Category(soon to be) classic links

Twitter is so damn addictive…

T

Twitter Logo

..it hurts. Meet the new king of procrastination services.

If you haven’t checked it out before: Twitter is a service located somewhere in between blog, instant messaging and SMS/text messaging. You just go ahead and post very, very brief messages to your friends, liek what you’re doing right at that moment. It’s that simple.

Sounds stupid and pointless? Yes, it does indeed.

But maybe it’s not. There’s more to it, on a very human level. Basically, Twitter allows you to keep in touch with friends elsewhere on a very low, intuitive level. Would you bother writing an email to your friends saying “I’m packing my bags ’cause I’m leaving for a few days tomorrow”? Hardly. How about “Oh boy, I’m tired. Finishing that movie, then I’ll crash right away”? Never, I mean, never ever, right?

And yet, this kind of low-level information on your whereabouts – which of course mean nothing to people outside your social network – transport quite a bit of information and, mainly, context about your life. Friendships and other social relationships consist of much more than just the contents of our conversations, of course. One important aspect of social relationships is frequency – regular contacts help us know the other person, and also help us understand our mutual relationships.

And that’s where Twitter comes in: High-frequency, low-level communication.

While already very popular in the Valley and SF geek community (where mobile internet services are ubiquitous), I hardly know anybody in Germany using Twitter. (Maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad, yeah, I hear you muttering about privacy issues. No doubt about it. But.) At least the mobile use will have to wait here anyway, since so far you can only text-message Twitter to a U.S. number, and virtually nobody uses mobile web services here yet. But to give you an idea about just how popular it’s over there: At SXSW 2007, Twitter just won the SXSW Web Award in the “Blog” category. Also, Leo Laporte is an avid (may I say addicted?) Twitterer – his and Amber Macarthur‘s podcast net@nite is where I first heard about Twitter, too.

It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s addictive. And it sure as hell keeps me from doing my work. (If you’re on Twitter, get in touch!)

Link

Coworking

C

Liking this a lot:

“Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents. Or, it’s like this: start with a shared office and add cafe culture. Which is the opposite of most modern cafes.”

(Blog, Wiki, via)

Nice idea indeed. Anything like that in Berlin yet? Haven’t seen it. Then again, coffee & wifi culture is very sophisticated over here anyway. Still…

(Hey, remember Mercedes Bunz’s article “Urbane Penner” in Zitty Mag, Berlin? Uh, here’s a google-translated version. Nope, it doesn’t quite translate, but there you go. Skip the headline.)

Hot hot hot

H

SKIPPY'S SKIPPY’S, originally uploaded by SkyShaper.

“Try this: put a couple of drops of Tabasco Sauce on your tongue. Hot, right? Tabasco Sauce rates between 2,500 and 5,000 on the Scoville scale, the standard measurement system for chile pepper heat. Now try a drop of Mad Dog Inferno, a ridiculously hot sauce that clocks in at 90,000 Scoville units. As I chewed ice cubes and blinked away tears after touching a miniscule droplet of Mad Dog Inferno to my tongue from the tip of a toothpick, I knew I’d never make it as a chilehead.”

Scoville scale, huh? Well, I learned something new! Anyway, while this is an excerpt of an article about “the subculture of people who are hooked on incredibly hot peppers” called The Cult of Capsaicin, even more importantly: you can buy this and other very cool stuff at BoingBoing‘s new Digital Emporium.There’s all kinds of awesome findings, all of them digital, all of them without “some irksome Digital Rights Management”, and all of them for a really low price. How could you not love it?

Link

Wizards of OS 4 in Berlin, this weekend

W

In case you’re in Berlin and haven’t made any plans this weekend (and even if you have), don’t miss out on Wizards of OS 4. It’s the conference on free knowledge, information freedom and open collaboration.

From Thursday until Saturday, there’s going to be pretty much non-stop program at Columbiahalle (Google Maps).

Among the speakers there will be top-notch people such as Lawrence Lessig (creative commons), Yochai Benkler (Wealth of Networks) and Larry Sanger (Wikipedia co-founder).

Also, a bunch of netlabels organize parties.

Here’s the weblog, and for those who can’t participate, there’s a live stream, too.

748ab36895[1]

why mp3 will ruin our culture. (or not.)

w

This just had me laugh out loud and really made my day. It’s an old article back from 1999 about the German music industry’s reaction to the emergence of mp3. It’s like reading a how-not-to guide for embracing new technology and how to scare away your customers: “The nasty international (“foreign”!) file-sharers are ruining us”? Wham! Got it all wrong. “We developed this neat DRM tool, now that will show you anarcho-punks who’s the boss”? Wham! Wrong again. “Mp3 will ruin our culture”? Wham! You don’t get it, do you? Anyway, it’s hilarious!

(Sorry it’s in German only; shortshort English summaries in italics):

In Deutschland könne man dem Problem [file-sharing] zwar einigermaßen Herr werden. So habe man in diesem Jahr bereits die Betreiber von 200 Servern abgemahnt, auf denen illegal kopierte MP3-Files lagerten. Schadensersatzforderungen habe man bisher noch nicht erhoben, da die meisten Piraten ihr Angebot schnell vom Netz genommen hätten. Theoretisch sei ein solcher Schritt aber durchaus vorstellbar. Dem Verband, der eine ganze Surfertruppe beschäftige, um die MP3-Server zu lokalisieren, macht die Frechheit ausländischer MP3-Fanatiker allerdings am meisten zu schaffen. “Es gibt einen russischen Server mit über 200.000 geklauten Titeln”, empört sich Zombik. (In Gemany, it’s quite possible to win against file-sharers: Already 200 cease-and-desist letters have been sent out to file-sharers. Sp far, nobody has been sued, but it might be possible. The German music industry association has a whole tream of surfers to track down mp3 servers, but they have a hard time fighting “foreign mp3 fanatics”. “There is a Russian server with over 200.000 songs”, complains the associations spokesperson Zombik.)Zombik fordert daher von den Politikern, die Internetprovider zur Verantwortung zu ziehen . Die momentan vorgesehenen Regelungen in der überarbeiteten Richtlinie zum Schutz des Copyrights seien in dieser Hinsicht “ausreichend”, da sie den Zugangsprovidern flüchtige Kopien untersage. (Zombik says the new copyright laws are sufficient to hold internet service providers liable.) … Ungeachtet dieser Befürchtungen will der Bundesverband der Phonowirtschaft auch zumuten, den Zugang zu einzelnen Servern direkt zu sperren. Das im eigenen Hause entwickelte “Right Protection System” mache Schluss mit dem Mythos, dass eine solche Kontrolle des Netzes “nicht gehe.” (…The “Right Protection System”, developed in-house, will put an end to the myth that you can’t control the web.) Die Folgen des von MP3 ausgelösten “Wildwuchses” sind aber nicht nur wirtschaftlich, glaubt Jürgen Becker, Vorstandsmitglied der GEMA. Der Jurist befürchtet eine “Verarmung der Kultur”. (The consequences of the “rank growth” triggered by mp3…will lead to “impoverishment of culture”.)

Telepolis: Hiroshima der Musikindustrie. Stefan Krempl, 03.09.1999

(I found this link again via Johnny Haeusler’s open letter to the people in the music biz, which is also pretty good and worth reading!)