Interesting links I found today 04/02/2018

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Interesting Links

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The dark side of low prices

I spent over an frustrating hour on the phone yesterday with Bank Of America and Paypal trying to sort out what a charge that was showing up on my credit card. All of $4,200.00. So nothing small. It turned out that it was correct, but the description was so incorrect that it was impossible for me to figure out just from reading the statement. I know we’ve all been there.

During this fiasco I spoke to five different people, earned myself a $25 Amazon gift certificate to ‘apologize’ for the bad service (Is that all my time is worth?), was on infinite hold (15 minutes+) waiting for a ‘supervisor’ – twice. Anyway I won’t go into the blow by blow because it’s boring and stressful to recount.

My point. We are getting what we pay for. Whether it is banking or airplanes or health insurance or telephone or cable. We have set up a world where competitors fight to the death to meet the one metric we have or care about, and that’s price. The cheapest wins. And so the competitors fight to the death to give us the cheapest service which means the worse service. We don’t (or can’t reward) vendors for good service and so that goes out the window. 

Minimally trained ‘screeners’, forcing you to explain your problem before being given to a live agent (if at all), being subjected to advertisements while on hold, multiple and inconclusive transfers to another department, confusing bills and all that. 

We are getting what we asked for.

About intellectual property and other things

I came across a wonderful quote about intellectual property. I am not sure I agree with it myself but wanted to share it. It is from Carsie Blanton’s blog post “New Rules for the Music Business” and it goes like this:

“Intellectual property” is an absurd concept that only a society of clueless, museless marketers could possibly conceive of. It’s an idea that serves markets, cripples muses, and is willfully ignorant of all of human history.

We are stealing from one another constantly and shamelessly, and that’s a blessed and beautiful thing. Every folk song is a mashup of all previous folk songs. Every film stands on the shoulders of all other films. Every sentence, poem and novel exists only for the creative gumption of all previous speakers of language, which is itself a collaborative invention of the entire human race. The whole history of human invention is characterized by a kind of joyful, infinite plagiarism.

Ideas are not commodities. They are made to be shared, not owned.

That said, I do get the point. If somebody covered one of my songs and got it on the radio and made millions and didn’t pay me, I’d sue the bajeezus out of the motherfucker. If you’re going to turn my song into a commodity, I expect to paid as though it’s a commodity (even though deep in my heart, I know it’s not).

BUT, if somebody covered one of my songs and put it on youtube, or wrote a song that was an homage to one of mine, or burned one of my CDs and gave it to a friend, or used a song of mine in their broke-ass indie film, I’d high five them. Why? Because there is a big difference between sharing someone else’s work and profiting off of someone else’s work.

And it’s time for all of us to get real, real comfortable with the former.

http://blog.carsieblanton.com

What I like about this is that it straddles both my impulse that ideas are not commodities and that everything I create is built upon the shoulders of those who came before. Or as I like to say “Ideas are cheap”. But on the other hand, if you figure out that you can make money from my creations then there is a basis in fairness that I get some of the benefit of it. Schizophrenic, I know, but it captures it nicely.

The Revolutionary Technique That Quietly Changed Machine Vision Forever

In the world of machine vision, the equivalent goal is to win the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge. This is a competition that has run every year since 2010 to evaluate image recognition algorithms. (It is designed to follow-on from a similar project called PASCAL VOC which ran from 2005 until 2012) Click to read the article.