links for 2009-09-30

  • "There is no crowd in crowdsourcing. There are only virtuosos, usually uniquely talented, highly trained people who have worked for decades in a field. Frequently, these innovators have been funded through failure after failure. From their fervent brains spring new ideas. The crowd has nothing to do with it. The crowd solves nothing, creates nothing.

    "What really happens in crowdsourcing as it is practiced in wide variety of contexts, from Wikipedia to open source to scientific research, is that a problem is broadcast to a large number of people with varying forms of expertise. Then individuals motivated by obsession, competition, money or all three apply their individual talent to creating a solution."

  • I put in my request months ago. Hoping I get lucky and get and Invite tomorrow. Really wanna check this out!

    "This 100,000+ user test is focusing on three groups: The public users who signed up early to test, developers, and a select group of Google Apps users. The last group will be kept very small, and the team expects it will only go out to select schools in the Sydney area so that the team can do some hands-on work with students and faculty that use the product. The first two groups, the developers and the public, will make up the core audience of Wave now, after these past months of being available only to a select group of developers."

links for 2009-09-29

AP’s iPhone App: White Elephant

White Elephant: A possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its usefulness or value to the owner. (Random House Dictionary)

Today, AP debuted its AP Stylebook iPhone app.

According to the press release. “AP Stylebook fans have been asking for a mobile application so they can have style guidance wherever they go. Journalists never know when they will need to run out the door to chase a story, so as long as they have an iPhone in their pockets when they go, the Stylebook can go with them.”

…Which indicates the strategy here: The AP Stylebook iphone app is basically an app as e-book. Which almost explains its exhorbitant price: $28.99.

Yep, that’s right: $28.99 for an iPhone app. Seriously.

Beyond displaying the text of the AP Stylebook 2009, this app adds a little extra functionality: “The 2009 AP Stylebook app features searchable listings for the main, sports, business and punctuation sections, along with the ability to add custom entries and personalized notes on AP listings. Stylebook app users are able to mark any entry as a favorite for easy access.”

…In other words, similar with what you could do with this book on a Kindle. Only AP doesn’t offer a Kindle edition of the Stylebook.

AP does offer online Stylebook subscriptions: $25/year for an individual, with cheaper bulk pricing available for organizations. Which means that the iPhone app is more costly than an online subscription. So why wouldn’t iPhone users buy an online subscription instead and access it through the mobile Safari browser?

Here’s another thing baffles me: Why sell an app that’s basically a standalone e-book? Why not offer a free app with some free content/service that also can allow paying subscribers to log in from their phone and have a mobile-optimized experience? It seems to me that AP is reinventing the wheel with this app, missing obvious opportunities to grow its Stylebook market, and positioning this product poorly through ludicrous pricing.

It gets worse… but it could get better too…

Continue reading

links for 2009-09-26

links for 2009-09-25

links for 2009-09-24

  • clay Shirky on the temporary alignment of advertising-based business models and difficult journalism:

    "…it was an accident. There was a set of forces that made that possible. And they weren’t deep truths — the commercial success of newspapers and their linking of that to accountability journalism wasn’t a deep truth about reality. Best Buy was not willing to support the Baghdad bureau because Best Buy cared about news from Baghdad. They just didn’t have any other good choices."

  • "The FBI declined to comment on the program.

    "Among the data in its archive, the NSAC houses more than 55,000 entries on customers of the Cendant Hotel chain, now known as Wyndham Worldwide (includes Ramada Inn, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Hawthorn Suites). Entries are for hotel customers whose names matched those on a long list the FBI provided to the company.

    "Another 730 records come from the rental car company Avis, which used to be owned by Cendant. Those records were derived from a one-time search of Avis’s database against the State Dept’s old terrorist watch list. An additional 165 entries are credit card transaction histories from the Sears department store chain. Like much of the data used by NSAC, the records were likely retained at the conclusion of an investigation, and added to NSAC for future data mining.

    "It’s unclear how the FBI got the records. In the past, cos have been known to voluntarily hand over customer data to government data-mining experiments."

links for 2009-09-23

links for 2009-09-22

  • "As far as I can tell, if you subscribe to an external calendar on iCal, that doesn't translate into it being disseminated across your Mobile Me account, so you might have to move some appointments from one calendar to another if you want to edit them or see them on your remote device.

    "In terms of just seeing more than one calendar, however, it's pretty easy. To do this you'll want to be logged in to your Google Calendar account and have already accepted the sharing invitations from your colleagues so that their calendars also show up. You'll also want iCal running…"

  • Kara Andrade, en route to Guatemala: "Now that I’ve clocked over 1000 miles on Mexican highways, byways and calles, I feel like I have enough street cred to write up a little guide for my fellow American drivers who are thinking about traveling here by car. If you’re an aggressive, fast and furious driver like me you’re going to have a blast. All you granny drivers out there will be OK too- the Mexicans will figure out how to get around you one way or another. So without further delay, here’s the quick start guide for my gringos…"
  • "Why is e-mail reactive? Because you are always responding to events that happen to you – namely, an email arriving. In other areas of work this kind of behaviour would be called “fighting fires” – there’s always a new outburst of flame demanding attention. No client or methodology is particularly well suited to saying “I’m going to ignore this email for a while, and then efficiently process it as a batch with similar emails (at a time that suits me)”. I.e. No client is supporting proactive email processing.

links for 2009-09-20

  • "The FCC's proposal will take into account the bandwidth limitations faced by wireless carriers, according to people familiar with the plan, and would ask how such rules should apply to current networks.

    "The rules could encourage big Internet companies to launch new data-intensive services by establishing that their traffic can't be slowed or blocked. In the business market, companies that make Internet-phone services or video-conferencing software may invest more heavily in those services, some analysts say.

    "The rules are likely to be a big boon to smaller tech companies, like Silicon Valley start-ups and small makers of mobile software for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other devices, that wouldn't be able to afford paying Internet providers for special access.

    "Any company or piece of software that becomes popular, generating a lot of traffic, would tend to benefit," said Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

  • "The new rules, expected to be announced Monday by Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman, will outline requirements for ISPs to treat all traffic on the Internet equally. This means that Comcast can’t decide that Google gets less bandwidth and Microsoft/Bing (Bing) gets more for any reason (i.e. one pays for preferential treatment).

    "It’s also expected that the net neutrality rules will apply to wireless services, meaning they would be in effect for Internet data via your phone and 3G networks. The impact of this cannot be understated, especially as iPhones and other smart phones make the mobile web a major part of our lives.

    "This will likely garner opposition by ISPs. There’s already a court case from Comcast challenging a ruling from the FCC that it had violated its policies. However, with specific rules in place, it will be tougher for the ISPs to challenge net neutrality mandates."

  • Local group I think I'll check out…. They have a meetup in Berkeley tonight