Three people launch independent careers in their fields of interest. The first person becomes an independent farmer. He works long hours, produces quality food, and sells it to processors as well as to individuals who patronize the local farmers' markets. Once someone pays him for his food, he's done. The buyer can sell or give away the food without the farmer getting any more money out of it.
The second person becomes a carpenter, creating beautiful hardwood desks to support people's computers. She works long hours, produces quality hardware, and sells it to wholesalers as well as to individuals who patronize her occasional showroom sales. Once someone pays her for her furniture, she's done. The buyer can sell or give away the furniture without the carpenter getting any more money out of it.
The third person becomes a musician, creating stirring and poetic music to unleash people's emotions. He works weird hours, records his music and provides it by digital download to people who have paid for it. Once someone pays for a copy of a song, he's just beginning the process. Thanks to technological usage restrictions (TUR, often euphemized as DRM or digital rights management), if the buyer wants to play the song on a different kind of device, they have to re-buy the content.
The question for Americans is why should they music, movie, software, and publishing industries get to re-sell you the same content over and over? Why should they prevent you from selling or giving the content you purchased to someone else (as long as you don't retain a copy after the sale)? Why should they?
I would suggest that we really need to take another look at copyrights and patents, with an eye toward making it easier to comply with the rules and with rules that balance society's benefit (e.g., more public domain works, which is the justification the Constitution uses for permitting monopolies such as copyrights and patents) and the interests of creators. Not the interests of large media and software and publishing corporations who create nothing and divert the bulk of the royalties to fatten their own coffers. Society and creators.http://lnxwalt.posterous.com/getting-rid-of-ip-why-should-they : lnxwalt's posterous : http://lnxwalt.posterous.com
#SOPA and #PIPA Prove: Corporations Are Dangerous To Our Constitution, Our Freedoms, And Our Government
The year was 1776. In the British Isles, Adam Smith published the work that still defines much of the framework for economics. In the North American colonies, a small group of individuals published the American Declaration of Independence, a document whose ideals we still aspire to, but never have made a priority.
King George III (http://whoknowswho.channel4.com/people/George_III) and Prime Minister Lord North sought to retain their power over the colonists (http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-and-tour/lord-north/), who were aggravated over taxation and the power of a monopoly, the British East India Company.
It is no surprise then, that the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution all fail to mention corporations at all. We know that they were aware of the supposed benefits of corporations. Yet they chose to ignore them entirely in setting up the new country’s governance.
Corporations are not constrained by the natural life (and death) of any particular person, so that their lifespans may be as close to infinite as is possible for a human institution to attain. Corporations typically combine resources and talent from many different individuals. These two factors give corporate-style organizations a significant advantage over individuals and families, as they effectively gather and retain quantities of resources that far exceed what most individuals and families can attain without a corporate-style organization.
Corporations often reach the point where their financial backing, management, and talent (labor) come from nearly distinct groups of individuals. Since division of labor is the primary proven way to sustain and advance human economy and society, they tend to do better financially than comparable partnerships and sole proprietorships do.
By dividing up responsibilities, authority, and rewards, corporations spread benefit among a larger group than the previous aristocracy and feudal societal structure did. Corporations, by virtue of their tendency to gain more and more financial and other resources, can afford to undercut non-corporate competitors on price or to bundle additional products and services into a single price.
If Joe, the owner of Joe’s Pizza, wants to open another location halfway across the country, he generally needs to depend upon some close friend or family member to manage the operation for him. A corporation still needs to place trusted individuals in charge of such expansions, but there is a larger pool from which to draw.
Corporations are well-suited for geographically-dispersed operation, even to the point of setting up "international" operations in foreign countries. In the past two or three decades, many corporations have even sought to transcend nations, calling themselves multinational or even transnational corporations. In a MNC/TNC, a corporation is no longer "American, with significant operations overseas” but becomes rootless, with no intrinsic loyalty to any nation or government. This allows them to freely move operations wherever their leaders feel will bring the most profits, the cheapest or most compliant workers, the most reliable suppliers, the least taxation, the least regulation, or other such goals.
However, not every effect of corporations is beneficial. Corporations are naturally amoral. Over time, they tend to lose any scruples which they formerly may have had. Thus, it becomes necessary, whenever corporations are allowed to exist, for governments to regulate their behavior. Corporations need to be regulated. They need to have limits set by the government for what they can and cannot do.
Frequently, people who claim to be in favor of free markets will speak disdainfully of labor unions, believing that unions are merely cartels, meant to prevent hard-working people from reaping the rewards that are due them as well as raise the price of labor to unsustainable levels. Frankly, anyone who says this is ignorant, for corporations themselves are merely mercantilistic cartels which seek oligopsony power to force suppliers (including suppliers of labor, otherwise known as employees) to take artificially low prices. (Mercantilism: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mercantilism#Domestic_policy).
Further, this anti-competitiveness extends to prices paid for raw materials, services, and even the land, buildings, and equipment that corporations rely upon to generate their profits with. Is it any wonder that so many suppliers for that big blue discount chain have closed their domestic production facilities in order to utilize foreign production facilities without enforceable environmental, labor relations, child labor, or wage and hours regulations.
However, because of something known as regulatory capture, over time, regulations often become tools that the regulated corporations use to stave off competition and restrict supplies, and even force customers to buy from "certified" companies instead of independents, leading to higher prices and higher (or at least, guaranteed) profits
Corporations in general exist primarily to limit competition, eliminate free markets, and to achieve monopolies and monopsonies. This is because of a mandate to maximize shareholder returns, which generally means the highest possible profits (and a predictable level of profit each quarter). Profit is maximized when all or nearly all substantial competitors have been absorbed, put out of business, or enmeshed into a common cartel.
Again, it was Adam Smith who wrote something to the effect that the way to tell how well a nation’s economy was doing is to examine the lives of the common people. We don’t evaluate North Korea’s economy by the lifestyle its recently-deceased dictator led. Instead, we look at satellite photos that show that NK’s residents do not appear to have electricity available to run lights after dark.
Domestic mercantile economic policies hurt the general populace because they are deprived of the price reductions and product development that a modern market-based economy brings. Instead, people are confronted with government-endorsed monopolies. Remember: monopolies are always bad. Government-endorsed monopolies mean that the monopolist is supported and shielded by the government in its efforts to thwart competitive pressure, often even including suppression of replacement goods.
Furthermore, monopolies tend to be unresponsive to customers, the same way that monopsonies are unresponsive to suppliers. In either case, the corporation recognizes that the other party has nowhere else (or almost nowhere else) to go.
When De Beers controlled the market for diamonds, it did not matter what you dug up, if you wanted to sell it, you had to go through them. Likewise, if you wanted to buy, the merchants all got their diamonds from De Beers. (See Wikipedia for more about De Beers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Beers)
Copyrights and patents give one party exclusive control over the production, reproduction, or distribution of a particular product. Such laws give that party the power to invoke government powers to prevent and penalize the production, reproduction, or distribution of that particular product by competing enterprises.
We have always been taught that these are good things. They are even enshrined in our Constitution. (See previous article here: http://lnxwalt.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/copyright-as-presently-defined-is-unconstitutional/ ) However, I am faced with the reality that monopolies are always bad for society as a whole. While I realize that the intention (as written in the Constitution) was that creators and inventors should enjoy monopolies for a short period of time, and that those rights to create, reproduce, adapt, modify, and distribute would thereafter belong to the body public, I question the benefit of the system as they apparently envisioned it.
The unconstitutional, corporate-controlled mess that these things evolved into should be scrapped.
The Robbers In Adamantium Armor (otherwise known as the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA) is comprised of mega-corporations in the recorded music industry. Together with their counterparts in movies (MPAA) and software (BSA), they have continued to seek extensions to the length of the term that copyrights last, they have sought the power to prevent reuse and remixing of content, and they have sought ever more draconian punishments against those accused (not necessarily proven) of infringement.
I haven’t time to document the many times that the copyright abuse industries have sought to sue or prosecute someone for illegally downloading content when it was clearly not possible (person had never had a computer, never had Internet connection, etc). Nor will I document all the DMCA takedown notices filed against dancing toddler videos because of a song in the background. These kinds of actions characterize a schoolyard bully, particularly one who knows some secret that the school principal does not want revealed.
These copyright abusers sought to obtain the right to shut down much of the Internet merely based on accusations. Former senator Chris Dodd, director of the MPAA, recently threatened to stop “campaign contributions" (better known as bribes) to politicians who refuse to stay bought. ( http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120120/14472117492/mpaa-directly-publicly-... ) I think we have allowed these creeps to go too far. It is time to take the battle to Hollywood.
Joel Spolsky wrote something very relevant and very important since I started working on this post. It inspired me to write a little bit here: http://lnxwalt.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/on-sopa-pipa-and-copyright-maximalism-how-we-must-respond/ )
I agree with Mr. Spolsky. In fact, I am laying part of the foundation here for restricting or even eliminating copyrights and patents entirely.
First of all, a common-sense reading of the relevant section of the Constitution supports ending copyrights and patents--at the latest--soon after the individual creator or inventor dies. The founding fathers were very aware of corporations and monopolies, having fought a war in part because the British East India Company had obtained a monopoly on sales and distribution of tea in the new world. Yet, they refused to express any recognition that corporations had any claim to patents or copyrights, or even that corporations should be allowed to petition the government for redress of grievances (e.g., the right to lobby).
I believe this was intentional, and that the Constitution, properly interpreted, forbids lobbying, campaigning (e.g., the currently active "super-pacs"), and contributions by corporations and corporate-style entities. This, of course, means that the Supreme Court erred in the Citizens United case.
We have already seen that domestic mercantile policies harm the economy. They hurt individuals, families, and small businesses. Picking a certain group of businesses and shielding them from competition and changing tastes & technology is a fool's errand that is destined to fail. In the meantime, it will hurt musicians, actors, writers, songwriters, photographers, artists, painters, inventors, and other creative individuals, because Hollywood is infested with corporations.
Copyrights and patents do not have a sound basis for continued existence.
As a FLOSS advocate (free/libre and open source software), people will say that copyright is what makes free software licenses (like the GPL and the Apache license) possible. Advocating for the end of copyright will necessarily end software freedom. To this, I say that most such licenses don't even require that source be provided to end users. All other requirements of such licenses are meant to limit the impact of copyright. If copyright is eliminated entirely, merely the availability of source will grant users all the rights that any FSF or OSI approved license grants.
Well what about "innovation?" Aren't copyrights and patents necessary for innovation to occur? In a word, no. Invention, or creation, occurs when someone sees a need and figures out how to fulfill that need. Innovation is merely the repurposing of those inventions. So when you read about patents on things like rounded corners on tablet computers, realize that all they did is take something that was already available in a competitors' product and repackage it in their own. If you want to see more innovation, take down the barriers to repurposing, so that smaller, locally-owned businesses can compete without fear of legal conflicts with deep-pocketed corporations.
Well, without copyrights and patents, how will artists, musicians, inventors, and other creators be rewarded for their work? If you're asking this question, you haven't met many college art students, especially in the first few years after graduation, before they give up and try something different. Musicians know that most of them make their money on performing, just like they did before there was such a thing as recorded music. Painters make most of their money when people attend exhibitions of their works and purchase originals or prints to take home with them.
Inventors make money when their product is produced and sold in the market--or when a potential competitor-slash-investor buys the rights from them--and the end of patents will not change this.
The current system primarily benefits lawyers and corporations. Sure, big content companies lift a limited number of "stars" to unprecedented wealth. But their wealth comes at the expense of many thousands of equally talented performers who are not smiled upon by the corporate brass and never get the exposure or promotion. And even then, most of the reward for their work goes to the corporations' wallets, not the performers' wallets.
As I said, there is no sound basis for the existence of copyrights and patents.
Having said all this, I must admit that photographers will take a hit to their income once they can no longer depend on "stock photo" licensing. Even there, many of them are already suffering, as former customers (generally corporations) forego paid licensing and rely upon image-sharing sites (e.g., Flickr) for their photo needs.
This is just the beginning. There is much more to write, but I need to be at work in a few hours.
Earlier this year, I wrote about fungal marketing, describing fake "viral marketing" campaigns designed to push people into pushing their friends. I also mentioned in there that "SEO" is also fungal.
Typically, a college or affinity group will operate some kind of online discussion forums for students or members. These are often not tightly-patrolled to prevent outsiders from infesting them with spam links and keywords. For SEO campaigns, a spammer may create hundreds of accounts on a wide variety of sites and then throw up links to low-quality sites (or even malware or phishing sites). They do this because search engines tend to use the number of links to your site as one of the ways they rank your site in their results.
With the "wild west" mentality that is still out there, people think of the web as a place to get rich quick. They are willing to cut corners, to turn a blind eye to unethical practices, and even to engage in a little criminal activity if this will get a few more dollars into their pockets. But such business models are necessarily short-lived. When pirates capture a large enough share of shipping traffic, nations send their navies to escort traffic, or even to pursue and eradicate the pirates. When corporate "robber baron" executives live on champagne and caviar, while the general populace goes hungry, either anti-trust regulators break up the corporations or the populace revolts and kills off their priveleged overlords.
Therefore, it behooves any business owner or manager, but especially the owner or manager of a small, locally-owned business to steer clear of shady business practices of any kind. Have we forgotten the marketing concept? Marketing is not just sales and advertising. In fact, marketing was a reaction to the excesses of the sales and advertising fields when they were faced with stagnant demand and piles of unsold products.
Sales and advertising departments both tend to be driven by corporate wants and needs, not by the wants and needs of the company's customers. Marketing starts with the customer: does John Jones want or need this item enough to curtail spending on other products or services in order to buy it? If he does not, maybe the product / service is unnecessary. If we understand the customer's wants and needs, hopefully we can produce only what the customer wants, and as a result, we'll be able to sell everything we produce.
Do not misunderstand me. Sales and advertising are a part of marketing, but their functions are less about pushing people to buy a company's product or service and more about informing potential customers how that product or service may satisfy their desires. Any company will (and should) still have sales goals and should still seek to motivate people to choose its products and services rather than someone else's products and services. However, marketing was conceived as a change of focus from the needs of the company to the needs of the customer.
When your business is planning its marketing campaigns, remember that. If you are focusing on the needs of your customers (or potential customers), rather than solely looking to enrich your own pocketbook, you will look for ways to satisfy your customers' needs and wants, rather than engaging in shady and deceitful practices in an attempt to increase your income.
This is part of a continuing series. Parts 1 and 2 have already been written and posted. (NOTE: links point to Amplify, but this series also appears on Tumblr, Posterous, Xanga, Typepad, and Wordpress.)
It is difficult to observe the events that have occurred recently (and are still occurring as of this date) in the Middle East without recognizing that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be used to organize protests and other political activity. If the cause attracts sufficient interest and enough people believe the cause is urgent, those protests can topple governments.
Social networking is a tool that can be used to organize and coordinate the activities of large numbers of individuals. Whether your cause is toppling dictatorships or removing genetically-altered organisms from the food supply, these tools may be helpful to you.
But that comes at a price. We saw the wikileaks site chased off of its cloud-hosting service and we saw its payment processors sever their ties. We saw Tunisia blocking access to Twitter and Facebook. We saw Egypt cut off Internet traffic with the rest of the world (something which may have also occurred in Libya). Those who are in control can take action to prevent protesters from accessing any particular site or they can shut down the entire Internet.
Federation is a necessary mechanism to help prevent such blocking. It has limits, to be sure. When a nation's Internet carriers shut down border gateway protocol with the rest of the world, nothing we can do will allow us to regain connectivity outside the country. When a nation's Internet service providers completely shut down Internet access, even sites inside the country will be unreachable.
What federation provides is the first level of target dispersion. If 50% or more of protest organization takes place on Twitter and Facebook, blocking those two sites might possibly be enough to disrupt your group's activities. If, on the other hand, you are using multiple sites which are members of federated networks, it is not as easy to disrupt your group. Recognize that federation is only the first step toward resilient networks.
Over time, we will have to evolve our networks to be resilient against the kinds of attacks we have recently seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iran, China, and other countries. This is true whether your group seeks a political goal or not.
We must, however, start by moving much of our social networking activities to federated sites like Friendika (demo site at http://demo.friendika.com/), Diaspora (official alpha site at https://joindiaspora.com/ and other sites at http://diasp.org/ and http://diasp.eu/), and StatusNet (main site at http://identi.ca/ see also here).
It isn't that centralized sites like Twitter and Facebook are evil. It is that they are an easy chokepoint for those whose agendas conflict with yours. If your small business threatens the dominance of a large and wealthy corporation, watch out. There will be ample incentive for some kind activity meant to disrupt your ability to organize and coordinate the group's activities. If centralized sites like Twitter and Facebook are the hubs of your internal communications, they will find ways to bring it down.
If your group's agenda threatens the agenda of some political group, there will be ample incentive for some kind of action meant to disrupt your ability to organize and coordinate your group's activities.
Again, I cannot stress this enough: recent news out of the Middle East says that any activities that threaten someone powerful could lead to blocking access to sites, attempts to break into accounts (for impersonation and destroying reputations or as a way to prevent opposition from coalescing into an effective foe), or even nuking the entire Internet within a country or a part of a country. And since powerful corporations have the ear of politicians, it does not have to be a political issue.
In fact, that is the more important factor. Perhaps you wish to advocate on the behalf of farmers, particularly organic farmers, against corporations that sell gene-modified seed to neighboring farmers, then sue the organic farmers when the modified genes bleed over into their fields. Do not let yourself be fooled into thinking that you can't be targeted by these same tactics. You don't have to be against the government to become a target.
If your group's organization and coordination activities are based around the use of a centralized service, you need to make sure to move most of your actions to a federated service such as Friendika or Diaspora, RStatus, or StatusNet. Now, don't just move everything to another brand of central hub. Group members should use various sites that are members of the federated web, so that $BIG_COMPETITOR can't stop your activities simply by preventing access to one or two sites.
Diverse networks of sites which all follow the same basic set of functionality (including common protocol suites, for the technically inclined) are harder to successfully target. StatusNet and RStatus, for example, both aim to fully support the OStatus protocol suite. This means that you can install StatusNet on commodity hosting and I can install RStatus on my laptop, and users of each system should be able to subscribe to updates from the other system.
There is much to do beyond federation. The entire Internet is designed more for efficiency than for resistance to these kinds of attacks. As more and more of our personal, business, financial, political, and governmental communications move online, we must pay even more attention to these unresolved issues. However, it starts with federation, encryption, and peer-to-peer. We will discuss more of these issues later in this series.http://lnxwalt.posterous.com/social-networking-vulnerable-federate-it-to-p-4 : lnxwalt's posterous : http://lnxwalt.posterous.com
As we saw in Part 1, the information you share on social networking sites is vulnerable because they are subject to closure at any time. Site closure is not the only way your data can be lost leaked. When you sign up for a service, somebody is paying rent on a building, paying electricity to run a server, paying staff members, and paying for network service. As much as you may like to think that random companies like you so much that they provide all these things for free, that is really not the case. They are seeking to get paid by someone for something. Many sites are partially or entirely advertising-supported. This means that you are bait to enable them to catch advertising sponsors. Several years ago, this meant that they had to use pop-ups, pop-unders, and other unsavory techniques to try and divert your attention from the content that brought you to the site. In exchange, these advertisers would pay the site money. These days, advertisers want personal information to enable them to "target" their ads at groups to which you belong, in an effort to make you more likely to buy their products and services. Facebook is willing to help application developers access users' names, usernames, genders, addresses and mobile phone numbers. (While this is a particularly egregious example, Facebook is not the only one doing such things). It is important to understand that if you don't have a financial relationship with the company offering the service, you are not their customer. You are merely the bait they use to catch their customers. Now let us think about some scenarios.
The DeLorean Scenario: Person decides to start an ad-supported social network. Service never gains enough users to produce enough ad revenue, so person resorts to "desperate measures" in order to keep the doors open a little longer. In this case, person sells access to the user database. Ooh. Now "Scumbag Collectors LLC" starts calling you because someone you went to high school with owed their client some money.
The Leaker Scenario: Something you said angers rich and politically-connected people. Suddenly, your accounts at big, centralized social networking services are cancelled, and you have no access to your pictures or other data which you had uploaded.
The Cracker Scenario: That big social networking site suffers a security breach. They gain your information, including a password which you use for your e-mail and three other social networking sites and your bank. Before you know it, your money is gone and images of you are edited to show you performing disgusting acts with farm animals before being re-uploaded to your sites.
Shameful Scenario: The service chooses to accept advertising from companies, organizations, and causes you personally find distasteful. People who visit your online profile are greeted by extremist group recruitment ads featuring video of group members telling why non-members' lives have no value to them.
Monopoly Scenario: The company behind the site makes so much money from ads that they stop responding to the needs of site users at all. However, your online data and veryone you know is on that site.
DMCA Scenario: Something you post brings a charge of copyright violation. Rather than allowing you to prove that someone else's copyright is not being violated, the site decides to cancel your account.What each of these scenarios have in common is centralization. Centralization makes social networks vulnerable, more vulnerable than they would be otherwise. With centralization comes unequal power. With centralization, $BIGNETWORK can treat you any way they choose when everyone you communicate uses that network and only that network. With centralization comes the need for big data centers, big expensive data centers, with plenty of ad revenue to pay for them. With centralization comes the overpaid CEO who somehow believes he/she "deserves" to earn millions of dollars per year while the site which is paying that salary is unmaintained for years at a time. Lesson number two: With centralization, especially where you have no financial relationship with the company providing the central site, comes all sorts of abusive activities. With centralization, one company has its hands on the collective throats of its users' social networking activities. Unless you pay for the site, you're not a customer, and the company that owns the site will likely have no loyalty to you, nor much of an urgency to solve any situations you find problematic. Keep a watch on the things that are being done by the social networking sites you use. Try to be ready to jump off of those which are provided to you without charge in order to protect yourself from the anti-user activities such sites often engage in.
I saw this link pop up on Twitter today. Now, Syed is a great guy, and he works hard to make money and to teach others how to make money, but sometimes, even he is wrong.
To start with, go to WPBeginner.com and read his article. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Did you see it? He’s talking about creating a viral campaign. A viral campaign is not created. It takes off on its own. It is like an infection that hops from person to person. So every article you read about creating viral campaigns is automatically wrong. What they are talking about is a fungal campaign.
What is a fungal campaign, you may ask. A fungal campaign is based around trying to create an infection, the way that rubbing your wet athlete’s foot infected toes on my wet feet is your attempt to infect me. Commonly, a fungal campaign will use youth-oriented imagery, fonts, and graphics. It will go to great pains to try to conceal its pushy character, but as you can read in the article, the idea behind it is that friend A will inadvertently help push friend B, who will inadvertently help push friend C. In the article, the topic is the Facebook “like” button and its privacy-invading feature of telling one’s “friends” where you clicked the button.
But it needn’t be Facebook. Who hasn’t heard of some marketer joining a chat room, forum, or a site like Twitter, and spamming links to his or her site? Often, it isn’t about increasing direct traffic from X to Y, but about raising search ranking, to “push” searchers to a site that is unlikely to satisfy their needs.
I’m active on a few different social networking sites. On one site, there are a number of people spamming links to buy “Ugg boots”. I had never heard of the boots before, but even if they were made of gold, I wouldn’t buy those boots for any reason. On another site, someone spammed us with dozens of links for plastic surgeons one night. I do not see myself going to get wrinkles removed or liposuction, but if I was interested, I would avoid anyone who utilized “SEO” methods like spamming forums.
Which brings up the other shining characteristic of fungal marketing. Given the choice, you’d prefer to avoid “catching” the fungus, whether it is athlete’s foot or thrush or a yeast infection. Similarly, given the choice, you’re likely to avoid being part of someone’s fungal marketing campaign. You’ll avoid vising a pushy website. You’ll avoid giving your e-mail address to a pushy “download this white paper” site. You’ll avoid giving your telephone or location information to a pushy update your friends service. They have to trap you into having no other way to get X, where X is what you want, other than giving them the information they want in order to use you in their fungal campaigns.
I'm now using Amplify and Posterous (and soon, possibly Tumblr) as a way to begin unifying the various blogs and microblogs I use. I often have 12 or more tabs open in a browser in order to monitor and respond to everything. I'm hoping to slim that down.With Yahoo shutting down service after service, I think I need to ensure that no non-paid service hosts all my data. I want to move to paid accounts with the services that are most important (and which accept such accounts), such as the StatusNet Cloud, WordPress.com and TypePad.And hopefully, I'll take more time during the current unpaid downtime to build and develop my skills and understanding even more.Note to Amplify.com, Posterous.com, and Tumblr.com: you should keep an eye on Diaspora and similar projects. The day that Diaspora offers a client API, you should begin implementing it. And same for Friendika, GNU Social, and other, similar projects.