Archive for May, 2004

The Value of Free

May 27th, 2004
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Interesting essay/blog entry (is it an essay? is it a blog entry? who cares — ridiculous distinction, anyway!) on the Free Culture AudioBook Project.

Intellectual Property

Google Moving Closer To Yahoo

May 13th, 2004
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First, good old search, then a heirarchical directory, then shopping via Froogle, then email, and now Google is allowing the creation of groups/mailing lists: Google Groups 2 Beta.
The old Google Groups was just an interface to Usenet. This extends it by allowing people to create their own, non-Usenet online discussion groups that can also double as an email listserve.

Technology & Internet

Skype Plans For-Fee Service

May 11th, 2004
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Reports are beginning to leak in that Skype, the free peer-to-peer voice-over-IP (VoIP) slash instant-messaging service, will launch a pay service connecting Skype VoIP to the plain old telephone system.
Didn’t someone write about this back in the fall? Oh wait — that was me! To wit:

At some point, to gain market, Skype needs to open a gateway between the IP network and the telephone network (which is apparently in the plans). At that point, I would lay bets that Skype ceases to be free and falls into pretty much the same realm as Net2Phone and DialPad.

That’s from the Skype Hype is Tripe entry, that, incidentally, is consistently one of the top ten entry points for this site. I think a lot of people find their way here via searches that land them on that link. It’s on page 5 of Google search for “skype,” but the third for “skype hype.”

Technology & Internet

Open Source Usability

May 5th, 2004

John Gruber of Daring Fireball, in Ronco Spray-On Usability, writes:

“[S]uccessful open source software projects tend to be at the developer-level, not the end-user level. E.g., successful open source projects have programming interfaces, not user interfaces. Apache, Perl, Python, gcc, PHP, the various SQL databases. The list of fantastic open source developer software is long.
The list of fantastic open source GUI software is short. This is not a function of chance.

This is dead-on. And I’ve been ranting about that for years. (That link is courtesy of the nifty Wayback Machine, because I’ve since lost the file that was part of a now-defunct version of 10RW.) I wish I could dig up my first rant about that, which was back in 1995-96 when someone on the FutureCulture mailing list was trying to convince me that the English department I taught in would be better off trashing our Windows lab in favor of Linux boxes. In 1996! Ugh!
Update [12:35pm]: I forgot I also wrote about the interest horizon and open source course management systems two years ago, as well.

Open Source