A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD!

Remember Fantasy Island? The Magical Place with umbrella drinks and a staff who sorted out the problems you didn’t know you had while you were on vacation?

Yep Boys and Girls, The CLOUD!!, the latest nonsense from the freaks and geeks inhabiting the basements of Software Marketers, Social Media and their red headed stepchildren, the Internet Identity folks.

In a nutshell cloud computing means having files located on a computer somewhere else and making them available to you wherever, and whenever you are connected to the Internet.

The theory is that having your files located in the cloud, your company can be more productive, folks can work from anywhere, and hand over the hassle of managing your companies data, applications, and business information, both public and private to a third party who promises to make them secure, lower the cost of ownership, and have rainbows shooting out of your ass at the next shareholders meeting.

Microsoft has a strong vested interest in getting companies into the cloud as they are trying to move the core office applications to the internet like Office 365, moving everyone they can to Outlook.com in an attempt to keep the revenue up as personal computing sales have dropped, Windows 8 can be characterized as either Vista2, or BOB 3,(BOB 2 being Windows Me) depending on how far back your memory goes. Subscriptions are the new green at Microsoft. They are not alone. Google, Amazon, and others are offering you the cloud also.

Think about having your companies data on a computer located outside of your control, on the internet, which has a nasty habit getting broadcast far outside your network. Can you say Wikileaks?

Doc Searls who I know and love, has spent probably longer on the web than I have, whose work on Digital Identity and VRM is second to none, recently introduced the concept of the Personal Cloud.

Doc’s perspective on Digital Identity and VRM Vendor Relationship Management is filtered by his earlier life owning and running an Advertising Agency. He views the Internet as a place where we should be in charge of our Digital Identity and through that mechanism also Manage Relationships with Vendors aks companies that want to sell us stuff. We just disagree on how to manage those relationships.

My response to VRM is ARM aka Advertiser Rights Management [1] [2]. Block them all and find what you are looking for yourownself.

Doc and I agree that our digital identity has to be under our control. Establishing a Bombproof Digital Identity is an enormously thorny problem, technically. The best and brightest are working on it.

The Cloud are your files located somewhere else addressable across the internet. Sort of like this website. More on that in a minute.

Which brings us to The Personal Cloud.

Let me see…..
files stored on a computer somewhere else, Check!
available across the internet Check!
tied to someone Check!
secured under many layers of encryption Not so Much.

Holy Crap Pixel Man!
Welcome to the head lemurs personal cloud.
This is also my digital identity.

See! we already have personal clouds. Mine probably isn’t as fluffy as most, but hey its mine.

Website Terms and Conditions Unenforceable – Blockbuster, Facebook and Beacon Oh My!

Website Terms and Conditions have always been bullshit to me. I have posted about them numerous times, especially Social Network and other Sharing sites in relationship to their intellectual property land grab regarding your copyrights and their requiring you to grant them:

” a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with ” [insert your favorite sharing site/ social network here]

The presumption on the part of website owners is that you will take any shit that they choose to shovel at you, agree to whatever they say forms a contract between you and them, retaining the ability to change the Terms and Conditions at any time, that you lose the ability to sue in a court of law, must submit to binding arbitration, on their terms and at the location of their choice, and that your visit is a voluntary, reasoned, and contractual obligation.

This is analogous to entering a store and being forced to make a purchase because you walked into their door. Even casino’s don’t pull this crap, and they are a lot more adept at separating you from your money.

Website Terms and Conditions Unenforceable – Blockbuster, Facebook and Beacon

A recent decision of US District Court for the Northern District of Texas has ruled Blockbuster’s Website Terms and Conditions ‘illusory‘ and therefore unenforceable.
Illusory promises are so named because they merely hold the illusion of contract. This is the Whimpy Burger contract, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.  Tuesday never comes….

This case was brought by Cathryn Harris, who was a Blockbuster Online customer, had a Facebook Page and got sucked up in the Beacon Advertising Program. Basically what happened was that her Blockbuster purchases got sucked out of Blockbuster, passed through Beacon and the broadcast on her Facebook Page and ‘shared’ with her Facebook Friends.

The money shot is from the Register UK

“The Court concludes that the Blockbuster arbitration provision is illusory,” said the judge, Barbara Lynn. “There is nothing in the Terms and Conditions that prevents Blockbuster from unilaterally changing any part of the contract other than providing that such changes will not take effect until posted on the website.”
Source: The Register ‘Website terms unenforceable due to unlimited right to amend’
Here is The ruling (6-page pdf)

This is a Victory for everybody with an internet connection.
Doc Searls and the Project VRM folks should be all over this like white on rice. One of the principals of VRM, is that we have the right to manage our relationships with Vendors, by expressly determining what, if any information we share. This is not limited to what information we explicitly provide, but will soon put a stop to website cookie tracking, third party ad network tracking and Behavioral Targeting.

Driving a Stake into ‘binding arbitration’ is just gravy.
My viewing your website does not obligate me to join, purchase, or agree to your terms and conditions at any time for any reason.
This means that every website and social network is going to have to acknowledge that its visitors and  members are the only reason for its existence and change their Terms and Conditions to understand that we are equal partners and not sacks of flesh for you to slice and dice, and sell off to any asshole with a checkbook.