Saturday, May 05, 2007

Commenting on More YouTube Lawsuits

(Note: This is from a comment I made about YouTube on And don't worry, I have my own permission to re-use it.)

I think netizens have been spoiled by free content into thinking that they have an inherent right to get whatever they want whenever they want it. It’s certainly an easy state of mind to fall into. Copyrighted music and movie sharing on P2P networks is stealing and so is substantive re-use and gain from copyrighted content without the copyright-holder’s permission. I can’t strictly define “substanative” other than to say that showing a thumbnail image of a video wouldn’t be “substanative” but showing a certain amount of the video itself would be. Copyright holders get to make the call on if it’s fair use. Some might like the attention/marketing aspect of it, but some might not. Lately, not so much.

It seems that a site that simply aggregates links and information about videos on other sites in a user-centric way would be a smarter model than simply showing the videos directly. I assume those sites are out there. These sites can drive traffic to the copyright holders’ sites, which is what they want, and could provide the centralized hub that users want. Do we need to see it directly on the “hub” itself? Not really. Content sites just need to get their collective act together and create better, more user-centric sites while working with these hubs as much as possible.

YouTube should continue to aggregate user-generated content and video provided to them directly by copyright holders, but they need to get some common sense and quit acting like what they’re allowing on their site is something other than copyright infringement. Just because people want it doesn’t mean you should do it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Steve Jobs is Back to Being an Idiot

I'm not sure what Steve Jobs was basing his comments on, but he seems to think that no one is interested in subscription music. Regardless of the fact that I am a huge fan of subscription music in and of itself, I think he's missing the point.

Subscription music services like Rhapsody don't JUST "rent" music, you can also purchase it forever if you want to. I burn a few CDs a month from Rhapsody and the per song cost is cheaper than iTunes. Subscribing doesn't mean you can't own whatever music you want, it means you get more music. Who wouldn't want that?

So while I do buy songs outright sometimes, mostly I just load up my MP3 player with as much music as I want, I stream as much music as I want, etc. I can listen to any album or song anytime in its entirety. I probably listen to music an average of six hours a day between my commute, the office, and on weekends and I never run out of new stuff to listen to. The thought of using a service where I have to buy every song I listen to for .99 cents seems ludicrous to me now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Super Hero Name Generator

Things are moving along at Generator Land. We just created and posted our first homegrown generator called "The Super Hero Name Generator." I think it turned out pretty well. It's a good waste of at least 15 minutes of your valuable time.

We've got a few more in the works and our goal is to add at least one new generator each day. If you visit, feel free to rate and comment on what we post. You can also submit good generators you've come across. Everyone seems to know of at least one.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Map Your Site the Web 2.0 Way

WriteMaps is a basic Web sitemap outlining tool. It's low-frills but produces nice-looking sitemaps, good for planning out the architecture of your site. You start with a single page and build on it using the plus or minus icons on each new page. Branches can be collapsed easily. You can switch to an outline view instead of the icon-based view and zoom in and out with a slider bar.

And that's about it. Sitemaps can't be exported to any format (XML would be nice) and can't be downloaded. You can only print. In theory this might be a nice way to share sitemaps among team members, but there aren't any annotation or markup tools. This is clearly aimed at less technical users as developers, who are used to more complex tools like Visio, may feel limited. However, less technical users may enjoy the straightforward functionality.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Generator Land: Le Randomness Rule

After seeing how popular random generators are on the Web I felt it was my duty to create a site that brings them all together. I'm calling it "Generator Land." I'll be collecting all the sites that create fake band names, game characters, business speak, haikus, biblical curses, etc. and putting them under one roof so they can fight amongst themselves about who left the dirty dishes in the fishtank and who saw who's girlfriend getting out of the shower "by mistake."

In addition I'll let users rate them and comment on them so my opinion won't be the only one that matters. Don't expect too much right off as I begin collecting, but I hope to eventually collect enough random generators to make repeated visits a must.

If you know of any random generators, let me know on the blog here or submit them at Generator Land. I can't pay you, but I will say a prayer for your immortal soul. Or I'll at least generate a prayer with the Random Prayer Generator (if I can find one).