ISP to disconnect paying customers on a whim.

Originally:
eircom02

Now – Pwned!
eircom_spies

The Financial Crisis: an Historical Perspecti

OMFG! Fed Reserve Fails to Reflate the US Banking System.

Fed Reserve Fails to Reflate the US Banking System

For decades central banks set monetary policy according to nonsensical beliefs about credit expansion. The inability of the Fed to stop the current crisis via emergency lending to banks demonstrates that Fed policies are a failure. This movie reveals the scale of this disaster.

Electronic Arts FAIL!

Userfriendly.org's view on EA's Spore DRM

See the good people at “Recalim Your Game” for a list of games riddled with DRM.

These are the tech-savvy, gaming generation and pissing them off with DRM only serves to enlighten them as to it’s pernicious features. It also send the message that the games company doesn’t trust the person who has just handed over their hard earned cash. Seriously! WTF!

  • Buy a legitimate copy and be considered a thief or download an illegitimate copy and be considered a fan?

Tough call!

Goodnight Opus!

The final Opus cartoon…….

Final Opus Cartoon

……..beautiful!

Why would you want to be a pirate?

BBC iPlayer – On a road to nowhere…

Road To Nowhere

Photo: Tom Blackwell. Used under Licence

Anthony Rose, Head of Digital Media Technology (or Head, Online Media Group depending on which bio you read) has a post on the BBC Internet blog entitled “BBC iPlayer goes portable” which depresses me. I thought Anthony Rose was going to be one of the new breed of BBC people who would fix some of the issues with the iPlayer – but this post breaks my heart! 😦

The most telling piece is this:

As part of trying to make the download experience as easy as possible, we’re not using P2P for these portable downloads; the files are served as direct HTTP downloads from our servers, which means you don’t need to install any software – just click the Download for Media Players link and save the file.

This is wrong on so many levels:

Firstly – he has just spent the preceding half of the post trying to explain which platforms will play the DRM’ed files, how to check if your media player may be one of them, what to do if it’s not and how downloading a file may not be enough to get it to work first time on your portable device – and yet he says he is – “trying to make the download experience as easy as possible“. Aaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!! Hint no. 1  – don’t use DRM.

Secondly – The fact that the BBC is not “not using P2P for these portable downloads” means that one of the core technologies that defined the original concept of the iMP/iPlayer is now redundant. The fact that the BBC is not using P2P is a sign that as a technology it’s failing. There is no reason not to use it, as the whole previous  discussion in the post is about “sideloading” the DRM’ed content onto a portable media player – so it would still require a Windows PC to get the content in the first place. So now, one of the principle reasons why Windows DRM was used in the first place – because P2P was the technology being used to distribute the content – is gone and therefore, with it, the reason for using Windows DRM – but instead of recognising this opportunity, Anthony bemoans the fact that Apple won’t let the BBC DRM it’s content! Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!! Hint no. 2  – don’t use DRM.

Thirdly – Because it’s not using P2P then Anthony goes on to say “the files are served as direct HTTP downloads from our servers, which means you don’t need to install any software“. I have no idea why he thinks HTTP is significant here – it’s just a protocol. Whether it’s being FTP’ed, RTSP’ed or NNTP’ed is irrelevant, if you are delivering the whole file to me in one go then I have it all in one place. The significant thing here is the fact that it’s not using a P2P protocol – because this means my upstream back to my ISP isn’t being used. So this looks like a compromise for the ISPs. So now you’re looking after the ISP by dropping P2P and the content owner by DRM’ing the content. Who have you left compromised? The licence fee payer. FAIL! Why? Because this is technologically, in effect, exactly the same as the streaming offering, which is DRM free – but the BBC made a magical agreement with the BBC Trust and PACT that somehow streaming was different from downloading and now the only reason for continuing to use DRM is to keep this charade going! Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!!!! Hint no. 3  – don’t use DRM.

Your life would be a lot simpler and you wouldn’t have to try and do these verbal and technological gymnastics if you just admit to the Trust and the rights owners that “streaming” is technologically the same as “downloading” and what you do with the streaming option – GeoIP restriction – hasn’t caused the end of the world – so it may well be worth trying the same with the download option. 

Photo: juicyrai. Used under Licence

Sometimes if you’re on the wrong road, the best thing to do is to stop, turn around and start again in a different direction. You may find it saves you a lot of heartache in the long-run! 🙂

Derivatives the new ‘ticking bomb’

Article on derivatives from March detailing the dangers:

Derivatives the new ‘ticking bomb’

Buffett and Gross warn: $516 trillion bubble is a disaster waiting to happen

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

March 10, 2008 ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — “Charlie and I believe Berkshire should be a fortress of financial strength” wrote Warren Buffett. That was five years before the subprime-credit meltdown. “We try to be alert to any sort of mega-catastrophe risk, and that posture may make us unduly appreciative about the burgeoning quantities of long-term derivatives contracts and the massive amount of uncollateralized receivables that are growing alongside. In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.”

Cont’d

Wall Street’s Shadow Market Video – CBSNews.com

60 Minutes explains the Sub-Prime and Credit Derivative defaults.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Oh. My. God!

http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/amerman/2008/0917.html

Everybody Gets One

The final weekly Antony Gormley homage

Photo: Clearing Antony Gormley: New Works Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA, 2005

Antony Gormley’s Clearing.

All my postings on Antony Gormley

Terminus


Eileen, my youngest sister, is in Terminus in the Endinburgh Festival Fringe.

It’s on in the Traverse – the same theatre as The New Electric Ballroom is playing. It’s an Abbey Theatre production of a Mark O’Rowe play.

The weekly Antony Gormley homage

Photo: Mark Barkaway. Used under licence.

Antony Gormley’s Sounds II.

All my postings on Antony Gormley

Requiem For A Day Off

Genius.

Just Genius.

How the BBC should provide a digital public service.

Nick Reynolds has asked some questions – directly and indirectly – in a post entitled: Freedom? Open Source? Show me how!.

Indirectly, he refers to a myCBBC post on the BBC Internet blog which asks:

– should broadcasters like the BBC allow users to collate other material alongside BBC assets?
– and if so, how do we technically guarantee that content is appropriate for younger users and doesn’t cross the line with third party rights agreements?

which I addressed previously with this idea:

Ultimately though, in my opinion, the BBC should be seeking to get content from the public and then act as a “store and forward” publisher, along with contributing some of its own content into a Digital Commons. Imagine if the BBC gave you the tools to publish your data/content wherever you wanted to from a central location. You could upload your images/video/text/audio to a space the BBC provided for you as part of your “digital licence” fee and once there you could have a suite of tools available which would allow you to publish that content to any other platform. Part of the job of the tool would be to pass the content through a BBC stamping procedure – which would allow for the content to be tracked across the Internet. This would let the BBC maintain quality control and manage any legal issues. Maintaining an area as a Digital Commons would mean that anyone wishing to play with BBC content could do so quite easily with the full knowledge that any content the BBC placed in a Digital Commons was public domain – a digital public service!

Directly, in his post he asks two questions deriving from two meetings he had. I’ve posted a comment on his site answering these:

“Why should the BBC let anyone use its brands or assets for nothing?”
Once content goes digital then people using your assets for “nothing” is an issue you have to confront. Your content is beyond your control when it is in a digital state – but if the purpose of broadcasting that content, in the first place, is to build a relationship with your audience and provide a public service, then these functions are still within your control – you just have to see people using your assets as being a good thing and a way of building relationships with your audience and a public service. The key thing to focus on is that this is about your content going digital. It’s not about being on the Internet – the Internet is just another distribution channel. On the brand issue – anyone using your brand without permission is seeking to subvert your efforts to build relationships and is “poisoning the well” – your brand is important and to be defended.

“He wants people to be able to come to the BBC and know instantly what assets they can take away and how they can play with them.”
It’s digital content – that’s how it works. The Internet is just the part of the broadcast chain with the lowest barrier to entry for production and distribution i.e. very few teenagers have their own broadcast studio with editing suite and terrestrial/satellite transmitter but quite a lot have a PC with a webcam and an Internet connection. Now if your content is being distributed digitally then it becomes part of the lingua franca of the Internet. The questions now are 1) How you maintain a link between the content and its source as it flows around this global network and 2) How do you build a relationship with this global audience?

Which leads us to your questions.

How are you going to do it?
The key is to maintain a link with the digital content and through that link build a relationship with the audience. Which is exactly the opportunity GlobalDMX.com seeks to exploit. I left the BBC to start up this company as there is a win-win scenario here for content producer and distributor if they can be facilitated in working together. The alternative is the music industry!

And how are you going to persuade the people with the power that it should be done?
This concept is something UK plc must adopt – strategically it’s the digital equivalent of the Silk Road and the nation state that adapts by taking over the trade from the pirates and legalising (taxing) the goods that flow along the distribution chain reaps the reward.

Ps Andy Burnham’s pronouncements are to be seen in the same light as French governments in terms of a three-strike policy. No one believes such a localised law would survive a European Court challenge – but it makes for good headlines!

So there you go – get out there and build relationships by digitizing your content with a view to maintaining a link with it as it travels across the network – and where you are building a community around this content put tools and processes in place which allow the provenance of it to be traceable.

My work is done here!

The weekly Antony Gormley homage

Photo: dots and spaces. Used under licence.

Antony Gormley’s Bollards.

All my postings on Antony Gormley

The New Electric Ballroom

My sister Catherine is in a new Enda Walsh play in Galway.

The play is being put on by the Druid Theatre Company in Druid’s theatre in Galway as part of the Galway Arts Festival 08.

There is a review in the Irish Times of The New Electric Ballroom review

Although one ferociously funny set-piece leaves the quiet poetry of its finale looking wan, the strength of Druid’s English language premiere is in its ambiguity, allowing Walsh’s ideas to percolate through layers of arresting surrealism. That it takes a while for the mind to disentangle them is no bad thing. For all Walsh’s wayward imagination, his words and images snag on the unconscious for a reason. These warped fictions of identity and routine tap into something darkly universal: in short, the story of our lives.

It’s sold out for it’s two week run in Galway but it also goes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. If you can get a ticket, go see it. It’s a very powerful play, brilliantly written and beautifully performed.

The weekly Antony Gormley homage

Inside Australia

Photo: cicadas. Used under licence.

Antony Gormley’s Inside Australia.

All my postings on Antony Gormley

The BBC – a Digital Commons redux

I posted a long comment, which expands on the Digital Commons idea I was proposing, on Steve Bowbrick’s post discussing freeing content at the BBC. I’ve copied it below as it’s something I think I will expand on further and this is not a bad start:

Steve,

This is along the lines of the issue I was raising at the BBC/TechCrunch debate – but you’re looking at it from the perspective of freeing the content they have broadcast, whereas I was approaching it from an angle of new content which would automatically be ingested into the BBC free of the existing restrictive rights model.

If you wish to use the current content for which they have rights agreements in place or the archive content – then the BBC has no chance of being a rights innovator or a copyright activist – which automatically has the knock on effect of giving them no leeway in freeing the content. Tom Loosemore, one of the panel at the BBC/TechCrunch debate, has the scars to prove how difficult this is and Tony Ageh, another of the panel, is currently mired in the joys of finding a solution for the archive.

See the snippets of a much longer – but currently untraceable on the BBC site – interview with Simon Hayward-Tapp on the BBC Archive website for a glimpse into the world of archives and rights.

The BBC has the will to do the right thing but it would be sued out of existence by the rights holders if it tried to be too radical. One of my suggestions to Tony Ageh is to mimic the accepted practice of the BBC News webpages and simply use some of the archive material they have available in a low quality format and have a link to the high quality download on the website of the rights holder. News does a story on a company and has a link to the company’s website in the right hand navigation bar – accepted practice. So, it’s nothing new. It’s just applying accepted practice to another digital medium. Where you can find agreement with rights holders, who have high quality content available, post low quality versions on the archive site and have links to the high quality versions – a win-win scenario. The BBC gets content cleared from the archive and the rights holder gets traffic from the BBC. Now you probably will find that this is a tiny percentage of the archive – but it’s a start and it would also be a signpost for other rights holders with content in the archive that they could now consider worth clearing it to drive traffic to their online offerings. The BBC trades traffic for content clearance.

Ultimately though, in my opinion, the BBC should be seeking to get content from the public and then act as a “store and forward” publisher, along with contributing some of its own content into a Digital Commons. Imagine if the BBC gave you the tools to publish your data/content wherever you wanted to from a central location. You could upload your images/video/text/audio to a space the BBC provided for you as part of your “digital licence” fee and once there you could have a suite of tools available which would allow you to publish that content to any other platform. Part of the job of the tool would be to pass the content through a BBC stamping procedure – which would allow for the content to be tracked across the Internet. This would let the BBC maintain quality control and manage any legal issues. Maintaining an area as a Digital Commons would mean that anyone wishing to play with BBC content could do so quite easily with the full knowledge that any content the BBC placed in a Digital Commons was public domain – a digital public service!

If the tools of production and publishing for digital content have been decentralised then what the BBC can do is act as a centralised clearing house for the content. This is a way it can innovate and act as a activist on content rights and as a consequence free the content!