Tuesday, October 30, 2007

newsbabyreaderavatars - they're here: be afraid!

The bb asked kids to come up with newsworthy gadgets which to receive stories via - my idea is to have a bunch of people re-enact the news via a real=time, generated screen play - the remote news feed will give them the script and stage directions via smart phones (internet audio for the hard of thinking, and pictures and so on for the less smart ) and the group of kids will then interpret the news in their own local physical way - e.g. they will show and tell how the queen greets the king of saudi, and how the suicide bomber in iraq was funded. they can replay with graphic detail the effect of the failed negotiations about sudan, and the treachery of the janjaweed, whilst showing the imact news has on young people that is hidden when we merely let them see it on TV in between Blue Peter and the Simpsons, and in between walking home from school scared of somali gangs in north london, to play Halo 3 on their Xboxes.

Now that would be an interesting device and experience.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

file sharing versus piracy

there seems to be some serious confusion in the UK government, and I think the ISPA shoudl http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7059881.stmadvise them better - in a recent quote (and it may be a misquote) on the bbc, a
spokesperson said that they dont want to come down on 14 year olds file sharing ,but they do want to stop people making money out of piracy. So one of the glaring errors in this is that people who are doing a lot of UPLOADING from P2P systems are NOT MAKING money - if they were it would be easy to prosecute them as there would be evidence of this from a payment system (bankaccounts receipts etc) and often they'd probably also not be paying tax (e.g. VAT etc) and could also be done for that - the problem is that frequent uploaders are just downloaders with LOADS of uplink capacity (e.g. students) and often have no money.

If they had a means to do DRM and Payment, then they would also have a means to make LOADS OF MONEY like the record companies, because if someone had a cool way to do online music distribution for profit and not just fun, they'd LICENSE the technology to official record companies to replace the RUBBISH DRM currently around.

Fact is there isnt a decent system, so the ONLY reason for a government to clamp down is to
a) protect unreasonable profits from music business (which is dying)
b) delay people working on solving this lack of a decent technology which protects
only Big Record Companies, and not indies or artists, and doesn't actually protect consumers or large numbers of artists or create a platform for innovation.

If the government wants to get in on the loop on piracy, follow the money is sufficient - you don't need special laws. they only serve to delay a better world.

You heard it hear last.

Monday, October 22, 2007

more diamond age wizradry

there's a nice piece in the Diamond Age (neal stephonson) about aerial nanotech defensive systems - one throwaway remark about them is that the attacks they have to withstand are from more nanotech distributed nodes, and so any system cannot operate an "impermeable shield" (shades of star wars) but instead must "hack the mean free path"
and its left as an exercise for the reader to figure out what this means (basically, the defensive net has to be long enough that for a set of random walks (c.f. Einstein: Brownian motion) the probability of any attacking node making it through the defensive nodes (i.e. the number of variances of the path length) is vanishingly small - like
Hiro Protagonists "usual car chase" in Snow Crash, this is a masterpiece of minimalism...

another interesting point is the throwaway remark about forensic geeks carrying cards to help identify which "species" of cookie cutter has been used on a victim, by looking at the arcs of intersection of the shockwave (circular, or part of solid angle intersecting a sphere?) with the skin, leaving a set of curves - given the shockwave does most its damage at a fixed distance from the two "epicenters", this means the radius of curvature of the intersection with skin is fixed, so you can tell the initial velocity (assuming its largely mass independent - I suppose the slowdown is dependent mainly on the size of cookie cutter fragments and viscosity of humans, rather than the interital mass:)

doesn't really bear close examination near breakfast:)

Monday, October 15, 2007

london dungeon is genuinely quite scary!

not that it has much to do with the internet...but I thought it was rather fine - the useof mix of son et lumiere/live actor, and smelly "underneath the arches" locale was very good - the actors were very nice to kids and did the whole mockney/interaction thing very well - i guess the nearest link/seguay would be conspiracy theory - there were a lot of those in the stories they tell, and, of course, we all know that the Internet was only put in place to support consipracy theorists:)

anyhow, the dungeon is a fine place, and almst all politicians should be sent there.

Monday, October 08, 2007

riaa outrage...hm - so why do music biz behave the way they do?

It is often said that one should be quicker to suspect human stupidity for certain classes of corporate and government behaviour, than conspiracy - so right now, lotsa people expressed amazement at the fine levied a poor file sharer in the USA, but then the backlash starts - then there's the backlash, then there's the not quite so simple meta-para-backlash...

Andrew Orlowski writes that instead of whinging, we should get behind proposals (of which he mentions quite a few very plausible looking ones) to change the face of the music business = the claim is that, if only they could see, they would make more money "our way" (cue Frank Sinatra singing that music).

Well, while the proposals sound good, I'd assert that if they did work out right, several people would have just done it (oops, did i just infringe some footwear sweatshop's trademark?:=)

So given the power of shareholders, not A&R men, is what determines the behaviour of big business mostly, one has to ask "why havnt they done it yet?".

I don't have an answer (and I've spent a large part of the last 5 years looking at disruptive technologies and how they alter business, so I am qualified, but stumped!

I guess just maybe, just maybe this once (cue Liza Milleni Cabaret toon)
it is a conspiracy after all!!!

So here's another thought - I think this is a classic tipping-point type situation - shareholders have their eye on the bottom ine each year, but only have a horizon of 1 year - disruptive technologies (think IP breaking PSTN, or VOIP on WiFi breaking cellular) like mp3 on the net instead of CDs in the shops, grow from small beginnings - the growth is mirrowed by a fall in sales of CDs but until the scale of the business falls below a certain point, it is worth the incumbent industry (legacy technology)_ spending more and more on defending itself against the newcomer - at some point, the cost of defense exceed the revenue, and Madonna resigns and Radiohead say they will only charge people what they want to pay, and people start to ship albums for free on myspace etc etc

so the point when this happens can be in less than 1 year, and the only outcome can be bancruptxcty for the traditional business - repalcement (e.g. subscription or
listen for free but you have to see these **** adverts*** o nthe web page when you download (e.g. facebook and google's revenue models) work fine - but only when the old guys DIE is this gonna stop being fought tooth and nail. but they will die very sudddenly (other exampls I give above like VOIP on wifi or on IP on 3G, have already happened).

Tip, tip, tip: don;t by shares in EMI, don't buy shares in people making a noise at BPI or RIAA, they are the people about to lose big time: prediction: most music will be subscription or paid by adverts and other stuff (as in live gigs making money on T-shirts) by 2010. no, 2009. no wait, 2007.

Friday, October 05, 2007

de-face book application idea

here's an idea for anonymity in facebook - for why, see
this spoof ad or cory doctorow's article on googlevil...

So the defacebook ad is basically a Chaum Mix plus Onion Routing applied to the social net - what you do is for each person running the application:
a) create a whole bunch of fake people
b) create a set of communities by mixing interests, groups, affiliations from other people running the application, with a deliberste plicy of skewing the statisitcs away from the small worlds in the "true" data (Max entropy is your friend, just like Max Headroom used to me)
c) build an overlay of links with obfuscation/crypto hops, to keep the "real" relationships (note average "path" will be way longer but thats ok:) its not internet time we are working on here) - the beauty of this is that facebook encouragem nay, even PAY you to write apps!

and bob is no longer your uncle - in fact, he has plausible deniability that he ever met your aunt.

Ho ho!

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home