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Re: The FinancialData Function

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg87073] Re: The FinancialData Function
  • From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 02:03:07 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <fsg6nc$j5f$1@smc.vnet.net>

I've never heard of this function, but have one immediate strong 
reaction/question:

   Is there -- or will there soon be -- a fully open, officially 
   standardized, fully and openly specified, widely and near universally 
   accepted, stable, long-term, NON-proprietary set of **formats** 
   for the data and information that is to be transmitted back
   and forth between data providers and data users in this
   system?

[Something akin to the more or less open, universal and stable graphics 
standards that have emerged over time.]

Lacking that, I wouldn't personally go near this kind of financial data 
distribution system and related tools like FinancialData for building 
anything that was of any real and continuing importance to me.

Think of mapping data, GPS and topographic data, or satellite imagery 
and related software tools as an analogous system.  I play with some of 
this data, plan journeys using MapQuest, hiking trips using Google Earth 
(an incredible tool), etc -- but if someone suddenly decided to change 
all the standards for this data, I could still use all my old stored 
data and tools -- or just do without.  (There would of course be many 
important commercial enterprises that would be much more seriously 
impacted.)

But then suppose people get important, continuing personal or business 
activities deeply involved in an information system that uses tools like 
FinancialData; the data providers and Wolfram somehow get cross-wise 
commercially; and the data providers threaten to change their formats 
just enough to screw Wolfram (and all FinancialData users).

Or, suppose the data providers decide to throw digital rights management 
complexities all over their data, as is the case now with music, films, 
video -- and the deep pockets financial data providers manage to bribe 
Congress to require that all computer tools like FinancialData contain 
provisions to enforce these DRM complexities.

This may all come across as paranoid fears, and maybe it is -- but look 
what has actually happened in other areas of widely distributed 
electronic information distribution . . .


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