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Monday, March 10th, 2008

As much as I love to see an abominable person destroyed, ‘s fall is unwelcome due to how it came about: privacy is dead. And of course prostitution should be legal.

You may continue cheering. (I read somewhere that traders on the floor of the NYSE cheered when the news hit, but I can’t find it.)

Previously: Spitzer shits to music.

Somehow apropos to SXSW going on now and the , last year I noticed there’s a street in Austin called Bold Ruler Way. Update: A commenter notes that .

Best of SXSW

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

In lieu of going to SXSW this year, I recommend you check out the best session from SXSWi 2007.

If you are at SXSW this year, see (other) Creative Commons people at the tradeshow, parties, and panels.

SXSW: 2017

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

The panelists on After Bust 2.0: Ten Years Later, Where Will We Be? had some interesting things to say, but I only recall that the CEO of Ning was the only panelist to offer an opinion on whether we’re heading into another .com bust (she said no; I agree). I did not note any ten year speculations for the web or anything else, though I could have missed them. Perhaps wise, considering that Google was still a research project in 1997.

SXSW: Mozilla good bits

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

I missed Tuesday morning’s Browser Wars Retrospective: Past, Present and Future Battlefields for sleep and the Creative Commons moderated Open Knowledge vs. Controlled Knowledge, but noticed two very interesting items from Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich’s blog post:

I am pushing to make add-on installation not require a restart in Firefox 3, and I intend to help improve and promote GreaseMonkey security in the Firefox 3 timeframe too.

Please do! Drop all other Firefox 3 features if necessary.

And from Eich’s sixth slide:

Working with Opera via WHATWG on <video>

  • Unencumbered Ogg Theora decoder in all browsers
  • Ogg Vorbis for <audio>
  • Other formats possible
  • DHTML player controls

I’ve barely thought about <audio> and <video> but if their presence could encourage non-obfuscated media URLs I’m predisposed in their favor, but universal deployment of unencumbered audio and video decoders via browsers would be excellent.

SXSW: Growth of Microformats

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Monday afternoon’s packed The Growth and Evolution of Microformats didn’t strike me as terribly different from last year’s Microformats: Evolving the Web. Last year’s highlight was a Flock demo, this year’s was an Operator demo.

My capsule summary of the growth and (not much) evolution of Microformats over the past twelve months: a jillion names, addresses, and events have been marked up with hCard and hCalendar formatting.

SXSW: The Digital Ethnorati and the Excluded Ethnorati

Friday, March 16th, 2007

I attended The Digital Ethnorati panel because I noticed Mini Kahon, whose employer shares an office space with mine, on the program.

So who are the Ethnorati? As one slide put it, those who are colored+hip+wired, where hip translates to identifying as ethnorati ( was presented as an example of non-ethnorati, despite presumably qualifying as colored and clearly qualifying as wired — too establishment, contrasted with , who gets cool points for being political).

Another term introduced (to me) by the panel is “digital exclusion”, an attempted reframing of “digital divide”. I expect this term to gain far more traction than Ethnorati. The nice thing about “exclusion” is that it can’t be “bridged” merely by obtaining net access; rather power structures must change, as the power structures represented on the net are more or less the same as those represented off the net. So the lingo has great staying power and does excellent worldview fitting.

Digital ethnorati almost by definition are part of power networks (again, wired doesn’t just mean digital) — so how can the digitally (and otherwise) excluded connect or grow their own? In small part by learning to podcast and acquiring other “21st century skills.”

I drifted during the part of the panel presented by a representative of the “Center for 21st Century Skills” and a few high school students who participate in the program, until one of the students, videoconferenced in from Brazil, apparently started crying. I gather that student could no longer participate in the program because she had been deported from the U.S. Now there’s exclusion.

SXSW: Some aggregate figures behind some web apps

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Monday morning’s Barenaked App: The Figures Behind the Top Web Apps featured representatives of five companies that run five or so web apps, but not “the top web apps” by any form of wild exaggeration.

I’ll give you an overview of the overview: The five apps cost (in terms of money spent anyway) to build ranged from $20k to $200k and monthly ongoing costs range from $3k to $150k.

You could read the slides for a bit more detail, but you’d miss out on the folk wisdom dispensed. Guess you’ll have to wait for the podcast.

SXSW: JavaScript everywhere

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

The Future of JavaScript ran through almost all of the new features in JavaScript 1.7, all of which are nice for programmers but probably won’t be widely used on the public web for a long time (until use of browsers that don’t support JavaScript 1.7 is negligible).

However is being used lots of places now apart from web browsers and giving JS features programmers expect places it well to be the default glue and application language for the next decade on the web, desktop and the server. Where is server side JavaScript? from July 2005 continues to be one of the most viewed posts on this blog. Many people are thinking along these lines, including the first Q&A for this session.

SXSW: Spam

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Spam of All Kinds: Dealing with Online Abuse was mostly a dense rundown of the state of current email spammer and anti-spam practices. Steve Champeon emphasized the incredible load put on email providers by spam, most of which is invisible to users.

I have been moderately surprised for awhile that whitelisting hasn’t become more or less the default for email. I think Champeon’s “things not to do” slide indirectly said not to use whitelisting (it said to not transfer burden to other legitimate users — most whitelisting services make users not on the whitelist jump through some hoops to get on the list).

A question I would’ve asked if the session didn’t run out of time: Why hasn’t spim become a major annoyance? I accept instant messages from unknown parties but almost never get spim.

SXSW: Designing for Global Audiences

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

I attended Perspectives on Designing for Global Audiences because the topic is important for Creative Commons — parts of the CC site are translated into many languages, there are many jurisdicton affiliates, some of which run their own sites. I want to do much more and better.

The panel’s focus seemed to be on big budget projects — their advice could be summed up as “hire locally and do lots of research.” This mindset caused them to take an audience question about asking users to help with localization as merely being about how to conduct user research.

One panelist claimed that communication is the first use of the net, then ecommerce, and finally entertainment, where the net is well developed. This sounds to me like a simple extrapolation from development in wealthy regions — I wouldn’t be suprised if entertainment arrives before ecommerce in some places.

Practical tips were interspersed. I’ll assume there’s some truth to these, which included:

  • Chinese don’t like whitespace, pack a page with information.
  • In Latin America “rich media” is hated more than spam. Yay, another argument against Flash.
  • Many audiences don’t like scrolling. Too bad, I don’t like clicking and prefer long pages.