Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Important Conversation on IP, Piracy and Culture

This is a very important conversation.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


The journey to freedom from bondage travels a trail of innocents lost to forces both terrible and hateful, forces that cover holy robes in blood and wanton destruction, that transform the young into warriors and old women into grieving mothers. Let us not become the monsters we behold. Let us pray for peace for ourselves and our neighbors. Shalom.

This is a cover of a Leonard Cohen song and I'm sure he had a meaning but the brilliance of his work is I can find another. Shalom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Programmers Paving the Road to Web Hell

Here is one of those nifty articles from a web developer.

Some nifty ideas lead to hell. That is one of them. Most of the "we can make it easy on ourselves" ideas do that in a system that rock-bottom relies on some standards, regardless of how weak, to work.

Note that in a following article, they talk about making a standard nifty idea out of the path to hell. Let's be sure on the way to hell we are all taking it as easy and marching in lock step. The Devil likes nothing better than people who take an approved route to hell and web programmers are the Devil's Disciples when it comes to making it easier for themselves while increasing the misery for everyone else.

That's why a technical writer's standard response having spent the time to master SGML and XML to a programmer bitching about HTML and "how hard it is" is: "You're right. Now, go to hell."


Monday, October 29, 2012

All of Me/Today - Len Bullard With Johnny Tona and Steve Weber

From the vaults. About 1985. Johnny was a master fiddler and pool player.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What if Mitt Wins?

From today’s Washington Post
Dismal support for Republicans among minorities is a long-term problem for the GOP in a rapidly diversifying nation. Fully 91 percent of Romney’s support comes from white voters.

It is what I feared four years ago. By overhyping then overrequiring, the left created a perfect fail scenario for Obama. All the Repugs had to do was make sure no one cooperated with him the same way the same types shut out the smart guy in an office where a social clique has taken over.

On top of that, the race card used in the last election created a force that rebounded reversing social gains made and creating a perception that it is ok to say he failed, then vote against him while hiding racist motivations. See rants about Colin Powell from Sununu. Now they feel vindicated and empowered to vote their worst habits and reinforce their worst natures. See Fascism.

That isn’t the worst of it. If Obama loses on race, the aggregate minorities and progressive backlash in the next term will be terrifying both in the US and across the world. The White Uptight will lie and deny but no one will be buying it and our adversaries will exploit it to maximum advantage. The hard right will reply with bluster and militarism. The diplomatic gains made in the last four years will evaporate as it becomes clear for the first time that not only can our government not be trusted, but the American people as well. For the first time in our history, the world will truly turn on America.

Epic fail, folks. I pray Ohio sees the future and decides to reverse Romney’s gains.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Dark Net

This isn't a suprise. to any of us who have been on the Internet for most of our careers prior to the Web. Email relationships, technical list relationships etc. are older and consistent. Since social networks favor the oldest connections, it is not surprising that the dark net still dominates communications and link power. How the structuring of relationships work out past my generation should be a follow-on study.

How this affects so-called "disruptive innovation" is a question worth asking as that idea is increasingly viewed as corrosive to society.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The HoneyMap

If you are administering web sites or interested in the pattern of attacks on web sites, here is a useful web site.. This is advertised as a real time map of attacks. YMMV. I haven't delved deeply into this.

Friday, October 19, 2012

How To Succeed In the Software Business

In response to Headspring:

Not project management technique, nor tools nor talent are proven to guarantee success. As a wise friend taught me, promise control is everything.

Simple rules that work:

  1. Every RFP is reviewed by a person on the technical staff who by practice and background can recognize features required and match them to development features required.
  2. Every item is recorded in a database with citations and a succinct technical response including a time estimate based on the feature type. It is a lie that all development is custom or new if there is a base product set. What is a new feature has to be evaluated not for it's value to the customer but for it's value to the base product.
  3. If marketing or contracts changes a bid based on that response, they are held to account in the review for bid/nobid. Do not bid a project that can compromise the rate of maintenance over the cost of new development (feature creep).
  4. Never bid what you cannot demo. IOW, if it isn't already under development, it is probably outside your base product strategy. A demo is not a fully-developed feature of necessity.
  5. Never commit to a feature that doesn't have value to at least 80% of your customers. NO one offs.

If you do not have a base product, you do not have a core market. You are creating custom one off software. This is a bad business to be in for the majority of technical businesses. That's your fault. The idea here is you should be in a market where you understand the customer's technical requirements to a depth that you can anticipate what they will need.

Use the RFP db to keep track of requests for a feature. When one customer asks, do your research. When two ask, put it on the list of items for possible development. When three ask, schedule it EVEN if you did not win the bid. You will.

Greed is the reason most projects fail in ANY business. Risk is the reason most businesses succeed if they manage it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thieves and The Culture of Enablers

At The Trichordist, in an article about the New Internet Association, Steve Merola asks
A thief is a thief. Don’t they know that a pirate is not a good thing? A pirate is a thief. A thief is one who steals. A lowlife, a parasite who exists simply because of the work of others.

Their response is to redefine thievery. By applying the notion that a copy does not deprive the owner of the original, they assert that copying does not constitute thievery. It is a transaction loss. This turns the argument into attempts to collect more money instead of defending a right. It is a transparent attempt to relieve the server farm owners of the obligation to track the theft. It attempts to relieve the web community of the responsibility to combat piracy. It enables a global conspiracy of criminals some of whom have begun to use violent means to establish their territories.

The justification is that copyright infringement and theft are different kinds of crimes, adjudicated differently, in different courts with different applicable laws and punishments. This semantic judo is used by some of the sharpest people I know from years of working with them on various projects. Communities such as XML-Dev became livid for posts making reference to this site. References to the "politics of IP" are to be shunned in these communities while they go about their way making it possible. Eventually it becomes self-evident that these communities however functional they are or laudable their history of accomplishments are also to be shunned.

This wrinkle in the Internet cultures began a long time ago. It has insinuated itself into the fiber of thought and will not be easily untangled. It reaches into some of the most prestigious circles of standards committees, open source communities and small start-ups. The challenge is these are people who after many years of online presence have become very adept at the kinds of arguing made in legal circles and social causes.

Demagoguery requires that the assertion have a little truth to be accepted by the audience to promote behaviors which they would otherwise not commit. See George Wallace, former Governor of Alabama. Eventually the little truths must be acknowledged and the greater good made self-evident. Otherwise, there is a lot to be said for digital forensics and proceedings that focus on the points of law instead of the laudable need to build a better world perverted into the blind support of a growing society of shiny criminals.

Web Design: It's The Browser, Stupid!

Yet another article asking why web pages suck?

And the usual answers are discussed in the comments. Let me add by typing in HTML by hand from memory in the Google HTML editing box that maybe:

  1. Worse really is worse
  2. The simplest thing that can possibly work produces the simplest thing that can only work for one simple thing.
  3. Hypertext As The Engine Of Application State is still the slowest dumbest architecture for a Model View Controller.

When the owner of a company stood over me looking at a simple but fast, easily maintained and completely functional web site and said, "You really aren't a graphics designer." then directed me through the process of adding dozens of non-functional features that met his tastes but slowed the web site to a crawl and turned updates into full day affairs instead of half an hour, all of which he would pay for as he drove his company into bankruptcy, I ceased to care.

You get what you pay for.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Philosophers Who Poke Sticks in Their Eyes to See The Truth Clearly

Tim Bray posted a blog on bit rates and the quality of music.

First, take the topic up with Neil Young or T-Bone Burnett. Ask experts. Casual comparisons don't mean much.

OTW, having done a fair bit of recording as an amateur (analog and digital):

  1. You are right that every filter past the initial mic or first input is a noise maker. This is a matter of production cost. Factoring it into the distribution format is like talking about javascript when writing an operating system.
  2. Comparing digital to digital is comparing sour milk to flat beer for everything except editing. How many toes are on a normal foot? A normal foot of what? If you don't know how the example was produced then mastered, discussions of bit rate distribution are noise. Produce in analog if you can afford it.
  3. Comparisons have to also rate the ears. Some people hear better. Training matters.
  4. Means of distribution and how they affect piracy forensics are more important to what gets produced than technology. If you are worried about how much disk space an uncompressed file wastes, you are a music consumer, not a listener.

Barton Hollow is another trend soon to be replaced by another trend. That isn't a knock on The Civil Wars. Music lover's are more interested in the means to support a living wage for working musicians so more musicians will be working. Consumers are focused on which musicians are working. Audiophiles are focused on their gear. This is their one commonality with musicians.

Unless the costs of high fidelity production can be supported by the consumer market, the consumer gets what they get and storage wars are like riots in the middle east: largely to be ignored because they are their own cause.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Festering: The Objectivist At Leisure

Sometimes I read comments on Facebook where I feel a tang of sympathy for the sentiment, then you realize that it is a tale told by someone who never actually has to confront the results of what they say they believe in. This comes from the pages of two local stores where the person was posting to make the point as large as possible.

What a shame. Stores used to close in this country to show respect and observance of our country's hard-fought Independence Day. I am a regular TJMaxx shopper, but I will not be shopping on the 4th of July in TJMaxx or any other store...and I hope no one else will be either. I am pro-capitalism, but our country's Independence Day is a day for patriotism, picnics, fireworks, family ---- NOT a day to shop.

Truett Cathy, the owner of Chick-Fil-A, stands on his principles and continues to close on Sundays, and yet, even in this tough economy, he prospers. It's sad that many in this next generation have been so schooled in situation ethics rather than foundational principles that they don't always understand the value of doing what's right because it's right...and then trusting that, when we put our principles first, in the long run, we'll be blessed all the more for it.
It sounds good until I realize this is a person who shops a lot, who buys into the hard right wing republican nonsense, the faux economics of lightweights like T. Sowell and just "loves" Dagny Taggart. It's a pity really because this is person who writes well but thinks shallowly.

I wonder of those of you criticizing these stores, do you actually have jobs? For some, a day off is a day they can get things done and independence means just that: being independent to choose as you will instead of what a small minority says you must. My wife worked because the senior citizens at the home where she cares for them needed her. She is THAT kind of Christian woman: Others First. I went to Lowe's to buy things we needed to fix the house. Yes, we celebrated Independence Day by exercising our independence, and we still had hot dogs and hamburgers and fireworks.
How many of you are veterans or have a child or father in the service? Did you serve or do you take up the flag to wrap it around your pro-capitalism that has come to signify the 1% who took the wealth such that the rest have to work on holidays for that time and half that pays for their kids to get an education increasingly out of reach?

There was a time when we could afford to have the entire country take a holiday. What was true: one car per family, no air conditioning, houses were a third the size on average, only a small percentage got past high school, food came from family farms or not at all, we didn't drive fifty miles to try the scones in a restaurant, and mother sewed the clothes of our older brothers and sisters so we would have them.

Times change. The glory that is America is that we change with the times because when we don't we fail to be a good country. That is the true foundational principle: we change. We grow. We care. We can do and will.

Yes, Independence Day is a day to count our blessings and today that means having a job.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making A Better Deal for the Artists

There are contentious debates about the role of the web digital service industry in the decline of monies remunerated to content artists.   Some suggestions:

1. Metadata standards for legally obligating agreements on the web. Fix this first. This is a very big bang across the services. It is in everyone’s interest that these be made soon, simple and ubiquitous because it predicates the service agreement bindings to legal documents. IOW, control the lawsuit space at jump and innovate opportunities with the same markup of the text. Even SharePoint knows how to nag an author for the missing fields in the columns. If you are an industry person aggregating content for publication, you want this.

2. Make it fair. The obligating contracts are not to the algorithms that currently sort monetization. In the case of YouTube, these do not work or are poor at best and I can prove it. The metadata is important to the fairness of the opportunity. Publish the rules for ajudication and see 3: turn ajudication into opportunity sharing. It is an opt in strategy and those are shown to be least onerous.

3. Innovate opportunities. Today, a mashup using photos that Google provides cannot be monetized because the obligation to own all content or have all attesting documentation is onerous. Facilitate this task. Google is using the photos and video too. They are the gateway.  Why do they not offer the service to inform all parties of an opportunity instead of a infraction? Divide the monetization fairly and transparently.

Big Data is here. Use it wisely and fairly. Technology can enable you to innovate opportunity but it cannot make you moral. You do that by the technology you choose to buy and use. If you wish to direct the evolution in your markets over being their prey, then the way you agree to create and foster opportunity is the ultimate tool: choice of choices.

As to the HTTP censorship code, do you think that the right frame to discuss server blocking by legal means? I don’t. It presents the opportunities in a black and white zero sum frame and none of the advantages of having a legal means with teeth to enforce our laws. For those who say this is Big Government, I say, that’s exactly what it is and exactly why we have them. A government has the obligation to protect it’s citizens and their property in my opinion. Means may be negotiated but they are found and applied.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lord, Come Walking

Old fashioned bible thumpin stories for babies and a shout out in the hard scrabble times.   Put your hand in the hand....

Monday, May 07, 2012

Born Again

A new video for you. I made the video effects with ChaosPro ( which is an excellent package for working with, constructing and animating fractals. Please enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Samantha Brown

When you're home ill, who is the friendliest face on TV?

Comment Policy

If you don't sign it, I won't post it. To quote an ancient source: "All your private property is target for your enemy. And your enemy is me."