Print (Not Print)

DORCHESTER, MA - MAY 4:  A man walks by the fr...

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…with apologies to Was (Not Was)

Newspapers are signposts of their constituents in so many ways. Just take look at the difference between the Seattle Times, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register and the Boston Globe (the paper/site I took a look at for this post).  Each has top line focus on local news, but the Register does not have a link to national/global news on its front page. They choose to stay purely local.

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Comment – Pam’s Book Review

Great review, Pam!

I haven’t read Shirky yet, and your review as well as the discussion and recommendations by numerous others in our class have placed on my Wish List. I your summary, I like that you note Shirky’s inclusion of both successes and failures of the social phenomena. Considering the kinds of organizational strengths that the political parties and political action organizations like have found and mined to date, it’s interesting to note that it still takes an actual letter, phone call or physical visit for an individual’s voice to be duly noted. I wonder when, if ever, that will change?

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Comment – Terry’s Review of the Wealth of Networks

Terry, your summary of Benkler’s work is very clear. You call out the almost utopian vision he has for what is happening and what that might evolve into, and allude to his subtle taking of sides (“big media = bad, YouTube = good”). It is unfortunate that the default stance many of us assume is contrarian. Could it be that this is instead The Evolution of Production? One of the theories that anthropologists have regarding human evolution is that, before Neanderthal People disappeared, they co-existed with Cro-Magnons and then disappeared through absorption. Couldn’t that also happen here too?

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Comment – DRM (Brian’s Abstract)

If the “important thing is to maximize the value of your intellectual property, not to protect is for the sake of protection” is the point of DRM, then DRM misses the point. The popularity of web mash-ups using tools like Popfly and the information at sites like ProgrammableWeb not only demonstrates the value that can be based upon free tools and APIs, but, if you will, allows previously proprietary technologies to “join the conversation” up to now only inhabited by PHP, MySQL, Apache, AJAX and Linux. Odlyzko points to other ways to encourage usage and revenue like flat rates that simplify the purchase of services. In music there’s always the “album discount” and with books perhaps you might get a discount on a series. I asked my wife, who is currently reading a mystery trilogy, if she would have purchased the second and third books in the set if she could have gotten the first electronic one free; she said she would. This is a variant of “try before you buy” perhaps, but she could easily make electronic copies of the book and pass it along, which would have increased sales for the trilogy by bringing others into the fold.

Odlyzko highlights how miserably difficult it is to build a secure system, let alone one that is at the same time usable. The harder the system is to use, the less likely producers are going to want to use it anyway. There are better ways of maximizing IP and investment than blocking use.

Comment – Himma and ISBF (Ross’s abstract)

In reading Himma’s article I find the waffling back and forth between legality, morality and rights dizzying. Granted he has a J.D. degree along with his Ph.D., but the philosophical arguments he makes seem to orbit tightly around definitions and semantics. As much a fan as I am of clarity of definitions, the argument is not served well by spending all of the time on one portion of the definition, as he spends on “information”.

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Comment on Raquel’s Book Critique

I find your critique of The Long Tail well balanced.  Given the tone of the book and audience for which the book is written, it would be easy to agree with Anderson.  By focusing on the sociological shifts that the information economy technologies afford and staying within that scope, it is a little easier to make the case.

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Comment – Long Tail and HBR

<comment re-posted here to include links>

There seem to be a number of things that influence The Head and The Hit. The sheer volume of content available has made it more unlikely that a high number of, say, movies will achieve Blockbuster status. More consumers with more choices, both for content and when they can consume it (now = theater, later = DVD, On Demand, premium cable movie channel, Tivo) means a Hit need not attain enormous initial box office returns. According to a new poll by AP-AOL, 73% of adults said that they prefer watching movies at home on DVD and VOD (Video on Demand) over going to the theater. Another study by the Journal of Marketing found that studios stand to gain a 16% increase in revenue in the U.S. if they release films in theaters, on rental DVD and video-on-demand at the same time, followed three months later by a DVD sell-through release. The nature of The Hit is changing, and much more attention should rightly be centered in The Tail, but The Head isn’t going away. As businesses figure out where to draw the line between what they and their customers define as The Head and The Tail, semantics and definitions become more important. This is culture shift, which may take some time and never actually be complete.

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