links for 2009-10-22

  • There are few landscapes in the United States lonelier than that of western Nevada. Towns remote outposts connected by endless, thin ribbons of highway are named for what miners used to pull out of the ground: Coaldale, Silverpeak, Goldfield. But the mining industry in places like Mineral County has largely disappeared, and with it, the towns it gave birth to. Those that arent ghost towns already cling precariously to life, burned-out and abandoned structures at their margins creeping inexorably toward the center like some scabrous and fatal disease. For many, its just a matter of time; even those hamlets that still have a few hundred people living in them are sometimes left off of state road maps. For someone whos attracted to desolate places and question marks on big, empty-looking maps someone like myself this was a part of the country I had to see for myself.
  • "AT&T has "asked' its employees to fake it in the fight against Net Neutrality. The companys top policy officer sent a memo to workers on Monday urging them to hide their company affiliation before posting anti-Net Neutrality comments to the Federal Communication Commissions Web site.

    We encourage you, your family and friends to join the voices telling the FCC not to regulate the Internet, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President James Cicconi wrote in an internal communiqué forwarded to Free Press (and posted here). It can be done through a personal e-mail account by going to www.openinternet.gov and clicking on the Join the Discussion link.

    "Coming from one of the companys most senior executives, its hard to imagine AT&T employees thinking the memo was merely a suggestion."

links for 2009-10-21

  • For businesses who maintain a web presence, the survey's findings highlight the potential consequences of ignoring the mobile web. There are more people surfing mobile sites than ever before – 56.9 million as of July, according to Nielsen. Companies who haven't given consideration to their mobile websites aren't just losing customers for that initial attempted transaction that goes bad – they're possibly losing those customers for good seeing as how many of those frustrated users claim they won't ever return to the site in question.
  • Mozilla plans to release Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox, for Nokia's Maemo, Windows Mobile and Android devices in the near future.
  • "The Federal Trade Commission, which set the blogging world aflame two weeks ago with new guidelines governing truth-in-cyberspace-advertising, “never intended to patrol the blogosphere,” said Mary Engle, an FTC lawyer who addressed KidlitCon 09, a conference of kids’ book bloggers held last weekend in Alexandria, Va. “We couldn’t do it if we wanted to and we don’t want to.”
  • "In what is likely to be seen as disruptive to the wireless status quo, Google is working with a smartphone manufacturer to have a Google-branded phone available this year through retailers and not through telcos, according to Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, who has talked to Google's design partners about the plan."
  • "Grounded theory. One cannot fully appreciate zombies by imposing a pre-existing theoretical framework on zombies. Only participant observation can allow one to provide a thick description of the mindless zombie perspective. Unfortunately scientistic institutions tend to be unsupportive of this kind of research. Major research funders reject as “too vague and insufficiently theory-driven” proposals that describe the intention to see what findings emerge from roaming about feasting on the living. Likewise IRB panels raise issues about whether a zombie can give informed consent and whether it is ethical to kill the living and eat their brains."
  • “Apple’s exclusivity with AT&T has left the door open for strong competition from competitors, such as Research In Motion’s Blackberries, Palm’s webOS smartphones and Google’s Android operating system on multiple smartphones from OEMs such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, LG, and others. Making the iPhone available to the other 150+ million subscribers (~2/3s of subscribers) not on AT&T’s network could result in iPod like adoption.”

    Keeping the iPhone exclusive–while it might enable Apple to do more innovative things, as COO Tim Cook noted yesterday during the company’s quarterly earnings call–would also give those rival devices and platforms more time to catch up. If Apple really hopes to keep its lead in the U.S. market, it must do away with exclusivity deals, the same way it’s doing away with them abroad.

links for 2009-10-20

links for 2009-10-19

  • "It takes some work to find opportunities for intercultural encounter and xenophilia in kung fu films, but it’s clear that RZA was looking for something beyond the intellectual influences he was encountering in his own community. RZA and many of the Wu Tang were involved with The Nation of Gods and Earths, an offshoot of the Nation of Islam sometimes referred to as “the Five Percenters”, which offers a complex, syncretic worldview with emphasis on numerology and other esoterica. He’s subsequently found inspiration in Islam, Christianity, Taoism and in chess. While I found that the snippets of philosophy RZA offered in an hour-long interview alternated between profound and goofy, I’ve got nothing but respect for a mind that found a path from kung fu flicks to religious study via hiphop."
  • One of the best parodies I've read in a while….
  • "Twilight's fantasy is that the gorgeous gay guy can be your boyfriend, and for the slightly awkward teenage girls who consume the books and movies, that's the clincher. Vampire fiction for young women is the equivalent of lesbian porn for men: Both create an atmosphere of sexual abandon that is nonthreatening. That's what everybody wants, isn't it? Sex that's dangerous and safe at the same time, risky but comfortable, gooey and violent but also traditional and loving. In the bedroom, we want to have one foot in the twenty-first century and another in the nineteenth."
  • "The iPhone app for Wolfram Alpha (iTunes store link) got approved by Apple surprisingly quickly, I was told in a breathless e-mail from Wolfram PR on Sunday. But the real surprise was the price: The app is $49.95. The rationale is twisted.

    "It's less than half the price of a graphing calculator, but it does more," the rep told me. By the way, "price of a graphing calculator" is a calculation that Wolfram Alpha can't compute.

    "For much, much less than the price of a graphing calculator, or $0.00, you can point your iPhone's Safari browser at Wolframalpha.com and have full access to the service for free. Divide by that, Wolfie."

  • This guide has been prepared in order to provide potential PublicMediaCamp (sometimes called PubCamp for short) organizers with a reference toolkit for creating their own local PubCamp. Please keep in mind that these insights are not edicts, but are recommendations based on our past experience creating unconferences, and from our experience in creating the 2009 national PubCamp in DC. First some quick links then the guide:

links for 2009-10-18

  • "If Apple does indeed deliver a tablet, the key for publishers is to create a convenient experience that readers will pay for, as opposed to the content itself. A free app would be the first step toward offering that experience. (And then the publisher will have to figure out what to do about ads, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.)

    "It’s plausible to imagine that a freemium strategy would be much more effective through a tablet app than a website. If the tablet is indeed designed like a 10-inch iPod Touch or iPhone, as insiders have described it, then publishers developing apps will be able to take advantage of features such as the accelerometer, GPS, live video streaming and multitouch to innovate the way they engage with their audience — and, ultimately, persuade them to pay."

  • Brilliant parody of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" currently in the works. Because if someone came back from the dead today, seriously: would you think "savior" or "zombie"?

links for 2009-10-17

links for 2009-10-16

Experiment: Great Live Event Coverage for Hire. What do you think?

As I mentioned in my previous post, today I’m liveblogging and tweeting a daylong Las Vegas event by Metzger Associates: Social Media for Executives. It’s a small event for a select group of executives representing several types of companies.

I’m doing this as a pilot test for a new professional service I’d like to start offering: Great live event coverage.

In my experience, most online event coverage isn’t so great. A few folks will be tweeting or blogging in several places, some hashtags will be used, but it’s all rather confusing and inconsistent to follow. Also, a lot of people tend to tweet items like “Jane Doe is speaking at this session now.” Uh-huh… AND….?

Liveblogging/tweeting has turned out to be a real strength of mine — I’m good at it, and I enjoy it. I’ve also had the good fortune to collect a sizable Twitter following among folks whose interests in media, business, and other fields overlap with mine — and who enjoy my particular blend of reporting, analysis, and attitude. (Or at least I guess they do, because every time I do live event coverage my Twitter posse swells noticeably and those folks tend to stick around afterward.)

I do a lot of live event coverage via Twitter and CoverItLive. For instance, earlier this month for my client the Reynolds Journalism Institute I liveblogged/tweeted J-Lab’s Fund My Media Startup workshop at the 2009 Online News Association conference.

So, being a longtime entrepreneur always on the lookout for new opportunities, I’m looking for ways to offer live event coverage as a service for my clients. Today’s event is an experiment on this front.

I want to figure out how this service could work in a way that would appeal to my Twitter posse, maintain my integrity and independence, and provide value to clients who’d pay for it.

Here are some of the issues I’m wrestling with, that I’d welcome your thoughts on…

Continue reading

Social Media for Executives: Live coverage today

Today I’ll be liveblogging and tweeting a Las Vegas event by Metzger Associates: Social Media for Executives. It’s a small event for a select group of executives representing several types of companies.

The event is billed as a “strategic overview of how to evaluate key areas of your company — including customer service, marketing communications and human resources — and determine why and how they might benefit from social media participation.

Here’s the liveblog:

I’ll also be tweeting event coverage and observations at my own Twitter account (agahran), with cross-posting to the Metzger Associates Twitter account (MetzgerAssoc). You can also follow the hashtag #execsocmed. And I’ll be tagging some tweets with the popular hashtag #socmed (for “social media”), to encourage broader discussion and participation.

This event is NOT part of BlogWorld Expo, which is also in Vegas this week, and which I’m not attending (several folks have asked).

I’m doing this particular bit of coverage as test for a new professional service I’d like to start offering more systematically: Good event coverage for hire. More about that in my next post

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