Lisa: Look on the

Lisa: Look on the bright side, Dad. Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”?
Homer: Yes! Cris-atunity!
The Simpsons, episode 2F08

Over the past few months, I’ve seen things described as problems that could have instead become sources of revenue. Large organizations are calling mp3 and movie downloaders “pirates” when they could be calling them “customers.” Why can’t the MPAA and RIAA see that people going to the effort of finding and downloading music and movies would be perfectly willing to pay for the things they are “taking?” Napster isn’t a plague on the internet, it’s a great tool that can be used to capture a revenue stream. Making money from piraters requires a change in thinking, a change in revenue models, and this is where the movie and recording industry can learn something.

People are going great lengths to see movies and hear music on their computers. This is called “demand” and the demand is extreme. Frankly, it’s a pain to find a song or movie you want, track down where the file is located, and then find a server willing to give it to you. If full mp3 versions of CDs were in the 2-3 dollar range, I’d pay for music I want in a heartbeat. If I could find full album copies of the music I like in a central place, I’d pay for that service. If Napster required a $30 monthly charge to use the network, and tracked which artists I downloaded to reimburse them accordingly, again, I’d sign up in a second.

Movies require even more extreme methods. First you have to find a gathering place to see what’s available on the underground movie trading networks. Then you have to find a server, gain access somehow, then wait patiently for gigabytes to transfer from overtaxed, slow lines. Look at the pay-per-view model, Hollywood. Offer a high quality stream that can’t be saved locally, and charge a couple bucks to watch. There’s plenty of lame movies that don’t need to be viewed on the big screen to be fully enjoyed (see: every Saturday Night Live spinoff movie, most comedies, independent movies that aren’t being shown in my area).

The fact is that music and movies are going to continue to be downloaded and traded illegally. Either the powers that be in Hollywood can recognize that, and turn that into something positive, or they can chase after them in a vain attempt to shut pandora’s box.

Today I’ll be walking around

Today I’ll be walking around saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Why? I had a couple days of interviews with Sapient, and I heard today that they decided not to offer me a position. 😦

(Warning: rant ahead. These thoughts are fresh in my mind and I’m just putting them down as fast as I think them, if I sound like a bitter old crank, that’s why)

They had two issues with me as a prospective employee. One was that they were unsure that I could concentrate on information architecture alone. Right now, I split my time about 60-40 between design and programming. Design is probably my main passion, but I like the variety. You never hear people walking around saying “specialization is the spice of life” do you? In addition to design and programming, I do database stuff, video, audio, write content, and deal with clients. I guess I can’t see myself doing one tiny part of web development either, I’m a born multi-tasker. I also have a passion for learning, something I mentioned before, it’s what keeps the internet interesting for me. Continued learning about a single topic isn’t enough sometimes, and that’s a problem for me. I work around that by trying technologies, or seeing how a new protocol can apply to what I do, things of that nature.

The second problem Sapient had with me was that I wasn’t enthusiastic about the company. I had four interviews last week (over the course of a single day), and every interviewer asked me at some point “Why Sapient?” The truth was that they called me, I did some background checking on them and heard they were a large company with a good reputation, and that’s exactly what I told them. I suppose they wanted me to talk about how impressed with them I am, and how much I hope they succeed, but the truth is from the outside, they’re no more special than any other company, and until I worked there for a period of time, I’m not in a position to say whether or not they’re doing things right, or doing things that impress me. They’re a corporate services firm, which in the grand scheme of things is a real yawner. The one thing I like about my current employer is they’re a non-profit doing important things to help people. This is not to say I hate businesses and or that I’m an anti-capitalist or something. What I’m saying is that if an employer requires that I get behind them and everything they do, they have to do something that makes the world a better place, something fulfilling, something that fosters the growth of the internet in a positive manner, something that encourages communication, sharing of ideas, something that helps out the human race. I honestly can’t see Sapient doing that. They’re a corporate services firm, and there’s nothing too earth shattering or mind blowing. I’m sorry, but life is much too short to become blindly loyal to a corporation.

There’s a new addition to

There’s a new addition to this page, my current and recent reading list. I don’t get nearly enough time to read, so don’t expect it to change very quickly. One a month is about my average for books, unless they’re particularly captivating.

I went to Fry’s today and bought a floppy adapter for my digital camera’s memory. Downloading photos just got incredibly easy, so expect more photos from my occasional travels. If I get ambitious enough, I might have a photo of the day. In other news, I’m starting to get sick, which is never very fun. I’m doing everything I can to get over this quickly, I’m eating large amounts of vitamin C, echinacea, and cough syrup, hopefully one of those will help out. Oh and I drank my first ColdBuster from Jamba Juice today. Unlike their other smoothies, it tasted terrible, so it must have been good for me.

Recently, I’ve met a type

Recently, I’ve met a type of web worker I didn’t know existed. Everyone I know working the web has a passion for hypertext, a love of communication, and senses the “community” of the internet. But I suppose I’ve been lucky to meet people that shared that passion. There exists a population of people that “do” the web, but don’t “get” the web. People that build sites professionally from 9-to-5, but don’t have a personal site, and sometimes not even a personal computer. They take part in the web, but they’re only contributions are those tied to business ventures.

They’re an odd lot.

I couldn’t have planned today

I couldn’t have planned today in my wildest dreams (or worst nightmares). I was having a nice, normal day until my father emailed a friend and frequent poster to MetaFilter, who then posted a photo of me as a kid. That would have been all well and good if it were a normal harmless photo, but it wasn’t. It was a photo I hadn’t seen in years, a photo that instantly reminded me why I didn’t have a completely normal childhood. It brought back a lot of painful memories that I didn’t even know I still had in me. To me, the photo represents a lost childhood in some ways. When I was a kid, I didn’t play much sports because I wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t enjoy myself when I played or goofed off because there was always the threat of a horrible accident looming over me. The photo, while it looks harmless, marks the precise point at which my having a perfect childhood stopped being a possibility.

My Dad didn’t know any of this, he probably thought it was just a cute and embarrasing photo. The fact that he didn’t know it brought up many more issues. Issues of communication between him and I, and issues about a lack of understanding of one another.

It’s a lot to think about for me, and frankly, I’m exhausted from going over these things in my mind.

So I had a long

So I had a long day today in San Francisco, and something odd happened. I checked before I left, and there was a week of rain forecast for SF. So I went fully prepared….and it turned out to be sunny and warm today in SF. And then, as I’m enjoying the sun’s warmth around 5ish, waiting for my flight back to LA, it gets cancelled. Because of weather. Yeah, you read that right, “weather” in LA, so bad they cancelled a flight.

Last night’s concert was great,

Last night’s concert was great, if you’ve never heard Mose Allison before, you really should check him out.

I wasted a good part of the day rewriting some code at MetaFilter, making information about previous comments and links actually useful. Next to come for that site will be previews and editing of posts for users, email integration so users can know when someone comments on their post, and a new design/colorscheme.

It seems that it was

It seems that it was just a power supply on my home box, I’m back online.

Oh, there was another missed photo opportunity today: I walked by Michael Dukakis on my way to lunch. It’s not that big of a deal to walk by the guy that came in 2nd for the 1988 US Presidency, he works at UCLA as a lecturer, but I only see him once every 6 months or so, so it’s still a minor thrill to see him.