The pirate bay case

What we’re seeing with ‘The Pirate Bay’ (TPB) case that’s ongoing in Sweden, is not a fight to uphold copyright, but rather a dying institution trying to survive.

What is the case?
TPB is a search engne for torrents. The RIAA alleges that the site aids copyright infringment. TPB is defending itself by stating that they do not host any illegal material, and are doing nothing that Google or any other search engine cannot already do.

So who’s right?
I think both sides have a reasonable argument, but this case is bigger  than mere copyright infringment.
On the face of it, TPB is morally (and legally) wrong, but let’s ask the question: why is TPB so popular?
This is the million dollar question. Like napster and grokster before it, TPB challenges the RIAA in it’s content delivery system. You would think that after many legal cases and with new technologies and high rates of broadband penetration that the music and film industry would finally deliver a product in a manner which suits their customers!
The success of Apple’s iTunes store would suggest that digital media can succeed, so why is the RIAA so against online delivery?

They believe it’s bad for business, but that’s nonsense, if anything online delivey can only increase your presence in amy given market.
How does this affect the artist? If anything it could earn them more money and give them a bigger following. Oh wait, is this actually the RIAA’s problem?
By empowering the artist, you risk losing them as a client and thus losing a valuable income stream. So what do you do? You control the access. Sites like TPB provide access to anyone and therefore compete
with the record labels.
I think the content creators and those who wish to distribute that content need to strike a balance. Today you can gve stuff away for free and still make money from other revenue streams.
For instance, provide your singles for free, but sell the album or promote your merchandise.
The last thng anyone should consider doing is imply that your paying customers are stealing your content, and that’s what you see every time you go to the cinema!

So, after much discussion and rumour mongering we are still no closer to knowing whether Microsoft will be able to buy Yahoo!

A Microsoft executive, Kevin Johnson sent an email on Friday to placate Yahoo! staff on their proposal. He defended Microsoft’s recruitment policies and highlighted the Redmond companies offices in Silicon Valley and stressed the need to retain knowledge.

At this stage it’s looking like the takeover will be hostile and not amicable as was first thought. This means that things could get nasty with each companies board issuing sniping statements which both parties will ultimately regret.

Further analysis on the deal highlights Microsoft’s lack of skill in the online area and inability to launch new products all on its own. Yahoo! on the other hand has proved that it cannot cope with the strength of googles online presence both as a search engine and as an ad agency. How then will the two combine to effectively challenge google?

Maybe it’s time Microsoft concentrated on its operating system business and stopped trying to be something its not.

The Cost of iPad Apps

Some of my favourite iPad apps are free e.g. Flipboard but if I need an app or think it deserves the purchase price I will pay. How do I make this decision?
I regularly play Words with Friends and while there is a free, ad supported version, I play it enough to actually want to pay for it. It is important for me that the developer receives payment for their work, and I know that my small part may convince them to continue to support the app and hopefully release updates in the future.
When it comes to productivity tools, sometimes there is no choice but to pay. Goodreader is an example of this, where the free alternatives are not quite as polished.
When it comes to entertainment, the decision is not quite as straightforward.
t3-ipad app
Let’s take magazines. Esquire and T3 both cost £2.99 per issue which is not a big saving over the printed version, but surely the convenience of the digital edition would justify the price?
Well, er no actually, the experience is worse. The apps themselves are massive, generally over 500MB, buggy and not that intuitive.
One of the things that irk me about the publishing industry is that it seems to be waging a war on itself. For every publication that erects a pay wall, there are hundreds more that offer compelling content for free (ad supported) either through apps or via the web.
Why then can traditional media companies not adapt their businesses models to suit this new dawn?
Small (and big) iOS developers are making a living creating apps that offer a really good user experience and deliver a useful service all from a price point starting at zero and rising to a few pounds. Typically these apps will only ever be bought once (that is no new monthly content or subscription model), yet these businesses have created over 300,000 apps that have been downloaded over 10 billion times and in the space of a couple of years have created an entirely new market.
If I buy a magazine I’m not fully engaged with the content, it’s something that I will come back to, but on the iPad this is not the case. Often the magazine app provides a clunky interface that looses my interest and almost compels me to find alternative content through the browser. In my previous post I touched on what would make pay for a news app (mainly offline reading) but I can think of no reason to buy a magazine iPad app.
There is just so much good content available either as a free app or through the browser that I have no desire to pay for content. Publishers take note!

Paper by @Dropbox looks pretty awesome

Paper supports all phases of the creative process – from start to finish

A connected space to create and ideate together

Collaborative by default

Comments feel like conversations and attributions help people keep track of who contributed the perfect line, mood board or code snippet.

A flexible workspace

However you think – in words, code, pictures or motion – Paper brings it all together in one place.

Work on the go

Capture inspiration wherever it hits and keep projects moving forwards from anywhere with the Paper app. 

Simple by design

We’ve designed Paper so that your work looks good without extra formatting, and we’ve stripped out unnecessary features so you can focus on your work.

Easily set up your own Twitter bot – Scott Spence

Twitter bot bootstrap

This is a bootstrap for setting up a Twitter bot with Node.js using the twit library, the bot will like and re-tweet what you specify when configuring it, it will also reply to followers with a selection of canned responses.

As a primer for this there are the great posts by @amanhimself on making your own twitter bot and this is an expansion on that with further detail on configuration on Heroku

What you’ll need

  • Twitter account [Duh!]
  • Development environment with Node.js and NPM
  • c9 account
  • Node.js
  • NPM
  • Heroku account

How can you convert a Keynote file to Google Slides or PowerPoint?

The easiest way to convert Keynote files to Google Slides or PowerPoint is to use CloudConvert.

If you don’t have keynote (or you don’t want to install it) but you have a keynote file (.key) that you want to edit, the easiest way to convert it for use in PowerPoint or Google Slides is to convert it via cloudconvert.

Simply select the file you want to convert and ‘start conversion’. You can then download the file and upload to Google Slides or open it in PowerPoint.

Another option is to use Mac OS’s Preview to open the .key file and export it as a PDF. However, you will not be able to edit the presentation.

Photoscan from Google looks interesting

This looks like a useful app from Google to backup your old print photos.

Now your photos look better than ever – even those dusty old prints

We knew there had to be a better way, so we’re introducing PhotoScan, a brand new, standalone app from Google Photos that easily scans just about any photo, free, from anywhere. Get it today for Android and iOS.

PhotoScan gets you great looking digital copies in seconds – it detects edges, straightens the image, rotates it to the correct orientation, and removes glare. Scanned photos can be saved in one tap to Google Photos to be organized, searchable, shared, and safely backed up at high quality—for free.