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Wes Campaigne
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@hugh crawford: "Although the "free" is not referring to monetary value it is interesting that most information becomes more valuable the more widely dispersed it is. For instance the information that a tsunami is on the way is of no value until you broadcast it." There's different types of value at play here. It's like kinetic versus potential energy: There's the value of collective actions taken in response to information, but there's also the value of potential, strategic uses for the information -- the personal gain one could make through its use or disclosure -- and this potential value has an inverse relationship to how widely dispersed the information is. So, in the former sense, yes, the value of knowing that a tsunami is on the way is greatly magnified if it's broadcast in time to let people prepare and evacuate. But supposing I alone held that information, and was amoral about its use, then this information has a mind-boggling extraordinarily high value while it is still within my control. I can extort people for the knowledge. I can decide, in a fashion, who does and does not receive the warning. That's what the first part of the quote is getting at. Of course, once the information is shared, others gain that power too, and as it spreads this "potential" aspect is diluted. Past a certain point, the value of the common good outweighs the potential personal gain. You can't sell a secret if it was just broadcast on the news. This speaks to an alternative rationale for how "information wants to be free": the more widespread the information is (or seems to be), the less reasonable it becomes to expect to sell it to someone else, because there's many other people who are probably will to share it for free. Thus the more widespread information is, the more easily it spreads: there's more people willing to share it, and they're willing to do so with less expectation of personal gain. @ctein: "Here's a modest proposal. Speeding ticket fines have grown all out of proportion to the offense, due to the state's need to raise money. So, henceforth, I think the fair thing to do is that whenever the highway patrol pulls you over for speeding, they should politely ask you to stop and let you go." And yet many highway patrol officers are reasonable people and use their own judgement and discretion to do exactly that, quite often. Depending on the context -- the traffic and weather conditions at the time, the reason for your speeding, the sense of character they get from you -- they might let you off with a warning, or reduce the reported over-limit (and thus ticket cost), or even choose not to pull you over in the first place. It's all about taking the action that is more in proportion to your offense in that context. Opening with a C&D in for the Kind of Bloop would have demonstrated a similar sort of appreciation for context. That doesn't rule out the possibility of skipping a C&D and jumping straight to a lawsuit in more flagrant, commercial instances of infringement.
Echoing the above comment: the only times you need to have the FaceTime application actually running are when you're actively on a call or in the process of initiating one. The rest of the time: quit the app and forget about it. It automatically starts up when a call is received. And regarding using the camera for other things: In the process of playing with FaceTime I discovered that Apple's own applications will now happily share the camera with each other on my MBP. I can be recording video in QuickTime or Photo Booth (or even, it would seem, be using iChat, complete with video effects!) and accept a FaceTime call without missing a beat, and they all continue to receive video. Pretty impressive, really. BUT, this doesn't seem to extend to non-Apple apps; both Skype and Google's Video chat plugin still require exclusive use of the camera. Clearly, Apple made some changes to the API for Snow Leopard... and either the camera-sharing is a private API feature or those others apps haven't made the changes/updates needed to enable this camera-sharing, or are unwilling to relinquish more control of the camera to OS X in order to make it possible. In cases where a non-sharing program is actively using the camera when a FaceTime call is received, the FaceTime app opens up but displays a message saying you can't receive the call since the camera is in use, then quits. This message includes the raw phone number/email address for who's calling you, but not a contact name, and the event is not entered into the Recent call log... although it almost definitely should show up as a missed call instead. Meanwhile, the person at the other end of the call just receives a standard "is not available for FaceTime" message. It's a decent start. I suppose if you want that call to trump whatever you were just doing with the camera, you can pause the other task and immediately call them right back... but Apple ought to smooth off some rough edges here to make this sort of call back more streamlined. Issues like this make it obvious why they're calling it a beta.
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Oct 21, 2010