WIRED and Creative Commons

I’ve been waiting months to say this: Go get your copy of the November issue of WIRED, complete with this free CD. It’s a good CD and you’re free to remix and file-share the songs to your heart’s content. The entire issue is filled with CC-friendly articles that point to a new way of sharing songs online, even including Hilary Rosen singing the virtues of CC.

I’m also happy to note the newly redesigned Creative Commons site, re-architected with the help of Adaptive Path and featuring lovely icons from Doug Bowman. A big push for rethinking the site was knowing thousands of visitors would arrive fresh from their copy of WIRED, looking to know more and try it out. Through testing, prototyping, and testing again, we came up with a new approach to both helping people find good stuff that is licensed, and in walking people through the licensing of their own work. I’ll be writing up the entire process soon over on the CC weblog, if you’re interested.

For now, I suggest checking out a great music CD that also comes with the benefits of the CC sampling license, and the new website. I think you’ll be pleased with both. If you need me, I’ll be snoring in the corner, sleeping off the past three months of long nights.

More on podcasting

I forgot to include a demonstration of what I meant in my last post about podcasting.

I don’t listen to much radio but I absolutely love Fresh Air on NPR. It’s my favorite interview show period. Once a month or so I go to the site, skim the archives and listen to the shows that sound promising. Recently I found out they even have an RSS feed, so now I just read the titles in bloglines.

Now that I see the daily shows, I get to skim the archives constantly and I find that I click into about 1 in 10 segments and probably listen to half of those. I love Fresh Air, but the interview subjects are all over the map and many times aren’t that interesting.

Imagine if they converted to a podcast stream. I’d be sucking down hundreds of Mb a week that I don’t even want to hear. It could get so bad that I’d be hassled by having to delete them constantly.

Now do you see why I’m saying defaulting podcast streams to download absolutely everything may be a design flaw?

It seems like adding a new tag called “preview” could contain the 30 second preview track as an RSS enclosure, and the full track could be a link in another tag. This way, I could “skim” the downloads by listening to them and clicking on the ones I liked. Intelligent software could handle my list of ones I wanted to hear more of, and could pull down and transfer those to my iPod.

Podcasting’s weakness?

I don’t want to start or jump into a flame war and I’m sure someone somewhere has talked about this (I haven’t seen it though), but I’ve been hearing about podcasts for a few weeks now, and while I was reading a few blogs by folks doing this, I noticed some complaining about going through their monthly bandwidth in a matter of days. Someone said Adam Curry is moving 40Gb of files a day off his server now.

Then I looked at the specs and it looks like it’ll download everything in all the feeds you subscribe to. Isn’t that a design flaw from the get go? Not everyone publishing their audio files has access to a monthly terabyte data transfer, and it seems like it could be prevented with preview tracks. Audio takes effort, time, and bandwidth for both the producer and the listener, and preview tracks seem like the way to eliminate the bandwidth problem.

Why not load up enclosures by default with 30 second previews? Think excerpts for blogs, thumbnails for huge images, or how the iTunes music store works today. You listen to a clip, and if you like something, you can flag it and download the rest on demand, or later in a queue (build software to make this easy).

Seems like it’d solve the bandwidth problem for most folks, as they could subscribe to more feeds and sample before downloading.

Keepin’ it simple

This week, I’ve heard half a dozen democrats say they were supporting Bush for election based on a single issue: security. They all have the same story, pretty much in disagreement with everything else Bush stands for, but they believe he’ll kick more ass in the middle east.

In the debates, Bush made it clear that his plan for keeping us secure at home was simple: always be on the offensive. He got a lot of play from it and a lot of support. But the idea of starting wars to be safe defies logic to me.

Let’s say you’re on a long road trip, looking for a bite to eat and a drink so you pull into an unknown bar. The place is pretty rowdy and you’re kind of concerned for your safety. So you go on the offensive.

If you walked around the bar starting fights with half a dozen of the largest guys, do you think you’d be safer?

Now, I’m not saying wimpering in the corner, crying softly before you leave is a better idea, but certainly a rational person might do something in the middle between those extremes? Because that’s what “always on the offensive so we can be safe” is — it’s an extreme.

links for 2004-10-21

I can dream, can’t I?

I watched Allie Pelosi’s presidential race documentary on HBO the other night and remembered fondly back when Dean was king and Edwards was running. Then I remembered back when Edwards blogged at Lessig’s site for a week, taking feedback and comments from all.

And as I was watching the news tonight and hearing about a tie or slight lead for Kerry I started thinking about Kerry’s possible cabinet if he wins.

Then the idea hit me: Attorney General Lawrence Lessig.

Think about it. Would he want to expand FBI, CIA and Homeland Security monitoring of your life? Would he wage first a war on porn, then a war on civil liberties, a war on (some) drugs, and a war on intellectual property? Heck no.

And picture this: no more press conferences. AG Lessig would give weekly PowerPoint presentations that would blow everyone away.

Ok, so maybe he’s not ready to be an AG, with so little public litigation experience, but maybe an even better idea would be this: FCC Chairman Lawrence Lessig.

Imagine a FCC that doesn’t spend its time regulating what you can and can’t say on the airwaves. A FCC that actually cares about having open, unfettered spectrum for the people, since they actually own it, instead of auctioning off every last megahertz to the highest bidder. Imagine a FCC where TiVo doesn’t have to ask first before they create a new feature.

Seriously, this isn’t just a suckup to Lessig, I think this country needs a shakeup and if we get that shakeup I hope the folks behind the Kerry Edwards campaign think about putting someone with the interests of average americans in charge of the laws that affect them.