Archive for August, 2006
Just took a couple of questions from a reporter at Business Line (India) about intellectual property as part of the conference build up for the “Owning the Future” Symposium. Sample questions and answers below:
1. What is the relevance of IP rights to the layman – not a scientist or an IT bureaucrat?
Every layman has an investment in IP and in innovation. Not just an upstream investment that provides reduced costs of products and increased speed of innovation, but — as Eric von Hippel details in his 2005 MIT
Press book “Democratizing Innovation” — every purchaser is a potential innovator, a part of the final and unpredictable design and redesign of products. You want to be able to use the hammer you just bought to crack
nuts as well as pound nails. You want to add features to your car or to a skateboard. You also want to add to software, to electronics and to other products and images in ways that the original designer could not have
possibly anticipated. Without legal access to the means of innovation, your choices are reduced or even erased.
2. Also comment on this slogan of the fast-growing online faction of IP skeptics, “Ideas exist in air, and that is where they should be.”
I searched for this phrase on Google and it wasn’t found. Our IP skeptics must not be making much headway with it ;-> More seriously and from a slightly US point of view, I am a Jeffersonian when it comes to ideas and
property. This phrase echoes that of Thomas Jefferson writing to Isaac McPherson in 1813 [see
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html for a more lengthy quote from that letter]
“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”
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Joe Newberry, great banjoist and NC Department of Cultural Resources bureaucrat, asked me to be part of a set of interviews with the History Channel next week. So’s on Wednesday just before lunch, I’ll head over to the American Tobacco Historic District and tape a discussion with them. We’ll talk about NC’s early showing on the Internet, NC related history projects on ibiblio.org like DocSouth, volunteer history projects like the Pearl Harbor Archives and HyperWar, music collections including the folk music index and perhaps the FolkDen and Folkstreams.net (since both have an NC part to them).
If you have other suggestions, lemme know.
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The PT has been acting fine. It hasn’t been that hot and I haven’t taken it on the highway. I wanted to over the weekend but I was worried about the stalling out.
After not hearing from the Chrysler in the Sky, I talked to the service manager and the dealer is now installing “Co-Pilot” which I am lead to understand is the car equivalent of an airplane black box. When the car stalls, I push a button and all that has happened earlier will be recorded.
In the meantime, I have a brand new PT loaner. The main redesign work since 2001 is the interior particularly the dashboard. The heating and cooling (of people, not the engine) is harder to get at in the new version. The radio is of cleaner design. There is a little analog clock above the radio, cute and retro. The fuel and engine temp have been rotated a bit. And this car is an automatic, which means I stomp the floor pretty often.
Just got a note telling me how to use Co-Pilot: “It’s very simple to use, just simply press a
triangle shaped button.”
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Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing has a blog, radio show segments on NPR and more about her trip from Delhi to Dharamsala (and beyond).
I’ll be on the first leg of pretty much the same trip in only two weeks.
I appreciate any traveler’s hints or must-sees that you list — email me, AIM, Gtalk, Gizmo, Skype or leave a comment.
Part of my time will be visiting with the folks from the Tibetan Technology Center, the Tibetan Children’s Villages, Tibetan Multi-Education Center and Tibetan sites hosted at ibiblio.org.
In Delhi, I’ll be at the Red Hat (India) and Indian Institute of Technology Symposium “Owning the Future” about Open Source etc as you might have guessed.
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We’ve moved about half the ibiblio bandwidth over to our new servers at our new location at MCNC. Ken and Don really did a fine job on the move and in the process did a lot of cleaning up of streaming set ups and the like. All in all, the move went fairly smoothly. All the stations and all the ibiblio sites that rely on streaming are working reliably and we should be able to even handle additional listeners and perhaps another radio station now.
We’ve moved up the connection stream which should have some positive effects for our various listeners. Local access points are peered in the same room as our servers! Not to mention the cost savings that we are already realizing.
We have some changes in the network set up to be done at MCNC that could prove to be interesting. And some collaboration on mesh and peer-to-peer streaming experiments in the wings.
We’ll also be among the first using National Lambda Rail in a service as well as research capacity.
Woo Woo! And much thanks to Ken and Don who were up late last night.
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I couldn’t take Chris Anderson up on his invite to run up to NY City for Wired‘s showing of Inconvenient Truth. I needed to be in Ames, Iowa for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. So’s I passed my invite on to the lovely and talented Courtney Pulitzer who wrote up the event on her Cyber Scene blog. It’s a great write up so check it out. Her newsletter today reminded me to check back up on her report and see her pictures.
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Steve writes in the comments of the only post remaining on the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog:
Dudes, I had no idea this blog was getting read so widely. I’m being held in captivity during the WWDC — scary story of rendition etc., which will be my firt new post. Anyway, I will relaunch soon, not sure where yet. Will keep you friggin informed. Like, with a post here or whatever. And FYI this is NOT an Apple publicity stunt. You really don’t think they have that much sense of humor, do you?
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I have in my hand a book. Unable to type with it in my hand, I set it down. It is called “Required Poems” subtitle “For Reading and Memorizing” “Third and Fourth Grades.” It runs about 200 pages and the more recent poems are copyright in the late 1890s. The book itself shows no print date nor copyright. Among the poems are works by RL Stevenson, Kipling, Riley, Longfellow, Whittier and de la Mare. Along with such giants as Bliss Carman, Phoebe Cary, Lucy Larcom and Oliver Herford.
Just a quick quiz, who remembers the poem “I Remember, I Remember”? Who wrote it? (No fair Googling quite yet).
Seasonal poems, poems with birds in them and heavily cadenced poems like sections of Hiawatha are often “Required.”
A personal note: My grandmother, bless her soul, often terrorized me by reciting with great drama Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie.“ Each time she came to the nearly stuttered halting stanza ending lines:
Er the Gobble-uns’ll git you
She would make a ghastly face and reach for me. My not yet luxuriant not yet flowing hair would stand on in. That is one poem lodged in my memory, tied to my deepest self by the barbed wires of fear.
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After a very funny and very snarky run up to the Mac World Wide Developers Conference today, the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs vanished from the face of the web or at least from blogspot. In place of the various images of Steve and those annoying him particularly those last few hecking him about options are the words “In Memoriam,” one post titled “RIP” and the phrase “It’s gone…”
A couple of stray and mournful comments are rustling in the wind.
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We’re moving ibiblio physically and networkedly to MCNC and NCREN. In theory, folks that go to ibiblio for software, radio, legal music, archives of history and technology resources (to name a few categories) will only see better performance and better response. We’ll see opportunities for stronger research relationships, more innovative networking solutions and experiments (we already do IPv6 streaming with those groups), more economic hosting, better opportunities for expansion as needed, and access to better bandwidth availability and pricing.
First to be moved will be the radio streams. They should change tonight if all goes as planned.
I just did an brief interview with the MCNC PR folks. I said something like:
We are delighted to be working with an innovative and creative and affordable group like MCNC and with Joel Dunn and Mark Johnson in particular. MCNC really stepped up with some imaginative solutions to our bandwidth situation and added extremely reliable hosting (far above industry standards) while allowing us to keep our involvements in Internet2 and National Lambda Rail (among others). Thanks to their good work, ibiblio will be cutting its operating expenses by 2/3s while increasing bandwidth, increasing research involvment, getting room for expansion and will be located in an extremely well-planned and well-provisioned computerroom at the nexis of the RTP commercial and educational network crossroads of our region.
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He called the police station to try to get them to take a handgun he found when cleaning up his parents house as they were moving to a retirement community. The operator at the Charlotte Police station told him to take it to a pawnshop or a gun shop and he’d get good money for it. My old friend persisted. He wanted the gun destroyed and the registration marked as such. He hadn’t lived in Charlotte for a long time and in his new home state they were careful to get rid of handguns.
When the officers showed up to take the gun, the first one asked almost kidding but not quite that he be given the gun as a gift. It was a real nice gun.
My friend insisted that the gun be destroyed. The officers looked at him quizzically. Then took the gun and left.
Afterwards I found this article in the New York Post:
GUN SHOPS’ ROTTEN GOODS MAKE FOR SOUR APPLE
By Andy Geller
May 25, 2006 — The nation’s five worst-of-the-worst gun dealers sold weapons that were used in 64 Big Apple crimes, new statistics revealed yesterday.
The majority of the guns, 44, came from the Hyatt Coin & Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.
Hyatt, which sold 405 guns used in crimes across the nation last year, was fifth on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives list of the top five sellers of guns traced to crimes.
Topping the nationwide list is Badger Outdoors of West Milwaukee, Wis., which sold 537 guns. It was followed by Trader Sports of San Leandro, Calif. (447), Elliot’s Small Arms of Jefferson, La. (442) and Don’s Guns and Galleries of Indianapolis (431).
Based on ATF statistics from 1994 to 2001 – the latest available – the center said that in addition to the 44 guns sold by Hyatt used in New York City crimes, Trader Sports sold 11, Don’s Guns sold four, Badger sold three and Elliot’s Small Arms sold two.
And this recent Creative Loafing article about the surge in homicides and in robberies in Charlotte in the past year and a proposal to deal with the problem by getting guns off the street:
Since most of the crimes were gun-related, local, state and federal law enforcement teamed up to target illicit firearms traffickers who were supplying young people with guns.
“In every city where they have done this it has been met with resistance, but ultimately been very successful,” said assistant city manager Keith Parker.
Making an Operation Ceasefire-style program work here would mean dramatically reforming Mecklenburg County’s chaotic, under-funded court system. Removing a city’s worst criminals from the streets requires targeted prosecution and a refusal to plea bargain. For a criminal justice system like Mecklenburg’s, which uses plea bargains to stay afloat, that could prove to be a challenge.
But with gang members moving to the Charlotte area in record numbers, and the city’s homicide rate at a 10-year high of 85, something has to give. After robberies jumped 32 percent in 2005, police learned armed robbery was becoming a gateway crime for young gang members.
Nearly a third of robbery suspects under 18 were identified by police as gang members, while only 11 percent of suspects between 21 and 30 were.
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First it was Stacy Schiff‘s “KNOW IT ALL – Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?” in the New Yorker’s issue of 2006-07-31. Then came Nicholas Lemann‘s “AMATEUR HOUR – Journalism without journalists” in the issue of 2006-08-07. The New Yorker sent out smart talented writers to get the real story on what’s happening on the Web.
The editors and writers thought they were covering different stories in difference issues, but really they, like the blind men fondling the elephant, were telling the same story about a part of a great beast. Schiff pounded on the side of the elephant and declared it a wall. Sturdy if trembling; what those of us who see more of the animal know is breathing and functioning. Lemann grabs the ear and declared it flimsy without strength or depth. Something this fan-like could not be a challenge to reporters and dedicated professionals.
I do wonder how Lemann could write his article and not mention Dan Gillmour’s book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nor the Center for Citizen Journalism which is lead by Dan.
Each writer may notice that there is something bigger at play behind the rhetoric of wikipedians and their discontents, behind bloggers and the professional journalists who mutually antagonize each other. Both notice that some sort of revolution or evolution or change is underway. But both have avoided raising this up to a bigger picture, a larger context. Neither see this and more as something that is unrelenting and growing despite the various moral panics that have attended not only blogging and wikipedia but also social networking sites, eBay, Google, Google Book Project, Amazon, and soon I’m sure del.icio.us, technorati, Flickr and YouTube.
So far only terms like Web 2.0, which although I think is unavoidable as a pretty good place holder and has the endurance of a term like ironhorse or horseless carriage as opposed to telephone , are available. I’m not ready to put out a nomination for the term for the changes involved of my choice yet. Not “the former audience.” Maybe “Citizen Journalism” but that is too limited in scope to my thinking. Like “Information Highway” these terms fail to do their job in various ways and will vanish. We do need a way to describe the change, but will our children finally be the ones who give it to the next generation and to the ages or will we do it soon?
Personal note on the Wikipedia story: I was at a conference in DC this Spring and ended up sitting at the same table as Jimbo Wales and Stacy Schiff. I kept trying to remember where I had seen her name or byline. She was pleasant and very sharp and extremely observant. When I got back to my room, I realized that I had read and enjoyed a piece by her about Ben Franklin not long before in the New York Times. I had also read the reviews of her Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Vera [Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov]. I wish I had been a bit better at recall that day. I had a question or two on Franklin in the Wikipedia/Citizen Journalist/eBay/social networks context.
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Mark McCarthy writes via Skype that he’s now in Beirut. The Humanitarian Information Centre is setting up there so it looks like the UN is in for the long haul.
Here’s a video from Mark’s balcony [avi].
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