Archive | June, 2005

Doc Groks Grokster

 Doc Searls’ IT Garage – blogs Grokking Grokster.

“When I heard about the Grokster decision this morning (in which the Supremes decided unanimously in favor of MGM, et. al. in its suit against Grokster, et. al.), I knew many, in the blogosphere as well as the mass media, would play the story as a victory by Hollywood over Technology. That may be right, but to what does the metaphor blind us? Take away the war and sports framing, and what have you got?”

Doc writes a balanced piece, with links and quotations from both sides: illegal file sharing is, well, illegal, but banning basic technologies for peer-to-peer work has a potentially chilling effect on American technological innovation.

The basic system is screwed up. Most consumers don’t have a problem with the idea that authors and musicians and inventors ought to be paid for their work. What technology has brought to many other venues is disintermediation – the elimination of the middle-man from the exchange between the consumer and the artist. Amazon attempts to bridge the gap between publisher and reader, skipping distributors and local bookstores. eBay and Craig’s List attempts to link buyer and seller without second-hand shops. Record-company labels used to provide a service by finding talented musicians, renting high-end studio space and production skills, manufacturing vinyl records and distributing them to record stores in the hinterlands. Now that the artists can put audio tracks on their websites and artists can burn CDs with the help of some technical friends, the need for record labels ought to go the way of the buggy whip. Musicians need to take back ownership of their music, and their audience will pay.

Andrew: I Don’t Want to Wait

Andrew MacNeill – AKSEL Solutions says: MS at Gnomedex: I Don’t Want to Wait for Longhorn to see you “get” something. Too True: Microsoft has become the slowest moving beast in the jungle. Other vendors are shipping betas now, or have been shipping live products for years. Andrew notes “There’s a lot to be said about taking the time to get it done right.” Yes, that’s true, but in the immortal words of Susan Graham “Shipping is a feature.” Contrast this attitude with the Open Source idea of “ship early, ship often.” Agile organizations can cobble together a prototype, pass it around to interested parties, build a beta-quality product, circulate it amongst a large audience, use the feed back to add/drop/modify features, then Version 1.0 can kick butt, instead of just being a platform for delivering Service Pack One. Perhaps Microsoft does this within their closed, NDA-enshrouded beta process, but few products (with Visual FoxPro a notable exception) appear to benefit from the vetting. Either the testers aren’t giving MSFT good enough feedback, or MSFT is failing to act on it.

Microsoft has been this route already once with Active Desktop and Channel Description Format (CDF). Any bets that second time will be the charm?

IBM Outsources Workforce

InfoWorld: Top News reports IBM ruffles workers by expanding India staff.

“As one of the IT industry’s largest and most storied employers, IBMæfaces constant scrutiny of its workforce shifts and reductions. With The New York Times reporting Friday on IBM’s plans to significantly expand its staff in India while cutting jobs elsewhere, the company once again found itself balanced at the delicate intersection of global business realities and U.S. politics.”

Back in the days of white shirts and blue suits, IBMers used to joke that IBM stood for “I’ve Been Moved.”

Microsoft to announce some RSS innovations at GnomeDex

Dave Winer posts on Scripting News: “In April I visited Microsoft to hear about some interesting ideas they had about RSS. On Friday they will explain these ideas publicly. Today, with their permission, I have a preview of part of what they will talk about. I hope everyone who’s interested in RSS listens carefully. I know I will. ”

Looking forward to seeing what Microsoft announces!

JOHO nails it: ‘ I’m not keeping up with your blog’

David Weinberger blogs:

No, I’m not keeping up with your blog.
I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.

But we’re now well past the point where any of us can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with. Even with an aggregator.

I just can’t do it any more.

And that goes double for those Fox bloggers who changed the address of their RSS feeds and expect me to notice I’m not seeing any postings from them showing up in a news aggregator. You know who you are.

No Open Source Avalon nor Indigo should be no surprise

OSNews tries to ignite a controversy with Microsoft Puts OSS Roadblock on Avalon and Indigo. “Novell’s Mono open-source group had been successful in porting Microsoft’s .Net Framework, but Microsoft is insisting its Avalon and Indigo intellectual property rights requires that any attempt to produce open-source versions of these two will require licensing.”

I’m surprised this is news. Microsoft was pretty clear, I thought, in making their common runtime environment a standard (that’s what Mono has been building, if I understand correctly), and pushing C# out to a standards body for more support. But to suppose that meant Microsoft was giving away the whole tool chain, or even all of the layers of software needed to generate a Windows-style app on a competing platform, was näive at best. Microsoft is not out to lead by example, set industry standards and then beat its competition by having the best product.

I’d welcome hearing from other people who were expecting something else.

NeoOffice/J 1.1 released

Slashdot notes At Long Last, NeoOffice/J 1.1 Released. VValdo writes “After nearly five years of development, NeoOffice/J has made it to its first stable release. NeoOffice/J 1.1 is a Mac OS X-integrated office suite based on 1.1.4 that includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing applications. Key Macintosh features include a standard Mac OS X installer, a native Aqua menu bar, use of the native printing system, full clipboard support, drag-and-drop, Mac “command” key shortcuts, mouse scrolling, integration with major Mac email clients and native support for Mac fonts. ”

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been using the NeoOffice/J since January, and I’ve been really pleased with it. The functionality of meets my needs – basic spreadsheet, word processing and presentations – and the more advanced features, like Draw and PDF output, make it a world-class competitor.

Attack of the Broadcast Flag, Part II

The Electronic Freedom Foundation reports “Rumor is afoot that Hollywood is taking another crack at the Broadcast Flag on Capitol Hill, this time by sneaking a Flag provision into an appropriations bill before the Senate.” Contact your senator to say you want this issue carefully considered, not tacked on the end of a piece of legislation without debate.

Read more here.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.