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Citizen Journalism and the Database from Hell

Citizen Journalism stirs up such wonderful images of citizens spotlighting things and bring them to our attention, in such a way as to provoke meaningful change. In most cases this meets with a certain disdain on the part of the Main Stream Media, and for the most part is justified.

Passion and Objectivity are oxymorons.

However every once in a while somebody comes along and tips over the outhouse and the smell gets picked up. BrandweekNRX is a blog written by Dr. Peter Rost, and kicked over the outhouse over Merck and Schering-Plough’s drugs Vitorin and Zetia. Not only the problems related to how well they work, pricing but also insider trading and the Congressional Inquiry. This is noteworty as it does demonstrate that you can Get Things Done.

The Database from hell.

The folks who invented the FICO credit scoring are working on a database for the health care industry. Yes Virginia, there will be graduated care.

The problem with the current health care debate is the assumption that the Insurance Industry has to be saved. When you are in your doctor’s or dentists waiting room and behind the desk are shelves of color coded files of patient information and next to them are more shelves (occupying more space than patient files)of three ring binders containing procedure and forms for health care plans, there is a seriously fucked up health care system.

Really, the vast majority of doctors trained to treat patients, not to be form fillers.

Internet Registration Explained

A lot of sites now want you to register. They figure that they deserve it since you are not buying magazines or newspapers any more.

Here are a standard set of registration comeons

As a member, you can enjoy:
Notice that they call you a member instead of chump, idiot, or moron with an internet connection. Whereas a certain percentage may be morons, they would have to track it, and when they saw how many there are, would get depressed, and have to let go of the more literate contributors, as small words work better.

  • Access to the BlahBlah network, including BlahBlah.com, Blah.mn and BBlahBlah.mn.
  • What they don’t tell you up front is how loaded with cookies and tracking mechanisms, that their site has. In addition to the counting they may do, but trying to find anyone on these sites that know what a logfile is, how to use it, or doing the icky stuff like answering email.
    But being in bed with every ad server, advertiser, or data collector with a checkbook.

  • A customizeable BlahBlah.com home page.
  • Great! Now you get yet another opportunity to jam yourself into yet another box, based on age, gender, political party, and/or boxers or briefs.

  • Chances to win prizes in contests.
  • Shit left over from advertisers who can’t pay the bill for the ad campaign that the sales department sold them on, and so they are trading it out in a last ditch effort, before liquidation, or model year end.

  • Discussions with other members.
  • Yes! You too can have your very own soapbox in your custom internet echo chamber. Sort of like talk radio without noise.

  • Newsletters and alerts in your inbox or on your mobile phone.
  • More crap in your mail box, as they know that you are interested in their offers, because you have a pulse.

  • Discounts and offers from our advertisers.
  • See above on Prizes.

Simon Napier-Bell on the music industry | OMM | The Observer

Simon Napier-Bell on the music industry | OMM | The Observer
Another look at the music business from an insider.

You just think you own your Ford.

In the world of copyright infringement and trademark litigation, there are two industries that have stood out. Toy makers and Car companies. Despite all of the acne fueled yammering, the Music industry is a distant third.

The latest assault on stuff you bought and paid for is the tale of the Black Mustang Club, whose members own Black Mustangs. Recently they put together a calendar of Members cars, to raise funds for the club. From the club site comes this:

“I got some more info from the folks at cafepress and according to them, a law firm representing Ford contacted them saying that our calendar pics (and our club’s event logos – anything with one of our cars in it) infringes on Ford’s trademarks which include the use of images of THEIR vehicles. Also, Ford claims that all the images, logos and designs OUR graphics team made for the BMC events using Danni are theirs as well. Funny, I thought Danni’s title had my name on it … and I thought you guys owned your cars … and, well … I’m not even going to get into how wrong and unfair I feel this whole thing is as I’d be typing for hours, but I wholeheartedly echo everything you guys have been saying all afternoon. I’m not letting this go un-addressed and I’ll keep you guys posted as I get to work on this.”

“I’m sorry, but at this point we will not be producing the 2008 BMC Calendar, featuring our 2007 Members of the Month, solely due to Ford Motor Company’s claim that THEY own all rights to the photos YOU take of YOUR car. I hope to resolve this soon, and be able to provide the calendar and other BMC merchandise that you guys want and deserve! This thread will remain open for you to comment however you wish, and I’ll update it as needed.”
Hattip: Boing Boing

That CafePress knuckled under is a sad commentary.
At some point folks need to stand up and let these people understand what the concept of ownership means. You know, I PAID FOR IT, IT IS MINE, AND I REALLY CAN DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT!
But as long as you have an iPod stuck in your ass, and a iPhone glued to your head, making driving anything inconvenient, let alone dangerous, when Ford stops and writes you a ticket for not washing your car every day, don’t bitch to me.

Here is an idea for you Ford Owners.
Take your Ford to the dealer and have them perform a Copyright and Trademark Compliance Check.
You know, have them make sure that you are not doing anything Illegal, like seat covers, tinted windows, fuzzy dice, or custom paint and wheels. Better check with the state DMV your car is in to make sure that Ford is okay with your Vanity Plate.

Call your insurance Agent and make sure your policy covers you against lawsuits from Ford over Copyright and Trademark Infringement. You could buy a different car also. Don’t buy a Honda or a Porsche, as those folks have been suing fan sites for years.

Facebook Backroom

The Guardian has a very interesting look at the investors behind Facebook. Not the warm fuzzy folks helping you to connect, or even typical venture capitalists, but some really strange folks.

The Democratic “Change” Meme

So the Democrats are beating the “Change” drum. We will Change the way..blah,blah,blah….

While they are saying change they are using the same old tactics to get the ‘message’ out. The bullshit is just as deep and their message may contain hope, but is doomed to failure. Not because their hearts are weak, or their handlers, supporters, and or contributors have agendas, but because none of them is willing to address the structural issues required to effect change.

The major roadblock to change is the legislative process as currently practiced in the US. 7 Years of Bush has shown us the contours of legislative will vs Presidential Fiat. Cases in point, the war, its prosecution, torture as a legal method of information extraction, Legislation and Signing Statements. If you do not know what a Signing Statement is, get with the program.

If anybody wants to effect change, a couple of good ways to do this on the Legislative front is to eliminate the words “and for other purposes” from Legislation. This is the biggest hole in the legislative process equal to tearing off the barn door after the horses have left. Any and every piece of Legislation, needs to deal with one issue period. No amendments, exclusions, extras or additions.
No filibusters.

Eliminate out of state money for congressional and senatorial races. That’s right, you are my senator/congresscritter, you were elected to represent my/our interests, not the interests of somebody from another district or state. This alone will bring down the cost of campaigning.

Simple stuff.

As for me, my wish list is short.

Repeal Copyright protection back to 14 years. The Public Domain is important.

Reinstate the deposit requirement that was eliminated in 1976.
Simplify registration for above.

Robert Scoble – Internet Crash Test Dummy

You build it. He will break it.

crashtestscoble.jpg

Electronics, Phones, Software Networks….
Infinity is the limit.

Music Links

Seth Godin posts about the demise of the music industry. Music Lessons


Clive Thompson notes the deteriorating quality of music overall Why audiophiles are dying out

The last major record label abandons DRM Better late than never: DRM (in music) dies

Jeffery Howell gets some print in Arizona over file sharing
Scottsdale cabby takes on record industry over copying
(An interesting note here is that he is defending himself, as no attorney in Phoenix has stepped up. There just isn’t a lot of money in freedom or liberty.)

There are two related court cases that may drive a stake into the heart of the RIAA. Arista vs Does, and Capitol vs Weed
In both of these cases, Media Sentry is acting for the RIAA as an investigator. In both Oregon and Arizona, you need a license to be a private investigator. This may get these tossed out as illegal search and seizures, collapsing the house of cards the RIAA has built.

Note: These links take you to PDF Documents.
Read the damn things and make up your own mind. Don’t take my word for it. Let’s try and avoid another panic attack like the Washington Post started a couple of weeks back. Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use

2008 the year of waiting

2008 will be the year of waiting. Waiting for common sense to break out. Waiting for the candidates to figure out that the Iraq Problem has a simple solution.

PARTITION. Chop it up into three semi autonomous regions. Shiastan, Sunnistan, and Kurdistan. The current and continuing problems are all related to being one of the three. Sunni’s and Shia’s don’t like each other, the Kurds just want to be left alone. The Adminstration’s grand plan of Enlightment through Democracy is such an expensively absymal failure as to boggle the mind.

Semi Autonomous as the underlying issue and revenue is oil, which should be shared equally. Basically the Iraq Congress can be a bookeeper, and leave the rest of the living to the folks in their states. Shia and Sunni will be able to live in their own states, and will figure out that not everything in the known universe is subject to religious law. Kurdistan will be a problem in the short term for the Turks and Afghans, as both countries have been trying to wipe them out for years with no success.

Israel will be the biggest problem diplomatically in terms of being able to pull this off, their continuing bickering over Palestine will be spotlighted for the bullshit it is.

2008 will be the year of waiting.  Waiting for folks to return Copyright back to 14 years. Repudiate the Berne  Convention and the Paraguay  Rounds, dismantle WIPO, and start over.

2008 will be the year of waiting. Waiting for folks to get over gender as an issue of worth, a scapegoat, or a crutch.

2008 will be the year of waiting. Waiting for folks to value each other.

2009 may be a happy new year, but 2008 is gonna suck.