TechSpoken

"Any ideas?" is the most frequently-asked question in technical forums. My answer is: yes.

The Foxx, the Voxx, and the Phoenixx

http://www.foxrockx.com rises from the ashes of FoxTalk. Rainer Becker is busy thinking outside the boxx as always. 

I know that Rainer will carry on all the good things that FoxTalk was and could be, while rising above some of the less-pleasant aspects of technical magazine publishing.

One of those less-pleasant aspects tends to be "who owns the rights to what", especially in a property like FoxTalk that's been sold a couple of times.

I've made a point of re-publishing some of my own old FoxTalk contributions here as Spacefold articles. (Not the really old ones. some of you youngsters have no idea how much old material there is -- from Glenn Hart's editorial days and my own -- but from the VFP 9 period.)  I didn't re-publish on Spacefold to establish my ownership of the material, but to ensure that it was available, decently formatted, to folks who might need it. 

That's all I really care about, at this point: making what I've written available to folks who might need it.  I have to say that it took me a long time to feel this way.  There were some years of bitterness when somebody would e-mail me a screen shot of some edition of one of my books in a translation that I'd never seen before, and certainly never received any royalties from.  Now it's all about getting out the information to people who might get good use of it.

So here's a tip of the hat to Rainer and all the people working with him.  We owe you, not the other way around: a big thank you for carrying the torch, making the material as widely available as it can be made, and moving forward with energy and plans.  I'm writing this post to acknowledge your rights to re-purpose my work as you see fit. 

C and I both send hearty best wishes and our love and blessings.

Comments (15) -

  • JVP

    3/20/2008 4:57:45 PM |

    $99 for an online subscription that is comprised of 6 issues. A bit over the top.

    Just to set the record straight, I told Rainer and Whil that I was not opposed to my material being included in the archives - so long as it was made available to the general public. In other words, access to my material should not be conditioned on somebody paying the exorbitant sum of nearly $30 per issue. I can only speak for myself, not other authors. Other have to make their own call. From a legal perspective (and yes, I am a lawyer) - in this particular case, given the lack of contracts, lapse in business continuity, there is a real question as to who has rights to the archived material.

    I have not been part of the Fox community for years. But during the time I was active, I made more than my fair share of public contributions. If a developer can gain benefit from that material  - great. I just don't think people, 10 years after that fact - should have to pay for it. And given that I own the material, I do have a say in that.

    JVP

  • Rainer Becker

    3/25/2008 2:44:59 PM |

    Since you wish to make this discussion public, let us bring the WHOLE discussion into the open. In your E-Mails you have made it perfectly clear that in order for me to avoid "injunctive action" there are two possible options:

    1) Either I remove your articles from the archives (despite the fact that, as I have told you, to do so is so impractical that really it means removing any issue in which any content of yours appears entirely)

    2) Or I pay you an additional 1500 EUR ( US$ 2,313.47 at today's prices) for content from 1996-1998 for which you have already been paid, and which has been in the archives for 10 years or more.

    I remind you that the archives have never been available to anyone but subscribers to the magazine under any previous owner of the magazine (Pinnacle, Ragan and Eli). Now that I am the sole legal owner of both the magazine, and the archives, there is no change in the conditions for access to the archives.

    Yet you are demanding that I either remove your content entirely, or pay you more money, while in the same breath claiming that all you want is make your articles freely available.

    May I point out that if all you really want to do is to make your articles freely available to the public then you could have done so at any time in the past 10 years, and indeed, you can still do so now at any time that you choose.

    Please come back to me as soon as you made all your old material available to the public. Till then: Please do not change my Fox wiki entries. Please do not send emails to me. Just come back when you have made your material freely available to the public. Thank you very much!

  • JVP

    3/25/2008 10:29:06 PM |

    Rainer..

    The issue in a nutshell is this:

    1 - I want my old articles provided to the general community at no cost.

    2 - You wish to condition access to said articles on what can be best classified as exorbitant subscrption price.

    If you are not wearing a mask when you book subscription revenenue, you should be...

    You cannot on one hand, say you are the "sole" legal owner of the archives and then on the other hand, say that I have had and still have the the right to post my old FoxTalk articles in the public domain. What you describe Rainer is a legal impossibility.

    As for the rest of your response, it is about as flawed as your legal reasoning - or lack thereof.

    Given the inverse relationship between price and quality wherein as quality declines, price rises, I suspect the market will provide a sufficent remedy. Whereas your slate of articles in your first issue are not novel, your business model on the other hand, is quite novel. Good luck with that...


  • Peter Cortiel

    3/26/2008 6:25:01 AM |

    I think if JVP wants his articles public he just needs to put them on the FoxWiki then anybody can access them freely.

    Peter

  • JVP

    3/26/2008 11:34:43 AM |

    Peter..

    I checked my old "stack of stuff"  - and unfortunately, I do not have them. I thought I had the old FoxTalk CD's. If I did have them, I would post them. That said, if anybody has that content, they are free to post it. Back in 1999, when I went out on my own, I did post the content. That is yet another fact that Rainer and some others are "mis-informed" about.

    The whole thing is silly - right? Rainer, up here, has essentially admitted that I have the right to post my content in any way I see fit. You would think he would simply  take the matter in his own hands and do it himself. That really has to make you think. On one hand, he [Rainer] says that I can post the content and that when I do, I should inform him. On the other hand, he has the content, but he won't post it himself - thereby making the material available to the community at large -regardless of whether they subscribe to FoxTalkRocks (or whatever the thing is called). Yet another abusdity. If you accept the premise that there was a certain amount of brand equity in the FoxTalk name, wouldn't you simply use that name? The whole FoxTalk 2.0 thing was absurd as well.

    Suffice it to say that on Rainer's part, the entire matter has been in artfully handled.

    I understand what the goal is. There are no magazines devoted to Fox development. In theory, if you are the only game in town, you should be able to make a go of it. The idea is that there is a niche opportunity. A niche however, requires an under-served/un-served market. The one thing there is not is scarcity of information. The value-added aspect of a magazine is the new/novel information that it contains - that is not readily available in other media outlets. The informtion has a definite shelf life - maybe a month or two. After that, the data is out in the public domain. None of this by the way, should be confused with copyright. That is a wholly different matter. My points are more grounded in the area of economics.

    In any case, if you accept that there is not much new/novel to write about in Fox - when it comes to staying in Fox, that what is available is generally available for free (wiki, UT, etc) - you have to ask what the intrinsic value of a fox-specific magazine is. Look at fox-specific conferences as an analogy. Not much demand for those either. Conferences however, have a social aspect to them. More likely than not, the value derived is not so much in the "technical content" as it is in the social aspects of such an event.

    The irony is that what is new/novel, as it relates to Fox - deals with how to migrate FROM the tool. That however, is not something fox-specific magazines and conferences want to acknowledge.

    As I have said many times in the past - if the tool does the job you need it to do  - and you can make a business out of it and that its use adds value - go for it. No doubt, thre are some caves out there were somebody is making $'s using paradox, delphi, alpha 4, etc. To use specific situations like that to support an argument that Fox is alive and well, that MS supporting the tool until 2014 or whatever, that is simply flawed thinking. For one thing, I cannot think of a single instance where I or anybody I knew actually had to call MS for support. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say on one hand, the MS support translates into a positive, but on the other hand, say that you would never avail yourself of the service.

    In a nutshell, its a case of wag the dog. Try and get enough people to say that everything is ok. The goal is that through groupthink - others will drink the kool-aid and believe all is OK. My understanding that one Andy Kramek has in effect, put out a challenge to Fox developers to "put up or shut up". It bascially boils down to pan-handling. If the magazine where that compelling, he would not need to resort to such tactics. Here is the link. weblogs.foxite.com/.../5731.aspx. The comments are interesting and enlightening. By the way, if you ended up paying the subscription price or bought a single issue, you should read Andy's blog entries on Advantage DB Server. You will see substanially, the same content. In effect, 1/6th. of the first magazine was made up of material that is/was basically already available for free. Add articles on how to manage global variables and how to parse file/directory names, 1/2 of the first issue was, to put it mildly, not useful.

    I guess these guys know something others don't... Can't wait to see what it is.





  • Anon

    3/26/2008 12:20:34 PM |

    GETWORDCOUNT() reports that last comment is 825-words long.

    Gainfully employed, JVP?

  • RVBoy

    3/26/2008 2:31:29 PM |

    Can we just look at the facts for a moment?

    Two groups of successful people have perceived a need for a Fox mag- apparently independently, with announcements occurring within 24 hours of each other.

    One of the mags will be free (UT Mag); the other costs $ and must know it will need better authors and articles to compete. It's also good to see many authors for FoxRockx used to shun UT  because it was not "free" and presumably now accept that it is OK to charge after all.

    Apart from that, JVP please give over with the speeches and negativity! Lets give both mags a chance. I've never read any of your decade-old articles, am unlikely ever to see a need, and hope they will be expunged from the historic record to satisfy you forthwith so that this modern magazine can get on with staff that matters today. OK?

  • JVP

    3/26/2008 3:13:07 PM |

    To Anon..

    Seriously, you took the time to count the words?? Dishing out 825 words is not that difficult, particularly on this topic.

    To RVBoy..

    This "modern" magazine you speak of, based on the first issue, is not so "modern". Seriously, I simply wanted my old articles made available for free. I am kind of shocked at the negative response that as received.

    In spite of what you say, a lot of what I wrote is still relevant (sql server, automation, etc). The stuff I wrote wasn't pure Fox. My stuff was advanced and was pretty much regarded as some of the best material available at the time. If you are connecting to sql server in Fox, ADO is still very relevant in your arsenal of tools. Nearly 10 years later, this one is still a classic: msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms917355.aspx. The RDS stuff is, for the most part,  obselete. The article should be updated for xml and web services. Nonetheless, 90% of the whitepaper is still relevant.

    I don't like the fact that my old content, is in effect, held hostage by a group of people that are price gouging - especially based on the content of the first issue. You typically lead off with your best effort - not your worst.

    One other point. Now that I am thinking about this - when Code magazine was lauched, I gave them some old articles of mine to publish. These were old Foxtalk articles. They didn't have anything in the pipeline. I was happy to do it. I was happy to
    help a good group of people produce a quality product.

    So with that said, best of luck to Rainer... he is going to need all he can get.


  • JVP

    3/26/2008 3:21:36 PM |

    One other point... And I can't believe I did not bring this up before.

    The magazine I wrote for does not exist and has ceased operations. If you noticed, the first issue of FoxRockx is issue #1. In other words, it is not a continuation of FoxTalk.

    It is pretty standard that whenever a publication ceases to exist, when operations have been abandoned, all rights revert back to the original author. As I said earlier, Rainer is not in possession of any contracts that bear my signature. But...assuming for the moment he did, the fact that there has been a lapse in continuity, the fact that his is a completely new magazine, beginning with Issue 1, that too would have settled the matter. Now it really leaves my head scratching as to what he in fact bought.

    Now..I am done with the topic on this forum.

  • RVBoy

    3/26/2008 4:36:40 PM |

    Who really cares about antique IT articles except their authors or somebody who remembers a particular article or author fondly and wants to revisit and reminisce? That's why it seems crazy to make such a fuss to provoke Rainer to expunge your contributions. The "prize" is loss of recognition and availability of your contribution in the official record, which is why it is a surprise that you seem so defensive about the value of your contributions- contributions that are about to be   amputated to satisfy you. Whatever. I'm now done with the topic on this forum too. Wink

  • JVP

    3/26/2008 5:16:03 PM |

    To RVBoy...

    Given your response, I cannot allow you to have the last word. It is an interesting way you choose to re-frame the issue. You choose to re-frame things in such a way that is somehow, my failing, that I should simply let Rainer do what he wants to do because it is what he wants to do. If you knew anything about me, you would know that is not my thing...

    In your first post, you stated you wanted to look at the facts. Clearly, you don't really want to do that. It is a matter of whether Rainer has the legal right to do what he is doing. He does not. I don't need to cite to a legal principle (although I already have). His own words indict his position.

    As for who cares about 'antique IT articles', clearly Rainer does. Instead of asking why I want to stand in Rainer's way,  you should instead ask why Rainer won't make those 'antique IT articles' freely available.

    Remember RVBoy, I want my stuff made freely available. Surely, you nor anybody else cannot attack me for that. Indeed, my fortunes do not depend on whether those old articles are available. Apparently however, FoxRockx does appear to depend on them. Otherwise, Rainer would simply provide the content for free. Again, it goes back to what Rainer has the right to do. Rainer certainly has the right charge whatever he wants for his magazine. I simply want my stuff freely available. If that poses a hardship for Rainer - that is not my problem. Technically, it is not a problem. Rather, it is his choice to fabricate a problem.

    Exercising one's choice....Now that is a novel concept. I will have to give that some thought.


      

  • RVBoy

    3/26/2008 5:55:06 PM |

    Legal this, legal that... since when does Rainer have any legal obligation to publish your or anybody else's antique articles at all, let alone for free? He's right: if you want them freely available, go to it. And if you object to their inclusion in the official archive, let them be expunged. Nobody will really care either way except the people I mentioned earlier and whichever lucky soul has to figure out how to add obliterating shapes to the archive pdfs. And with that, I really am done with this SIATC. See ya.

  • JVP

    3/26/2008 7:49:28 PM |

    To RVBoy..

    It is not that Rainer has a legal obligation to publish my old articles. Rather, the issue is whether Rainer has the legal right to publish the old content. There is a big difference. Put another way, there is no affirmative duty on Rainer's part to publish anything. But...what he does chose to publish, he must have the legal right to do so.

    As for my old content getting getting expunged, it does not sound as though Rainer would do that. If he does, then fine. That is acceptable relief to me. If he decides to split it out and make it available for free - that is fine too.

  • Anon

    3/29/2008 1:15:10 PM |

    JVP, you are a class-A certified a-hole.  You are a George W Bush loving loser with an apalling past, nothing to show for your life, and no future.
    You are The epitome of the arrogant American.  A pox on you and your descendants.

  • Kevin S. Goff

    3/30/2008 8:01:41 AM |

    Anon, whoever you are - this is sad, really sad.  JVP has made some valid arguments.  Even if you don't agree with them, there's no excuse for personal attacks.  

    Fortunately, those who actually know JVP know that he has an awful lot to show for his life.

Comments are closed