February 27, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
I am wearing my Next pajama ensemble consisting of a light blue t-shirt (quite nicely fitted for pjs) and kinda checkered shorts (bit daggy but I am nearly 40). I have a badge on that my 2 year old son Ollie made that looks like the sun. Its made of felt and pipe cleaners.
February 24, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
(b) promoting education and learning;
(c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
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2. Strong ability to leverage natural search as the primary means of user acquisition
When I consider my own experience this is a powerful idea. First, I rarely use bookmarks now, I just Google the rough name of the site or concept and then follow the link from search results. I am rarely loyal to individual sites. I'll go where Google sends me in most cases.
Secondly, I often find Wikipedia or Digg pages in Google results these days. These sites use the user-generated model to carpet bomb search results, often matching precisely to niche search queries.
Read more on VentureBeat.
January 29, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Get yourself a cup of coffee, block out an hour of your diary and watch this: 7 Ways to Ruin a Technological Revolution. It is a Google Talk given by James Boyle about the tension between new law and new technology. The argument is clear and entertaining and worth the time if you make technology that may, at any time, touch intellectual propery rights. Hint: If you are making stuff for the Internet, this is hard to avoid.
There is a funny anecdote in there from a discussion with someone from a collection society where Boyle suggested that there are still some private places where fair use can apply to the enjoyment of music - like the shower. The reply: "That's just a problem with monitoring."
Two big ideas that resonated for me:
IP law (and lobbying, let's face it!) only looks at the cost and not the benefit. If a new business model emerges in which more sales are generated but there is also an increase in free use of the media, isn't that good? Apparently not, and all we hear about is the increase in "piracy". I don't know how many times I have had this discussion.
Another problem is concentrating on outputs with no recognition of inputs. When we debate about video, music, photography, we are talking about acts of creativity. These acts need inspiration, raw materials, ingredients. If every transaction (even singing in the shower!) has to be monitored and monetized, the vines will shrivel up and die.
I haven't done Boyle justice in my description of his talk so please check it out for yourself.
Thanks Anthony, for sending me the link.
January 16, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
The NYTimes is reporting that older teenage girls (aged 15 - 17) use social networking sites more than boys. This is an important study from Pew Internet & American Life Project. Are existing social network sites skewed towards girls because they are all about talking when boys just want to hang out? Off the net, teenage boys don't communicate like they need to on MySpace.
What do you think boys need?
It also reports that a staggering 55% of American 12-17 year olds use social networking sites - most of them EVERY DAY!
January 15, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
When I started my job as CTO at Kazaa, a hilarious myth spread across the internet claiming that I lived alone on an oil rig, keeping the Kazaa engine running in a defiant act of solitude.
I enjoyed reading this in my Sydney office.
Historically, PirateBay have been quite impressive with their courage in the face of the mighty copyright groups such as the RIAA but their latest plan is, sadly, as hilarious as the rumours that I lived on an oil rig.
Even though PirateBay Co might be based in the copyright free principality of Sealand:
They are having fun, but it is a dangerous game that I believe they cannot win.
January 4, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
This video of Lessig's 23C3 presentation is a must see for anyone that follows my blog... actually for everybody because these issues are important and will shape our world in the decades to come. The question: For a free culture, how do we 'free the future from the dead hand of the past'?
His proposed blueprint for a free culture is very interesting.
January 3, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Still in the process of settling with the music industry, the P2P file-sharing service wants to start charging its 40 million users $1 per download and share the revenue and user-behavior information with the music industry. But it wants to stay DRM-free. The company hired TAG Strategic consultant Ted Cohen, a former EMI exec, to convince the majors to at least test the idea for six months.
DRM sux and anyone who has attempted to buy DRM music knows it. There is nothing else I can add to this well trodden debate. People just don't want ANY situation where music they own does not work and DRM makes this happen constantly.
I have always held that the value in p2p nets for users is the choice and not the 'freeness'. If Limewire pulls this off, my theory will be tested.
Artists get paid and users get the music they want without the limitation. Best of all, it is simple simple simple.
Its a good move hiring Ted Cohen too. They stand a small chance of penetrating the legal firewall between them and the record execs who want to sell music.
January 1, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Tragically, since returning to Australia from the Netherlands in August I have found no time to play World of Warcraft. Mick pimped the game to me and quickly got me addicted last Easter and I have subsequently done the same to most people I know.
I was poised to give up my subscription but started to play over the holidays. While deleting the tens of characters my 4 year old son creates (that's another story for you), I accidentally deleted my level 28 night elf called Maverra. Argggh! He was an investment of many months and it was almost the straw that broke the camel's back for my subscription... until wonderful Kellie (my wife) bought me The Burning Crusade for Christmas... and now I'm back in and loving it.
So, friends, Morloc is back in Khaz'Goroth. Please join me and help me level! And leave your character names in the comments if you play on Khaz'Goroth.
December 14, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Following up from my last post, it would seem that Randal agrees and has launched TechcrAUnch for all stuff made in Australia Valley.
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Silicon Valley and its citizens are magnificent at talking about themselves. It is a very powerful form of self reflection which builds a momentum for great creativity and innovation.
I remember reading Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines before I migrated to Australia. Here's something I have never forgotten:
'Sometimes,' said Arkady, 'I'll be driving my "old men" through the desert, and we'll come to a ridge of sandhills, and suddenly they'll all start singing. "What are you mob singing?" I'll ask, and they'll say, "Singing up the country boss. Makes the country come up quicker."'
Aboriginals could not believe that the country existed until they could see and sing it - just as, the the Dreamtime, the country did not exist until the Ancestors sang it'
Sydney is starting to talk about itself again - starting to sing itself into existence - after a long quietness and it is wonderful to see the gifted, committed and ambitious community that lives here.
For example, the recent Sydney STIRR looked like an inspiring evening (sadly I was in Seattle) and I hope the event continues and matures as a forum for the entrepreneurial spirit. If you like to think about the next great thing, and you know it can be made here in Australia, keep an eye on the Tangler blog for announcements for the next one.
STIRR is organised by Tangler and Atlassian, two companies that get the importance of a fertile, local community. They are doing important work and it has been my pleasure to meet Scott and Mike (of Atlassian), Marty (of Tangler), ... and Mick (Tangler)... well he's the godfather to one of my son's and I have admired his energy and work ethic for years since we worked together on Kazaa.
On Tuesday I went to WebJam. This was less about the entrepreneurial thing and more about peer communication and sharing. It was like a real-life blog experience with beer. I had a great night and enjoyed being a part of the energy.
I met Lachlan Hardy who is one of the organisers. Hat's off to you mate for getting 190 people to a Sydney pub to jam about cool technology - especially when you've only been in town for a few months. What's next?
The standout for me was Angus Fraser's Inkoid project. Inkoid is a 'visual wiki' which Angus hopes to release early next year. To picture it, imagine a Google Maps-type of Ajax UX with an image instead of a map that can extend infinately through time and space. The critical feature that will make it successful is the ability to link to a specifc co-ordinate and point in time on the image. I can imagine visual blogs (imagine it on a tablet PC or an Origami device!), collaborative mindmaps, school projects...
I had fun talking with Alisdair Faulkner who is sharp and knows his stuff. A 'creative cynic' - perfect for jamming a business idea with. Although, he took the piss out of my blog photo (I don't look like David Brent in "If you dont know me by now" do I!?)
Outside of these events I have been impressed with the constellation of other people I have had the pleasure to spend time with. Randal Leeb-Du Toit has been jamming with the Australian tech community for years since he created the Australian First Tuesday events during bubble 1.0. Formerly he is doing cool stuff down at NICTA but I think he understands that a cafe can be the birth place of the next big thing.
Mark Wells is working his magic at Foxtel. It must be a challenge bringing change to an institution like Foxtel but he is pulling it off. Watchout for some of the things up his sleeve coming to a Foxtel IQ, PC and mobile phone near you!
I tip my hat to you all.
November 24, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Afterdawn and EFF are reporting on the recent excemptions made to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Its worth a look to see how some good carve-outs for academics and the like, but those horrid, thieving consumers are still stuffed.
This one stood out for me:
3. Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete. A dongle shall be considered obsolete if it is no longer manufactured or if a replacement or repair is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.
There should be a similar excemption which allows circumvention if a user buys a music collection with some form of DRM from a store that closes down and ceases to re-issue licences.
November 2, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
It’s a little known fact that when 30 record companies launched their legal campaign against Kazaa, they also sued some employees of the company. I was one of those people.
Last Friday I signed a settlement agreement with the record companies. It ends a rather yucky couple of years which began on a very hot day in February 2004 when a posse of lawyers and forensic technicians raided my home.
The claim was that I induced Sharman Networks to induce its users to infringe copyright. Earlier this year the claim was rejected by the Federal Court here in Australia and I ‘won’. The Applicants quickly filed an appeal against the ruling. I was quite confident of winning again but let me tell you – it isn’t fun to be sued and the prospect of another year or more in the black hole of the legal system was something I was keen to avoid.
So I settled. The ruling of the Federal Court in my favour stands but I have agreed to make an undertaking to the Court as follows:
Philip Morle, by himself, his servants and agents, in the course of his employment by, or pursuant to his engagement as a consultant or contractor to, any of the Kazaa Parties or any entity or any person involved in the operation, maintenance or supply of the Kazaa System and Software, not to solicit, authorize or induce users of the Kazaa System and Software to reproduce or communicate to the public (whether by making available online or electronically transmitting) any of the Copyrighted works without the license of the relevant copyright owner.
So it’s over. A full copy of the court order can be found here.
I am sad to leave one of the most committed, talented development teams and idea factories on the planet but I am very excited about the future.
September 26, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Yesterday I posted Where For Art Though Adam Curry? In it, I wondered why Adam (a veritable meme of my 2005 feeds) was not on my radar in 2006. Could this be due to the feeds I had limited my horizon to or is something else going on?
Frederic at Lastpodcast.net points out that Alexa only reports stats on the top level domain and not subdomains so these stats are for all of podshow and not for DSC specifically. So changes to DSC traffic are still unknown. And what's Odeo doing that Podshow isn't?
But Adam, it wasn't (and this isn't) 'research' and certainly wasn't an attempt to out some secret failing of podshow. I really hope podshow is doing terrifically well. I like your style and I admire what you do. It's fab that you immediately challenged my afternoon meanderings.
But I am still wondering why I don't hear much about you and Podshow in my news horizon... I look for this kind of news every day and you are just not on my radar anymore... so the question is sustained in my own mind... is it just me? Or is the conversation not huddled around podshow...? And if it isn't... why?
One answer to this may be that the conversation IS there but it is in the podcasts now and and not in the text blogs than I read. But that too could be disappointing, indicating that the listeners = the creators and the market is not growing.
Is there a useable podcast/vlog equivalent to Technorati that I can use to track the audio/visual conversations? Anyone?
Disclaimer: This is not 'research' :-)
September 25, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
I have been following Evan Williams' blog since my pal Morten put me onto blogging a few years ago and told me good things about the creator of Blogger. I am always impressed with his mind which seems to have a fertile mixture of leadership, creativity, intellectualism and entrepeneurialism (is that a word?). Gush over...
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The embedded chart above seems erratic. If you see "Not in the Top 100,000" try this link.
The stats show when curry.com was the go-to place for those who wanted to be involved with the genesis of podcasting, and now that the market has exploded and fragmented some of us have departed.
But I don't hear much/anything about him or podshow.com on my feeds (which I just added to my sidebar using the cool Grazr - here is the OPML). Am I just tuned out or is podshow etc not getting meme action? Do more people consume podcasts these days and the market is fragmented all the down the long-tail... or is the market flattening?
It could be a sign that the initial innovators aren't always the best people to take the idea forward to the next level.
Anyway, time to stop these intellectual meanderings and get back to work...
August 21, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
I have been working with author and director Xavier Leret to convince him that he should abandon the old 'wait for a break' process of artistic career building and get into self-publishing and building an audience for himself.
It is a violent epic about a tough guy with no arms. Xav's original idea was to make it into a film but its difficult because the budget would be so huge. There is something cultish about Jimmy. He's like something out of a Quentin Tarantino or Guy Ritchie movie but with a freakshow edge. I have always seen it as a graphic novel because, like good anime, it can show some of the impossible pictures that are in Xav's mind.
GMod’s special tools help users go way beyond standard run-and-gun gameplay. You can use it to cobble together your own Rube Goldberg machines with any object in the game environment. Or force characters you redesign to assume strange poses, then shoot pictures of them through a plethora of effects filters. Sick of bullets? Reprogram weapons to spray beer or blood or bird poop at opponents. From Wired.
It is so exciting to see where the tools of creativity are heading. Think of a story > stage it in Halflife2 using gMod > print it on demand at lulu.com > sell it through Amazon... all at practically zero cost. All you need is talent.
August 18, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Is it just my world or are we focussed too much on the near future? I like to think of myself as someone that looks beyond what can be done now but when I see things like this video of Jeff Han at the TED conference I realise that I am way too focussed on Web 2.0, RSS, participatory media, the next video sharing technology, etc... It's refreshing to see stuff like this. Can I have one?
July 7, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
My friend Mick sent me a MySpace message today. The message itself was not in the email which MySpace sent. Instead I needed to go to MySpace site and login. The process was made quite difficult and of course I saw a plethora of horrid ads in the process. As a user, what did I NEED to do to see the message? Just go to my MySpace page and there it is… Mick’s comment. The process evidently forced me to login, and did not make that process easy, just so that MySpace could make some moola from ad impressions.
I started to think that the ad-supported software universe can be seen as a continuum of ‘evil’. At one end of the spectrum is MySpace where the content comes from the users. While the advertisers want to be where these users are, they don’t want to be associated with what they are saying so the pages are polluted with low-revenue, ‘run-of-network’ casino ads.
At the other end of the continuum are the adware companies that know too much about me.
Its quite difficult to build a business on ads without becoming ‘evil’.
June 20, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Of Social Nets & Business Models
How will advertisers come together with the dangerous chaos that is user-generated content? Today it is still an uncomfortable relationship. It is an important problem to solve because social nets can target advertising very well.
The problem is when there is a Coke ad apparently sponsoring a page that has a mashup of a copyrighted song, bad language, etc…
June 14, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
This post suggests that Google is killing the economics of content by creating an opportunity for others to build dodgy (in my opinion) businesses. The company in this posting – NameMedia has the following business model:
This company has 650,000 domain names which attract 25 million consumers per month – like moths to the flame. They offer no value. They are a business that is 100% setup to make money at the expense of users.
This is basically an adware model. ‘Toolbar’ products do exactly the same thing. When the user types in a dodgy URL, the tolbar will redirect the user to a page of useless sponsored links powered by an ad engine like Adsense.
It is troubling.
While web 2.0/socal media/etc stands in the light, the other half of the internet is making billions in the shadows.
May 24, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Does this happen to all software that young people adopt?
April 28, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
Originally uploaded by Ross Mayfield.
Ross Mayfield has taken Chris Andeson's Long Tail model and applied it to the process of contribution in a digital universe.
It is one of those clever, crystalising images that is a useful framework for hanging conceptual thinking.
A functioning community ecosystem benefits from knowing the journey users take as they traverse the long tail.
I wondered about this in my crude idea for a video product - how do users move from being 'consumers' to participants or 'minipreneurs'?
April 26, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
I just posted that the BBC (a TV network of course) is moving assertively into Web 2.0. News just in shows that the convergence is accelerating from the other side too. Yahoo! just put themselves in the living room by releasing their own DVR.
April 24, 2006 | Filed under: Random Thoughts
I am Phil Morle.
This is a curious mix of the artistic and technical reflections which somehow connect as technology and media take their inevitable collission course.
This site has been maintained on and off since 2003 when my friend Morten Lund came to Sydney and told me all about blogs. Until mid-2006, this site was a private tool for organising my thoughts about entertainment and technology.
I am very interested in the technology of entertainment and how the new web is democratising creativity as well as spawning new business models.
I hope you enjoy.