Oh, corporations, how I love thee

Saturday, February 15, 2014

ESPN - Goodell made $44.2 million in '12

Roger Goodell got paid $44 million dollars in 2012 to manage a non-profit with revenue of $10 billion. I won't argue he's not worth that, because I have no idea and don't really care. But it shows how out of whack everything is.

It's also a little annoying that everywhere you see this revenue number attached to “the NFL”, but it's not clear whether they mean the NFL as in the non-profit corporation, or the for-profit (mostly) teams that make up the NFL. This is significant because that's a huge amout of tax revenue that is or isn't being paid.

Posted in: NFL , non-profit

Google Translate gets confused

Monday, February 10, 2014

I love Google Voice. I love that it transcribes my voicemails and doesn't make me sign in to something to check them and make the notifications disappear. But sometimes a machine isn't the best option for transcription.

Especially when the voicemail is from the kids' school, and the Google Transcription Bots are trying to write Spanish words as English. Not translate them, mind you. Just take the words spoken in Spanish and assume that the speaker just doesn't enunciate well.

Here are some of my favorite examples.

  • This is a belly will message if it's a mint okay babe. Bye.
  • It's A. M on the buttercup. If you'd like to know your screen, or you can is gonna be included in it.
  • Maybe doing the ship but as soon as the net for the end of the video, and I will be buzz been restored. If you if he didn't seem just with him.
  • If the M on the political modicum of the red Vista such Idaho 849 and again it is.
  • In that way. I'll talk to you on and she's up on the above. But I thought the dash.
  • Cenegenics for the Candidacy little bit of Sadat, my knee and not anything they did in May, enough it to know if I'm in the checks for the picking the D payment and have a Today, Cuevas think that in new I love this mail order.
  • At this moment I have. Anyway, this is a binding that customer him on the but I'll be talking to ask him on the letter that the Santa point.
  • Give me a cliff mean development it.
  • I just had a most man with a step by step.
  • I thought 008 if you'll send it.
  • Ohh. I don't know the picking that you can make a deal. Cos the moment.
  • My nephew coming to someone that I have a good morning Linda with my family is a system is hitting way.
  • This is a bilingual message if I'm looking on the bottom ecosystem on that I stuff the shuttle point hey, My this is the victim active you on my team.
  • I'm calling to inform you that my number is closed today, Tuesday, December 10th due to the bad weather.
  • I mean. Just give a call back in to put it together see if you have a system in this is gonna going to go to the C. P. S.
  • In point, dot, com vicinity but I just got an estimate on my team I also want to remind you of our school policy to follow. D. C. P. S. Decisions regarding kosher or delay to to weather conditions which aggressive talked in town.
  • Thank you for your touch.
Posted in: manchine translation , spanish

This will end badly

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kurzweil AI - Wearable ‘neurocam’ records scenes when it detects user interest

I think this is a fascinating step forward in user interface design - the more we can connect thoughts to the external world, the closer we are to doing away with mice and keyboards and whatnot.

But I'm pretty sure no one wants to have a stockpile of videos of everything “interesting” they saw that day. I think that might reveal more about us than we want anyone to know (even ourselves).

Posted in: bad idea , tech , wearable

ReDigi is Ridiculous

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I was reading an article about ReDigi, a company that wants to answer ridiculous interpretations of the First-sale Doctrine as it pertains to digital goods with marketing gobbledygook.

First, I commend companies who keep an eye on where they're getting mentioned online and respond to people when appropriate. But this only works when you engage the fan or critic. When you just comment on blog posts to say how great you are without addressing any of the concerns, you're not likely to win any fans.

I have a bunch of problems with ReDigi. I have a problem with the need for them to exist. Either I can resell any digital content I bought, through whatever channel I chose (eBay, Craigslist, a street corner, whatever), or I haven't actually bought it, and instead I have purchased a revocable license to use the content in some limited manner. In either case, there is no need for ReDigi.

I have a problem with their claims that the patent they're getting will let them ensure that the original file is deleted and that no copy is ever made. Technically, I don't think there's any way they can possibly do this unless the file only exists within ReDigi's software. Even then it's only a matter of time before someone figures out a way around whatever they're doing. That may keep ReDigi on the right side of the law, but it doesn't make it not ridiculous.

I have a problem with “used” digital content. It just doesn't make any sense. If it costs the same as “original” digital content, then there's no difference between the two. If it's cheaper, that doesn't make any sense, either, because it's exactly the same collection of ones and zeroes. It's not diminished because I read it or listened to it or watched it.

Lastly, you can't grow a market by introducing inefficiencies. Creating this big framework to stay out of legal trouble is only sort of viable because the status quos is (and I'm overusing this word, but it just fits) ridiculous. Also, I was really, really tempted to title this post “ReDigi is ReDiculous” but I thought people would think I mispelled “Ridiculous”.

Posted in: ebooks , first sale , patents , ridiculous

Stop letting Disney control copyright

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

We've written plenty of times about the importance of the public domain around here, and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the public domain has been Disney, a company which has regularly mined the public domain for the stories it then recreates and copyrights. Of course, somewhat depressingly, Disney also has been one of the most extreme players in keeping anything new out of the public domain, as pointed out by Tom Bell's excellent “mickey mouse curve” showing how Disney has sought to push out the term of copyrights every time Mickey Mouse gets near the public domain. (Techdirt)

I've talked about this before - click through to see “The Mickey Mouse Curve”, showing how Disney lobbies Congress to extend copyright every time Mickey Mouse is about to come into the public domain. It's pretty despicable on a lot of levels, but what gets me the most is that it goes against everything copyright was meant to do. It was a deal between the public and content creators that gave the content creators a monopoly on their work for a limited time. In return, after that time, where it was assumed the creator could earn some money from the work, the work would be given to the public to adapt and build on. It makes absolutely no sense to retroactively alter the deal. Clearly the original deal was enough for the creator to create - there's no need to alter the deal later.

Here's an equivalent situation. You call Joe's Lawn Service and ask them to cut your lawn. They tell you it'll be $25, which you agree to, and Joe cuts your lawn. Then Joe comes back a year later and tells you that original deal wasn't really enough to get him to cut your lawn, and he needs another $10. Another year later, Joe's Lawn Service is bought out by Lawncorp. Lawncorp's lawyers send you a nasty letter telling you that your deal with Joe wasn't enough to get him to cut your lawn, and Lawncorp now needs another $10, plus legal fees.

But Joe has already cut your lawn. Clearly the $25 you paid Joe back then was sufficient motivation for Joe to cut your lawn. You know this because Joe cut your lawn.

Now, Disney may argue that Mickey Mouse and Disney are so entwined that losing their exclusive right to Mickey Mouse would irreparably harm their brand. It's a convincing argument, but it's completely irrelevant to discussions of copyright. There is no provision in copyright that guarantees corporate profits a century later. Trademark law is different - they can keep the trademark forever so long as they're using it in commerce.

This is especially important now. When Mickey Mouse was created, there were fewer people creating content with any sort of meaningful audience. Now anyone with a computer or smartphone can have ten million views on YouTube or publish a best-seller on Amazon or any number of other things. Copyright used to be a deal between the content creators and the public. Now it's a deal between the public and the public, because everyone is a creator. And still it's only Disney's interests being represented in the law.

Posted in: disney , mickey mouse , public domain

Maybe I was wrong about Brookland

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not only is there a new bar from Meridian Pint coming to Brookland, but maybe a new coffee shop/bike shop from Filter and The Bike Rack. And the bike ride to school next year is primarily on the MBT, and Gremlin 1 could definitely bike it next fall. Maybe even Gremlin 2.

It's definitely looking like a more appealing place to live every day.

Posted in: DC