Friday, February 13, 2004

Wine Expert Rating Scale

The type of rating scale that users are going to widely adopt to rate resources on the Internet has been covered by this blog before. We have proposed using a rating range of 0-100, see entry dated 5 November, 2003.

Robert Parker, a wine reviewer, has similarly adopted a 100 points system at eRobertParker.com where there is a "Wine of the Day" entry on his home page showing the type of information he provides. I doubt that he has considered using a rating of zero, to denote that a wine is unrated, as he is not supplying a complete catalogue of wines.

Whilst it is still unclear if a favourite rating scale will emerge on the Internet, it is interesting to see that an active rater/reviewer has independently chosen to use a percentile scale, as has Apple behind the scenes of its iPod 5-star rating system.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Creative Commons RSS Feed for iPods

A powerful demonstration of the power of Creative Commons licenses to make available new music to people is possible if the necessary pieces of an Internet application fall into place. Users would be able to freely assemble a vast collection of great music, for devices such as the iPod, if the necessary technology could be stitched together. This would help emerging artists to reach an audience, provide people with access to music, and further promote the adoption of such licenses for other works.

How? Well, here in the UK, there has been some talk around the opportunities presented by iPods, or similar musical jukebox devices, which are not preloaded with music. For example, the Ministry of Sound (a dance club, magazine & record company - not a Government Department) plans to launce a digital music player with the advantage that it is “…already loaded with our own music” (source: Times 27/1/2004).

The benefits of a large, illustrative, music collection supplied under Creative Commons licenses could similarly be offered to users if the necessary application was developed to take an RSS feed and, over time, download the listed music onto a new (i.e. blank) iPod, via a computer and broadband connection. The costs would be minimal, as only the necessary software to facilitate this downloading, and the compilation of the necessary RSS feed would be required. Downloading could be enabled from applications such as BitTorrent, which mean there would be no additional hosting / downloading costs.

Creative Commons would seem to be the ideal group to compile such a feed as they would be demonstrating the power of their licenses to make great works available. They also have an identifiable presence on the Internet, through their website which people are aware of and trust. They also have the necessary knowledge / contacts to compile such a list.

There would be nothing to stop other groups with expertise and motivation from compiling such lists, in the form of RSS feeds, to similarly make material available to users. The BBC, for example, could even interpret such activity as part of its Public Services remit (Sections 1.1 & 1.2), which would really get things moving!

Assuming that an application could download 10 songs per hour, using a broadband connection, it would only take a few days for users to build up a sizeable collection of material for their iPod / jukebox. The “Attribution” link in Creative Commons licenses would further leverage this collection by linking back to where more songs from the artist could be accessed (for example, Oxygen by Horton's Choice, would link back to other great songs).

The necessary application would need to be developed and supported. All the necessary people are going to be at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, so if they got together something along these lines could easily happen.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Commitment 2.0

So, having played with the consequences of my previous attempt to express what I am committed to achieving with this blog, I am going to have another go! Instead of specifying a deliverable (see entry dated 31 December 2003), which is consistent with a commitment, but does not express it accurately, here is my second attempt.

What I am committed to is the creation of a network, operating over the Internet, which enables the discovery of excellent resources, such as music, by users. This network will maximise the advantages of the Internet to enable system(s) that is/are superior to anything currently available, for example the established record industry, and will fairly reward those contributing to it.

To contribute to such a network I will outline my thinking on this blog, instead of trying to provide the necessary applications myself. This approach will enable me to play to my strengths rather than weaknesses - see SoundRatings.com for an example.

So, see tomorrow for details on how to provide up to 10,000 great songs to a global audience for free...

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