Selling Creativity Short

Talk about desperate: Open source kills jobs, says Gates [Slashdot story]

In muted tones, Microsoft’s chairman warned governments and companies that open source software is not the way to go if they are in the business of creating jobs and intellectual property.

So, here’s a question: is Microsoft’s business really intellectual property? I know it sounds naive, but IP is not what Microsoft started being about, although it increasingly seems to be where it’s headed.

I would have argued that Microsoft got to where it is by riding the horse of creativity that the PC revolution unleashed. It’s sad to see Gates acting to stifle it now.

Anybody Else Sick of the New NYTimes RSS Feeds?

It seems like The New York Times just wants to continue to mess with success. For the early stages of its Internet existence, the Times seemed to be anxious to make themselves the kind of standard source of information that they have strived to be in the newspaper business, with articles URLs remaining valid for years, albeit behind a registration wall.

Then, they locked up every article more than 7 days old behind a “pay wall,” breaking many WWW pages and online reference sources. Mysteriously, the pay wall disappeared, only to return one month later.

Just over a year ago Dave Winer stepped into the fray, and he managed to work a deal with the Times such that URLs gleaned from Userland’s RSS feeds would include a set of key parameters that would ensure that the pay wall would not rise up after the article aged past its 7-day expiration date.

Now, the Times has started to monkey with their feeds. While the original feeds were generally pretty extensive, ensuring that those who subscribed got a complete picture of what the Times had to say inside of specific topic areas, these new feeds are significantly more limited, both in terms of scope and time — miss a day’s feed and you miss the persistent link — something that made some sort of sense when it came to the op-ed or front page, but is less sensible for the technology feed, IMHO.

Worse, the feeds are now far from comprehensive. For example, my Thursday was a busy one, so I relied on the Times’ RSS feeds to select articles from the Circuits section. Yet, I never would have seen the article on DVD’s had Ernest Miller not noted it in CopyFight. And, for, example, today’s NYTimes Magazine feed does include the story I wanted to cite on the Fox documentary fight, but leaves out several other interesting stories.

Now, maybe that was a feature of the way that Userland constructed the NYTimes feeds. Or maybe the Times supplied them like that to Userland. I don’t know. But I do know that these new feeds are far less useful to me, and have gotten me started on looking for new strategies, new aggregators and new tools for collecting, sorting and archiving feeds. So far, there’s nothing working right for me, and now I’m getting ready to move everything over to a new computer (my G5 arrived Friday), so there are going to be a lot of changes behind the scenes around here over the next month or so.

It looks like one of those may be far less reliance upon the Times’ RSS feeds. Sure, I’ll keep pulling them down so that I can get a true “permalink” when it’s available. But I’m probably going to have to go back to poring over the entire Times site each day to make sure that I actually get "All the News That’s Fit To Print.".

And, it also means that I’m going to have to get started on working through the old URLs to make PDFs, like I used to before Dave stepped in.

‘Cuz you never know when they’re going to pull the rug out from under you.

Web-based resources are a great thing — until somebody decides that, now that you rely on them, they can start charging (see Gracenote). Despite what the ideologues say, my experience says that turning communities into markets means losing something. Maybe I’m getting too old and too cynical, but I smell a rat.

When Is An Archive Not An Archive?

When chilling effects makes sure that it’s not — a tyically inflammatory bit of Register writing with a key kernel of trouble at its heart: suffers Fahrenheit 911 memory loss

But just hours after putting up the movie, pulled it down. In the movie’s place was a note that read, “This is under copyright, and needs to pull it before any damage happens.”

Think of this as a child fondling a can of spray paint but then stepping away from the school wall before “any damage happens.” Or a seven-year-old contemplating a ten-yard run with scissors in hand and then putting the weapon down before “any damage happens.” How ever you think about it. It’s clear that there are children running – the kind that play copyright gags while doing shots of Pepsi late into the night.

[…] The upshot of all this is that we desperately need a “real” Internet archive – one that doesn’t pretend to be brave for a few hours as part of some information stunt and one that doesn’t delete the very records it’s supposed to keep.

How Long’s This Gonna Last?

Grassroots hackers create file-swapping wireless iPod

So you should be able to walk past your local coffee store or laundromat and collect music as you go – giving them a new social function as a radio station – or simply be able to share your tune of the day with the bus passenger next to you. And you should be able to do so knowing the artist gets paid.

Just as the Good Lord intended.

And right now, we’re simply awaiting the implementation phase. However, it isn’t the multinationals who own the music rights, or technology companies who market themselves as being at the “cutting edge” (a term that means nothing when the technology isn’t doing what we want it to do) who are blazing the trail.

Instead, it’s a small two-man smartphone software company based in Bucharest.