||Monday, December 09, 2002
Broadband Media Distribution panel
Cory Doctorow starts off with the history of media company fear, from 1908, when music publishers went after player piano makers, to Napster.
Broadcast flag initiative: The music industry has gone to Congress and the FCC to say that unless there is copy protection in digital TV, they won't release their content for distribution. The flag is a bit embedded in the signal that turns off or on the ability to record. It's the usual hardware solution to distributed content control -- totally impractical, because everything from TVs to PCs and CD burners, just to name a few, will need to be compliant.
Why did IT let Hollywood have a veto over what can be distributed. Deadline for FCC comment last Friday -- 3,000 comments, mostly from individuals. IT companies made a lame claim that it's silly.
Broadcast flag is step one. Second step is to block the "analog hole" that lets hardware display content with a "cop chip" that would shut down hardware trying to copy protected stuff. Step 3 is The Dark Net, a network of computers and users that continue to find ways around content protection -- the solution is to redesign the Net to survey for content violations. Infringing packets would be discarded.
These are apocalypically bad ideas. Why isn't tech coming out strongly against this? No one every asked a crowbar company to make their crowbars work only on accidentally locked doors?
Sean Ryan, of Listen.com. Started as a music directory services. Then Napster came along and destroyed the market, advertising collapsed, and the labels have finally started to move toward greater licensing. It's hard to be a label apologist, it's sort of like voting for Grey Davis. We spent the last two years working with labels to create Rhapsody, a viable subscription service that delivers a proprietary stream of most of the stuff you want to hear. Ability to burn for 99 cents. Portability in 2003/04 -- other devices than PC, stereos, cell phones.
Digital music will get to allowing people to hear anything, even individual concerts. The restrictions on music today are vastly improved compared to the situation five years ago.
Morgan Guenther, TiVo. Audience shouts: "My TiVo thinks I'm gay."
I feel like a grizzled veteran. No more discussions about a brave new world -- we lament how we destroy business models. We're focused on: execution on marketing and financials -- cash break-even this quarter come hell or high water; transition, from straight consumer facing subscriber acquisition model to being arms vendor for the industry -- DVRs will be ubiquitous in four or five years; innovation, we continue to have to innovate in system software, silicon, hardware and applications that ride atop basic DVR functionality. Our business model is focused on the service -- 550,000 subs that are "happy as clams" one percent churn (that is good, but give these folks the way to move off the paid service and they are gone.)
TiVo working on home networking/content distribution. We can create secure distribution, increase customer relationship, market and advertise.
So, I wonder, what does this have to with decentralization?
Kevin Werbach: Cory, why doesn't Sean Ryan's story ring true?
Cory D: SDMI (music industry security system) that was supposed to be embedded in PCs to protect music from unauthorized use. The team that cracked it was threatened with suit, even when it was perfectly legal to talk about math in the context of academic exercises. Real pirates have fabrication facilities in the Ukraine. DRM providers secures systems from private users.
Making a copy of a DVD is illegal, even for your own use. Hollywood wants you to buy more than one copy of a DVD, even though private performance is legal use.
Sean Ryan: We try to give the consumer what we can -- you must be online to listen, even when you have burned a CD. Consumers don't understand that a download is intended for limited use. Consumers want reasonable restrictions and reasonable prices. SDMI was a classic example of a stupid solution. We'll continue to argue this and, because this is a democracy, we'll come out with a compromise. At least it is better than it was in the music space than it was a few years ago. We play the middle game, but it's never popular.
Dan Gillmor asks if compromise is working as a strategy.
Sean Ryan: We've tried various approaches. Is it perfect? No. Is it every format? No. Historically, compromises have been reached that allowed industries to flourish.
Cory: No compromises, people ignored the industries. They were victories for the consumers.
Morgan G (TiVo): I don't want to spend my time in litigation, let's create a consumer experience that works and not rub the industry's nose in it.
Bob Frankston: Can individual artists publish through you (TiVo or Listen)?
Sean R: Listen does publish individual artists, mostly live (note: this is because artists usually retain live performance rights), We hope to make all music available.
TiVo will go there, too. But TiVo is still a closed system.
Sean R: It is a historical fact that content providers want to own every channel. We go through this phase every time [a new media emerges]. Then, we go back to third parties that are good at consumer experience and the lables back to licensing music.
JD Lasica: Will users be content creators?
Morgan: I guess, a couple points: We're all about distributed computing, and we think that model is more economic, more scalable and more enjoyable model. I think what you will see happening, cable cos. adopting closed standards for serving up television off hard drives and they are scared to death of IP delivery. Latest TiVo can receive IP-delivered content; it's a matter of bandwidth and metadata so you can find what you want. We think you're going to have access to all kinds of content, won't care where it came from -- that's about 10 years out.
Doc asks: Morgan, there's a mixture of distribution and P2P in your language, but is there another TiVO down the line based on access to a framework others can tap.
Morgan: We don't have the [resources] to do that today. He goes on to talk licensing, but not addressing the open source question Doc asked. "We're setting the standards in the industry today....it's all about deployment." Licensing talk.
OASIS -- rights technical committee is working on a standard, but they are patenting rights expression languages, just like Intertrust (Sony bought it). Microsoft and Sony will contend with one another.
Panel: Collaborative Business
David Weinberger: This is a panel on collaboration, a term almost entirely void of meaning.
John Hagel, consultant and author.
John Parkinson, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young
Narry Singh, CommerceOne
Parkinson: Since '95, I've spent a billion dollars on technologies that are supposed to promote collaboration and I am often asked why.
Weinberger: You can talk about ad hoc collaboration, collaboration in the enterprise, collaboration across enterprises -- in every case, it usually involves people working together toward common goals.
Parkinson: There is no good collaboration software.
Hagel: I focus on enterprise-to-enterprise collaboration. A lot of inefficiencies -- an enormous amout of time is spent on converting data, so there is very little time left over for value-adding effort.
Singh: Not sure the right question is whether the tools are ready, but whether the demand for collaboration is at an all-time high. Now, one process has many companies and that is a fundamental change. The mandate for collaboration is at an increasing high.
David is confused, because there is no single thread. No good tech from Parkinson. Hagel is seeing some success, but a lot of wasted time. Singh is seeing demand. So, we just spent the past 10 years building and deploying the world's largest network of connections that enable the widest variety of connections and yet we're not seeing any progress on enabling collaboration.
Singh: The things we don't talk about enough are governance and incentives architecture -- tech alone is naive.
Weinberger: Doesn't track for me. One of the lessons of living in decentralized world, we don't have to wait for things -- it's usually like mushrooms growing in forests.
Must go out to make a call....
Mitch started out talking about how he embraced decentralization in the early 80s, when the PC gave people the tools to break out of the priest-class controlled world of the mainframe.
OSAF is my third bite at the apple doing something with technology that represents decentralized tools. I am not an absolutist about decentralization. P2P is not the center of Mitch's world, some kinds of centralization can be helpful.
Chandler is a pure open source effort to build a PIM built on other open source resources, like Python and Jabber. "One of the things I like about it is that it is a low-spin environment."
My wife's 3-4 person consultancy has an Exchange server just to share calendars. When you spread the cost of Exchange over four users, its too expensive. It got me to thinking, for a small org why could you not do the whole calendar thing on a P2P basis. For that matter, why not do other information management on P2P basis.
Mitch is on Groove's board -- need to pay investors back drives high-end projects. So, Chandler, his new PIM, is P2P based to minimize costs. The product should synch two machines you use without a server. It turns out there are a number of issues -- what if you are offline on a laptop, how do other people get access to data on that laptop that you've shared? They don't, if there isn't a copy of your repository somewhere. Servers are noxious because they are running other OSes, administrative skills you don't have -- unfriendly.
Chandler -- just run another copy on your desktop. Clusters possible. Use Jabber to allow people's machines to find one another when they don't have a fixed IP address.
My message is: What I've been learning is that great products always focus on the pragmatics. If it isn't seen as an empowering decentralized tool, we won't be successful.
Kevin Werbach: You choose to do open source, but you are doing a sort of patronage model, in the good sense in that you are putting some of your money in. Why do it open source?
Mitch K: The more successful open source products, like Linux, are not just people hacking away. There are systems and rules in place. Companies that have a strategic interest in having a product around are compelled to put people to work on [the open source product] to keep it around. PIMs for the next generation -- it's a fairly large effort. That said, we've had some great volunteers and public contributions that a small group of people would never find.
You can't just drop a whole new thing on people and expect them to adopt it. That's why he didn't do "something new," aiming to do what exists better. Having the software actually know something is at the heart of what we're doing. It's a platform, not just a single application. It's actually incredibly audacious what we're doing, but it can't be done all at one time.
Glenn Fleishmann: Do you need a lot of bandwidth for your systems or are slow connections okay?
Mitch K: We need both. Slow connections are okay for background but when you need information immediately it is there.
We're assuming people will have millions of items of information on their machine -- five years of stuff.
How is information displayed -- timelines for some information. Info is incredibly modular, so that .... to allow people if they have a different insight about how to organize data, they can do that and we are not trying to do it all?
Looking for interoperability with Mozilla email and upcoming calendar client.... We're avoiding all the proprietary protocols.
Is this thing an app or a platform? I know a lot more about designing applications than platforms, though there are several very good platform people in the organization. Apps attract attention. If you try to do a platform -- try to fill that out later -- you're screwed. You need at least two clients. If we succeed there will be something that if like a platform that someone could use to build a Finder or file manager. In first product, the views will let you see your email attachments alone -- the ability to build a view of your files.
I still focus on the front end and behavior for the user, relying on tech people I respect to [build the back end] I am more open to other people having good ideas, probably a result of age. I'm a lot clearer that, in the event of design roadblocks, I am the tie-breaker.
It will stay small, so I stay comfortable. I want to work at this for 10 years.
Is it a blogging too, Dave Winer asks? In 1.0 it is not, Mitch replies, but you could write a blogging tool using what's in there.
Mitch is committed to multiple releases, regardless of success at first.
If we do succeed, I want to take on rewriting the word processor and spreadsheet. (Laughs in the room).
Doc asks what kind of response the project is getting....
"The one thing that has been most surprising is the resonance this has created." Big players are coming around to see whether it is competitive.
Panel on "Beyond the Web"
Karl Jacob of Cloudmark says that communities will emerge from within the network. Uses Classmates.com as an example, suggesting data on his system will connect him to others. This ignores the leadership factor, which is critically important to the development of any group or community. Also ignores the intrinisic privacy problem -- while we may have preferences about how to share data (these P2P discussions assume the machines have an algorithm for trust that covers the grey shades of disclosure we use in normal conversation -- they don't work and will not for many, many years).
The Groove guy, Mike Helfrich, talks about decentralized swarming and flocking. The IT organization is a barrier to this kind of activity. Again, we assume the machines allow us to trust, when all they do is allow us to begin to trust.
Helfrich also talks about ease of creation, as compared to use, in that tools will be easy to assemble for new communities. There will templates for this, but customization in IT systems always costs. He's talking about war-settings for IT as though groupware is the key to beating Iraq. Don't see how that relates to community or decentralization, because military structures are defined, even when they are in fluid situations. Orders are orders.
Doc Searls now: Something important is going on. Not so much decentralized as that it is -- the end-to-end architecture -- it is all ends. The middleware folks make things with no ends. (He's driving at the fact that no tech from a centralized structural framework is generous). Notes that Marc Andreeson said that features don't start with consumers, but with technologists who want to add value.
Same with the Net. Anyone can build and anyone can improve it. Google is a monopoly, but it is still slower than real-time, so Technorati, a linking trackers, is an example of using Google APIs to provide base value and adding to it. Wi-Fi: It's do it yourself.
There are a collection of internet services that aren't deployed. Directory services. IM. Identity services.
Questions (Jeremy's online, face is frozen, so it's hard to tell if he's really there):
Kevin Werbach: How do we build in rich clients without building in incompatibility and intermediaries?
Doc: Give away the fundamental infrastructure and build proprietary value on top of that. (BRAVO -- that's the right way).
Winer: Microsoft and Winer are trying to take the generousity of programmers and pull it out of the market for additional improvements.
Jeremey: All APIs, frameworks are published and anyone can build on it. This is key to the development of edge services.
Helfrich: Talking about DoD, again. Interoperability for edge apps is a big deal at the DoD. Defense Collaboration Toolset spec requires web services solutions. (But it is centralized, and Groove is still proprietary). Points out that the center is where analysis takes place -- characterizes the edge as where decisions are made. This is a romantic notion of military structures. A Marine platoon is an entity that stands on its own, but only on the basis of extensive social practices.
Karl Jacob: This will be profound as the Web and we're all going to do it wrong several times. (Is this a way of saying to VCs that it's okay to invest?) Talking about Keen.com ratings and real-time trust in spam prevention. Keen could take it slow and review reputation.
Bob Frankston: It is a bad idea to characterize a person as good or bad, because it simplifies the social problem.
Kevin asks: What are the limitations of the browser we need to transcend. (What I think is that decentralization started beyond the Web and it needs to be integrated into it, rather than the other way around).
Karl Jacob: Spam is binary, is or isn't. He finds this surprising. This is an example of self-organizing? (No, it's an example of shared values). A P2P model for Amazon would be based on distributed rules (but the challenge is finding out about the book catalogs, what people think about books and music and clothes, etc., since no one records that in day-to-day life. If ratings were based on what people buy, we'd all own SUVs instead of only half of us -- the gradients of trust and ratings are immense and algorithms do not substitute for that.) Jacob says, "If I trust Kevin and Kevin trusts Marc, then I can trust Marc." Yes, but only provisionally, because the trust between two different dyads are of different characters.
Tom Kall of UC Berkeley: What about massive multi-player games?
Helfrich says Ray Ozzie was inspired by this phenomenon. Jeremy seeing lots of Flash-based multi-user games.
Doc: Infrastructure is two things. 1.) The Net itself. It's sub-platform stuff, like geology. When the geology changes, it does threaten the Amazons. Flash builds on TCP/IP, but it isn't the Net. We need a name for that. We add stuff to the geology, it's human nature. 2.) Then there is the infrastructure we want our customers alone to build on -- another territory. It's infrastructure, but not infrastructure.
Dan Farber: Amazon creates a unique personal experience.
Karl Jacob: Imagine taking your wishlist from Amazon and take it with you. EXACTLY!!!!
Jeremy breaks up
Not the audience, he himself broke up during his web-based presentation to the conference from his office in Newton, Mass. Static kept us from understanding him as he talked about rich clients. The video worked great, but the audio was awful. He suggested we mute the audio and the sound guy said "Mute the audio?"
So, we move on to a panel....
Dan'l Lewin notes from Supernova
Microsoft's "Man in Silicon Valley" is starting out, talking about implications of technology and social issues associated with what's going on. An evolution slide: Things have chaged from TCP/IP through HTML and XML web services.
Xerox PARC invented a lot of what we use. Gracious, but reminds that most of those inventions were unprofitable undertakings. The university community drove this. "It really is about what is going on with the kids. I really think it is a generational thing." Lewin has a polsci degree -- hey, like me.
Cites the homebrew approach at universities in the 80s. (Me: It's all pretty formal today, as researchers and students often start from standards and with businesses in mind).
Where are we now? In a strong build-out period. Halfway into a 50-year cycle, just after the crash.
Microprocessor build-out coming through genomics, GPS, cell phones, PDAs; and it only works (becomes relevant) when it "wraps around us."
"While the pendulum swung [from the dumb terminal] to the PC [where there was a confusion between the OS and the apps people used -- many thought that Lotus 1-2-3 ran their PC].... to an XML era of rearchitecting the web services framework."
"The action is really at the edge of the network, with these self-organizing networks. Kids...." "The cornerstone, and it is revolutionary, is the customers and IT departments are really smart, but we can't tell them what to buy" just give them information and they will decide.
New app model: Moving data from one machine to another machine based on what the owner wants.
Building blocks driving .Net and the "next generation."
1. XML Web services
2. User experiences = clients + servers + users
Missed #3, he's flying through his slides.
Talks about any client participating, it's open, but the clients are all MS clients.
Marc asks about My .Net services. Google shows that APIs that are open are adopted -- will these be available only to MSN users or all the rest of us schmucks?
Dan'l: It's a set of licensing schemas. The core business model is not to operate services, except our constituencies. Kerberos coming and will provide trust bridges.
Winer: Why should anyone trust Microsoft? Lewin says we have to succeed, so we'll do the right thing.
I asked a question. Can't blog -- thinking.
David Isenberg points out that Microsoft should provide leadership on open source, following Marc who says what can we do if we don't want to license your servers but still have the APIs.
Lewin, bloodied, but head held high, departs.
Just in at Supernova -- Rheingold notes
Flights slow at SFO -- late with Howard Rheingold, who is saying that democracy may be one of the casualties of smart mobbing.
The questions are revolving around the same issues the Framers dealt with: What is the balance between direct democracy and deliberative democracy. I think we will find that the outcome of this discussion will be agreeing that we don't know -- everyone is citing how screwed up our electoral process has become and that can't be solved just by giving people a vote without linking them to information and the sense of engagement with others.
Question is asked about why didn't Napster users complain to Congress. Dave Winer says they did; but no one showed up. That's the rub, the lack of physicality reduces our shared sense of involvement and risk. Book brought up Democracy by Disclosure: The Rise of Technopopulism, by Mary Graham.
The idea that kids will be scarily different comes up. Marc Canter says it isn't age, but adaptability, that counts. Howard says software should intermediate, knowing that when one refers to "Howard" out loud, the tech should know to pass the message along to him. Exists today, but doesn't sound attractive to me to have people be alerted whenever I say their name.
Howard wraps up. Kevin Werbach says it is great people are raising a lot of questions, but state their names. Identity rules.
© Copyright 2002 Mitch Ratcliffe.