publically online as they may. Every citizen is entitled to full knowlege and protection of their rights in the online world as they are in the off-line, without any fear of litigation.

For these reasons our primary task must be in the further definition and clarification of "fair use" doctrine that we may enourage innovation in open-markets, in business models, in open debate in the commons. To spend congressional energies in any other matter is a perversion of the American judicial system.
Lack of protections for fair use rights have pushed the debate, the conversation and indeed the very life of popular culture off the internet as a whole. I look around the internet and I see a lack of debate, conversations, and even open public commons online because of a fear that somone might post some material which cannot be reasonably verified (even at the hest of a legal team!) to be within fair use rights. Any host or creator lives in fear that they may suddenly find themselves at great legal peril through no fault of their own except for allowing for fair and proper use. As such systems have closed their doors behind password protections and increasingly covert systems like P2P where they not only cannot be sued, but where also free-loaders can exist and where public debate and conversation cannot go.

Lack of fair use protections have black boxed american culture.

The reason for this lack of cultural debate in todays public sphere is because lack of protection for fair use has scared off the private owners of public commons. Incorporated representatives of popular culture have stymied the debates and conversations that are vital to the very health of popular culture through threat of litigation. Instead of debate and conversation taking place around artifacts of popular culture these artifacts have become inmeshed within the business models of dominate media players. Business models of players whose only interest in the common good is their ability to profit from it directly and in the immediate future. These incumbents' threats of litigation have created an internet where few cultural artifacs not central to popular culture are legally quoted and shared online.

Music, TV, and motion pictures are central to American popular culture, yet we have no clear and openly protected rights to quote them for the purpose of debate, criticism or education on the internet.

Meanwhile the widespread fear of litigation by the masses has pushed popular culture to the darknet where, through cloak and dagger P2P systems, mass society can protect itself from litigation but only at the loss of public debate and at the peril of freeloaders, theives and other members of society whose actions would not be condoned in open systems. In these closed systems citizens may find new freedoms and a greatly reduced risk of litigation but they are unable to publically debate and as a result most discussion that might enrich culture and provide a basis for innovation and evolution never happens.

If debate does occur it happens only in limited and discrete closed systems like IM, private spaces or offline where any benifits cannot be shared and contributed to in a public manner. Perhaps the fact that the debate is widespread and viscous but only in such isolated pockets is why only few such attempts (such as this article) are even made by bloggers to progress this most obstinate of debates.

Indeed we do need better protections of "Fair Use" and not further protections of those institutions who falsely claim to represent the widest spread and ever increasing demographic in America, the so called "creative class". These institutions are only peddlers of a small fraction of the most popular of American culture and as such they have no right to steer this debate and in fact have already steered it so poorly that they have foolishly entrenched themselves against P2P technologies.

Fear of litigation by them has cleared table of widespread cultural debate and innovation within this huge new frontier of OPEN internet culture. Indeed neither of these parties represents the american people but their battle has framed the debate and laws in a very twisted and negative light of protecting P2P or protecting incumbent business models. Neither of these possibly outcomes rationally support the rights of the peoples nor the spirit of the people. What is rational and what has been overlooked is protect the rights of individuals so that they may feel free to discuss and innovate ways out of the problem by establishing new business models and new marketplaces for ideas which by there very nature may prove both the P2P and incumbent parties fears irrelevant.

We need to draw popular culture out of the darkenet and back onto the open internet where debate can be had and rights and laws can be explored, advanced, debated and understood by the citizens. Where an individual citizen can know that if they post this music sample by this author for discussion on this bulletin board or blog they are legally entitled to do so without fear of litigation. Where an author of video understands the limit of his right to "quote" from a video the way an author understands his right to quote from another book because (as Lawrance Lessig constantly points out) copyright never states what you have a right to do, it only states what you cannot do.

The foreward at the end



This idea has been a long time coming. "I'm just one person" as the saying goes. "What can I do?" Well, I'm doing it one step at a time and I think to start with everyone needs to find their voice, state their best points publically, and contribute to the debate with whatever means they have. What follows is my contribution and wether this idea starts as a whisper on a blog or is shouted from mountain tops by an established journalist publication it will start and it will spread. I encourage every indivdual in the blogosphere and indeed every individual everywhere to publically speak out on what I'm about to say or what they have to say on the issue either by posting to their own blog or speaking on their discussion boards. I encourage you to encourage others and I invite you if you like to to simply link to this post or if you so believe in what I'm about to say here to copy and past it or remix it to your liking for this is what ideas are for. Without further adeu, my manifesto.

Monday, September 27

Reading list: Anarchist in the Library

I just got back from Ann Arbor, MI after meeting and listening to Siva Vaidhyanathan talk at his book signing for "The Anarchist in the Library" at Shaman Drum Bookshop on State Street. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'll post a review as soon as I get the chance.

The book reading was short and sweet with a small group and lots of questions. I enjoyed it tremendously and tried to record it but alas my recorder shut off about 15 minutes in. However, you can watch a similar speech he gave as part of the Luminary Lectures at the Library of Congress entitled The Anarchist in the Library: The Moral Panics over Copyright and Free Speech. It's an excellent speach.

Also you can check out his blog at sivacracy.net

Friday, September 24

Submitting Andrew Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" manifesto to ChangeThis.com

I just submitted the following proposal to ChangeThis.com after stumbling on Andrew Carnegie's "The Gospel of Wealth". I had to remove a word or two to meet there severe restrictions on submission length, but it's not bad.
topic(s): Business  Culture  
title: Andrew Carnegie: The Gospel of Wealth, 1889

description: Andrew Carnegie (1835­1919) was a massively successful business man - his wealth was based on the provision of iron and steel to the railways, but also a man who recalled his radical roots in Scotland before his immigration to the United States. To resolve what might seem to be contradictions between the creation of wealth, which he saw as proceeding from immutable social laws, and social provision he came up with the notion of the "gospel of wealth". He lived up to his word, and gave away his fortune to socially beneficial projects, most famously by funding libraries. His approval of death taxes might surprise modern billionaires!

your bio: It's Andrew Carnegie, you know who he is. If URL below isn't of proper licensce there are many other sources. This work is in the public domain and it is in the very spirit of changethis.com. Let's get some historical manifesto's in here! http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1889carnegie.html

homepage URL: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1889carnegie.html

Follow up on "I Found Some Of Your Life — and now I'm blogging it."

Well, I found some of your life has disappointingly disappeared just as quickly as it appeared in the first place. It is clear that the owner of the blog had second thoughts, what is not clear is wether he was either contacted by the owner or the shocking success of the site scared him. I will dare say I personally thought the site was a great idea. After all there was no damaging material in it, mostly just silly pictures of people drinking bear and other boring stuff. It was the idea of writing yourself into a story around someone else's randomly found pictures which made the whole thing work. The pictures themselves were in fact referred to as otherwise boring by many parties.

So, the dust has settled, but the mystery may never be solved.

First, it is thought that at-least one of the people has been identified as a Kappa Delta at Vanderbelt. I dare not post the picture here and I suspect it will soon disappear, but you can compare for yourself the Vanderbilt picture with that posted on engadget.com. I believe there was much more conclusive evidence (such as corresponding sorority information and possibly a related football stadium) on the "i found some of your life" blog, but alas it has evaporated and as of yet no mirrors have surfaced.

Second, Engadgets take on it which, while somewhat likely and somewhat hilarious, I'm inclined to believe it is wrong.
Well, it appears the owner might have found out, because now everything is gone, poof. We expect a new moblog called ?I found this storage card, posted the pictures, and then got my ass kicked? coming from a hospital bed as soon as this dude gets out of his coma.
From I Found Some of Your Life, er, Now Give it Back - Engadget - www.engadget.com


Third, the most likely and boring possibility as posted by a commentator to the slashdot article on the subject. The following was presumed to be the last post.
Monday, September 20, 2004
That's It

Sorry folks.

Contact: ifsoyl at gmail.com

[Thank you for all of the emails. I took the site down pre-emptively. I have not yet heard from the owner of the card. I will try to let you know.

Let me be very clear that I never intended to hurt or embarrass anyone. While I understand that this is a somewhat naive position to maintain, you must understand that the scope of this project grew far beyond my expectations in a very short period of time.

That having been said, I would like to formally apologize to all of those who were unknowingly involved.

Finally - yes, the celebrity was Vanilla Ice.]

posted by jordan | 7:11 PM
From Why You Should Never Lose Your Digital Media — Slashdot.org

Postal Service Album Keeps On Delivering

Interestingly I just stumbled upon this the way I first stumbled upon the postal service almost a year ago in some one's blog. They and the Dresden Dolls being far and away my two favorite new bands of the last year. A couple years ago and neither of these two bands would have made it out of the starting gate, and need I explain on this blog what force keeps their records selling a year and a half after their original release? ...and no it's not "blogs" but it just might be word of mouth and that the people have a voice now far greater than any blog, bulletin board or other single technology.
The Postal Service's Give Up shows no sign of doing so.

'We made that record like two years ago and it's still selling like crazy,' puzzled Postal singer Ben Gibbard said. 'I don't really know why.'

Like the Energizer bunny, the album, released in February 2003, keeps going and going. The collaboration between Death Cab for Cutie frontman Gibbard, Dntel mastermind Jimmy Tamborello and Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis was just meant to be a fun little side project (see 'Death Cab Singer Goes Postal With Electronic Side Project') but it has steadily crawled to 351,000-plus copies sold thanks to the wistful pop singles 'Such Great Heights' and 'The District Sleeps Tonight.'

The group's sleeper-hit debut melds pop and electronic beats in a manner that plays to the strengths of each genre to create a hybrid some have dubbed 'lap-pop,' because a laptop computer figures prominently in its production and performance.
Update: So, somone asked exactly where it was I first heard the Postal Service. What was this mysterious video? Well, it only took me only a second to look it up, so here it is: WeeklyDV : [Wire] Short. The funny thing is the author and excellent and masterfull thief of this music and culture (Steve Rice) forgot to even give the postal service attribution, yet still word of mouth slipped out and not only exposed me to the postal service but through myself and other viewers generate who knows how many CD sales, evil as this "unauthorized pirate use" was. I snicker at anyone who would shun such free exposure and what should be protected "fair use" though it is not. Not to oddly it spawned several other uses of Postal Service songss in video on the site. I particularly liked this one: WeeklyDV : [Suprise] Short

MTV.com - News -Postal Service Album Keeps On Delivering

"Home computer" picture a hoax

Well, I've been hoaxed. I'll have to consider my sources better in the future. (Shannon ;) The "home computer" photo is photoshoped.
That is the control panel from an old naval nuclear reactor. On the far right is the EPCP (electric plant control panel) where the electrical operator on watch ('EO') controls power flows and breaker positions (notice the schematic laid out with switches for breakers). In the middle section is where the reactor operator ('RO') sits. He shims the control rods up and down in the reactor core with the lever (the L shaped lever just in front of the horizontal bar) and on the left is the throttleman station (usually manned by electricians). The large wheel is used to open/close ahead steam valves to the propusion shaft, while the smaller wheel is used to open/close back steam (astern throttles). The two wheels would be used in conjunction with each other to get the shaft to stop from a forward rotation, and then go in reverse (ahead steam is removed and astern steam applied to stop the shaft). The different gauges are specific to each station, with the throttleman concerned about power to steam flow ratios, steam pressures, etc. The RO cares about primary water avg. (coolant) temp, pressures, etc. The EO is watching vital bus voltages, and charging the battery with a trickle charge.
GeekPress

Update: New information on the source of the image.
The color picture [below] was taken in 2000 at the Smithsonian Institution exhibit "Fast Attacks and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War" and depicts:
A full-scale mock-up of a typical nuclear-powered submarine's maneuvering room in which the ship's engineers control the power plant and electrical and steam systems

From: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Inboxer Rebellion (Does Not Compute)


I guess I've been remiss on keeping up on Fark. In fact I must openly admit I have Fark egg on my face. An anonymous commenter has pointed to an article on Snopes.com that outlines the whole scoop on the "1954" fake. Needless to say I was duped and it wasn't even a good dupe, but I will say that noone gives the photo editor who affectionately calls himself "lukket" enough credit for making his spoof just bad enough to look like an scanned Popular Science article from the 50's.

Fark contest from 9.9.04: FARK.com: (1115586) Photoshop this mock-up of a submarine's maneuvering Room.

Lukket's Fark profile

the original edit on lukket's site

Thursday, September 23

A retro-futurist look at the computer in 2004

A futuristic model of by the Rand Coporation in 1954. The camption states: "Scientists from RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a "home computer" could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require no yet imvented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language the computer will be easy to use..."
Originally found at: Select CG Main Page

First one two find out what publication this came from and find the rest of the caption wins buko kudos.

In case you missed it, the update on this hoax is available here.

Head Billboards — It's so stupid it's got to viral advertising

From those who brought assvertising to the market place we now have another hillariously stupid assualt on New Yorkers. impreMedia has teamed up with Night Agency, the much acclaimed abusers of New York citizens to place billboards on peoples heads. I find it fun and fascinating the lengths to which Night Agency will go in fishing for infamey and backlash.

Continue to tune in in the comming months as we see how far Night Agency will go before getting, punched, clobbered, sued or there's such an outcry from New Yorkers that they find a creative, hacktivist way to tell NightAgency they've crossed the line.

From Adrants: Agency Promotes Client With Head Billboards

Author Anne Rice responds to reviewers on Amazon with glorious rant

In an unprecedented move Anne Rice has responded to her critics in the reviews section on Amazon for her book "Blood Canticle (The Vampire Chronicles)". All I need say is; it's long, it's ranting and it's absolutely wonderful. Do yourself a favor and read this review wether you like Anne Rice or not.

Amazon.com: Books: Blood Canticle (The Vampire Chronicles) scroll down to "From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here, September 6, 2004"

Press coverage

While there is still a small chance this may be an impostor you can verify that these are actually Ann Rice's words by checking out all Anne Rice's Amazon reviews and the below quoted article from the Toronto Star. I suspect more articles will appear on google news in the following days as the mainstream media may pick up on this.

From TheStar.com - Vampire queen versus Amazon
Writer Anne Rice, whose extravagant fictions about vampires and witches have made her famous and rich, vents her anger at readers who dare criticize her latest book Blood Canticle on the Amazon.com website and ends her lengthy, single-paragraph tirade by giving her home address in New Orleans and promising refunds to the disgruntled.

'And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans La. 70130. I am not a coward about my real name or where I live,' she writes in a message posted Sept. 6 in response to the harsh criticisms and expressions of disappointment from dozens of readers. 'And how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly response
On a side note. (warning customer experience rant)

Amazon! if you would PLEASE respect your customers especially Ann Rice and support some basic formatting like PARAGRAPHS and line breaks.

Sorry friends and readers, but being obsessed with the "language of the interface", I can't help but to find fault with Amazon's lack of formatting support in their customer reviews tools. It's an affront to their customers and I find it rather telling that in the above quote from the Toronto Start they attribute Anne Rice with not properly formatting her own words. Amazon has done us all quite a disservice. The message Amazon sends is literally, "customer we want you're opinion, but then again it's not really that important to us." While it's disrespectful to all their customers, it really shines through loud and clear when Ann Rice's graces Amazon with her own words only to have them mashed together like some unimportant gibberish. This is "bad customer experience". Bad Amazon! Bad!

Finally media tracking of this article, as of this writing, "95 of 368 people found the following review helpful". This is posted right on top of the review, and while it's unprecedented I would think it likely that it may grow well into the thousands in the coming days now that the media is starting to discover it. As of this writing there is only 1 article on google news pertaining to Anne's Amazon Review

Thank you Anne Rice for gracing us with your wonderful prose / rant.

Googlephrasing — fun for the whole family

In addition to googlisms, google bombing, googlefighting and googlewhacking. We now have googlephrasing.

As defined by Mark Hurst at goodexperience.com, "googlephrasing is the search for a long slightly obscure sentence fragment, enclosed in quotes, and then revealed in the Web-zeitgeist'". While this is not necissarily new I believe Mark may be one of the first to try to define it.

Enough with the formalities, on with the fun. The following examples were swiped from Mark's site.

"i've always wanted to go to"
Boston (she has no idea why)
South East Asia
Italy (he has a huge Italian family)
San Francisco (to study ESL)
Jamaica (for a honeymoon)
Bahamas
The Great Barrier Reef (to go swimming there)

""is the best movie i've ever seen in my life"
Lord of the Rings
8 Mile, American Wedding
Moulin Rouge
Life is Beautiful
Varsity Blues
Gladiator
1492
The Matrix
Pearl Harbor.

"surprisingly, i actually liked"
Mozart's Symphony No. 30
Bon Jovi playing Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."
the movie "Tomb Raider"
country singer Tweedy better than country singer Ferrar
the video game "The Hulk"

"I have a confession to make, I"
... I didn't start Atkins this week like I'd planned to. And I've
been craving chocolate again.
... I recently purchased a 1:24 Welly (shudder) diecast of a 2002
Camaro SS in black. My confession is, I love this car.
... I have a fetish for women with tattoos. I never really admitted
it before, but it's true.
... I own an SUV.
... I bought a pop song from iTunes... and I like it.
... I am the foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times.
... I don't recycle.

"why don't you go"
... ask Hosni Mubarak.
... home early?
... Get A Life
... put on a dress and bake me some cookies you sissy
... to church - what can we do differently to help you?
... back to KS, so we can move onto more productive subjects

"the meaning of life is"
... to increase fitness
... a bet. Who can live the longest?
... life's Meaning
... that it stops

"The thing I love most in the world is"
...the view of the sea out of my bedroom window
...right next to me
...just sitting and listening to records
...sports
...is not you. it is sleeping
...Manchester City FC

From Good Experience - Introducing... Googlephrasing

Tuesday, September 21

"Free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world." — David Weinberger

Dave Weinberger has prepared a speach for the World Economic Forum tomorrow in NYC. The title of the debate is called "Barbarians at the Gate". In this article Dave talks out against DRM and proposes some excellent perspectives and ideas on the new business models being proposed for IP, but most of all I love that he puts the question of who the barbarians really are into perspective. Some excerpts.
Forget every other consideration . . . and see if you can acknowledge that a world in which everyone has free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world. Imagine your children could listen to any song ever created anywhere. What a blessing that would be!
...
All things being equal, a world that shares art freely is a better world than one where access to art is stifled. And that's at least as important as Sony making its quarterly numbers.
...
We publish stuff that gets its meaning and its reality by being read, viewed or heard . . . But readers aren't passive consumers. [Readers] reimagine the book, we complete the vision of the book. Readers appropriate works, make them their own. Stifle that appropriation and you have literally killed culture.
...
Let us appropriate creative works because that's what it means to be a creative work. Keep fair use as the norm and compensated use as the exception. Cut us some freaking slack, because that's where and how culture grows.

One more thing. I've been arguing for using our new, remarkble global connectedness (unevenly distributed, to be sure) to foster the growth of cullture and civilization. That would make you the barbarians, I believe.


Joho the Blog: Barbarian culture

Via isen.blog and Boing Boing

The BBC and Lawrence Lessig together on the BBC Creative Archive!

Not only is this great news, the BBC is preparing new licensing in anticipation of the BBC Creative Archive, but it's also a great article. One of the best I've read in fact. This BBC Creative Archive Project to put the majority of all BBC content online using P2P distributions is one of the most noble and inspired projects ever. Well at least since the birth of the internet itself. I am hoping it will be a catalyst for change, inspiring, protecting and proving the theories which have evolved in the "open society" debate.

Here's just one quote, a small sampling of the original ideas and fresh words in the article.
Lessig explains this idea: 'The fight against feudalism was the fight against property regimes that had become so expansive and cumbersome that they choked off innovation and competitive growth. Much of the progress of the common law in England was the process of limiting the burdens of property law, so that property could become something you could transfer - use, reuse, and the competitive market could take off. Now we've recreated feudalism in the context of intellectual property.'
Unfortunately, to read the article you need to register.Reg Req'd Link, use "feeshfeeshfeesh@hotmail.com/feeshfeesh"

Via Boing Boing: UK take on Creative Commons

ChangeThis :: Digital Rights Management

Changethis.com has put an excellently formatted PDF version of Cory Doctrow's Anti-DRM speach on line. This is one of the best articles around for understanding the DRM debate and as ou can see by the intro below Cory's got a flare for the fun and dramatic. Well worth the read.
Greetings fellow pirates! Arrrrr!

I'm here today to talk to you about copyright, technology and DRM, I work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on copyright
stuff (mostly), and I live in London. I'm not a lawyer -- I'm a
kind of mouthpiece/activist type, though occasionally they shave
me and stuff me into my Bar Mitzvah suit and send me to a
standards body or the UN to stir up trouble. I spend about three
weeks a month on the road doing completely weird stuff like going
to Microsoft to talk about DRM.

I lead a double life: I'm also a science fiction writer. That
means I've got a dog in this fight, because I've been dreaming of
making my living from writing since I was 12 years old.
Admittedly, my IP-based biz isn't as big as yours, but I
guarantee you that it's every bit as important to me as yours is
to you.


ChangeThis :: Digital Rights Management

BTW, You can also download the text only format here.

Monday, September 20

Fundraising - Wikipedia

Spread the word. Wikipedia.org is trying to raise $50,000. That should be chump change considering the size and dedication of their market. They should have gone for a million.

They don't say when they started but the page was last edited at 6:04 on September 17th, so it's been at least 72 hours. I wish I had some way to verify it.

They're currently at: $28,972.29 USD

Lets see how long it takes and how much they overshoot it by.

Fundraising - Wikipedia

Sunday, September 19

Reading List: Cool-hunter detective story

Scott Westerfeld's previous novels have been named New York Times Notable Books of the Year, made the New York Times essential summer reading list, and been awarded the Philip K. Dick Special Citation.

Description: Ever wonder who was the first kid to keep a wallet on a big chunky chain, or wear way-too-big pants on purpose? What about the mythical first guy who wore his baseball cap backwards? These are the Innovators, the people on the very cusp of cool. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque's job is finding them for the retail market.

But when a big-money client disappears, Hunter must use all his cool-hunting talents to find her. Along the way he's drawn into a web of brand-name intrigue- a missing cargo of the coolest shoes he's ever seen, ads for products that don't exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.
Amazon.com: So Yesterday

Via Boing Boing: Cool-hunter detective story

The Dresden Dolls — it's music people!

Every once in a while you find a band that just rocks your world. Sometimes that band is so unique and so good it has a genre that's all its own. In this case the band is the Dresden Dolls and the genre is called "punk cabaret". I just discovered these two (Amanda Palmer & Brian Viglione) on Saturday when my brother dropped them on my mp3 player. It was pure sabatoge. I spent the entire day walking around Henry Ford's Greenfield Village listening to Amanda Palmer kick ass and now I'm simply addicted. These two will be huge, but don't take my word for it. Check it out yourself.

MP3s from their LIVE concernt on 6/19/04 at The Beachcomber, Wellfleet, MA via Subversive Green Rhino

Videos via The Dresden Dolls web site

  • Girl Anachronism

  • "Good Day" at the lizard lounge, June 26, 2002

  • "Missed Me" at Axis, January 14, 2002

  • "Truce" shot at the Axis on July 14, 2002 and the Lizard Lounge on June 26, 2002

  • "Girl Anachronism" at the Axis on July 14, 2002 and the Lizard Lounge on June 26, 2002
All videos are available on the Dresden Dolls website at dresdendolls.com/videos. The videos are available in various formats and resolutions including Quicktime, RealVideo, and Win Media Player. Kudos to Michael Pope and Kuma Lisa for these excellent videos.

Update: You can actually buy both CD's and the music video DVD for $20 and that includes shipping! Not a bad way to show appreciation eh? There's also an excellent interview at the same url. I think I might even order a second and have it sent to a friend of mine I know who I think would love this.

It's just funny that I'm not telling you I discovered the Dresden Dolls on a filesharing network or download any of their songs before placing my order, because of course I didn't that would be illegal.

Saturday, September 18

I Found Some Of Your Life — and now I'm blogging it.

Ladies and gentlemen. We have a first. This may well be the most original act of blogging ever.
You are unknown to me.
Your camera's memory card was in a taxi; I have it now.
I am going to post one of your pictures each day.
I will also narrate as if I were you.
Maybe you will come here and reclaim this piece of your life.
The introduction: I Found Some Of Your Life: Introduction

The blog: I Found Some Of Your Life

I feel bad this is so wrong, but it's so good, but it's such a dirty little inside secrete, everyone in the world will soon be in on it, but what happens when one day the owner, only knows as Jordan, stumbles upon this site? This is better than any soap opera I never watched, any sitcom I ever missed, any reality TV show that was never my reality.

What does this say about blogging, about reality TV, about media, the internet? How long will it last? How big will it get? Is it legal, illegal? Moral, Immoral? All I really can say is it has instantaneously gone to the top of my daily blog reading. I'm held in suspense, I cannot wait to find out how this plays out.

Update: Best post avar! I Found Some Of Your Life: My Hat Makes Me Friends With God

For fun lets see how long it takes for this blog to become really, really popular. As of right now according to google there are only 47 links to it on the whole internet. Meanwhile in google news Engadget is the only site listing this blog. On a side note, how did Engadget get on google news? No fair. Engadget isn't "real news". I predict the popularity of this blog will grow slowly. I give it a week or two before it hit's any "real news" sources. I predict though before it's through it will have become a phenomon atleast only slightly less big than "we like the moon".

The Godfather horse head pillow


This is our little contribution to the Godfather legacy.  A custom severed horse head pillow that is actually quite comfortable to sleep on, albeit a tad on the south side of morbid.  A great conversation piece for the film buff who has everything and whose wife won't let them own a revolver.  Fans of the Godfather can now unite and sleep comfortably, if not uneasily.
Thank you Kropserkel! The Godfather horse head prop pillow

...and thank you Engadget for posting the link.
The Godfather horse head pillow - Engadget - www.engadget.com

Help co-create reality — a call to action from Synergy Media Network

A friend of mine Devon White just sent me the following email. His project is very similar in nature to my own interests. As such I thought a few people might be interested in this. Look for more posts on the subject in the near future.
To my good friends:

For five years I've worked on developing a media network that will change the world of broadcast media. Today I know one thing: this is not possible alone. I'm writing to you today because I need your help.

This coming week, Synergy will send out its first chain letter email, a messenger pigeon with a single errand; to reach anyone interested in a media network that protects informational diversity and broadcasts intelligent signals guided not by the bottom line, but by a vision of society at its best. This is a network made up not of the long tentacles of a singular behemoth corporation but the cooperative cells of many independent media companies. Every new membership from our email campaign will make this possibility more of a reality.

As the company begins building its community, the most important thing for its success is a tightly knit core to support it in being the best it can be. That's where this letter comes in. This email has been sent to a small group of people that:

a.) I think have something important they could bring to Synergy

b.) Might be excited by what this company could be and do and

c.) I respect, admire, and would really like to work with.

We need five (5) really dedicated people right now; people interested and able to give 3 to 5 hours a week to supporting and developing Synergy over the next month or two.

This is a team of people that is willing to commit to making this network into something that will change the face of broadcasting as we know it.

Everyone that I have sent this email to is highly intelligent and equally busy. I understand that and I'm making this request anyway. I have sent this email out to more people than we need - but not many more. So, if this is a fit and match for you and can find a place for it in your schedule, please join the core development team and share in this unprecedented opportunity. By the same token, please don't commit if you can't. The integrity of the team depends on the integrity of its members.

Beyond, the hard core team we can use anyone that would be willing to surf the site, share your ideas and input, help us forward our email campaign, or help us out in other ways from time to time.

For those of you interested in helping in either of these two capacities, please send a favorable response to me as soon as possible and let me know which of the two camps you would fall into. Soon after, I'll send you an invitation to the Core Development Team listserve and we will begin...

Thanks for your time and all of your support to date.

All my very best,

Devon
The Evolution Of Mass Media Has Begun.
Learn more about Synergy Media Network at:
Starter Series - MySMN.com

Sign up to become a member of the SMN and help start co-creating reality at:
Join the community - MySMN.com

Interested in being part of the core team? Read more here:
Yahoo! Groups : SMN_Core_Development_Team

Friday, September 17

Kryptonite story breaks big in the news

Wow, I almost wish I hadn't wondered aloud on my blog if the news on Kryptonite's lock vulnerabilities would hit mainstrem news. When I last posted about 36 hours ago there was not a single article. Now according to current google news their are over 233 articles, from Wired, to the Seattle Times to the New York Times. The coverage is wide and very mainstream.

A follow up from my earlier post mmeiser blog: Kryptonite U-Locks hacked with a Bic pen

A nice little endorsement of open licensing

Robert Greenwald of Outfoxed:
In making Outfoxed and Uncovered, I learned how cumbersome and expensive it can be to license footage from news organizations. Creative Commons licenses allow me as a filmmaker to know immediately how I can use a piece of content in my films. I could think of no better way to walk the talk myself than by releasing the interviews from Outfoxed and Uncovered under a license that allows other filmmakers to use my material in new and creative ways. I look forward to seeing what others do with these interviews.
From Political Expression and Copyright | Creative Commons

Microsoft service selling cloned radio station broadcasts

Here's a good article to debate copyright over. Can you really own a sequence of songs? If the value of a radio station isn't in the songs it plays then what is it's value and how will they ultimately compete with their own playlist when it contains no commercials or other distractions?
Soon, the world's largest software company, a staunch defender of its own copyrights, may have to answer it in court. Earlier this month, Microsoft began charging users to listen to online clones of 978 U.S. and Canadian radio stations with ''fewer ads, no DJ chatter and less repetition.' And no, Bill Gates didn't ask the stations for permission to copy their playlists.


Wired News: Attack of the Radio Clones

Earthlink enters filesharing

This is naught but a wisper and there is little widespread posting on it, but it's very interesting none the less. Earthlink has posted a "proof-of-concept" P2P filesharing application for very limited functions. The importance in this is that Earthlink hits the nail on the head in their (below quoted) sentiments. The internet must retain it's end-to-end architecture to flourish. P2P is vital to the ongoing success of the internet. Indeed it is an inherent part of the internet.
EarthLink believes an open Internet is a good Internet. An open Internet means users have full end-to-end connectivity to say to each other whatever it is they say, be that voice, video, or other data exchanges, without the help of mediating servers in the middle whenever possible. We believe that if peer-to-peer flourishes, the Internet flourishes. SIPshare helps spread the word that SIP is more than a powerful voice over IP enabler ?- much more. SIP is a protocol that enables peer-to-peer in a standards-based way. The emerging ubiquity of SIP as a general session-initiation enabler provides a rare opportunity to offer users all manner of P2P applications over a common protocol, instead of inventing a new protocol for each new P2P application that comes along.
From Clay Shirky on Many-to-Many: SIPShare: P2P SIP-based filesharing from Earthlink

Also: Slashdot | Earthlink Releases SIP Based P2P File-Sharing App

Punk legend Johnny Ramone dies

The guitarist, who had fought a five-year battle against prostate cancer, died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home yesterday afternoon. He was surrounded by family and friends, Arturo Vega, the band's artistic director, said.
From Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Punk legend Johnny Ramone dies

Via blogdex - link diffusion

Wednesday, September 15

One to watch: Ross Mayfield's Weblog: QuantumArt

Ross seems to post a lot about wiki's, markets, and has just joined the board of QuantumArt which "has a different take on content management systems and RSS/Atom they will start talking about soon". There is no clear data here, but I think they might be onto another open-media, filewiki, or creative commons wiki type system.

Interestingly noone seems to have the full picture yet of what might be possible. All I can say is "markets are conversations" people. Especially in IP. Advertising is a broken mon-conversational market model that the current IP industry (music, movies, etc.) run on. What is the new model. I've got it have you? Sorry, couldn't resist the taunt.

Ross Mayfield's Weblog: QuantumArt

Kryptonite U-Locks hacked with a Bic pen

Several of Kryptonite's top of the line bicycle U-Locks have a serious vulnerability. In fact I'm going to have to check mine tomorrow. I have 4 Kryptonite locks luckily they are of various styles. In fact I just bought a new one over the weekend, luckily it has a straight key. All in all I think only my two most expensive Kryptonite locks are vulnerable.

I've seen way to many posts on this subject. It's all over the place.

There are no less than four five different videos up on bikeforums.net as of this writing.
Your brand new U-Lock is not safe - bikeforums.net

Engaget did their own test and made posted the video. Kryptonite Evolution 2000 U- Lock hacked by a Bic pen - Engadget - www.engadget.com

I'm just wondering if the traditional press is going to pick up on this. As of this writing there's not a single article on google news, but it's early perhaps we'll see something tomorrow.
Google Search: Kryptonite lock

MTAA-RR [ news/twhid/bic_loc_pic.html ]

Friday, September 10

One DRM to rule them all! (warning rant)

We now have two options to buy music digitally. One that won't play on anything but the iPod and the other that won't play on any device (including the iPod) not directly connected to the latest Windows operating system. Both of which ironically require you to burn the music back to CD (where you could have bought it in the first place) in order to liberate it by re-ripping into the MP3 format.

Don't worry people. If I'm right the promise of DRM (digital rights management) means we'll soon have at least 4 or 5 more formats that will be equally frustrating, or one proprietary format (likely Microsoft's) will crush all the others and we'll be left with one fascist ideology that will at least be concise in it's spoils.
According to analysts who've pondered Microsoft's decisions to go into the music business, here's the plan as the company sees it: The main aim of the MSN Music shop is to have people purchase songs in Microsoft's Windows Media format, rather than in the AAC format that Apple sells in its store. The Windows Media format (which is used not only for music but also for movies and TV shows) is only compatible with computers and other electronic devices that run or license Windows. Microsoft wants you to store all your content in Windows Media, in other words, in order to lock you into Windows; when all your music and movies are compatible only with Windows devices, how could you ever possibly think of using Linux or Apple or whatever else may come along?

...promoting a format in order to lock you into a platform is standard operating procedure for Microsoft. The company's various application monopolies -- the main one being Office -- are made possible by the strategic husbanding of "network effects" (i.e., since everyone else you know uses Word, you too must buy Word), and we're all pretty much used to this tactic by now.

And the truth is that Microsoft is not the only company looking to lock you into a media format. Apple, too, doesn't want your music to be free; music from its store will only play on the iPod, and the iPod won't play music from any competing stores. (When RealNetworks recently reverse engineered Apple's system to allow Real's proprietary format to play on the iPod, Apple became apoplectic.)
Translation: Who are we kidding, both Apple's and Microsoft's DRM schema's suck.
"What clearer evidence do you need that DRM on purchased downloads does not help copyright owners -- MSN's own tech support is advising people that it's trivial to defeat using nothing other than the software already on their PCs. We already know the DRM isn't helping customers -- it makes your downloaded music a brittle investment, subject to the whims of the DRM jailer in your PC. So who does the DRM actually help? After you go to the trouble of actually paying for your downloads, you're now conscripted into the Apple-Real-MSFT platform wars? They should be paying you!"
— Fred von Lohmann, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's copyright law expert
Translation: DRM sucks.

Microsoft's help pages regarding playback on the iPod have been updated several times. As of this writing they state the following.
The iPod does not currently support the Windows Media Audio (WMA) format and will not natively play any songs purchased from MSN Music, or any other Windows Media-based music service.  If you are an iPod owner and would like to play MSN Music songs on your iPod, you can send feedback to Apple and ask them to change their policy and add support for the Windows Media format.
Previously the help pages have stated the following.*
There are more than 70 portable audio devices that support MSN Music today, and we hope that someday Apple decides to join with the industry and support consumer choice.
So you can't play Apple's AAC files on anything but the iPod and you can't play any other file formats besides MP3 on the iPod, but Microsoft, being hypocrites, forgets to mention that the don't allow Linux or Apple users to purchase or play Microsoft's proprietary music files.

This clearly illustrates the problem doesn't it. Microsoft is accusing Apple of locking people into their iPod. Meanwhile Microsoft is a complete hypocrite because they are trying to lock people in to the Microsoft operating system.

The problem and solution are simple. DRM is a cavalcade of shit. It penalizes people, all people, because all people need to play or share their music between devices as is their legal right to do, as is an inherent requirement of music. While DRM penalizes those who use it, it does not stop the tidal wave of real pirates who will continue to share or bootleg it world wide without so much as a hiccup.

Don't let Microsoft, Apple, or even Real use you as a pawn to your own peril and frustration in yet another market leveraging war. Just avoid any DRM schemas altogether.

*All quotes from Salon.com Technology | One music store to rule them all unless otherwise stated.

Related Articles:

Will DRM protect people like Solomon Linda who's "lion song" has been recorded by more than 150 different artists and featured in at least 15 movies and stage musicals including Disney's Lion King? Then what is it's purpose?
Linda, who died with less than $US25 ($36) in his bank account in 1962, was a Zulu migrant worker and entertainer who composed the song Mbube (lion) in Johannesburg in 1939 and recorded it with a singing group called the Evening Birds.

Folk singer Pete Seeger came across the song in New York in 1949, transcribed it note for note and called it Wimoweh, from the Zulu uyiMbube, which means he is a lion.

In 1961, the Tokens recorded the song and added the English lyrics starting with 'In the jungle, the mighty jungle'.

Since then, the song has been recorded by more than 150 different artists and features in at least 15 movies and stage musicals. It has been translated into several languages including French, Japanese, Danish and Spanish.
from Herald Sun: Disney loses song challenge [08sep04]

Thursday, September 9

ben fry's zipdecode — and a whole host of visualization projects

Who is Ben Fry?
Ben Fry is a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory. His research focuses on methods of visualizing large amounts of data from dynamic information sources. This work is currently directed towards "Genomic Cartography" which is a study into new methods to represent the data found in the human genome.
From biography | ben fry
His primary project website
There is a space of highly complex systems for which we lack deep understanding because few techniques exist for visualization of data whose structure and content are undergoing continous change. My research focuses on developing approaches to such data, in particular, the human genome.
Ben's zipdecode project
This project began a very short sketch (a few hours) that I created because I was curious about how the numbering works for zip codes in the states.
Anemone project is a visualizer for website traffic. It processes log files and not only maps link structure based on users paths through a site, but also shows the usage of links and pages by the thickness of the interlinking lines and size of the plotted pages. I wish I could get this to analyze my server stats. quicktime video

valence
The premise is that the best way to understand a large body of information, whether it's a 200,000 word book, usage data from a web site, or financial transaction information between two multinational corporations, is to provide a feel for general trends and anomalies in the data, by providing a qualitative slice into how the information is structured. The most important information comes from providing context and setting up the interrelationships between elements of the data. If needed, one can later dig deeper to find out specifics, or further tweak the system to look at other types of parameters.

Other visualization experiments, people and supporting institutions

GroupC / Casey REAS
An aggregation of autonomous cells, a series of projects by
Casey REAS and collaborators
Processing 1.0 _ALPHA_
Processing is a programming language and environment built for the electronic arts and visual design communities. It was created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook.
D|MA - UCLA Design & Media Arts Program

bitforms A new York gallery, "representing progressive artists who explore inventive ways of interpreting and visualizing."

Casey Reas Previously, Associate Professor, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy. Currently Design for Interactive Media. UCLA D|MA. Fall 03

Also previously...
From June 1999 - July 2001, I worked and studied within the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. During this time, my work shifted from experiments in interface and information design to work in computational kinetic sculpture. The common thread in this work was the study of dynamic reactive systems that receive and process input as a means of generating and altering visual compositions. The systems I built were computer programs written in C and Java that ran on both high-end computers and microprocessors. I began creating purely digital screen-based compositions using a mouse and keyboard as input and over time I began creating physical sculptures which use sensors such as cameras, microphones, and sonar to receive data from the environment.

During my time with the ACG, I exhibited my work at the American Museum of Moving Image, the Ars Electronica Center, the Cooper Union, the New York Digital Salon, the Museum of Modern Art, Sega Joypolis, and Siggraph. I was also fortunate to have my work published in a number of books and magazines.

Before joining the ACG, I worked as a Design Director at I/O 360 Digital Design in New York City and prior to that I was an interface and print designer at Two Twelve Associates and Design/Writing/Research. In June 1996, I received an undergraduate degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati.
From casey reas @ MIT.edu


Design By Numbers program at MIT Media
Design By Numbers was created for visual designers and artists as an introduction to computational design. It is the result of a continuing endeavor by Professor John Maeda to teach the 'idea' of computation to designers and artists. It is his belief that the quality of media art and design can only improve through establishing educational infrastructure in arts and technology schools that create strong, cross-disciplinary individuals.

DBN is both a programming environment and language. The environment provides a unified space for writing and running programs and the language introduces the basic ideas of computer programming within the context of drawing. Visual elements such as dot, line, and field are combined with the computational ideas of variables and conditional statements to generate images.
WebCamXtra / Myron is an open source project to detect, visually interpret and motion track objects.

photos — sweet long exposure atmospherics

Some sweet long exposure, heavy on the atmospheric night shots. I also finally got around to posting a few photos from McCormick Creek State Park, Indiana's oldest state park and Gosport, In.

Wednesday, September 8

Wi-Fi is living up to and surpassing it's promise

This may not be the headline others may give this news, but it is important to note that this is a milestone for WiFi. If networks like this can come in to creation cost effectively in rural areas the dream of conquering the digital divide is one step closer.
"The world's largest wireless network is not the proposed network in Philadelphia. It's in Walla Wall, Washington. Built by the Columbia Rural Electric Association, the network covers an area larger than the state Rhode Island. The network is already operational in the rural Washington State farming community of Walla Walla."
From Slashdot | Wheat Field Wi-Fi

Article Rolling wheat fields are also Wi-Fi country

SixBillion.org a great new magazine experiment in narrative journalism

SixBillion.org is a great new magazine experiment in narrative journalism. This issue: "Veterans of Foreign Wars".

It's very media rich a very inviting format. It will be nice to see how it fills out.

SixBillion.org

Jon lech Johansen cracks apples iTunes / Airport Express interoperability

The Norwegian hacker who cracked the CSS encryption for DVDs several years ago recently announced that he's decoded another set of copy protections around Apple's iTunes. The latest hack of Jon Lech Johansen, age 20, would bypass the lock-and-key system that links iTunes and AirPort Express, a device which broadcasts iTunes music from a computer to a stereo. As Berkman Fellow Urs Gasser explained in a recent report in TechNewsWorld, the issue is interoperability -- a users' ability to choose between different devises. Users tend to like interoperability because 'creates multiple distribution channels and removes market barriers,' Gasser explains. But this type of choice may be at odds with the interests of DRM developers.

In a secret Paris cavern, the real underground cinema

Mystery is alive and well today.
Police in Paris have discovered a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern underneath the capital's chic 16th arrondissement.

Officers admit they are at a loss to know who built or used one of Paris's most intriguing recent discoveries.

"We have no idea whatsoever," a police spokesman said.

"There were two swastikas painted on the ceiling, but also celtic crosses and several stars of David, so we don't think it's extremists. Some sect or secret society, maybe. There are any number of possibilities."
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | In a secret Paris cavern, the real underground cinema

Pirated Sites!! Aaarrgghh...

Needs no explanation, just a great resource for checking out really cool designs. Designs cool enough to be pirated in fact.

Pirated Sites!! Aaarrgghh...

Tuesday, September 7

Creativity techniques and creative tools for problem solving

Infinitely usefull. Think of this resource as a dictionary of problem solving techniques or as they call it a "toolbox".
Like most tools these creativity techniques all have their good and bad points. I like to think of these creativity techniques as tools in a toolbox in much the same way as my toolbox at home for DIY. It has a saw, spanner, hammer, knife and all sorts of other things in it, they are all very useful, but you have to pick the right tool (creativity technique) for each job. We will try and provide a little guidance along with each tool to let you know whether it's best used for cutting paper or putting in nails.

There are at least 200 different creativity techniques and tools available, listed below are some of these. Special thanks to the Open University for their kind permission to use material from their publication B822.

If you have knowledge of any other creativity techniques then please let us know - we'd like to make a full set available for all to use.
Creativity techniques and creative tools for problem solving

Leprechauns and iPods — things that make you smile

Because it's funny.
Children in Wales were surveyed to find what they would most like to find at the foot of a rainbow. The most popular answer? An iPod.
From: ic Wales - iPods and DVDs top children's wish-lists

Via: The Cult of Mac Blog

Saturday, September 4

Definine Transhumanism from Wikipedia.org

Just Interesting:

  1. Perpetual Progress: seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and effectiveness, an open-ended lifespan, and the removal of
    political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to continuing development. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our
    progress and possibilities as individuals, as organizations, and as a species. Growing in healthy directions without bound.

  2. Self-Transformation: affirming continual ethical, intellectual, and physical self-improvement, through critical and creative
    thinking, perpetual learning, personal responsibility, proactivity, and experimentation. Using technology—in the widest
    sense to seek physiological and neurological augmentation along with emotional and psychological refinement.

  3. Practical Optimism: fueling action with positive expectations—individuals and organizations being tirelessly proactive.
    Adopting a rational, action-based optimism or "proaction", in place of both blind faith and stagnant pessimism.

  4. Intelligent Technology: designing and managing technologies not as ends in themselves but as effective means for improving
    life. Applying science and technology creatively and courageously to transcend "natural" but harmful, confining qualities derived
    from our biological heritage, culture, and environment.

  5. Open Society: supporting social orders that foster freedom of communication, freedom of action, experimentation, innovation,
    questioning, and learning. Opposing authoritarian social control and unnecessary hierarchy and favoring the rule of law and
    decentralization of power and responsibility. Preferring bargaining over battling, exchange over extortion, and communication
    over compulsion. Openness to improvement rather than a static utopia. Extropia ("ever-receding stretch goals for society") over
    utopia ("no place").

  6. Self-Direction: valuing independent thinking, individual freedom, personal responsibility, self-direction, self-respect, and
    a parallel respect for others.

  7. Rational Thinking: favoring reason over blind faith and questioning over dogma. It means understanding, experimenting,
    learning, challenging, and innovating rather than clinging to beliefs.

From Transhumanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why Sprint's service sucks — warning customer experience rant

It's about time I made a post on Sprint's horribly inhuman business practices. I've used their service for nearly three years now and while the quality of their product is good I've been consistently and plainly pissed off any and every time I ever have to actually do business with them. The quality of the human services (sales and support) are abhorrent and the way they treat their customers through their business practices is simply asinine. While they take the lead in mistreating their customers the below anti-human practices are becoming a growing trend in business. I'm just going to lay out a few bullet points of grievances in their service agreements alone. This does not included their license agreements which would take me a year to go through.

  • 2-year service agreement required in order to move to a flex minute plan
  • 1-year mandatory extension anytime you change your plan
  • ridiculous nickel and dime policy to "rent" ring-tones, screen-savers and other junk for $1.99 to $3.99
  • 2-year service agreement required if you want your anytime minutes to start at 7pm instead of 9pm
  • $250? or so termination fees
  • 5+ convoluted service plans for high speed data, each one of which cripples full access in one way or another so that no one fills all my needs
  • mandatory pay for "credits" towards renting ring-tones and screen-savers on each high-speed data plan
  • using a mail-in rebate system on phones in Sprint Stores instead of an instant rebate for the sole purpose of screwing with their customers

    Message to Sprint--
    I use between 600 and 1400 minutes a month. I don't like to spend my time worrying about how many minutes I use. I don't like to RENT my ring-tone, screen-saver, or other trivialities especially by using crappy web based cellular interfaces. I don't like having to debate needlessly and resent it being suggested that I buy two high-speed data plans in order to use a camera-phone and have full access to the web. I don't like being roped into long-term lock-in plans with high termination fees. I don't like being penalized for changing my plans.

    This all ads up two one thing. I don't like being generally screwed with EVERY TIME I attempt to do business with you and I don't like being F'd with when I'm paying you over $1400 a year. Clean up your customer service and clean up your anti-human business practices.
    --end message

    This was spurred by two things. a) my attempts after not talking to Sprint for over a year to upgrade my phone and service plan which were unsuccessful do to the above points and incompetence in customer service, and the following post on en-gadget which pretty much sums up what Sprint thinks of their customers.

    'Recycle' your Treo 600, get a measly 75 bucks from Sprint - Engadget - www.engadget.com

    Update: Sadly using details in service agreements to increase lock-in, penalizing people with termination fees so they can't afford to leave, and using details embedded in both licenses and needlessly complex service plans are not only an increasing trend. in the service industry but are already the norm.

    Most service companies like Sprint use details in licensing and service plans to reap the majority of their profits. The norm in this industry is simply: "Give it away for cost and make it up on the penalties and hidden fees." If you haven't heard this before then let me welcome you to the new service industry.

    The complexity and inhumanity of licenses, support systems, and services are a problem that needs to be addressed as an aspect of the user experience. They are a vital part of the user experience and as such their abuse cannot be ignored when addressing the issue. In a world where ignorance of the law is no excuse deliberate obscurification of legal details is the new frontier for profit creation in the service sector.

    We live in a world where no one can read every service agreement and every EULA (end user license agreement) for even half of the services and software we use. In fact a team of lawyers couldn't adequately read and clear the license agreements and service agreements an average citizen agrees to in a given month.

    This is at least part of the draw of standardized licensing like the creative commons licenses, the GPL, and other open source licenses. We know what we're getting into, we know what we're agreeing to, and we know what our rights are because we've encountered and used these licenses before. In fact creative commons provides for each license in a "human readable" format in addition to the legal and "computer readable" formats.

    Rights are already being purposely buried in licensing agreements and service agreements. Standardized licensing will hopefully bring about marketplaces where awareness puts value back into the license. Standardized licenses are already discouraging bad licenses that abuse individual rights. Without standardized licensing the future will be a terribly in-human place.

    Relate link:
    If you are interested in more information see the following about the increasing trend in termination fees. Terminate the Terminator — Life Enhancement Products Presents: NeoFiles
  • The new iMac   one step shy of a complete media center


    I'm in agreement with Engadget & Paul Jackson of Forrester Research. What's missing on the new iMac is a TVtuner card. Think wall-mounting media center. Think of finally getting rid of your ancient huge TV. Think Tivo type record/playback system.

    It's about high time apple bridged the gap between a computer and a full blown media center. Integrated tuner cards could have cost as little as $100 a unit. That's a small price for such a huge leap in functionality.
    DVR functionality is becoming increasingly interesting to technology-literate consumers; TiVo in the US and Sky+ in the UK are redefining how people consume TV programming.(see endnote 6) Furthermore, Microsoft is forging ahead with its Windows XP Media Center Edition, looking to build on lessons from the past year. In the new iMac, Apple presents us with a fabulous living-room-compatible unit with an excellent display and lots of storage designed for digital media ? but doesn't allow for connectivity to the broadcast network. Sure, you can add an inexpensive box to do this, but you then ruin the sleek all-in-one design ? which is what makes this machine so desirable.


    Quote from Forrester Research: The New iMac G5 ? A Missed Opportunity

    Via Did Apple blow it with the new iMac? - Engadget - www.engadget.com

    Friday, September 3

    DSpace — MIT's intellectual property repository

    Introducing DSpace: DSpace Federation: "DSpace is an open source software system that enables institutions to:

    Capture and describe digital works using a custom workflow process

    Distribute an institution's digital works over the web, so users can search and retrieve items in the collection

    Preserve digital works over the long term

    To collect, distribute, and preserve research materials in increasingly complex digital formats is a time-consuming and expensive chore for individual faculty and their departments, labs, and centers to manage themselves. The DSpace system provides a way to manage these research materials and publications in a professionally maintained repository to give them greater visibility and accessibility over time.

    ...

    DSpace accepts all forms of digital materials including text, images, video, and audio files. Possible content includes the following:

    Articles and preprints

    Technical reports

    Working papers

    Conference papers

    E-theses

    Datasets: statistical, geospatial, matlab, etc.

    Images: visual, scientific, etc.

    Audio files

    Video files

    Learning objects

    Reformatted digital library collections

    Bikes Against Bush — watch the whole incident as covered by MSNBC Hardball corespondant Ron Regan & listen to the Air America Radio intervie

    Josh has posted the interview he was giving with Ron Regan for MSNBC Hardball when he got arrested on his blog in its entirety. It's excellent. Guilt or innocent. I think his invention and his excercise in free speach were a success. I'm just really disappointed that he may not get to demonstrate his bicycle this entire week. I really would have enjoyed following it as I believe millions of Americans would have wether Bush fans or not. In fact this is just the sort of positive protesting that we should be encouraging, not discouraging. In fact I wish there were some way to petition to have his bike released before the RNC is all over, but barring that I do recommend donating to his defense fund on his website.

    The Video: Interview with Ron Reagan for MSNBC's Harball.

    Interestingly enough he had not demonstrated his bicycle in the presence of the arresting officers or even that day, and although he was charged with defacement of property the printer uses water soluable chalk which was gone by the time he was released from jail 24 hours later. Ironically he was giving the interview over a previously written message that stated "America is a free speach zone." It appears fairly clear that he hadn't violated the law as there was no intent to damage property which is the basis of defacement law, but you don't have to take my word for it, read it yourself on Josh's blog: New York's Graffiti Laws

    Also, In case you missed it there is another much more raw and uncut video perspective on the whole event from a non-professional or indy reporter. (I'm not entirely sure which.) Arrest Video on Bikes Against Bush This sort of web based coverage is unprecidented.

    Also a great mp3 of his radio interview on Unfiltered with Lizz Winstead, Rachel Maddow, and Chuck D on Air America Radio.

    Thursday, September 2

    Dancing forth in increasing numbers — dance protest a success

    The spirit of this article and dance as a form protest are a thing of beauty. John Perry Barlow is a renegade fool that must be stopped before he infects the rest of the country with his good spirit, his anarchy, and the people actually start voting and taking charge of this democracy. :)

    I hardly think one dancing fool or even a thousand is going to change democracy, but at least it's fun to do, fun to read about and fun to write about in the meantime.
    I'm about to lead another sortie of dancing fools out into the streets of Manhattan, so I don't have time to provide a full report. But I want to dispatch some news from the field in media res.

    ...After four missions, Dancing in the Streets has exceeded my fondest expectations. It was my objective, as it usually is, that we afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, and this is what we have been doing by all appearances. We generally make the credentialed Republicans we encounter visibly nervous and spread good will and humor to most of the rest, including the police, who could well use it at the moment. People dig it when they see other people dancing in incongruous places. The most surprising people will join in, falling on the dance with a kind of hunger.

    ...In any case, this is such a wonderful experience that I believe I might turn it into a regular practice. I envision the dancing equivalent of Critical Mass, the bicycle action. Perhaps we could call it Critical Dance. I imagine gathering on, say, the second Friday of every month, and dancing forth in increasing numbers.
    from BarlowFriendz: Dancarchy Reigns!

    KFTF — Keeping Found Things Found Project (memory mapping!)

    I love it. As boingboing puts it, "...an interesting project called Keeping Found Things Found, an effort to develop innovative ways to manage information stored digitally and on dead trees."

    This looks to be a tremendous source for new perspectives on information architecture.

    KFTF: Keeping Found Things Found Project Website

    Below is an excerpt from the KFTF project page on keeping found things found on the internet.
    The goal of this study is to understand better the ways in which people manage information for subsequent re-access and re-use. The study focuses on the management of information found on the Word Wide Web.  Follow-on studies will look at similar problems and practices of personal information management for other information types including email and personal files (electronic and paper-based).

    The classic problem of information retrieval, simply put, is to help people find the relatively small number of things they are looking for (books, articles, web pages, CDs, etc.) from a very large set of possibilities.  This classic problem has been studied in many variations and has been addressed through a rich diversity of information retrieval tools and techniques.

    A follow-on problem also exists which has received relatively less study:  Once found, how are things organized for re-access and re-use later on?  What can be done to avoid the need to repeat the entire search process?  We refer to this as the problem of Keeping Found Things Found.  The current study addresses this problem in the context of World Wide Web use.  The study focuses on use of the Web by managers, researchers, librarians and other information specialists.  But it is expected that the results of the study will be relevant to most users of the Web.
    Two things, a) we've all had a teacher tell us that in order to comit something to memory we all have to "see it, hear it, speak it, write it". The basic gist of book marks is ridiculous, command-D simply files away a page so quickly and easy that there is NO effort at all. We simply don't even have to process the information and we don't have to comit it to a set location as we do when we write it. This makes bookmarks impossibly useless. In fact I haven't used bookmarks to commit anything to memory or save anything in over 5 years. I use my bookmark bar in safari as a very efficient navigation system for those things I access most frequently, this has nothing to do with commiting to memory.

    b) Commiting things to memory and finding them again is best when done in a sloppy process, which involves multiple ways of processing and very consciously storing the information in a specific place and time for later retrieval. Ways I suggest doing this are a variety of technbiques including, blogging about it, emailing a friend about it, just writing a short blurb and emailing it to yourself, or IM someone about it. I use these techniques in multiple ways to creat value, commit to memory, and create discourse on the things that interest me. They allow me to share my discoveries with the right people, or publicaly, or keep them to myself but comit why they interested me to memory and or paper for searching later. These are not highly evolved clasification techniques, they are messy, but I find I have a much higher degree of retention and I can rarely if ever loose bits of information, articles or ideas because I can easily remember which channels I used to store them in (blog, email, IM) and recall those articles with a quick and dirty search. Only occasionally do I analyze and categorize my open reading as I see patterns emerging.

    Professional reading and work are a different matter. Professional research is much more focused and requires much more structure and categorization. It is much easier to categorize when you're researching specific subject matter.

    In summary, keep it dirty people.

    Ah, I forgot one point. All these archival means from IM, to blogging, to email all store things chronologically. Time is an excellent processfor storage and recall. It's often easier to remember when you saw something or when you talked about it than where you put it or some specific keywords with which you codified it.

    Scientists want research papers freely available

    The open-access debate rages on with renewed steam.
    Twenty-five Nobel Prize-winning scientists today are calling for the government to make all taxpayer-funded research papers freely available.

    ...

    'It's the biggest scam ever,' says letter-signer and 1993 Nobel Prize winner Richard Roberts.

    Taxpayers pay for researchers to prepare, review and edit manuscripts, he says, while scientific societies and large publishing firms reap the profits.

    From USATODAY.com - Scientists want research papers freely available