Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The New York Times reports that the problem of pirated books has ballooned in recent months on file-sharing sites such as Scribd. Author Ursula K. Le Guin was browsing the Web one day and was surprised to find a complete copy of her 1969 Nebula and Hugo award-winning classic, The Left Hand of Darkness.
Authors Cory Doctorow and Harlan Ellison expressed two opposing views. Doctorow, author of the 2009 Hugo-finalist novel Little Brother, has long been a vocal opponent of DRM and has routinely, with his publisher's blessing, released his new novels onto the Web under a Creative Commons license, on the belief that free versions will entice new readers.
Ellison, also an award-winning science/speculative fiction author, has seen his work routinely pirated in print in many languages, and has spent a lifetime defending his copyrights. Ellison is 74, Doctorow is 37. Ellison just wants to get paid for his work. Doctorow says that obscurity is more to be feared than piracy.
Question 1: Who do you agree with and why?
Question 2: Why is it always science fiction authors?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I tried searching for interesting blogs using both Bloglines and Technorati. Using the "search for posts" option in Bloglines with the search term "calligrapher" turned up no results. Changing the search option to "search for posts" turned up a few results, but nothing that interested me. I changed the search term to "calligraphy" and tried both options again. This time "search for feeds" turned up posts on a Japanese calligraphy blog and on BibliOdyssey, a blog on books, illustrations, book history, and other aspects of the book arts. Finally I tried the "search the Web" option, and that turned up the most interesting and relevant results, although not all of them are blogs and may or may not have an RSS feed. Interesting to note that Bloglines has partnered with Ask.com for its "search the Web" option. Google has so pervaded the Web that it's easy to forget that there are still several other very useful search engines.
I repeated the exercise using Technorati, searching both posts and blogs for "calligraphy" and "calligrapher," and got an entirely different set of results. I found public domain (mostly) illustrations From Old Books, and Arabic Calligraphy. The posts are mostly in Arabic or romanized Arabic, but the illustrations are still very enjoyable. Technorati also turned up the blog on the website of a calligraphy supplier in the UK.
I first had the impression that Bloglines was only searching the feeds and posts of blogs that other Bloglines subscribers had already subscribed to, but then I saw that some of the blogs it found for my search had zero subscribers. So I can't quite account for the differences, but my overall impression is that Technorati did a better job of finding "what I really wanted," as opposed to "what I asked for."