February 28th, 2010
One of my blog readers was so put off by my previous post on the conviction of Google executives that he had no words and could merely express a mixture of surprise and disapproval! “AAARGH! AMAZING! REALLY, AMAZING” – he said very eloquently.
Specifically, I find it surprising that such an event came as a shock. This is hardly the first time a company (and by extension its executive team) has been held accountable or charged. Remember Napster (or Enron)? Google’s case is probably closer to Napster than to Enron’s, but there is a case nevertheless.
February 24th, 2010
In their conviction in a trial in Italy, Google execs’ defense was simply that they were not involved in any way with the production of the video or uploading it onto the viewing platform.
This is a bit like saying: “We didn’t do any beating, we only provided the batons and a nice comfy place to carry out the beating, and umm, yes, we did make it profitable for the people to carry out the beating.”
The only way Google can come out of this is either by spinning out YouTube as a separate entity, or considering this:
A New financial model for YouTube
- When a user uploads a video, the user can only share it with selected group of people (25 email addresses).
- If you want to upload a video and make it available to everyone, you have to pay an entry fee – say 5$. That entry fee pays for your video to be reviewed (for legal violations, ownership, etc) and rated (MPAA or some other rating).
- If your video does get viewed by millions of users, you get a fixed cut at it (0.1 cents per view or some other fraction).
- You should need an account to watch a video.
- You can watch a certain number of videos for free.
- If you want to watch more, you need to pay a fee (NetFlix like monthly fee model)
The thing that jumps out is that NetFlix could become the next LEGAL YouTube. All it needs to do, is to allow users to upload and charge a fee for doing that.
February 24th, 2010
Three Google executives were convicted of privacy violations for allowing a video of an autistic boy being abused to be posted on YouTube.
I have posted about these risk before: here, and here, but obviously I underestimated the scope and severity of these problems. Google will realize, sometime before Q3 2010, that YouTube as a service is basically unsustainable. The video ownership will be a major reason on why that should happen. YouTube will be spun off (that after all is a successful company’s way of washing off its hands of a sick and potentially risky venture).
Consider this video: Laughing Baby from YouTube user BlackOleg. It has 108 million views. That obviously has some monetary value. Now, if you want to get into that action, you could make a video yourself, or you could simply steal this one! Make a copy. Consider this one: Laughing Baby from YouTube user kaihongc – same video, with 8 million views. (And who knows anyway – perhaps the two users are the same, or perhaps the video was really made by kaihongc!)
February 20th, 2010
There is a significant part of the software industry (and a portion of my heart) that believes that programming is a purely innate art – can neither be taught, nor be learnt. But of course, that is only a part of the story. Truth be told, and programming is like art, part of it innate, and part of it that can very well be learnt and improved.
Fast forward to an actual mistake – sometimes developers forget to make use of databases’ precompilation of prepared statements. For example, in Oracle, running this query “select balance from customer where customerid = ?” hundreds of times, and giving different customerid values as parameters is far faster than running this query: “select balance from customer where customerid = 1″ and replacing the value 1 by 2, 3, .. 100 as the case may be. This is faster simply because Oracle precompiles the statement “select balance from customer where customerid = ?” and then next time simply uses the precompiled statement with the new value. Why isn’t the developer aware of this? Simply because the developer did not know the internals of Oracle, which is a black box anyway, and the developer did not initiate this precompilation step – it happened behind the scenes. So the developer would have no way of knowing that one approach is better than the other, unless someone walked her through the logic (or showed this post, or at least whispered – ‘Oracle precompilation’). So no difference whether your developer has an IQ of 18 or 180, it makes no difference. None at all. Nada. Shunya shunya shunya.
There goes your “all programming is innate” theory. So, if you are building a team of software developers and are not going to engage in active learning and teaching process (after all, all your team mates have an IQ of more than 180), and by jolly, they should already know it all or figure it all out on their own, then you will be shipping code that works only when 3 users are logged in to the system. Not 4, but 3.
February 17th, 2010
I really wanted to move my task management off of Outlook and into the cloud. Looked far and wide for all online task management programs – and have found absolutely nothing that comes close to matching Outlook’s task management. Earlier, in this post, when I found 2 of the non-free ones, I was a bit optimistic that one of them might have some features (after all they are not free!). But I came out fairly disappointed.
Disgusting. Makes you want to go out and just create your own (but I am not going to do that).