Joho the BlogOctober 2007 - Joho the Blog

October 23, 2007

Debatepedia launches

Debatepedia wants to collect the best arguments pro and con for issues that matter. It’s not a place for people to shout at each other. On the contrary, it aims at assembling reasoned arguments.

It’s a noble idea. I don’t know if it’ll catch on, of course, but I do like the way the Web is shortening the MTBNI (mean time between noble ideas). [Tags: debatepedia wikis debates reasoning everything_is_miscellaneous ]

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October 22, 2007

From data to presence

There’s a good article by Ivar Ekman in the NY Times about the meaning of Google’s purchase of Jaiku. Relying heavily on Tim O’Reilly and Chris Messina (two good people to rely heavily on), the article says it’s all about expanding the services Google can provide for one’s presence.

So, here’s the story so far. Computers are invented. They’re all about bits, data and information that reduce experience to what can be managed by digital processors. PC’s are invented. They are about making us big-brained. The Web is invented to make the Internet usable. The Web is about creating a new type of public in which we can connect with one another in ways we’re still inventing. Our presence thus goes from being a reduction to holes in punch cards to being rich, open-ended and fully socially shaped and defined. But, so long as we access the connected net through a computer, it is a place we visit. As it becomes something we carry with us everywhere, it swallows us whole. Our presence in this world becomes constant, intertwingled with the real world, and connected in ways that will emerge from constancy and intertwingling.

From data to connected, ubiquitous presence. Quite a trip. [Tags: jaiku google presence mobiles ]


When locks protect you right out of the market

Scott Kirsner has a terrific post about why trying to control PR can hurt PR. After arguing with a film company about its policy of requiring a password to log into the PR site, Scott actually went through the process of trying to get a password. It happened at postal speeds. Making it hard for people to talk about your film is probably not the best way to market your film. [Tags: pr scott_kirsner marketing cluetrain ]


October 21, 2007

Cabinet blogs

Two members of the Bush cabinet have blogs: Mike Leavitt of Health and Human Services and Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security.

And that concludes this month’s Say Something Nice about the Bush Administration feature. [Tags: ]


Aaron Swartz on the Open Library project

If you’re interested in the future of books and libraries, and if you’re in Cambridge MA on Tuesday, you should come to the Berkman Center at 12:30 to hear Aaron Swartz talk about the Open Library project, which is gathering a global, open and free list of every book it can find out about. It’s also attempting to help with the problem that books exist at multiple levels of abstraction: There’s Hamlet, editions of Hamlet, Hamlet in anthologies, Hamlet in translation, books based on Hamlet, etc. This is an important and fascinating project.

We serve lunch. Please RSVP. See you there…or on the webcast. (Details) [Tags: open_library aaron_swartz libraries books_everything_is_miscellaneous ]


October 20, 2007

Alan Watts lives

Here’s Alan Watts talking to IBM (1 2), probably in the early 1970s, although I’m just guessing. Very Alan Wattsian, very Sixties yet contemporary, and very enjoyable. Here’s a bite:

“But nature itself is clouds, is water, is the outline of continents, is mountains, is bilogical existences. And all of them wiggle. And wiggly things are to human consciousness a little bit of a nuisance, because we want to figure it out.”

(Thanks to Steven Kruyswijk for the link.) [Tags: ]


October 19, 2007

I won an award

There’s no nice way to put this. Last night I won the “Mover and Shaker” of the year award from the Mass Technology Leadership Council. Apparently, my three summers at Macarena camp have paid off.

But seriously, thank you, MTLC! [Tags: ]



Loic Le Meur‘s startup, Seesmic, seems to be off to a twittering, buzzing start. Mike Arrington likes it. It’s in a closed alpha, with 150 people in it, and I haven’t seen it, but you seem to be able to record and post videos, with some stuff to make it easy to find videos. Arrington talks about it as a video twitter.

Loic (who is a friend) is recording a video a day, marking the progress of the company’s launch. Overall, this is some fine Web marketing. [Tags: ]


October 18, 2007

Copyright kidnappers, Google, and the prior restraint of Fair Use

The copyright cartel has decided how they want us to play. According to Reuters:

The companies agreed to use technology to eliminate copyright-infringing content uploaded by Web users and to block any pirated material before it is publicly accessible.

Yeah, well that sucks. Will their fingerprinting technology be able to tell that I’m posting 15 seconds of Bill O’Reilly as part of a mock news report to make fun of him? That’s Fair Use. Technology can’t tell Fair Use from infringement. The copyright cartel’s idea would squeeze the leeway out of the system that allows culture to advance.

Google’s idea with YouTube is a lot better. Copyright holders would register their stuff so that Google can fingerprint it. If I then post the fingerprinted clip of O’Reilly, the copyright holder is notified (actually, Google says they’ll have a tool to identify infringers, so I don’t know if they get actively notified) and is given the option of asking Google to remove the clip or keep it up and get ad revenues from it. If the copyright holder has Google take my clip down, I’m notified and can counter-notify. (This is much like the DMCA, but it’s not the DMCA.) Google’s lawyers will then adjudicate the claim. If it’s not covered by Fair Use, the clip comes down. If they think it is, it stays up.

This beats the cartel’s plan by a mile. Actually, by three miles:

Mile 1: Material is not preemptively blocked from being published. Google thus allows for the possibility of Fair Use.

Mile 2: I have a right of appeal, so to speak, to Google’s lawyers.

Mile 3: Google has provided copyright holders with a damn good reason to allow people to post copyrighted material — the holder not only gets the mind share that comes from letting your material be spread, they also get cold hard cash via ad revenues.

Note, please, that IANAL. If I’m misunderstanding how either the cartel or Google plan works, lets me know. But, as I understand it, Google’s plan is far more aligned with our Founders’ intentions than the piratical cartel’s plan is. [Tags: copyright google copyleft ]


A river runs through it

Dave Winer has come up with a clever way of reslicing the NY Times. Not only does it group articles by keyword, the layout creates a histogram of the topics. [Tags: dave_winer ny_times nytimes everything_is_miscellaneous media metadata ]


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