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Diary
By coryking (Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 06:45:44 AM EST) your mom, books, people, places, project runway (all tags)
It's amazing what a bit of writing can do to clear your head.


There is too much going on right now.  I've got the following on my plate:

  • "User Experiance" contract gig.  A former employer is asking me to help them improve the user experiance of all their flagship products.  It's half .NET and half design.  The money from this gig should tide me over for a while.

  • A guy I used to subcontract for is asking me for some PHP work.  I'm not sure if I am going to do much work for him as he is wanting to pay me an almost insultingly low hourly wage.  Here is a tip: when you are a freelance contractor, take whatever your employee hourly rate was and at least double it.  Why?  Anything else is a pay cut.  The guy quoted me about $5 over my former salaried wage - you do the math: that is about a 30% paycut.

  • I need to get to work on my own damn product - artzaar.  It will be a spin off of photographica's pathetic store.  Based on the CMS stuff already inherint in photographica, it will allow you to sell artwork and photography on your own website.  Think google adsense, only instead of ads it's your own photography and art featured on your own blog.  There are several critical factors in making this a success - most of them deal with reporting and the user experiance (looking at other players in this market, most have some things I'd consider big flaws).

    Before this starts, there are some serious intellectual property issues I need to square away.  Mostly dealing with the fact that scoop is licensed under the viral and annoying GPL.  I can either gut out the GPL crap (I'm almost there), not worry about the GPL crap (Depending on what the GPL terms "distribute" and "derivative work" mean I might not have to legally, plus I suspect most IP lawyers would laugh and tell me the GPL is rubbish that can safely be 100% ignored), or write the new stuff in Ruby.  The worst case is I'd have to distribute the source code to the people who ask for it, but so what?  Most people wouldn't even know where to begin with the mods I've created plus I dont think the value lies in the source code anyway - it lies in acheiving critical mass.  The only problem with keeping the GPL is I fear it would make the company considerably less valuable to investors and potential buyers; they'd want the code locked up.  Whatever the case is, I need a good IP lawyer up here in Seattle before I sink any programming or design time into artzaar.

    Honestly though, I think I'll find that the GPL'd parts of scoop will go away.

  • The t-shirts were all shipped under budget.  Shipping wasn't as big of a hassle as I predicted.  This week I'm going to order a second batch that I'll just keep as inventory.  We are thinking of ditching the black shirts (they didn't look as good as the brown) and only offer the short sleeve girlies and mens: it is spring after all.

  • I've started to improve Mozi Media's webpage.  Writing the copy on that site really helped me focus and reminded me that, oh yeah, this stuff is a viable idea!  For the life of me though, I can't figure out how to get the damn content to center in the page in firefox.  It works in IE.  Ideas?

  • I've decided I dont know jack about the art and science of marketing.  A couple weeks ago I purchased several marketing books:

    • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Crossing the Chasm
    • A third one I will not mention here.  Needless to say it will be the last "guerella marketing" book I buy.  The whole series feels like a fluff piece.

    I've started with Crossing the Chasm and I must say that I really dont know much about marketing.  It's a whole different language and it deals with somewhat nebulous ideas like "Markets".  The book is quite good though - it deals with the what it terms the Technology Adoption Curve. Very, very good reading.  I'd say it is a must read for anybody in the technology field.

    I probably need to get some more marketing books.  It's hard to find good ones because a lot of them have a slimy "make money fast" feel to them that must appeal to the MLM crowd.  I have read the best place to get quality books on marketing is in a university level textbook.  I'll probably have to go that route.


Sadly, our sage TV hasn't recorded the latest and greatest of Project Runway.  The lady and I have become very addicted to that show.  They are down to their finial three contestants.  I dont have a preference of who should win; all three are pretty darn good!
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The Title Starts Here | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
artazaar by gpig (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 06:55:16 AM EST
Isn't that sort of thing better sold as a service? You could go into partnership with a hosting provider and sell an end-to-end service. As a side benefit, you wouldn't have to worry about the GPL.
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(,   ,') -- eep
It is a service, yes by coryking (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:03:51 AM EST
And I am the hosting company :-)

If it is a web service, according to the FAQ the GPL website, I dont have to worry about it.  But it is not clearly spelled out anywhere in the actual legal text of the license, which is precisely why the GPL is annoying (and probably not as enforceable as the FSF thinks it is). 


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
It doesn't need to be spelled out by gpig (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:10:23 AM EST
As the FSF have stated many times, the GPL only applies to the distribution of software. Nowhere in the license does it mention any restriction on software which you don't distribute. If you wanted it to explicitly mention things which it does not cover it would be a very, very long document.

Also, I don't see any reason why it would be more or less enforceable as any other software license.

I love the GPL (well, v2 at least, I haven't read the new one yet).
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(,   ,') -- eep

[ Parent ]
Asking the FSF about their licences by coryking (4.00 / 2) #6 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:12:38 AM EST
Is like asking Christians why the bible is valid.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Heh by gpig (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:15:07 AM EST
I totally zeroed your last comment, while intending to 4 it. Probably that happens a lot when you do that unicode reverse-hack thing.

As for the religion of FSF, I'm a bit agnostic -- I do work for proprietary software companies as well.
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(,   ,') -- eep

[ Parent ]
I"m just slightly irked is all by coryking (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:33:50 AM EST
I find the GPL annoying mostly because
  1. There is no case law behind it.
  2. It is, regardless of what some claim, viral in nature
  3. It is not free as in freedom* in any since of the word.
  4. It attracts many zealots that I belive do a lot of harm to the tech industry.  If slashdot, the geek culture, and the FSF went away I think our whole industry would improve by leaps and bounds.
*I like free as in beer though...


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by yicky yacky (4.00 / 2) #19 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:39:47 AM EST

without GCC, the world would be all be gravy.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
IAWTSarcasm. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #26 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:55:00 AM EST
But some of the things which happen in the FSF world are annoying.

[ Parent ]
What bugs me most by coryking (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 08:00:57 AM EST
Is the culture.  No other industry has such a weird contingent of zealots who think the entire industry should give away all the rights to their IP and release software for free.  You dont see a Free Architecture Foundation, Free Auto Foundation or a Free Pharmaceutical Foundation.  What makes software so different?

Really.  It bugs me.  Why should our industry be made to feel like the primary value it provides be treated as worthless?


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 08:10:49 AM EST
In general, it's not the people who are doing the work who are the ones preaching, as with everything else in life, I guess.

The sad thing is that there is some justification in the trench mentality, as there's so many nontechnical decision making people who think a crappy application which some money is charged for is better than the free software equivalent (viz ASP vs PHP, IIS vs Apache).

I applaud Apple's approach, although I know how much the lawyers refuse to believe that you can just bundle someone else's (BSD licensed) functionality in your app and sell it, so I can see why small companies who have to rely on average law firms don't bother.

[ Parent ]
Some of ... yeah, absolutely - I don't disagree by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 08:55:27 AM EST

However: I have a pretty hard time treating the complaints of someone who wants to close-source an entire architecture just because he happened to write a couple of perl scripts (using the GPL'd facility granted to him by others), with anything even remotely approaching the distant star called `seriousness'.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
um by coryking (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:01:51 AM EST
did somebody pee in your cheerios this morning or what?


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
You wouldn't beleeeeeeeeeeeeive by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #32 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:43:39 AM EST

the amount of time I've wasted in researching, testing and rehacking 3rd-party libraries / APIs just so I can retain the right to license things in the way I or others see fit. It's like a minefield with the germ of an idea on one side, the finished product on the other and you have to find a way to get all the way across without stepping on an anti-personnel GPL. Trust me: I understand all the frustrations of the GPL intimately.

What I don't have is any sympathy. You know what the GPL is. If you don't like it: Tough. It is what it is. Someone on K5 used to have a sig saying something like: "To those who complain about the virality of the GPL: Write your own damn code". Amen.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
To that guy in the quote by coryking (4.00 / 1) #33 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:50:53 AM EST
that is the plan - I really want to write my own code, most of it already is (it is about 20% scoop now I'd estimate). 

Honestly I calmed down a bit and carefully read the GPL.  I understand the spirit of the GPL and the mechanisms with which is works.  I dont want to violate it at all, if you did you'd be essentially stealing.  I'll still need a law guy because I dont think you can 100% cleanse code of anything.  What about the DB schema?  What about the blocks?  What about boxes?  In other words, how close can I get to the virus without getting infected :-)  Questions like that.

I'm not attempting to be malicious, lazy or be a leech.  I've contributed to scoop before, though they dont seem intersted in what I have to offer.  I just want to release a product that I will not get screwed over on later down the road.   The question is can I "clean up" what I've got, or do I have to build from scratch.  The other question is, does it even matter if my codebase is GPL'd; where is the value in what I do?


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
I should add by coryking (4.00 / 1) #34 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 09:54:35 AM EST
That I got into this mess in the first place because I didn't think about licencing four years ago when I started the whole deal.  Basically I'm paying now for past mistakes.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
In all seriousness by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #37 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:18:37 AM EST

It's a very tricky question, and one deserving of a serious legal analysis which I'm not really qualified to give.

Regarding the DB schemas, I'd imagine that there is only so much you can reasonably copyright with regard to 2D tables of tuples. You might have to rename some columns to put it beyond serious legal reach etc., or distribute the data differently, but there is only a small and finite set of ways to do it.

I'm not sure where the legal definitions of 'based-upon' or 'using' currently stand. I don't know if you're aware of it, but the accelerated video card manufacturers (with, it should be noted, their substantial legal departments) have been trying to circumvent the linux kernel's GPL by providing two different driver stages. One is a binary-only closed-source driver which talks to the hardware, the second is an open-sourced and GPL'd compatibility interface. They are attempting to argue that this fulfills their obligations under the GPL, as the compatibility layer does not require the closed-source binary to link or run (theoretically it would 'work', i.e. do nothing, in the absence of the binary driver, and the type of driver isn't limited - it can be any driver which implements the interface etc.). It's arguably a sneaky application of language, but it's caused some confusion. Many argue that GPL 3 will clear this up. It has generally been studiously overlooked as allowing people to use the full power of their graphics cards is in the interests of the Linux distro vendors.

A second area to look at (which is quite heavily related) is the 'copyright layer' model. ID software make a habit of GPLing their game engines and tools a couple of years after they first release them. This has made it possible for people to port older games to Linux and the BSDs (e.g. icculus). However: The catch is that you still need a legally-purchased copy of the game as, even though the engine, the loaders, the tools, the entire 'application layer' is GPL'd, the content is not. That is: The maps, the artwork, the audio, the settings and the design are still all held by their original copyright holders, who haven't GPL'd their portion, so you have to get the maps off the CDs etc. This might be an area worth looking at. You really do need a lawyer, though.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Thanks! by coryking (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:26:53 AM EST
Thanks a ton!

Now I need to find a lawyer who knows what they are talking about.

I dont know what the hell it will cost, but it is surely cheaper to figure this out now then later.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
That's a really nice analysis. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:28:11 PM EST
I've been musing on a similar thing, although I have no real desire to do anything with the code except clean it up for the one website I'm using it on, and generally make it less of a humungous free as in beer clusterfuck than it is, but a little bit of me's wondering whether it'd be worth my while to purge the code of its original source (it needs gigantic amounts of refactoring which would make it all nearly new anyway), and release it publically. Still, I guess tables would probably all have to be renamed.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough, on most points by gpig (4.00 / 2) #22 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:41:14 AM EST
   1. There is no case law behind it.

As a supporter of the GPL I wish there was some case law behind it. I think it is a mistake of the FSF that they always choose to settle -- they should have tested it at least once.

   2. It is, regardless of what some claim, viral in nature

Yes, that's why I like it. Share and share alike.

   3. It is not free as in freedom* in any since of the word.

Disagree. It is free as in beer, since you can download it and use it without any cost. 'Free as in speech' is a bit of a strange way of describing the 'share and share alike' bit of the license, but it is a kind of freedom. It ensures that future versions will also be freely available -- I'm not sure what the pithy summary of this is, but it is a kind of freedom.

   4. It attracts many zealots that I belive do a lot of harm to the tech industry.  If slashdot, the geek culture, and the FSF went away I think our whole industry would improve by leaps and bounds.

I agree that 'all software should be free' fanatics can do some damage, but I think you're overestimating it. If you don't like the GPL your best bet is to stop using it. I can't think of any GPL'd software which doesn't have a viable BSD-licensed or proprietary equivalent.
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[ Parent ]
honestly though by coryking (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:51:05 AM EST
I dont really give much of a shit beyond the fact I screwed up in the first place attaching myself to a GPL'd thing without thinking.  I never thought I'd be where I'm at when I ported Photographica from greymatter to scoop.  Now it is gonna cost me time and money to correct that problem.

If people want to GPL their stuff, more power to them.  I dont really agree with the GPL or free software in general but I'm also a a hypocrite because all of this runs on perl on top of apache & linux :-)

So, whatever, I guess.  I'm just pissy because of the trouble this is causing me.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
I'm trying to give this a 4 by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:16:40 AM EST
haha by coryking (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:19:29 AM EST
spare a four on my mis-zeroed comment?

I love this unicode hack.  It keeps people on their toes :-)


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
(OT) Because by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:40:27 AM EST
The Third Council of Carthage said that it was the valid bible. Try asking them why that Council was absolutely dead on target and all the others (even the Œcumenical ones) can be ignored, and you'll see their head spin.

[ Parent ]
not to worry by tps12 (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:05:07 AM EST
Bravo replays Runway constantly, especially on the weekends. Last week's wasn't even a real episode, just all the original contestants getting together to bitch about Santino. Also Guadalupe was wasted to the point of incoherence. Very embarrassing to watch.

Stupid Santino by coryking (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:07:58 AM EST
That guy is a creep.  Seriously*.

* but the stress probably is doing most of it


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
his tim impressions redeem him in my eyes by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:46:20 AM EST
Partially, anyway. "Andrae is our little lost lamb."

[ Parent ]
Contracting by cam (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:15:48 AM EST
should be done with a 3.0 multiplier on (salary) hourly rate IMO. The lowest multipliers I have seen from private industry is 2.4 and that is because government jobs force it on companies. I have worked in offices that lose money from 2.4 multipliers because their cost of overhead is so high. I worked in one office that needed a 3.1 multiplier to break even! Insane.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

I agree by coryking (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:18:51 AM EST
I did the 2 multiplier on my last gig and I felt like I was getting short changed.  The latest gig is  about a 3 which I'm very comfortable with.

I dont have an office to keep over my head though, so I have that going for me.  I doubt I'd bill more then 25 hours a week though and during unbilliable hours, it's hard to task switch to my own work so there is a pretty big opportunity cost doing any kind of contract work at all.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Your overhead includes health insurance by cam (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:25:30 AM EST
phone, computer, laptop etc etc. Your home office is also part of your overhead as well. You also have to do proposals, cost estimates, marketing etc etc. For every hour you do of actual work there is an assload of other stuff that has to be done.

When I do cost estimates I usually do above a 3.0 multiplier knowing that it can be negotiated down to 3.0 in a worst case scenario. I have had cost estimates accepted with 5.0 multipliers in the past. But they are an uber-rarity.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
it is tough by coryking (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:31:23 AM EST
to explain that to people who just say "you bill $65/hour?? you fucker, you are rich!!"

I think the guy who quoted me $5 over my hourly didn't understand that at all (or figures programming is just typing simple things at a keyboard all day).  He even tried to say his other contractor is getting paid $36/hour and he worked at <LARGE, WELL KNOWN OS MAKER> for 6 years for $30/hr before quitting to work for this guy.  The benifit? he can work from home!  What is weird is he hires people as subcontractors - so a slightly lower rate might be okay but he himself is a contractor so he should know this stuff!


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
heh by cam (4.00 / 1) #23 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:44:21 AM EST
yeh but large well known os maker farmed that guy out at a 3.0 multiplier. If he is contracting for $36 an hour, he is really working for $12 an hour. Ouch.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Yup... by coryking (4.00 / 1) #25 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:53:14 AM EST
I dont really understand his model besides hiring people who either lie on their taxes or dont understand they are making $12/hour :-)


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
oh by coryking (4.00 / 1) #27 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:55:36 AM EST
and to clarify, I meant the guy brought in a subcontractor to do basically what I'd be doing.  The subcontractor left his <LARGE OS MAKER> job to do this.  Apparently.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Possibly by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #40 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:58:52 AM EST
If, by "left" you mean "fired for incompetence"

[ Parent ]
"the GPL'd parts of scoop will go away." by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:31:59 AM EST

Err. That's Scoop, no?

I wasn't aware that it had non-GPL'd parts.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
By that I ment by coryking (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:34:28 AM EST
Removing scoop from my code.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
I assume, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:35:22 AM EST
that the bits coryking's written are non-GPL. Or at least he can grant himself a proprietary license to them.

[ Parent ]
If coryking by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:39:06 AM EST

owns the copyright on them, he can license them however the hell he likes, and good luck to him. I don't recall the Scoop devs having a submissions policy during which copyright is transferred (a la Mozilla), so he's probably OK in that case.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Hence by coryking (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 07:40:28 AM EST
the law guy.  cause i just. dont. know.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Just sayin' by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #35 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:15:57 AM EST
Santino should be publicly flogged, and Nick was the bomb. 

bingo! by coryking (4.00 / 1) #36 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 10:17:05 AM EST



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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
The Title Starts Here | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback