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On Slow Ride Around Yangon

Brilliant ending. (The whole thing is great too.)

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm 0

On Developers Should Rejoice: Goldman Sachs Programmer Freed from Prison

@zidaane Try reading the GPL, for starters. Modifications or other uses of OSS code must themselves be open-sourced, a situation he could have easily been in. Maybe he was examining code for this, maybe for some other reason, but there are plenty of non-criminal reasons he might want to work from home or whatever.

Using a private svn server for corporate code is certainly stupid (although he encrypted everything maybe?) but you have nowhere near enough information to impugn his motives.

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm 0

On Restaurant Open

@C_Webb beef and all the other (bison, caribou, portobello) upstarts.

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 12:29 am 0

On The Google Goblins Give Firefox a Reprieve--But What About the Open Web?

"Its a different world now... yet we greybeards still act like everyone who shows up is naturally "on the team" and, thus, we don't need to explain why OSS is important."

This is an essential point: the conflation of the two 'free's of OSS. Unfortunately, it's not 1995 and many of these projects have been forced to adapt to a world where they are valued for free cost, rather than political/technical/social freedom. Unfortunately, there is enough money in tech now that the platform technologies of today (twitter, amazon cloud services, google books) are commercial and proprietary and subject to the whims of their corporate overlords (who control your actual DATA now, too).

Google search is not just one commercial product among many; it shapes how we find, relate, and remember information.

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 12:26 am 0

On An Argument Across the Internet: Startups, VCs and Lifestyle

People come to their senses here too: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3283214

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm 0

On The Tetris Effect

Awesome. Narrative structure and IDEAS.

Posted on November 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm 0

On It's Working: Wisconsin's Recall to End all Recalls

Just RE: Madison as "not real Wisconsin", the population of the Madison metro area is 10% of the state's 5.7 million, a far cry from NYC's ~50% share of NYS.

Also: "The proposal also would entitle shooters to recover the costs of defending themselves in any civil suit against them if the court found the shooter was immune to lawsuits under the castle doctrine." You can sue your dead victim to recover legal costs, too!

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm 0

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

@barnhouse @scrooge There are a variety of exceptions for copyrighted works, including critical quoting (wildly ambiguous case law, generally small excerpts are okay, but what does this mean for poetry criticism, for example?), parody/satire (generally well-supported), and (sometimes) musical sampling (although hip-hop remix producers get raided by the FBI regularly). These are all poorly articulated now, and I am just voicing support for clarifying them (a la Lawrence Lessig), a process that would hopefully identify the limits of a copyright holder's control over their work (i.e., the MPAA asserting that vcr broadcast recording and later, dvd copying and storage are not protected fair use). My hope would be that, in the case of e-books, consumer freedoms are extended in a platform-agnostic way.

IANAL, etc. Copyright ramble over.

A broader question this raises about publishing is if the blockbuster-subsidy model is tenable long-term. It would be nice to assume that publishers will continue to support a wide class of talented writers with book advances, but if they are no longer the sole means through which authors can be successful (there are new gate keepers), a free market would have the blockbuster authors distribute their own work and accrue all profits directly (or use the threat of doing so to negotiate a more favorable contract with the publisher). In the long run, this would eliminate the indirect subsidies (for better writing) which Auletta supports. A similar dynamic is happening in TV (for example, with Mad Men winning Emmys while simultaneously under cancellation threat) and music (where diminishing income from record deals has led bands to focus on alternative revenue sources like touring).

Great piece though, thanks for tying all these issues together.

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm 1

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

@zybhjk oh and that linked Silicon Valley Watcher piece on "Don't be evil" appears to have been originally intended as an April Fools joke... How prescient.

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm 0

On One Google Books To Rule Them All?

But, rather than creating increased control, isn't Amazon (and maybe at some point, Google) further democratizing the selection of what we read? With lower barriers to entry for publishing/distribution, it's a much freer market for aspiring authors. Is the point that some people (I guess, the authors who have already made it) want to preserve the agent-publisher complex as gatekeeper to literary respectability? Take a look around your average mass-market bookstore (and best-seller list); it's not as though this system has produced a shining paradigm of literary sophistication...

As unpleasant as talk of "content providers" may be, I think it also might serve as a wakeup call to the class of authors like Le Guin, who seem to regard their work as singular, sovereign creations outside of the limits of IP law. Oh, I'm sorry, maybe you DON'T get to dictate whether people can put your work online and read it there.

I can't see that we (as a culture) would be any worse with Amazon/Google providing an open forum for writers that, by virtue of being digital, would be inherently more accessible than any existing publisher. If anything, the "people who love books" would jump ship and educate the techies on good literature.

In any case, talented people will still continue to write more than any individual will ever be able to read.

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm 1