Creovising & Inovating

Wow, talk about re-inventing the wheel:

The launch title, UNMASKED by Nicola Cornick, a Regency-set historical available from www.eBooks.eHarlequin.com, has been enriched with interactive buttons that hyperlink to Web sites containing photos, historical commentaries, illustrations, sound effects, maps, articles and more, bringing the world of the novel to life without the reader having to leave the computer or the current screen page. The interactive buttons have been designed to be unobtrusive, so if one prefers not to access the bonus material, the reading experience remains uninterrupted

What like the hyperlink? At times like this it makes me think Jeff Jarvis might be right (and maybe not just about Newspapers):

Newspapers are in the wrong businesses. They should no longer be in the manufacturing and distribution businesses — which have become heavy cost yokes — and should no longer try to be in the technology business. They’re bad at it.

So the solution – also from Jeff Jarvis:

Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.

Or even don’t try and link to the rest by re-imagining the concept of the link – you know that thing that makes the internet kinda what it is, the underliny bit that doesn’t require a separate button and new idiom for users to learn.

Quite amusing that the press-release contains examples of the more usual way of linking to other sources rather than these snazzy buttons.

Click me!

Let’s not confuse the medium with a format or system yeah?

Just saw this in the ‘From the Blogs’ section of the Grauniad Review. It references and then rips apart a blog post based on an article from the Times suggesting that ‘Internet book piracy will drive authors to stop writing’.

Book piracy on the internet will ultimately drive authors to stop writing unless radical methods are devised to compensate them for lost sales.

This is the bleak forecast of the Society of Authors, which represents more than 8,500 professional writers in the UK and believes that the havoc caused to the music business by illegal downloading is beginning to envelop the book trade.

*sigh*

When oh when will many of the internet bashers make the rather simple realisation that they are arguing about the death of formats or systems or revenue streams not the death of mediums. I really don’t think it is helpful to suggest people will stop writing or making music. Sure some will (maybe because renumeration is more important than self-expression??), but you know what, there will be an army of others to happily replace them. Ones armed with the relevant tools to make it in an interconnected world.

Just as I will not tune in to Radio 2 on a crystal set, choosing streaming over the internet instead. Writing will not die, music will not die, radio will not die, television will not die, art will not die, humour will not die. It will just move into something else – just as the way people distribute and get re-enumerated will transform.

Large volume encyclopedias may die (abeit for cosmetic purposes), cd’s may die (again abeit luxury formats), radio sets may die, tv stations may die, programming schedules may die, some publishers ay go out of business, some record labels may go out of business, some newspapers may go out of business.

DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH THE MEDIUM ITSELF DYING!! (sorry, for the internet shouting)

And I think I have a clue why writing will not die. The article talking about the death of writing, is….wait for it….written! Ee gads! Inherent post-modern feedback-loop?? (i.e. trying to prove a concept by saying it over and over, it MUST then be true, irrelevant of it’s own self-destructing argument – or something similarly oblique and Baudrillard-esque )

“It’s hitting hardest the writers who write books that you dip in and out of: poetry, cookbooks, travel guides, short stories – books where you don’t have to read the whole thing.

Now I am sorry, but when was it a god given right that certain formats such as the travel guides and cookbooks must survive. If the internet does it better and for free then that’s the situation, deal with it and adapt. Recipes existed for free for quite some time before Mrs Beeton. I get most of my recipes and food info from some great websites that seem to be doing rather well, okay maybe not paid great, but that doesn’t appear to be stopping them.

I agree there is an issue with how to sustain business models in the face of the most efficient distribution mechanism ever seem, but I may be naive but I am not too sure I care (or more accurately think, then adapt, the internet is not going away). The internet seems to be making many millions of peoples life’s richer beyond money. And let’s face it the last ten/twenty years of insane monetary growth seems to have mostly gone to a very small % of people or shareholders, so I find the argument that this may not continue a little meek. Especially as with the music industry they try to use the doomsday suggestion that unless you keep the current business model in existence then the entire medium will die.

Yes piracy is an issue (kind of always has been arrrrrrr), but you know if you allow people the tools to enable usage and payment for content, some of them might just pay you (and some won’t, again as they always have with cassette tapes, borrowing books, second hand books etc. and etc.). We can then make sure that money goes to the people that deserve it most, the creators, not the systems or trying to prop up formats that are really just not going to survive.

But we can’t pay for what doesn’t exist or is in a crappy format (DRM’d bloatware).

Right, feel better now.

Getting Real

Just finished reading the rather excellent Getting Real – The smarter, faster, easier way to
build a successful web application
by 37 Signals

This has to be the best $19 I have ever spent. A truly excellent and calming read that reaffirms ones belief in all that is good. If you have ever felt that many processes in IT (and any other complex system for that matter) are bloated, over-complex, over-rationalised, self-defeatist, ya-da and ta-da, then this is the (e)Book for you.

From my own perspective simplicity is something that we should start from not strive to achieve. Why should things be so complex all the time, decide what goal the product needs to achieve and measure all details against that main goal. I accept the author’s declaration that for certain systems (e.g. banking) simplicity is not always possible. Overall this book calms my fears about complex systems and as much the way as in nature, we should look for the patterns inherent in the system as well as the fine details. Or more simply, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Some fresh air snippits:

Getting Real is about skipping all the stuff that
represents real (charts, graphs, boxes, arrows, schematics,
wireframes, etc.) and actually building the real thing.

Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features,
less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential (and
most of what you think is essential actually isn’t).

Getting Real is staying small and being agile.

Get Getting Real

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