Monday, January 19, 2009

Watch the Full I Have a Dream Speech

Sorry EMI Music Publishing has blocked you from seeing Martin Luther King's I have a Dream Speech. Sadly our society's historically important moments are not considered something people should see to the copyright cartel and those they pay in congress to push their agenda. I can't imagine Martin Luther King would have desired to restrict those seeing his message. I do understand that it isn't uncommon for those that gain the rights to material created by great people seek to cash in rather than to promote the work the great person did (and still would be doing if they could).

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the USA. Watch the entire I Have a Dream Speech.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Death of Newsprint

End Times by Michael Hirschorn

The thinking goes that the existing brands—The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal—will be the ones making that transition, challenged but still dominant as sources of original reporting. But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?
And it will seriously damage the press’s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy. Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict.
Common estimates suggest that a Web-driven product could support only 20 percent of the current staff; such a drop in personnel would (in the short run) devastate The Times’ news-gathering capacity.

The benefit of a free press that also has resources to investigate is very important. I would think it would make sense for Google, Microsoft... to buy trophy media outlets if they were in danger. My guess is setting up some type of foundation might well make sense. The company that buys it would want to benefit from the purchase by having content to make money on, but I don't think they would want to manage the media outlet as part of their organization.

The exactly solution going forward is not easy to see. But some solution that provides for a free press with funding is important to any country and so we need to find a solution.

I also have no doubt the value of this to society is lost by many watching what passes for our free press today. With all sorts of useless, superficial, stories that mainly seem to just be splashy graphics, exciting sound effects, and almost no content. There is no loss to society if that goes away. There is a great loss to society if work of those like Bill Moyer's went away, Here is an example David Heath and the Seattle Times exploring congress hiding earmarks while claiming reform. This is the type of free press the founding fathers had in mind to check the power of corrupt government officials paying out public dollars to award those giving them checks and hiding those favors from public view.

Related: Programmable New York Times On the Way - Deming and the New York Times - Washington Paying Out Money it Doesn't Have - Time to start a newspaper by Seth Godin - Lobbyists Keep Tax Off Billion Dollar Private Equities Deals and On For Our Grandchildren

Friday, January 09, 2009

PageRank Distribution

Continuation of Last Google Toolbar PageRank Update of 2008

I see very few pages with a PageRank of 1. This doesn't make that much sense, logically. The vast majority of pages should have a page rank of 1. Now it could be those are pages that no one (or at least I) never see. I would think, roughly, the distributions of 211,111 pages would be

no pagerank 100,000
pagerank 1 100,000
2 10,000
3 1,000
4 100
5 10
6 1
7 0
8 0
9 0
10 0

Now this isn't exactly true because there would be natural clumping... So a higher number of high page rank pages would make sense to me. But I think that means if you had say 2 more pagerank 6 pages that you would lose hundreds of pagerank 2, I would think.

Also my choice of 100,000 at no pagerank and pagerank 1 is basically arbitrary. But the whole area of no pagerank I find confusing to reconcile with the logarithmic scale. Some pagerank 0 could be so low a pagerank it is less than .5 and so not displayed as 1. However, some are also penalized to that "rank"... Anyway I just made it up completely. The rest I am just making up to but based on the idea if a logarithmic scale were used a very quick estimate that is at least better than no concept of just saying well 211,111 and 11 possible "ranks" means each rank should have about 19,192. I think the above estimate I made are at least more accurate than the true distribution than a estimate that each pagerank has an equal number, even if my rough guess isn't very accurate.

Well part of the problem in trying to figure this out is that I don't think Google ever confirms it is a logarithmic scale. But I think it is (or something close to it). I'll try to do some research on this - just because I find it interesting.

Related: Multi Site PageRank Checker - Google's Search Results - Should Factors Other Than User Value be Used

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ruby on Rails Tutorials

Nice post with a bunch of Ruby on Rails Tutorials

Ruby On Rails Tutorial: The Basics A two-part tutorial to getting up and running on rails by Huw Collingbourne.
Catching rails error messages An easy example of how to use the 2.x approach to catching errors in your rails applications.
Stop Rails from sending email A useful way to check that mail is getting sent, without actually sending it.
Ruby on Rails Rake Tutorial Gregg from RailsEnvy again running through how to make the most of rake. If you’re not already writing your own custom tasks in rake you should definitely take a look because there is probably a handful of things your could (and should) be doing in it.
Ruby on Rails Security Guide Storing and protecting the session, user management, projecting from injection, and more.

Follow the link for many more.

Related: What Does This Error Mean - ruby on rails posts - Ruby on Rails Job Opportunity