Scripting News for 3/13/2007

Today’s links 

My childhood pet, as a kitten. πŸ™‚

Mark Cuban: “If Viacom wants to put up snippets, scenes, mashups, mockups, quarter, half or full episodes of anything they own, there is nothing to stop them.”

11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac’s Performance.

Patti Smith interview on Fresh Air. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yesterday.

Confabb and PDF 

Confabb announced that it is providing the web presence for the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC, May 18.

I am an investor in the company. It’s likely that there will be other announcements from Confabb later in the week. πŸ™‚

Bove on DMCA 

Stephen Bove: “Just because music and video are the equivalent of media-crack doesn’t mean it should be legal for our entire society to deny complicity in a crime of mass-media larceny, which is being co-perpetrated with these uploading sharing sites.”

Bove is a former employee of BitTorrent, Inc.

Testing EVDO at Starbucks 

This is the real use-case, I’m paying for my EVDO by cancelling my Tmobile wifi account, that would let me get on the net at almost any Starbucks. So the real test of the EVDO is how well it performs at Starbucks. I’m at the store on Solano and Colusa in Berkeley.

Here’s an idea of the kind of performance you get downloading a podcast, again from Starbucks via EVDO. Approx 120KB per second for an 11.4MB file. Quite usable.

Four bars, 1/2 hour of connectivity with no problems.

Viacom sues Google 

The big news in the tech blogosphere today is Viacom suing Google over YouTube.

Obviously this is a negotiation, either that or Viacom is jumping off the bridge and hoping that the fall doesn’t kill them.

On 2/28/07 I observed that the entertainment industry is comfortable negotiating with the tech industry, but that’s not the negotiation that matters — they should negotiate with users, because ultimately that’s how the matter of whether or not they have a future will be decided.

“Might there not have been a way to make hay out of the lemonade?”

Mike Arrington: “They said that Google’s acquisition of YouTube would be the act that saved it from the fate of Napster – lawsuit oblivion. And they may have been wrong,”

DST bug 

After all the discussion of possible computer bugs due to the change in Daylight Savings Time, I’m pleased to report I had one.

One of my servers didn’t make the change automatically, or so it appeared. No problem, I did it manually. Then a few hours later it was back at the old time. I reset it again. Again, a few hours later it was wrong once again.

I finally had a minute to investigate, and traced it to a Frontier verb, tcp.getCurrentTime. I tried running it on the server, and it displayed the incorrect time. I then found the place where it’s called and disabled it, and now the clock shouldn’t be off on the server.

However, that wasn’t the end of the mystery. When I run it on my desktop machine, calling the same government time server,, it returns the correct time!

On more investigation, it’s not quite as interesting I thought it might be. Apparently the server, which is running Windows 2000, isn’t getting updates from Microsoft as my Mac OS X desktop is from Apple. My Windows machine still thinks it’s in Pacific Standard Time, whereas my desktop computer knows it’s Daylight Savings Time. When the clock is set locally, it’s automatically adjusted properly, on the server it’s adjusted improperly. Disabling the code should take care of it.

And I thought it was a government foul-up! πŸ™‚

12 responses to this post.

  1. youTube violates copyright, period, thats it; and, you can’t do that. I run a p2p company, but we don’t steal. I could start selling tons of material tommorrow, but I know, I’d be breaking the law. Its slower, harder, but the right/ethical path. Every software engineer whose worth something understand the value of intellectual property.

    Here’s how youTube breaks copyright and hurts Viacom; take me, older, no cable in the home, use computer all day. Favorite cable shows, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and the “The Colbert Report.” What do I do, I watch them on youTube instead of cable; oh yeah, no commercials either…so I can watch it in 15 minutes rather than the whole 30. Better than Tivo.

    youTube go popular b/c of these, and continue to allow it to happen; even after they’ve been told which shows/episodes/etc to not put on.

    This is the only reason youTube is popular. Watching lonelyGirl15 and similar videos gets boring real fast; even for teenagers.


  2. Dave,
    Persistent wireless broadband has been a transformational experience– ight up there with my first Mac ownership.
    In all the years I did Demo I tried to ferret out persistant wireless broadband companies.Alas, the stroke that retired me preceded the introduction of an actual usuable product.
    I do think that $80+ a month is too much and that at the present price operators like Verizon and others don’t have many subscribers. Nevertheless, i do use EvDO on a day pass basis a lot, particularly when I have to go work on my elderly mother’s house which has only one phone line, or when I go up to a friends house in rural northern California that has EvDo signal saturation.
    Fully one-third of what I blog while I’m on the road is done using EvDo or stolen 802.11 connectivity.
    My other favorite thing is a convertible notebook, which has also been transformational.
    Be well, David.

    Jim Forbes

    P.S. why can’t my Stanford card talk to your Harvard card? What’s up with that?


  3. I’m just beginning to get a feel for how powerful this is. Now I want to take a road trip or better yet a train trip so I can try this out.

    Hey next time you’re coming through the Bay Area on your way to northern CA, how about stopping by in Berkeley for a visit. I’ll buy lunch.

    Not sure what cards you’re talking about. I don’t have a Harvard card. I did at one time, but not no mo.


  4. Posted by stephen bove on March 13, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Re: Viacom sues GoogTube

    Having worked at a fairly prominent P2P company (bittorrent, inc.) that makes money partly by selling ads in its search engine results pages (from a proprietary search engine that indexes the largely illegal/infringing torrent-sphere), I know first hand that the DMCA (digital millenium copyright act) which places the burden of sending take down notices on the *copyright holder* is a very flawed piece of legislation.

    There is simply no way media companies can keep up with the constant flow of infringements. And there is now way companies like YouTube or Napster etc., can begin to police the infinity of ways that posters create to repost content that is reported by a media company, delisted, and then reposted again with a slightly different title (misspelled) etc. etc.

    Having witnessed first hand the takedown notice sending, receiving, delisting, endrunning game, I have personally concluded that the DMCA needs to be completely rewritten such that the burden, not just of take down, but of initial posting, for any named title or derivative work must be placed squarely on the owners of the site where the content is posted.

    In this scenario, a company like Viacom would submit a list of *all* their content titles to BitTorrent or YouTube *once* and from that point forward, burden of take down would reside on the shoulders of the site owners.

    This would stop the shenanigans around non-copyright owners making $millions (and in the case of YouTube, over a $billion) off the aggregation of traffic to Other Peoples Content, and in the process doing immeasurable damage to the sales of (or advertising sales associated with) their content, which we all know costs hundreds of millions of dollars per year for each major studio to make.

    As an example of how unjust the DMCA is, I submit that if someone put up a site called uBook where anyone could post the contents of books for the rest of the world to read for free, and what ended up there was hundreds of thousands of copyrighted books in print, well, the authors and publishers wouldn’t be expected by the public at large to post a constant stream of take down notices, and the site would get lambasted by the press media, shunned by the public and shut down by the law in short order.

    Just because music and video are the equivalent of media-crack doesn’t mean it should be legal for our entire society to deny complicity in a crime of mass-media-larceny, which is being co-perpetrated with these uploading-sharing sites.

    Just my humble two bits…


  5. Stephen, this kind of thinking encourages profits over progress. Sure, Youtube and Napster are perpetrating media-larceny. Nevertheless both enabled users to share media in ways that would have been impossible before. The status-quo is hindering innovation and maximizing profits for the media hegemony. This should not come at the expense of enlightenment of the entire world. Sure, most of the media on Youtube is the equivalent of junk food, however, there’s plenty of worthwhile content too. Is it wrong that an economically marginalized child in India is watching a video of Richard Feynman right now? What if she is the next Einstein? One must consider the larger reality before siding with the pure capitalist argument.


  6. @bittorent dude…

    initial posting? almost impossible. Where talking automation; The problem with youTube is they scan and take down porn almost imeediately, but refuse to do so otherwise.

    and…I kinds like the DMCA, bittorent is legal…


  7. It is a pity that this debate is so American/EU centric. The argument by Stephen Boves that a site providing Free copyrighted books illegally would be shunned by users made me laugh. Where I live Best Sellers are regularly pirated, not in a website for free, but in the real world for money. Guys, more than 10% of world trade is illicit in one way or another, of this what’s on the web is nothing in terms of value. It is only important because the entertainment industry can sue Americans, and Americans have money. It is not casual that the person selling the fake Vuitton bag in NY is an illegal immigrant…


  8. Ah! Now you’re getting to see how disruptive the EV-DO (subsitute HSDPA here if you like) technology is we’ve been totin’ for the past two years! πŸ™‚ Love it! That kind of speed essentially anywhere you go is such an enabler as I’m sure you’ll continue to see.


  9. Posted by heavyboots on March 13, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Stephen, a very interesting viewpoint, but I think it applies much more to bittorrent then to YouTube/LiveVideo. Viacom shouldn’t be allowed to sue a company like YT/LV out of existence simply because some of the content on the site infringes (and I think the infringing content is a relatively small percentage compared to a torrent site!). Honestly, I go to these sites for half an hour to an hour a night on average, but for the specific purpose of watching user-produced content (eg mordeth13, lima, paperlilies, donkeyjune, boh3me, nattyicee007, etc). Since YouTube generally limits uploads to 10 minutes or less, it’s not as though users can post entire movies. And who wants to have to wade through a bunch of broken up movie bits to watch an hour and a half movie at wretched quality anyway?

    I’ll admit torrent sites are a different situation and I’ve always boggled at what people presume to share there, but in the specific case of YT/LV, I think the users are the king of content still–not the commercial properties. I’m running *away* from the wretched and largely boring world of commercial media by visiting YouTube, not just looking to switch my commercial content provider as Viacom seems to imagine. And I would bet that a majority of the users visiting these home-grown media sites feel the same way.


  10. @Alfredo Octavio

    we’re, Americans, are trying to build a new economy; if you take Tamago, my company, for example, you can buy and sell Intellectual Property between people, freely; and those doing the selling earn sales commissions while artist make their royalty. Think “Free Market” and Intellectual Property market like Stock markets around the world. Without law, that couldn’t exist. That’s why Europeans don’t get it; and that’s why most don’t understand “Free Speech” etc…(French banning violent blogging?)

    What we’re really talking about is “Culture” and “Art.” In America, its for sale.


  11. Steven and other copyright protection supporters are traveling down a path that is either an impractical fantasy or the beginning of totalitarian enforcement.

    It’s impossible to imagine the development of substantial user generated media sites without the problem up copyrighted media. The citizens do not support the right of the corporations to restrict information.

    Read again: The citizens to not support the right.

    Viacom, the RIAA, etc, figure the solution is to eliminate user generated media sites. Two birds. No place to put their media. No way for non-corporate creators to get an audience. Cha-Ching.

    In the end, though, these companies are whistling in the wind. Like the prohibition of marijuana, also a favorite among the population, the infinite creativity of the vast majority will continue to devise ways to do what it wants.

    In Steven’s perspective, the response should be to change the laws to make them more ‘effective’, ie, draconian. And, just as with marijuana, people will continue to find ways to do what they want. Of course, that will put the government in the position of more intense enforcement. Bad juju is found in penalizing millions of people that disagree.

    Laws don’t work, revolutions are created, governments fall, when they attempt to confer rights or impose restrictions that the people don’t support. Eventually, today’s concept of ‘intellectual property’, from stupid software patents, to the elimination of fair use, and the very idea that anything digital should be restricted, will go the way of the dodo.

    I just hope it is sooner than later. I don’t want to have to live through a war between the corporations and the people.


  12. Posted by Jim Posner on March 14, 2007 at 7:13 am

    I have paid a monthly cable bill for over 20 years. Where do I go to get all the content I have paid for over the last 20 years?


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