Four short links: 8 March 2012

Compete on Convenience, Minimal Viable Operating System, Awesome Font, Collaboration Integration

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  1. Add Torrent Links to IMDB (Userscripts) — a glimpse at what the Internet could look like: from the site you research movies on, with one click you could then launch the download. If only the company that ran the movie research site had rights to the OneClick patent and the ability to offer movies for download. Oh wait, those aren’t the barriers. If only the movie companies would cease being nutjobs insisting on flogging their DRM-hobbled nags when the black market has x264 racehorses for less. They’re not competing on price, they’re not competing on convenience, they’re competing on the expected value of litigation. Now *that’s* a business model!
  2. JeOS — I hadn’t heard this term before: Just Enough Operating System. Take a standard distro, and strip it down to the bare essentials that you actually need.
  3. Font Awesome — a font with a zillion pictograms and icons. “An iconic font designed for use with Twitter Bootstrap”.
  4. Collabograte — a collection of integration recipes for collaboration tools so you aren’t broken on the “how do I get this thing set up with LDAP auth?” wheel which others have reinvented with their nose to the mixed metaphor grindstone. (via Kartik Subbarao)
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  • http://kosso.co.uk/+ Kosso

    Very handy.

    btw: “Twitter Bootstrap” (not Bootstrip)

  • http://nathan.torkington.com/ Nat Torkington

    @Kosso: ha! My Kiwi accent bleeds through. On Twutter I’m being teased about my love of jQueery and sadness that twutter.com is not available. (I corrected the post, thanks!)

  • Frankster

    So why don’t you put your money where your mouth is. Why don’t you put torrent links next to all of your books here at oreilly.com. Put a big “free” button next to the button that let’s you pay. Show us how it’s done. Show us how cool you can be. Show us that it works. Don’t just give us a “great takedown”. Lead by doing!

  • http://nathan.torkington.com/ Nat Torkington

    @Frankster: actually, you’ll find all O’Reilly books in http://shop.oreilly.com have links to ebooks that are cheaper than the print version. The purchasing system is simple (not one-click, alas, but pretty close) and–most importantly–you can have the ebook in whatever format you want, without DRM. Oh, and there’s Safari, our subscription service for ebooks. We try to make it as convenient as possible for you: all our books, all the formats, no DRM inconvenience. What kind of an idiot builds roadblocks to a sale?

    Also, as an author of a technical book, I’m well aware that it is readily pirated from around the Internet. Go knock yourself out if price is that much of a barrier to you. I’d rather see you educated than bankrupt for the price of a lousy technical book.

    You seem to have me painted as some kind of creator-hating anarchist. You don’t understand that I *want* to pay for movies and TV. There’s a huge pool of middle-class downloaders who would gladly buy if it were available: iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 sales show this for music, and Hulu and Netflix are the signs of this for movies and TV. (I want downloads, not streams, because of the pricing structure of broadband in my part of the world)

    Whatever lost sales there are from illegal downloads are lost because of convenience, not price. The inconvenience of current downloads and streams are not a technology problem, they’re a business problem. And rightsholders (aka existing distribution companies) perpetuate the piracy “problem” by not giving consumers the convenience that piracy does.

    The experience of piracy is actually pretty good compared to that of existing TV and movies online. And, once you get outside the USA, it’s pretty much the ONLY way to get digital media–iTunes and Amazon and Google don’t carry much digital media for us; they offer a dismal few items to international customers versus the munificent excess of their domestic catalogue.

    Downloading isn’t a sign of the rise of technoanarchist capitalist-hating communist punks. It’s a market signal to the distributors that convenience matters. While they ignore that signal, piracy will win. It’s that simple.

  • Frankster

    I’m absolutely sure you’re doing a great job giving people a good deal for their money. O’Reilly books are some of the absolute best on the market.

    There’s something dangerous about making it so easy to click on a torrent link. Not paying will always be easier than typing in your credit card information and going through the bureaucracy. Heck it’s even safer that revealing your CC number. I personally hate waiting in line to pay at many physical stores and I would be sorely tempted to shoplift if there weren’t firm consequences. Waiting sucks and then they try to upsell you. It would be even harder to do the right thing if I listened to the bunch of effete academic twits coming up with elaborate rationalizations for not paying.

    It’s easy for the pirate firms to offer a great experience. They don’t have to pay for any of the cost of creating the content. They don’t have the bureaucracy for paying suppliers. In most cases, they don’t pay any taxes at all.

    I recognize that it’s hip and trendy to say that pirates are just another part of the marketplace– it’s even a practical attitude– but there’s something deeply unfair about this kind of attitude. It’s like telling amputees in a basketball game that they’re just going to have to find a way to grow back that leg if they want to compete. Legit stores that pay taxes and health care for the creators will always find it impossible to compete against pirates if piracy is just treated with a wink and a pat on the back.

    If you continue to embrace the pirates with such a hail-fellow-well-met attitude, don’t be surprised if there are no legit people around to defend you when people start distributing plugins to work around the Safari locks. Let’s see how much O’Reilly and Co like it when the rabble finds it easier to click on book torrent links.

  • Scott Ellsworth

    Frankster: actually, conventional publishers can compete quite effectively with pirates by following the same rules they previously made money with:

    Provide a product at he price most people want. Surre, some people always want your product for less, but a buck a song sells amazing piles of music. 5 bucks for a fiction paperback-equivalent moves product, 10-12 for just published, and 15 for small market tech books. These are based on what I see people buying and on author blogs

    Make it easy to buy. It does not have to be one click, but I better be pretty straightforward. OReilly, Baen, Smashwords all work well enough that the discovery to reading time is short, and I feel safe trusting my credit card to them.

    Provide the product when customers want it. Conventional publishing provided hardbacks a year earlier for a premium. iTunes seems to provide hot songs at 1.29. Customers seem ok with this, Not providing music at all for a year led to mass piracy. This is the model conventional publishing, and many movie studios are following.

    Movie studios today fail on all three counts, while publishers are struggling with two of them for many titles. They can afford some slop, but the sooner thy figure it out, the better.

    People pay for content. Not all people, but most. They do not, however, like being ripped off. Following the same rules that have always worked to sell, well, everything leads to a good result. Yes, the mega upload guy made millions. Apple and Amazon made _billions_.

  • Brian Merritt

    Cory Doctorow seems to have a very interesting model – new ebooks are released for free and those who want something physical or to show support are keeping the whole thing going anyway…

  • Matt

    JeOS has been around for along time, I have known about it for 15 years…. Usually it was made for things tho that are small in space and very low memory, and whatever else….