November 25, 2004

Blog Torrenting

Bittorrent is a huge underground hit but one thing has had me worried about it's mainstream viability, the problem of creating lists of torrent files called trackers in an easy way that can be done by most anybody. That problem now appears to be solved and it's done in a way that gives bloggers another arrow in their technological quiver.

Its one of those simple ideas that can change a lot. From a project site:

If we pull this off--and we can-- we'll have made sharing four-gigabyte files as easy as sending an email to your friend. And that will change our culture significantly. If distributing large media files becomes easier, people will create more of their own works and will experience more work created by other individuals. Just as simple blogging software led millions of people to create their own news and commentary publications which now complement and compete with major corporate news outlets, similar distribution tools for audio and video can do the same with television and music. For blogging, the roadblock was html, and blogging software solved that problem by letting people type as if they were writing email. For large audio and video files, the bottleneck is bandwidth costs and the difficulty of uploading files to a blog. BitTorrent solves the bandwidth problem, but creating torrents and trackers is difficult. What we plan to do with Blog Torrent can solve the ease of use problem. And integrating BitTorrent capabilities with blogging will make the experience seamless for bloggers and readers. That's when things get interesting.

Indeed, they do. Creating distribution networks for your IP content is a thriving business. It's called the music and movie industries for a start. If the torrent protocol continues to be successful, it, and its successors, will be a huge challenge to the big distribution arms. Local fan bases for college bands can contribute enough bandwidth for songs that they can be easily distributed without having to sign expensive contracts. The propagation of culture will speed and the IP business will tilt and shift to the creators and consumers and away from the distribution middlemen who have so much power today.

This will affect blogging (heck, the web in general), especially when .torrent files are integrated into the web browsers and you can torrent your pictures and text. Popular web pages will no longer be slashdotted as those who hold the pages in cache will use some of their generally unused upload potential to share that information with peers. That's darn revolutionary for the web and a huge opportunity for the open source folks, Microsoft being unlikely to take the lead on this project.

Posted by TMLutas at 10:13 AM

April 21, 2004

Snarky Patent Issue of the Day

Form Clayton Cramer comes the news that East Germany's national symbol is patented. According to FRG law, you now have to pay a businessman to use the symbol on any products. It's unclear whether textbooks and encyclopedias owe royalties as well.

I'm guessing South Vietnam is available as is Katanga for similar symbol mining. Somehow I find it very difficult to believe this is a legitimate patent but who's going to protest?

Posted by TMLutas at 02:55 PM