ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Diversity: The Purpose of Copyright

“In my world, copyright’s purpose is to encourage the widest participation in culture that we can manage – that is, it should be a system that encourages the most diverse set of creators, creating the most diverse set of works, to reach the most diverse audiences as is practical…” ~Cory Doctorow (via e-publishing, etc.)

This compelling insight from Cory Doctorow arrives in worn-but-valued-hand-me-down condition from Ed Renehan (Managing Director of New Street Communications) who inherited it from Andrew Sullivan.

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I Write. Gnomes Argue.

Like a persistent two year old throwing a tantrum, a chain saw whines and screams and subsides only to whine again a few minutes later. Angry. Testy. Persistent. Closer — outside my window — chimes cling and clong in the breeze. They dangle beneath an enormous ginkgo tree and emit pleasant music whenever the wind blows. Chain saw versus wind chimes. I try to organize my thoughts in digital scrawl, postulating, developing, concluding. Posting. Re-posting. Whine. Cling. Scream. Clong. A garbage truck thunders past, doubling (tripling?) the thirty mile per hour speed limit. Then a slow car. Another. Then quiet except for the crinkle-strain-crinkle-strain of the palm paddles on the ceiling fan above my head. Type. Click, click, click. The ferry rumbles, reversing its engines to slow its momentum as it glides into the dock where it will disgorge motorcycles, cars, trucks that will parade past my window. Think. Type. Post.

Have you ever heard of I Write Like? I stumbled upon it this morning and my curiosity was peaked. Briefly. I scribbled out these few descriptive lines and hit the analyze button.

Instantly, the page refreshed with a verdict: I write like Cory Doctorow. Really? I’ve never read anything by Cory Doctorow. Nor am I confident that this little writing sample can offer much basis for comparison.

But I am intrigued. How does the analysis work? A bunch of bookwormish gnomes under the hood reading and arguing about style?

“What? He opens with a simile? Chuck him!”

“Yeah, give him a 404 page. He ain’t got no style…”

“Wait a minute, Clyde. Not so quick. Check out the imagery. Doesn’t that remind you of somebody?”

“Yeah, and that onomatopoeic ointment reminds me of moldy Cheeze Whiz. Sort of like that guy… What’s his name?”

“Nah, you guys have got it all wrong. It’s the rhythm. That’s the key. Trust a woman! You guys don’t know rhythm from spasm.”

“Oh, yeah? ‘Twas brillig, baby, and this slithy tove did ooze some ugly prose. Just try to tell me about rhythm, Tanya”

“Mel, you’re sooo lame, and you don’t even realize it! Anyway, you know who we’re gonna say?”




“Cory Doctorow.”

“You mean the guy who wrote For the Win?”

“Bingo, genius.”

“Are you kidding? Doctorow rocks! Did you ever readMakers?”

“Totally. That was killer!”

“Right, and this slacker sho ain’t no Cory Doctorow!”

“Sorry, boys, you’re out of time. I’ve just reloaded the page for him. You snooze, you lose.”

“Oh, my gawd. Look at him. He’s all puffed up and proud. Yuck!”

“He’s probably going to go brag about it, blog about it, tweet about it… Our cred is shot!”

“What cred?”

Are you intrigued? Do you write like Michael Ondaatje? Mario Vargas Llosa? Go ahead and find out. Start a gnome fight at I Write Like.

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Why I Won’t Buy an IPad

So what does Marvel do to “enhance” its comics? They take away the right to give, sell or loan your comics. What an improvement. Way to take the joyous, marvellous sharing and bonding experience of comic reading and turn it into a passive, lonely undertaking that isolates, rather than unites. Nice one, Misney.

I think that the press has been all over the iPad because Apple puts on a good show, and because everyone in journalism-land is looking for a daddy figure who’ll promise them that their audience will go back to paying for their stuff. The reason people have stopped paying for a lot of “content” isn’t just that they can get it for free, though: it’s that they can get lots of competing stuff for free, too. The open platform has allowed for an explosion of new material, some of it rough-hewn, some of it slick as the pros, most of it targeted more narrowly than the old media ever managed.

If you want to live in the creative universe where anyone with a cool idea can make it and give it to you to run on your hardware, the iPad isn’t for you.

If you want to live in the fair world where you get to keep (or give away) the stuff you buy, the iPad isn’t for you.


Cory Doctorow’s post “Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either)” over at Boing Boing is timely, feisty and smart. The four paragraphs above capture the essence of his argument. Apple, take note! The future is open. To gain a place of enduring relevance, iPad must learn to play well with others.

For my part, I will buy an iPad. And I will challenge its creative limits while exploring my own!

Will you buy an iPad?

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