Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tim Wu’s second book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires is wonderful examination how American information empires were established and stifled innovation at the same time. This is my second book by Wu following his brilliant Who Controls the Internet.
The Master SwitchWu identifies long business cycles surrounding the birth of information systems. While they begin open over time they were consolidated and driven by the market to become closed.

We displays how they become open again following amazing innovations force a business change in order to survive in the new marketplace.

The Master Switch opens with the birth of the Bell AT&T telephone monopoly. This is a facinating story when held against the garage startups of Apple and Google.

There is an amazing look at how countries and cultures also view information empires differently. The case for Wu is the capitalist, independent market approach to radio vs the UK’s BBC dominated by the royal family.

The Master Switch reveals how four key markets actually hold government infrastructure: telecommunications, banking, energy and transportation. These four and their capitalist owners for generations established control over any citizen’s attempt at challenging their monopolies. The lesson Wu establishes is corporate control by closed technologies. Yet one cannot help but understand they magically protected the country from the devastating affects of revolution leading up to and more importantly the horrific aftermath of World War I that forever removed Paris as the hub for film entertainment.
Continue reading “Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires”

MDNA: sales vs. torrents

I simply burst out laughing reading the Detroit News‘ article regarding Madonna’s sharply falling record sales.  Her latest release MDNA debuted at #1 last week after selling 359,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. Yet as the article indicated: Madonna set to make the wrong kind of chart history.  Clearly author Adam Graham (@grahamorama) has no idea how torrents have simply crushed the music industry.  If he does understand — it was not mentioned in his article.

Riddle me this: How does Nielsen, Billboard or any other entertainment resource accurately reflect the impact of torrents on sales?  Ah….they can’t. The fact that Nielsen/Billboard still lists “traditional chart history” tells me another analog business is choking to death on the globalized internet.

I have come to accept that illegal downloads are no different than drugs, ebooks, guns or music.  All are in heavy demand.  The only difference: ebooks and music use the internet. Supply and demand.  Nothing more.

Its been a long standing issue for me to see mainstream media really show how inept they are when it relates to the globalization of the internet.  So what exactly did Adam Graham miss?

If you really want to understand the way the world works…

Continue reading “MDNA: sales vs. torrents”

Latest read: The Wealth of Networks

I have been looking at The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom as a learning tool for social networks impacting society and found this a very deep read….like a college econ/sociology textbook.  Caught myself thinking I was actually back in school. This goes much deeper than Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.

Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler has written a very comprehensive book to describe conflicts between analog and digital data creators in society and how internet based technologies are changing society and commerce.

It’s a good read but hard to grasp due to a focus on economics. Don’t be fooled the by title if your looking at computer networks….he has written it into the binding that ties his arguments together.  It is truly worth the read.

Benkler shares how technology has merged the professional and the consumer into a ‘prosumer’ due to low cost and high performing computers and robust networks have made distribution of information cheap enough that community is now empowered to drive change.

Take a look at how the internet has evolved.  The Akami to YouTube migration showed how multimedia has found a free, reliable distribution center.  When you also migrate 1st generation complex, large scale websites to new blogs and content management systems under the open source business model Benkler states that data is now a “non-rival” product that has democratized the digital workflow of data from brick and mortar to community, peer-developed content solutions.

Benkler suggests modern computing drives new, strong and deep collaboration that can have a large impact on the global economy and society.  Benkler also suggests that as more consumers embrace technology collaboration, change to our culture is possible due to engines of free exchange (wikipedia, creative commons, open source and the blogosphere) could be more efficient (when shared) than current models that are restricted by copyright and patents because the ability to duplicate (or reproduce digital content) makes little or no impact on business.

Tags: The Wealth of Networks, Social Technologies, economy, society, Yochai Benkler, education, change, reading, trends

Latest read: Cognitive Surplus

Remember the last time you read a great story that you caught yourself peaking at the remaining unread pages because you didn’t want the story to end?  That’s how I can best describe Clay Shirky‘s book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.  His stories were coming to a close before I was ready to put the book down.

cognitive surplusThis is a great follow-up to his first book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.  Shirky is right on target with engaging, connecting stories to share his ideas about our new ability today to share collective knowledge.

Over 1 trillion hours of TV is watched per year. Imagine what can happen when people turn TV off and begin contributing.  And Shirky elegantly shares the shifting nature of professionals vs. amateurs in the age of the internet.  Pretty amazing reading.

I believe there have been attempts to move in the direction he outlines but a tipping point has been the mass availability of consumer devices at very affordable price points.  I recall Peter Gabriel‘s interview on the Today Show in 1988 talking about the efforts of Amnesty International and their attempts to videotape human rights abuses with large, analog cameras.
Today we know all to well from the murder of Oscar Grant that cameraphones have made their efforts real.

The Napster thing
IMHO Clay’s single oversight in the book surrounds Napster.  I think he was trying to communicate a holistic answer to why people (not just Gen Xers) were stealing music.  He called it sharing — it was stealing plain and simple.
Continue reading “Latest read: Cognitive Surplus”

Latest read: Remix

Regrettably the Vancouver Olympics interrupted my reading pattern and its been a slow recovery.  I blogged about this book as soon as I learned it was in production back in August.  Yikes!

Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid EconomyI have been following Larry Lessig‘s work on copyright and our digital culture for some time, reading his positions online, previous books and keynote addresses at TED, Wired and last week to Italy’s Parliament among others.  His work on Creative Commons is a direct action from the creative limitations of copyright.

His latest book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy is a very easy read for anyone who has also known his work.  He tells an important story about how new technology is clashing with old money.

Lessig illustrates how copyright’s old money (the big media empires) are clashing with today’s society and technology.  Old money is winning financial amounts here and there, but ultimately they are cutting their own throat as they can no longer control content.  Their motto: since we cannot have it our way anymore (due to the easy distribution of digital content) we are going to sue as many people as we can and take outrageous amounts of money along the way.

Lessig simply points out the two different camps: Read-only versus Read-Write.  Look at popular consumer phones and computers.  Today anyone can create a short video and post it to YouTube.  And by today’s “standard” in social networking — your somewhat expected to post multimedia content on Facebook and YouTube for example.

But post a 29 second video of a baby dancing to Prince’s Lets Go Crazy and Universal Music (they own Prince and his music) files a lawsuit claiming copyright violations.  Its old money trying to control society and Lessig points out it clearly no longer works.

Continue reading “Latest read: Remix”

Latest read: Free The future of a radical price

Just finished reading Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson.  I very much enjoyed his previous book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. (review here)  The first time I read about this idea was an article he wrote in his 2008 Wired article.  Have to admit I was skeptical.  Free invites you to learn about new “radical sales techniques” that have actually been around for some time, but could not take off without the influence of the global internet economy.

And YES you can read his book for free online at Scribd and at Google Books.  You can also download a full unabridged 6 hour audiobook for free — or purchase a 3 hour abridged copy.  Get it?

Like me, if you have not been paying close attention to the Free Economy, there is much to learn from this book.

Anderson traces the history of “free” products (Gillette razor blades in 1895 and even Jello) and services and intelligently outlines how “free” is driving sales in our culture today.  Even in our current economic recession.

He introduces the idea by recalling a famous announcement from Monty Python, who’s pirated movies were already on YouTube.  They decided to establish their own YouTube channel, place higher quality clips online with links to their DVD products….and placed a hilarious insult letter to all their fans.

Even though they were placing movies online for free, fans purchased their DVDs at Amazon, driving them to the #2 sales rank with an increased sales volume of 23,000%.  That’s no typo: a 23,000% sales jump!  Clearly Free can work.

Anderson has done great research to help explain (he calls them “sidebars” in the book) to help you see where you have already run across “free” in your daily life including radical ideas including air travel, cars, silverware, textbooks and even a university education.

Continue reading “Latest read: Free The future of a radical price”

Latest read: The Future of the Internet

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University wrote The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It. This book is very interesting for all the wrong reasons. Zittrain documents that existing, closed, controlled systems are damaging the internet an if continued, he writes will negatively impact our future access and interaction.  I enjoyed reading the book and dedicated blog established by Zittrain to keep his conversations moving forward.

The Future of the Internet

BTW: The cover is not an actual photo rather a Photoshop’d image. However the image clearly represents his message.  The book is about Generativity impacting the internet.  Ultimately his argument is to place generativity at the core of all open technologies that tap into the internet.

Zittrain begins Part I in the book with a tbit of historical reflection: The Battle of the Boxes, Battle of the Networks and CyberSecurity.  He followed on the impact of legal lessons learned from Wikipedia.  There are plenty of examples how open, generativity systems make the internet better.  Here are a couple of examples Zittrain addressed that do not:

Law enforcement agencies have used network devices to manually turn on OnStar (the in-vehicle security, communications, and diagnostics system from GM) to record and monitor conversations of unknowing passengers.  OnStar is installed in over 50 models of GM cars alone.

The FBI requested from a judge the ability to turn on the microphone of a unsuspecting cell phone owner allowing law enforcement to tap, track and record conversations.

Think about that for a moment. Ever take a picture with your digital camera or cell phone?  Millions of people do this everyday and upload content to photo-sharing websites like Flickr.  Can you imagine taking a series of photographs — only to later realize the camera (via remote commands) copied all your photos without your knowledge.  Zittrain addresses how your personal content can be affected by a judge in Texas while you live … say in Ohio.  Don’t believe it? Read Chapter 5: Tethered Appliances, Software as Service and Perfect Enforcement” to see how a judge in Marshall Texas did just that — regarding a copyright case involving TiVo.

Continue reading “Latest read: The Future of the Internet”

Latest read: Hot Property

Its all in the timing.  The global economic crisis has placed my latest read Hot Property: The Stealing of Ideas in an Age of Globalization into a pretty unique light. Regardless of the delay in the US economy the impact of globalization, technology and good old corporate espionage has impacted the world’s stage in manufacturing and distribution.

From aspirin to automobiles with computer technology stolen right in the middle. Author Pat Choate, an economist was the 1994 University of Oklahoma Arthur Barto Adams Alumni Fellow.  He has also written Agents of Influence: How Japan Manipulates America’s Political and Economic System.

The core arguments focus on the use of historical legal patents and technological advances of foreign companies competing against American interests by stealing.  Today its known as corporate espionage.  The end result: the US government does not protect companies in today’s global marketplace.

This book will leave most Americans frustrated.  Globalization has changed the way people and business must evolve to simply stay in business.  The auto industry is a timely example of how America lost this business to global competition.

The old assumptions in American business do not work today. When you innovate and invent, patents will protect your dedication and hard work against competitors around the globe.  How wrong Choate proves this idea is today.

Hot Property will quickly show you how far from the truth the real-world works … against you.  Reminds me of T-shirts I see around the Univ. Wisconsin-Madison campus:  “Don’t let school get in the way of your education”.Choate illustrates how major American companies like GM, Microsoft and Cisco are powerless to stop Chinese counterfeiters. To remain a “favorable company” in the Chinese market, American companies sacrifice their own development, technology and employees while trying to gain business in China.  It is somewhat amazing to see the RIAA use it’s legal arm against elderly Americans for downloading an MP3 file but turn a blind eye to the stunning levels of piracy in China.

Continue reading “Latest read: Hot Property”

YouTube, K12 web filtering and CIPA

I recently posted a tweet about YouTube, K12 web filtering and CIPA, the Children’s Internet Protection Act. I was very happy to receive a couple of DMs from Angela Maiers and Elizabeth Holmes, two educational professionals who I consider to be leaders in both knowledge sharing and teaching experiences.They share insights on Twitter as well. Follow Angela here and follow Elizabeth here — you will learn much about K12 education from them.

Apologies up front for this long post.  I sincerely hope by sharing my experiences more teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, technology coordinators and parents will have a better understanding regarding how internet filtering ultimately impacts learning.

Disclaimer:
1. This post will not address content found on YouTube.  This post will speak to the technologies behind filtering YouTube in K12 Districts and how solutions from 3rd party vendors permit access to rich media content websites including YouTube. School Districts, based upon an established technology policy have options when choosing their web filtering solution.
2. Michael Wesch was a keynote speaker at WiscNet’s 2007 Future Technologies Conference …and just off the enormous success of his own video on YouTube.  His presentation “Human Futures for Technology and Education” resulted in many attendees sharing his video at their schools helping fellow teachers and administrators better understand how students use the internet.
3. This post does not endorse any specific product or vendor.
4. This post draws upon my work with K12 technology coordinators, teachers and administrators along with vendor technical support and the excellent network support group at WiscNet.
5. This post addresses in a roundabout way the need for every district to have an established technology policy regarding filtering. Finally this post will address the critical issue of bandwidth necessary to deliver rich media content into the school.
–Wish this was an easy, short post.  The filtering process can become complex and frustrating. I have learned this isolates teachers who want to share compelling content with their students.  This started as an answer to questions regarding filtering in K12 outside the 140 limit of Twitter and then kinda steamrolled…


Overview
K12 school districts are required by federal law to implement content filtering to block adult, illegal or offensive content from minors. The law is known as the Children’s Internet Protection Act:

The 2001 Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the internet on school and library computers. CIPA imposes certain types of requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program – a program that makes certain communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries.

Many computing vendors sell dedicated hardware, software and network appliances (devices that combine filtering along with firewall, anti-spam and even anti-virus protection) that address CIPA requirements for K12 school districts or any Public Library. Their solutions integrate CIPA guidelines into filtering categories for technology coordinators. 8e6’s R3000 Enterprise Filter solution is shown below:

CIPA and K12 Web filtering

Click thumbnail to view image

CIPA solutions vary from district to district due to any vendor’s installed filtering solution AND by the adopted policy of the District or Library.  However technology coordinators can edit filtering settings.  Combined with Mudcrawlers (see below) a district or library can stay up-to-date and block the latest sites and webpages that conflict with CIPA guidelines.


Powerful video that moves/educates students

There are very compelling education-related videos on YouTube including Michael Wesch’s Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing us.  Michael has also shared some rather powerful statistics regarding YouTube here. His page was last updated in March of this year so consider those numbers even higher today.

And if you think those are powerful, consider the staggering numbers for FaceBook here.  Again parents, teachers and administrators need to understand how students already use the internet.

Just like other Web2.0 media driven websites that have popped up on the internet, YouTube gained traction and became a powerful location to upload videos for free. No thought was put into establishing an educational access point when YouTube was launched. YouTube’s founders were burning through credit cards just to keep the site live — and waiting for a company like Google to buy them for billions. So from the beginning YouTube was not built as a video warehouse for education. However with their overwhelming exposure and free access it has become a very popular resource. Test Michael’s video and your school’s filter at the same time:

1. The URL for his video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g
2. Copy/Paste this link into your browser.
3. Does your school district block access to this video?
4. Does the video play immediately?
5. Does the video take a long time to play?

Filtering options
School districts have implemented filtering solutions from vendors including 8e6, Barracuda, Fortinet and others.  WiscNet, the educational and research StateNet in Wisconsin partnered with 8e6 Technologies to provide Wisconsin school districts and libraries with two options addressing filtering:

1. Offsite filtering: Central

Central hosting permits schools and libraries to connect via proxy servers to WiscNet’s centralized filtering server.  Each district’s technology coordinator(s) work with WiscNet to configure DNS and also configure all web browsers used by students, teachers and staff to redirect every requested URL to the central filter for analysis.  The district’s technology coordinator is authorized to log into their district profile and add or block additional pages on demand.

2. Onsite filtering: Local
The second option places a filtering server onsite inside a district’s server room.  There are advantages to installing a local content filtering box.  In addition to the features in the central server, a local filter has the ability (if it matches the district’s technology policy) to block IM traffic and even streaming media.  Local filtering can also leverage a district’s LDAP server and link filtering rules to the district’s network directories (students, faculty, staff and administrators) thereby syncing the filtering solutions to user groups at elementary, middle and high school facilities including any administrative buildings connected to the districts’ network.  This has also been extended to laptops used at schools and libraries.

Reporting Tools
8e6’s servers have reporting tools that permit logging URLs requested by a single laptop or an entire classroom of computers. If a teacher feels a student may be veering away from online class assignments a realtime tool can be configured to probe and log all requested URLs from a student’s computer for specific periods of time.  The results can be analyzed to determine the stated course of action outlined in the District’s technology policy:

CIPA and K12 Web filtering
Click thumbnail to view image

Warning and Timed Quotas
8e6 provides options to place a customized URL warnings regarding access by groups: students, teachers, staff/admin and event parents or guests.  For example a district may recommend teachers, staff and administrators not visit eBay during the school day. The software permits a technology coordinator to attach a custom message to any web browser used by teachers, staff and administrators that requests any eBay URL. The message will remind the user that eBay is not approved under district policy, but does permit the browser to access eBay.
Consider this a gentle hint hint – wink wink – nudge nudge reminder.

A feature added recently by 8e6 is “Timed Quotas” which permits a district to implement time limits for a website.  District policy (again eBay for example) can dictate access to eBay not to exceed three hours a day.

CIPA and K12 Web filtering

Click thumbnail to view image

After a predetermined time limit or quota has been reached regarding eBay the site becomes blocked for the rest of the day. The quota resets at midnight.

Tech Support’s cool factor:
Filter vendors and StateNet support teams who work in partnership with districts can login directly to a district’s filter (central or local) to address questions.  The software permits tech support teams to configure their own browser (via proxy) to point to the school’s IP filtering address, permitting them to “drop” their browser inside a district LAN. This allows tech support to access any URL in question (deny or pass) just as any computer connected to the district’s network.  Reporting tools can generate Excel formatted spreadsheets or send an email providing excellent data to troubleshoot URLs that are not “playing well” by the filter configurations.

A word about big video websites
Heavily trafficked websites including YouTube have multiple servers to handle large numbers of visitors.  When you need to block a popular site today you must use a filter’s ability to search for all addresses that answer to “www.youtube.com” because Google has established additional servers to handle heavy requests.  If those are not included the videos will continue to be accessible:

YouTube ip addresses

Click thumbnail to view image

Mudcrawler
How does a school district keep up-to-date with all the new content uploaded to the internet outlined by CIPA?  Vendors work with Mudcrawlers. What a job title eh? Mudcrawlers identify, locate and verify new content and proxy hacks in conflict with CIPA guidelines and upload those new URLs daily to vendors who then push updates daily to their machines at schools and libraries.

Achilles Heel:  Bandwidth
There are very important bandwidth considerations for accessing rich media content on the internet including YouTube from a classroom, teacher’s laptop or even “high-tech” teaching labs.  This all revolves around bandwidth.

The video’s file size does not matter since a teacher’s goal is to play the video online and not to download it. The video’s data rate (data transferred over the internet/per second) is very important for consistent playback. Depending upon the amount of bandwidth the school district has available “choppy” playback may occur due to bandwidth constraints.

Please remember a district’s total bandwidth can be divided between elementary, middle school, high school and district administrative offices.  If a district has a 5 megabit bandwidth connection between buildings listed above, that means each building basically receives a single (1) megabit connection if configured by the technology coordinator or network administrator.  Here is the data rate of Michael’s video: 466.9 Kbits/second – just under 470K of bandwidth per second.

video datarate
Click thumbnail to view image

If a school district has a total bandwidth of just 3 Megabits/second it means that just six different computers (at the same time) begin watching Micheal’s video — the entire bandwidth for the school reaches saturation.  In other words the network crawls.

Test Michael’s video and maybe your technology coordinator’s nerves:
1. Learn how much bandwidth your school has established across the entire district: how much for each building linked to the school’s LAN.
2. The URL for his video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g
3. Copy/Paste this link into your browser.
4. If the video plays, does the rest of the district’s network slow to a crawl?
5. What happens in a classroom with 20 computers on a 10MB/second requirement?

Attention Technology Coordinators: Get your geek on
Wesch’s video is not a RTSP stream but rather a static clip that gets pushed over TCP/IP. In a low bandwidth situation TCP will automatically rebroadcast dropped packets. YouTube is going to be flooding your pipe re-broadcasting those dropped packets and causing your network to slow down.

Low Bandwidth = High Shapers
Clearly school districts have insufficient bandwidth to view YouTube content on a large scale.  Againbandwidth can be saturated quickly by the demands of rich media.  For example – Grab NASA’s video stream of a live shuttle launch.  The raw feed could require 8Mb/second connection which would kill a district’s entire bandwidth to the internet.

Short term solution?
A option would be for a K12 district or Library to install a packetshaper if the bandwidth is under 10Mb/second.  Packetshapers permit a district technology coordinator to limit the amount of bandwidth specific protocols can access.  For example a science teacher wants to permit students to watch the shuttle launch and listen to NASA commentary.  A Tech Coodinator can limit RTSP (the protocol passing the live video) to just 100K/second for every computer on the network – district wide.  However this packetshaping configuration will kill the video in two ways: first the limit on bandwidth would result in a stop-start-stop-wait-start-stop effect, second it would take a very long time to download the video to a students computer to watch the launch.

Long term solution
Get more bandwidth.  If your K12 District resides in Wisconsin contact WiscNet, Wisconsin’s StateNetwork.  WiscNet helped a K12 District increase their bandwidth from 3MB/sec to 100MB/sec for just $75.00 more a year via GrowSmart.  Check out this article.

HD video lectures from Museums and Colleges have been available to K12s on the Research Channel and Internet2 via your respective StateNet across the country. Love the fact Missouri K12s have been video conferencing with Museums in London for four years! Powerful content awaits both teachers and students.

Real World challenges: We don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan
Regardless of filtering solution, frequent “fire drills” revolve around allowing blocked sites to be unblocked for a teacher’s request, class assignment or guest speaker.  Yet due to the workloads of almost every high school technology coordinator, requests arrive less than 10 minutes before class (or a guest speaker) is scheduled.  Fire drills often frustrates everyone in the process.

Q & A:
Q: I’m frustrated when YouTube’s webpage is still not showing the video.
You and me both.  There are multiple answers:

Answer #1:
Google pushes many URL resources into a single YouTube page.
Those embedded URLs may be blocked by CIPA categories. If just one of those pushed URLs from Google is blocked, the entire page AND the video will not play:

CIPA and K12 Web filtering
Click thumbnail to view image

The interesting and troublesome issue is that most YouTube pages do not carry the same embedded links and URLs — so trying to write a generic allow (or bypass) rule will be very difficult.

Answer #2:
Copyright infringement.
The video is pulled by YouTube due to a threat of legal action. No technology workaround is going to show a copyright video if the copyright holder contacts Google.  Google statement regarding copyright killing video here.

CIPA and K12 Web filtering
Click thumbnail to view image

Answer #3:
Bandwidth
Spinning cursor loading selected video never stops.  See Achilles Heel (above)

CIPA and K12 Web filtering
Click thumbnail to view image

Answer #4:
The user deleted the file.
There is no magic like having someone delete a video from their account after its been talked about.  Bummer.

Q: Is YouTube automatically blocked by CIPA ?
A: Yes and No.  YouTube has videos that definitely fall outside CIPA guidelines forcing filters to block access to YouTube.  Districts can permit access to areas of YouTube by adjusting the settings in their filters or allowing custom bypass rules:

CIPA and K12 Web filtering
Click thumbnail to view image

Q: What does a blocked page look like ?
A: For a filter than BLOCKS videos from YouTube based upon a CIPA category of R Rated, the filter pulls this report which spells out the category and URL upfront:

CIPA and K12 Web filteringClick thumbnail to view image

Q: Can YouTube flag videos for K12?
A: Today citizens around the world upload over 150,000 videos every day to YouTube.  Trying to hire someone to flag videos for K12 would be an overwhelming task.  Consider this: ABC Television has been broadcasting for 60 years. The first television broadcast was in April 1948 and if you added all the video ever broadcast since 1948 it would total over 500,000 hours. YouTube has produced more hours of content in just the past 5 months.

Q: Does all YouTube video playback at the same rate ?
A: No.  Depends upon how much the person who uploaded the video knows about video codecs (compression/decompression) that can help reduce the video’s file size.  So the data rate can be small or really big.

Ideas for Apple and Google:
1. Google: set up K12.youtube.com so filters can automatically pass educational videos to schools and libraries. This would take some work on the backend, but boy it sure would help out K12s.

2. Apple
: strengthen iTunesU‘s existing K12 category by opening compelling video content clips for K12s.
See K12s own category within iTunesU here

Although I have read a number of tweets regarding educational YouTube-like websites all of them fail to scale to the demands of having industrial strength servers and network bandwidth capacity compared to YouTube or iTunesU.

Read More About It
Library.org: content filtering review here
PC Magzaine: content filtering review here
TopTen: home filtering review here
CIPA information via the FCC here

So why did it take so long to register that a blog post could benefit others by stepping outside the 140 character limit of Twitter?  If you think this is a good knowledge sharing post, then please follow me here on Twitter.

Will be more than happy to answer additional questions.  Let me know your thoughts.

On my reading list

Looking forward to Larry Lessig‘s new book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.

Larry has documented how the music and movie industries are turning students into criminals because they use cheap software, the internet and their creativity.  His presentation at TED hilights the core principals of his upcoming book.

The power and impact of the digital economy has placed copyright and the old guard clearly on the defensive.  Those aging companies still want the market to be “published” (in analog format) are unwilling to change to the new information economy.
Well okay what I’m really trying to say is they don’t want to give up their revenue streams.

Okay maybe they do understand how the game has changed, yet I’m not sure the impact of how young people are wired has fundamentally changed their business model.

Actually I’m hoping Remix may also hilight how the RIAA should be chasing down the millions of pirates in China rather than students in America.  Larry is proving what everyone under 30 already has accepted as a fact of life…They have never been forced to purchase a majority of their entertainment in analog format.  Should be a great read!

Yahoo Music closing

I continue to be amazed that consumers are being held hostage to failed business practices regarding digital products sold on the internet and requiring a connection to “use” your product.
If you buy a book, read it and then move to a new house, you take the book with you right.  Sure.  Simple and not even something to think about.

But if you purchased digital music from Yahoo and move that music to a new computer or external drive, you cannot take it with you.  Yahoo’s underperforming music store has announced they are closing their doors (and also taking down their DRM technology keys) stitched into your downloaded music.

This means the music you paid for will not play anymore.  If you purchased Yahoo music you are simply SOL. Actually Yahoo tells a better story:
After September 30, 2008, you will not be able to transfer songs to unauthorized computers or re-license these songs after changing operating systems. Please note that your purchased tracks will generally continue to play on your existing authorized computers unless there is a change to the computer’s operating system.

This should serve fair warning to all the music etailers to abandon DRM.  The customer is always right and today’s teenage market has a powerful voice and the tools (like Digg) to flex their collective financial muscles….so don’t piss them off.

Continue reading “Yahoo Music closing”