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Comment: Re:Google get free! (Score 1) 130

by Chris Johnson (#45389541) Attached to: Brazil Orders Google To Hand Over Street View Data

In the event that Google moved out of the US and moved to a country where they are twenty times the size, manpower and influence of the country's government, is that the point that some people see 'em as an independent entity on scale with a government and with their own purposes which are indistinguishable from such a government?

Folks keep going on about the NSA but I'm not really sure which is bigger or more capable, Google or the NSA. Google has nicer campuses. As far as we know...

Comment: Re:You might be brilliant (Score 1) 472

by Chris Johnson (#35839914) Attached to: Why Google Should Buy the Music Industry

Hm. Creative Commons-Attribution is very similar to endorsement. What do you think of French moral rights, such as right of association?

Currently in the field of music we're getting some rumblings on this front, such as David Byrne suing Charlie Crist for using his song 'Road to Nowhere' in politics- it goes back further with Rush vs. Rand Paul, and Jackson Browne and Van Halen vs. John McCain.

Earlier, both parties tried to co-opt Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA", which has lyrics hinting obliquely at the futility of the Vietnam war.

I use CC myself- the same one Trent Reznor went for, which is not straight-up CC-Attribution. Let's assume you know an artist (not me! I'm a nerd! :D ) capable of writing music that seizes the emotions and powerfully moves people, with lyrical themes which are simple and general (as good lyrics often are). This means the work in question, while powerful, isn't real specific. It can be personal, in other words, the meaning is spelled out by context.

To what extent do you feel popular culture should get to override moral rights such as right of association? If someone does a powerful but ambiguous song, and their arch-enemies (in terms of belief systems) seek to use their work to back and support themselves, to what extent does the artist get to prohibit that particular use? Under ordinary copyright the artist can do this, and under CC-Attribution it is quite the opposite: the arch-enemy not only gets to use the work, but is required to also attribute, associating the artist's name with their worst enemy.

I think one counterargument is that attribution lets people look up the original artist and learn more about their differing beliefs and values- but you're going to run into a problem with asymmetry of information, where most people will not look and will assume the artist is sympathetic if the musical theme seems like it might be sympathetic to the cause.

Comment: How much of that is crappy major labels? (Score 1) 431

by Chris Johnson (#33696368) Attached to: CD Sales Continue To Plummet, Vinyl Records Soar

I'd like to know how much of that declining CD sales is the crappy major label stuff, and how much is indie. It seems to me that doing GOOD CDs would still work for indie music, if you made it an appealing package- I like the jacket/sleeve type, like a miniature record rather than a plastic case. If you can do replication runs the per-disc cost is not super high at this point, and it's as 'permanent' as CDs ever were, and can be made to sound pretty much as good as records.

Case in point: if you record a record to the computer, and burn a CD out of it using decent practices like dithering to 16 bit etc, it still sounds like the record. It IS possible to make CDs sound good, people just DON'T for the most part because it's not obvious.

Comment: Re:Easier for denialists (Score 1) 895

by Chris Johnson (#32951684) Attached to: New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest

"Where are you going to get funding for your research"

I think Big Oil has a _little_ money stashed away somewhere. As impoverished as they are, seems like they might take an interest. Not that they have any connections into things like government, etc. to help you get your message out ;) ...I think the word is 'gobsmacked', thanks Gordon Ramsay. I am gobsmacked every time anyone brings up the poor hungry moneyless anti-global-warming researchers. I would have thought a relative scarcity of those implies it's really, really REALLY hard to even pretend they have a case, because those who benefit from their position have such outrageously deep pockets.

I suppose it might be a case of Big Oil wanting the global warming narrative to advance, because peak oil is also a reality to them and they'd like to get going on future prices much higher than the current world economy could possibly support. Establish alternate energy to take up the slack, and jack up the price of oil as a luxury energy source. Makes sense to me ;)

Comment: Re:News Flash! (Score 1) 895

by Chris Johnson (#32951426) Attached to: New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest

Think of it as a really big-ass spaceship, on which life support looks like it's getting sketchy.

We get to decide what we consider life support. If it's going to become a giant pit of lava in which space salamanders thrive, we get to say 'hey, this is our spaceship, get your own, that's not what I call life support'.

We get to be non-stupid if we like- calculating out the stuff we consume, what it's doing, where it goes, making reasonably educated guesses on what's happening. A previous poster noted cancer rates during the smoggiest parts of the Industrial Revolution. We get to draw conclusions about this without looking for outliers (ooo look, a 102-year old guy who smokes cigars instead of eating! Everything we know is wrong!)

We get to have opinions on what to do, with or without the amazing invasive-species-like ability of our species to loot the henhouse and shit where we eat- the fact that we can always come up with individuals to loot and pillage ANYTHING doesn't mean all human endeavors are worthless.

All we can do is the best we can, which empirical evidence tends to suggest isn't super impressive. But we are allowed to try- and if some of you guys have an attitude of "you're just a bunch of dicks manipulating government and opinion to hurt my profits when I should be allowed to loot the henhouse 'cos it doesn't really matter and everybody dies anyway", we are allowed to be dicks about it.

Think of it as us using the same fox-like wiles and manipulativeness natural to our species, towards a different end. Let's play tug-of-war with it, and for every excessive telegenic weather event (driven by the increased energy in the heating climate- obviously this doesn't produce a steady-state hotter earth, it produces increasingly violent weather, learn 2 chaos theory) we'll point out the influence of greater (hotter) climate energy over the pictures of devastation.

Go right ahead and keep pointing at glaciers and saying they will always be there. Glaciers are a lot more boring than hurricanes and heat waves. Make the right connections and global warming becomes a much more exciting television story.

Comment: Re:Marketing move (Score 1) 263

by Chris Johnson (#32866830) Attached to: What Developers Think About Apple's iAd

I'm not an iPhone coder, but if I was, I would really enjoy sabotaging all you silly people by putting out a flashlight app that did not have any ads in any way :)

The gratitude I'd get would be worth the effort, and being 'positioned' as a helpful, smart programmer who respects people's attention and wishes, is more valuable than being recognized as a dumbass who'll put out the 1000th flashlight app with an ad on it in hopes of being paid by foolish advertisers to market to other dumbasses who are by definition in the dark trying to see something other than the screen :D

Comment: Re:iAds-blocking app? (Score 1) 263

by Chris Johnson (#32866798) Attached to: What Developers Think About Apple's iAd

Oh, no, I'm assuming they are indeed that 'totalitarian', but I'm also going to assume they'll be coaxing all the app developers to use this but will not be placing ads on their own software. Think about it, who would pay them for that- themselves? Ads are for third parties to pay someone for your attention.

I'm weird about my attention. I try to produce a lot of things, only beginning with software, which must come out of my own attention and thought, and I am very fierce at defending my mental 'space'. There's one brick-and-mortar place that I'll carry a 'coupon card' for, and that's my primary supermarket. Every little hardware store and book place (okay, every big corporate one) insists on my carrying their savings card, or will claim that I can have an imaginary card that I don't even have to carry, but they're missing the point:

I know I only have that one supermarket card where I buy most of my food, and I don't have to think about that. Anything else, I don't have to remember or look up whether I have their card, because I won't- I say no thank you and pay effectively an 'I don't have to think about you' tax for the privilege of not having to care about the fucking place or consider them special in any way.

And that's the point: every dipshit corporate bookstore etc. wants to be my SPECIAL friend and have me thinking about them and their services constantly, and I'm sorry- I have to think about things to feed myself and my cats, or I won't come up with new stuff. I'm sure there are people who put burgers in sacks all day who can spend their time thinking 'I am a Borders/Hilton/Home Despot Preferred Customer and must seek out those places to consume at, for which I will be rewarded with special treatment!' but if that thought comes into my head it's one more thing to keep track of, purportedly for my benefit but actually not. My time isn't free...

Want to know the primary reason I got an iPhone? I rightly trusted that I would not ever, not once, have to crack a manual to fully use the thing. It would be 'discoverable' and require no training or special attention. It was... know the first thing I look for in reviews of app store items? Whether or not they show advertisements and such things, which is always revealed in reviews by someone who feels as I do. If they talk about sitting through ads, I'm already gone. I've rejected more than one app product, even free ones, for that.

I used to use an Apple product called Cyberdog. It was special- built on the OpenDoc extensible app framework, at the time it was the only thing where you could fire up web pages, email etc. and everything would just be there. Everything else, Netscape, Eudora etc, all fired up splash screens and made you watch effectively a little ad for the product you already were using. Why not spend the time you're already wasting letting the program load, thinking about the program itself rather than the task you intended to do using it? Right?

Apple's OSX stuff like Mail came out, and it was a flashback to the days of Cyberdog- and now I'm using all sorts of internet apps that just launch and go, such as Firefox from which I'm posting this. I'm looking at the interface and I've got a raft of little crap in the address bar, but not even a logo advertising that it is Firefox on the program window itself. I believe Safari also has a similar ethos.

If Apple is making an ad service, they will not be using it for their OWN stuff, and will not be requiring that app developers place ads- they might require that if app developers place ads, they MUST do so through Apple's setup, but that's typical Apple, typical 'any megacorporation'.

Jobs is the guy that once raged at a developer, insisting he make a program launch two seconds faster, counting up the number of yearly launches over the entire userbase and claiming the two seconds would save the equivalent of several HUMAN LIVES not spent sitting waiting for the program to launch. This guy is not going to stick me with click-throughs or wasted banner ad space on HIS programs (that he gets other people to write for him). If he lets other people show that they value my attention less, fine.

I'll run ads myself on some things, like a comic or whatever. I'm not doing so now. When I did, it was to other comics, generally... almost like a shout-out. We all have learned to overlook or block ads in SOME contexts. I'll avoid (with extreme prejudice) contexts where I think ads should never be, and yet they are... usually it's a tip-off that a content or software provider thinks they are SO ENTITLED to my attention for their thing, that they can afford to spread that attention around a bit without asking.

Ah, no ;)

Comment: Re:simple answer (Score 1) 333

by Chris Johnson (#32565594) Attached to: Apple Censors <em>Ulysses</em> App In Time For Bloomsday

I do a variation on this to pay my mortgage and feed my cats...

I run airwindows.com and write audio software for musicians and mix engineers. Some of the earliest stuff, a decade ago, was GPL, and I continue to be willing to talk freely about pretty much anything (talking tech becomes a turn-off for musicians, so I don't often get into it as a rule)

What I did to start making (some) actual money versus 'no money' was this:

Pick out some of the stuff, including everything that was GPL, and make it 'free beer' free. Since it's all mine, anybody wanting stuff added to the GPL pool can have it for the asking- it becomes dual-licensed because I'm not actually drawing from the GPL pool. I ended up including source for the public domain FreeverbCJ, and RMSBuddyCJ is GPL- but when I did closed reverbs I didn't even draw on the PD Freeverb stuff, I wrote up a much less object-oriented framework from scratch based on general reverb concepts. I don't use graphics code so I didn't draw from RMS Buddy for anything closed.

Pick out some of the stuff to be closed, and put it out there in such a way that you basically pay for access to get the widget in the first place. Kagi has a nice little setup where they can sell digital downloads with URLs that are temporary- there's no one fixed URL given out. I also keep prices at maybe a fifth of what the big nasty copy-protect guys are doing, and consider sales to be a lifetime thing- I'll support what I put out so long as I'm alive to do it. I keep it real simple so I can do that- if Logic changes and breaks existing plugins, it's on me to make it right for everybody I've sold to, since I haven't given them the code to fix it themselves :P

Lastly, I passionately believe that selling closed source software has to be a 'pull' rather than 'push' model: some people seem to think because they can have an idea, people are OBLIGATED to pay them. I think that has to be earned. I think it has to be earned by behavior. I wouldn't pay for someone to come and kick me in the teeth, so why would I pay for someone to come and shut off my software or audit my shop to see if I'm taking more than I ought? What makes that THEIR bailiwick? (I'm talking of Waves and their raids on studios.)

My stuff's copy protection is the original source of access- Kagi charges for the initial download, there's no place (or shouldn't be) saying 'download anything, pay if YOU feel like it' because why should it be that easy when I've repeatedly worked with people over the years and given refunds if they made a mistake? The effect is the same (except I pay a fee on refunds and chargebacks), it's just that you don't get to have the full product just on a bored random whim. There are demos for that ;)

Once you do have it, I start looking like the open-source world again: there is no dongle, there is no serial #, the bit of software is just the bit of software. It's not even the unlocked demo- there is no unlock to the demo, the product is the same code with the demo stuff (an output muting at intervals) commented out and a recompile. It's a black box like most commercial closed software, but it's a box without locks or traps or alarms- it just sits there working, you can back it up, and the only thing that prevents people from widely filesharing my work is earned respect. I WILL not add stuff that would get in the way of a real user just to fight 'pirates' when I could give a sh*t and earn some of their respect instead.

I also have the following unusual attitude: digital stuff not being used doesn't exist. If somebody who doesn't mix downloads three of my best, costliest (alright, $60) plugins and puts them in their Components folder and then never mixes a song- as far as I'm concerned, there is no 'theft' because it's meaningless. It's the same with a lot of mp3 filesharing, with obsessive warezing- hell, I have legitimate books, legitimate programs I don't read or use. How much more with the guy who's a big collector and eeevil w@r3z puppy and doesn't actually create anything?

I would hope if I could encourage a guy like that to create, they might be so moved they'd turn around and re-buy the three plugins- now that would be a donation I'd find really touching :D but I'm not going to wig out over some guy hoarding digital bits like Smaug in a cave, knowing he has them and doing nothing. That's more sad than hurtful... if he tries to be important by mirroring my site as warez and promoting it, I'd have plenty of recourse to politely shut him down, which is all I'd want to do anyhow.

I'm not as big a fan of Kickstarter, though I've seen it be appropriate: seems like that's useful for clear projects requiring hired work, but I don't think it's a substitute for just entrepreneurship in general. Sometimes it's not about Tom Sawyering, sometimes you just have to take a risk and do something.

Ack, what a TLDR- well, you mention 'donation business models' around me and you get an earful. I beg tolerance for the fact that I'm an old fart, and it's good to drop by Slashdot again :)

Comment: Re:It depends on the field. (Score 1) 182

by Chris Johnson (#31718560) Attached to: Regulators Investigating Unpaid Internships

I would point out that at least in recording studios, you'd better be ready to fetch coffee and get it right- because it's a winnowing-out process that is teaching the studio about you as much as you're learning about the studio.

The studio needs you not to come in there thinking your book learning prepares you for the real job. Hypothetical example- let's say you're tracking heavy guitars. You've experimented, and you discovered that if you swap out the SM57 often used for this for an Audix D6 (a kick drum mic!) you get a way bigger, more metal heavy guitar sound, so you're ready to make your contribution and you put up the D6 instead- and get spanked for it and banished, even though in solo it obviously sounds much bigger. You are sad.

And well you should be- because your 'better sound' isn't going to sit in the mix. It's stomping all over the bass, the top end fights with the vocals, it's throwing the whole balance of attention off and worse, the guitar players for this band aren't so hot and it's the bass and drums that are really going to salvage things, especially the bass which is nailing a deceptively simple part that you wrote off as unimaginative- but which the more experienced guys recognize as the song's basic hook, simple as it is. Your guitar sound's screwing that up completely.

Back to the coffee. If you can't come up with the humility to try and do your best on an apparently menial task such as getting the coffee right- even though it offers no opening for you to show off your skills- what chance do you have of getting a mix right, when most of the 'impressive smart-guy engineer' tricks anybody could offer will not actually serve the song other than as distractions- when you're working with bands which very likely have only one chance in their lives to grab at the chimera of recording industry success? Very often showing YOUR quality will detract from the quality of the final result, if nothing else by distracting.

I honestly think the rules are different for glamour professions (like studio internships!) where there's a long line of would-be superstars trying to get a chance to show their awesome to the world. Hell, the musicians have to pay to gig in some locales. I'm not sure it's the same for software employers- but I am sure the motivation's the same. It's either riches or status, and when it's status ('I work for Google, I'm elite' or whatever) there will be people ready to pay to work at the status job.

And when you have jobs like in the recording studio, where the depth of 'black arts' knowledge can be pretty deep and counterintuitive, especially in mix which is a whole can of worms all its own- there's a relevance to the unpaid coffee-fetcher internship, because it's like boot camp- as long as you haven't figured out how little you really know, you are dragging down the whole enterprise with careers at stake. _Everybody_ is running scared and groping in the dark above a certain success level, because there aren't consistent, predictable metrics for what's going to work... it gets pretty voodoo dance-y after a while.

Just some thoughts from an old slashdotter with studio-owning friends...

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