Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Wow. Google is so good. How do they do it?

This makes me happy. Some people associated with Wizbang.com decided to put together a 2004 Weblog Awards contest. A bunch of great 'blogs were nominated for the "photoblog" category. But one by one by one by one, the photobloggers took a look at Wizbang.com's politics, and have dropped out of the contest.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

There was a demonstration this evening in front of 927 Fifth Avenue. Building management took down the nest of two red-tailed hawks that had lived there for more than a decade.

click for high-res

Nicknamed "Pale Male," the male hawk became quite famous, to the point where he has his own website.

click for high-res

Since 1993, the male hawk has sired 23 young. He was quite a celebrity, drawing New York bird watchers, schoolchildren, and naturalist tourists.

click for high-res

A lawyer for the building, Aaron Shmulewitz, claimed that the building's engineer suggested removing the nest because it violated city health and safety laws. A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings said that this wasn't the case.

click for high-res

Incredulous at the destruction of the hawks' home, particularly in the month of December, concerned citizens gathered to voice oppostion.

click for high-res

So far, the building hasn't commented on whether or not they will replace the hawks' perch. Some suspect that the hawks will find another ledge from which to watch the residents of the city.

It is terribly sad that some of the wealthiest residents of New York couldn't find a way to live with these birds. The city is just a bit emptier this evening.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


click for high-res

Traffic. It's a bitch.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I happened to read this Boing Boing article, then junped to the Haxxxor site. Then I just happened to watch a few of the clips. I'm still not sure what the hell it is, but if you listen closely, you'll notice that the music was done with Garage Band.


I'm half-way through installing Fedora on a laptop. The whole sheebang might be stymied because I can't find the dongle for my ethernet card.

It is the end of the year, the time when everyone feels compelled to create yearly best-or or top-100 lists.

To head this off at the pass, I submit for you perusal American Rhetoric's Top 100 American Speeches. Good stuff; many have audio as well as the full text of the speech.

I'm already tired of hearing the word "abrogate.". I'm really tired of hearing "respect and not abrogate..."

The MSN Spaces team tries to clarify their content-ownership policy.

Per Michael Connolly:

"You own the content you post.  Period.

I’m not a lawyer, but we have one of those guys down the hall.  He says that the wording in the TOU is all about granting us the right to post your content and share it out on MSN.  Since you own it, we need that right to actually draw it on the screen. "

Of course Mr. Connolly might be falling into the trap of reading a contract wearing rose-colored glasses. Not a good idea when dealing with lawyers.

"For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission."

The question isn't what the team meant to say. The question is, given the language in the agreement, what could MSN possibly do with content I post to MSN Spaces. The term "sublicense" is left entirely open. Given this language, I believe that MSN could use something I created in a national ad campaign for Coors beer without compensating me. If MSN really wanted its customers to hold all rights regarding their content, the would have put this specific language in the contract. At the very least, they would have put specific language limiting Microsoft's use of its customer's content.

This is not the case with the MSN Spaces agreement. It is pretty wide open. Reserving these rights, though, are not uncommon among similar sites.

Compare this to Ofoto's terms of service regarding photographs:

"Ofoto does not claim ownership rights in any image contained in your account. For the sole purpose of enabling us to display your images through the Service and fulfilling any orders for you or those you have shared your images with, you grant to Ofoto a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, distribute, and display those images. Please note that when you share images, you allow the recipients to share and make photographic prints from those images."

Not entirely iron clad, but the agreement is framed by the use of "displaying your images through the Service and fulfilling any orders." That is a little better, and certainly more clear.

Take a look at Snapfish's terms in this area:

"...as a condition to your Membership, you hereby grant Snapfish a perpetual, universal, nonexclusive right to copy, display, modify, transmit, make derivative works of and distribute any Content transmitted or provided to the Service by you, solely for the purpose of providing the Service. You remain the owner of all Content that you submit to the Service and as a condition to Membership, you represent and warrant to Snapfish that you are the owner of the copyright to Content you submit to the Service or that you have written permission from the copyright owner to submit such Content."

Also not 100 clear, but the emphasis is on what rights the customer reserves, and the reason for granting Snapfish license.

So MSN's terms are not unusual, but they also imply that MSN requires its customers to grant a more liberal license to the company than some others.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Coolest MacOS X keyboard sequence: Contol-Option-Command-8.

Bertrand Russell: "Don’t you understand? The sacrifice we’re asking of our young is not that they die for their country, but that they kill for their country."

"Jørn Aakre was tasked to fix the entire project and brought it down from 2mb of source code to 80k and ~100% full-time CPU utilization to <1%. And, naturally, Jørn was paid a fair 200-400% less than the original consultants who developed it."

Bad software developers are destroying this industry.

Clever: Missile Baloons. I might need this for my office.

Engaget is running an interview with Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr.

The more I play with Flickr, the more I like it. Particularly since someone on Flickr mentioned that he was "digging my style."

Sunday, December 05, 2004

"The key thing here is that there's a lot of stuff, from the detailed technical level to the long-range business level, that you just have to know. Your junior guy can't puzzle it out in advance, no matter how smart he is. It's not about being smart; it's just accumulating facts. You may have been working with them for so long that you've forgotten there ever was a time when you didn't understand them. But you have to learn to spell things out in detail, and make sure your junior folks are comfortable asking questions."