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.

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