Recently in Computers/Internet Category

  • So Bush knowingly bucked the NIE. Are you surprised? Me neither.

  • Google announces the “fastest rising U.S. search terms” and #1 on the list: iPhone. Tell the truth now -- how many of these entries had you scratching your head, e.g., club penguin?

  • Another thing about the NIE: should I care that a couple of years ago the intelligence community said Iran was going for broke on their nuke program -- and now this assessment contradicts that one?

  • Welcome back Wolfie. Are you bringing your girlfriend with you this time?

  • Is Amy Winehouse for real, or does she just have, you know, a really good press agent?

  • The words "Miss California" and "strips" have collided in the same HuffPo headline. Coincidence? We report -- you decide!

  • Lewis Black takes on this year's political outrages. Fun!

  • Just in time for Christmas: Jack Chick has the Shocking History of the Mormon Church!

  • Oh, baby! No. 1 Ohio State doesn't stand a chance against No. 2 LSU in the BCS title game. Mark -- you goin down!

  • Although it's a minor Jewish holiday really, we can say without much doubt that, without Hannukah, there would have been no Christmas.

Cali Fires: Interactive Map

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KPBS of San Diego has done a terrific mashup of Google Maps and the latest information on the wildfires. You have to see it to believe it.

View Larger Map

Information R/evolution (Video)

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More information is better. But only if you have the ability to find what you are looking for when you need it.

Michael Wesch

This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

It should come as no surprise that the partisan Republican hacks at Fox News want us to believe they are impartial -- "We report, you decide." What. Ever.

What's interesting is how much time and effort they spend scrubbing negative references to themselves out of Wikipedia AND inserting all sorts of negative references to their political enemies into the open-source encyclopedia.

The most interesting thing of all? With newly-available tools, you can actually see what Fox News has done, line-by-line, paragraph-by-paragraph.

Why should you care? Because Fox News is the official house organ of the modern Republican party. Tony Snow is the White House press secretary, Bush and Cheney only do interviews with the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Neal Cavuto, and Rudy Giuliani and Roger Ailes are BFFs.

Fair and balanced? Pravda never had it so good. You remember Pravda, right?

Pravda (Russian: Правда, "The Truth") was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991...The offices of the newspaper were transferred to Moscow on March 3, 1918 when the Soviet capital was moved there. Pravda became an official publication, or "organ", of the Soviet Communist Party. Pravda became the conduit for announcing official policy and policy changes and would remain so until 1991. Subscription to Pravda was mandatory for state run companies, the armed services and other organizations until 1989.

Over 30 months ago, on the eve of the 2004 election, I wrote a blog post about Bush's heart problem. Or what I speculated was the possibility that Bush might be hiding a heart problem from the public. The post got some notice. I even re-published it a couple of times.

Then I forgot about it.

Scandinavia buzz copy.jpgThen, this past weekend (and over 30 months after I originally posted it) it went viral in Scandinavia.

A website called linked to it and my traffic quadrupled. Drilling down through the log files I found that the biggest chunk of traffic was coming from Stockholm but other cities like Malmo, Umea, and Uppsala were abuzz as well. It was even noticed in Finland ... and at least two guys from the fjords of Norway.

It's an interesting snapshot of how stuff goes viral in unexpected ways.

by shep

Yup, if you don’t have an important face-to –face meeting at the office tomorrow, or the next day, or the next…tell your boss you’d like to work from home.

In the age of ubiquitous high-speed home internet access, cellular telecommunications, VoIP, video capable computer monitors, WiFi hot spots and GHz-fast home computers, what could be stupider than millions of us slogging through miles of crawling traffic at the exact same hour of each day so we can sit in a cube and phone and e-mail each other?

About 114.5 million people commuted to work in 2004 with a round trip of around 30 miles at roughly 21 mpg.

What if government provided incentives to business to telecommute say 15 or 20 or 25 percent of its employees each day of the work week. They could be different employees, based upon what they needed to do, or some of the same employees who mostly work by phone or email anyway (e.g., sales and customer service employees). (BTW, this is happening now on a growing scale in progressively managed companies because they’ve done the math and know that: 1) individual employee productiveness goes up and 2) they can reduce brick-and-mortar and other costs associated with a large office-based workforce.)

That’s more than 40 million gallons of gasoline that could be saved each year with this one measure, which increases productivity and reduces corporate brick-and mortar costs. That's without considering the 5.7 billion gallons of gas and $100 billion lost from resulting rush-hour congestion.

Only the shortcomings of own management psychology prevents us from implementing this (and probably many other) cost and pollution-saving changes. I’ve helped develop telecommuting policy for $multi-million organizations, only to see them be relegated to “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies that result in little or no increase in the advantageous use of telecommuting. The reason: executives and managers don’t believe they can trust their employees if they’re not in the office, regardless of the data. Not to mention that, for many mid-level managers, their jobs would be even more redundant without the responsibility of glorified babysitter.

My favorite repost to those managers is, “look around you; could these employees be any less productive than they are at the office? It’s the office that provides endless opportunities to socialize and chat, compared with the home-office." Granted, that has a value that mangers also seldom grasp but those benefits (esprit de corps, comraderie, peer competition, etc.) can be easily achieved with one fewer day in the office per week – at least.

It's way past time to get our heads out of our traditional boxes, whether they be cars, cubicles or 20th-century MBA orthodoxy.

(Cross-posted at Queen of All Evil)

by Mark Adams

Lisa Renee, of Glass City Jungle and Liberal Common Sense, had done a few of these things before, talking about how candidates could use blogs, different kinds of bloggers and promoted the free aspects of the medium. John Spalding of Make a Difference was also on the panel and gave a very professional presentation on a new project of his, a steaming TV station, and talked about the cutting edge of technological developments in the Intertoobz.

I totally winged it. But I'm told I didn't make a complete fool of myself talking about using the medium to present your views and persuade people through discussions, influencing lurkers, and exploiting the fundraising and recruitment possibilities blogs can provide for zero cost (except time).

Anyway, I think that's what I talked about. Things get blurry when I have to wear real clothes.

It's one thing to relax when you do public speaking by imagining the audience in their underwear. Right now, the thought of giving a speech in MY underwear is decidedly disturbing.


Next time, I think I'll leave the tie at home and actually jot down some notes and prepare something in advance.

I did learn something there. There's a tremendous need to educate the uninitiated candidate about what possibilities exist in cyberspace, and how easy it is to create and maintain an effective web presence for their campaign through blogs.

I sat through about an hour and a half of a presentation on fundraising and voter outreach, and the only thing they discussed that is remotely related to what we do in Blogtopia was sending e-mails out to prospective donors -- and that was at the bottom of the list.

When I see the volume of cash donated to political campaigns on the web, and nobody even mentions the idea of including a simple fundraising badge on a local candidate's web page, I realize there's still a huge vacuum and plenty of room for the Toobz to grow into the town square.

Bringing in money gets any politician's attention. But the real power of blogs is publishing and shaping the message. More, much more could be done at a local level. The gap between how the national candidates exploit their web presence and what the candidates are doing at the local level, many of whom don't even have a web page, is astromomical.

I'm probably spoiled. When I do a post about John Edwards, I can go to his web page and not simply find a bullet-point list of his positions on the issues, but links to press releases, full articles from the media on everything he's done or doing, text of speeches and fully downloadable white papers detailing his plans for America's future -- plus one of the most sophisticated interactive blogs out there.

I don't expect everyone running for city council to have something nearly as elaborate, but geez, at least get a blog!

Thanks Lisa, for getting me involved.

My neglected tie collection thanks you too.

(Also I'd like to thank fellow Edwards supporter Ben, and Brian for putting it all together -- and a special shout out to City Council Candidate Karen Shanahan, who "gets" it.)

Derrick has a great post about how YouTube Won’t Be Able to Match the Appeal to Advertisers of the News Corp/NBC Video Site.

That said, I wouldn't count Google out just yet.

Here's why:

Clearly the NBC/News Corp venture is all about creating another advertising medium not much different than broadcast/cable TV. That is a proven model of revenue and profit generation that goes back nearly 75 years.

But it won't replace YouTube (or its successors).

Why not?

Because NBC/News Corp. is a top-down approach (e.g. broadcast TV) and, as such, is different than YouTube which is P2P and/or bottom-up. There is plenty of room for both models.

And not only that...

I believe that the studios and Google could both have profited far more by working together than working apart. But, for whatever reason (e.g., "control") this isn't happening. As a result, both parties will make less money than if they had cooperated.

In short, we're talking about the demand for apples AND oranges. Why not sell them both in the same market instead of... well you get the picture.

We've seen this before -- remember how the recording industry "greeted" Napster? Yes, Napster is gone, but the recording industry ain't doing so well either. In fact they were so sick back then they couldn't attend the funeral of the goose that laid the golden egg.

The only one who could walk away under his own power was the customer who now controls the market more than ever.

This time it might be worse for the studios. Here's why...

The main difference between Google and Napster is that Google has deep pockets (Napster had no pockets) and Google has diversified the implementation of its technology. Oh, and their market cap is ... approximately a lot more than Viacom, et. al.

These are just a couple of reasons why I wouldn't bet against Google right now.

The weasels that work at network TV think this is all about chasing after the audience that fled broadcast television for the Internet.

Fox parent News Corp. and NBC Universal said Thursday they will launch a free online video site this summer, featuring full-length movies and television shows in a challenge to Google Inc.’s YouTube.

First off, this isn't a "challenge" to YouTube. If anything it is a "challenge" to whoever is in the business of providing one-way broadcast/cable TV content over the Internet.

I don't know who that is -- but I know who it ain't: YouTube.

The audience at YouTube downloads video AND uploads it too. From their desktops. From their cellphones. From their laptops. Not only that -- it's a social medium much more than it is an advertising medium (which is what broadcast TV is). YouTube is bottom-up video; it is point-to-point video.

Not so this new venture -- it is top-down all the way.

“This is a game changer for Internet video,” News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said in a statement. “We’ll have access to just about the entire U.S. Internet audience at launch. And for the first time, consumers will get what they want — professionally produced video delivered on the sites where they live,” he said.
Consumers want that? Really? I'm skeptical.

It's all the way down in the eighth 'graf before you get to the nut:

The Internet video market is key to the future of media and will be vast enough to accommodate competition, analysts said. But one missing element they noted is the ability for users to upload their own videos — a function that has made YouTube so popular with the younger audience.
You think?
NBC and News Corp. sought to woo additional media companies into its partnership, including Viacom and CBS Corp., which are both controlled by Sumner Redstone, according to people familiar with the matter.

Viacom said it welcomed the new venture as a vehicle for spreading entertainment online while protecting copyright holders.

"Spreading entertainment..." Right -- that's what you do with manure.

YouTube logoLots in the news recently about how rocky is the road travelled by Google in trying to make YouTube an online video money-making powerhouse. The always-excellent Internet Marketing Monitor has catalogued a series of "setbacks" suffered by Google recently:

...and so forth.

I know how they feel. I believed that Google couldn't help but succeed, given the enormous amount of money that Google's audience represents in advertising revenues. Reading these stories was a disappoitment because I felt that Google might let this opportunity slip through its fingers.

But then I thought about it some more and here is what I found…There is plenty of blame to spread around.

In fact, although you could blame Google, I think the lion’s share of the blame should rest with the studios — based on their ignorance, greed and a desire to control forces that are grossly beyond their control.

Hear me out and consider this:

Of all the studio honchos that I’ve read about, only Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television, got it right when she said “We want to go wherever our viewers are. Viewers have control and show no sign of giving it back.”

Is she really the only honcho who understands that the viewers are walking away (in droves!) from “traditional” movie, music, and broadcast TV prodcuts? Maybe not. But she does show a refreshingly pragmatic approach to the market.

Seems obvious — there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. That said, Disney is still taking the ultra-cautious approach, having cut a deal with board director Steve Jobs’ iTunes and not Google. And make no mistake: iTunes represents only 1/40th of the volume of downloaded music — and they’re the Big Dog in the pay-for-play music industry. Hunh.

Makes you wonder what would happen if someone offered non-DRM mp3s for, say, 3 cents each. I think there’s money to be made on that, boys and girls. But the traditional studios won’t do it because they want the Big Score.

In other words, all the other studio heads are still thinking about old patterns and protocols. For example, television networks are used to getting $0.30 and more in commercial advertising revenues per viewer for a hit show.

But the revenues from Google advertising are considerably lower than that: A page eCPM of $1 generates only a tenth of a cent per view in revenue. Multiply that by ten and you still have only a cent. But those fractions-of-a-penny have added up to billions-with-a-B for little old Google.

Yes, yes, I know: the content on YouTube is infringing on copyrighted material. But, paraphrasing Sweeney again, piracy is, in fact, a business model.

But that apparaently is too daring a concept for the studio heads. Not only that — they cannot even acknowledge that a YouTube video ain’t broadcast TV and never will be.

So, I ask you: who really has their head you-know-where?

Bottom line: movie, music and TV entertainment content isn’t worth what the studios think it’s worth — not anymore, not in a Bit Torrent/YouTube world.

In THAT world, I think Google has a better idea of what (and where) the viewers are — and where the money is coming from and how much of it there really is and how to get it.

Anyway, that’s all just my opinion. I might be wrong.

But I doubt it.


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