Archive for May, 2009

Digital bookshelves

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The National Library of Norway has entered into an agreement with Kopinor – the organization taking care of copyrights – to publish about 50.000 books digitally on the net. The books will mostly be free to use for the Norwegian public – if you have an IP-adress in Norway. The national Libray is paying a remuneration of NOK 0,56 per page made available. This is a pilot project considered part of keeping our cultural heritage alive.

Several bookpublishing projects are being pondered and some are partly in progress, examples are:

The field of copyright is complex: who has the rights, what are the rights, remuneration, what about free books, books where the holders of rights are not known (orphans), representation, …

The important point seems to be getting a fair licence into place and having accredited organizations/companies behind the deal.

Maybe an example to follow?

Google plans to start selling e-books this year, to compete with Inc. Google aims to build a “digital book ecosystem” to allow publishing partners to sell access to their titles, available from any Web-enabled device. Google Book Search users can “buy access” to copyrighted books, to read titles online and temporarily cache them in their Internet browsers so they could also read them offline. Google is still in talks with publishers.

Incentives and common action in relation to sustainability

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Interesting articles in International Journal of the Commons:
“Collective action among resource users has long been identified as a basic element of successful common pool governance. Commonly identified factors are trust, social capital, common preferences, shared knowledge, collaborative experiences, focusing events and expectations of future interactions.”

Establishing incentives to adopt sustainable agricultural practices – payments to the poor?

Examples: Transboundary water conservation, agricultural practices, environmental services in upper-catchments of Vietnam, …..

Digital freedom for all media

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The entertainment industry is disoriented. New technology is putting pressure on the digital  content providers, including the music biz. Availability of music and other content has been changed radically for both getting hold of music and using it. The cost picture has been exposed for everybody to see, and the public does not like it. New technological possibilities have found new users who are loath to pay very much or anything at all.

Old business models are collapsing and the time of rich pickings are over.This has led to chaos in the business with lots of focus on dwindling sales, free downloading, rights and their management. But now the music business is slowly waking up with new offerings.

There is still a long way to go. Rights issues, formats, equipment restrictions, lock-up by producers, codes, limits on usage, understanding new technology, lack of software to facilitate interchange, old fashioned business models all make it difficult for the public to take part fully.

The challenges are many: how low can your unit costs go, how to enter the new technological world with masses of new customers, what is perceived value? The possibilities are immense for the innovative and daring – think hard, develop good value propositions for users and income will be generated!

Will there be a climate crisis at the end of the century?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

What is the evidence we see? Does anybody know? Do we have agreed-upon figures to support a conclusion?

A climate change is normally measured over a 30-year period, and the variations over shorter time-spans could be inconsequential. But we have to watch out, and a policy of caution is probably wise.

The figures presented in the media on a day to day basis are still random and out of context, short-term and incoherent. The public in general does not get much substance and guidance here! The politicians are not much help either – they are p.t. just like the rest of us – searching for firm ground.

But the mantra of sustainability is a good one all the same, so me must strive to establish a sustainable world.

China and US in talks on climate change

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The top polluters: These two countries are together emitting 40% of the worlds climate gases. Negotiations began in the final months of the Bush administration, and Obama could seal an accord on cutting emissions by autumn. A joint US-Chinese action on climate change is possibly coming soon. A draft agreement has been produced.

Getting a US-China understanding in the UN meeting in Copenhagen this December is essential, and it seems the US-China relationship will be built round climate change. Carbon capture and storage, fuel efficiency and technologies are mentioned.

Economic growth must continue, but the work will involve quantifiable reductions of climate gases.

This probably means the two countries will support a new Copenhagen deal. Will they also put themselves in the drivers seat of climate change?

Access to digitized stuff

Monday, May 11th, 2009

The debate about artists´ rights is becoming a debate about music companies and film studios rights, showing the present real concern of the case. Some say the artists get 15 % of income, the studios etc. 85 %.

The debate should be about the future of cyberspace or telecosm and what we as customers and users can have, and what the new offerings will be. The present debate is silly and stunted and needs to be expanded and conclusions have to wait for a while.
The new technology is awesome with several 100 million users already. Many companies are now using bittorrent techniques to distribute popular material consisting of large files in a stable and reliable manner. Example: Stateowned Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. is using the technique extensively. Commercial companies are being established based on these formats.
The internet has become a major part of our lives and will encroach further into our lives. This is not a generation thing as many “old” people also are involved in the debate. We therefore need to clarify what this is about.

Many themes have been introduced:

  • Technical possibilities including fast and reliable exchange of files from many sources, how to deal with large and popular files, making available large amounts of stuff that is hidden, empowering us as communicators,
  • Participant behaviour: increased two-way communication, integrate into social networks, educate and inform people
  • Borderless world – removing borders to improve communication and reduce fear and conflicts, creating open environments, have the right to do all you want
  • Ethics of the net or cyberspace: the principle of sharing vs. the principle of greed, what is fair pricing, how to create value for other people,
  • Politics of telecosm: building trust and not uneccesarily interfere in activity on the net, uphold the independency and sovereignty of the internet, keeping censorship at bay, the role of anonymity and personal presence, neutral net vs. supervised net,
  • Copyright law  now and in the future, respect real ownership, define the new extent of copyright, balance the law fairly between creators, agents and customers both short term and long term, popular stuff and not so popular stuff
  • Business models – what is fair pricing, what are the new value propositions, channel the money to the creators, establish convenience that people will pay for,
  • Media – films, videos, music, books, pictures, blogs, mails, chats, other – old and new, popular and unpopular – all are part of the totality, all will be wholly digitized shortly


Entertainment platforms of the future via bittorrent

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

The world changes. A revolution is taking place – bittorrent is really gaining users. Possibly several hundred million people are now using bittorrent platforms, and the fight about markets, systems, technology, ownership, new  and old-fashioned legal systems, user interests, new companies and old vested interests is coming into focus.

This also has to do with costs: how little can you do it for? How efficient are your methods? A new way of thinking is surely coming in the media business, and some creative destruction will be seen. BitTorrent technology has turned conventional distribution economics on its head. The more popular a large video, audio or software file, the faster and cheaper it can be transferred with bittorrent. The result is a better digital entertainment experience for everyone.

The first client, known as BitTorrent, was created by Bram Cohen in October 2002. It is a tool for peer to peer file distribution which seamlessly integrates with the web. A BitTorrent client is a computer program that manages downloads and uploads using the BitTorrent protocol. BitTorrent was originally conceived as a legitimate way for people to publish large files without having to host all of the bandwidth themselves.

BitTorrent is now also a company, along with other competitors. Vuze – another company -  is a popular entertainment platform for high-res digital content. The old vested interests have seen the potential and are joining up. High quality content from television networks, production studios and indie content creators will be found  on advanced, open entertainment platforms.

BitTorrent is a protocol allowing you to download files quickly by allowing people downloading the file to upload (distribute) parts of it at the same time. BitTorrent is often used for distribution of very large files, very popular files and files available for free, as it is a lot cheaper, faster and more efficient to distribute files using BitTorrent than a regular download.

There are many challenges ahead:

  • Legal – ref. case against Pirate Bay: “Only torrent files are saved at the server. That means no copyrighted and/or illegal material are stored by us. It is therefore not possible to hold the people behind The Pirate Bay responsible for the material that is being spread using the tracker. Any complaints from copyright and/or lobby organizations will be ridiculed and published at the site.” Pirate Bay lost the case – is a )
  • Business models
  • Equipment manufacturers to allow streaming from the net
  • Competing technologies – ex. Usenet, new file-sharing methods
  • Development of bittorrent technology itself

Modern thinking simplified is that everyone who has content can do what they like with it including making it available for torrents. If you can get it free on the net do so! The end user is in focus, and will want low or nil costs, ubiquitous availability, ease of use, actuality, modernity, communities, social settings, ……..

The big picture is evolving! Legal issues and tactics will not stop this. My aunt used to play the piano at the silent movies – silent movies disappeared a long time ago – we are now ready for yet another round of renewal.

We will now see new complex services – distributed file systems, peer-to-peer file sharing,  content distribution systems, cooperative web caching, multicast, anycast, domain name services, instant messaging.

The revenue bit is not my concern – the industry will surely not collapse. The artists will still be with us when the “studios” are gone, copyright is about 300 years old, art is eternal.

Global Gaming Factory is announcing a takeover of Pirate Bay and plans to introduce a new filesharing technique to revolutionize the industry!

Urban design with new aspects

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Singapore may be seen as gallery of architecture and urban design. In the last 40 years architects in Singapore has expressed the ambitions of a nation and demonstrated works of quality. The exhibition “Singapore 1:1 – City” presents a selection of these works.

Suntec City is Singapore’s largest integrated commercial development and the biggest monument to Feng Shui in Singapore. It is designed as a city within a city. Suntec City is an architectural manifestation of a ‘left-hand’ structure with modern concepts, geomancy elements and the world’s largest fountain, the Fountain of Wealth. It has been said that it is a shopping mall designed as a living room, also integrating people and vehicles, including the tube. (The biggest shopping mall is Vivo City)

In Bangkok The Lai Nert Park Hotel is designed as a city in a city, but gives peace and tranquility via the garden and the canal.

Feng Shui: