Saturday, February 23, 2002

Know anyone who's sold links yet? Now you do.
Just one small Point of Order, Jeneane:

I've been self-anesthetising ever since I was informed that the universe doesn't revolve around me!

Lee is our first *professional* anethesiologist.

In light of the current talk around blogging versus commercial news media and amateur inventors waging their guerilla warfare against the corporate patent machine, you shouldn't overlook the enthusiastic amateurs.

We make history, the pros just make money off it.

The Sport of Blogging

And to Denise's "extreme sport" analogy, check out our dear friends at Fishrush, who have made a come back with their own take on the spectacular event of blogging.

"Once this column appears, my authorial control ends and theirs [the bloggers'] begins."

Henry Jenkins has written a thoughtful article about the "extreme sport" of blogging for MIT's Technology Review magazine, in which, among other things, he uses the example of what bloggers will do with his article to illustrate the power of the medium. Mr. Jenkins gets points for recognizing the significance of the weblog as media-intermediary, and for taking on the Dvorak-esque sentiment that "these are simply a bunch of obsessed adolescents with too much time and bandwidth." Thought you all would enjoy.

-Aside: In the hard copy magazine, the editors compared bloggers to "cockroaches after nuclear war" in the table of contents, but were careful to omit the unflattering analogy in the online version. Nibble, nibble...

Don't judge a blogger by their blogsticker

Can't believe it took me 5 months to get round to showing up in here but I'll do my best to live down to Jeneane's expectations.

By the way who ate all the pretzels?

so that's where the public domain is

Amory Lovins talked about the hypercar project, a radically redesigned car that uses hydrogen fuel (producing water as its exhaust) or fuel cells. It reverses most of the principles that have guided car design from the beginning. Most exciting, he has put the design into the public domain so that no one can patent it and many can build them. ~ David Weinberger from the TED conference.

Good. Among other things it works to undermine the frigging nonsense about borders that cause us to believe technology and entertainment are separate spheres that need to hold special events to talk to one another. The public domain is what never somehow manages to be present at any of these occasions. (Fucking over the oil barons is gravy.)

a break in the action

to welcome two new team members. The first, Lee Crocker, wins a special gonzo prize (as if we had any) for his uncovering of my stupid mistake:

At the possible expense of being an idiot (a well established fact in some circles) don't you mean your definition of idiot is really narrow?
Sign me.
blogging at work on my handheld while sitting on a stool passing gas.

So I'm like, holy crap he's right. Politely, I ask if I can blog his email--you know, with the passing gas part and all, maybe being a bit to intimate. Lee explains:

Passin' gas is just my job ma'm. Not realy intimate at all. I'm an anesthesiologist. Thougt you might get a little chuckle over that. I guess this email is good as any. Blogging is a nice little respite from the tedium of brain surgery. Ain't technology amazin?

Yes, Lee, it is. And you have just the right personality to join in the fun here on gonzo engaged. I think you're our first anesthesiologist. Let me know if you have your own blog so I can add it to the blog bog. AND I'll fix the idiot thing too.


Gary Blogstickers Turner has asked to join in the conversation. Gary is a new good friend of mine, being the only blogger so far I've actually picked up the phone to call, albiet on the weekend when I knew I wouldn't reach him. Gary is brilliant, and an international sensation in his own mind--I MEAN, on his blogstickers site.

Now, back to the action...

If the local jurisdiction says it isn't theft then it isn't theft. I don't know about Vietnams legal system you understand, but I have to say that I remain deeply suspicious about attempts to enforce western legalities the world over.

I can see that you could sleep quite easily as an author or inventor knowing that is certain poorer parts of the world your property rights don't enjpy the same protection as they do in the west.

(There might be some concerns over offshore duplicates being re-imported into the west, but then that is what treaties are for: "You want to trade with us, you do it our way." There is nothing wrong with that, and I for one would see it as a far better use of sanctions than some others that we've indulged in.)

OTOH, if the local law says it *is* theft, then maybe the problems that keep such countries poor are not unrelated to the lack of a credible legal system that protects the rights of all.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Again, I agree with you that the copyright law may be flawed and something has to be done in helping bridge the divide between those who have technology and education in the world but that isn't what that article is about. It isn't about job seekers either. It is about people making their living selling and hawking illegal copies of software, music, and DVD's. That is theft.

All Rights Reversed

Jordon. Have you, by chance, sashayed to the domicile of my neighbours in Vietnam? Literacy in Mr Ploopy's All-Tux Transparent Graphics Freeware For Freaking Linux is not going to afford the speed of even a penguin to a job seeker in this 'developing' country. (Incidentally, this term is abhorrent and utterly informed by the notion that there is a desirable goal to which one ought develop.) Perhaps the individual user has a legitimate (although not 'legal') motivation for purchasing a bargain basement adobe.
While I commend your efforts to outrun the strictures of proprietary software; I urge you to consider that perhaps the choice users in 'developed' (?) economies have between Standard Operating Environments, applications and, indeed, flavours of that delectable potable 7 Up is a privilege.

Although you appear to hold an essentialist view re copyright law, perhaps a sojourn to this venerable textual antique may deliver distinction between 'legal' and 'legitimate'.

My humblest for fouling the binary air with rancour. I remain aghast, however, that your statement "I read somewhere that outside of North America and Europe, only 1 in 4 copies of software are legal. Does that make us subsidizers of overseas competition" has not been challenged in this locus. I read somewhere that infant mortality, starvation, cerebral malaria, dyssentry and/or First World backed boot rule effects 1 in 4 inhabitants of 'developing' nations. Does that make us subsidisers of glabal misery?

Fear not

Your lawyer saw these posts this morning and she's happy to have gotten a break in the day to set folks' minds at rest about the copyright implications of blogging. The beautiful thing about copyright law in this context is: Jeneane is absolutely right, you create it, you own it. As the folks at Findlaw obligingly summarize, "copyright protects 'original works of authorship' that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device." (Savvy of them to recognize the "fixation" aspect of this form of authorship, wouldn't you say?) Copyrightable works include literary works and graphics, and these categories are very broad - computer programs and most compilations qualify as "literary works." Copyrights are automatically conferred as soon as the work is created. You own your posts, and this blog as a whole is probably a joint work, "a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole" under the Copyright Act (although Jeneane likely would have additional rights arising from her efforts in fashioning such a fine forum). If you thought that a work had to be published or registered in order to enjoy protection, you are not alone; these are common misperceptions that flow from the way copyrights worked once upon a time. Now, a work enjoys protection even if it is never published or registered - although there are advantages to registration as discussed here. One powerful benefit of registration is this must occur before you can sue for copyright infringement. You can register at any time during the life of the copyright, which is during the author's life and for 50 years thereafter (slightly different rules apply to works made for hire, but the protections there are similarly long in duration). Registration costs $20 per application, and is pretty easy to accomplish. It may not be worth it though, unless you think people are out there actively stealing your stuff and you're hopping mad about it. Registration's main benefit is to let you sue, and to make it easier to prove that your copyrights have been infringed when you do (registration creates a public record of your rights, and creates some presumptions that will work in your favor should you ever need to enforce them through litigation). In other words, blog on, tickled that you don't need the likes of me to create your copyrights ;0>.

As for your use of others' copyrighted works, it pays to be cautious, use common sense and give attribution; a reference to another work, like citations or attributed quotes in an article, generally should not rise to the level of a "derivative work" that infringes the author's copyrights. Note that commercial publishers seldom leave that kind of thing to chance, however, and usually insist on getting an author's permission before a quote or other material is used. Also, the various linking practices seen on the web have given rise to all kinds of novel arguments by copyright owners. You could argue, for example, that linked material is incoporated into the linking web site, thus creating a new, derivative and improperly infringing work. Courts continue to wrestle with these issues, which I try to write about whenever something new or outrageous catches my eye (e.g., there were some interesting conflicting decisions involving eBay and Ticketmaster awhile back, and just this month, the Ninth Circuit held it was fine for a "visual" search engine to link to and display thumbnails of copyrighted images).

By the way, I think the Cafepress and blog archive tool ideas are fantastic (with all due licensing, of course)!


OK, I'll see if I can hack something together this weekend to archive blogs. Sounds like a fun side project. I could even use Runtime Revolution, like I did for Pocket GoogleWhacker which has the distinct advantage of making runtimes for Mac, Windows and Linux with no extra effort on my part.
Recursively enough, I can claim some part in the GoogleWhack memetic explosion, as I invented the scoring scheme that gave it geek appeal as well as obscure word fan appeal.


Let each participant here start their own Cafepress store, with his or her own take on what merchandise spawned from this site should look like. Link to them all here, and let readers decide what schwag they like best.

and for another thing....


"Colin Powell told me that acting alone was not in our long-term interests because, as he put it, 'No man is an island,'" Bush recalled. "Of course, I pointed out that America is a nation, not a man, and that lots of nations are islands, so I didn't really 'get' his argument. But I do like to say 'Colin Powell' whenever I talk about foreign affairs because it makes me look diplomatic."

googlewhack puzzle and intellectual property

I don't see anything on the googlewhack site about the story. hmmmm. curious. And I still say, cool! Let's encourage Kevin to make a neat tool, dump our stuff, at least save it for posterity, then see what else we can concoct... If I may say, though, it could bring him more questions and popularity and pandora's box ramifications than he may expect.

To Tom's point, blogs like this one do give rise to the intellectual property issue. When I thought about doing t-shirts and mugs through cybercafe, I was hit with that single thought--who's shit is this? Who'd get the pocket change we'd raise? Gonzo Engaged wouldn't have existed without my hairbrained scheme in the first place, but it's the community that makes the place hum, and now, this place wouldn't exist without our community of brains. So some community or partnership thing would seem to be the natural result of community blogs like this one. But then, that gives rise to notions of percentages, pay for performance, what constitutes a contribution to a community blog, what do you do with hecklers, do lurkers realize any benefits? Lots of these things need answers, but for now, I don't want to answer them. It winds way too deep. I want to have some fucking fun.

However, let's remember, we do have a lawyer on this blog--her perspective would be interesting.

For me personally on Allied, and for Tom and for all of us bloggers with personal blogs, the ownership/property issue seems perfectly clear. Manifest Destiny. What I write, what I interpret, and what I create there is mine.

Those are my initial thoughts, with very little sleep assisting me, on the issues at hand.

Probably should have checked with my counsel before I blogged all this intellectual property crap, huh?

Ah well...


Kevin, YES!

Tom's musings notwithstanding, I will stand before you and say YES! Kevin, we would love a tool like that. And maybe we can make you famous for it too. A guy I worked with told me he saw googlewhacking gary on a national news show last night talking about googlewhacking. Anyone hear this? I suppose I could go snoop around as I've been working on a proposal for the last 70 hours, but if it's so, that bodes well for us all. This particular colleague doesn't blog (yet) but I'm encouraging him to. So I don't think his national googlewhacking story was a dream.... but hold on, lemme go look....

I agree with some of what you have said. The developing economies of this world need better computer software. But is Office, Dreamweaver, and AfterAffects, or even XP required software. Millions of users around this world are running Linux and open source software that they haven't paid for. We have computers around here that are running only freeware and open source software. What is happening in Vietnam and other countries where piracy is happening is not literacy, it is theft. The Lord of the Rings on DVD is not about literacy, it is about making a buck illegally.

the inescapable blunder of wonder

Kevin, if you hacked something together, it might solve the practical problem for Jeneane, me and others who are concerned with access to their stuff that blogware has made so easy to render/expropriate in one seductive pushbutton slip of the digit. It might not address the issue of what blogware's actual agenda/principles/objectives/priorities are vis a vis notions of intellectual property, etc. Where, one has to bl/wonder, does it think after all it is going? To what end, quotha? To wit: more on this with Jeneane and Razer noted here, complete with stolen Razer logo & all rights abjected.

the relentless wonder of plunder

Jordon! One is aghast. To employ the parlance of the young and callow, whassup?
You impart here - of all the digital fora in the world! - "if you make anything cool, it will be pirated and stolen". Well, I jolly well hope so. Ideas improve. The meaning of words [ideas, cultural artefacts, SOFTWARE] participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. Guy Debord. Ninety Freaking Sixty Seven.

Theft is implicit in the manufacture of all art, marketing, preternaturally decent stuff.......
Why O Why when appropriation ought be regarded as the most significant and enticing theoretical informant of contemporary culture, should copyright law and plainly menopausal fear-of-plunder become increasingly odious?!
Heavens. Those INSOUCIANT Vietnamese DARING to promulgate a sub-economy that would afford information literacy to those who can least afford it.
Personally, I think it all went wrong with the printing press. All those PEASANTS daring to acquire lexical dexterity. Preserve Mr Gates' right to keep Melinda in garters now. Halt the burgeoning will of third world constituents to participate in the digital cultural economy now.

The field of cultural production ought be open to all players, Jordon. If a couple of folk in Chiang Mai get Office XP for free, freaking great, I say.
power to the plunderers

I trust that you attained full permissions and/or adhered to minimum Fair Use restrictions when you reproduced yahoo content, btw.

Easy client-side tool

If you really want this I'm sure I could hack together a client-side tool to pull down the archives page in chronological order fairly easily. after all, the text is all up there in a fairly clean format.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

i'd sign

Hey Tom, I'd sign up in a second. I totally agree. Give us more options on the output side of things--the same easy way you've given us pushbutton publishing. It would add a whole new dimension. Just think, if Locke had been blogging EGR over the years, it would have been quite a task to unearth just the right archives for Bombast. As more and more useful content--repurposeful content--comes out of blogs, the likes of Blogger and Moveable Type and others could really differentiate themselves by giving us new ways to free our thoughts from the confines of the Web (and did you ever think we'd be talking like that? Irony is an absolute.)

Just out of my ever-pressing fear that the folks at Blogger may suddenly decide it's not worth it to do what they do, I go into my archives every so often, copy the text out of every entry, and paste it into word. And that really sucks, because, first of all I do it blog-chronology style (i.e. backwards from the hard copy world), but I figure at least I'll have a copy of everything if something were to happen to the archives.

I'd love to press "export to MSWord?" or "export to PDF?" or something.... and voila!

And as you said, searching within the posts would be cool, because we could search up every instance of, say, "broadcast" on this site and how easy would it be to write an article on the death of mass marketing with the assistance off of the search results from gonzo enagaged, quotes just ripe for the picking from all those amazing brains assembled here.

And stuff like that...

And other stuff we haven't thought of...

I've worked 80 hours since Monday. Billed 70 hours the week before. I need to go lie down now. Someone remind me to add a couple folks to this lovely blog when I come to tomorrow--they've emailed me and I don't have the strength to do it tonight...

sleep well,

blogware activism

Jeneane, thanks for noting my thoughts on emancipating content from blogware. I do think this is going to be a more pressing concern as more people blog for more kinds of purposes, including the physicians, engineers, etc. that Dave Winer mentioned. Perhaps an open letter is in order, from the blogging communities to the blogitects - Winer, Ev, et al - asking that they match their splendid gift of ease of use going in with equal ease upon exit. Right now, as Virgil would have it, facilis est descensus averni... If someone with technical skills could create a form/petition that could gather names, email addresses, etc., it might get their attention...just a thought...

something I predicted way back when, like maybe a month ago

My own words right back at me from the elanceur blog, via the now deceased Fishrush (link omitted out of respect for the dead):

"Smart companies will get wind that employees are blogging during work hours and imagine the possibilities. A major motion picture will feature a character who blogs. The character will be a psychopathic alcoholic intellectual head case. The part will be offered to Jack Nicholson, who will turn it down because bloggers don't get cute chicks. Some company, somewhere, will take Gonzo Marketing to heart and underwrite some blog, somewhere, somehow. Please. Community blogs--or "party blogs" like Gonzo Engaged--will grow in residents and in numbers, morphing into their own form of blogging. These forms will separate from one-man blogs, which will lean more toward journal and journalism than community." - Posted by christophe ducamp on 12/22/01; 9:48:24 from the @elanceur dept.

Huh. whatda ya know. I still really believe the last one anyhow. Aren't we doing just this? Isn't that why most of us have this blog and our own?

What will come next?

See Tom's thoughts--I really dig them. Wouldn't it be great to be able to dump your acrhives to MSWord? Or an e-Book? imagine!

ah well.

for another night I guess.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Yahoo! News - Pirate's heaven in Vietnam

Nearly every software title, film and album is available on the streets of this city, which itself is a backwater compared with Saigon. Windows XP sells for 25,000 VN ($1.67), the same as Red Hat Linux. Windows Me is cheaper, but it doesn't sell well. "Buggy," said a woman who ran one of the stores. A disk containing 35 music-compression and recording applications goes for 35,000 VN ($2.33).
Norton appears to have a strong edge over Symantec in terms of market share, and Visual Basic looks to be the toolkit of choice. The folks at Macromedia should be glad to know that Dreamweaver is incredibly popular too.

This is totally nuts. The Vietnamese govt may think it is doing the right thing but what company is going to invest in Vietnam when you know that if you make anything cool, it will be pirated and stolen. That being said, I read somewhere that outside of North America and Europe, only 1 in 4 copies of software are legal. Does that make us subsidizers of overseas competetion?

Thanks for all the sleuthing, Jeneane. Here's a Google footnote - while Fishrush may have succumbed to the depths, the Five Fish list lives on in Google's cache. Also, Clay has a non-blog site where he demonstrates firmly he is a figment of no one's imagination.

P.S. How are you liking Blogger Pro? Less downtime, more features? Intravenous echinacea for no additional charge?
As promised, here's the info on google from Dane Carlson, who emailed me earlier answering my many questions on the art and science of google. (I summarized below):

JS: Does anyone know--and can anyone enlighten me--on how google works in keeping/compiling results? See here's the thing. Lately I've been doing my vanity searches, and I generally get 10 pages of results, but when I click on page 10, it really comes about that I have 6 pages of unique hits. Which is cool. I'm good with that.

DC: You're seeing the filtered Google results. Google does this to save us time and energy. On page six of the Google results for Jeneane.Sessum there's this little phrase at the bottom: "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 52 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.."

Click that. Now the first 990 results of the 2,610 are available (Google only lets you see 990 results for any search). These are the unfiltered results. The reason Google only returns 52 results at first is because it is comparing where the words Jeneane Sessum appear on each of the pages in relation to all of the other content there. So, if you're included in lots of blogrolling lists, but not mentioned elsewhere in the content, Google will realize this and only return one or two pages with that specific template. For example, Saltire only comes up twice, even though it really occurs dozens of times in the expanded results because your name always appears between Andy Chen and Paul Boutin.

JS: But even more strange lately, it seems like I'm losing hits that used to come up. Like, I was in the 2,600's for number of results returned a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm in the 2,500s, even though folks have been linking to allied fervently. Same with Gonzo Engaged.

DC: It's doing well, but not all the hits it has gotten register on Google. Google loves weblogs -- she likes to read from them everyday. Reading Gonzo Engaged was last spidered by Google on Sunday, Feb 17, 2002. I know this because of this page: Unfortunately, for the non-weblog world, Google's appearance usually only happens once a month or so. Search engine optimization specialists (that haven't quite figured this secret of weblogging out yet) rejoice when Google finally visits their site. Now here's where it gets really neat. Since Google only visits most sites once a month, the Google database is usally only updated every month (every 28 days actually).

That update is coming up soon -- this weekend, most likely. After this weekend and the Google dance, you should see quite a few more links to your websites.

JS: So, do some hits/results disappear from Google after a time? Why? What can I do to boost my blog's "findability"? And ultimately, the number of results returned?

DC: All webpages stored in Google hava a PR (Page Rank) score. The score for each page is somewhere between one and ten. Reading Gonzo is a 6. Dave Winer's Scripting News is an 8. Google sometimes doesn't show pages in your results that have low PR scores. That doesn't mean that they're not there -- just that Google really doesn't think you're that interested in seeing your name on a bunch of PR 1 pages.

JS: Any tips from this search maven novice would be appreciated.

DC: Here's something else you can try. This will show every site (in this database) that's linking to Reading Gonzo.

I hope that this answers some of your questions, and sparks new ones! I really enjoy reading you. Cheers,


I Miss Shirky

You know, without Clay around, this thing's gotten too quiet. We need someone to stir the pot. Where's Sanders when you need him?

I got a great response on how google works (esp. with blogs)--I've asked if I can blog it and will post soon. Really informative.

Gotta go take my medicine. Still sick. If you haven't heard what I sound like sick yet, and goodness knows that's about as exciting as it gets, go over to Gary's blog and hear my message.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Also, Sitemeter is a free tool I discovered because Gary Turner uses it. If your site is getting google click-throughs, it says so on its "referrals" page. To help you get set up, it has a javascript generator that auto-adds the necessary code to your blogger template. Cool, huh?

Googling & a couple of fishy links

Bloggers archives have been erratic recently, so the Google spider may have missed the archive pages once they fell off the bottom of the main blog. (My original Googlewhack double prize hit on my blog has vanished for the same reason).

This article claims surfers are snubbing search engines in favour of direct links. My suspicion is that as they only mention relative and not absolute figures is that they are hiding the fall off in interest in corporate sites by phrasing it that way.

Also, I bet as Google takes over from other feebler engines, it is taking searchers to blogs first, instead of straight to the 130,000 corporate sites they monitor.

Also, a very clueless article that defends pop-up ads as less annoying than other kinds of intrusive shouty ads. So thats OK then.

Google's doing something different...

Contact them with your question and they will answer!

A google question

Does anyone know--and can anyone enlighten me--on how google works in keeping/compiling results? See here's the thing. Lately I've been doing my vanity searches, and I generally get 10 pages of results, but when I click on page 10, it really comes about that I have 6 pages of unique hits. Which is cool. I'm good with that. But even more strange lately, it seems like I'm losing hits that used to come up. Like, I was in the 2,600's for number of results returned a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm in the 2,500s, even though folks have been linking to allied fervently. Same with Gonzo Engaged. It's doing well, but not all the hits it has gotten register on Google.

So, do some hits/results disappear from Google after a time? Why?
What can I do to boost my blog's "findability"? And ultimately, the number of results returned?

Any tips from this search maven novice would be appreciated.