Tim O’Reilly on digital rights management and e-books

Via Forbes:

People who don’t pay you generally wouldn’t have paid you anyway. We’re delighted when people who can’t afford our books don’t pay us for them, if they go out and do something useful with that information … There’s a bakery in Berkeley that every day dumps a lot of fresh bread into a dumpster behind the store. And there’s a bunch of people who get their bread there. I guarantee you that there are a lot more people who, even if you told them they could, would not do that. A lot of sources of free content are like going rooting through the dumpster.

Our SXSW 2011 Presentation on Visualizing Government Data is now online [Updated]

Our panel at SXSW 2011 was a great experience, thanks largely to an outpouring of engagement from government professionals and contractors. Our hashtag is still active on Twitter.

As promised, I’ll answer questions as they come in via the hashtag #visualgov. Or, just e-mail me if you’d like to discuss something in private.

Here’s the link to our slides.

Update: Audio of the talk is now available.


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Four predictions for 2011

1. Smarter access to information. Open data and transparency are barely on the radar but will begin to boom in 2011. A new generation of users are viewing information as fluid and dynamic. Third-party developers are building apps that do amazing things with your data across a variety of platforms, including mapping and visualizing. Design is on the verge of mattering less than accessibility of content.

2. E-readers drive mobile information. The Nook and Kindle haven’t had much play as anything but book readers. But 2011 will see a major shift toward more portable information, expanding from mobile phones to readers and tablets. The Kindle and iPad are still king.

3. Video. We haven’t seen the online video revolution yet, but it’s around the corner. It’s coming in such a way that major telcos like Time-Warner are lobbying hard to restructure the Internet so that content can be throttled and divided among subscription tiers. If you stream Netflix or play online games, you’re on Big Telco’s shit list. New methods of indexing video will emerge.

4. The death of the Internet marketing/guru/ninja/expert. These people, who you see on Twitter and Facebook pushing their consulting and freelance services, will dwindle in volume. Having followers no longer makes you a guru. Innovation in communication, marketing and technical design will again be firmly rooted within this field, and not just to those who self-proclaim their expertise. Good riddance.

What Wikileaks really tells us about government and policy

If there was ever a question that information wants to be free, look no further than the Wikileaks story.

Governments — and especially those of us who work within them — haven’t fully identified the intersection of social connectivity and electronic data management.

The upper levels of government, foreign policy and national security keep secrets. By definition, that’s what many agencies do. As citizens, we must accept this fact. Secrets can keep peace. Secrets win wars. But secrets also can destroy trust, hide criminal acts, and threaten civil liberties.

Enough with The Beatles – today’s real news is on the iPhone

Apple’s announcement today that it added The Beatles to the iTunes Store overshadows two news items of much greater importance to iPhone and iPod Touch users.

The first is that Google Voice finally squeaked its way through the App Store’s approval process. U.S. users with a Google account now have better mailbox and voicemail functionality than before, with free text messaging, voicemail transcription, call screening and call blocking. The service also offers cheap international calls. Google has tussled with Apple in the past about the Google Voice app, just one battle in an already contentious relationship between the two companies.

Second, an update from Twitter late today now allows push notifications. @ mentions from people you follow now push as a notification to iPhone and iPod Touch users, making Twitter a much more real-time conversation tool.