Thursday, December 07, 2006

Why X3D is Looking Better and Better

Nick Carr writes:

That’s a heckuva good argument to move away from the server farm concept and back to the peer-to-peer concept using open technology for metaverses. It will take the press a while to catch up to this. But this means there is a negative pressure on the Electric Sheeps of the industry that they may not feel yet.

and he's right again but doesn't see the pragma of the conclusions:

That’s a heckuva good argument for the immersive album concept. Music in and of itself (the mp3) is simply too easy to duplicate, so as the complexity barrier lowered, so did the cost per duplication unit (the cost of production dropped as well but has hit the bottom as hours to produce and record are now squeezed into their labor cost minimums).

If the labels want to sell more CD units, they need to package more content on the CD to make the package more attractive and slightly harder to duplicate for distribution over the web. CD copying itself will still thrive but that’s ok. This one is easy to sell to the labels given access. This means the Electric Sheeps of the world will try to beat the rest of their competitors to this market. If history is an example, their initial public reactions will be to pooh pooh it while quietly moving on it, then putting out a lot of ‘we really invented it’ press.

There is an opportunity here. Speed is of the essence for the first movers.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

On Making Money On The Web

Someone writes to me complaining that a site that 'gives away the music of bands to make money for bands' is not promoting the art, just trying to make money. Well, so far giving away music hasn't made me as much money in ten years as playing in a local nightclub for one night. Maybe I just don't know where to leave the virtual tip jar or what the web's versions of "FREEBIRD" and "SWEET HOME ALABUMMER" are.

If it makes you feel any better, I’ve seen some posts on other lists where that same question is asked. It seems your generation is just waking up to the fact that you are not communists, just poor capitalists. The web was founded by pirates (not the Internet; it is a technical accomplishment of DoD, DARPA, and universities), but the web and it’s culture is founded on piracy and piracy makes it go. Some are just waking up to the fact that this is a race to the cultural bottom but it has made some who think programming made them smarter richer. They can’t create content so they steal it and they are applauded by the generation before them that created the web by stealing technology and standards from others and were applauded for it by a generation of big company software and solutions vendors who stole their designs from the universities, DoD and other companies. From TimBL forward, it’s been burglary and shameless self-promotion and now that is the shape of the WWW as inspired by its founders. It was a witless fielding and we will live the cultural effects of their witlessness for many years to come.

Those who can make content do. Those who can only program steal content. Those who can neither program nor make content buy it from the makers, the pirates, or steal it from both. The allure that is the web in your generation was rock ‘n roll in mine. A lot of us gave it a whirl only to discover there is only one Beatles, one Elvis, and one Rolling Stones. That was our race to the bottom as we tried to duplicate their success. The founder of the Beatles was killed by an insane fan, the founder of the Rolling Stones was killed by his carpenter, and Elvis killed himself. Everyone around them are doing very well and living comfortably on their reputations, not their current work. Money won’t make you talented or a genius. It will buy you comfort. Full stop. See Clockwork Orange.

All the gold in California is in a house in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else’s name…. The Gatlin Brothers

You can still make money honestly but you have to have a lot of patience, perseverance and willingness to sweat and risk. You have to control production, guard products, sue the living hell out of anyone that screws you, be faster than your competitors, cut profit to the bone if that is what it takes to get the deal, never ever buy the business, but in some cases, wipe out competitors by any means legal that you can live with. That’s capitalism: only money matters.

If you don’t want the money, live as a Hotei. Make sure your wife and kids are Buddhist monks as well. Otherwise, quit trying to sell ideals about how much better you can make the lives of others when in fact what you need to sell are services so they can make their own lives better by smartly applying the services they pay for. Do recognize a scam when you see it if even in the mirror. In this life, God helps those who help themselves. Helping others is what you do for the next life wherever that may be but you do it in this one so you pay for it by different currencies at different times. It may be free labor, it may be cash, but it is always something of value and the values are yours, not the person or person’s to whom you give. If you give, give without thought of reward. Otherwise, it is a scam.

Or take up an art form and practice it. It is all practice. You are never done. That’s why it is the fun thing and the long-lived thing if you are self-preserving enough to keep the world from killing you. You don’t ever have to quit. You may have to accept that at some point, you are no longer notable. That’s ok. You will find that if you last that long, you no longer care to be noticed because your eyes have turned outward and you have the same relevance to a culture full of pirates as a mirror on a wall has to a room full of debutantes.

Not Notable?

I had just finished replying to someone who was complaining that the voting systems for DIGG are too easily gamed when I read the Washington Post article linked in the title of this post. The hilarious bit is gaming DIGG is yet another way to game Google. It didn't take the Internet very long to catch up to Hollywood ad agencies in their techniques for shameless promotion, but heck, the one thing that is true about the web is that feedback systems speed up the race up the learning curve even if they also accelerate the race to the bottom of the cultural pool.

But take comfort those of you who feel you have labored all of your lives in obscurity. J.S. Bach was not popular in his day, never had a better than a third-rate gig, and the works of his son were more popular. In fact, a man whose music today puts him in the great three (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) would have been forgotten altogether had Beethoven not taken up his cause some centuries after the death of J.S. Bach.

So if like Kirk, you are passed over for the top job even with all of your honors because of the blemishes on your reputation, take heart. In 100 years you too may be the 'best starship commander in the history of the Federation' that is WikiPedia. Or maybe in a 100 years, they'll say "wiki what???". In a voting system where there is no identity management and all decisions are short cycle decisions, that's simply life among the mammals.

Comment Policy

If you don't sign it, I won't post it. To quote an ancient source: "All your private property is target for your enemy. And your enemy is me."