Friday, March 05, 2010

DRM busted again - Bad Investments (click this title for DRM free works)

Boing Boing gave space to the debate on digital copyright. There is logic, emotion, idiocy, and infantile weeping - and that describes the folks that bothered putting expensive and always ineffectiveDRM controls on the buyers of products they sell.

Boing Boing also printed the code used to break the unstoppable DRM by Ubisoft. AC2, Assassin's creed 2, is now a free willy. Normal buyers rights have been restored to purchasers that know how to insert the code.

Copyright on digital media never works - never.

Yet companies spend millions, and waste developers that could create products to please customers, on trying to frustrate customers. Sometimes the Million dollar DRM protections take minutes to break -- this unbreakable DRM took less than a day. And they will do it again - how do you explain such idiotic investments to your stockholders? "We want to teach the nameless hoards a lesson."

And you call yourself business people? Or worse you call yourself gamers and create a game you can't win? Save money - invent and play Tic-Tac-Toe.

"Strange Game Professor. The only way to win is to not play." about nuclear war, from the movie War Games

imagine book publishers (they are working on their own ways to go out of business) trying to:

get all libraries closed

create books that self destruct unless they read your fingerprint.

file punitive law suits if you let a friend read part of *your* book

Throw you in jail if you sell or buy a used book.

And waisting millions inventing new chastity belts for lock smith's girlfriends. Locks that use antique skeleton keys.

The best part of the comment debate on Digital Rights Management comes from Cory Doctorow. For those of you unfamiliar with Doctorow, he is a best selling author, and also publishes all of his books online in many downloadable formats. Very good books. Free Downloads. And he still sells many traditionally published and marketed copies.

Cory gets it - and he's quoted it somewhere. The vast majority of book readers know only a few authors, and buy few books. An author's enemy is not the copy machine, or lending libraries, or friends passing books to friends. An author's enemy is obscurity.

Here is Cory's comment answering a prior childish comment rant:

First of all, the reason people stop at stop signs has nothing to do with the law. That's just a dumb thing to say. 99% of the time, people could *not* stop at stop-signs and not get arrested. The reason people stop at stop signs is that stopping at stop signs is a reasonable social contract.

As to being nice to old people: if you believe that the reason people are nice to old people is that the law compels them to:

a) You are making reference to a nonexistent law

b) You are possibly a sociopath

The reason people are nice to old people is that people are generally nice to one another.

DRM has no connection with preventing piracy. Pirates download the DRM-cracked versions. DRM on music is there to reduce the rights that you get in copyright -- the right to play your music on a competitor's device, the right to sell or give away your music, and so on. These rights are enshrined in law, but DRM is a loophole to copyright law, since breaking DRM is prohibited even for people who are making otherwise lawful uses.

The reason people break DRM is that is makes unreasonable, unilateral incursions on your property rights: your right to lawfully enjoy the products you purchase, in lawful ways. The reason I celebrate breaks to DRM is that they show:

1. That the technical hypothesis that DRM will prevent piracy is ridiculous

2. That the public has the capacity to reassert its rights under law and practice and restore the reasonable social contract between creators and audiences.

You tell 'em Cory!

If you are thinking, "I'll bet you wouldn't say that if it was your art, art you had created, others were using without permission."

Hackers End Game - Complicit Simplicity. That's my book, a hacker's novel, all free, all online. Use it, copy it, send it to your friends. There are at least three prequels, and a dozen or two stories of minor characters you can use, or make movies, paintings, or games from Complicit Simplicity. Make it yours.

I would like a shout out if you like it, but it's your choice. I've even put the back story, Complicity Universe online. Dig in, play, create, craft. explore.

I can see a value in patents for inventors, give them a year or so to profit from their invention before others make a profit improving it. If other's can't improve it, they have a Kleenex - a first mover advantage that will run for years.

But copyright?

Over 50 years ago Walt Disney drew a mouse. Walt's dead. The bloated and arrogant company that now manages the mouse is still making hundreds of millions from his creation. And effectively suing nurseries that have the audacity to paint cartoon characters on their walls. There's an idea. Proclaim you are the company the owns cave wall drawings and you want credit for every drawing since.

That's copyright. Oh you might have to add an extra line to the original Buffalo's tail every 50 years. But all drawings now belong to you - Pay up Picasso.

Now I'm starting to rant. Back on point - DRM as a concept shows its flaws in the mirror of reality. DRM as a business proposition should get all senior management fired.

For obsessively nursing the equivalent of:

"I'll show that English teacher, I'll missspeel a werd."

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Don't Trust People That Wear Ties

The general rule is to not trust people who feel a need to wear ties, or white lab coats, or designer dresses to impress or fit in. This advice works on many levels.

If you trust someone because they are dressed up, or drive a BMW, it is easy to be fooled by con men. Putting on a tie and a suit is an easy way to fool fools. Some folks wearing ties may have integrity, but why take the chance. Talking heads selling financial advice wear ties - 'nuff said.

Ties are uncomfortable. If your performance and value are high enough you will be sought out even if all you wear is a toga or a kilt. A tie identifies you the same way a uniform with a name tag identifies you -- as part of the homogeneous heap of humble humanity. Wear a tie to show herd think rather than real thought, it's a symbol of the success of your coercive schooling.

Ties are required by bosses. If someone bends to the will of another so easily, they will bend in other ways too. That tie shows they are not after your best interests, but their own; by pleasing a third person -- not you.

Ties help people fit in with other tie wearers. If fitting in is so valuable to them, their advice and help will not vary from the crowd they hang with. Save time and frustration, read a magazine article and find what the crowd thinks. There is no need to seek advice from those with executive hair and business like pant suits - they all share common words and outlooks.

Every year tie wearing economists guess where the economy will be at the end of the year. Almost every year the economists guess wrong, and they are closer to each other's guess than to the real outcome. Don't consult one, read an economic summation, then ignore it. Observe life's ebb and flow, and think.

A red power tie does not show power, it shows weakness trying to camouflage itself. People that spent high school trying to impress the in-crowd now wear ties. The guys that wore pocket protectors in high school still wear them, and own their own companies. If a $5,000.00 suit and a $200.00 tie make you feel like you can conquer the world - you have deep insecurity issues.

Door to door salesmen know a No Solicitors sign means the occupants have no sales resistance. A person wearing a tie to show their power, has none. Politicians wear ties, to hide their corruption. That tie shows they are not after your best interests, but their own; by pleasing party bosses and special interests -- not you.

Leave the herd. Just like Native Americans used to stampeded entire buffalo herds over cliffs to gather a few pelts and some meat, so tie wearing politicians are stampeding their nations. It's better to be an elk wandering free in the mountains. You were trained to be part of the herd, but you don't have to follow the cow with the bell or the suit wearing a tie.

Lack of a tie is no guarantee of integrity, but the presence of a tie or equivalent displays mixed alliances.

You can be human. You can be an individual.

"Civilization's development has always been initiated by individuals balancing demands within their intimate groups against personal needs for independence and identity. Social engineers and planners always err at this point. What they endeavor is to convert humankind from small, intimate, flexible tribes to a collective with one mind (their mind of course).

They want to make all the complex human herds and packs of individuals into a single hive of drones. They have always failed, they will always fail; for outstanding individuals will continue to emerge - imagining and accomplishing exceptional goals - changing everything."
- Allan R. Wallace

I guess it might be okay to wear a tie to a funeral as a token of respect. But if you respect yourself, don't wear a tie while you yet live.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Those Who Can't Do, Teach - internet business startup ideas

That is the reason I've re-started this blog, and soon the main Speculation Rules website. I've enjoyed teaching many subjects, many of them business, investment and speculation related.

I remember when I was selling real estate. A Realtor came up to me after I had put my fifth or sixth sale on the board, still early in the month. He asked "Are you the one that taught the Closing The Buyer course." I admitted to the charge. His reply changed how I started my courses in the future: "If I had known you were good, I would have listened."

I'm Good.

Now that we have that out of the way, there is an area where my results have been spotty. As a consultant to small businesses I've investigated the best ways for my clients to use the internet. Most methods, most programs, and most gurus are worthless. You know that.

I've found a few that serve a specific purpose quite well, and I've shared that knowledge with others - earning a bit of a commission as an Affiliate Marketer, and helping those looking to start or grow a business on the internet. Of course my clients knew I was getting a referral fee, and knew they could earn referral fees as business affiliates in the future.

Some of my web sites bring in occasional money - but I haven't pushed it. My Squidoo lenses make money, but by my choice it all automatically goes to micro-finance solutions for world poverty provided by the Grameen Foundation. The Grameen Foundation is creating a rising tide of positive influence upon our world.

That makes me feel good, although I wouldn't share it unless I thought you might like to earn some of the sweet taste of giving yourself.

What I haven't done is try to create a steady income I can point to as proof of the validity of an Internet business. I've been happy with what I've been doing as a business consultant. I've seen people create internet businesses, I've helped them succeed, I logically know I can do it too, but I haven't done it until now.

What changed?

The economy changed, permanently. The coercive education system that trained cogs for factories and political parties has prepared people for exactly the wrong future.

A new future started yesterday. Good jobs are disappearing, good businesses are closing. Middle class cogs are being replaced. A third or more of the country is lying in rusting piles of human cogs, cogs buried under the sand, and cogs being used as paper weights (if the government still used the same statistical measures it used during the last depression).

It's nobody's fault the world is changing, but the response governments are making will hurt even more people. Extending unemployment benefits beyond two years for people waiting for jobs that will never return - insane. They should have retained the original 28 weeks of unemployment coverage, offering job seekers training to join the new middle class: technology empowered individuals.

I imagine when guilds started collapsing guild member's unemployment benefits were extended, at least until the effects of factories destroying their middle class jobs blew over. Oops. Now we are making the same mistake with middle class factory and office workers. Oops again. Neither guild smiths, nor high paid union jobs, nor middle management serfs will rise again.

Back to the start. I've restarted Speculation Rules to show that good money, more than enough money to pop above middle class, can be made on the internet. I will prove it.

I've found people start a business for different reasons.

I'll provide links here to what I have found to be the best opportunities on the internet for people wanting to create cash flow from their own business - for each of their reasons. there are only a few online resources I can recommend, so some of these links may repeat:

I'm Broke (broke is better than poor, it's temporary)

I don't want a boss (Let me be independent, with some time to enjoy the money I make)

I want to work from home (I will find time to work, and want time for family and friends)

I want to earn money while I travel (ONE) & (TWO) (I may relocate permanently)

I'm a professional or local business (somebody build me a site that gets more clients)

I'm willing to work smart - for long hours - for a chance to get rich (but no scams allowed)

These reasons of yours, and others I haven't mentioned, are not mutually exclusive. Pick more than one if you wish.

But get started right now! Make mistakes so you know what you need to learn. Then fail, each time you fail get up with more knowledge and attack again. You can soon be part of the new middle class, and perhaps become wealthy.

I'll be proving it right alongside you. If you want to contact me, use the contact link in my bio on this business ideas lens.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Pregnant Pole-vaulter and the Assassin

My note before you consider this.

The USA has 12.5 trillion in debt. This year we will add at least another 2 trillion in debt. GDP is falling quickly, and may soon be under 14 trillion. That's over 100% debt/GDP. As I read in a comic the other day, don't tell the president and congress what number is bigger than a trillion.

I heard a congressperson assure us there is no debt problem, "There are three types of congresspeople, those that don't understand math and those that do. I'm one of them." He/she may be the same presidential hopeful that thought we could revive the economy by raising the minimum wage to $2,000 per hour, "Then everyone will have lots of money."

Let's go watch an interview that makes all of this clear.

Somebody is preparing to kill America.

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