TCLP 2009-02-18 Copyright Panel at Farpoint

This is a feature cast.

There is no hacker word of the week this week due to the length of the feature.

The feature this week is a recording of the copyright panel I moderated at Farpoint this past weekend. Please bear with the audio quality as I used the unpowered mic that came with my record. I was joined in the discussion by Helen Madden (who mentions Epicon and ERWA), Paul Fischer and Martha Holloway of the Balticon Podcast and the ADDCast, Jared Axelrod of too many creative projects to name but notably the creator of my podcast’s cover art, J.R. Blackwell, an amazing photographer and writer as well, and aspiring writer Paulette Jaxton who also recently started the Form Letter Rejection Theater podcast.

The book I mention is “The Pirate’s Dilemma” and it was in the context of Gail Z. Martins forthcoming interview with me. I also mentioned the 75/22/3 rule, explored by PhD economics candidate David Blackburn. Doctorow’s Law, that I cited but never explained was coined by Andrew Savikas in his coverage of the Tools of Change conference: “If someone takes something that belongs to you, and puts a lock on it that you don’t have a key for, that lock isn’t in your best interests”. I also mentioned Bookworm which was covered at ToC. Paulette mentioned that she uses Fictionwise which may support ePub but I couldn’t find any clear and easier reference for such support.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML.

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4 Replies to “TCLP 2009-02-18 Copyright Panel at Farpoint”

  1. I hate to tell you this, but you’re working way too hard. I just use SVN with WebDAV autoversioning and mount the WebDAV folder. Windows, Mac, and Nautilus on Linux all support this. There’s a web interface to the repository to get old versions, or grab a file without mounting the folder. It’s extremely convenient, because my files are version-controlled and available on any computer without the need for a client. See
    Drop me a mail if you want a repository to play with.

    I’m not sure I like the idea of a ‘quiet period’. Autoversioning has saved my bacon on a number of occasions when I wanted the version I saved 30 seconds before, not the one I just saved over it. My frequently-modified files are mostly text files, so the diffs are small. I’m nowhere near my available storage on the server so the ephemeral versions are a non-issue.

    1. I’m assuming you meant to comment on the last post about flashbake.

      In the first place, I am not working all that hard. Also, these scripts were originally written for a single user so bear in mind they are tailored to his very specific requirements. I did consider solutions like the one you suggested but discarded them as not a good match for what was being asked. Our joint decision to share the code on the off chance anyone else had similar, very specific requirements, has invited criticism in the form of why re-invent the wheel. I do not believe this reinvents the wheel and even if it does, who does it harm?

      Certainly, documenting how it stacks up against alternatives, like what you suggest will help the most with informed decisions on the part of potential users.

      If all that was wanted was seamless auto versioning, then what you suggest would be suitable. I didn’t believe the additional setup cost here was justified. SVN provides commit hooks, so a viable alternative building on your idea, for someone who doesn’t mind the setup involved with WebDAV, would be to wire flashbake into SVN’s commit hooks, assuming you can alter or replace the commit message from these hooks.

      The original request was for a git plugin for gedit, which is something I may also explore. The emphasis of flashbake is on the contents of the commit message, not necessarily how the commit is invoked. My focus at the moment is the plugin system to give users more flexibility in how the commit message is composed. I have about half a dozen users, some who may choose others means than cron to drive flashbake so no doubt documentation around alternate deployments will arise.

  2. I see what happened. The template divides the posts with horizontal lines. The comment link inside the box so defined appears to belong to the post in the box. I recall seeing a WP plugin to move comments. You might want to grab that one.

    Your introductory paragraph to Flashbake describes the goal as seamless autoversioning. The custom commit message is described near the bottom in the history of the project. The system I use doesn’t support that requirement. With autoversioning, the commit message is auto-generated. However, one could use something that pops up like Flashbake does to periodically request the status information. I’d just keep these statuses in a database along with the current version number of the repository at the time rather than trying to get them into SVN. Incidentally, I’ve been thinking about a tool that periodically pops up and asks you what you’re working on for a couple of years now. I hate things that pop up and destroy my flow, so it would at least have to monitor user input and not bug me when I’m typing or laying out a window. This would work fine with the autoversioning I use but it wouldn’t be desirable for Flashbake to put off a needed commit because the user is typing. The more I think about it, the more I think that requesting status and automatically committing changes should be separate. I’m way over in the “computer never forgets anything” camp, but not so far as to hold that you shouldn’t be able to purge anything. In practice I’m pretty close to that extreme, as there’s no way to completely remove something from SVN apart from dumping the repository, editing it, and reimporting.

    My previous comment wasn’t intended as criticism and nowhere did I suggest you were wasting your time. Writing code has value in itself. It’s a total waste of time to write a C compiler from the perspective of having a compiler. From the standpoint of really understanding programming, it’s invaluable. I imagine you learned a few things about git when you decided to automate it. My only beef is that you released something named Flashbake that is wholly incapable of downloading experiences into my brain. Please address this issue in a future release.

    1. Fair enough about how I presented the history. I will be working on the docs to clarify this as well as talking about it as part of an upcoming feature.

      You didn’t use the word “waste” but did start with “working too hard”. Sorry I mistook your intent.

      Most of the feedback has been positive but the one critic did snark about how I “re-wrote the Perl git module”. It is my fault for not communicating the goal of the project clearly enough. Regardless, jusrt because I wrote and published it doesn’t mean anyone has to use it. I am flattered that Cory is using it and I’ve had about half a dozen authors besides express interest. Now to find the time to hammer through my todo list.

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