tommorris.org

Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.




I'll believe that there is a huge demand for graduates in a year or so. Of course if some trendy Web 2.0 business wants to hire me to be their young, old ideas guy, I take back everything I've just said. But I'll be taking cash not share options, thanks.


Web 2.0 Cynicism

Anil Dashes gets it absolutely correct when he says of Web 2.0: "But this stuff's too important for us to let it become another bubble with no editing and no filtering." Indeed. The previous bubble put a lot of people off Internet investment for a long time. The Web 2.0 field is good in as much as they are great applications. All the bullshitting the VC's, talking bollocks, slapping "beta" on everything and having this damn invite system.

All the Web 2.0 "theorists" (from Tim O'Reilly on down) describe how it's an interactive and emergent system that values the user in his wholeness. To which I say, Bollocks.

How is the user valued if, when he wants to try your website, he has to go searching on Technorati to find an invite code, or visit blogs which he doesn't care about in order to get an invite?

This is exactly the thing with CoComment. I found out about CoComment at six in the evening on Monday night. I spent maybe twenty minutes pissing around trying invite codes that were posted on Scoble's blog and the various linked sites, and then poking around trying to find them using Google BlogSearch.

This is to let me have a look at CoComment to see if it's any good or not. Eventually I register for an invite code and sign up at midnight. By which time I'm going to bed, and so don't discuss it on my site. What purpose has the invite codes served? Absolutely none.

If Web 2.0 applications gain value through users, then the Web 2.0 companies need to value their users. Forcing them to jump through hoops to play with a public beta is an insult to their time.

As is not providing decent export options. If your service is good, you've got nothing to fear from letting people leave.

The battle is half done, since the guys sitting near me on the train have just been discussing their blogs (although they mean journals).





I tried an Intel iMac today in the shop (if you're getting annoyed with the availability of the toys in the Apple Store, hop down to Tott. Court Road and use the demo models in Micro Anvika), and it absolutely steams along. Somehow, I am thinking those who bought the PowerBook Duo (formerly known as the MacBook Pro) are going to be happy bunnies if the performance is anything like the iMac Duos.



Second ORG Networking Event: Phil Booth

Right at the peak of the parliamentary battle. Monday! No2ID!

Single issue group, non-partisan. There are loads of issues in this area. New campaigners should try new stuff. Just learn from it. Entrepreneurial campaigning. Meeting with potential suppliers.

The government are being secretive (security through obscurity - the LSE study is very much open). Cost and compulsion amendments.

The Home Office shot themselves in the foot over the identity - the government have a history of overstating, and spreading FUD. As the government tries to bring in a new ID card, public support drops (eg. Australia).

Your relationship with government will be fundamentally changed. Supplier: "When I work on ID cards, I put a clothes peg on my nose".

Working on an oversight commissioner. The Information Commissioner has made some bold statements about this issue.

Could ID cards actually increase identity fraud. Why? RFID!

No2ID need techies to help with updating content and the suchlike.

On ID cards, Sinn Fein and the DUP are voting the same way! Strange bedfellows.

MPs.no2id.net lets you contact your MP and find out where they are on the issue etc.


Second ORG Networking Event: Cory Doctorow

I'm at the event - got a lovely liveblogging setup (I'll post a picture on Flickr later - or perhaps latr). ORG recently gave evidence to the All Party Internet Group.

Cory: a species of copyright radical we must condemn. Just because you have made a record, you shouldn't be able to design record players.

You can only turn up at the DVB if you are a 'stakeholder' - generally companies and institutions willing to spend 10,000 euros. Cory did so for GNU Radio.

CPCM allows all sorts of new things previously unallowed by copyright law.

Authorised domain: one household's worth of devices. "Historic custom uses" don't include new uses. Your family is being defined by a group in Geneva. Doesn't include those in the developing world.

Children shouldn't have to ring an 0800 number to explain their parent's divorce in order to watch television. An 'area' is different based on area. Copyright never prevented place-shifting.

Compliance: treats the owner of the system as an attacker. User modifiability, writing stuff down and telling people was the basis of the Enlightenment.

"If there's value, there's a right" is the logic (eg. watching one show from another - like Slingbox). Cory moved to Britain to use the Creative Archive.

The FCC is a body, like Ofcom, to regulate spectrum. Does the FCC have the right to regulate every device which sits downstream from the airwaves? The courts said "no". Lawmakers have to do it, and they don't want to.

CPCM may get the Broadcast Flag in the States. If you can't get something enacted in America, enact it in Europe and transfer it. "This moment in time is the hardest bits will be to copy".

"Bits aren't copy-resistant and they'll only get easier to copy". The BBC's involvement in CPCM is absurd. 53m CC licenced works - CC is the most successful in the world! People have found innovative ways to make money using CC.

Will people buy DRM? Apple kept it minimal.

Read this!

A brand can not be pin-pricked. People still watch Mickey Mouse despite the presence of lots of "blue" Mickey Mouse. The Internet has put the cost of getting stuff way down. Friendship is a non-substitutable relationship (cf. MySpace bands).

"DRM Ruptures" are when you realise how screwy DRM is. DRM is not a selling-point. A clean UI is not all you need for user-friendly.







Flap, flap, flap away!

Tony (Blair) and Charlie (Clarke) are flapping their arms and hoping to fly over the cartoons. If the protests outside the Danish embassy are 'unacceptable', why is it that the small coterie of secularists and believers in free speech were the ones who were arrested on Saturday? Surely, the actions of the Metropolitan Police (trigger-happy underachievers in uniform, as the cases of Mr Stanley and Mr de Menezes demonstrate) actually show how ludicrous it all is. A small group of middle-aged NSS members go along and they get dragged off to jail.

We hear that "The Metropolitan police announced today that it has set up a squad to investigate the extremists who demonstrated on Friday". Gee, these guys were outside the Danish embassy in central London. Why do you need a squad to investigate them? If you're going to arrest them, they're right there in the middle of the biggest city in Europe.

If the Met can't catch a whole group of lunatics marching through Central London, why should we expect that they could catch secretive and undercover terrorists? Not that I think they should lock up the protestors. That would only feed their deluded belief (and it's not like they are short of deluded beliefs - I mean, they believe in angels and prophets...) that they're somehow being persecuted. Persecuted? The government have just (unsucessfully) tried to push through legislation that would let them lock people up for up to seven years for criticising religion! This was a big bone they were throwing out to Muslim voters, and was a kick in the teeth for freedom of expression.

If cordening off theological ideas in to a little category where criticism isn't allowed is persecution, then black is white, the alpha is the omega and George Orwell's spinning in his damn grave.

We have an army of people who, for the most part, believe in secular and liberal ideals like freedom of speech. They may stain their exercise books with "social democracy" (or whatever they call Stalinism these days), but on the big things they get it right: free speech, free expression, liberty and secular equality. Why, then, do they rabidly defend insane and deluded Islamists?

They bring out all those tired old canards: that Islam is a Religion of Peace, that there is an army of Moderate Muslims out there who condemn terrorism and the insane "excesses" of their fellow Muslims and that the beliefs of Islamists are merely a cultural expression that we shouldn't "persecute" by, you know, demanding that they follow the same laws and respect the same liberties as us unenlightened heathens.

Under what packaging are the murder of Theo van Gogh, the attempted censorship of the Jyllands-Posten, the attacks on New York on September the 11th, 2001, the attacks on London on July the 7th, 2005, the stoning of dissidents, female (and male) circumcision and other life-denying practices and events? Do I need to spell it out to you?

The importance of philosophy is simple: it is a refuse truck for nonsense. Islam - a belief predicated, as it is, on the belief in an omnipotent sky-god deity, divine revelation to one particular lunatic, and a theology of "kill anyone who thinks differently" should be taken to the philosophical cleaners every time a member of the "Islamic community" steps up. Truth shall win over falsity. And it is a clear erring on the part of humanity to believe in a God who sanctions the execution of anybody who believes differently.

A faux-liberal may respond only that "the art is good" because they have pretty patterns. As has been shown, there is a simple reason why there are lots of patterns in Islamic art: because if you try and draw people they set light to your house and call for your execution.



Austin Cline is right: "we are seeing Western leaders back away from freedom of speech in favor of supporting those who advocate murder and destruction whenever they feel insulted". Alas, they won't be punished at the polls.


Peter Wall: "But we're not members of your religion, so we're not bound by your rules of reverence and piety. Get it? We can think and say and publish whatever we want."