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Some Copyrights are more Equal than others, but everybody is waiting.

Copyright is seriously screwed up. Don’t get me started.
Now the Copyright Office is seriously screwed up. The Washington Post has this:
© 2009? Wishful Thinking, Perhaps, as Backlog Mounts

For $35 you can file electronically, for $45 you can file by mail, (which is going up to $65 in August) and for $695 bucks you can file an ‘expedited’ registration. Nowhere in the intent of Copyright was a class system mentioned.

Being granted copyright and registering it are two different animals, with serious implications.

Maybe we should outsource the Copyright Office to Google, as they seem to be the only folks who can copy, present, publish and announce stuff in near real time.

Digital Thug – Abandonment Tracker Pro

Online website sales provide a company a cost effective way to offer products and services without a lot of the overhead with physical locations. They also provide physical stores the ability to reach prospects on a global scale.

In the online world there are many tricks that websites use to track you. From requiring cookies to be turned on to use websites, placing multiple cookies on your computer from third party ad servers, to requiring registration with personal information for use.
The goals of these are ‘stated’ as being necessary to bring you superior service and separate you from your money. Everybody says that they keep this information private, and only share it with the people in the company, and online partners, who they disclaim and disavow in terms of what they do with this information. Basically your ass gets sold down the river to anybody with a checkbook.

Online Shopping carts get abandoned all the time for any number of reasons. One of the biggest factors in this the ability to get Quality, Price, and Service, which, off line you had to settle for one or two and could not get all three.

Getting you to buy is magic. There is no script, offering, or sale that will convert lookers into buyers. Online merchants have tried all sorts of things. Usually when you left a site, you were done, just like walking out of a store at the mall. You moved on, they moved on.  But there continue to be various digital schemes to convert you into a cash cow.

The latest scheme is the Digital Thug of the Week – Abandonment Tracker Pro

This NYT article Just Browsing? A Web Store May Follow You Out the Door gives you a good overview of how this technology works.

Abandonment Tracker Pro which says “Abandonment Tracker Pro’s real-time behavioral targeting algorithms automatically tune themselves to your site’s unique characteristics,” like these:

Automated abandonment follow-up campaigns

* First response in real time
* Multi-stage campaigns to maximize conversion
* Intelligent handling of repeat visitors ensures offer integrity

Self-learning behavioral targeting

* Self-optimizing follow up optimizes revenues
* Advanced behavioral analytics
* Learns when an offer is needed to maximize conversion

Easy integration

* Prepackaged integration with major email systems
* Prepackaged integration with major CRM systems
* Easy integration with your internal systems

Source http://www.seewhy.com/atpro

This is digital thuggery.

Imagine walking out of a store and having a salesperson following you down the street, screaming “Why didn’t You BUY!!!” This is the digital equivelent of what these people are offering. You get demoted from customer or prospect to ‘abandoner’.
Getting an email and or a phone call from an online shopping expedition is the ugliest thing I have encountered to date. Companies that use this technology, may see a short term sales rise, but once the implications of this sink in, they will not get any repeat business.

Offering me shopping is one thing, but stalking me because I didn’t buy, guarantees that I will never darken your site or door again.
The sites that will take the biggest ass whooping are those that make you put items in the shopping cart to see the ‘best price’.

Here is their most recent customer list. At least those that actually admit to using this.

You Can’t Delete Stupid

You Can’t Delete Stupid
The latest lunacy on the interwebs is the kerfluffle over Holocaust Deniers. Those being the folks who believe that the Holocaust never happened.
Rabid calls are going out as the sensitives are acting like Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant and that this will start a revolution.

Never mind freedom of speech, association or expression. You have a shot of curing ignorance. Legislating it away doesn’t work either. Think War On Drugs. The most startling assumption made with these periodic moral cleansings is that if you don’t agree, you are the enemy, and cannot belong with the good people. Ask any felon who has served their time and according to the State, has paid their debt. There is nothing on the planet or between the chair and keyboard that won’t cause a disagreement sometime. It is amazing how intelligent folks forget that.
You Can’t Delete Stupid

Google is a Next Guy.

In the real world there are two types of folks, Other Guy and Next Guy.
Other Guy is the one who does the absolute minimum and in case of any problem blames the Other Guy.
Next Guy is the one who anticipates what is coming next, and does their job with an eye toward making it easier for the next guy to do their job. These two types live online also.

Google is a Next Guy.
People bitch about Google incessantly. But when you look at their bitching, it pretty much ends being an Other Guy whine session.
Google is not an advertising company. Despite all of the whining by Agencies, Newspapers, and Magazines, and the whole Social Media PR industry, Google figured out how to make advertising work on the web. Text Links. Basic and entirely too low tech for the Web 2.0 crowd and your Flashturbators, whose idea of a good ad is to yell at you. Putting the guy who is actually paying for the ad budget in control was a stroke of genius. Sharing some of that with independent web site owners closed the deal.

Google is not a search company. You wouldn’t know it especially since Googling anything is usually the first step in finding things on the web. Here again, stripping it down to the absolute basic, pointed out that Keeping It Simple will win every time. I think that the Chief Googlers have gotten over the whole verb thing as well.

Google is an Information Company. They collect information, collate it, store it, and spit it back out. They are not evil incarnate, nor are they the savior of civilization. Information has a neutral value. People fuck it up.
Google is a Next Guy.
Here is a slide of what Google is doing.
You might want to print it out and mount it above your mirror.

Health Records and the folks who bill

Online health records are getting a lot of publicity, but very little significant traction. In one of the more public tests e-patient Dave recounts his experience in uploading to Google Health. And here is the spin behind that experience.

A couple of issues stand out for me. One is the insurance billing code nonsense. Every Insurance company has Not Invented Here Syndrome. So every time you are exposed to a hospital experience, a small army of billers has to drag down the particular manual to be able to submit a claim in hopes of getting paid. That this adminitrivia is such a large part of overhead is part of what is driving health care costs through the roof.

Part of the current adminstration’s plan should be to create codes for all procedures and require insurance companies to use them or not have a hope in hell of getting a dime. The VA has such a system that seems to work.

Hospitals need to change. They are currently being run like hotels. You get charged for everything in the place, regardless of use. They look at occupancy rates, and add extras, to make their ‘nut’. The design is lunatic. If you have ever needed blood work, x-rays, and MRI’s you find yourself riding elevators and stacking up mileage as they move your around like grocery stores putting the milk bread and eggs at the back of the store. This helps them keep you there longer to get an extra day of occupancy out of your insurance company. Fixing the problems is not the preferred outcome, as the longer they can keep you, the more they can charge.

Out Patient Aftercare is heresy of the blackest sort, because of the billing scenario above. Insurance companies are not working to reduce hospital stays either as this article in the NYT shows.

They are not paying for health, they are paying for procedures. Seriously fucked up.

Vendor Relationship Management and Personal Health Records

VRM is a theory that we own our data and should be in control of our relationships with folks who want to sell us stuff.

Dave over at e-patients has posted “Meaningful Use”: a pivotal definition for new-wave medical records systems which looks at coming medical records that are headed to the same place.

Dave outlined these principles on medical records.

My principles

* Patient is a first-person word. Your time will come: someday it will be you, your child, your mother, your spouse on that hospital bed or at that roadside being tended by an EMT. The way to think about this is in the first person: “my data,” not “patients’ data.”
* It’s my data. It’s my life that’s at stake. I have a right to seek the best care in the world, and if that means exporting a copy of my data from your system and taking it somewhere else, I have a right to do that..
* Corollary: No more proprietary data. Whose data is it, anyway? We must put an end to the era where a system provider thinks the data they collect is their property. Lives are at stake. Vendors must adapt to a world where they earn their margins by creating on-going value, not by holding data captive. This includes images (CT scans, MRIs, etc) as well as lab results and everything else.
* Let each constituency say what works for them. Patients shouldn’t say what doctors need, and doctors shouldn’t mandate how patients should and shouldn’t describe things. (Warning: experts on both sides should be able to comment on / warn the other about apparent errors. Docs must be able to say “Whoops, you overlooked this,” and patients must be able to say “Whoops, you overlooked this.”) [[link to medpedia post]]
* Enable participatory medicine – doctor-patient collaboration. Make it possible for each party to view the same data. (Ideally, I’d like to enable collaboration tools such as online discussion of my medical records – but that’s beyond the scope of this post.)Source e-patient.net

Replace Patient with Customer and you see what I mean.

Bonus Link: Health Care Relationship Management

The Desperation of Blu-ray DVD Act 2

In the latest flogging of BluRay comes a single report that BluRay Consumer Awareness and Sales On the Rise.

Consumer Awareness? Try Swine Flu.

According to the release:

“with 6 percent of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded similarly in the August report”

Out of an online survey of 6,994 consumers, which would equal 499 folks over 430 from August. Not real inspiring for an expensive proprietary format whose major use is in game consoles. This report comes from the NPD Group who says this at the bottom of this release:

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,700 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions.

You can figure out who paid for this.
As far as sales are concerned, Twilight sold 5.2 million copies it’s first weekend of availability of which BluRay was 5%

You can run out and buy a BluRay player for 250 bucks or you can spend 70-100 on an upsampling DVD player and use the movies you already own.

Code, Privacy, and Copyright

HTML is the language of websites. For a number of years the W3C has been the  accepted authority on the bits of code and tags that make up what shows up on your screen. As technology has changed, there has been a number of people who think about and are working on coming up with a new version of HTML which includes various hooks to display different types of information.

The point of various ‘standards’ is to try to get what is written to show up hopefully the same in the various browsers.  This is a battle that has been going on since the second browser showed up. There is work on a new standard taking place right now. It is not going well. Shelley Powers has a great post on what it means, and the spitballing going on.

A lot of what is creating confusion is not deciding what a tag does, but more in what can be hooked up to it, and what can be extracted from it. Where cases can be made for Sematic tags, RDF Frameworks, common tags for extraction, all of this disconnects the writer from the user, and opens the door for forming technologies that manipulate these various elements in ‘novel’ ways.  The problem with machine readable tagging is the garbage in, garbage out, problem. If you can’t get it on the screen in the browser it doesn’t matter what you can do with it.

On the privacy front with the aforementioned code lunacy and allowing third party scripting reporting to someone trying to sell you something, collating your viewing and surfing habits, are a number of tools to stop this behavior. Tools like AdBlock Plus can cut down on a significant invasion of your privacy. Highly Recommended!
Adobe and its Macromedia product Flash which runs so many video sites, sets cookies in non standard locations for tracking, and are not easily removed. If you try to block them, sites break. Never mind that Adobe has never respected either your privacy nor your choice in your home. One of the first versions of the Flash Player turned on your webcam and microphone by default, and you had to change it to regain your privacy. Getting rid of Flash cookies is harder, But Wladimir Palant has a trick for doing that.
Getting rid of Flash cookies It is a little complicated, which just points out the lengths that companies and organizations will go to in order to invade your privacy and sell you down the river.

Copyright in the US is irretrievably broken. It has moved from a simple limited time monopoly for writers and artists into a gigantic entitlement program for the Industrial Entertainment Complex. Mike Masnick at Tech Dirt has a great writeup on a conference celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Copyright Act of 1909 .
Read the posting.

Significant were the conclusions that International treaties are bullshit. I have long been an advocate of reducing Copyright back to 14 years, and re instituting Registration for Protection. Registration does not have to be a big deal especially in the internet age. Nor does it have to be expensive. Such a registration methodology can eliminate a lot of the present court time being sucked up litigating copyright issues, when a simple online search of the Registration Database can answer these questions.
Copyright is not a welfare program for the entertainment industry.


Taking a smoke break from the particle board bathrooms I discovered this guy.
He decided that a full frontal shot was what I needed.