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0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:10 am UTC
by s0merand0mdude
Image

Alt text: "In the new edition of The Giving Tree, the tree uses social tools to share with its friend all the best places to buy things."

Time to dust off the Silverstein still sitting on my bookshelf, because I completely forget what the plot was to this one.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:12 am UTC
by rwald

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:14 am UTC
by adanedhel728
This is one of my all-time favorites.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:14 am UTC
by unus vox
Basically, the moral of the story is the power of giving - not for any reward or even for self-worth, but simply how extraordinary it is to give freely and wholly.

Unless I'm mistaken, it seems that Randall's saying copyright laws and concern for fair profit has made this moral obsolete.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:19 am UTC
by ammy55
So? Just convert the .azw back to a .mobi and then read it.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:20 am UTC
by BruinDanny
The real problem here is that he's never heard of The Giving Tree.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:30 am UTC
by Alex-J
"The Giving Tree" was rather depressing to me. The boy just kept taking and leaving and I thought all the tree wanted was to play with/be with the boy (although I don't think the tree ever said that). When the old man (who was the boy) came back to sit on the stump I was never sure if that's really what the tree had in mind.

I can't tell there is a point (like we no longer share with modern technology, or when we don't share our stories never get told, or how annoying it is to get links to things that require a subscription/purchase) or if it should just be funny.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:45 am UTC
by doctorrobert13
Alex-J wrote:"The Giving Tree" was rather depressing to me. The boy just kept taking and leaving and I thought all the tree wanted was to play with/be with the boy (although I don't think the tree ever said that). When the old man (who was the boy) came back to sit on the stump I was never sure if that's really what the tree had in mind.

I can't tell there is a point (like we no longer share with modern technology, or when we don't share our stories never get told, or how annoying it is to get links to things that require a subscription/purchase) or if it should just be funny.


I think it was more to emulate the sometimes thankless task of parenthood in that the tree loved unconditionally and gave whatever the boy asked for without requiring anything in return. I'll agree that it is depressing- you can take it as a sad observation on the state of the human condition that the boy would be ungrateful and abandon the tree for so long. But there is perhaps purpose in it if you see the tree as a parent.
Now whether he/she was a poor parent by simply giving without conditioning the boy with a system of morals that would have led him to be more grateful, or that he/she didn't prepare the boy for life where people simply wouldn't give to the boy is up for debate.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:54 am UTC
by westrim
Sharing is no longer caring, it is monetizable!

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:55 am UTC
by WikedX
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5paKczJn4IU&ob=av3e

I feel that link is necessary. Anyway this comic if nothing else reminded me of The Giving Tree. I haven't read that book since I was a little kid.

It also reminds me of the whole Amazon issue with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four. It's really sad to see DRM is in place like this, but what is more sad is people are so accepting of it. Like in the comic, instead of breaking the DRM they just gave up. It really sucks seeing people so passive. I've even had several conversations with people that said if a game(it was on a game forum) doesn't contain DRM, they are failing as a serious company.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:06 am UTC
by teucer
doctorrobert13 wrote:
Alex-J wrote:"The Giving Tree" was rather depressing to me. The boy just kept taking and leaving and I thought all the tree wanted was to play with/be with the boy (although I don't think the tree ever said that). When the old man (who was the boy) came back to sit on the stump I was never sure if that's really what the tree had in mind.

I can't tell there is a point (like we no longer share with modern technology, or when we don't share our stories never get told, or how annoying it is to get links to things that require a subscription/purchase) or if it should just be funny.


I think it was more to emulate the sometimes thankless task of parenthood in that the tree loved unconditionally and gave whatever the boy asked for without requiring anything in return. I'll agree that it is depressing- you can take it as a sad observation on the state of the human condition that the boy would be ungrateful and abandon the tree for so long. But there is perhaps purpose in it if you see the tree as a parent.
Now whether he/she was a poor parent by simply giving without conditioning the boy with a system of morals that would have led him to be more grateful, or that he/she didn't prepare the boy for life where people simply wouldn't give to the boy is up for debate.


Part of the problem is that the tree is doing everything it can for the boy, and he obviously does fully appreciate it, but he never does anything in return. I loved the book when I was little, up until the point where somebody pointed out that it could just as easily have been titled "The Taking Boy."

Of course, for the grown-ups in the room, there are other Shel Silverstein works to enjoy... (And yes, Silverstein really is the lyricist there. I do not kid you even slightly, which is also what she said.)

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:32 am UTC
by glasnt
Now I want to attach this to my local gumtree.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:33 am UTC
by nazgand
He was obviously making a reference to "Dead Drops". Basically people put USB flash drives in objects, walls and such. It is a new type of file sharing, completely off-line.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:05 am UTC
by Rachie
Obligatory:
The Giving Tree read aloud

I can't find an ebook version yet.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:10 am UTC
by Azkyroth
unus vox wrote:Basically, the moral of the story is the power of giving - not for any reward or even for self-worth, but simply how extraordinary it is to give freely and wholly.

Unless I'm mistaken, it seems that Randall's saying copyright laws and concern for fair profit has made this moral obsolete.


What does concern for FAIR anything have to do with current copyright laws?

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:00 am UTC
by J L
BruinDanny wrote:The real problem here is that he's never heard of The Giving Tree.


I thought the problem was the guys who deposited that file had never heard of it.

What is the common interpretation of the story? Is it really a critique of mindless taking, or does it advocate selflessness? At least the alt text seems to suggest a critique of the increasing commercialization of the net.

But either way around, it's a nice irony, and as long as you cannot lend e-books to your friends (as far as I know, it's not possible to do that here in Germany) I see no need to bother about them.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:19 am UTC
by hifi
The thing I found funny was that she carries a laptop around, ready to whip out for any surprise USB ports.

But yeah, I thought this was about how DRM pretty much goes against human nature (Randall's done it before - #86)

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:34 am UTC
by MisterH
If you really like the idea of finding books in random places, check out www.bookcrossing.com the world is our library.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:51 am UTC
by Invisiblemoose
Mike's fooling around in some well.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:12 am UTC
by gerardw
Sticking a USB in strange trees sounds like a great way to get "Your computer has been infected with then Dutch Elm virus."

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:57 am UTC
by The Boz
<3 Shel.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:04 am UTC
by webgrunt
unus vox wrote:Basically, the moral of the story is the power of giving - not for any reward or even for self-worth, but simply how extraordinary it is to give freely and wholly.

Unless I'm mistaken, it seems that Randall's saying copyright laws and concern for fair profit has made this moral obsolete.


That's what I thought, too. However, judging by other interpretations posted here, maybe the author had something different in mind--or maybe he was deliberately ambiguous so that people would be free to interpret it as they will.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:39 am UTC
by Frankie
unus vox wrote:Basically, the moral of the story is the power of giving - not for any reward or even for self-worth, but simply how extraordinary it is to give freely and wholly.
Unless I'm mistaken, it seems that Randall's saying copyright laws and concern for unending profit has made this moral obsolete.

FTFY.

The Giving Tree was written in 1965. It was a product of hippie idealism about the power of unconditional love. If you read it to your kids these days, you should probably leave some time at the end for a discussion about the value of gratitude.

When the book was written, copyright lasted 28 years, renewable for a second 28 year term, meaning that it would become public domain by 2017. Then came retroactive copyright extension; as of now it's 95 years & infinitely extensible. Somehow I doubt that perpetual copyright will encourage Shel Silverstein (1930-1999, RIP) to write more books, but I'm sure the shareholders of Harper Collins appreciate it greatly. And the various forms of DRM provoke similar concerns.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:44 am UTC
by ozkidzez91
I've never heard of "The Giving Tree". I was just annoyed by the DRM, I hate it (I own a Kindle too, hurray for hypocrisy). I'm from Australia though so I guess it wasn't released here?

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:50 am UTC
by s^2
I had visited "dead drops" in my city before, but now I will probably visit all of them again just to leave this ebook there... :D

actually, that might be exactly what Randall is secretly expecting to happen by publishing this comic...

so lets try to put this story on all >600 dead drops in the world, so that anyone can see another xkcd fan has been there before :wink:
(use good old ANSI plain text of course, not proprietary shit like, uh... pdf? or even worse...)

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:05 pm UTC
by tubegeek
s^2:

It's a picture book, so I think plain text would make it hard to get the whole experience.

I found a pdf on a private torrent site, so it's out there.

Also:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/books/review/the-childrens-authors-who-broke-the-rules.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&src=ISMR_HP_LI_LST_FB

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:06 pm UTC
by radtea
Azkyroth wrote:What does concern for FAIR anything have to do with current copyright laws?


"Fair" is a code-word for "my demands are totally reasonable and anyone who disagrees is a grasping ingrate who kicks puppies". This implied meaning is independent of political orientation: union thugs and sociopathic bankers are equally likely to use it.

There are any number of meaningful words that can be used if one wants to be clear: equitable, moderate and reasonable come to mind. That people use the morally loaded and epistemically vacuous "fair" instead demonstrates either muddy thinking or muddy morals, or both.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:40 pm UTC
by tuseroni
it doesnt mater what word you use, politicians/demagogues tend to be like vampires to the english language. they find a word with a positive connotation and use it til it has a negative connotation and then move on to another synonym.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:57 pm UTC
by KShrike
I never used an e-book before.
So they are protected by DRM, eh? That sucks...

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:02 pm UTC
by MichaelKarnerfors
The Giving Tree, read by Shel Silverstein

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TZCP6OqRlE

Some interresting questions:

The tree lives to give. It is happy when it gives. The boy/man takes from the tree, and is happy.

Some questions one might ask in relation to the orignal story:

1) Does every act of taking require giving something in return?
2) Is giving something and not expecting anything except possibly appreciation inherently bad for the giver?
3) Are the acts of only giving and not expecting anything except possibly appreciation inherently bad for the giver?
4) Is it immoral to only take from one party and not give anything except thanks and appreciation back?

Some questions one might ask in relation to the comic:

1) Does every act of taking preclude giving something in return?
2) Is taking something and not giving anything except possibly appreciation in return inherently good for the giver?
3) Are the acts of only taking and not giving anything except possibly appreciation inherently good for the giver?
4) Is it moral to only take from one party and not give anything except thanks and appreciation back?

In short: where do we draw the line between use and abuse?

/Michael

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:24 pm UTC
by project2051
Book sharing is not dead, I have a kindle with about a 1000 books on it now. I bought 3 so far, Usenet is a wonderful place to find books.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:42 pm UTC
by ozkidzez91
project2051 wrote:Book sharing is not dead, I have a kindle with about a 1000 books on it now. I bought 3 so far, Usenet is a wonderful place to find books.

I don't know why companies bother with DRM, their products either get super popular and people decide to break the DRM (which always seems to happen), or so many are turned away by it they go out of business or remove the DRM.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:44 pm UTC
by sgtrock
KShrike wrote:I never used an e-book before.
So they are protected by DRM, eh? That sucks...


Although I've been reading the forums for a long time, I've never felt the urge to register until now. I just had to respond to this. Amazon, Apple, and other megasites would like to you to believe that the only ways to get ebooks must include DRM as part of the solution set. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Please forgive the lack of URL formatting for the referenced sites. As a first time poster I don't have rights to the URL BBCode.)

There are plenty of sources for DRM free material. The choice to include DRM (or not) is a decision made by the publisher, retail outlet, and/or the author for works still under copyright. One good source for ebooks that fall under public domain and are DRM free is Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/

If you like to read science fiction and fantasy, try Webscription:

http://www.webscription.net

for reasonably priced, DRM free ebooks.

Googling for 'drm free ebook store' turns up tons of other sources. The top two listings for me were consolidated lists:

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_stores

http://blog.text2go.com/2008/01/04/the-top-13-drm-free-ebook-sites/

Another resource worth checking out is Calibre. It has been released as FOSS so checking it out is very easy:

http://calibre-ebook.com/

Calibre is a personal library management system that is designed to support many, many e-readers. It includes a built-in e-reader which allows you to dabble your toes in the water without committing to any sort of additional hardware purchase.

Calibre includes a 'Get Books' function that will search dozens of online bookstores and repositories for you. The results that come back include price and DRM status (if known) for every store. Really nice for comparison shopping.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:00 pm UTC
by tetsujin
hifi wrote:The thing I found funny was that she carries a laptop around, ready to whip out for any surprise USB ports.


Not only that, but a USB cable as well. I wonder if the tree has a B receptacle (which is typical for a device you'd plug a cable into) or an A plug (which you'd expect on a dead drop - allowing passers-by to plug computers directly in if they don't have a cable)? I'd be pretty surprised to see an A-A cable in someone's laptop bag...

The thing that gets me about dead drops is there's so much potential for mischief. Really, it's not safe to plug random USB connections into your computer. A malicious dead drop could do things like auto-run (if you have that enabled) some nasty software or give your laptop a surge and fry your USB ports. It may also be possible, if there are well-known devices out there with vulnerabilities in their host-side drivers, to identify as that device, causing the user (if they're easily manipulated, or if the OS makes this automatic) to download and install the driver, then send some data to the driver that causes the exploit to occur (though maybe given the nature of USB that's not too likely...)

I expect other vectors of attack wouldn't be very practical these days - like having the USB device appear as a Bluetooth device and then push a file to the host machine (I don't think OSes are so lax about Bluetooth security these days) or making it a networking device in the hopes that the machine will join a LAN and you'll be able to access file shares on the host or break in via the network connection (I don't know - would Windows or Mac automatically start using an ethernet adaptor if you plugged it in? Network Manager on Linux might...)

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:16 pm UTC
by StClair
To a more cynical and/or Randian eye, the moral of the book seems to be "altruism will be exploited to the limit and completely used up by the unthinking and ungrateful."

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:30 pm UTC
by higgins2k
The late Shel Silverstein has a new book out, Every Thing on It, with 145 previously unpublished poems and drawings. NPR's Morning Edition featured several poems read aloud by Mr. Silverstein's relatives and others.

See http://www.npr.org/2011/09/20/140566486/shel-silversteins-poems-live-on-in-every-thing for the audio.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:35 pm UTC
by Vash
Never seen such a fine 5-panel "parable."

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:40 pm UTC
by mooncow
The moral is that if you give unconditionally you will end up as a cut-down stump, but if you don't then you will end up on the receiving end of the anti-DRM anti-copyright brigade's sententious posturing.

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:00 pm UTC
by Lathe
mooncow wrote:The moral is that if you give unconditionally you will end up as a cut-down stump, but if you don't then you will end up on the receiving end of the anti-DRM anti-copyright brigade's sententious posturing.

+1

Re: 0956: "Sharing"

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:03 pm UTC
by Loonytalker
...and in the world of instant connects, this comic is already in the pop culture section Wikipedia's entry for The Giving Tree. Made me smile.