Let’s see if they allow burning….

BBC NEWS | Technology | Sony wants an ‘iTunes for movies’:

Michael Arrieta, senior vice president of Sony Pictures, said at a US Digital Hollywood conference that it wanted to create an “iTunes” for films.

Films will be put onto flash memory for mobiles over the next year, said Mr Arrieta, and it will develop its digital download services for films.

I don’t see the market for mobile movies being large, but if Sony allows people to download and burn movies in its back catalog it will see a big jump in incremental film revenue.

It’s not just giant market movements that turn a profit

Silicon Valley Watcher: Uncovering the madness of crowds…the flickrliscious effect on research labs:

Spotting potentially large aggregate social behaviors and being the first to monetise them is going to be the name of the game in the consumer digital space.

Yes, and that’s why Persuadio exists. The adjective “large,” however, is a relative one. Being large in one’s own small market is an excellent condition whereas the assumption is that only really large social behaviors that transcend niche markets are visible today.

When the virtual spaces were open and the buffalo roamed

Is an ‘open’ Internet a doomed concept? | Perspectives | CNET News.com:

No one involved seriously disputes the value of Internet “openness.” The issue is whether the government must mandate openness on cable modem and other networks, or whether openness will occur without such mandates.

Despite dire predictions to the contrary, openness has persisted for the last several years–a point correctly noted by cable and other broadband providers. The more content, applications and devices consumers can use with their broadband connections, the more they will value those connections. In turn, increasing consumer value makes cable companies and others more confident about recouping the high cost of building networks or upgrading customers to higher speeds.

Former FCC advisor Kyle Dixon warns that the Net’s fate is slipping into the hands of government instead of remaining a reflection of the people’s will.

Doc, it hurts right there. No, don’t cut that!

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US seeks battlefield robot medic:

The Pentagon has awarded $12m (£6.4m) to researchers to build a robot to perform surgery in the battlefield.

“The result will be a major step forward in saving lives,” said Scott Seaton, who works for the lead US contractor, SRI International.

The “trauma pod” will be based on the concept of the existing Da Vinci Surgical system in use since 2000.

The battlefield headline is wrong, it’s more like Hawkeye at the MAS*H unit will be a robot. The hype of the technology is way out of line with the amount of money allocated to the project.

The innovators in energy, agriculture and architecture/city design had better get busy….

Guardian Unlimited | Life | Two-thirds of world’s resources ‘used up’:

The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries – some of them world leaders in their fields – today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

The study contains what its authors call “a stark warning” for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

Seriously, folks, we’re not leaving much to the kids.

Grokster Supreme Court argument summary

law.com – Article:

…the Court was clearly divided, with several justices expressing frustration over the dearth of factual findings about the magnitude of copyright infringement in the case. The fact that the dispute was appealed only after a summary judgment ruling in favor of Grokster made it appear possible that the Court might put off a ruling by remanding it to lower courts to develop the record.

But there was no disputing that several justices expressed concern that shutting down or punishing downloading might keep Grokster or future software innovators from developing a market for noninfringing uses — a market that might not emerge until after the illegal uses establish the software’s brand.

Justice Antonin Scalia likened Grokster to the inventor of the Xerox photocopying machine, who, Scalia said, surely must have known that his initial cash flow would come from customers making illegal copies. Such innovators would be reluctant to create new products, Scalia said, if the high court laid down a rule that would allow copyright suits to shut them down “right out of the box.”

But other justices also fretted that the millions of illegal downloads cited by the entertainment industry have created a business founded on illegality.

The article is a good summary of the arguments and the Court’s reaction. I think there is too much reading of what mind individual justices are in based on their comments, as they often pose questions they believe challenge their own view rather than ask questions to produce answers to support those views.

Well, heck, call me

PaidContent.org: March 29, 2005 Archives:

Some interesting quotes from Eric Peterson of Jupiter Research. Peterson noted that tag-based analytics — in which JavaScript page tags are used to capture information about user behavior — ‘are very much in vogue. The VCs up in your neck of the woods are reportedly swarming like sharks in bloodfilled waters looking at analytics companies lately. There is intense interest in tag-based analytics.'”

If any of you VCs are interested…. MyDensity just scratches the surface of the networked markets analytics we’re working on at Persuadio.

Seeing deep

Following up on my comments about meeting Chris “The Long Tail®” Anderson and talking about the complexity in the slope of the curve describing the power law of all media, an excellent post from Anderson, Microstructure in the Long Tail, pointed to by Christian Crumlish.

…the Long Tail is in fact made up of many “minitails” (below), all adding up to the powerlaw (“Pareto”) shape we know so well.

This is important because it explains why a very effective network-effect (viral word-of-mouth) recommendation system, which is essential in driving demand down the tail, does not actually do the opposite: drive content up the tail to further amplify hit/niche inequality. The explanation, I argue, lies in the only semi-permeable membrane between niches and mass-markets. Popularity exists at multiple scales, and ruling a clique doesn’t necessarily make you the homecoming queen.

Anderson goes on to ask whether all the mini-tails look like the bigger curve they are part of, which is an important question. He finds an answer—one possible answer to the question—that suggests “no.” But the answer comes from a look at a single type of distribution, wealth, in this New Scientist article about econophysics. However, I’d like to point out that this suggests some continuity between the various mini-tails, but I believe it is the two-dimensionality of the curve that is most deceiving.

The different curves within the tail are not of a piece and we can understand them separately as being of many different configurations rather than being like or unlike the bigger curve of the power law. They aren’t aligned, they are an aggregate that is tossed and turned conceptually but still susceptible to being gathered into a single curve that describes a general distribution of market power. But each mini-tail is a case on its own and I stand by the suggestion that the best metaphor is a broad topology.

We’ve got such a long way to go in understanding all this. The long tail is a great start, but the reality is deeply convoluted and probablistic—we can’t make a blanket statement about all mini-tails nor suggest that one mini-tail will act the same way at all time—it’s an important view of the economy today. The reality beneath that grand theory is comparable to confusing quantum world that underlies our physical world (currently our Einsteinian world, but it is Newtonian in the terms most of us think), and that’s why I started working to build Persuadio’s analytics system.

It’s just going to get more interesting. Investors are supposedly clamoring for views into networked markets. Heck, call me.