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August 29, 2005

The other half of Hackers and Painters

Mnot sent me this link after I posted on hackers & painters. I have to say the thing that I enjoy most about the book is not how much I agree with it but how much it makes me think. For a long time I have thought that coding is a lot like art in that you do rough design and successive refactorings but the above post points out that is basic design and applies to almost any creative endeavor. I think if you are an artist and you program you often feel the same when doing both activities and are struck that two such different things should feel the same when you are doing them.

Posted by Chris at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2005

Reading Hackers & Painters

A while back AdamB recommended hackers & painters by paul graham. It's a totally fun read and I recommend it to anyone interested in software. I think Paul writes from his own perspective, but he is certainly willing to challenge the status quo.

Posted by Chris at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Four interesting companies

This is more a note to myself, but these are three interesting companies that have technology that I am working with currently.

SXIP

Sxip provides SSO solutions for websites using web services.

GROUNDWORK

Provides add-ons to the commodity network monitoring solution nagios.

IRONPORT

Provides email security and scalibility solutions in a device.

MYSPACE

The most successful social network founded to talk about music.

Posted by Chris at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

Information wants to be free

This is an entry I got from Ross Mayfield. I'm just logging it here so I remember it.

10 Challenges for thee Free Culture Movement

1. Free the Encyclopedia!

Mission is to create a free encyclopedia for every person on the planet in their own language. For English and German, this work is done (of course there could be be quality control, etc.). French and Japanese in a year or so, ton of work to be done globally. Will be done in 10 years time, an amazing thing when you consider minority languages that have never had an encylopedia.

2. Free the Dictionary!

Not as far along, but picking up speed. A dictionary is only useful when it's full of words you don't know, unlike an encyclopedia. Needs software development, such as WikiData. It is structured information, for cross reference and search.

3. Free the Curriculum!

There should be a complete curriculum in every language. A much bigger task than the encyclopedia. Need not just one article about the Moon, but one for every grade level. WikiBooks isn't the only one working on this project. The price of university textbooks is a real burden for students. The book market doesn't take advantage of potential supply of expertise. Not hard to imagine 500 economics professors writing instead of one or two to create a better offering than the traditional model.

4. Free the Music!

The most amazing works in history are public domain but not many public domain recordings exist (even in classical music). Proper scores are often proprietary derivative works (such as arrangements for a modern orchestra). Volunteer orchestras, student orchestras could provide the music for free.

5. Free the Art!

Show two 400 year old paintings. Routinely get complaints from museums saying there is copyright infringements. National Portrait Gallery of England threatens to sue, a chilling effect, but they have no grounds. Controlling physical access keeps people from getting high quality images "I wouldn't encourage you to break the law, but if you accidentally take a photo of these works it would be great to put it on Wikipedia for the public domain.

6. Free the File Formats!

Proprietary file formats are worse than proprietary software because they leave you with no ability to switch at a later time. Your data is controlled. If all of your personal documents are in an open file format, then free software could serve you in the future. Need to educate the public on lock-in. There is considerable progress here and continued European rejection of software patents is critical.

7. Free the Maps!

"What could be more public domain than basic information about location on the planet?" -- Stefan Magdalinksi. FreeGIS software, Free GeoData. This will become increasingly important for open competition in mobile data services.

8. Free the Product Identifiers!

Hobby Princess blog Huge subculture of people making crafts, selling them on eBay, but need competition from distributors.

Increasingly, small producers can have a global market. Such producers need a clobal identifiers. Similar to ISBN, not ASIN (proprietary to Amazon). Suggests the "LTIN: Long Tail Identification Numbers" would be cheap or inexpensive to obtain (has to have some cost to fend off spam). Extensive database freely licensed and easly downloadable to empower multiple rating systems, e-commerc, etc. The alternative is proprietary eBay and Amazon. Small craft producers should be able to get a number and immediately gain distribution across them.

9. Free the TV Listings!

A smaller issue, it may seem. But development of free software digital PVRs is going on. Free-as-in-beer listings exist, but this is tenuous. Free listings could be used to power many different innovations in this area. Otherwise we will be in a world where everything you watch will be DRM'ed -- so this is important.

10. Free the Communities!

Wikipedia demonstrates the power of a free community. Consumers of web forum and wiki services should demand a free license. Otherwise, the company controls the community. Similar to a feudal serf, company maintained communities have a hold on communities. Are you a serf living on your master's estate, or free to move? Social compact: need to have Open Data and Openly Licensed software for communities to truly be free. Wikicities - for profit, free communities - founded by Jimmy and Angela. Free licensing attracts contributors.

Posted by Chris at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005

Graham Glass at it again

So Graham Glass is starting another company. His writeup is pretty interesting. It's fun to watch his idea take shape. I saw Glue in it's early days when Graham pitched it to BEA. At the time I thought it was a nice hack but I was surprised to see how much traction he got with it. Using this as data I think his next venture will also be a great success.

Posted by Chris at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)