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What the Hell Happened to November?

It’s now December? Seriously? I haven’t been having that much fun, so where, precisely did the time go? While you’re answering that, a few more questions for you:

  • Why do few, if any, of the mainstream backup options (Bingodisk, S3, etc) appear to support rsync?
    I’m not the only one who uses it for a variety of my backup needs. Thank the great spirit for rsync.net, but I can’t afford them for some of my higher volume storage needs (read: music), so currently they’re limited to work backups.

  • Why does my cat eat tortilla chips but not crabmeat?
    Honestly, what kind of cat will not eat crabmeat? And likes to sleep in my briefcase? I live with the strangest animal alive.

  • Why do cellphones no longer handle memory properly?
    For a variety of reasons, including the fact that I’m using the camera functionality a lot more, my LG CU 320 is constantly short on memory. This means that occasionally I can’t send or receive text and picture messages because it’s full. I’ve hunted around for an option that says “delete old content when necessary to make room for new messages,” but no luck so far. None of my old Nokias had this problem; when new stuff came in, it pushed out the old with no input from me.

  • Why do broadcasters still bother with in-game interviews of coaches and managers?
    The only thing that’s guaranteed in such interactions is that the coach will tell you nothing. And why would they? There’s no incentive whatsoever for them to cooperate. Whether we’re talking about baseball or football, in-game commentary is a complete waste of everyone’s time.

  • Why are some enterprises so terrified by the GPL?
    Spoke with a client last week who reported that the mere mention of the GPL in conjunction with their project caused some users to threaten ripping out the software wholesale. It would be one thing if the GPL had actual implications for their software, but in this case the product would be dual-licensed and thus not applicable to them anyway. I thought we were beyond the GPL is evil and will destroy your business mindset, but apparently not.

  • Why do wireless carriers have to continue to try and provide every service imaginable rather than monetize the bandwidth?
    Do Cingular or Verizon really believe that I’m going to purchase tons of music from them? Ringtones are one thing, b/c they’re an impulse buy, cheap and can be considered more or less disposable in nature (even then, I’ve always used Audacity&Bluetooth). But music? Why do they always feel a need to provide everything themselves? The ISPs tried this. It didn’t work. And yet here we are again. Guess what guys? If you make it easy for me to get bandwidth, I’ll use a lot of it. And pay you for it. And if you make it easy for third parties to work with your networks, so will everyone else.

  • How is Second Life different from Prodigy?
    Not my question, but David’s. I was thinking something similar, however, when rereading Stephenson’s Snow Crash. In the novel, there’s a Second Life analogue called the Metaverse, and Stephenson’s vision of this does have a lot of promise. But I really would have a difficult time investing substantial money into a “world” that’s controlled by a single vendor. Nothing against Linden Labs, it’s more the principle. It may seem difficult to conceive of a world not controlled by a single vendor, but I’m sure people said that about the internet(s).

Answers for any or all of the above are appreciated, but not likely to be rewarding in any immediate financial sense.

Categories: Completely Off Topic, Trends & Observations.

  • Danno

    The thing, I think about Second Life that’s bothersome (well, to me at least) is that 3d doesn’t add any value.

    Now, I mean, if there were tools to create 3D representations of information that could not easily be shown in 2d, and Second Life was a tool to collaborate on those representations, I could see the benefit.

    But as it is, it represents an otherspace without a compelling reason for me to exist in it.

    Sure it’s amusing to go in and fly around and yak with people, but so is yaking on IRC.

    It’s like the UI enhancements that are going on with Linux right now. Yeah, sure eyecandy, but how is it actually helping me manage information?

    As it is, Second Life’s only real benefit (outside of simple novelty) is to advertisers as another space to carpet with marketing.

    I don’t think embodiment adds significantly to the online experience either.

  • http://alexking.org/ Alex

    Check out JungleDisk:

    Can I use rsync with Jungle Disk?

    Yes! We recommend using the –inplace and –size-only flags to ensure proper operation.

    Bingo.

  • http://channel3b.wordpress.com/ Andy

    Alex, I think you’re right on about the benefits of using Second Life to display and collaborate on information from real life. It’s one of the targets of my work there and shown in projects such as Landing Lights Park it’s also something that wise companies are leveraging even in their advertising such as Dell’s walkthrough computer.

    My first response to your SL vs Prodigy comment was, “well yeah, it is pretty much the same,” I was a Prodigy user back in the day and to my recollection it does seem rather similar, a centralized company pushing forward, offering an online experience that includes more interface complexity than has emerged from the community to date. But, then I did a quick read-down of Prodigy in the Wikipedia and noticed a few other differences:

    1. Linden Lab has seen Prodigy and AOL run their course and further has seen the legal and societal treatment of them.
    2. Prodigy set out to be a service providing and arranging content for users as well as heavily moderating it. Second Life is a platform with slim to no moderation.
    3. Prodigy and most of the rest of the internet is a one-way channel, users cannot create by default if at all. I don’t know how even companies got their content into Prodigy, but in SecondLife most users have created some small portion of content and many users have some content of their own “on display” through a land rental or purchase.

    Do I expect Linden Lab to hold ownership of the platform forever? Not hardly, clearly at some point either Second Life will be openned up or surpassed by an open system. How long will that be and will Second Life attach it’s virtual space to that system or die behind it’s garden walls? We’ll have to see.

  • http://www.arcadianvisions.com/blog Anthony Cowley

    Second Life doesn’t really appeal to me, but I do appreciate that it does add something to IRC. Sure, there’s a lot of chat involved, but the ability to create objects and scripts that others can see and, hopefully, appreciate in some way has been taken to a new level with SL. The libsecondlife project also may represent the future of integration between SL and other elements on the web.

    As for the GPL, it still maintains a special (dark) place in (some) people’s hearts because it’s defining quality is a stipulation that specifies what you, the user, may or may not do with the software. Much as you hear people complain about media DRM by saying, “I bought it, I should be able to do what I want with it,” you will have people paying a company (perhaps for “service” rather than bits) and receiving a product that at least has the specter of curtailing what they may or may not do with it. I think the mindset ends up following along an analogy similar to one of buying any other tool: If I could buy a dual-licensed screwdriver, where one of the licenses stipulates that I can’t use the tool to build a doghouse, or a screwdriver whose license has no bearing on what I do with it, I’ll take the latter — other qualities being equal — just to avoid the chance that I run afoul of that overly-restrictive license on the former. Why add any extra worry to the transaction?

  • http://dandaviesbrackett.blogspot.com Dan Davies Brackett

    When you GPL software, you have to think about Freedom in addition to all the other things you were worrying about before — like Quality and Timeliness and so on. And the fact that you have to spend time thinking about Freedom means you have less time to think about the other stuff, which means that (all other things being equal) the software is Not As Good just because it’s GPLed.

    Also, RMS’s zealotry frightens and confuses me and if I can avoid dealing with him and his pack of zealots, I do.

  • http://joyeur.com/ Jason Hoffman

    Bingodisk wasn’t geared towards it because we’ve already had an SSH/rsync-only backup product called Strongspace (http://strongspace.com/) that’s now included with all hosting plans. Bingodisk is about dropping a file in place and serving it up.

  • sogrady

    Danno: i think that a large part of this problem is that 3D is still in its infancy. when 2D user interfaces were introduced, lots of folks looked down on them, believing that they could navigate via command line faster – which was true. but as 2D interfaces evolved over the years, they did become a superior interface for the majority of users. i think we’ll see the same in 3D, after UI designers begin to finally grasp the implications of the technology.

    Alex: thx, i’d just run across that. still, seems weird that S3 doesn’t support that out of the box.

    Andy: “Do I expect Linden Lab to hold ownership of the platform forever? Not hardly, clearly at some point either Second Life will be openned up or surpassed by an open system.”

    agreed. for Linden Labs’ sake, i hope they open it up sooner rather than later, because it seems important that a “world” that’s going to have actual economies needs to be controlled not by a vendor.

    Anthony: “Much as you hear people complain about media DRM by saying, “I bought it, I should be able to do what I want with it,” you will have people paying a company (perhaps for “service” rather than bits) and receiving a product that at least has the specter of curtailing what they may or may not do with it.”

    but that’s just it, to me. many of the GPL advocates – think MySQL – are perfectly happy to issue corporations licenses that let them do as they will – it just costs them extra. they have a choice, but so far fear of the GPL is still the overwhelming problem.

    Dan: “And the fact that you have to spend time thinking about Freedom means you have less time to think about the other stuff, which means that (all other things being equal) the software is Not As Good just because it’s GPLed.”

    with all due respect, i strongly disagree. i don’t think that the license choice has much impact at all on the quality of the code delivered. it matters if the code is developed as open source, yes, but the license? not so much, IMO. i don’t think, as an example, that Linux, or MySQL or – for that matter – Java – are lesser pieces of code b/c they chose the GPL license. far from it.

    Jason: gotcha, thx for the response. might be useful to have that in an FAQ on the site, b/c i doubt i’m the only one to ask that question.