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The Firehose #2

By 19 April 2010 No Comment

[The explanation of the title Firehose is here.]


  • Oracle, The Department of Defense and Open Source Software (March 2009): As a property rights guy, I have never been convinced that the open source model of software development is superior. Oracle, not surprisingly, agrees: “Community development approaches to building software lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code and are not subject to the same market pressure at the software code level.” Of course, Red Hat, “the world’s leading open source solutions provider,” takes a different view: The perfect storm: Why now is the time for open source (2009).
  • ZDNet, Developers should be mindful of IP (April 8): Some apps developers have run afoul of foreign governments by incorporating government-produced data. Unlike the U.S., where government data is public domain, in many other countries the government has a copyright and wants to determine who gets to use the data.
  • Connected Planet, Android’s fast-paced success leading to fragmentation (April 7): “With four OS overhauls in a year, Android is becoming a fragmented operating system, creating problems for developers,” and Proof of Android’s fragmentation – from Google itself (April 14): Graph on the market shares of six different Android platforms.
  • Yale Daily News, ITS delays switch to Gmail (March 30): “Google stores every piece of data in three centers randomly chosen from the many it operates worldwide in order to guard the company’s ability to recover lost information — but that also makes the data subject to the vagaries of foreign laws and governments.” Also, of course, there are concerns about the uses Google might make of deep-mined aggregations, even if it does not access individualized data. And on that score, see Bnet, Microsoft to Corporate America: Fear Google (April 12): “That Google trolls Gmail content to better serve up advertising is hardly new, and most people apparently don’t care. The mistake is to think that Microsoft is trying to sway consumers. It’s not. The company wants to influence enterprises, governments, and other large potential cloud users.”

Content & Copyright

  • The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) (the “creative community organizations”), Submission in response to request for written submissions issued by the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) (see 75 Fed. Reg. 8137 (Feb. 23, 2010)), (March 24, 2010).  Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Entertainment Industry’s Dystopia of the Future (April 14): EFF reads the content industries’ submission, and gets very unhappy indeed.
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Statement of ACTA Negotiating Partners on Recent ACTA Negotiations (April 16): The draft text of the treaty will be released on Wed., April 21.
  • ZDNet, Viacom: Google used piracy to coerce content owners (April 15): “Media companies have long accused start-up online music and video services of deliberately using their material without permission in order to build audiences, and later, after establishing their businesses, request licensing deals. Critics of the start-ups say that this is done to improve their bargaining power. A studio or music label may find it harder to say no to a licensing deal when a service already boasts millions of followers, or so the theory goes.”
  • OnLine Spin ponders some spiritual implications of the media revolution, As Media Unbundles From Physical Devices, Our Experience With It Changes (April 16): “When I was 10 years old, my music collection probably consisted of around a hundred cassette tapes. I was deeply connected to each one of my albums, the artists and the songs. I cherished them. Today, my music collection consists of tens of thousands of songs on a server, along with access to numerous streaming services. I have far less connection to albums and almost no connection to any physical media storage unit.  . . . Today, where large and diverse music libraries are the norm, preference to genre plays a far less significant role in how people are stereotyped, or how they choose to express themselves.”
  • The Financial Times website has a discussion forum called The Long Room, which is restricted to finance professionals, with applications hand-vetted by FT wetware. The Brits were once famed for transplanting their great national institutions (such as cricket and the Rule of Law) all over the Empire. Now the London Club has been transplanted to the Internet. Let’s hope it is not The Drones.
  • Pajamas Media, Apple’s Plan to Conquer the World (April 6), by Charlie Martin: “While the publishing companies try to preserve their print-based models, Apple has dug the foundation out from under them. What we are really seeing is a coherent, long-term strategy to replace the traditional models of publishing, with everything delivered over the internet to inexpensive devices like the iPad.”
  • Intellectual Property Watch, United States Sees Spate Of Intellectual Property Policy Activity (April 7). Of special interest: The USTR’s Special 2010 301 Report will be released around April 30, and IPW has a link to the Intellectual Property Excerpts from USTR’s 2010 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.
  • Google Public Policy Watch, Celebrating Copyright (April 13): I think this is called “damning with faint praise.”
  • Google Public Policy Watch, Eric Schmidt discusses Innovation with News Editors (April 13): Video of his speech to the American Society of News Editors’ annual conference. “Newspapers will make money once again, he said, but it will be from online advertisements and an altered subscription model. Schmidt said his firm is working on new ways to tailor advertisements and content for consumers, based on what stories they read.” The ASNE convention also has an unofficial blog.

The Net

  • RealClearMarkets, Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Internet (March 15):  Bret Swanson thinks the only way for the U.S. to make good on its mountainous liabilities is “once again to call on its chief strategic asset: radical innovation,“ but this simply cannot happen if Washington persists in its course of turning the whole economy into a giant public utility.
  • All Facebook, Report: 6.8% Of Business Internet Traffic Goes To Facebook (April 16): “A report from the Network Box shows that 6.8 percent of all the URLs accessed by businesses goes to Facebook and 10 percent of internet bandwidth goes to Youtube.” I am reminded of a cartoon that showed a bullpen full of people playing solitaire with cards; the explanation was: “The computers are down, so we’re doing the work by hand.”
  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (via SmartPlanet), Top-Paid Majors Among College Class of 2010 (March 11) are techies.  At top: Petroleum Engineering ($86K), followed by Chemical Engineering and Mining & Mineral Engineering at c.$65K each. Computer Science and Computer Engineering are #4 and #5 (c.$61K). Information Science & Systems is at #10, at $54K. It is a relief to learn that the top paid people are those who actually do productive things. I live in DC, so I thought everyone was going to law school and then taking jobs where they subtracted from the national wealth. Of course, the high wages to these technical majors may be due to the fact that most people ARE going to law school, so anyone who is not commands a premium.
  • Connected Planet, EU planning Net neutrality push, too, later this summer (April 15).
  • PFF, Reclassification of Broadband Internet Access: No Slam Dunk (April 14), by Barbara Esbin: Those who actually understand Title I, Title II, and telecom, in whose company I cannot be found, say that this piece is excellent. Nick Schulz of AEI recommends Jerry Brito (Mercatus Ctr), Broadband and Title II Regulation: An Economic Primer (April 16).
  • Verizon Policy Blog, Nostalgia for the good old days of dial up (April 19): Link Hoewing takes issue with a Washington Post story, “So Rob, I encourage you to not be nostalgic for the Internet access experience we had in 1996 or 2003.  Thankfully, we have advanced, and our broadband connections are more robust than ever.  We are much, much better off today, and the future looks even better, both with regard to continuing advances in broadband networks and choice, and achieving the right policy balance.”


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