October 30, 2007

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Fun with in-line graphics

One of the more odd and fun facts about the way the Web works is that the graphics (or whatever) you use on your web page can be running live from somewhere else.

So, say somebody runs a graphic image off your server in their web page? What are the possibilities? That is, for you?

Here’s one.

From curse to cursory

We picked a great time to move to Boston: just as all the major sports teams — in an awesome sports town — are peaking, big time.

And I picked the worst time to be gone for two weeks. First I miss the whole final game while flying to London. (While The Kid misses it riding on a train.) Then I miss today’s parade downtown, and all the rest of the celebrating, which is always fun to be around.

There could not be less coverage here. I gotta get it all on the Web.

Anyway, the most remarkable thing to me about the Red Sox victory is that they’ve gone from being among the most cursed of baseball franchises to one of the most blessed: not a dynasty, but a well-run machine where winning is the norm. You know, kinda like the Yankees used to be. :-)

True, and cool

Craig Smith: The road to the Academy Awards now goes through Santa Barbara.

Dana Blankenhorn: Dump the Silo Model. His gist (quoted in the long because by shortening it I risk leaving out his full thrust and the importance of it.

  Bob Frankston says we should all own our own infrastructure. Bob Cringely calls for people to own their own last mile.

  I agree, but I’m into simplicity. I say, free the bits…

  Getting from here to there means blowing up a century of laws designed both to control content and to collect taxes, laws based on an assumption of scarcity. Regulators don’t want to free the telecomm bits because they’re on the take, in the form of “stealth” taxes (look at your own bill sometime). The same is true for cable.

  But the companies that sell these bits are also in on the scam. They make more money by defining bits as “services” and by controlling what those bits do, than they would otherwise. That’s because, by selling services, they’re able to act as monopolists, as gatekeepers, controlling both the customers and the content. If they were selling bits they would have to compete, and all their power would be gone.

  This dance of definition, taxation and regulation made sense 40 years ago, when technology was analog, spectrum was scarce, and networking was complex. But today anyone can be a network manager for the price of a $100 router.

  So you should have the power over bits, no one else. You, the consumer, and you, the producer of content defined by bits, should have the power to choose how you send them and choose how you get them, without constraint. When you want to send bits or receive bits, you have the right to a competitive market. And you have the right to define what those bits mean.

  The market, and the government, exist to serve you, not monopolists. You have the power to make this happen, but only if you seize that power, only if you demand that power, only if you organize with a single, simple demand:

  Free the Bits.

Good place to start. The key, in making the political as well as the business arguments, is to show how regarding the bits as free (as in freedom, not as in beer, by the way) will be good for the larger economy, including the carriers who will be asked (or told) to leave money on the table.

We need to show the benefits to incumbency that are not those of monopolists. What are those? If we can’t answer that question, we won’t be able to sell it.