Build your own Howard Dean website! The Dean campaign has released web site "kits" under the GNU GPL and based on the Drupal codebase, which allow web-based communities to quickly and easily build their own sites to support Dean's campaign. Last night, he held a conference call with over 3,500 "house parties" and individuals to spread the word. If Dean gets the nomination, he'll have technology to thank for it.I'm not sure who I'm voting for, but at least there's someone who finally gets what Open Source is about (at least partially): when you provide useful open source tools and others adopt them, they're not diminishing yourself, you're enriching it. The trick here would be if competitors to Dean picked up Dean's Open Source code and distributed it to supporters to launch opposing campaigns: would that increase Dean's standings (because his campaign had generated a useful tool for public discourse) or diminish it (because the activity generated by the counter-sites competed for the some of the same voters Dean was after)?
(Is Open Source founded partially on whuffie"?)
Gannett News is running a story about David Bradley, the IBM engineer who, in 1980, coined Ctrl-Alt-Del. Interestingly, he meant for it to remain a developer-only tool, not something for end users, and certainly not to have Windows users change their passwords or logoff. He also says he chose those keys specifically as it's not a key sequence that can be struck by accident.
I've got a short book coming out next week in the UK called Open Source Democracy. It's being released as a free publication, by a UK thinktank-network called Demos.
You can download the PDF version of the book, here. Please feel free to repost it anywhere you like, or to make an html version - whatever.
I'll be doing a public talk and fundraiser for Cybersalon in London, as well.
I'm saying that Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo will become the equivalent of phone companies of the future, and with a reach that will go beyond their reach today. That reach will be global and without boundaries. With phone carriers, they can only go where the wire goes.All of which is fine, except that in the articulation IM = New Phone, users are discouraged from other types of uses and developers are discouraged from offering new potentials for the technologies. At one point, for example, Gurle refers to IM as "the perfect disruptive technology". This is a phrase I've used myself to describe IM use in classrooms and workplaces. But where I'm thinking about disruptions to the power structure of the classroom and workplace, where Gurle positions that disruption as a marketing opportunity: disrupting the telephone industry to allow information companies (Reuters, for example) to claim telephone market share.
And do it goes with Napster's guerrila ad campaign: The posters to which the Napster logos are being affixed are actually also Napster posters, making the economic-political commentary a little hollow.
"I'm getting email offering to enhance body parts that I don't even have. (Amazon.com information architect, I forget her name). "This looks like something in my gynecologist's office!" (Woman in a product usabilty video, holding up a really bizarre-looking corkscrew) "I'm not even Jewish. My friends and I bought this for a drinking game!" (Man in a product video, holding up a dreidel)
Separated as they have been by generations and geography, it’s a little surprising to see how well these artists fit together. Memmott is a high-octane urbanite. Coover grew up in Iowa and is still every bit the big-hearted Midwesterner. “Our backgrounds are rather different,” Memmott says, “but we’re both committed to the craft of writing, and invested in electronic literature and what it can become.”
Stutter Things: Composing Time, Space, and Text in the Datacloud Johndan Johnson-Eilola Clarkson UniversityThen I'm headed to the opposite end of information ideology, Neilsen/Norman Group's User Experience 2003. Should be an interesting transition: chaos to order (perhaps). Or leftists to logicians? Anyway.It's analog. It's right in front of you. They don't need a delay line; they're creating delays with a beat delay line or with moving the fader in certain ways to stagger things and to stutter things and to manipulate time with your hands.The term "text" seems in danger of catching up with its postmodern usage, where any discursive situation became a text to read, resist, revise, and place under erasure. But our idea of what counts as "writing" remains, too frequently, bound to traditional sorts of texts: novels, user manuals, letters, essays. Although hypertext and experimental fiction, among other genres, have challenged some of the ground rules of textuality, in this talk I'll look at a wider range of media in order to think about how we might rearticulate textuality in ways appropriate to contemporary culture. Oscillating between "text" and other media, I'll work through analyses of avant garde and experimental music (ranging from the loop work of Steve Reich to the Parking Lot Experiments of the Flaming Lips) to turntablism (including work by DJ QBert and Cut Chemist) to construct new methods for thinking about textual production, consumption, and articulation.
Until last summer, I used an Acorn running RISC OS - a very minority system, whose web browsers are not the most capable in the world, so it often proved frustrating trying to use various websites that did not work. This meant that I wanted any website I created to be accessible to all, no matter what browser they were using.
The redesigns, partially because they began at the accessibility for all level, succeed in understanding information structure and browsing processes in a more fundamentally coherent way than the original design methods.
(via Blackbeltjones Work)
(via Cruel Site of the Day)
|I called up my friend LeRoy on the phone
I said, Buddy, I'm afraid to be alone
I got some weird ideas in my head
About things to do in Denver when you're dead
- Warren Zevon, "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead"
image from the Rolling Stone obit
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are circulating a proposed bill that would prevent wholesale copying of school guides, news archives and other databases which do not enjoy copyright protection.All of which sounds like a good idea, except that such proposed laws end up protecting very broad gatherings of public, factual information such as U.S. Court legal decisions and sports scores:
Information, when not copyrighted, is something that can be shared. Once you start putting fences around information ... there's no freedom of inquiry," said Godwin, who frequently criticizes copyright-protection measures he deems overzealous. "That doesn't make us smarter, it makes us dumber," he said.Much discussion about this issue centers on (often unstated) assumptions about what counts as creativity: copyrighted works are, by definition, creative acts in which some intangible creativity must be protected for limited periods. Databases are frequently (but not always) based on simple factual data. Earlier court decisions on this topic have rejected claims of creativity for databases because they are not "creative" (see, e.g., HyperLaw v Westlaw). But when we move into a postmodern era, what counts as creativity? We (or at least most of us) don't operate under the notion that creative genius springs from some mysterious, otherworldly place, disconnected from reality. Rather, we've begun to understand that creativity operates within social contexts, as a response to and interaction with the world around the author. And in that realization, "creativity" becomes a very complicated concept: where do ideas come from? Is the author any longer the sole generator of new ideas? Do some forms of authorship depend primarily on the ability to move existing ideas around, to break them apart and recombine them in new and useful ways? Which brings us to databases. As gatherings of small, discrete facts (in themselves uncreative and uninteresting), do databases become creative and interesting at a second level? Much of this is a moot point: Databases are typically covered under license agreements, which sidestep copyright and prevent (legally, anyway) users from merely "cutting and pasting" (as critics say) to pirate it. It's not clear what the people behind the proposed legislation are after, except to make the protection for databases even more broadly based and less open to discussion (which doesn't strike me as a good thing). (See some earlier work I did on this--unfortunately not in web formats: A 330k PowerPoint file of a talk I gave at the 2001 Watson Conference on Rhetoric and a 130k MS Word file of a section of book I co-authored for Utah Press with Anne Wysocki, Cindy Selfe, and Geoff Sirc that's in press.)
"Not only is his website an infringement of Odeon's copyright, it is also confusing to Odeon customers." Remarkable, given the huge disclaimers on his site. When pressed, Richard Storton, Odeon's brand manager, retreated somewhat; Odeon will not ask Somerville to take the site down after all. Storton insists that Odeon has sold a million tickets through his site, which he says now accounts for 5 per cent of its cinema admissions.
In 1983, Tommy Boy Records held a remix contest to promote G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid's "Play That Beat (Mr. DJ)." The unanimous winner was Steve "Steinski" Stein & Douglas "Double Dee" DiFranco's "Lesson One: The Payoff Mix." Two more Lessons soon followed: "Lesson Two: The James Brown Mix" and "Lesson Three: The History of Hip-Hop." "Lesson One" became an urban radio hit within days, but was never commercially released because of its extensive and diverse samples. Clearing the sound clips -- a diverse collection ranging from Mae West and Humphrey Bogart to Ed McMahon and Herbie Hancock -- would have been a legal nightmare under copyright law.Also on this site is a link to Robert Christgau's commentary, "Down By Law: Great Dance Records You Can't Buy."
Half deconstruction and half celebration, this is a message of brotherhood for the age of media overload, disarming "postindustrial" capitalism with humor, know- how, access, and leftfield panculturalism. And like so much optimistic art, it's more utopian--hence more trouble--than it knows.
In its latest patent, the online retailing giant outlined a method for expanding portions of the ordering form, then collapsing that portion of the form and removing the data fields. The content for that particular section of the form would then be displayed again. The patent, filed in September 1997 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, also described a method for editing content on the order form and redisplaying the information in the section after the changes have been made, according to a copy of the patent.I'm no lawyer, but from what I can tell in the language of the patent itself, Amazon has basically received a patent on the process of letting people fill in a form, submit an order, receive a confirmation screen outlining the order, and confirming the final order. (In other words, the basic ordering procedure used by most shopping carts and common the web for quite some time before the patent applications.)
As the software infrastructure has been going through chaos, reporters (and others) have been called me several times to ask what our legal rights are now and whether we should all be able to sue Microsoft (or other vendors who ship defective software or software that fails in normal use).
Extensive linked resources on case law, Uniform Commercial Code, and background info--very useful. Software liability is a huge and problematic issue, given