Joho the Blog » mashups

June 3, 2011

Happy birthday, Larry!

One of the heroes of the Internet turns 50, and the people who love him (and there are a lot of us) thank him on this perfectly appropriate video:

Larry Lessig 50th Birthday Lip Sync Tribute from Daniel Jones on Vimeo.

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March 6, 2011

[doep] Daily (Intermittent) Open-Ended Puzzle: Dig a hole…

The following is an Order of Magnitude puzzle: Guess within an order of magnitude of the answer and you win! You win nothing!

If you were to start any spot on land on Earth and dig a hole through the center of the Earth, what percent of the time would you come out on another spot on land, as opposed to having water spray out, comically spinning the Earth out of orbit to its death? (To be precise, the question isn’t about water spraying or not spraying out of the hole. It’s about the percentage of times you’d hit land.)

The answer is in the comments. But, wait, to help you, this fabulous mashup using the Google Maps API will let you sink your own knitting needles through the Earth’s nougaty core!

(All of this came from a mailing list I’m not supposed to acknowledge. Answers authenticated by the good folks at Wikipedia.)


December 14, 2010

You’ve been served, Chanukah style!

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April 17, 2009

[ugc3] Eli Noam – intro

I’m at Columbia U’s conference/seminar on “UGC 3.0” (user-generated content). It’s a mix of academics and businesspeople, which I find appealing. (I don’t find the phrase or slant of “ugc” appealing, however. It often focuses on the stuff rather than on the social participation.) There are about 60 100 people here, sitting in a long conference room. [NOTE: Live blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing stuff. Not doing sepll checking.]

My guess/prediction is that throughout the day, the businesspeople will express enthusiasm for UGC while the academics will tend to splash cold data on it.

Eli Noam begins by wondering if UGC’s importance is going to persist. He points to the fading of other grassroots technologiess that started out with a lot of hype and promise: ham radio, CB radio, homebrew microcomputers. This happens (he says) because as the network size increases and fixed costs drop, and average benefit increase (due to Metcalfe’s law). The point is how you get to the self-sustaining cross-over point when you start at 0. You can regulate the price down, or have a business subsidize it, or you can use a community approach that increases the benefit and lowers the cost. [I’m not capturing his increasingly complex diagram. Sorry.] This tends to make commercialization profitability. So we cycle from community to complementary companies, then competition and then “oligopoly that in the next generation brings back community.”

So where will fiber take this spiral, he asks. First, it will widen choices. Long-tail content. UGC. Richer experience. Historically, the price per bit delivered to the consumer has dropped logarithmically (books to Net), and the richness of the experience (bits per second) has increased logarithmically. Media have gotten more visual because of this. But creating interactive, immersive content requires lots of capital for programmers, equipment, etc. [Yet it also incidentally creates lower-end user possibilities, e.g., machima.] That means, says Eli, that this gives large media companies the edge.

How does UGC fit into this? Mashups. But is it possible to create works of art collaboratively, he asks. [It’s certainly possible to create folk art.] Eli points out that schools of art have been somewhat collaborative; people at least influence one another. But art generally seems to need a hierarchy. The closest he can find to a collaborative model are ssome string quartets and rock bands, but even rock bands are dominated by one person (he says). The main examples he can think of are folk art. [aha.] Folk art isn’t leading edge. It’s quaint. So, is UGC just priming the pump for commercial entries, which is the model of the past. To predict otherwise, one would need a model, an historic analysis, data.

UGC will be prevalent in the low end, he says, and an explorer in the high end. But it will be difficult for UGC to remain in the lead. Commercial entities will (Eli says). To say otherwise is to engage in religious thinking.

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April 14, 2009

RIAA DRM Mashup Smackdown

In its response to Charlie Nesson’s argument that one of the hearings in an RIAA suit ought to be webcast, the RIAA lawyer said:

“[The video footage] will be readily subject to editing and manipulation by any reasonably tech-savvy individual. Even without improper modification, statements may be taken out of context, spliced together with other statements and broadcast (sic) rebroadcast as if it were an accurate transcript. Such an outcome can only do damage to Petitioner’s case.”

So, Chris Soghoian is running a contest, asking you to mash up testimony given to the FTC about Digital Rights Management (DRM). The prize: He donates money to EFF. The real prize: The scalding breath of comedy.

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March 16, 2009

Front page flash cards

At the Newseum site, mousing over a map pops up the front page of the local newspaper. Cool!

(And won’t the site please start taking ads so we can all run the headline: “Ad Newseum!” Please”?)

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