- Pirate Verbatim — artists, in their own words, talking about piracy. The mix of opinions, attitudes, and nuance shows that there’s far from any single consistent view out there. (via Graham Linehan)
- What Rapleaf Knows About You — aggregating information from various sites, and your ad clickthroughs, to build a dossier about you that relates your email address to real name, age, shopping history, political leaning, and more. How do I control others’ ability to gather information about me? (via Mauricio Freitas)
- By Design — Australian radio show episode where five interesting people (artist, author, etc.) talk about water, electricity, food, and technology and then have Q&A. Dan Hill helped it happen.
- Rare Book Room — read high-resolution scans of important and beautiful old books (Shakespeare Folios, Galileo, Books of Hours, etc.) online. Digital for libraries means new ways for customers to view materials, and new customers: I can read an item from the Bodleian Library, but I’m in New Zealand and they’re in Oxford. Am I a Bodleian customer? Do they change what they do to support me? Who pays for the services I use? These are the questions many collections organisations are struggling with. (via Paul Steele)
San Francisco band Severed Fifth wants to create a new template for success.
Chart success would be nice, but Severed Fifth has a loftier goal than most bands. They want to use hallmarks of the open source movement — specifically, community involvement and free distribution — to change the music business.
Artists on Piracy, Web Tracking, Thinking about Future Food, and Library Futures
Location Services, Clever Cursors, Intuitive Trouble, and Maturity Wins
- Universal Location Service — API access to location information from mobiles on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T. “Universe” here is defined, naturally, to be “United States of America”.
- The Revenge of the Intuitive (Brian Eno, Wired) — now I’m struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity […] This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users – when given a choice – prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can’t have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else.
- “Wait, What?” (Alex Russell) — I didn’t try to organize people who didn’t see the value in organization: instead, I tried to organize folks whose experience was valuable in terms of personal maturity and not just facility with code. We picked a hard technical problem and an easier social problem knowing that the social aspects were more critical.
To fund copyright-free recordings, Musopen asked for $11k. They got $55k.
The music of Beethoven and Brahms isn't covered by copyright, but performances and sheet music are. With an assist from KickStarter, MusOpen has raised more than enough money to right that wrong by recording and releasing classics into the public domain.
Place Context, iPod Hardware, Mobile Cognitive Surplus, and Music Hacking APIs
- 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)
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.