My Thoughts Exactly

The endorsement Barack's been waiting for!

Today in the Senate, where we were disgraced as a nation, Obama voted with the good guys. Clinton was absent. The bad guys, who included 17 Democrats, won.

In recognition whereof, John of Wetmachine hereby endorses Barack Obama for president. Hillary, don’t bother calling. This decision is final.

For the gory details on the eclipse of the concept of the rule of law and the full embrace of the public-private, all seeing panopticon of the transnational corporate-military-industrial-infotainment-prison class by our disgusting rulers, see the vote tally here.

Read it and weep.

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My Thoughts Exactly

DOA RIAs: Curl, OpenLaszlo and Web 2.0 Noir

Over on his ZDnet column Universal Desktop Ryan Stewart, who describes himself as a Rich Internet Application mountaineer, makes his annual predictions about where the Web is going. Prediction number seven caught my eye:

7. The days of smaller RIA technologies are numbered. I hate to say it but I think technologies like OpenLaszlo and Curl will continue to gain traction in some niches but won’t see widespread adoption. Those companies will still bring revenue but Microsoft and Adobe are pushing too hard and putting too many features into their runtimes for the smaller companies to keep up.

I hate to say it but I think he’s right1.

Watching RIA trends play out is a bit like watching a Film Noir movie (DOA comes to mind), where the good guys don’t win and the bad guys prosper– but not because of any particular genius on their part, merely because of inexorable fate.

I observe this particular web-noir movie from the perspective of an extra actually on the screen. I play a guy cut down by a stray bullet for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For I was manager of information architecture at Curl from April 2000 until being laid off along with most of the engineering staff in April 2002, and I was the sole doc guy on the OpenLaszlo project from April 2003 until being laid off November 2007 as Laszlo Systems gave a quarter of its staff the axe.

Below the fold, a few brief observations on the Web 2.0 drowning pool. Said observations are undoubtedly greatly corrupted by time and rationalization, so take them with whatever quantity of salt you like. I’m just recording them for my own record.


(1)Note: although Stewart now works for Adobe, he’s always been fair-minded about competing technologies. I don’t see him as a shill.

UPDATE: edited a few sentences for clarity & one new comment at the end, in response to private reactions to this entry.

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My Thoughts Exactly

To the barricades! Net Neutrality fight is on in Michigan

Some background is here, at MYDD.

Harold, as always we’ll look to you for guidance in how to best help out. And of course factual analysis of the issues will help us too.

This fight is far from over. The good guys may be poised to take leadership positions in the Congress, but there are statehose battles raging as well. Now is no time to let down our guard.

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General Exception

War on the consumer: The DVD War

Businessweek has
this article
about the new DVD standards, which will come locked down with new, onerous Digital Rights Management restrictions. It’s a good overview of how new consumer electronica are being designed to basically protect big corporations from the consumers who buy them.

One point that the article really misses, though, is how DRM isn’t really aimed at pirates, despite all of the entertainment industry’s protests to the contrary. Instead, the only real purpose of this technology is to force you to pay multiple times for same content. Want to watch a movie on your TV? Great! Buy the DVD. Want to watch it on your iPod? Well, here you go, buy it at iTunes. Want that music you downloaded from iTunes as your phone’s ringtone? Cough up more dough. What’s that you say? Fair use? Well, according to the past head of the MPAA, it doesn’t exist.

On a brighter note, Ars Technica has a profile of some of the good guys in the music industry: Emusic. Emusic is a digital music subscription service with no strings attached. No DRM, no limited playlists, no nothing. Just high-quality MP3’s that are compatible with just about all of the digital music players out there. It is interesting to note that they chose to be DRM free not because of any idealism, but because of a sound business decision. They wanted the maximum possible customer base for their product, so they selected the format that is most universal. And they seem to be making money at it, too. I signed up a few months ago, and I have to say I’m a happy customer.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: A Win In Indiana!

Sorry I’m behind, but there is a _lot_ going on. First, the good news: as reported Muniwireless and elsewhere, the Indiana anti-muni bill has gone down in flaming defeat!

Score one for the good guys and reinvigorate my faith in democracy. For more, see below . . .

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