Brief rant about schema.org

3 June 2011 § Leave a Comment

@semanticvoid, who I thank for providing the following, at https://twitter.com/semanticvoid/status/76346391961665536, writes:

“schema.org initiative from Google, Bing & Yahoo to create & support a common vocab for structured data markup (via @arnabdotorg)”

I really do have to say, remembering back to the work for my MSLIS degree learning MARC and ISBD standards, and that I was told that the day and age of the skilled cataloger was gone, and that all we would need would be the 11 (or whatever the number is) fields of the Dublin core, and that all people want and need is a free text search, just like google, THAT I TOLD YOU SO. Even google does not want to search “like google” any more.

The one other comment I want to make, by way of a question, is, Does everyone really want these super-corporations to establish the ways in which our relationships to one another are going to be represented online? As in the case of Facebook? The revolution will not be televised, oh no, it will be tweeted and appear in the status updates of Facebook users around the world, meanwhile, those not participating can “like” it.

Please, google and everyone else who was so vocal about how ontologies, term lists, etc., are too centralized, not truly social because they require a central organizing authority to set the standards, knock yourself out creating a structured markup language. If the Library of Congress is too authoritarian for you, then how about google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!? I’ll be in the Rose Reading Room looking back over a favorite of mine: Fahrenheit 451.

PS I am posting this from my phone using WP’s iPhone app. I hope it looks ok.

Facebook can do whatever it wants with your intellectual property

28 May 2011 § Leave a Comment

By using Facebook, you turn over rights to your intellectual property (IP), giving Facebook permission to do whatever it wants to with it. Seriously, anything. At http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf, in section 2, point 1, “Sharing your content and information,” this is stated quite clearly.

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Photographs come first to mind as the kind of content that FB might make good use of. Probably other services such as Flikr offer better platforms for publishing photographs. Nonetheless I am sure that many of the snapshots posted to FB are, either by design or accident, excellent. Although it is not my area of expertise I can think of some business opportunities. For $30 or so at the Apple Store I can buy royalty-free clip art. This would not even require that the photos be any good. The standard for coffee table books is astonishingly low. Barbequing, sunsets, fishing trips, friendship. Now that I think of it, I am sure that there are many people who would pay $1.99 for, say, three months access to a database of profile photos. Users create a folksonomy to organize them. I conjecture that most terms will be concentrated on giving users access to images that satisfy the voyeuristic impulses of men ages 16–35, a central use of technology for generations. Consider “coed, blond, upskirt, swimsuit. MILF, spring break.” This in turn is sold back to application developers. I doubt that facebook’s robots will identify the Great American Novel as it is being written in facebook notes, but if they do, its author has already given that content away.

To be fair, any provider of social networking applications, blogs, and any other platform for publishing material provided by users will need to claim substantial rights to store, copy, and transfer user content. The service will copy user-created information from server to server, for instance, in the course of normal operations. Some of the back end may be oursourced, requiring the transfer of user data to a third party. The data will be backed up by these providers, in turn.

Nonetheless, a license open-ended as facebook’s is not, apparently, required for this. Blogger and WordPress.com both limit the license they claim for themselves. Blogger’s terms of service, http://www.blogger.com/terms.g, point 6, “Intellectual Property Rights:”

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services.

WordPress.com terms of service, http://en.wordpress.com/tos/, point 8:

By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.

Looking at the Facebook terms of service Section 2, point 3, it appears that applications can set their own IP policies.

When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and Platform Page.)

I would also like to point out that “To learn more about Platform” is abhorrent from a stylistic point of view. It’s as if I named my laptop “Laptop,” and then started saying “when I power up Laptop, it makes a pleasant chime.”

Configuring WordPress for SSL is Maddening

11 December 2010 § Leave a Comment

I recently moved my WordPress installation to an “https://” address, that is, I now route all traffic (except the user’s first visit to a page) over a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). As the title of this blog posting suggests, the upgrade was maddening. I encountered a “too-many-redirects” error, which turns out to be a bug in WordPress 3.0.2. and probably other recent builds. Readers more interested in how I dealt with this problem should skip to the section entitled My experience with SSL, below. As will be seen, although I succeeded, I was not able to find a general solution to the problem. Those want to read more generally about my decision to use SSL connections should start at the section immediately below and continue to read until the end.

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