Public Knowledge Launches Creators Freedom

This is a new kind of project for PK, as opposed to their usual policy and communications work. As a peer media producer, I like the idea of an NGO working directly with creators to offer education and interactive support. From the press release:

Among other activities, the Project will:

  • Work directly with artists and tell their stories
  • Partner with experts, and providers of online tools and services
  • Host local workshops, tutorials & discussions
  • Stream webinars for artists

The ultimate goal is one I found very laudable, also a more constructive response to the usual copyright battles–to help artists experiment and find new models to support their endeavors.

Details are scant so far, undoubtedly upcoming activities will be announced on the web site. I was hoping there might be some sort of community to join, even just a mailing list. I suspect it is early days and that maybe more participatory features will be added as the project develops.

Public Knowledge Announces Creators Freedom Project, Public Knowledge

feeds | grep links > In Praise of CLIs, ISPs Resisting Mass Copyright Demand Campaign, Recycling Rare Earth Metals, and More

feeds | grep links > Microsoft Grants License to NGOs, Dell Releases Streak Sources, Register of Copyrights to Retire, And More

Be Part of the Help in Cory Doctorow’s “With a Little Help”

“With a Little Help” is the self published anthology with which Cory Doctorow is experimenting by enlisting the help of his friends in the production and promotion of the book. His call for help continues with a request for interested web designers to help update the design for the forthcoming book’s web site.

Since 2003, I’ve used the same template, with minor tweaks, for each of my book-sites; it was designed by the amazing Mena Trott for my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and great as it is, it’s not quite up to par for this.

Which is where you come in: I’m looking for a quick-and-handsome template that is identifiably of a piece with the rest of my sites, but accomodates four covers, the downloads, the audiobook, the limited hardcover, the special reports, the gallery of scanned ephemera, the two donation methods…

Cory is looking for designs, sketches, and ideas. If he uses yours, he’ll repay your help with one of the first twenty limited edition hard covers. You can send your suggestions to him via email.

feeds | grep links > Latest iOS Thoroughly Jailbroken, DDoSing Copyright Infringers, Robots Taught to Deceive, and More

  • Hacker find iOS 4.1 bootrom vulnerability that enables jailbreak of all current hardware
    Via Hacker News. Hardly surprising that such a flaw exists, though a little bit so that it is so comprehensively exploitable. As geek.com explains, the vulnerability doesn’t look to be software fixable so owner override rules the day until the next generation of hardware emerges.
  • Amazon acquires Amie Street
    As The Register explains it, this is actually sad news. The music retailer that experimented with sliding prices based on popularity is shifting over to exclusively streaming music, winding down its download option. The silver lining is that Amazon pretty much only acquired the name, not the business model or any customer records.
  • Big content turning to DDoS for stubborn infringers
    As Slashdot points out, the big content players in question are mostly based in India though the firm performing the attacks admits to doing so on behalf of Hollywood. Regardless of legalities, especially with the thorny questions raised by international jurisdictions, this sort of attack strikes me as highly immoral.
  • Clarification on warez raid, Pirate Bay and others not affected
    Ernesto at TorrentFreak has a further follow up to the story of multiple, coordinated police raids against European ISPs the other day. Despite reporting elsewhere, the target wasn’t the Pirate Bay, nor was another BitTorrent site, both of whom TF contacted for confirmation.
  • Swiss supreme court rules against anti-piracy firm, TorrentFreak
  • Robots taught to deceive, Slashdot
  • Open source VLC submitted to Apple for approval on iPad
    Slashdot has the details, the outcome of which I am skeptical. I don’t think this is the first time someone has tried to tweak and compile the wonderfully capable media player for Apple’s mobile platform. That past effort never amounted to much. If this attempt fails, maybe the next one will only include those codecs, like Ogg and Flac, that Apple has no interest in supporting.

Revenue Update for July

In the ongoing interest in transparency around my efforts and experiments in drawing financial support together for the website and podcast, here is the update for this past month.

AdBard continues to be a bit of a disappointment. I earned around two dollars and fifty sense. Again, that is money I wouldn’t have earned at all if I wasn’t participating but the downward trend in earning continues though it does appear to be slowing. In terms of my site’s ranking, it has slipped a little bit, just past the top quartile. I don’t think that is entirely proportional with the diminishing returns. The maximum I could earn if all the ads slots in the network are sold and the full rate is charged is just a bit more than thirty dollars, which is respectable for my traffic but still half my projected maximum when I started.

I sent out one custom merit badge in July for a one time donation. I retained all thirteen ongoing donors whose contributions totaled to just shy of fifty dollars. The merit badge experiment still remains far and a way my most successful experiment almost single handedly covering my recurring expenses in terms of web site hosting, media hosting, etc. There are still just over twenty badges left for anyone else interested in earning one. If you’ve already earned one and haven’t sent me a picture of it attached, please feel free to send one along for me to share with everyone else.

My most recent experiment, with the flat rate micro payment system Flattr, continues to exceed my expectations. My earnings last month were up about a quarter over June. I received almost 19 euro worth of Flattrs which is not a lot compared to the top sites using the system. For me, though, it is roughly half of my revenue from recurring donations. After my outgoing means for the last couple of months, I’ve banked a bit over thirty euro. This could grow into the kind of surplus that will really help with making it out to technology conferences next year. I still have some Flattr invites if you are curious, just email me and I’ll send one a code.

Given my level of input into these experiments, which was minimal over the past month, I am very pleased with the results. I am looking forward to the anticipated surpluses, even though they’ll still be small, and being able to explain in some future podcast episode with an interview at a conference or live event recording that it was brought in part through listener support. I am also eager to spin up another experiment but to be honest August and early September are going to be brutally busy already. Stay tuned in the Fall, though, as I already have an idea, I just want for time to pursue it.

feeds | grep links > eFuse Won’t Brick Droid X’s, Electrodeposition of Circuit Traces, Study on Copyright Bypassing Contracts, and More

  • Motorola clarifies that eFuse won’t brick a phone
    As Slashdot points out, it goes into a recovery mode from which the original firmware can be installed and the phone completely recovered. I wonder if that also confirms that the Droid X could be hacked as have other eFuse equipped phones, even if doing so is more of a hassle than it should be. At least this reduces the risk of trying considerably, even if it is far from ideal.
  • Electrodeposition for circuit tracing
    Slashdot links to this IBTimes article that requires a little bit of parsing. What the researchers are working on are not the features on a CPU die, the first clue being they mention scales at 100nm which is much larger than what is found on a die. They are talking about the traces that connect processor elements and components on a circuit board. This won’t do much for power and heat issues on CPUs but across an entire electronic device, could have considerable potential.
  • Academics must review contracts’ effects on user rights
    I don’t know what this will do in practice, but what The Register describes seems like a good idea. One of the worst abuses of IP law has been the privatization of law through the anti-circumvention measures in the DMCA and the DEA and the increasing push of EULAs. What is being advanced here sounds like a comprehensive, empirical study of the potential harms caused by this particular situation. It’s unlikely to recommend wholly reversing things but just suggesting restoring the limits on copyright that have been diminished would be worthwhile.
  • VLC tackling Bluray playback
    Some good news reported by the H up until the end, that the VLC folks won’t have a valid license for the DRM systems used on commercial Bluray discs, AACS and BD+. So in and of itself, VLC will be able to play back the Bluray formats themselves but won’t be able to do so for the vast majority of commercial discs.
  • Wine 1.2 released
  • UK-wide tween hackathon with open government data
  • When the pay-what-you-want model benefits companies, charities and individuals

June Update on Supporting the Podcast and Blog (Updated)

In the continuing spirit of transparency, here are some quick hits on the variety of means I have been exploring to financially support the podcast and blog.

My participation with AdBard in June was once again disappointing. The numbers were consistent with May, earning about half what I did in the first couple of months. That’s right around two dollars for the month. I am still well shy of earning enough for a pay out. Worse, the maximum numbers projected are down which makes me wonder if my site has been pushed down by stronger numbers among other publishers. I used to receive a link to the total rankings but haven’t in the last couple of reports. At all events, even a couple of dollars this past month is a couple of dollars I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I am open to my earnings strengthening again though I recognize that is a vague challenge to tackle when my preferred approach is to focus first and foremost on the quality of material I share.

June was the first full month I’ve been using Flattr. I have been very pleased with my earnings and the growth over the part of May I was participating in Flattr’s beta. My earnings in June almost doubled tripled which roughly more than tracks with the number of posts available for flattring each month. I earned a bit over eight euros almost fourteen euro, up from around five the month prior. I don’t have a good sense of how the user base has been growing since Flattr started giving the original beta testers invites. I hope that growth is strong and continues, not just for my benefit but to really prove out the model. My intuition is it is succeeding well so far. (Updated after re-reading my dashboard, I had mistaken an upcoming transactions as a future balance. Thanks to Holger’s comments which draw my attention back to the Flattr dashboard yielding the correction in the positive.)

Donations for June tapered off a bit, probably as a consequence of the custom nerd merit badge experiment winding down. News of the badges being produced and delivered really helped draw attention and encourage new donors. At the end of June I had 13 monthly donors whose contributions tallied up to just shy of $50 which pretty much completely covers my recurring costs for the podcast with a small surplus I intend to set aside against travel expenses for technical conferences next year.

There are nineteen badges left out of the original batch, so plenty for anyone interested in learning their own. That also means that after sending out nine more badges, it will be time to start devoting donations from the final ten towards producing the next batch of fifty badges.

I of course also want to again thank everyone who supported me this past month, regardless of what means they chose to do so.  Even the modest success of covering my media hosting and other service fees and being able to set a few dollars aside is pretty incredible to me for a pursuit I undertake solely in my spare time.

More Merit Badge Photos

I love seeing the custom nerd merit badges in their final homes. A couple of nice photos from around the web.

My old college buddy, Braz, affixed his badge, one of the charter badges, in place with his Inbox Zero and 4square badges.

Merit badges,  the office, Clerkenwell,London, UK

And there is Cory’s charter badge pinned up in his office in Clerkenwell in the UK. Photo used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

If you want your own merit badge, there are plenty left. Just go to the support page and make a one time donation of $20 or more or a monthly donation in any amount.

TCLP 2010-06-27 News

This is news cast 217, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, an apology for missing the last news cast.

This week’s security alerts are attacking the attackers and anti-malware is a poor substitute for common sense.

In this week’s news NY meet Silicon Valley, the first report from the new IP enforcement czar and some analysis and some reactions, looking at HTML5 beyond video, and an explanation why Share Alike is open and Non Commercial is not.

Following up this week, the debate around C-32 turns adversarial and judge rules in Viacom case that YouTube is protected by DMCA safe harbors.

[display_podcast]

View the detailed show notes online. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.