- Free as in Smokescreen (Mike Shaver) — H.264, one of the ways video can be delivered in HTML5, is covered by patents. This prevents Mozilla from shipping an H.264 player, which fragments web video. The MPEG LA group who manage the patents for H.264 did a great piece of PR bullshit, saying “this will be permanently royalty-free to consumers”. This, in turn, triggered a wave of gleeful “yay, now we can use H.264!” around the web. Mike Shaver from Mozilla points out that the problem was never that users might be charged, but rather that the software producer would be charged. The situation today is just as it was last week: open source can’t touch H.264 without inviting a patent lawsuit.
- Crowdsourcing for Pakistan Flood Relief — Crowdflower are geocoding and translating news reports from the ground, building a map of real-time data so aid workers know where help is needed.
- Dirpy — extract MP3 from YouTube. Very nice interface. (via holovaty on Delicious)
- Three Rules of Thumb for Bloom Filters — Bloom filters are used in caches and other situations where you need fast lookup and can withstand the occasional false positive. 1: One byte per item in the input set gives about a 2% false positive rate. For more on Bloom Filters, see Maciej Ceglowski’s introduction. (via Hacker News)
H.264 Patents, Pakistan Flood Crowdsourcing, YouTube to MP3, Bloom Filter Tips
Audio API, Book Search Helps Publishers (Gasp!), Tracking Antiquities, Guaranteeing Diversity Fail
- Estimating the Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders: Evidence from the Google Book Search Litigation — [T]he revenues and profits of the publishers who believe themselves to be most aggrieved by GBS, as measured by their willingness to file suit against Google for copyright infringement, increased at a faster rate after the project began, as compared to before its commencement. The rate of growth by publishers most affected by GBS is greater than the growth of the overall U.S. economy or of retail sales.
- In History-Rich Region, a Very New System Tracks Very Old Things (NY Times) — Getty built a web database to help Jordan track its antiquities sites (and threats to them) with Google Earth satellite images. (via auchmill on Twitter)
- What Women Want and How Not to Give it To Them — thought-provoking piece about the ways in which corporate diversity efforts fail. Must read.
Against Open Data, Singalong Selection, Library Release, and Twitter Analysis
- Aren’t You Being a Little Hasty in Making This Data Free? — very nice deconstruction of a letter sent by ESRI and competitors to the British Government, alarmed at the announcement that various small- and mid-sized datasets would no longer be charged for. In short, companies that make money reselling datasets hate the idea of free datasets. The arguments against charging are that the cost of gating access exceeds revenue and that open access maximises economic gain. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
- User Assisted Audio Selection — amazing movie that lets you sing or hum along with a piece of music to pull them out of the background music. The researcher, Paris Smaragdis has a done lot of other nifty audio work. (via waxpancake on Twitter)
- Cologne-based Libraries Release 5.4M Bibliographic Records to CC0 — I see resonance here with the Cologne Archives disaster last year, where the building collapsed and 18km of shelves covering over 2000 years of municipal history were lost. When you have digital heritage, embrace the ease of copying and spread those bits as far and wide as you can. Hoarding bits comes with a risk of a digital Cologne disaster, where one calamity deletes your collection. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
- ThinkTank — web app that lets you analyse your tweets, break down responses to queries, and archive your Twitter experience. Built by Expert Labs.
Over on the O'Reilly Radar blog, Dale Dougherty posted on students increasingly prefering the sound of MP3 over higher quality music: [Jonathan Berger] has them listen to a variety of recordings which use different formats from MP3 to ones of much higher quality. He described the results with some disappointment and frustration, as a music lover might, that each…
In an interview with Fast Company, Audible CEO Donald Katz discusses the publishing industry's history of slow technological acceptance: Publishing is an industry pursuing a noble cultural calling. But publishing has always had an ambivalent relationship to technology-driven change. In fact, the music publishing business spent a whole lot of time trying to kill off the phonograph. The publishing…
In the wake of Hachette's last cassette-based audiobook, the New York Times eulogizes a format many thought was already long gone: Cassettes have limped along for some time, partly because of their usefulness in recording conversations or making a tape of favorite songs, say, for a girlfriend. But sales of portable tape players, which peaked at 18 million in…
UK-based GoSpoken has partnered with Random House to make 50 audiobook titles available for purchase through the GoSpoken mobile download service. GoSpoken is currently aimed at early adopter UK residents who have broadband-capable cellphones (specifically, HSDPA-enabled) and mobile data plans. Managing director Tony Lynch describes the genesis of GoSpoken on the company's blog: As I travel round London, I…
Digital tagging and mobile downloads could reduce the line between content discovery and purchase.
On the heels of news that Amazon is struggling to keep up with demand for the Kindle (I ordered mine three weeks ago, and still no word on ship date), comes word that they're acquiring Audible.Along with the Kindle, this move makes sense for the online retailer as a bet that demand will continue to grow for books in non-print…