April 30, 2000
# No more right to choose - Officially.
posted by dru in blog
April 27, 2000
# OrangeAlley

OrangeAlley has an interesting business model for MP3 distribution which they call BootLegal. It goes like this:

  1. Buy an MP3 from OA
  2. Bootleg: Send your friends a link or copy of the MP3.
  3. Kickback: Your friends buy the MP3. You get paid. Artists get paid.

An interesting idea, but it ignores important aspects of the nature of the internet. (read Rethinking Micropayments for context.) Instead of creating a barrier to accessing the music, why not make it really easy to download, and really easy to pay. As it is, it's hard to do both, which ultimately results in less people seeing the art (less eyeballs, or earballs, if you will).

All this is not to say that OA is not totally on the right track when they say "a BootLegal license also gives you all of the 'fair use' rights that consumers are supposed to enjoy under the copyright laws." And the whole thing is right on. I just think it should be taken to the next step.

I found OrangeAlley indirectly through iRights, which has a whole lot of good material these last few weeks. (Nice work, Jeremy) If anyone knows of other interesting MP3 business models, let me know.

(Bradley Nowell of Sublime said it best: "nowadays the songs on the radio -- they all drive me craaazy." But then again, he sang it beautifully.)

I'll be watching this space:


I'm reading Natural Capitalism, by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins. In the first few pages, they make a very interesting point about industrial capitalism: namely, it is a limited form of capitalism in that it only accounts for certain kinds of capital, but doesn't assign any value to the kinds of capital that are fundamental to its existance the ecological and human varieties.

meetspace, n. A locale, physically or virtually defined, where meaningful exchange of ideas takes place. See also: conversation, discourse, debate.

posted by dru in blog
April 25, 2000
# micropayments to arrive shortly

I just got this email from Russ Jones of Millicent, a company currently making software for micropayments.

>Russ: when is Millicent set to launch in the states? As I recall, it
>should be real soon now.

We should start staging vendors in late May or early June. Did you want to
integrate MilliCent directly into your website (Windows NT) or use our
remote payment hosting service?

I wonder how quickly this will catch on, if at all. In any case, I'll definitely be playing around with it (and writing about it) once it's released.

posted by dru in blog
April 24, 2000
# A16 protests after the fact

Retrogression has a good summary of the A16 protests. Criticism of media coverage, ideas about motivations, and a good overview. Maybe a bit polarized as far as describing motivations of 'ruling elite' et al, but not unjustified by any stretch. "The IMF talks about how it helps ease the financial crises of third world nations, which is somewhat true. But it's also true that a loan shark might pay off my gambling debts."

Thanks to people who posted comments on the designs from yesterday.

posted by dru in blog
April 22, 2000
# design sampler

"So far, the Internet seems to be largely amplifying the worst features of television's  preoccupation with sex and violence, semi-literate chatter, shortened attention spans, and near-total subservience to commercial marketing." Weeelll, that about sums it up. [via dsl.org]

I'm looking for feedback on two web sites I'm working on: Soul Salmon and Mount Allison Sociology and Anthropology. None of the links work on either, and the text is still filler... I'm just looking for feedback on the designs.

posted by dru in blog
April 21, 2000
# dialogues and documents

There's a bit of discussion of my Dialogues and Documents piece going on.

When you pirate MP3's, you're downloading Communism. [funny]

posted by dru in blog
April 20, 2000
# irc renewbie

I visited the MonkeyFist IRC server today, and was treated to an enlightening conversation about weblogs, dialogue, and some other stuff. I'm starting to see stronger connections between my various projects.

Bijan from Monkeyfist paid a visit to the discussion group, and laid down some Rousseau, which I have since added to my summer reading list.

Jeeves of AskJeeves gets interviewed. [satire]

Earlier today, I did a little redesign/reordering of misnomer's layout. Comments are welcome.

posted by dru in blog
April 19, 2000
# microcontent

There's a discussion about SXSW, weblogs, and microcontent over at Hack the Planet. I must say, for all the enthusiasm about new ideas, etc. exuded over that conference, the party-picture to thought ratio was inordinately high.

iRights: Tying the threads together: "Obviously, in the time that [the constitution] was written there was only speech, literally speaking out in the streets or townhouses, or the press, a literal machine with which to turn out many many copies of a written work quickly. Certainly there was no internet! But I think we all quite clearly understand what is intended here, which is that the people are free to speak their mind. The primary purpose of this speech is to advance the Great Conversation, which is supposed to be how we run this country. In other words, free speech and press are important not just for the individuals, but for the society as a whole."

posted by dru in blog
April 18, 2000
# art, new links page

I just saw this banner ad for an MP3 player on Metallica.com. This is ironic.

local: Writing in Electronic Text: Links. I just started compiling this list of quality articles on writing in electronic text. Additions are welcome in the discussion group

Publisher's Lunch: "If Riding the Bullet was a clarion call to get yourself an e-book strategy, this deal sounds a different note: The Dumb Money is Here, Grab it While You Can!"

Lots of good stuff at metascene.

blocks: some of my sculpture portfolio

[from my sculpture portfolio]

posted by dru in blog
April 17, 2000
# More web writing links

Webmonkey: The writing on the web. Good article, but way too short. I want some in depth looks at the culture of digital text. 'sappose I'll just have to think about it for myself.

Michael Stutz of dsl.org pointed me to Jorn Barger's alt.etext FAQ. A lot of material there. Thanks!

One of the most important realizations that you come to as a designer, artist or writer is that 90% of the time, people who look at your work won't notice any of the energy or nuance that you put into it. It's kind of frusterating, but it tends to result in a love of the work itself, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

...or you get cynical...

I spent nine hours in the sculpture studio yesterday, six of which were spent banging on a big sheet of metal. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, though. Stay tuned for pics.

Oh yeah, and I'm all done with schoolwork. Isn't that nice.

posted by dru in blog
April 16, 2000
# From Seattle to DC.

Protests in DC: "One group of 50 people were dressed in tuxedos, wearing shark-fin hats and shark noses as they danced behind a brass band chanting, 'The IMF is the Loan Shark to the World.'". A sense of humour and a real message are a powerful combination.

posted by dru in blog
April 15, 2000
# Tricky Dick

Tom Tommorrow: Apparently, Nixon said some pretty enlightened things.

Ideakeeper is "a free-form database and idea manager" for the macintosh. Looks cool, but I'm totally amazed that no one has bothered to make something as simple and compelling as notespace. Unfortunately, notespace is just a concept at the moment.

Time to email some shareware authors.

posted by dru in blog
April 14, 2000
# Academia Nuts.

This article in the Chronicle of Higher Education says that academics have trouble evaluating the quality stuff published online, because it wasn't published in a journal whose reputation was a "known quantity". To me (the naive one) this seems pretty bizarre. Whatever happened to evaluating things on their own merit, not what club they belong to?

(that link works now)

The Deapleap beta is now available for general consumption. It's a "contextual information application" - pretty close to something I've been complaining about not having. I always thought of it as a system-level thing, though - e.g. right click on a word in any application and get a contextual menu with stuff like look up this word in dictionary X, or search for this words/phrase in Google, or whatever else. This is cool too tho.

They should have a "show me weblogs that link to this page" option.

posted by dru in blog
April 13, 2000
# Micropayments here we come... (?)

There is an interesting discussion about micropayments going on over at Hack the Planet.

(having a discussion group on every site is very cool)

Gotta love weblog politics.

A couple of great links on Flutterby today..

Conxion is cutting off service to Userland Software, for no other apparent reason than the fact that Dave Winer criticized them in public.

I signed up for PayPal and eGold today. I'm going to start experimenting with homegrown micropayments over the summer, and bugging them to add features.

Alexander Stigsen sent along an easy way to send someone 2 cents, using egold. It seems like it would be easy to set up more of this kind of stuff, and make it flexible.

Still waiting for Millicent...

posted by dru in blog
April 12, 2000
# solutions to

Jordan Pollack thinks he has a way to fix the problem of buggy software, among other things.

Hey cool, all of the Slashdot comments on my LFS article are still there. Gives you a good idea of how much /. has changed in the past three years. If I submitted that article today, I seriously doubt it would even get looked at. I guess that's why we have weblogs.

BTW, that article got 5000 hits/month after it got posted to Slashdot, and I got over 200 emails from people who had subsequently heard about it on mailing lists. Quite the jump-start into web publishing.

I wrote about the experience in the Argosy last year.

posted by dru in blog
April 11, 2000
# busy busy busy busy ow.

A wierd quote from a promising weblog on publishing that needs more cellpadding: "What [Arthur C.] Clarke did [publishing a short story online] was a kiss good night. Bullet is more like heavy petting."

The National Association of Broadcasters wants to kill low-power FM. duh. What's scarier is that they might just do it.

This weblog has been around for about four months.

Link from four months ago:

I found this in a Wired review of a book by Galen Marcus: "The idea is that you should be creating your own art instead of consuming other people's art. With punk music, there wasn't supposed to be a person in the audience who wasn't taking part in the performance. If people are spectators instead of participants, it's easier to sell them commodities. A few years ago, people wanted the Internet to be revolutionary and change the world. Making people participants in the product creation is the first step."

I've got two papers due tommorrow. Sucks to be me.

I've updated and rewritten quite a bit of my Rethinking Micropayments piece. Go read it.

There's a second draft of my new paper on Dialogues and Documents, if you're interested in what I'm presently working on. I'm hoping a lot of people read this one (once it's done), coz I think there are a lot of good ideas in it.

posted by dru in blog
April 09, 2000
# IP.

Dave Winer doesn't believe in property.

I tend to hold the same opinion, but I must say, taking sociology has changed my perspective a fair bit. I used to look at 'property' values from a highly critical standpoint (which is necessary), but I think that it's also very important to understand where the ideas of property come from. When you know (or theorize about) the source, it's easier to see how to effect real change... hopefully to something more aligned with values that are underemphasized.

More on this later.

posted by dru in blog
April 08, 2000
# 12th Night

I just finished an outdoor production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (I played Sebastian). It was cold and windy and three hours long, but about 150 people stayed for the whole thing, and loved it. Needless to say I'm pretty psyched. I'm also pretty amazed that a bunch of students learned their lines, directed it, and composed original music for the project - all during exams.

Some things renew my optimism and make me all giddy. This was one of them.

posted by dru in blog
April 06, 2000
# Free Speech?? Can you imagine what chaos the world would fall into?

The MPAA wants to make it illegal to link to illegal content. Read all about it. Yeesh.

Entirely reminiscent of the Bill o' Rights Lite (from the excellent John Perry Barlow Library)

posted by dru in blog
April 05, 2000
# 5k entry

I just remembered: the 5k deadline is up, so I can show everyone my entry. It's kind of artsy, but it's 708 bytes, and I like it.

Silicon Valley may not care what Bill Joy has to say, but the fact that a bunch of people with a stake in him being wrong are ignoring him hardly makes his argument less valid.

Short article from Business 2.0 about the PC becoming more of a server, and content shifting to the edges. i.e. another significance of Napster piece.

USA Today: Eisner says net content doesn't have to be free. "''These Internet pirates try to hide behind some contrived New Age arguments of the Internet. But all they are really doing is trying to make a case for age-old thievery... Theft is theft, whether it is enabled by a handgun or a computer keyboard.'" hmmm. theft indeed.

There is some great music (legal MP3's - 'magine that) on the CHMA music page: check out New, by Channel 4, and a very interesting version of Brown Eyed Girl, by Threesome. Both bands are from Sackville - that is, where I live and go to school.

I'm using IE5 on a Mac right now, and despite my bias against Microsoft, I have to say they got quite a few things right with this one.

posted by dru in blog
April 04, 2000
# community and other blogs

Millicent: "MilliCent is in production today, live for use in the Japanese market. MilliCent will be available for use in North America and Europe very shortly." Still waiting for those micropayments to show up.

Tim O'Reilly wrote a good, concise article on the emerging eBook universe.

Interesting thoughts on online communities over at Sylloge.

Good blog: Random($foo)

posted by dru in blog
April 03, 2000
# stoopid uses of IP law

Eric Raymond: Why I am an Anarchist. We might perhaps wonder then, why did David Grenier sell out?

Mount Etna blows smoke rings

I once did this to a friend's car in high school.


RSA Hacked. ouch.

Man, there are a whole lot of weblogs out there these days.

I was using pike today, but the controls just stopped responding.

I wonder how long it'll take paramount to shut down this site. (A well done, exhaustive compendium of all the Star Trek ships).

The focus on child violence is always about what can we get rid of that is causing this? Why not be a bit more constructive? How about, let's teach our kids to solve their problems through communication, instead of blowing someone's head off. Watching less TV is definitely a part of that, but it's not the Final Solution.

This is wierd. Reallly wierd.

posted by dru in blog
April 02, 2000
# busy day; quote

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

-Upton Sinclair.

Things are slow on the weblog angle these days, as a result of my having three papers and a play (Shakespeare's 12th night) to do in the next week.

posted by dru in blog