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How to stop file copying

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 4th March 2012

Copy Bunny Progress Line

Copy Bunny Conga Line

In the ZeroPaid blog article “Why Streaming is not the Answer” Bruce Lidl writes:

One area, however, where I think the media companies may have more reason for optimism with streaming than Doctorow believes is with video. Music and video may diverge more strongly in regards to streaming than in other aspects of digital distribution. While storage is getting cheaper every day, high definition video remains relatively sizeable, and generally there is not as much repetition as with music, decreasing the inherent inefficiency of streaming.

You say that now. When Napster first hit the Net it was said that while music was readily available, movies were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And in the 1990s when the photographers were all up in arms about pictures getting copied, it was said that other arts (like music and film) were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And in the days of the BBS when people were swapping highly compressed GIFs it was said that full colour pictures were safe from copying because of their relatively large size.

And when home taping was killing music, it was thought that movies were safe from copying, not because of their relatively large size, but because the technology to copy movies cost tens of thousands of dollars and was available only to studios.

The only reason that hi-def movies aren’t being downloaded or streamed[1] is because North American service providers offer such miserable bandwidth to the consumer. Hi-def will succumb to swapping, sharing and copying as soon as the ISPs realize they can make a buck by providing the bandwidth to do so.

Next, it’ll be complete libraries of music that get compiled and copied. Then the complete catalogs of the studios. “Have you copied Warner Brother’s holdings yet?” “Got ’em, but I’ll swap you Sony for Disney”.

Soon, everyone will have everything. That’ll put an end to file copying.


The “Copy Bunny Conga Line” is copied from Copy Bunny Progress Bar by Nina Paley, who says “Copying is an act of love”.

[1] From the “I Told You So” department: I originally wrote this as a comment on “Why Streaming is not the Answer” in 2009. A quick search of ISOHunt or TorrIndex shows that the relatively large size (10s to 100s of Gigabytes) of hi-def files isn’t slowing down file copying at all.

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Blogging Etiquette – Deletions

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 6th November 2011

The word "Delete" as grafitti

Delete

Primarily Perfect People are Permitted to Perfunctorily Pass this Post .

The rest of us, Prone to Pecadillos, may occasionally write blogposts and then change our minds about the content. When that happens it’s best not to make changes or delete posts without letting your readers know.

Instead of making a wholesale change to a post it’s better to create a new post. Imagine if someone wrote about a similar issue, quoted from your post and provided links to it. Now your post has changed, and the links no longer make sense because the content has changed. Or someone makes a comment on a post, the content of the post is changed, and now the comment has nothing to do with the post.

Instead, create a new post with a new link. It’s a good idea to keep the original post; you could delete it, but then other people’s links would return an error (that’s called “link rot”).

About the only good reason for modifying an existing post is to correct an error. Even then you shouldn’t delete the incorrect material, but indicate it should be deleted by using the <del> tag, and marking the new material with an <ins> tag. For example:

The Javan Rhinoceros <del>has only one survivor </del> <ins> is now extinct</ins> in Vietnam.

This would show with crossed-out text for <del> and highlighted text for <ins>, like this:

The Javan Rhinoceros has only one survivor is now extinct in Vietnam.

(which is a sad development, and may be worthy of a post of its own).

If you really want to delete a post then replace it with text like “This post has been removed by the author”. If you do that then you should delete or hide the comments too.

These are open and transparent ways to indicate deletions. It’s merely an online publishing convention, since there really isn’t a style guide for HTML like Strunk and White’s in the online world. Or, more accurately, there are far too many Strunk and White’s in the online world!

–Bob.


Delete by delete08 is used under a CC-BY-NCCC-BY-NC license

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The Verdict on Google Plus: Mostly Harmless

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 13th October 2011

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons

Don't Panic, They're Only Vogons by Patrick Hoesly

After dissing Google Plus I was persuaded to try it out for a while before rendering a verdict. So now it’s been over two months, and my verdict is: Mostly Harmless.

When I get home after a hard day of working with a computer, I sit down for a pleasant evening of relaxation with a computer. I read my e-mail, read the news, and read the microblogs. I subscribe to 55 people on Identi.ca, and I follow 84 people on Twitter. Those 139 people generate sufficient 140 character messages to keep me reading until bedtime and beyond.

But on my Google Plus account, I have 27 people in my circles. Those 27 people create a lot of large messages. In fact, they generate a lot more content than my 139 Identicats and Tweeple, since Google Plus puts no limit on the size of messages.

22 of the 27 people are in my Tech Circle. But instead of receiving only technical content from these people, they’re posting messages about vacations, favourite bands, philosophy, and yes, pictures of cats.  Now, this happens on the microblogs too, but on a microblog it’s limited to 140 characters, and I can ignore them.  On Google Plus the posts are much longer, have pictures attached, comments from other people, and those ubiquitous “John Q. Public originally shared this post” and “Click to +1 this post”.  Google Plus does not have the tools to filter messages by content, or even a method to collapse a conversation thread.

There’s no Atom/RSS feed, so I can’t use my preferred feed reader to analyze, sort and organize my Google Plus message stream. And I don’t know of any third-party applications to read, write and manage content on Google Plus. Google Plus does allow the export of all its content, under Account Settings, Data Liberation. Contact info is in the standard vCard format, suitable for importing into addressbooks.

Kudos to Google for giving users useful control of their data. Still, Google also has access to that data, and continues to collect ever more. In the past I’ve recommended Google Mail as a preferred no-cost e-mail host. Recently Google has taken to verifying new users by requiring them to supply a phone number. Google then sends a text message for the user to enter into the registration form. This is a level of data collection that I find creepy, and so I no longer recommend Google Mail.

Finally, to top it all off are the Google Nymwars. Much has been written about why Google’s policy of requiring real names is wrong-headed. Some people whom I might follow have stopped using Google Plus because of the nymwar controversy. I think I’ll be joining them in disdaining Google Plus.

  • Google Minus: Banality of user content (not Google’s fault)
  • Google Minus: Lack of management tools
  • Google Plus: User control over data
  • Google Minus: Google control over data
  • Google Minus: Nymwars

I think that Google Plus is not the Facebook Killer the folks in Mountain View want it to be.



The image 740 – Towel Day – Pattern by Patrick Hoesly is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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