Archive for October, 2002


brent ashley is…

Thursday, October 31st, 2002

Dave Winer points to Googlism, where it can tell you what is being said about you on the net. Here’s what it says about me:

brent ashley is a human
brent ashley is a font of information
brent ashley is right
brent ashley is a very beautiful and unruly woman
brent ashley is sure to amuse if not educate
brent ashley is another guy who is skipping dot net

Unruly? Well, a little.


You can check out any time you like…

Wednesday, October 30th, 2002

I just sent this email to Network Solutions, the Verisign registrar twits. (no link, they don’t deserve the traffic):

Dear Network Solutions;

I’ve tried to transfer my domain ASHLEYIT.COM away from you twice in the past two weeks. I just discovered what the problem likely is. Despite the fact that you’re perfectly able to send to my administrative and technical contact email address the notice that you’re denying my request because I didn’t respond to your confirmation request, you’re apparently incapable of sending the confirmation request itself to that address, and instead it’s likely being sent to an old address I no longer use which I changed in your database long ago.

I just went to your site to log in and see what I could check. I found that I didn’t remember my login, so I asked for an email reminder. It didn’t come, so on a whim I checked the email address that by all rights I should have stopped using a year ago. Bingo, there’s the email. I then ask for a password reset, it says it has sent the email, and I’ve been waiting for over an hour now. I can’t say I’m very optimistic about receiving it at an address I still know about.

Get this straight: My email address for ASHLEYIT.COM is as listed in my BA2538 contact record. Please use no other address for this account, which I will transfer away from you as soon as you somehow make it possible.

And they wonder why I’m leaving. I took my other domain away from them a few months ago. Tim has had nothing but trouble with them too.


An alternate approach

Tuesday, October 29th, 2002

Chris at reports on yet another NS4 hack:

Scott Andrew writes with a solution to the NS4.x crashing when writing to layers that I mentioned yesterday. Apparently writing to an existing layer in NS4.x causes a big memory leak but the same problem is not encountered while doing a document.write() when loading a new document into a layer. This suggest the following solution (quoting Scott here):

1)Pointing the src of the layer to a special local page, called “blank.html”

2)In blank.html, there’s an in-body script that calls back to a function in layer’s parent (the window)

3)The function document.writes() the content into the layer (no open() or close())

I’ve got an idea – rather than using blank.html and using document.write, why not test for NS4 and redirect to a page that says “Quickly! You must download and install a new browser right now or aliens will swoop down and amputate your penis!”. Anyone who’s still using NS4 is obviously stupid enough to fall for that or at least working for some idiot who will fall for it.

Presto – no more memory leak.


Referral Spam

Monday, October 28th, 2002

Wired reports on the new phenomenon of Referral Spam, whereby marketers send a robot to my site that does nothing but inject a referrer into my logs.

Let’s do a use-case scenario, shall we?

Hmmm. Checking the old referrer log here.. Looky here – someone who isn’t actually referring to me but is trying to get my attention by injecting their message into my logs, therefore skewing my logs and causing me grief. BOY, I’M REALLY MOTIVATED TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEM – I THINK I’LL BUY THEIR SHIT!

Yeah right.

Also, whoever wrote the Wired article is way out to lunch if they really think that injecting crap into referrer logs is going to affect someone’s search engine position. The search engines make that determination based on actual links they find on other pages that actually really point to my blog. Referral spam never actually creates a link anywhere, it just injects “to see a real loser dickhead marketing twit click here” links into my logs. Which bloggers did she actually talk to who “ruefully admitted” that this non-issue was an issue to them?


Phone DNS

Friday, October 25th, 2002

ENUM is a proposal for a DNS for phone numbers, whereby you can look up the number and determine what services and protocols are available – fax, voice, data, etc. Very cool.

I got that tidbit from Jon Udell, who is perpetually consistent in his technology prescience.


Ensuring the legacy of knowledge

Thursday, October 24th, 2002

John Perry Barlow encapsulates the copyright argument:

…when Jefferson and his fellow creatures of The Enlightenment
designed the system which became American copyright law, their primary
objective was assuring the widespread distribution of thought, not profit.

Read that again, and let it sink in. The purpose of copyright law is to assure the universal ownership of all knowledge. The mechanism by which this goal is achieved is that copyright is granted for a limited time as an exclusive ownership of knowledge in order to promote creativity via profit incentive. Profit is the means, not the end. Without the limit, the entire goal of copyright law – i.e. the assurance that all knowledge ultimately belongs to the commons for the good of all – is negated.


Stopping the flow will only work for so long.

Monday, October 21st, 2002

Scott Andrew Lepera comments on the studio-artist-radio-advertising-consumer ecosystem, shedding some light that it’s more complex than it seems.

I also had a phone discussion with Paul (Chico) Fernandez from whom I understand more fully the complex relationships and pie slices – mechanical rights, royalties, radio play, performance, artists, composers, lyricists, artist musicians, session musicans.

Further, there are complete side issues like percentage-based slush funds fed from the RIAA revenue which apparently allow the union to pay artists for playing at free gigs in the park etc.

I can see that there is a lot of entrenched economic ecosystem at stake here.

A couple of things are still niggling at me though.

1) The more I look at it, the more I see that Artists (unless they are also composers) get the very least out of the recording industry pie. Why does the RIAA continue to trumpet that they’re working for the advancement of artists needs? Why does that have to be spun at us? Why not just say to us “hey, this whole huge ecosystem is in danger an could affect lots of money, people and families – let’s see what we can do to avoid that problem”. I might actually have some sympathy for that. I don’t have any sympathy for a cause that tries to tell me it’s something it’s not and runs around calling everybody crooks while at the same time grinding maximum advantage out of contract naifs.

2) I’m increasingly concerned about big money attempting to buy Congressional votes and using them to legislate artificial “solutions” which act as dikes against natural technology and market evolution. Surely the dikes are going to burst as the forces of advancement march on and cause far more disruption than if everyone were to plan to work with the changes. You might think the studios would remember the video issue or 20 years ago and how it turned out that once they were forced to deal with it rather than hide behind legislation, they managed to make it hugely successful.


downloading = disintermediation?

Saturday, October 19th, 2002

I just watched The New Music on City TV in Toronto. Today’s show was largely about downloading and its effects on the industry. All through the piece it was all about the artists, how downloading affects *their* livelihoods.

I’d be interested to see/hear artists describing their revenue breakdown. How much do they as artists make from the records and royalties? How much do they make from concerts, appearances, merchandise?

My impression from articles and letters from Janis Ian, Courtney Love, and the recent court statements from one of the Backstreet Boys about never receiving royalties is that the artists themselves make very little if anything from the recording industry. The assumption I’d like investigated is that they view the recording industry as a necessary evil that allows them to graduate into revenue streams that actually make it as far as their own pockets – concerts, merchandise.

Assuming that these observations hold true, with professional recording and wide distribution having become reasonably affordable via computers, might it not be true that artists could be far better off in the future producing and distributing their own material for free consumption in order to jumpstart their personal payback of concert and merchandising streams, thus cutting out the RIAA middlemen who seem from many accounts to be taking close to all of the money and exerting all of the control?

This is fairly closely tied to the CARP issue that has effectively shut down internet radio stations, who were also encroaching on the recording industry’s ability to control what is played on increasingly centrally-owned broadcast radio. Both downloading and internet radio are threats to the RIAA et al in that they realize that if enough artists wake up to it, they will realize that completely disintermediating the process will give them direct control over their art, their profits, and their marketing.

It sounds almost too simple. Am I wrong?