Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WB Network to Return as a Web Site

Does online video threaten the net

This question is once more arisen about the worries of overloading the internet with tons of streaming video. Some of the ISPs say that they have talked about it for years so clearly its not something that they were unprepared for. One of our class article authors comments in this piece. I think part of the answer to this problem is the government sponsoring more network building if thats what the people demand.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Long Tail

Stu Ingis talked about this when he visited...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update on Comcast and the FCC

The Senate Commerce Committee met today with the main idea being "The Future of the Internet", they argued (mainly democrats) for "passage of a law designed to prohibit broadband operators from creating a "fast lane" for certain Internet content and applications." This proposal was met with resistance by (and obviously) the cable industry, Republicans, and the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The chairman has noted that their is no need for such legislation as "He repeatedly cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Brand X decision that, in his judgment, stated that the FCC has legal authority to "adopt any rules we deem necessary to adequately protect consumers' broadband rights." Larry Lessig, an expert on the topic and author of multiple books relating to such calls for laws which are "minimal and clear as possible".

Splanwiki Dies In Early Infancy

Splanwiki, seen below on the left during happier times, died last week.

Published: April 22, 2008

The failed ‘wiki’ exercise with great promise met its tragic demise last week.

Splanwiki was the brainchild of Professor Theodore Eismeier’s Digital Politics minions at the esteemed Hamilton College in Central New York. A byproduct of the College’s “Strategic Plan,” Splanwiki hoped to provide an avenue for the college community to chart the college’s future through use of the ever-growing phenomenon, the wiki.

Hamilton College engages in the development of five-year strategic plans to steer vision and development of the College. Following the completion of the 2002 Strategic Plan in 2007, the college began the development of a new five year plan in 2008. Splanwiki was the attempt by dedicated students of the Government department to provide a convenient medium for their tech-savvy peers to voice concerns and visions –be it changes in residential life, academic prospectus, or stir-fry in a cup.

Information Technology Guru Dave Riordan birthed after purchasing a seven-dollar domain name and quickly transferring previously accumulated material from an older database. Mr. Riordan’s colleague, Bo Armstrong, created the face of Splanwiki that still makes our hearts patter today.

After a trying whisper campaign, Splanwiki was revealed to the Hamilton Community in early April 2008. The site had several hundred hits on its first day, and with the fine contributions of intellectuals like Samuel Reisen, Christopher Risi, Jenna Cohen, Jacob Kleinrock, Sanjana Nafday, Andrew Small, and Jonathan Wilson, the online Strategic Planning Wiki was on course to be a groundbreaking innovation. Splanwiki even received acclaim from the notorious blogger “The Jaded Gentleman” on, Hamilton College’s quarterly magazine that has recently ventured online.

Sadly, Splanwiki endured a horrendous twist of fate. Within days of its public launch, visits to the site plummeted, bounce rates sky-rocketed, and material was severely lacking. Splanwiki’s death was announced on April 10, 2008; lack of interest was cited as the cause.

Splanwiki is survived only by the spirit and dedication put forth by the students of Digital Politics 389.


Myspace teams up with NBC news.

Nokia Signs Sony BMG for Free Music Offering

Someones worried on the other side of the pond

Looks like the English are actually taking note of o'harrow's message.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why no conservative Move-on?

Comcast Caught Slowing Down a Download ... of the Bible?

Recently Comcast was caught by an Associated Press reporter, who was running as test to see if the company would actually slow his peer-to-peer file transfer. When checked it was found out that it did indeed slow the transfer. The article goes on to explain peer-to-peer transfer as enabling "computers to snatch music, data and video files from other computers. To assemble one file, a peer-to-peer service can tap into dozens, or even hundreds, of computers around the world." Also stating that they take up about half of all web traffic. Comcast is defending it's action stating that traffic was to high on the network and the "throttling back" of the peer-to-peer transfer was a network management technique. Yet it exposes a company in the act of slowing transfers and not only that but Comcast has allowed itself the ability to slow transfers whenever it sees fit as the article shows.

A Web Shift in the Way Advertisers Seek Clicks

Optimism and the digital world

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Facebook Gets a Leg Up in Going Global

Using a concept called "collaborative translation", a technique common amongst open-source programming, Facebook is translating its site so that it may be used in languages such as "Japanese, Turkish, Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch to join versions in Spanish, French and German that launched this year". In order to do this translation Facebook has enlisted users to provide the information through an application that helps guide them in the translations. "More than 100,000 users have installed Facebook's translation application. Nearly 10,000 helped translate the French, Spanish and German sites -- the Spanish version in less than four weeks and the German one in two weeks." With the use of this application Facebook has enabled itself the ability to open itself up to new markets at almost zero cost, as its users provide the labor in a process that only increases the value of the site itself.

AT&T Gives a Gloomy View of Future

Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, recently spoke at a conference in London in which he talked about the future of internet capacity. He points out that the internet is evolving in a direction which will demand more and more video's, rising from 30% of the content today to 80% of the content in 2010 according to his own estimates. He suggests that in order to fill this demand "at least $55 billion worth of investment was needed in new infrastructure in the next three years in the U.S. alone, with the figure rising to $130 billion to improve the network worldwide." How much of this cost will be put upon the consumer remains to be seen.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

lessig and comcast

For some reason it said that my url had illegal characters so go to and clin on the news tab link and type in the name of the story "Action urged to keep net neutral"

The first 21st century campaign?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Scale of Security

The correct balance between security and civil liberties has always been a contentious weight to determine – especially for the United States, paragon of freedom that it is. As our country and society get progressively more liberal, we will begin to seriously question the government’s right to invade our privacy based only on a sneaking suspicion of our delinquency. I can’t say what the majority’s opinion will be—and this is what will eventually turn into what future generations see as “history”—but I can speak for myself when I say that I honestly don’t think the government was too out of line. I am completely willing to sacrifice certain civil liberties in favor of personal and national security. After all, what good are rights if you’re not there to enjoy them?

At the same time, I don’t think abusing the power too much is appropriate. The Patriot Act, while invasive and ineffective, could be potentially beneficial. My problem with it, though, is the lack of transparency when the government used/abused the power the act gave them. Fine…go ahead and tap my phone—just tell me that you are! There are obviously certain limitations of what the government should be allowed to do in terms of providing security, and I think the current administration has stayed within that limit. I only ask that if we do have to sacrifice our liberties that we should get something in return. Another attack would be sorely disappointing.

Here’s my bottom line: I don’t mind giving up certain liberties in order to ensure my safety, so long as I am aware of the specific liberties that I am sacrificing. Transparency is key. Further, if I am willing to give up liberties, I should get compensated for it. The government should be able to asses how much an invasion of our liberties is going to pay off in the end. If the pay off is low, then I would be unwilling to part with my liberty. However, if giving the government access to information (not very personal information like credit card numbers, etc.), will really help them “nab that terrorist,” then I would be more than willing to part with that information.

Breeding websites

Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter

Larger Prey Are Targets of Phishing

Comcast’s Concession to Net Neutrality

Warning on Storage of Health Records

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Website Makes Suing Easy

Now you can find a lawyer to help you sue easier online. Whats next, the "e-Supreme Court?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The role of blogger in Bittergate

Smaller Companies Use Blogging to Their Advantage

In today's Wall Street Journal an article explains how smaller companies use the blogging world in order to pitch their products. The primary goal is to reach out to particular influential blogs which could extremely benefit the sales of the company's product. There are certain websites and other free tools that allow a company to discover those bloggers within their industry and to also find out what those bloggers are actually writing. Overtime, bloggers have formed a credible sense of trust with their readers. If an important and influential blogger has something positive to say about a specific product, the readers of that blog will trust him. While the goal is to reach the most influential blogger, it is not always best to attack them first. By working your way up from the bottom, it will be easier to reach the more important bloggers.

There are three important steps to reaching such a level. First, each blog has a general topic of which they focus on. The more specific to your product a blog is, the more press your product will receive. Secondly, it is important to understand what, if anything, has been said about your product in the past. With previous, positive posts, your company has a good foundation to work from. If there are negative posts, the company knows to get their side of the story on paper in order to dissuade other readers from such posts. Most importantly, a company wants to become familiar with the blog comments about their company. If a blogger sees that you read and even post some blogs of your own, that blogger sees that you are truly interested and care about your product.

For smaller companies, getting involved in a blog can be a great benefit.

Digital Graffiti

A Latino Perspective of Net Neutrality

A short Letter to the Editor explaining why net neutrality does not work for everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will the internet help kill us?

NYS Hit's up the Internet Market

Recently the State Legislature put into action a new, but possibly traumatic tax provision with regards to internet commerce. Sites such as Amazon under this new law have until the " June 1 deadline for out-of-state sellers to register with the state and start collecting taxes. The state is threatening that those companies that don’t comply could be subject to audits and bills for back taxes, according to the New York Post." The implications of the "third most populous" state changing this law offers scary effects for sites such as Amazon, and the reaction to this legislative maneuver will likely be seen in the near future.

Obama Let's It Slip

On April 6th Obama let slip this statement, “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The author of this article is the New York Times Op-Ed colunmist William Kristol who analyzes the meaning behind this statement, and further speaks of what this could mean with regards to his policies.

MySpace and Record Labels Combine Forces

MySpace pairs with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony BMG Music Entertianment to challenge Apple Inc. and its iTunes.

A New Business Model for Facebook

Possible Expansion of MySpace? Could it Work?

Ancient history discovered on a virtual reality treadmill

Crazy piece of virtual reality tech

The Importance of Major Record Deals?

Yahoo + Aol + .5Google - tech division = Sucess?

Yahoo is still trying to evade capture by the powerful software company microsoft. It is talking to its rival AOL about merging and for 2 weeks it is using google's ads next to its search to perhaps show its viability as an online advertiser. The author of the article still sees yahoo as being badly run as the main reason it has its back up against the wall currently. But one thing he does advocate is the removal of one of its 2 divisions that yahoo has stood on for so long. Its technology dept. I cant really think of the last time yahoo came out with a big cool piece of tech but doing so would truly put it into the online media category.

Subscription iTunes

In the April edition of the Rolling Stone magazine:

"Apple is in talks with at least one of the major record companies about launching a subscription version of the iTunes music store, according to a label source. The service would allow iPod users unlimited access to the iTunes catalog for a monthly fee or a one-time surcharge."

Memory devices > Copyright?

With IBM having invested so much in new storing devices (through which we could see ipods being able to hold 500,000 songs) I wonder how information is going to be regulated?

You people

According to WSJ editorial on net neutrality below, about 5% of users on Comcast network use 70% of the bandwidth.

No Anti-Piracy For the EU

EU ministers voted against banning persistent file sharers from the internet. Some called such a ban as a gross violation of ones civil liberties. This rejection of anti-piracy bans is interesting because although it means there will be no blanket policy for the EU it does not mean that there will not be any anti-privacy legislation in the separate countries. At this point it has simply been left up to th countries to make this decision individually. I find it interesting that the EU did not pass this legislation perhaps it shows a slight lean to the copy left? or maybe it might provide more justification for the copy left in the US?

Hardships and Triumphs of the Blogger World

An article in the April 10 edition of the New York Times illustrated the blogging lifestyle through the eyes of a blogging leader. Heather Armstrong, one of the nation's top parenting bloggers, has seen several advantages and disadvantages to her blogging life. Ranked #59 on the internet's top 100 blogs, her blogging site has become the primary money maker within her home. While her success is hard to deny, Mrs. Armstrong has been greatly effected.

Keeping a blog "fresh and topical" is critical to the maintenance of a blogging site. After 7 years of constant posting, Mrs. Armstrong certainly suffers from different levels of writer's block on certain occassions. While a lot of bloggers attempt to leave a gap of personal distance, Mrs. Armstrong has often written about her 4 year old daughter, fights with her parents or her husband, and so on. Because of the subject matter of some of her posts, hate mail is inevitable. Hate mail has driven her so far up the wall that she has reached a level of literally printing out the emails and driving them over with her car again and again. The hate mail will continue, but her extravagant pieces also create a bond with her readers that is quite strong. For example, a story as simple has removing a racoon from her chimney attracted more than 500 comments. Furthermore, estimates have been made that shows raking in as much as $40,000 a month due to advertisements.

Having experienced troubles when writing about such personal stories of her family, Mrs. Armstrong has reached a point where she tries to no longer focus specific family mishaps. She understands that a particular boundary needs to be in place in order for her to maintain a lucrative blogging atmosphere as well as a happy and working family. All in all, even with her different troubles of the past, Mrs. Armstrong feels that blogging is a perfect outlet and that she is thrilled to continue as a leading blogger.

Surefers beware

Although this is an old topic it still seems to be relevant and more so today with increased web usage. Topic: Hackers

Beaming Online Services Toward Blacks

He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work)

Author of Harry Potter Series to Testify Against Copyright Infringement

J.K. Rowling makes a fair arguement against "free culture." This article notes that she is a fan of the Harry Potter Lexicon's free website but that she has to draw the line at publishing the website material in a book and charging for it. She feels the book would be "nothing more than a rearrangement" of her own material.

The Makers of Hillary 4 U and Me Revealed

“I believe the YouTube era begins the age when it is impossible to tell parody/irony/performance art from completely sincere product.” -- Eschaton Blog

I think this is what frustrates critics like Lee Siegel and Andrew Keen.

Film piracy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

CBS Said to Consider Use of CNN in Reporting

CBS may start outsourcing reporting jobs to CNN reporters to save on costs. Perhaps I was wrong, maybe the era of actual reporters is ending.

NYTIMES: OK GO lead singer on Net Neutrality

'Free Culture' as copyright bible

I was surprised that 'Free Culture' by Lawrence Lessig was such a bench mark book for copyright activists in Universities because I did not find the book to be very intellectual. I agree with many of his points but like prof Eismeier said, the book is basically a compilation of anecdotes about copyright related problems. Maybe it is just me (and after reading about the free culture movement it seems like it is) but Lessig doesn't seem to be the best reference book to use when creating a powerful argument for why copyright laws need to be loosened or changed. Of the books we've read I think I would probably refer to Benkler before Lessig. Benkler's book was very dry and lacking the plethora of fun anecdotes that Lessig's had but it seemed to be much more grounded in facts and hard arguments.

Students for Free Culture

Dave, did they leave out your bio by accident? hahaha.

The Campaign Against Fair Use

(via /.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fantasy baseball

Take me out to the ballgame! On second thought, leave me at my computer so I can check my fantasy stats. I hate fantasy sports.

What would Lessig say?

I thought this contest illustrates, to an extent, the kind of creativity that Lessig thinks would flourish in a truly "free culture."

I have a ton of questions about the way this contest relates to Lessig. Do these ads exemplify Walt Disney creativity? Do they represent a kind of creativity that can only exist because of the technology available in the information age? Are these ads illegal? If these creators did not get permission to use these products in their art, does that prove that Manes was correct when he claimed that it doesn't really matter whether it is technically a "free culture" or a "permission culture" because people break the rules anyway? And why the ban on iphones and ipods?


Power of Information

Interesting report from UK.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Should Frost Jr., Jr. See Dollar Bills?

As Sam pointed out to me after class, I had a lot more to say about intellectual property and the philosophical concerns about rights to that property the first time we broached the topic.

Before reading Lessig, I didn’t see the distinction between intellectual property and physical property—why should they be treated differently? I used to think that if Robert Frost wanted his descendants to profit from his work, then he should definitely have the right to copyright his material for generations because his creation should be disseminated at his discretion.

After reading Lessig, I started to change my mind (At which point Jonathan told me I was a flip-flopper and could never run for President). Intellectual property is an abstract—the words of Robert Frost’s poems don’t have inherent value. They came out of his own head for free. On the other hand, a pearl necklace, someone’s family heirloom did have value when it was created.

Then I thought about it even further, and realized that the pearl necklace only had value because of the value society places on pearls! Robert Frost’s poetry, similarly, gains value only because he is a well respected poet, and his work has a high potential value.

In handing both intellectual or physical property over to the public domain, a consumer surplus for the goods is created!!

At the same time, if both were placed in the public domain after x amount of years, the family losing the pearl necklace suffers not only the loss of its potential market value, but they also lose the initial investment value. Robert Frost’s family would only suffer the loss of potential gain.

So in the end, there is a difference, but there isn’t and it’s all a muddle and I’m desperately confused as to the philosophical solution to this quandary.

Ed Markey Holds Hearing In Second Life. Seriously.

Speaking of Invention...

Given our discussion of intellectual property and copyrights (not to mention Lessig's refrences to Edison's phonograph), I found this recent discovery amusing. The "Phonautograph" was discovered 20 years before Edison's phonograph.

has strikingly resemblences to this:

Does it not? It definitely resembles this:

Then again, what about this?

Listen to the pre-Edison sound recording here (you may not be impressed). On another note, how many copyrights did I infringe on by using these images?

Cory Doctorow on Personal Copyrights

Cory Doctorow is one of the brightest copyright and digital policy activists out there. A true renaissance man, Cory's a novelist, been the European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the ACLU of the internet), the Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy at USC, and one of the best public speakers for the copyleft.

Talk About a Zealot...

From our limited reading, Manes appears to oppose Lessig more adamantly than Lessig does current copyright law. His sarcastic reproach of Lessig's ideals only softens his arguement. Fighting fire with fire only makes for a conflagaration. (That said, I do appreciate Manes' provokative journalism and venomous pen).

I admire Manes' dedication to covering advancing technology, but I'm afraid Lessig's strong background rooted in a Stanford law education does warrant his liberal ideology concerning copyright law (this isn't an elitist thought, although something tells me Manes, clearly offended by Lessig's reference to him as a "mere 'technology writer'," may see it as such). Lessig, though perhaps a wacky, over-enlightened idealist, is no moron. But neither is the well-informed Manes.

Unfortunately, I can't side with Lessig over Manes or Manes over Lessig. I'm indeed a bit off-put by Lessig's "grand wish" that just about everything be put in the public domain, but I feel stranded by Manes who offers more questions and quips than solutions to the issue at hand (in fact, he even questions whether modern copyright law is even as "onerous" as Lessig pretends). So while I admire each man for being able to take such a single sided stance, I feel tarred and feathered while straddling the fence seperating the "Emerald City of Palo Alto" from what Manes believes to be the rest of the country.

I like that Lessig values "tinkering" as a major part of the creative process, and I have (somewhat passively) come to accept his philosophy of a "rip,mix, and burn" culture. Then again, I'm not blind to Lessig's "sound-bite mastery," and I agree with Manes that "Lessig preemptively calls his opponets radicals when he's the one who's throwing the bombs."

I agree to an extent with Manes that Lessig's assault on copyright "largely helps a ragtag bunch of gleaners who claim that copying is 'creativity' because they can't create anything without directly reusing copyrighted material." I do not, however, agree with him that "copyright largely works fine." When it comes to this stuff, it is shades of grey wherever I go. The more I find out the less that I know. Black and white is how it should be, but shades of grey are the colors I see.

That final jaunt comes from a Billy Joel song. I probably should have put it in quotes so as not infringe on any copyright, but I didn't. According to Manes, "nobody ever seems to sue in cases of plagarism."

***As an additional note, Holland's critique of Lessig and the Copy Left, though not as amusing to read, has more to offer. Perhaps this is because there is no rift between the two of them. Nonetheless, he precisely points out that the abolition of copyright "deadens motivation" despite being "public spirited." ***

"It's the lack of respect that hurts the most" -- Norm MacDonald

Just a thought: would we be less likely to miss our blog/paper chats if they were held in Second Life?

I hope not, Second Life weirds me out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jay-Z and Live Nation Alliance as New Model for Music Sales

I posted this article on APP blog first by accident... call me crazy, but I think it is much more appropriate for HamTech

Google's April Fools for 2008

Some of these were pretty good...


Will this "youtube for intellectuals" fly?