Whitney McNamara’s Techdirt Profile


About Whitney McNamara


Whitney McNamara’s Comments comment rss

  • Nov 24th, 2014 @ 2:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    I read this post, then actually went and checked the HTTP headers returned by Techdirt.com to see what the message from NameCheap was. Spent a full minute reviewing them before I figured out what you actually meant.

    I'm actually kind of disappointed that Techdirt isn't returning secret messages in its HTTP headers.

  • Nov 7th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    (untitled comment)

    Heh - didn't expect to see that when I clicked through on the link.

    But yes: that Nate Silver is simply trying to present the results of analyzing a large amount of data, and then trying to offer some context around that seems to be getting lost pretty quickly in the "50 for 50" uproar.

    As was pointed out above, Silver wasn't every saying that Obama was going to win, he was saying that the available data indicated that Obama had a higher probability of winning. Silver could have been entirely correct in his analysis and still seen a Romney win.

    Also: two minutes after posting that I realized that I'd missed the obvious headline -- I think this version is better, but the ball was already rolling on the other one: http://tumblr.absono.us/post/35203726587

  • Sep 20th, 2012 @ 5:45am

    Re: Uh, I think Amazon is really behind it

    Having spent a couple of years at a big six publisher I can report firsthand that the big houses are not at all enthusiastic with sharing of quotes or snippets, or "losing control over our content" as it's usually described in the biz.

    You're probably right that Amazon isn't entirely unhappy about making the move, but they're certainly not the driving force behind the decision.

    Publishers certainly did learn that having people talk about their books is a good thing back in the days when paper reigned, but as with the music industry, they were happy in part because the content being discussed could only be acquired as a physical artifact purchased from the publisher. The content/artifact link is being broken, and that scares the hell out of publishers.

    The industry will get there, certainly, but they're not going to be leading the way.

  • Dec 16th, 2011 @ 1:26pm


    My experience has been that you talk to a staffer, and that it's an entirely painless process. I doubt that calls are recorded, but I do believe that calls matter.

    It's anecdotal, but from a friend who works in the political arena:

    - Phone calls have more weight than physical letters, which have more weight than emails.

    - Assume that the person on the other end is taking notes, but taking the fewest possible notes, so have a short, coherent script that makes specific reference to the legislation in question (SOPA is H.R.3261) and your support or opposition to it ("I want to make it clear to XXX that I strongly oppose HR 3261, the stop online policy act").

    If you're thinking about it, do it.

  • Dec 16th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    So I Twittered a suggestion that with the likely delay, today was a good day to get in touch with your representatives. Then this happened: http://tumblr.absono.us/post/14317861585/oh-for-fucking-fucks-sake-if-sopa-passes-can-i

    I guess the upside is that if SOPA ends up passing I can probably force Twitter to delete it. Or possibly shut Twitter down entirely.

  • Feb 9th, 2010 @ 11:34am

    Very interesting...

    ...I would have thought that NBC's aim would be to make their own material extremely convenient, high quality, and easy to find.

    No wonder I never got a second interview at NBC -- I've been approaching this stuff all wrong.

  • Oct 21st, 2009 @ 7:47am

    (untitled comment)

    @Nick Coghlan I've most often seen the year/decade quote attributed to Anthony Robbins (though it was formulated as individuals under- and over-estimating what they personally could do in a year and decade).

    I'd also toss in the classic Eisenhower quote here: "I have always found that plans are useless, but planning in indispensable."

  • Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Not all big name acts (as whitneymcn)

    While the attention has definitely gone to the big ticket releases like Byrne/Eno and the Beastie Boys, Topspin isn't used exclusively by big names -- just to pick a couple of my favorites, the Texas band White Denim and LA singer/songwriter Imaad Wasif are using their tools.

    It's fair to ask whether the return for lower-profile performers is similar to what the well established people see (and I don't know the answer to that question), but the Topspin platform itself isn't entirely big names, and I expect that Topspin is thinking as much or more about developing artists -- the Berklee connection certainly points in that direction.

  • Mar 13th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    A little Friday irony... (as whitneymcn)

    I love the fact that you can download the whitepaper "Let's Sell Recorded Music!" for free, in exchange for signing up for MusicTank's monthly newsletter.

    Apparently not charging for the content that you've created in order to build a long-term audience for your other output is an idea that has merit. Or possibly not. Now I'm confused.

  • Feb 26th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Already happening, to some extent (as whitneymcn)

    I'm late to the party on this one, but it's worth noting that the subscription model is already available to artists using Topspin Media to distribute their work.

    The one case where I'm "subscribed" to an artist it's also been mostly digital-focused [I get a year's worth of stuff: so far one album, a few subscriber-only alternate take sort of downloads, though I believe there's a vinyl copy of the album coming as well], but I think that the tools can handle the kinds of non-digital ideas you've been talking about.

  • Dec 23rd, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Public Transportation and Data Accessibility (as whitneymcn)

    It's worth noting that Bay Area Rapid Transit already offers this very data set, while New York's MTA recently unveiled a closed SMS/email alert service; the MTA's approach required building an expensive in-house email/sms infrastructure, and costs around $10k per month to operate. (Sorry, can't immediately find the link for MTA costs.) While offering APIs to serve this sort of data certainly isn't free, eliminating the costs associated with the messaging can be very significant.

    Also note that after the BART service went live, Dave Winer (among others) dedicated his own time (and money in hosting costs) to make some of the BART information available via Twitter. Additional cost to BART? Nothing.

    By making the data available--to everyone, not just to Google, of course--public transit systems make it possible for the many, many city-dwelling developers to scratch their own personal itches and build useful tools. That doesn't mean that they can't make "official" tools available, of course, just that they allow others to take on some of this work.

    Shameless Plug: this sort of thing is exactly why John Geraci (with occasional assistance from yours truly) has started the DIY City project. Developing tools around public transportation is one of the topics that's generated the most immediate interest--it looks like there's a community that wants to work with this data, it's just a question of getting the data into their hands in an efficient and cost-effective way.

  • Sep 8th, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Re: You are not special (as whitneymcn)

    Matt -

    I totally agree that "more connections" != "deeper connections," and that I'm not particularly special (though my mother would like a word with you about that), but neither of those really address the issue under discussion.

    As the other half of the "expected ways" link above [summary: through Twitter, Techdirt Mike and I discovered that we both love a particular NYC falafel place], I'd say the key is that tools like Twitter can facilitate deeper relationships based on the stuff that isn't "special" or "important."

    Mike and I learned about a shared interest through Twitter, and precisely because it was unimportant it would likely have never come up otherwise. (Imagine the comment: "great post on the economics of abundance, Mike, and by the way, what's your opinion of Mamoun's falafel on Macdougal street?")

    Through Techdirt I knew that Mike was a smart guy who wrote interesting stuff on important topics. After adding Twitter to the mix I know that he's a smart guy who writes interesting stuff on important topics, has great taste in falafel, and knows more about ska than I thought was possible.

    To some that perspective might seem unnecessary, but I love having that additional depth.

  • Sep 5th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    All too common in the business world (as whitneymcn)

    About 16 months ago our insurance company paid the bills associated with a trip to the emergency room. About two weeks ago we received a notification that one item had been "reviewed," along with a bill for $50.

    My wife called the insurance company to express her feelings on this and the customer service rep said "oh, you don't have to pay that. They're just sent out because a lot of people will pay without asking any questions. I've removed the charge."

    I'm still trying to decide whether the practice or the honesty was more of a surprise.

  • Jun 13th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    More on the learning experience (as whitneymcn)

    I'd completely forgotten about this: I was the managing editor of my high school paper for a year or two, and during that time one of the regularly scheduled "free speech in student newspapers" made the news.

    The editors of a number of high school papers in the NYC area (including me) were invited to appear on some teen-focused discussion show, talking about the issue with school principals and administrators.

    As I recall, I went off on a bit of a rant about how we were supposed to be developing judgment and responsibility in this process, and that heavy-handed editorial oversight from school administration made a joke of that process.

    I also recall that I was pretty much edited out of the version that actually aired, so I guess there was another lesson of sorts to be learned there. :)

  • May 29th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    But you left out the best part... (as whitneymcn)

    From the article:

    Initially, the system will work only with Archos devices, but Blockbuster expects the kiosk to be an "open system" that is compatible with a range of devices."
    That would be Archos, whose devices' sales ranks tend to hover in the 700s on Amazon.com, and who reported a significant drop in sales for the final quarter of 2007. For a bonus, let's toss in the question of how many movies will actually be available for download:
    Keyes declined to predict how many titles will be available on the kiosk, noting that Blockbuster was still in negotiations with the major studios for content.
    Yeah...this sounds like it's set up to be a smashing success.

  • May 7th, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    Disconnect between marketing and technology (as whitneymcn)

    The Zune fascinates me, in a horrible sort of way. From day one of the launch campaign it's been clear that Microsoft saw how compelling a "social" media player could be and marketed the Zune accordingly (remember "welcome to the social?"); also from day one, the social components of the Zune have been half-assed, crippled, or both.

    There's great potential locked up in there somewhere, but it continues to look like it's going to take every single year of that long haul that the company envisions to get to an offering that stands out from the pack.

  • Feb 22nd, 2008 @ 5:43am

    Merlin Mann on "value add," via Twitter... (as whitneymcn)

    "'...provide value added solutions' is not a mission. 'Destroy All Monsters.' THAT is a fucking Mission Statement."

  • Nov 7th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    Prince: music industry visionary or control freak (as W.B. McNamara)

    I just saw the same news, but came away with a different take on it. Basically, this doesn't surprise me: all of Prince's moves have seemed to me like efforts to ensure that Prince is in absolute, total control of his creative output. While he's certainly more unhappy about the degree of control that a Warner Brothers executive may have over his work, it doesn't seem a stretch that he's displeased with even the amount of control that Joe Fanboy might have.

    As I noted in my post, the day that Jonathan Coulton starts filing suit against his fans I think we've got a lapsed "new music business" poster child, but Prince doesn't qualify for me.

  • Nov 7th, 2007 @ 7:13am

    The inevitable evolution of this technology... (as W.B. McNamara)

    [22:11] foo: blah blah blah blah

    [22:11] bar: hey, I'm trying to get some work done here

    [22:12] foo: yeah, i know but blah blah blah blah

    [22:12] foo: i mean seriously, blah blah blah blah


    [22:12] bar: KTHXBYE

  • Sep 14th, 2007 @ 6:13am

    Re: metered access (as W.B. McNamara)

    Hey, if you're following comments, Larry, what ISP (and where) do you have? I've been interested in this model for a while, but haven't come across and ISP that uses it.

More comments from Whitney McNamara >>