- BBC Dimensions — brilliant work, a fun site that lets you overlay familiar plcaes with famous and notable things so you can get a better sense of how large they are. Example: the Colossus of Rhodes straddling O’Reilly HQ, the Library of Alexandria vs the Google campus, and New Orleans Mardi Gras began at the headquarters of Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church. (via this piece about its background)
- Podapter — simple plug that takes mini-USB and goes into an iPod or iPhone. (via Tuesday product awesomeness)
- New NexusOne Radio Firmware — a glimpse of the world that’s sprung up sharing the latest goodies between countries, carriers, and developers. For everyone for whose products the street has found a new use, the challenge is to harness this energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, and devotion. In terms of cognitive surplus, this far exceeds the 1 LOLCAT minimum standard unit. (via YuweiWang on Twitter)
- Echoes Nest Remix API — access to database of song characteristics and tools to manipulate tunes. See the Technology Review article for examples of what it’s capable of. (via aaronsw on Twitter)
Place Context, iPod Hardware, Mobile Cognitive Surplus, and Music Hacking APIs
Maturing Wikileaks, Connectivity as a Right, Music from Proteins, Preserved Source
- Is Wikileaks Growing Up? — I linked earlier to FAS commentator Steven Aftergood, who had ripped Wikileaks as irresponsible and dangerous. The latest leaks, however, get grudging respect. “the latest dump deals with a perfectly newsworthy topic and — judging from my initial glances at the news coverage — Wikileaks itself has acknowledged the necessity of withholding certain portions of the documents that might endanger individuals who are named in them. If so, that is commendable.” (via jayrosen_nyu on Twitter)
- Open Connectivity and Open Data — is access to the Internet a human right? Video of a presentation by Jon Penney, the InternetNZ CyberLaw Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
- ProteoMusic — twisted music inspired by genomes and proteins. (via christianbok on Twitter)
- MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Donated to Computer Museum — source is as much a historical artifact worthy of preservation as hardware, and will be increasingly so. Should Library of Congress require submission of distributed computer code the same as for published books? (via Andy Baio)
Measuring Life Success, Music Industry Woes, Google Humanities, Open Source Hardware
- How Will You Measure Your Life? (HBR) — Clayton Christenson’s advice to the Harvard Business School’s graduating class, every section a gem. If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most. (via mjasay on Twitter)
- Lyle Lovett Yet To Make a Penny From Record Sales (TechDirt) — read with Virgin Sues Platinum-Selling Band and Zoe Keating’s ongoing exploration of life outside a label. Big record companies take the album profits but give you visibility so you can tour. This sucks if you’re a good musician but can’t tour (e.g., just had a #cellobaby). (via danjite on Twitter)
- Google’s Commitment to Digital Humanities (Google) — giving grants to universities to work with digital works. Will also be releasing more corpora like the collection of ancient Greek and Latin texts.
- Open Source Hardware Definition — up to v0.3, there’s momentum building. There’s an open hardware summit in September. The big issue in the wild is how much of the complex multi-layered hardware game must be free-as-in-speech for the whole deal to be free-as-in-speech. See, for example, Bunnie Huang’s take.
It was the best of decades, it was the worst of decades...
With only a few weeks left until we close out the ‘naughts and move into the teens, it’s almost obligatory to take a look back at the best and not-so-best of the last decade. With that in mind, I polled the O’Reilly editors, authors, Friends, and a number of industry movers and shakers to gather nominations. I then
tossed them in the trash and made up my own compiled them together and looked for trends and common threads. So here then, in no particular order, are the best and the worst that the decade had to offer.
Last week's On The Media (mp3 download here) devoted the full program to challenges and changes during the past decade or so in the music business — from the unanswered legal questions about sampling (check out Girl Talk for the genre taken to the extreme) to the shifting economics of concert tickets and promotion to the changing role of…
Copycrime, Die Music Industry Die, Open Government Data, Augmented Reality
- Second Degree Murder and Six Other Crimes Cheaper Than Pirating Music — I’m outraged that the Obama administration is supporting the RIAA on the case against Jammie Thomas, a single mother of four who has to pay them $1.92 million for downloading songs. That’s more expensive than murder and six other crimes… (via Br3nda)
- Bill Drummond Talk (MP3) — cofounder of the KLF gives 130 years of music industry history and explains why music’s future might depend on not recording it. (via Br3nda)
- NZ Government Recommends CC-BY — NZ all-of-Government licensing framework recommends CC. So far as copyright works are concerned, NZGOAL proposes that agencies apply the most liberal of the New Zealand Creative Commons law licences to those of their copyright works that are appropriate for release, unless there is a restriction which would prevent this. The most liberal Creative Commons licence is the Attribution (BY) licence. So far as non-copyright information is concerned, NZGOAL recommends the use of clear “no-known rights” statements, to provide certainty for people wishing to re-use that information..
- Augmented Reality: 5 Barriers to a Web That’s Everywhere (ReadWriteWeb) — great post with five areas that need to be addressed before we can move from “wow” to commonplace. Interoperability: Right now you cannot see information from the Wikitude AR environment if you’re looking through the Layar AR browser. This could be the coming of a new browser war just like that of the 1990s. It may not be obvious and it may not even be true that users have a right to view any layer of Augmented Reality through any Augmented Reality browser. Interoperability, standards and openness have been what has let the Web scale and flourish beyond the suffocating walled gardens of its early days. The same is true of telephones, railroads and countless other networked technologies. Logically then, a lack of interoperability between AR environments would be a tragedy of the same type as if the web had remained defined by the islands of AOL and Compuserve or Internet Explorer, forever. (A lack of data portability when it comes to Augmented Reality could cause substantial psychological distress!)
My once-beloved San Francisco Chronicle has been "hollowed out," reduced to a thin pamphlet, thereby accelerating their subscriber attrition. Do you even know anyone who actually uses the Yellow Pages? Remember record stores? Whither Blockbuster? When analog media collides with digital media, "creative destruction" occurs with brutal efficiency — unless you can truly differentiate your offering, a tall task, but not an insurmountable one.
What you're selling as an artist (or an author, or a publisher for that matter) is not content. What you sell is providing something that the customer/reader/fan wants. That may be entertainment, it may be information, it may be a souvenir of an event or of who they were at a particular moment in their life (Kelly describes something similar as his eight "qualities that can't be copied": Immediacy, Personalization, Interpretation, Authenticity, Accessibility, Embodiment, Patronage, and Findability). Note that that list doesn't include "content." The thing that most publishers (and authors) spend most of their time fretting about (making it, selling it, distributing it, "protecting" it) isn't the thing that their customers are actually buying. Whether they realize it or not, media companies are in the service business, not the content business.