Older blog entries for dmarti (starting at number 437)

Red and Yellow cards, and trolls

The Red/Yellow Card project (a way to respond to creepy people at conferences) is a great idea, except for the small problem that trolls might run a scavenger hunt with the object of deliberately getting cards. To reduce the lulz to be had from this, I suggest leaving one of each type of card in the men's room, so that simply holding a card doesn't mean anything.

If you see me at a conference please give me a few cards and I'll help with this. A few men's room users willing to do this would encourage the seeking of lulz elsewhere.

Syndicated 2012-08-18 15:47:03 from Don Marti

Anyone using old MSIE here?

It doesn't look as if many of you are really using versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer before version 8. Up-to-date browsers support the q tag, but, as Stacey Cordoni wrote in 2006, Because of IE/Win’s lack of support for the Q tag, the Q tag is not used by many web designers or web authors.

(You should see the quotation, the part after the comma in the previous sentence, inside quotation marks. On old versions of MSIE, before version 8 fixed it, the quotation marks don't show up.)

It looks like most of my traffic that seems to be from old MSIE is just spam scripts pretending to be old MSIE. Here's a vintage browser:

"Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Digital AlphaServer 1000A 4/233; Windows NT; Powered By 64-Bit Alpha Processor)"

Looks like it just did a GET on the home page and a POST to the comment spamtrap. So user experience in that browser is not going to be a priority.

I know the User-Agent is probably fake, but I almost want to believe in the DIGITAL MARKETING POWER GURU who's actually been running this thing all these years. Maybe the inventor of web comment spam just paid me a call.

Anyway, if you want to use a version of MSIE earlier than 8 on this site, you will probably start seeing quoted text that doesn't make sense because of the q problem. I don't want to join the browser of the week club, but I want to get rid of the typewriter quotes, too. It might make sense to upgrade.

Syndicated 2012-08-18 13:46:33 from Don Marti

Link frenzy: Web design

(Must fix the layout of this site. In the meantime, a little research...)

Grids, Design Guidelines, Broken Rules, and the Streets of New York City

Do not anger the grumpy wizards: Avoiding Faux Weights And Styles With Google Web Fonts

Ben Schwarz announces a new, useful reference side on HTML5: HTML5, for web developers

Stu Maschwitz on Gradually Falling in Love with Plain Text: In my case, I practically had to invent Markdown on my own before I realized how great it was.

Smashing Magazine: New High-Quality Free Fonts

Mainstream Media department: Making of: People Magazine's Responsive Mobile Website, People opens full mobile buffet after years of snacks

Jonathan Cutrell has some Git wisdom for webmasters: From FTP to Git: A Deployment Story. (See also gondor deploy, another way to deploy your web site from Git.)

Source Sans Pro: Adobe’s first open source type family (in other news, Dmitry Sklyarov still free.)

Interview with author Rachel Hinman. explore and invent new and more human ways for people to interact with information. The complexity of designing for everywhere

Christian Heilmann: Datatable to barchart without images, libraries or plugins

Syndicated 2012-08-18 12:18:00 from Don Marti

Hey, kids! Blogroll!

As you can probably tell if you've been reading this site on a browser and not in a feed reader, I've been dorking around with the layout. Right now the whole three-column thing is gone and everything is in one column. I don't know if I'm going to do a media query thing to move stuff into other columns, or just clean up the one-column thing and have it look all minimal and stuff.

Anyway, the blogroll section here has gotten a little out of date, and since I now have a Python script that now pulls in...let's see...3875 feeds, I made it dynamically generate the blogroll based on who's actually posting, and what I've been linking to. Some obvious ones in there ("Schneier on Security", "Doc Searls Weblog") and some not so obvious.

Yes, I know that the grumpy wizards are at work in the blogroll iframe but not on the rest of the page, I'll see what I can do.

Syndicated 2012-08-17 14:11:17 from Don Marti

Media shoppers rejoice: DRM-free labeling is here

OPEN: DRM-Free Technology logo DRM-Free logo



Back in the day, Lydia Kinata at Linux Journal came up with a nifty logo for "Open: DRM-Free Technology", and we got a bunch of stickers printed up, made the logo free to copy and redistribute, and handed them out at LinuxWorld...where they promptly got collected with a bunch of other stickers and stuff and, I guess, forgotten. Even at a technology event, we had to explain to a lot of people what "DRM" is.

I still think DRM-free labeling is a great idea, though, so it's good to see the Defective By Design project now doing a "DRM-Free" logo, which is now in use at Magnatune, oreilly.com, and other places. RTWT for more links.

Bonus link (if you read one article on DRM and business, make it this one): Charles Stross explains how going DRM-free matters to publishers and authors.

Syndicated 2012-08-16 12:47:51 from Don Marti

Advertising with the wrong signaling, a sighting

Good example of an advertising signaling problem: Chris Castle on BMW’s Response to Ads for Its Brands on Pirate Sites. Somehow, BMW advertising ended up running on an unlicensed album download page, on a site called mp3crank.

Castle writes: "Brands like BMW are in a unique position to both (a) stop the money and (b) demand a rebate from their ad agency or ad network. But then we are always told that none of these ad networks (or ad exchanges) profit from piracy because their contracts say they don’t."

But this isn't just a problem with ads ending up on user-generated content, or user-"generated" infringing content. The power of the ad is in its ability to signal that the advertiser spend money on the ad. An ad on a cheesy illegal download carries no signal at best, and more likely a signal in the wrong direction.

Dalton Caldwell writes about the problem of advertising on inexpensive content here: Hot Dogs & Caviar. He makes the excellent point that the Valley hasn't converted cheap content "hot dogs" into high-performing ad "caviar". Now it seems that we're starting to realize that there is no adtech Holy Grail. Infringing, user-generated, and other cheap content fails to carry the signal that costly content does, no matter how much math you do on it.

Couple of bonus links. This piece, How BuzzFeed is bucking banner ads with curated content and social advertising, has a—well, let's just say "direct"—view of online advertising's effectiveness: "99% of internet users do not click ads and those that do are often members of the wrong audience—older, lower income, basically irrelevant." (They probably drink Thunderbird wine and run Microsoft Internet Explorer, too. Who needs them?)

Interesting post by Bill Lee: Marketing Is Dead. (Maybe the answer is two steps: first stop treating "social" as part of marketing, and second, stop de-skilling customer service jobs, and unblock experienced service and support people's access to social sites.)

Syndicated 2012-08-14 14:43:05 from Don Marti

Assorted links


The Unbearable Stasis of "Accelerating Change" (via Charles Stross: Deconstructing our future)

A Day in the Life of a Developer Evangelist

Failure of Leadership in the GitHub Model of Collaborative Software Development

Maybe We’d Behave Better With Horrible Winters

News from the patent wars: Don’t Feed the Troll!

Engendering Change? Gender Advocacy in Open Source

Ikea data viz hack FTW: Desk with Meters

What Are The Politics Of The Internet?

Google On The L Train: Sci-fi, Wifi And The MTA

Intellectual Ventures Loses Its Shine: Will Its Business Model Ever Work?

We Have Too Many Patents, Not Too Few

Why Is Job Growth Tepid?—Posner

Reinventing Affordable Housing: Tiny and cheap instead of large and expensively subsidized

Alameda to allow construction of new apartments

When the Army Was Democratic

Fight For Your Right to Go Paleo

The End of Free Conference Calls

Japanese Robot Can Beat Humans At Rock-Paper-Scissors Every Time

The Best Sales Reps Avoid "Talkers"

Earn Customer Loyalty Without Losing Your Shirt

Developer evangelism tasks: pre-emptive writing

The Twin Cities' broadband challenge

How to Grow Food in a Drought

Dumping iron at sea can bury carbon for centuries, study shows

I can understand that it wasn't Free from day one, but why not code escrow to protect your favorite applications from being acq-hired into oblivion? The real reason we’re upset about Sparrow’s acquisition

Walkability, Mobility, and Freedom (and you don't have software freedom either, if you don't know how to use it.)

Advertising Gets Personal

I Am the Intern Who Reads All of Your Mocking Tweets at the Official Taco Bell Twitter Account by Liz Arcury

The economics of Google Fiber and what it means for U.S. broadband

3D printed weapons and FUD.

Can We Quantify a Good Walk?

Parking Policy in Seattle Gets Less Bad

The Guerilla Guide to Social Business

Ask A Writer: In Which I Exhort You To Care Less

How to work from home and not suck at it

HuffPo, The Daily and the flawed iPad content model

The new environmentalism: where men must act 'as gods' to save the planet | Paul Kingsnorth

Effective web managers tackle digital governance

Man, if someone could combine the addictivness of gaming with the benefits of exercise, life would be good. Hope this guy can pull it off: The Most Ambitious Project I’ve Ever Announced

Do Not Track in the Windows 8 Setup Experience

What Google Fiber Says about Tech Policy: Fiber Rings Fit Deregulatory Hands

MIT Economist: Here's How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

LibreOffice progress to 3.6.0

Karen McGrane – Content Strategy for Mobile

Is the Hacker Dojo worth saving? (spoilers: yes!)

Important DMCA/SEO connection that I'm surprised wasn't there already: An update to our search algorithms

And a response: Paved with Good Intentions

It’s A Dark Time To Be A Consumer In The Cloud

Google Copyright Transparency Report

All Your Work Should Be Sand Castles

Good demo video, showing email as part of workflow: Alfresco demo showing rule based on lat/lon, Mobile App, & CMIS

I could not sleep after I read this in hardcover: Hugo-nominated sf novel Blindsight available for free

Better than some of the crazy crap they're selling at the Post Office now: How to Save the Postal Service

Atul Gawande: Can hospital chains improve the medical industry?

Syndicated 2012-08-14 14:10:26 from Don Marti

Best Linux distribution for new users?

Rikki Endsley just put up a blog post on picking a Linux distribution: Which Linux Is “The Best Linux” for Windows Users? There's a quote from me in there, which I based on this thing I wrote a while ago: How to pick a distribution, for hobbyists. My humble opinion here is that the best distribution for a new user is the one that's easiest to get help on, which means something that your source of Linux help is familiar with. Much of the stuff that's trickiest for new users is the stuff that's different from distribution to distribution.

But I think I'm probably just pushing the problem up a level. I have no idea how I would find a productive user group or other forum, starting from scratch today. Work outward from my regular social network, I guess. Or go to a community conference such as SCaLE, and see who has a good presence there.

Benjamin Mako Hill covers A Model of Free Software Success, and points out that the ethical component of the choice to work on Free Software is vitally important, especially if you're at the stage that Linux was, pre-1998. "Essentially, a few hackers are motivated enough by the ethical principles behind free software that they are willing to contribute to it even when it isn't clearly better than proprietary alternatives."

To me, it looks like the appeal has three components: pure hack value, or the desire to build something fun and elegant; freedom value, the desire to develop/legislate (Code is Law, remember) a better technology layer for society; and the desire to make a living. Everyone I know in the Free Software scene has some of each. How well does today's Linux scene, as seen by a new user, appeal to each of those? I don't think the making a living is a problem, since there are plenty of good Linux and free software job opportunities, but how well does the public-facing community show the appeal of hacking and making Freedom? Maybe the availabilty of the Dell Sputnik, plus the ambitious Ubuntu community will be a positive step.

Syndicated 2012-08-14 13:23:41 from Don Marti

Sunday morning articles

Recent thought-provoking articles from the RSS-o-sphere. Enjoy.

Ken Murray follows up on How Doctors Die with Doctors Really Do Die Differently. "When asked whether they would want cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, if they were in a chronic coma, about 90 percent of the Johns Hopkins doctors said no. Only about 25 percent of the public gives the same answer."

Media is not converging, it is diverging (convergence only leads to conflict). Good point of view on the differences between marketing and social. (Maybe we should just stop calling it "social media" because that sounds like something you can throw advertising at.)

John Scalzi: A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It.

Doug Saunders: The Three Lies Michele Bachmann Tells about American Muslims. "All data point to Muslim immigrants and their children integrating into their surrounding societies as fast as, and sometimes faster than, the poor Catholics and Jews of the last century."

Barry Eisler: You Will Be Assimilated. "What are the warning signs, the real metrics a well-intentioned and clear-eyed journalist should consider before her subornment begins, and by which she can judge whether her integrity is slowly being compromised, corroded, and lost?"

Syndicated 2012-08-12 14:44:49 from Don Marti

Who's pocketing open source wealth?

Shane Greenstein asks, Does the clothesline paradox apply to IT? If you use the sun to dry your clothes instead of an electric dryer, your clothes are just as dry, but measured economic activity goes down. Same for open source software. Greenstein writes,

[W]hen a new technology (which uses the free inputs) substitutes for existing economic activity, on first glance it looks like the new technology brings about a decline in total economic activity. That appearance is misleading, of course, because the savings goes into other economic activity, but those gains are diffuse and difficult to identify.

Where do the gains go? Some of them must end up with open-source-using companies. Simon Phipps, citing a report from O'Reilly and Associates, calls this effect the stealth stimulus package. But gains are also ending up in paychecks. Software is really two complementary goods: the codebase and the maintenance programming. Push the price of one good to zero, and the price of the other goes up. For example, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reported on a survey done by Dice.com and the Linux Foundation.

"While the average pay increase for tech professionals averaged just two percent in 2011...according to Dice's annual Salary Survey, in 2011, Linux professionals saw a five percent increase, year-over-year, in their pay as well as a 15 percent jump in bonus payouts."

And that's for "Linux professionals" in general. For authors of important code on which other code depends, the deal can be much sweeter. Joey Hess writes, in a blog comment on David N. Welton's "In Thrall to Scarcity," "I think that the scarcity I am taking advantage of is that of deep knowledge of infrastructure. The kind of knowledge that you get by writing pieces of code that become infrastructure."

Using open source in business is sort of like hiring an employee who owns his or her own tools. In the case of hiring an open source developer, though, the "ownership" of the tools is in the form of expertise, something that's personal and that can't be sold or securitized. (Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Karl Marx.)

So who else is profiting from open source? The tax man. A lot of corporate tax returns look something like this: "We actually didn't make any profit because we had to send all our money to Example.com Software Licensing Trust in Taxhavenistan, so we owe nothing." As open source tends to reduce easily relocatable licensing streams, and increase paychecks in Portland and Mountain View, the public sector is getting a piece of the open source gains as well.

Syndicated 2012-08-06 14:00:52 from Don Marti

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