Sam_K’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    (untitled comment)

    Thanks muchly for this link to the Cracked article and your dissection of it AND so many great comments. Best thing I've read on the Internet for a while.

    Cheers All
  • Oct 20th, 2010 @ 2:50am

    (untitled comment) (as Sam Kearns)

    Y'know I've had a hunch for a long time that a significant element of the decline in music sales in the last decade is due to the fact that there is no serious social movement being championed by musicians these days.

    When you think about every decade of the 20th century since Elvis, the most important music was always the soundtrack to a social movement. The music of the noughties however has, by an large, totally failed to reflect the important issues of the time and so the reaction to that music is lacklustre because it is not bolstered by the feeling of belonging to a movement.

    This story about Dan Bull captures some of that feeling of music being the soundtrack to a social movement and Dan's success has really been about people identifying passionately with what he is singing about, rather than simply enjoying the music.
  • Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:45pm


    Dang it! I meant to type "Steve Jobs can do no wrong"
  • Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:39pm

    (untitled comment) (as Sam K)

    There is a strong cross correlation between being a professional creative and being an Apple fanboi. I would not be surprised at all if "Steve jobs can no no wrong" was a strong contributing factor in their acceptance of the iPad's text-to-speech features.
  • Aug 7th, 2010 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed of innovation

    It seems you misunderstood what I was getting at. What I am talking about is this:

    Let's say you have connected up a small ad-hoc network with the houses near you, using ethernet, WiFi, etc. Now you can reach any house in your neighbourhood without using any Telco network.

    OK, now you want to expand that network to connect up with the houses in the next town. That won is say, 10km away, and there is nothing but state forest or rural land in between. How do you bridge that gap?

    The same situation arises when you want to connect up that local ad-hoc network to the existing Internet. Whoever provides a gateway out into the "real" Internet is going to get absolutely hammered by people wanting to use that link (assuming they don't have one of their own) So that person gets a really fast connection with lots of data that costs them a lot more. Now they need to charge the other network users to recoup their costs for such a fat connection.

    Congratulations, you just started an ISP.
  • Aug 6th, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed of innovation

    Femotcells have nothing to do with what I am talking about. I am talking about covering say 20Km to the next town.

    From the Wikipedia link you supplied:

    "Once plugged in, the femtocell connects to the MNO's mobile network, and provides extra coverage in a range of typically 30 to 50 meters for residential femtocells"

    The point of a Femtocell is to extend mobile coverage in a smallish enclosed space. Not to provide a radio link over many kilometers.

  • Aug 6th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed of innovation

    You completely missed the point. Even if there was NO RESTRICTION AT ALL on use of radio frequency, it is still expensive to setup and run the equipment needed to actually make the link!

    You need to erect some kind of tower to get the antenna above the landscape. You will need a small plot of land to put this on, let's assume (very optmistically) that your local community is OK with you putting this on some public land at no cost.

    Now you need to build your tower. It needs to be strong enough to withstand the weather and not be a threat to public safety for many years to come. The design work, construction, delivery and materials cost for this tower alone will cost thousands if not tens of thousands.

    Once it turns up, you can't just dig a little hole, put it in and pat the dirt down, oh no! Now you need a local builder to build you a concrete footing and hire a crane to stand the thing up.

    Next you need to populate this tower with your actual hardware. Probably at least thousands to tens-of-thousands there too since it'll have to be capable of at least a multi-gigabit connection to make everyone happy. Oh and we'll need a little outhouse at the base of the tower to hold all the gear. Oh and we'll need to connect power to the outhouse for all the gear.

    Oh yeah, nearly forgot, you now need to do all of that again at the other end!!!

    What if the community at the other end is not interested in this sort of public network? Now you need to actually buy the land at the other end for your 2nd tower.. What's that gonna cost? $50,000+? Assuming you can buy a small plot in just the right spot?

    Even once it's all built this is not just a set-and-forget operation. You will need to have a tech person to maintain the gear and an administrative personl to handle all the accounts. That's at least 1 full time employee if you find the right person who can do everything.

    Chuck in the maintenance costs and electricity bill for the tower, plus putting money aside to upgrade to hardware every few years to meet rising demand and you're looking at an operation easily exceeding $100K in annual expenses.

    And all of this is AFTER you've successfully dealt with the FCC.
  • Aug 6th, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Speed of innovation

    On the face of it, I really want to believe this could work, but there are so many problems with it I barely know where to start.

    To begin with, the majority of people lack the basic network chops to manage a functional routing node on the Internet, let alone protect their own computers from data that is merely "passing through". I guess this could be overcome with pre-configured hardware that is installed by your local computer service guy, but it's hardly plug and play at the moment which is where it would need to be to have anything like a useful level of penetration.

    Secondly, there will always be "geographical chokepoints" where the hop to the next node is much further than you can run an ethernet cable or domestic WiFi connection. We have now surpassed the point where a single, interested user would be willing to stump up the cash to make the connection, especially if everyone in the local area needs this link to reach the outside world.

    So what do you do? You ask everyone in the town if they would be willing to contribute some cash to setup this link. Enough of them say yes! Now you need to setup an organisation to collect the money and build and maintain the connection.

    Congratulations, you've just started a Telco!
  • Jul 30th, 2010 @ 9:25pm

    (untitled comment)

    This is totally pointless because it relies on the same idea (ability to control/monitor distribution of media) that traditional royalties rely on and does nothing to address the fact that that model is fundamentally broken on the Internet.

    If this could work, then so could any of the traditional royalty collection models.

    Total fail.
  • Jul 10th, 2010 @ 12:58am

    (untitled comment)

    The main thing that pisses me off about geographic restrictions is not that region based deals are done, it's that the deals are NOT DONE, and people who live in coutries that are not the major markets are just shit-outta-luck because it's just not worth their time to actually cut through all the licencing red tape to make it happen.

    I even live in a 1st world country (Australia) and we STILL are not deemed important enough to bother making licencing arrangements.

    I used to use Pandora before it went geo-restricted. When it did get restricted they put up a message about how they were working hard to do deaals to make it available again. Now 5 years later (roughly) no such deals have been done and they don't even bother to say they are trying anymore.

    So far, geo-restrictions means if you are not a major market then you don't exist.
  • Jul 9th, 2010 @ 9:51pm

    (untitled comment) (as Sam K)

    Here in Australia, I know of several occasions where friends or family members have had bill shock, usually in the order of about $1000 to $1500, and I don't know anyone who has ever had to actually pay it.

    In each case they basically said to the phone company "I am never going to pay this, ever. So you have 2 choices, either you waive this bill and I remain your customer, or you don't and I switch to another carrier while you piss a lot more money up the wall trying to collect the debt."

    And every time the carrier has eventually rolled over and waived the bill.
  • Jun 16th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    (untitled comment)

    +1 for the debate! Bring it on.
  • Jun 14th, 2010 @ 5:12am

    (untitled comment)

    I have tried really hard to understand Twitter for the past year, and so far I've failed. I'm not going to say it's stupid, I still really believe that it's me who is deficient here. So, I'll tell you what I don't get, and maybe some of your commenters can help me.

    I've followed a bunch of people on Twitter, people whose other content I really enjoy (podcasters, artists, journalists, etc) the problem is that 95%+ of my Twitter feed is @replies to other people who I don't know and therefore did not see their original comment which sparked the reply.

    So, to me, my Twitter feed looks like a room full of people who are all on the phone to people I don't know. I only ever hear one side of the conversation and most of the time that is not enough for me to understand what is being talked about.

    It's like reading a bunch of people's email "sent" boxes and the emails they are replying to are never quoted.

    Hardly ever does anyone Tweet something that is actually just a "from me to everyone" kind of communication.

    Surely I'm not doing it right? Please help.
  • Jun 12th, 2010 @ 3:05am


    I just wanted to say this is a really great comment that has stuck in my mind over the last day or so.

    Double thumbs up.
  • Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    (untitled comment)

    I think what's really going on is that most people just don't understand the issues and so it's a situation of "ignornace is bliss". Until of course there is an incident where their expectation of the system, and how the system actually works collide in an ugly manner.
  • May 29th, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    (untitled comment)

    It strikes me that the reason these photographers can be so easily threatened by amateurs is because deep down in the pit of their soul they know full well that what they do isn't all that special and their just shit scared of everyone else realising it.

    Really, if you were a truly a talented photographer then you should be confident that your photos can run rings around amateur photos and one look from a potential client is enough for them to realise why they would want to pay your fee.

    If not, you've got some re-evaluating to do.
  • May 17th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    (untitled comment)

    What I love about this article is that when he talks about these issues and his reaction it all sounds so simple and common-sense.

    Why is it so bloody hard for people to understand this stuff? I am 100% a new media man but with all the words I've read on this subject even I have been lead to the conclusion that "it's complicated" when actually it really isn't.
  • Apr 30th, 2010 @ 10:43pm

    (untitled comment) (as Sam Kearns)

    The way that this is playing out, with MS counter suing over an IP claim when sued by Datel for monopolist behaviour, is an excellant example of how heavily-protectionist IP laws can make criminals of everyone when they are just trying to get on with life/business.

    IP law is an easy way for big IP stakeholders to turn ordinary people and businesses into a criminals so they can be easily silenced and intimidated.

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