Links ARE meaning

This is a great TED talk from Tim Berners-Lee who created the internet. Here he talks about Linked Data and the importance of sharing and linking data.

Just as with his first break-through, the hyperlink, he realises that its the links that make things useful. To take this on step further the linking is how we embed mean into web documents. The same applied with data. Data by itself is not as useful as data linked to other data and this linkage is meaningful.

Linking was only half the story and Tim doesn’t talk about the importance of standardising the data format, which by the way he also underestimated with HTML and why web developers have had a nightmare with different web browsers interpretation of HTML. Data formats is the less exciting half of the equation but is going to be just as critical. Especially with numbers like dates, currencies, measurements (and their metrics) etc. I’m thinking (hoping, praying) that we’ve learnt our leasons from HTML and people know when and how to draw up a standard for data formats before this thing explodes.

Forgotten Visions of the Web

I’ve been inspired by a great lecture, The Web that Wasn’t by Alex Wright, which traces the history of precursor ideas and thinking that ether lead to the web or where ideas much greater than the Internet is right now.

Here are some of the ideas that were missed out on and I believe are sill possible with internet technology today: Continue reading “Forgotten Visions of the Web”

Why Sharing is Caring

The music industry is going down. The Label executives are going out kicking and suing but we all know its over. The music production model has changed and there is no room for them anymore.

In Michael Calore blog post on Wired, The Web’s First Rock n’ Roll Success?, Michael touts proof of what everyone has know since Napster started up: File sharing of MP3s is good for the consumer and bad for the old school Record Industry:

“Their story is remarkable because of one fact: grassroots communication channels like MySpace and P2P file trading networks worked better than the major-label hype machine. The Arctic Monkeys became hugely popular because they wrote good songs, made them available to their fans for free, and encouraged them to share the MP3s with their friends.”

The Arctic Monkey, after this sort of promotion realised “the fastest-selling independent debut in UK history”. The article/post goes on to say “The major labels are still scratching their heads wondering why the kids aren’t buying records they way they used to.”, and the answer to that is, I say, is because the stuff the record companies have been pumping out is not art, its manufactured shite.

The old way was Big Label X spends Y million on PR and more than double their money before the teeny boppers figure out that Album Z is shite. Now, the teeny boppers are downloading The One Song promoted form the album and realising the rest is garbage and so before they go out and buy McFad Album (if they still intended to) the next fad hits them and they have forgotten about what they were just listening to.

I noted an article back in 2004 called The New Economics of Music: File-Sharing and Double Moral Hazard in which the same argument is put forward but using economic theory:

Fundamentally, I’m going to argue that consumers download music, as much to derive extra value from getting something for free, as they do because they want insurance against buying something they didn’t want in the first place. File-sharing is as much about risk-sharing as it is about the ‘theft’ of value. Technological changes have made this possible – but the way the business model of the music industry is at odds with the implicit contract it signs with listeners is what makes it probable.

Ultimately it means that the record industry has to start finding real artist rather than manufacturing fads. Good for real music artist, good for us the consumers. Everyone wins except the fat middle men.

Maybe the internet can eliminate all the middle men of the world. I hope Real Estate agents are next.

Cops and garbage bins must go

Would society work without cops?

I was waiting at the bus stop and a van full of chunky cops pulled up with what looked like light combat gear on. I thought about how in North Sydney they have removed all the garbage bins and the streets remain clean. What would happen if we removed all the police, would the crime rate increase?

By removing the garbage bins the council has managed to save money, but they have shifted the responsibility from them to us, the public. It’s a leap of faith on their part, or perhaps recognising that its citizens can be trusted. Why not with the police force? If the police force were removed from a city, what would happen? How much does society really rely on the police to maintain order?

I think the cops server two purposes and only one is law enforcement, the other is maintaining the inequality within society. We saw in the famous LA riots how looting and pillaging went on as soon as there was a perceived lack of law enforcement. This I believe is the society coming to equilibrium, or the ‘redistribution of wealth’. What would have happened if it had been permitted to carry on? Once all the shops were looted then what?

Even the looters would have to come to some sort of truce in order to maintain food and shelter, utility services and so on. One thing that could not happen is that people could not continue to ignore each other’s poverty or wealth. Once the responsibility his shifted to the everyone then everyone would have to become aware of this new responsibility. Groups would have to form for protection and to maintain existence.

As a side note I just went to Glasgow and came back to find my Laptop had been stolen. The police came around and could do nothing nor did they get my hopes up about anything happening. Would this have occurred if everyone were a cop?