Podcast #40 - Random Musings (Plus a Surprise Guest)

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You're listening to the Stack Exchange Podcast #40 (We apologize to everyone who expected Wil Wheaton last week) Your hosts are David Fullerton, Jay Hanlon, and Joel Spolsky. We also have a surprise special guest: Britton Payne, professor of Copyright, Trademark, and Emerging Technologies at Fordham University. He knows a lot of things about software patent law, so we grabbed him as he walked by the studio to talk to us.

  • About 15 years ago, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to create some useful guidelines for the new digital landscape. We talk about what actually happens with the DMCA takedown notices, including loophole issues that Joel has discovered.
  • So that's one part of the DMCA. The other one is anti-circumvention technology, and we go through many of the nuances there.
  • So the technological means of anti-circumvention have to be re-evaluated every now and then. New exemptions were announced in October regarding: ebook reading assisted technologies (like Amazon Kindles being able to read aloud to you); jailbreaking phones (not tablets); and unlocking phone handsets (not tablets).
  • This has been Copyright Update #1 on the Stack Exchange Podcast, brough to you by Britton Payne!
  • So what else is going on in the Stack Exchange universe? We just had a holidays! Part of our celebration included Winter Bash, which ends "today" (at time of recording). You can still check out all the details. Give us your thoughts about it on Meta.
  • …including a "hat" that was a tribute to Jason Punyon, who is in a rock (jazz and disco, really) band. They played our holiday party at the Hotel Rivington, and they were astonishingly good.
  • We have a couple new sites to talk about - Politics & Anime. Each has just over 250 questions, so they're doing okay, for baby sites. We discuss the pitfalls and strengths of each of these new members of our network (especially Politics).
  • (Somehow we get onto the topic of the Black Hebrew Israelites.)
  • Politics is a difficult site to approach, but it's not hard to pass the bar of being better than anything else that's out there on the internet, and we're well on our way to doing that.
  • We turn to Anime. None of us know very much about anime, but we manage to turn this site into a conversation anyway.
  • No news is good news, new-office-wise! Construction is constructioning. We're moving in March, or so.
  • There's a glimmer in Joel's eye called Stack Overflow TV. They'll be broadcast live on the Internet on stackoverflow.tv, which we will remember to buy before this podcast is published.
  • Meth questions! Er, meta questions! First, we tackle "How to deal with a highly voted non-constructive question". What's the problem with the question mentioned there? How do we solve this? We decide to call them "pivot questions". The conversation leads us to another common type of easy question: "bike shed" questions.
  • While we're here, go follow us on Twitter to get the best questions from all of our sites. (It can be a lot to swallow.)
  • We experimented with automated twitter feeds and with manually curated twitter feeds, and have found limited success with both. We discuss how twitter feeds (and other types of feeds) work for our company and our sites.

For you people listening at home: We want to take your questions! Go to s.tk/podcastquestions to record your question for us to play and answer on the air. You can also send us a written message… somehow.

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