November 2006 Archives


If you're thinking already about holiday gifts, I suggest you take a look at the MAKE Magazine Open Source Gift Guide. Lots of very cool stuff that you can REALLY "play with" after you get.

Second Life Events
CNET Interviews Joi Ito

Come hear CNET News.com reporter Daniel Terdiman (GreeterDan Godel) interview well-known entrepreneur, venture capitalist, virtual worlds innovator, Internet visionary, Technorati executive Joi Ito. He will come to talk about his experiences using virutal worlds as a tool to manage co-workers, about his World of Warcraft guild, about his investments and so much more. Come to the CNET bureau, listen to a 1-on-1 discussion and ask Joi a question yourself. When you arrive at the CNET building, you can fly up to the top floor through the open balcony on the right side of the building. Please come and join us for what is sure to be a fun and inspiring conversation.

See you there.

David Beckemeyer's PhoneGnome just did a pretty substantial upgrade. You can now use any SIP device to call PhoneGnome users for free. The new website lets you set up the call easily. You can also register all of your phone number (mobile phone, etc.) and not just the land line that your PhoneGnome is connected to.

Here's an announcement on their blog.

Disclaimer: I'm involved in this company.


Chuou
I live in a small village in Chiba. Our village has no city water, city gas or city sewage. In other words, we have a well for water, have a big propane tank for our gas and have a septic tank that gets emptied twice a year or so. Our town has agricultural roots, but mostly these days it is a sort of sleepy town where about half of the people work for the local government in one way or another. I think we were the first "new family" to move in in decades.

About 10 minutes away by car there is an area of Chiba called "Chiba New Town". The train I take to work stops there after my stop at a station called "Chiba New Town Chuo". Chuo basically means "center". Recently, the trains and stations and other media have been plastered with a huge branding campaign which involves the invention of a new word called 中央ism or Chuoism. I'm not sure exactly what's so "ism" about living in Chuo, but they boast that it is "close" (1 hr) to Tokyo and only one train to Haneda airport (will take you longer than an hour) and by 2010 will have a direct train to Narita airport.

There are huge condos and big malls and shopping centers. I'm not sure how successful this campaign is, but it's really odd to me. People are moving 1 hour away to buy condos in high rises in the middle of a rather beautiful rural area. This "Chuoism" seems like some sort of knockoff of American suburbia with all of the favorite fast food and shop chains in convenient malls. I've eaten there a few times and none of the restaurants are as good as the wonderful small restaurants scattered around the villages nearby.

For the convenience of having city water (probably not as tasty as my well water) and city sewage, you pay approximately 40 times the price per square meter of condo floor space as I did for land at my current house. It is a pretty high premium considering you're sharing the land with everyone you're stacked with and the bulk of the value is the condo which depreciates in value over time.

I guess that they probably had to invent a whole new "ism" to justify the rather illogical behavior (to me) that this sort of satellite suburbia represents. Thanks but no thanks.

Obligatory disclaimer : I visit but don't live there so I don't know all of the perks. I am just not convinced by what I have seen or by the advertising. I apologize if you live in one of these condos and are enjoying your life. Maybe you can chime in and let me know what the appeal is and why it deserves a whole new "ism".

I'll be going to New York for this:

2nd Annual Benefit for WITNESS, Dec. 11, 2006, NYC

FOCUS FOR CHANGE
The Second Annual Dinner and Concert to Benefit WITNESS
Co-Hosted by WITNESS Founder Peter Gabriel and Gael Garcia Bernal
Performances by Paul Simon, Angélique Kidjo and Kate Pierson & Fred Schneider of the B-52's

TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR TABLES online click here. For more information or to order tickets by phone call (718) 783-2000 ext. 304; To order by e-mail events@witness.org. Pricing is below.

Click here to download an invitation.

Last year was a blast. This was the most fun I had last year while doing something for positive for human rights. It should be an amazing event this year too. We still have seats available so if you're interested, please sign up and pass it on to your friends.

Another thief has been put to justice by the Law. Phew. (Sarcasm in case you didn't get that...)

Lucky he didn't sing Happy Birthday too, or he'd be in even bigger trouble.

Mainichi Daily News
Elderly harmonica player arrested for performing copyrighted songs at bar

A 73-year-old bar manager who illegally performed copyrighted tunes by the Beatles and other artists on the harmonica was arrested Thursday on suspicion of violating the Copyright Law, police said.

Arrested was Masami Toyoda, of Tokyo's Nerima-ku. He has reportedly admitted to the allegations against him.

Investigators accuse Toyoda of illegally performing 33 songs such as the Beatles' songs "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Yesterday," whose copyrights are managed by the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. He allegedly performed the songs on the harmonica with a female pianist at the bar he operated between August and September this year.

Via CB

Today, Creative Commons launched the first CC Swag Photo Contest on Flickr to promote our Annual Fundraising Campaign. The contest offers a chance for people to win prizes for creatively photographing their CC Swag (t-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc. — all available from the Support the Commons store) and showing their support for CC during this critical fundraising period. Two winners will have their photos used on Creative Commons' informational postcards, which will be distributed internationally to promote CC and the winning photographers. Winners will receive 100 copies of the postcard with their photo. The winners will also be able to choose a Creative Commons board member to record a personalized outgoing voicemail announcement — that's right, your friends can be greeted by Lawrence Lessig every time they call you! For more information, please visit the contest page and read the rules.

I'll be giving a short (10 min) talk about the World of Warcraft at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco later today. One paper that inspired some of my thinking (and will inspiring a longer blog post soon) is an excellent working paper by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas that you can get from the USC Annenberg Center Working Papers site.

Special thanks to Kazpah for helping me put together my slides...

I recently blogged about some of the issues I have with YouTube. Revver, on the other hand, does two things right. They share the proceeds from advertising with the artist and they've figured out and advertising model that still allows you to download the video. Revver uses a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license which does not allow remix and derivative works, but does allow sharing.

Creative Commons has launched fundraising campaign with Revver.

Creative Commons and Revver launch Viral Video Fundraising Campaign
Submitted by Eric Steuer on 2006-11-01 01:04 PM.

Today, Creative Commons launches a brand new fundraising model: We're becoming the first nonprofit organization to raise money through online video sharing.

We've uploaded several of our short videos (which explain CC licenses and talk about how the Creative Commons project began) to Revver, an incredibly cool video-sharing platform that uses Creative Commons licenses to help creators make money from their work.

Revver attaches a short ad at the end of each video on its network. When a viewer clicks on the ad, Revver splits the resulting ad revenue with the video's creator. Usually, it's a 50/50 split, but Revver is generously giving Creative Commons 100% of the money our videos make through the end of our fundraising campaign on December 31, 2006.

So, watch our Revverized videos (or help us spread them by embedding them on your blog, MySpace page, or Web site), check out the ads at the end, and help Creative Commons get paid! (Although we want you to watch our Revverized videos so we can earn money, we've also made ad-free versions available.)

As part of this launch, we're premiering our latest video -- Wanna Work Together? -- designed by Ryan Junell (who is also responsible for our Get Creative and Reticulum Rex clips) and featuring new music by Lesser. The video pays tribute to the people around the world using CC licenses and CC-licensed content to build a better, more vibrant creative culture.

In conjunction with this launch, we're also publishing a Featured Commoner interview with Steven Starr, the founder and CEO of Revver. In it, he talks about Revver's origins, its future, and his views on the current state of user-generated video.

For more information about the Viral Video Fundraising Campaign, take a look at our press release.

Last.fm just pushed an update that just made my day.

There is a new event system including user event posting where you can see who is going to the event. There is a new flash radio player, a "taste-o-meter" and a new downloads area.

I love the "new site smell". Congratulations to the last.fm team for a great update.

Disclaimer: I'm an investor in last.fm

I seem to be doing this more and more, but I'm sitting in my hotel room watching the webcast and chatting in the chatroom for the IGF meeting. Until they make it easier for people to use their computers on site, I'm going to continue doing this.

I realize it is slightly rude to have your computer open during conferences, but the ability to look things up, take notes and chat are much more important than appearing slightly rude IMHO.

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