Wisdom of Crowds

I've been reading and working a lot with the concept of the "Wisdom of Crowds" and how can you apply it to several fields. I'm to write more about that (including about a study I contributed to). Curiously, and absent-mindedly, I've just used the wisdom of crowds, and only after noticed what I just did.

There are two musical styles I've been a lot into lately: "neofolk" and "dark folk". Both are relatively new terms, so they still lack "general acceptance" (like a common definition or agreement of what's neofolk and what's not). Still, and a lot thanks to the effort of Prophecy Productions with their "Looking for Europe" CD/Book, the style is nowadays generaly defined, and no one nowadays thinks that it is spelled in other way but "neofolk". Now, "dark folk" is a way more vague term, with a preety loose definition (or, some may argue, no definition at all). Nowadays use of the term seems to refer to a neofolk subgenre, but some people still use it with other meanings (for instance, as a synonym of neofolk). With such a "indefinition" of the term (thypical on new genres, and some older ones, like "experimental"), it's so surprise that there are also a lot of ways to actually spell it. Some write "darkfolk", others "dark folk" and others "dark-folk". So, I decided to find out how should I spell it. It was quite simple:

From http://www.last.fm/tag/dark+folk:
This station has been created by 1,251 people that have used this tag 4,012 times. (Last used 12 days ago.)
From http://www.last.fm/tag/darkfolk:
This station has been created by 116 people that have used this tag 340 times. (Last used last month.)
From http://www.last.fm/tag/dark-folk:
This station has been created by 53 people that have used this tag 97 times. (Last used last month.)

Et voilá
, I now know that from now on "dark folk" is written this way. You know who decided it? The Wisdom of Crowds.

PS -> BTW, this is also a good example of why choosing a good URL scheme matters.


Gerd Leonhard's Music 2.0

Music 2.0 book cover

Gerd Leonhard's new book "Music2.0" is now available, finally, both as a 'real', perfect-human-interface i.e. printed product, as well as a pay-what-you want pdf download (i.e. you decide how much or even if you pay). Music2.0 is kind of like a 'best of Gerd Leonhard' compilation, 227 pages filled with the zaniest blog posts and juiciest essays from the past 4 years, slightly remixed and tweaked to perfection, riffing on 'The next Generation of the Music Industry'.

The book continues and expands on some of the ideas and models he cooked up in his first book “The Future of Music” (co-written with Dave Kusek), describing what he thinks the next generation of music companies will actually look like, and getting even deeper into some of his favorite buzz-phrases such as Music Like Water and the Flat Rate for Music, Feels Like Free (FLF), the Usator, Friction is Fiction, and the People Formerly Known As Consumers.

The book is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

To get a copy of the book or to retrieve the pdf download link, go to the Music20book.com site. It accepts Paypal (and credit cards, via paypal) and will ship anywhere in the world.

I've written about Gerd in the past. Also, read my thoughts on Music 2.0.

Microsoft going Open Source? Nah...

All over the news today is the word that Microsoft is turning from evil to good, hell is freezing and they're really adopt Open Source and trying to contribute to its world.

Let me give you some ice:
  • The whole stuff is incompatible with GPLv2 and GPLv3.
  • All this is full of patents and patent promises. For instance, while there's a promise to not sue voluntary non-paid developers, using the code covered by patents for commercial purposes is only permited “for the right fee”.
This news is bringing more harm than good to the open source and the free software world. Which is not that a big deal of news, considering it comes from Microsoft...


Leave a Tip

tipping music

From now on, this blog, Merankorii's website and Noori Records' one have a widget telling you to "Leave a Tip". Basicly, you can give whatever you want, from 1 cent to... well, as much as you like :-) All the money I get there will be used to fund both Merankorii (my musical project) and Noori Records (a record label that does things right).

I've talked a lot about new ways of making music 2.0. Lot's of theorists seem to think that "tipping" is the way to be. While I don't agree that that's the sollution, I think that it surely helps (I'll probably get back to this later). Also, studies on this matter tells that people like the fact that they can choose to support the artists. Since both Merankorii and Noori Records gives a lot of music for free anyway, those who don't wish to buy the the physical product itself, now have a way to tell us "thank your for your work", or just help us to keep doing it. Also, there's a great think about being a DIY band and label: all the figures are low. Leaving 2€ in that tip box will probably make to us more than buying 20 CD's of your favourite musician in a retail store.

So, there you go. If you like the work I've been doing in this blog, the way Merankorii gives music for free or want to support this new record label, consider leaving a tip. Thank you.

If you leave a tip here, it will be used to support Merankorii and Noori Records. Thanks!

How to behave on an Internet forum

How to behave on an Internet forum: a funny video that can also be aplied to almost every virtual "place" (from virtual worlds to newsgroups, mailing lists, blogs, whatever)...

A must see.



Silence isn't "nothing", it causes reactions. John Cage surely knew it when he decided to create his 4'33'' piece. Also in this blog, things are quite quiet, and that is already causing some reactions. Being so quiet here is just a reflection of all the things I've been doing, and those I still want or have to do. I've been quiet here, but busy and sometimes loud in other activities. There's surely a huge number of things I wanted to blog about, and most of them probably won't ever be written. Anyway, blogging is a mean, not the end. Acting sometimes is more important than writing about it. I understand that some of you use this blog as a way to keep in contact with me and my ideas, but I'm not compromised with it: I use it just as much as I feel I should, and sometimes... well, there are more important (or even pleasant) things to do.

Also, silence gives a message. Do you get it?


Public Domain Jazz

Despite being a long-living and rich musical style, Jazz is commercially undermined by the fact that most Jazz records with good recording quality are ridiculously expensive, and the market astonishing controlled by major labels, more interested in profit than in Jazz, their artists and their fans. With that in mind, the "Public Domain Jazz" project appeared, with the intention of creating an "as affordable as free is" compilation of great Jazz tracks that any person can have, making not only a fair deal to the Jazz listener, but also giving Jazz back to its own spirit.

If you like any of these tracks, remember that they are in Public Domain: you're free to do with them everything you want, including giving it to your friends. Also, there are many more where these came from: feel free to explore the Free World of Jazz.

This compilation is dedicated to Paula Simões.


Freedom or Copyright?

I wrote about it before [1], but now Richard Stallman also did it, and better. Freedom — or Copyright? [2] is a text about Copyright, why did it appear, why was it good, and why is it bad nowadays. Thoughtful reading.

[1] - http://smallr.net/bazaar-blanket
[2] - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/freedom-or-copyright.html


Quick update

If I had twitter (which I don't count on having, I already have a lots of accounts in lots of places that I don't have the time to use, thank you), these would be the three topics for the last few days:
  • Got "Knox Om Pax" first and only album, "Laudanum". WOW. The reviews seem exagerated, but after listening the album you'll see that the album is better than that. Neoclassical.
  • Tonight I'll see a "Balanescu Quartet" gig. Only seen now, CCB's website tells about the gig as being basicly about their latest album "Maria T", which is awsome since it's their best (for me). I really expect a great concert!
  • Finaly, I just read about a debate about the music industry future that is going to happen next tuesday. I'll try to be there, of course.


HYSP - Harden Your Software Projects

HYSPCERT-IPN (http://www.cert.ipn.pt) is planing to organize a set of workshops about planning and developing secure software, in an event called HYSP that will occur at the 21st and 22nd of February.

Since this is an in-Portuguese event, here's some in-Portuguese info:

Toda a informação sobre a formação está disponível no seguinte endereço: http://www.cert.ipn.pt/HYSP/.

O CERT-IPN é um núcleo CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team), que está integrado no Laboratório de Informática e Sistemas do Instituto Pedro Nunes, uma instituição de utilidade pública sem fins lucrativos, que tem como missão a transferência de tecnologia entre a Universidade e o tecido económico Português.

A actividade do CERT-IPN é subdividida em dois grupos de serviços: Serviços de Disseminação e Serviços de Consultoria.
Os Serviços de Disseminação são um conjunto de serviços de natureza comunitária, em que o CERT-IPN se assume como entidade socialmente activa, e que tem como um dos seus principais objectivos a colaboração com a sua comunidade envolvente em aspectos relacionados com Segurança de Informação.
Os Serviços de Consultoria, por sua vez são um conjunto de serviços de carácter comercial onde disponibilizam todos os requisitos necessários para colmatar as mais elevadas necessidades, na área de Segurança de Informação, dos seus clientes.

Uma formação deste género destina-se a um público alvo bastante alargado; contudo aqui ficam alguns dos profissionais que podem ter um interesse particular nesta formação:

(T-Possível interesse nas Palestras, W-Possível interesse nos Workshops)

Software Project Leaders - T & W
Developers - T & W
Students of Computer Science - T & W
Teachers of Compueter Science - T & W
IT Researchers - T
IT Security Personnel - T & W

Microsoft to buy Yahoo! ?

Is today the sad day? Last May I wrote:
According to NY Post, Microsoft is trying to buy Yahoo!, in a move that speculation sees as to make a force against Google dominance in some markets. It makes a lot of sense to me Microsoft wanting this, but I surely hope Yahoo! to fight against it. And if Microsoft manages to buy Yahoo!... It will be a sad day.

In fact, when Google acquired YouTube in October 2006, I said:
I mean, why are you all worried about Google's relations with Fox (MySpace owners) when the real Google competitors nowadays are Yahoo! and Microsoft?

And, as a matter of fact, 2008 begins with
  • Microsoft and Yahoo! being the two direct competitors of Google
  • Google, Yahoo! and Apple being Microsoft's direct competitors
  • Microsoft and Amazon being the direct competitors of Apple

Now, if Microsoft buys Yahoo!... Who will compete with it? Google and Apple? Separately or together?

Microsoft just made an hostile Yahoo acquisition proposal for $31 per Share, in a $44.6-Billion Deal. Hostile means that Microsoft isn't asking Yahoo nothing, instead telling its shareholders to sell at their target price.

Yahoo! stocks are rising and Microsoft stocks falling, but Google's stocks are falling too.

What's going to happen? I'm surely waiting to see, if this acquisition happens the IT world will change violently the next months or even years.

Metaplace Developer Chat


For those wanting to know how did the Metaplace Developer Chat went, you might want to read this two links:

http://smallr.net/metaplace-chat gives you some nice screenshots and talks about the event itself.

http://smallr.net/metaplace-transcript has a chat transcript.