infojunkie's blog

Fractal genes

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Fingernails are a small but remarkable part of the human features. Over the years, I've been noticing repeating patterns of fingernails, distributed seemingly randomly among individuals. There are maybe a half-dozen types of fingernail shapes, and individual hands exhibit instances of these types, with feature details more or less emphasized. Individual hands can sometimes even exhibit combinations of different types.

Similarly to morphological features, we can discuss psychological features using patterns.

The netizen's duty as cybrarian

The netizen's civic duty is to contribute to the information stored on the Internet. Preferably with accurate, relevant, and generally high quality content.

In order to contribute information constructively, one needs to find the relevant online systems that will store this new information. That is, online systems that accept submissions from arbitrary users as part of its main data - the equivalent of "crowdsourced" systems.

Can we open source the whole economy? This book claims to show how!

Now that's a book I want to read:

Christian Siefkes.
From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World.

Gravebook

People die. When netizens or their relatives die, it is natural to want to preserve their memory, just like we do in physical life. So far, I have mostly seen Facebook groups that are dedicated to the memory of the departed, usually created by a friend of theirs. This space allows for people who knew the deceased to stop by and leave a comment. But as the Internet gets older, and generations of netizens come and go, it will be necessary to build a better infrastructure for Web cemeteries.

The artist vs. the record label

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One of the sad facts of the music industry that, effectively, the record label has become the enemy of the artist.

The music industry has been functioning because the audience are willing to pay artists to play music for them. We want to hear good music. So the fundamental ingredient of the music industry is the artist, not the record label. The label is a management institution that exists to support the artist in reaching his audience, to free up the artist's time and mind to focus on the truly creative task.

Nature is not perfect

One sobering thought concerning our physical world is that despite its grandiose infinity, it is palpably not perfect. Nature, the active agent of the physical world, produces specimens that are not, with all their wonderful design, flawless. Rather, individual cells at all scales deteriorate and die. Humans are all born with defects and accumulate more during their lifetime. Clearly, one can imagine a state of affairs that is more agreeable although we are unable to come up with a consistent logical recipe for it.

Questions I'd like to ask music copyright holders

  1. If I own a physical copy of the album (BluRay, DVD, CD, tape, LP), does that entitle me to freely download or stream the same album?
  2. If I purchase or am entitled to a digital copy of the album, can I lend it to my friends? my wife? my daughter?
  3. Can I store my legal digital copy on a streaming server for me to enjoy anywhere I go?

Affirmative answers to these questions would open up new ways of distributing music content that no one seems to be contemplating today.

The Butlerian Jihad

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The real world works according to its own logic, which we understand at least in part. We program computers to simulate this logic that we observe.

As such, instead of interacting with the real world directly, we now interact with software that, supposedly, has a relation to reality.

What is the point of dealing with software as a intermediary between us and reality?

Openness versus privacy

Here are some questions I often wonder about concerning issues of online openness versus privacy:

  • As a netizen, do I have the right to retrieve my own information from any Web application where I deposited it?
  • Do I have the right to completely erase my own information from any Web application?
  • Can I receive proof that the totality of information referring to me is actually accessible to me?
  • Can I examine the physical tables of those Web applications to ensure that my information is not at risk?

Open source needs the corporation

Contributing to open source means a lot of evening hours spent in front of a computer, that I could spend doing something else - spending time with my wife and daughter, playing music, sports, whatever. Of course, open source is based on passion and that's what drives me.

But the point is that the time spent coding for open source is *unbilled*, meaning I'm not directly making a living from it. I might be re-using open source software for my professional work, but typically the code that I write for paying customers or for my employer is not contributed back to the community.

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