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And our poop don't stink, either.

4.25.2011 by Kevin Creighton

Mac users are better educated, more social, and our taste in french fries is better than PC users.

And we're also MUCH more modest than other computer users.

Just ask us, we'll tell you how humble we are.

Cloudburst

4.21.2011 by Kevin Creighton

This is why I don't trust the cloud.

A disruption at one of Amazon's datacenters has led to service disruptions in the company's EC2 or Elastic Cloud computing service. The outage, which started at Starting at 1:41 a.m. PDT, in turn brought down major websites such as Reddit and Foursquare.

Amazon's EC2 service allows business to rent processing time on Amazon's computers, which is useful for sites that need a lot of processing power. The disruption seriously affected sites that are constantly working through a lot of data. Dynamic sites like Hootsuite and Quora that are constantly processing new data are down completely.


The cloud is useful and cheap and flexible and it is also entirely out of your control. There's nothing inherently wrong with distributed computing, it's that there's no real Plan B if things go all pear-shaped on you.

Use the cloud and use it well, but be prepared for it to fail you when you need it the most.

Copywrongs, righted

4.18.2011 by Kevin Creighton

Yes, Virginia, there is a fair use clause.

"Righthaven is neither the owner nor exclusive holder of any rights in the copyrighted work underlying this lawsuit. As such, Righthaven has suffered no injury or other cognizable harm required for it to have standing’’ to sue, said one of the filings by attorneys Marc J. Randazza and J. Malcolm DeVoy IV.

"Indeed, the agreement makes it abundantly clear that Righthaven actually has no rights in the copyrights it claims,’’ the filing said.

For non-attorneys wondering why the copyright assignment issue is so important, Randazza and DeVoy explained it this way in a court filing in another Righthaven case: Providing Righthaven only rights to sue isn’t a procedure intended by the federal Copyright Act.

"Righthaven’s practices create a secondary commodities market for copyrights, or exclusive subsidiary rights in copyrights, to be used only in suing others who may have valid defenses, but cannot afford to raise them — or engage counsel whatsoever," they said in a case where they and New York copyright attorney Ron Coleman represent the Media Bloggers Association.

Righthaven, co-owned by Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson and an affiliate of Stephens Media, since March 2010 has filed 264 lawsuits in federal courts in Nevada, Colorado and South Carolina over Review-Journal and Denver Post material.

They said Righthaven perpetrated upon the court a "sham’’ and a "fraud’’ hundreds of times in its lawsuits by claiming in the lawsuits that Righthaven "owns’’ the copyrighted stories, photos and graphics it sues over, and has exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute them, when in fact its contract with Stephens Media says Stephens Media retains those rights.

I'm no big fan of remix culture: I much prefer original works of art/journalism to someone lifting content from someone else and claiming it as their own.

However, we need to take a long, hard look at how copyright is used and abused in our society. What once began as a way for artists and publishers to maintain control of and profit from their works has taken on a life of its own, leading to abuses like Righthaven, copyrighted DNA, and software (aka math) patents. Innovation comes from risk-taking, and if you can't take risks in society today without a posse of lawyers.

Information (and creativity) wants to be free.

Keep the main thing the main thing

4.13.2011 by Kevin Creighton

Pepsi's social media efforts have fallen a bit flat.

The idea behind the program was that you, the consumer, got to engage with Pepsi by voting for the "Refresh" projects you deemed most worthy. There were also other opportunities to engage through an enormous online effort -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, website, blogs. Millions of dollars were also spent in what might be called "traditional advertising in support of social media."

Skeptics have been eagerly awaiting a report card on this initiative as it is the first real test case for a major brand implementing a massive transfer of marketing resources from traditional advertising to social media.

The results are now in. It has been a disaster.
  • Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi-Cola and Diet Pepsi had each lost about 5% of their market share in the past year.
  • If my calculations are correct, for the Pepsi-Cola brand alone this represents a loss of over $350 million. For both brands, the loss is probably something in the neighborhood of 400 million to half-a-billion dollars.
  • For the first time ever Pepsi-Cola has dropped from its traditional position as the number two soft drink in America to number three (behind Diet Coke.)
  • In 2010, Pepsi's market share erosion accelerated by 8 times compared to the previous year.
The Refresh Project accomplished everything a social media program is expected to: Over 80 million votes were registered; almost 3.5 million "likes" on the Pepsi Facebook page; almost 60,000 Twitter followers. The only thing it failed to do was sell Pepsi.

That's because the point of the "Refresh" project was to make people associate Pepsi with all these do-gooder projects, not sell Pepsi products.

Now there's nothing wrong with giving away corporate money to worthy causes, (heck, a good portion of my current salary relies on companies doing just that), but the purpose of Pepsi isn't to be another Carnegie Foundation, the purpose of Pepsi is to sell fizzy sugar water.

I like companies that know they're not just about the bottom line, but a company that neglects the bottom line for a higher purpose (ANY higher purpose) isn't a company that's in business for very long, and it's a company that soon realizes that bankruptcy DEFINITELY doesn't save the world.

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