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October 2, 2015

Reason #2,645 to love the Web

Back in the early 1980s—yes, children, it’s time for an anecdote from the Dark Ages—WordPerfect was my writing tool. I was a power user and was quite attached to it. But there were some things I thought they could do better. So, I wrote a four page letter that was (as I recall) very appreciative of the program overall — not a set of gripes, but a fan’s notes. I sent it to the WordPerfect corporation.

I never heard anything back. Not even the form letter I expected.

That was back then.

On my Mac I frequently use Sync2Folders “its techie rawness is one of the reasons I like it”to, well, sync two folders. It does exactly what I want, and it’s free, although donations are suggested. (I’ve donated the suggested €6 more than once.)

In terms of the look and feel, Sync2Folders isn’t slick, and in its functionality it tends towards the techie. But it’s simple enough that I can do the basic things that I want to do. In fact, its techie rawness is one of the reasons I like it: It does a job that’s not trendy, and it does it without gussying itself up.

Also, and perhaps more important, it looks like something that a developer created and put out in the world for free. Which is exactly what it is.

A couple of days ago I got an automated email from the developer, Thomas Robisson when I donated for the third time. I’d like to pretend that I’m just that generous, but the truth is that I’m just that forgetful. So, I appreciated that the developer noted the duplication, told me how to avoid the app’s request for fiscal aid, and reminded me that a single license can be used on multiple computers.

I responded by email to thank Thomas, and also to point out a feature that I’d like and that I’d thought was in an earlier version. I was confident that this was going to turn out to be a DUM— a dumb user mistake — and at least I was right about that.“ The Net occasions the generosity of people like Thomas” Over the course of a couple of emails in which Thomas asked for some basic debugging info, it turned out that, yes, I had simply missed the button that did what I was asking for. D’oh.

I know that the Internet is the defiler of youth and the death of civilization. But it also occasions the generosity and creativity of people like Thomas.

Further, before the Net, there was only the slightest chance that a user and a product creator could engage. And if they did it was likely to be in the stilted, inhuman voice of the Marketing department.

So, thank you, Thomas. And thank you, Internet.


June 16, 2009

Intimacy defined

As Cluetrain’s 10th Anniversary Edition launches, it seems appropriate to note that today I received a notice that the Australian Central Credit Union is now using Consona customer relationship management solutions to overcome its fear of intimacy:

Today, member intimacy is now a core component of ACCU’s competitive advantage, and the Consona CRM solution allows ACCU to:

  • View members’ holdings and interactions across all channels of the organization at a glance;

  • Easily locate or compose customized documents and correspondence in order to respond to an enquiry or provide customer guidance;

  • Reduce and streamline manual and semi-manual work processes, enhancing productivity and providing a more effective audit trail functionality; and

  • Expand its business strategy to adopt an integrated advice model and link members to personalized products and services.

By the way, tonight Doc and I are going to be interviewed by Jonathan Zittrain about Cluetrain. You’re invited: 6pm, Austin Hall. [Tags: ]


December 3, 2008

DMCA exemption season

Once every three years, the copyright office considers proposed exemptions to the DMCA’s forbidding of attempts to circumvent Digital Rights Management (DRM) protections. Yesterday at 5pm was the deadline for this cycle’s bids.

And there have been some really interesting ones.

Some Berkman folks have asked for the right to Hack the Dead, although they don’t put it like that. If you have software that checks on line to make sure you are authorized to use it, and if the company has now gone out of business, you can no longer use stuff you paid for. So, the Berkman team has proposed that in those circumstances, hackers should be allowed to hack your content free of the dead grip of the defunct business. Chris Soghoian, one of the petitioners, explains it well.

Chris also explains some of the other 18 requests for exemption, including an EFF (did you remember to join?) request to allow users to jailbreak their iPhones so they can run software that Apple has not approved, and a request to allow academics to hack DRM’ed DVD’s to make compilations that are legit under the Fair Use exemption.

Unfortunately, it’s likely that the copyright office will emerge from its three year slumbers, see its own shadow, and put its head straight back up its own rectum. [Tags: ]

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