Joho the BlogAugust 2008 - Page 3 of 7 - Joho the Blog

August 25, 2008

WE mag launches

WE magazine has launched with a set of articles by, and interviews with, a stellar set of folks, including Stephen Downes, Dan Gillmor and Ethan Zuckerman. You can read it online for free, or pay for PDF or a paper version.

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August 24, 2008

Scrivener is on our side

I blogged yesterday about wanting a word processor that reflects better how we actually write. Islamoyankee in the comments suggested Scrivener, a Mac tool I tried once but didn’t take to, for whatever reason.

This morning, I took another look at it and found this paragraph on its home page, at the end of its product description:

Because Scrivener is about shaping chunks of text into a final typescript, Scrivener knows nothing of pages until it comes to exporting or printing and therefore does not have the page layout viewing features of modern word processor applications. So if you are just looking for an alternative to Word you might want to try Nisus Writer or Mellel. If you are drawn by Scrivener’s full screen mode but aren’t bothered about its large writing project management tools, try WriteRoom. If you came to this page because you have struggled with traditional word processors in trying to manage or finish a large writing project, try Scrivener by downloading the 30-day trial. And if after 30 days you decide that Scrivener isn’t the tool for you, be sure to check out the Links page for a list of alternative writing tools.

This is how a company acts when its confident of its product and is genuinely on the side of its users.

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I like Biden, but his Net policy sucks (apparently)

Declan McCullagh has the goods (apparently) on Biden’s tech and Net policy record. It totally sucks and is completely out of step with Obama’s. Thankfully, Obama’s not appointing Biden as head of the FCC.

I like Biden as a VP pick. He’s prepared in case the unthinkable happens. He’s got some real values as a person. And I think he brings not only foreign policy experience but also some bluntness to the campaign. But, have I mentioned that his Net policy sucks? (Apparently?)

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Brad Sucks’ music video clichés

Brad Sucks is declaring his Music Video Cliché Contest to be a success. Hard to argue with the collected works…

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The Google Magic 8 Ball

Yesterday afternoon, my assorted nieces and nephews clustered around the ol’ laptop, googling their name + the word “needs,” and reading aloud the amusing results.


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August 23, 2008

A word processor I want

Typewriters were terrible tools for writing drafts if only because they had no facility for crossing sections out. At least with a pen, you could make a quick line through an entire paragraph that failed.

Word processors still act as if we know what we’re writing. Oh, they’re obviously much better than typewriters, for which I have zero nostalgia. (“Ah, remember the month I spent locked in my room, typing the final draft of my dissertation? Sweet!”) Word processors let you swiftly delete failed paragraphs, let you undo mistakes and re-do mistaken mistakes, and awkwardly track revisions. But they’re not designed for writing when you’re unsure of what you’re writing.

When you’re writing something hard, you probably work the way you do with a music composition system. You try out some notes. You play them back. You make a change. You shave and fit the pieces together. The same when you’re writing words. You try out a phrase, a sentence, a transition, a motif. You see how that affects the words around it. You make a change elsewhere, and now you have to hear how it presses on the ideas, words, and rhythms around it.

Word processors don’t recognize that way of working. They treat drafts as continuous improvements, not as tentative attempts. They don’t let you toggle quickly between two versions of a paragraph, side by side or back and forth, so you can see how each works, the way you might weigh two photographs to see which one you want to keep.

I don’t have a set of features I want. I’m just saying that word processors don’t work the way we write.

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McCain on Biden: Should have, didn’t

If McCain hadn’t become Karl Rove’s sockpuppet, this is what he might have said in response to the selection of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate:

I congratulate my friend and colleague Joe Biden on his being selected as a vice presidential candidate. Joe and I have disagreed frequently over the years, and we disagree now on many of the important issues facing this country. But I’ve also worked with him, count him as a friend, and respect him as a capable man who loves the country he’s served for so many years.

That said, I remain convinced that the solutions Joe and his running mate are proposing are dangerous, and dangerously out of step with the American people. We’re going to keep on making that case up and down this great land, offering our own practical, down-to-earth solutions that will make a real difference in the lives of hard-working Americans.

McCain’s actual response, in full, from his Web site:

ARLINGTON, VA — Today, McCain spokesman Ben Porritt issued the following statement on Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate:

“There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be President.”

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August 22, 2008

Chet Edwards

Chet Edwards is the rumor of the day for Obama’s vp. Here he talks about how Democrats can win. He is very close to Obama in his thinking on this:

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What’s the deal with Microsoft? It’s not micro. It’s not soft.

In an effort to counter Apple’s must-see Mac vs. PC ads, Microsoft is paying Jerry Seinfeld $10M to appear in Vista ads.

Yes, nothing proves you’re hip like hiring a retired, 1990s sitcom star.

Sure, I love Seinfeld repeats. But re-read my lips: Reeeee-peats. I think maybe the problem is that Microsoft, in its irked ire, is unable to see that on the Apple ads, even the PC guy — John Hodgman — is hip. Hodgman’s book, The Areas of My Expertise, is brilliant. Apple even gets cool guys to play the uncool guys.

On the other hand, Microsoft has hired Michael Gondry to direct the ads. Expect the Eternal Wait-times of the Spotless Mind?

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Microsoft has launched a blog about the development of Windows 7

Windows 7 codename: “Do-Over”?

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Putting some analog back into the digital copyright fight

Here’s how the DMCA has worked so far: A copyright holder (henceforth “publisher”) notices an instance (henceforth “video”) of what it thinks is a violation of its copyright on a site such as YouTube (henceforth “YouTube”). The publisher sends YouTube a notice that the video infringes copyright. YouTube then has a choice: It can disagree that the video infringes, and leave it up, or it can take it down and let the video’s poster know that it’s done so. If YouTube chooses Door Number One, it becomes liable if a court decides the video really was infringing. So, inevitably, YouTube takes it down. The video’s poster can then counter-notify YouTube that the video is not infringing. (In this one example, YouTube’s lawyers will actually take a look to decide whether they think it infringes or not. But YouTube is very special in this regard.)

On paper, this seems reasonable. And maybe if the whole thing were done with paper, it would be. But the claims of infringement can be compiled digitally — publishers like Viacom automatically generate lists of every instance of, say, “jon stewart” in a video’s title and submit lists of over a hundred thousand URLs, obviously without having actually reviewed any of the videos — while the response is analog, and thus hard, time-consuming, and risky.

Now there’s been some good news.
A federal judge has ruled that before a publisher submits a DMCA takedown notice to a site like YouTube, some human being has to look at it to decide if it actually infringes, or if it is protected by Fair Use. If this ruling is maintained, it will help re-balance the insanely pro-publisher, pro-protection, pro-restriction copyright regime by taking away the incentive to take down anything and everything that looks like it might maybe perhaps upset a publisher’s delicate sensibilities.

PS: Did you remember to join the Electronic Frontier Foundation to help protect your online rights? [Tags: ]


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