links for 2009-06-02

  • "On a basic level, it’s one of these events that reminds me why Silicon Valley is one of the most thrilling places on earth. It’s easy to get cynical about this place sometimes when it seems everyone gets wrapped up in chasing money, status, and success. But strip that away, peel back the sometimes stiffling hand of the corporations, and the heart of Silicon Valley looks something very much like Maker Faire.

    "At that core, Maker has a very powerful message for everyone who is ready to listen. It reminds us of the simple joy of creating."

  • Geeky but useful
  • "In the world of mobile, someone looking at the bleeding edge might be lured into developing applications using broadband mobile networks. But several organizations at NetSquared this year were using SMS text-messaging, a technology that's been around for more than two decades. Datagro is using text-messaging to help farmers in Santiago, Chile, access agricultural information to help them be more productive, while the Agricultural Market Information Services Project is performing a similar function for farmers in Cameroon. Frontline SMS was using its texting service to allow communities to send and receive reports about human rights abuses, loan programs and aid programs.

    "The United Nations recently reported that six in 10 people around the world now use a cell phone of some kind. Using a more basic technology like SMS ensures that a service is accessible by the maximum number of users. And that kind of thinking leads to the final take-away."

  • "The giant search engine company wants to give publishers a way to sell online digital books through a partner program by the end of the year.

    "What may be most important in today's news is that Google wants to allow partner publishers to to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device. That means a user could use any smartphone to download e-books, although some users of Amazon Inc.'s Kindle and the Sony Reader say smartphone screens are too small for prolonged reading."

  • plugin I should try, supposed to make liveblogging easy with wordpress
  • "But we're hiding much of our newsrooms' value behind a terribly anachronistic format: voiceless, incremental news stories that neither get much traffic nor make our sites compelling destinations. While the dispassionate, what-happened-yesterday, inverted-pyramid daily news story still has some marginal utility, it is mostly a throwback at this point — a relic of a daily product delivered on paper to a geographically limited community. (For instance, it's the daily delivery cycle of our print product that led us to focus on yesterday's news. And it's the focus on maximizing newspaper circulation that drove us to create the notion of "objectivity" – thereby removing opinion and voice from news stories — for fear of alienating any segment of potential subscribers.)

    "The Internet doesn't work on a daily schedule. But even more importantly, it abhors the absence of voice."

  • The new tablet is supposed to come out in the fall or maybe this summer, analysts predict, which has only raised the hype meter.
    Burning Question No. 1: Who will carry the Apple tablet? A tablet will surely weigh heavy on your belt or in your shirt pocket. That's not good for most guys, unless droopy jeans is the look you're after or you miss the glory days of super-sized pocket protectors. Not sure about purses, though, since I don't carry one regularly.

    "The need for super portable computing has largely been satiated by the smart phone," says Forrester analyst Nathan Safran. "I'm not sure that enough folks also want a tablet PC."

    But the tablet will fit nicely in your backpack just like a laptop or netbook, which, of course, begs the question: Why not carry a laptop or netbook? An Apple tablet would mostly be used for Web browsing and email, Safran says, and that's still best done on full-featured computers with QWERTY keyboards.