Apr 23, 2008

Disqus test

I finally got to integrate Disqus with this (sandbox-like, admittedly) blog. Please do comment liberally so I can play with the system.

Cheers!

Feb 12, 2008

What makes a book (1)

The important part of “bookness” is language stored permanently. Language and permanence take different forms, but it always comes back to that.
Britta Gustafson

We still retain an 18th Century bias towards linear thought. Non-linear thought — like online media consumption — is still typically characterized in the pejorative: scattered, unfocused, undisciplined
Scott Karp

Today, any medium that defines itself by its medium is in trouble: newspapers, broadcasting and books must be valued for their substance over their shape. Is a book bound paper? Or is it the ideas and information within? If there are better ways to share knowledge, why should it suffer the limitations of the page?

We have to get over the idea that lecture media is always superior to dialogue. We have to move past our one-way culture. While we worship the book with its present limitations, we cannot reinvent it. The book is dead. Long live books.
Jeff Jarvis

Feb 7, 2008

Who owns social networks?

This was my reply to Matthew's post at del.icio.us discussion group. It hasn't been published by now, more than 24 hours later, so I'm posting it here.

--------------------------------------------

Message-ID: <47AAC4A9.1040507@jesenski-turk.hr>
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 09:43:21 +0100
To: ydn-delicious@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [ydn-delicious] Re: will you ppl continue to use del.icio.us
if microsoft will buy yahoo? (--eom
References: <fo3sq0+s4kg@eGroups.com>


"Matthew Weymar" wrote:

> On Feb 3, 2008 12:08 AM, Ognjen Strpic wrote:
>> ... a less depressing thought: I wonder how much would it cost for the community of users and developers to buy the bloody thing from whoever currently owns it.
>
> Y! owns it - as far as the public knows anyway - or does someone know
> otherwise?

Dear Matthew, thank you for your replies, and your sympathy.

Yahoo owns del.icio.us, AFAIK. "Whoever" part implied that it's not really the point. A company owns it, and it has every right to do with it as it pleases (or has to do given its business circumstances).

> Cf. Clay Shirky's claim that what distinguishes Y! from its rivals
> (read: GOOG) is Y!'s appreciation of social software

To their credit, I think Yahoo has been an impeccable host to del.icio.us. With Yahoo, it gained speed, it is now more reliable than ever, the search finally became really useful. And all that without a single gaffe on behalf of its users, not to mention prompt, civil and informative user support.

> Have you seen
https://secure.del.icio.us/settings/ognjen/bookmarks/license?
>
> "del.icio.us does not own your bookmarks -- you do!"

Yes, I know, that was one of first things I looked for when I started using it. But who owns my network? Who owns their networks, which I occasionally browse, sometimes to a third or fourth degree? What seems to be the problem here isn't the licensing policy of del.icio.us. My own bookmarks are hardly the only thing I'm here for. Del.icio.us (service and users) created a certain context which I found extremely useful and pleasurable.

I'm not really worried about my bookmarks. I back them up more or less regularly anyway, both on my disk and at Otis' simpy.com. But I'm going to miss the context. As far as my bookmarks are concerned, MS can use them already, just like anyone else. There's no way, however, I could entrust Microsoft to manage the context of del.icio.us, and I thoroughly lack the goodwill to contribute to Microsoft. So, Marcell, no, I wouldn't want to use del.icio.us if it were under Microsoft's rule. I
certainly wouldn't need to -- there are alternatives. But I would miss del.icio.us (once again, the context) because I feel I'm part of it.

On the practical side, I can always follow members of my network by RSS
without even logging in.

> Question: Might that give us all, collectively, some rights over the
> platform that is "del.icio.us?..." Over its maintenance? Its
> alteration? Its continued operation?... Its sale perhaps???...
>
> Is anyone aware of any legal precedent that is relevant to answering
> this question? *Someone's* got to be working on this.
>
> At its core, one basis for the argument might be: *Not* having any
> rights over "del.icio.us" (again, whatever *that *means) would render
> our respective ownership rights over our bookmarks meaningless.

That's precisely what I was thinking about. What may be sold aren't our bookmarks, and yet our bookmarking is what makes del.icio.us a valuable property. Go figure :)

As it is, current business logic of social networks goes along these lines: users contribute their content in exchange for the service, and service provider (aka owner) has every right to enjoy all his property rights, selling the service included. Contributors (aka users) reserve the right not to contribute, and prospective buyer takes the risk of providing (aka owning) the service without content in case we, the contributors, pull out our content.

Admittedly, it isn't entirely unfair, but I'm still not happy with it.

Best,
Ognjen

-----------

Update:
Yahoo! finally published this post, with 7-day delay

see headers: X-Received: (qmail 18377 invoked from network); 6 Feb 2008 09:00:31 -0000

but

Received: (qmail 64358 invoked from network); 11 Feb 2008 17:04:14 -0000

Feb 5, 2008

Robert Scoble: Too hot for e-mail

Scoble hooked on Hotmail? I don't get it.

I got my first university e-mail account somewhere in 1994. According to Wikipedia, Hotmail got started in 1996. Our server was running DEC Ultrix and we all got our shell accounts, along with mail (I used elm). It was long time ago, and it doesn't really matter except for setting a certain level of expectation about what e-mail does, based on your knowledge on what e-mail is and what you can do about it. If you cannot fetch the bloody mail, your account is defective by design and its use is therefore not advisable.

OK, you hate this Unix stuff, forget it. When you got/get an ISP, even in mid-nineties, it gave you at least one e-mail account. And then you had POP and you could your use your Eudora, or Netscape, or whatever client.

OK, you hate technology, and Hotmail was crazy and everybody got Hotmail and you wanted Hotmail. However, technology then probably isn't your bread and butter -- Scobble should have known better. At the very least, he could simply declare abstinence from writing about e-mail and try to avoid the embarrasment.