28 Dec

Feels Very Good to Me

Today’s Jazz Rock recommendation is Bill Bruford’s Feels Good to Me. With Holdsworth on guitar and Berlin on bass, it’s great music to count to. I realize the last sentence probably doesn’t mean anything if you don’t play any musical instruments. Let me try to explain. There’s so much happening I feel compelled to count the rhythm in my head to contemplate the action within each bar. Must be my wanna-be drummer mindset at work.

21 Dec

Distributed Stock Photo

JD Lasica:

"Last week I marveled at the ability of Google Images to connect people in the photographic community around the globe. Gareth Brown, head of Blow Up Studios in Wanchai, China, spotted my photo of sheep on Google Images and asked to use it in a local ad campaign in Hong Kong.
There’s a kicker to the story: It turns out his client is Sony, and he has a budget for this little marketing campaign. With that as an incentive, I fed-ex’d 10 transparencies of merino sheep I took on our trip to New Zealand in 1998 to Gareth. And yesterday we agreed on a price: $500."

There’s a fun web service built on top of a combination of Google and PayPal waiting to be created there. A big distributed clearinghouse of original photos might mean the death of canned stock pictures. Who will miss them?

17 Dec

Facing Up to the Fax


"We’ve recently discussed how customers have forcibly migrated business-dependent supply bases to electronic data interchange (EDI) via newer, cheaper and more efficient mechanisms with impressive results.
Oddly enough, the same thing might be happening with the fax. It may be a near-term fix on a path to better technology, but many companies are well advised to address the fax as a mission-critical resource of those partners who will use it until it pretty much drops dead."

Earth to Net heads: the fax is not dead. Do I hate to acknowledge this. Are we getting out of touch with plain reality, with the semantic web and all? Several layers are likely to coexist for a long time, and it’s my opinion legacy HTML is going to hang in there for decades.

12 Dec

Media Feudalism Under Fire

Glenn Reynolds:

"Like the armored knights of the Middle Ages, [Big Media people’s] position has been a function not of their own inherent virtues, but of a particular economic and technological confluence that is now passing away. And I believe that much of what’s being marketed as "digital rights management" to prevent "stealing" of big-media works is in fact intended to serve as "digital restrictions management" to protect big-media operations from competition by making life harder on potential competitors."

I see Ms. Reynolds uses the same camcorder we have. We’re about to finish editing our first video about how to do illuminations (most of the work was over months ago, but like with web sites, nailing down the exact text you’re going to use takes ages), and we plan to make another one early next year. We’ll see how successful we are at selling them, but the barrier to entry is certainly lower by an order of magnitude than it was less than a decade ago. Doesn’t mean everyone will turn into the next Spielberg, and we’re aware of our limitations and what we have yet to learn. But we should have a pretty decent product well worth the $30 or so we plan to sell it for. And we’ll be a lot more productive for our next project.

11 Dec

Better List/detail Display: Tell Me How Much There’s Inside

Google Usenet subdirectories could be improved. Except for the "Activity" greenbars (which happen to be misleading or at least not very accurate), there’s not much you know about these groups from this list, meaning you need to click on each group to know what’s inside. The fake screenshot below displays to easy additions to make that list more useful: it tells apart new groups, and shows how much total and new posts there is within each group. New posts could be either a reasonably short period of time (say, one week) or based on user profile if/when Google Groups features personalization.
simple way to improve Google Groups Lists
12/12/02 update: they provide this kind of meta information in their directory with the number of links per category.

11 Dec

Guns are a fundamental dividing line of civilization

Donald Sensing:

"I oppose licensing and basic government control because — am I getting the message through here? — I AM SOVEREIGN in America, not the government, and I do not permit the government to regulate my sovereignty."

Just bumped into this good rant about firearms. I have yet to find someone opposed to individual ownership of guns who actually knows how to use them. It’s really a matter of education, personal responsibility, and freedom.

10 Dec

Downloads by nodes


"Kontiki DMS 2.0 injects servers into the grid to manage and secure traffic. The servers watch grid nodes and try to arrange the best available connection based on each machine’s CPU and network load. Every file transfer request queries the DMS directory server to identify the node or nodes best equipped to serve the file. That sounds like load balancing, but DMS 2.0 does the job on the fly. Kontiki’s KDM client software will switch to a faster source in mid-download if such a source appears on the grid. If a node that was serving a file falls out of the grid, DMS swaps in another node and allows the transfer to continue uninterrupted. One client can pull from multiple servers to shorten downloads and improve reliability."

eDonkey lets you download a single file from several sources concurrently (using file hashes, not their names). Users keep connecting to and dropping from the network, you just keep queuing to new sources as they appear. There’s also an upload throttle to keep some of your bandwidth for other uses, and download speed is capped as a factor of whatever you assign to uploads (up to 10KBps, beyond that threshold you get unlimited download rights).