Posts about open-source

Remix me

The BBC just announced the winners of its competition to redesign the BBC home page. Here’s the winner and here are the runners-up.

The winner is called Malkovich because its’ about “seeing the BBC through someone else’s eyes, fascinating perspective.” The creataors recognize the important reality of the world now: that there is “a network of people that make up a layer over the top of the BBC architecture.” The page’s cool gadget lets you slide the view of content from you … to the BBC … to the world.

What’s more important than the winner, of course, is the openness of the competition itself. Now if this were just an exercise in openness — here, kids, you go play here — then it would be a cynical ruse. But what it really is, instead, is a way to tap the wisdom and imagination of the smart crowd gathered around the BBC. Not doing that is being deaf to the possibilities. The BBC has been trying to open-source itself. This is one good step in that direction.

By the way, one good line informing one of the runners-up: “I don’t want a portal, I want an information workspace.”

(I get in trouble sometimes when I link to things and don’t mention that I’m mentioned there. I think doing so is more egotistical. Others argue with that. So beware that I’m mentioned in the BBC team’s rational for their winning pick…. and I’m humbled to be there. No, really….)

Open-source open-source

Ad Age critic and On the Media cohost Bob Garfield is writing a book about how the open-source world changes marketing and, so, he’s writing it openly on a new blog.

The idea is to put it together, chapter by chapter, with ideas, criticism and corrections coming from all of you out in the Bobosphere. It’s no wiki; I’m the sole author. And it will be owned lock, stock and hypertext by my employer, Crain Communications. But who cares? It’s being produced in full public view for public view.

Go see his chapter outline and get to work.

Open for business

The Times has two stories today about enabling the public to create together — one a business story about customers who design products with companies and the other a style story about Ze Frank having the people formerly known as his audience writing his routines.

The open corporation

I’ve been saying that the wise company will be open not only in enabling their customers to be their customer-service department and their marketing arm and their ad agency but also their product-development department. Kraft is opening itself up to outside product suggestions:

Hungry for new ideas, Kraft Foods Inc. is turning to a new source of inspiration: its customers.

The nation’s largest food company is launching a program to weigh unsolicited ideas from customers and others. The move represents a departure from past practice, said Mary Kay Haben, senior vice president at the company. In the past, she said, “we would have said, ‘Thank you, but we’re not accepting ideas.’ ”

The shift is part of a broader move toward “open innovation” being embraced by Kraft’s chief executive, Roger Deromedi, who has been under pressure to improve results.

Except get a load of the business terms:

If Kraft is interested in using your idea and the idea is protected–or protectible–by a patent or copyright, we may negotiate with you for license rights. Your compensation will be determined as a part of those negotiations.

If Kraft is interested in using your idea and it is not protected (or protectible) by a patent or copyright, but is new to Kraft and we adopt it, Kraft may, at its sole discretion, grant you a nominal award. In no case will that nominal award exceed $5000.

Another good idea killed by a lawyer. I’m keeping my recipe for Cheesey Oreos to myself, then.

Closed co-op?

Tell me if I’m wrong about Google Co-op — because it’s damned near impossible to tell what it is from their description — but it seems to be a closed system for enriching Google but not the internet. That is, it gets us to give Google meta data about sites that are supposed to improve their searches but, so far as I can tell, that data is not available to anyone else. Closed? Evil? You tell me.

The BCC as a new network

In followup discussions and interviews about the BBC’s bold plans to reinvent itself, the one question I keep getting asked that I didn’t address in my post is:

What is the proper role for the BBC as a tax-supported public trust? Should it compete with commercial ventures online? That is what Rupert Murdoch has been asking (read: complaining about). I have two answers:

First, I think it would be foolhardy for the industry to try to throttle development and innovation at the BBC. Because of its position and generous tax funding, it’s true that the BBC can afford to do what other companies cannot. But that is also a reason to let them, to see what they develop and to copy the successes and avoid the failures. It is open-source product development for media — and media need it. I’d say that’s one way to put tax dollars pounds stirling to work for you. And trying to kill the BBC by stopping it from experimenting and growing is a horrid waste of those tax monies.

Second, I think the BBC should have a different relationship with the media outlets formerly known as its competitors: The BBC should be linking to and promoting the best not just from the BCC and now from citizens’ media but also from other media. Why shouldn’t the BBC, as a public trust, point to and thus send traffic to and help support and encourage the best from Sky or the Guardian or Washington Post? That, I believe, will be the role of the new network. More on that later.

: BTW, I should add that I don’t support the notion of tax-supported and thus government-certified news. I think it’s quite dangerous. But given the BBC’s position, I’d say if it really wants to reinvent itself, it should reinvent its role in media and its notion of the network.


Fred Seibert has an open-source logo competition. The prize: $1k with $300 to the blogger whose post inspires the winner. Know anybody with talent?


Here’s a wonderful thread with fast-food workers sharing their recipe hacks (and if you doubt they’re real, check the spelling). When I worked at Ponderosa Steakhouse (wearing red-checked shirts, string ties, and cowboy hats that were all too Brokeback Mountain), all we did was bake too many rolls at the end of the night so we could have some.

Auntie Anne’s peeps – hook up some dough rolled out w/ some marinara topping and parmesan cheese. tada! pizza. try cinnamon sugar pretzels with the glazin’ raisen glaze, darn tasty. any soda + dutch ice is pretty tasty too.

Dairy Queeners – stick a fried fish fillet on the steam table to loosen the breading off. Lemon packets, salt and pepper. Microwave to heat up. now you have something half palatable.

cheese fries are an easy one – fries, cheese and bacon from the salads.

chop up some burger, throw some ketchup, mustard, and onion together and you have a sloppy joe. sorta.

Umair Haque tries to find an Edge Age lesson in this: Open source the grill!