links for 2010-02-18

links for 2010-02-17

  • An absolute gem of an example of how to use Twitter for live event coverage — both in terms of what was tweeted and what was excerpted. Well done!
  • "There's a heated turf war going on inside the New York Times over the iPad, pitting print die-hards against people focused on the Times' digital future. The outcome will determine pricing for some marquee content on Apple's tablet.

    "The internal fight might also determine how relevant — and profitable — the nation's most prominent newspaper can remain in the digital future. Which is probably why there's reportedly so much sniping over who gets to control the iPad edition internally.

  • "Basically a text-only version of the Facebook service that carriers can offer to their subscribers at no charge. If a user then decides to switch from text-only to multimedia (e.g. view photos from their friends), mobile operators can start charging them for ‘premium’ data service. This system is apparently called zero-rated pages, and allows operators to use a trimmed down version of a web application as a sort of teaser, driving the adoption of certain mobile services or apps, and more data usage revenue down the line. Presumably, Facebook will offer Facebook Zero to carriers for free.

    Facebook spokesperson Brandee Barker writes:

    “Zero” is a light-weight version of that omits data intensive applications like Photos. It will launch in coming weeks and we are discussing it at MWC as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile Internet usage.

  • "On Monday, deputy press secretary Bill Burton told his more than four thousand followers — which includes much of the White House press corps — that a Washington Post report that morning was wrong. It was a small correction, but indicative of how the White House press shop can now more actively engage with the press and public through the popular micro-blogging platform

    "…David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, said that “if somebody writes a story they want to take issue with, it’s a lot easier to send out a Twitter note with a correction or with a perspective than to make an official statement or a press release or say something during the press briefing.”

    "…Such a correction or clarification can be effective without being heavy handed, Corn noted, adding that Twitter offers the “aura of informality and tremendous immediacy.” Corn added that the press shop can also highlight a story beneficial to the administration with a tweet and accompanying link.

  • "Mike Lazaridis, CEO of Research in Motion, gave a keynote speech here at the Mobile World Congress that set him apart from other mobile moguls in the same way big newspaper industry speakers stand out among online media chiefs. While every other speaker spoke about the societal benefits of mobile, he gave a 20-minute sales pitch for Blackberry. And just as newspaper execs harp on the beloved credibility of their paper products, Lazaradis focused on how efficiently the Blackberry handles bandwidth — hardly top-of-mind topics.

    "RIM and newspapers were both the big dogs in their fields. The Blackberry still hangs on as the most popular smartphone, although hot sales of the iPhone and Android phones may soon change that. Newspapers still are read by a huge percentage of Americans, but the number dwindles with each new online development. The Blackberry booth here is tell-tale — cleanly designed, at the front of the telephony hall… and underpopulated."

links for 2010-02-16

links for 2010-02-15

links for 2010-02-14

  • There are at least two related ideas behind "Social Justice Math". The first is that you can use mathematics to teach and learn about issues of social and economic justice. The second is that you can learn math through the study of social justice issues – the development of mathematical literacy itself being an incredibly important social justice issue.
  • Excellent, practical advice on organizing stuff in your space so you can minimize clutter and find what you need.

links for 2010-02-13

  • "The application "Find in Page" (iTunes URL), which was released last month in the iTunes App Store, is essentially a browser bookmarklet that adds an extra feature to mobile Safari. Not only does "Find in Page" locate all instances of a word within the displayed Web page upon launch, it also counts them, highlights them and lets you move from once instance to the next (and back again) by tapping arrow buttons. Of course, there are other free bookmarklets out there that provide similar functionality, but this one feels very much like a part of mobile Safari itself. It feels built-in.

    The key differentiating factor that makes this pseudo plugin stand out from the rest is the semi-transparent toolbar that appears at the bottom of the screen once the bookmarklet is activated. From here, you can access the arrow buttons, word count info. Pull up search window again if you want to edit your current search or start a new one. Also: multiple searches w/o reloading.

  • "I was interested to see that I was apparently already following three people — people on my contact list who, presumably, had already registered for Buzz. (It turned out they hadn't — I called one, and he wasn't even signed on to Google, and had no idea whether he had access or no.)

    "Since there wasn't much happening there, I went to the "Nearby" screen. The first thing I saw was a button called "Buzz map" that led me to a list of places of interest — bars, supermarkets, other stores — in my immediate area. Nice.

    "The second thing I saw was a list of public "buzzes" from people in my immediate area (including somebody who obligingly mentioned that he wasn't wearing any clothes). Under each buzz was the person's location — not the general location, but the full address. Street number, street name, city, state. Uh-huh."

  • "I think that Google's making a lot of Facebook's privacy and opt-in mistakes right out of the gate, and it's going to bite it big-time, if it doesn't fix it pronto. I, for one, have already opted out of the entire endeavor."

    "…Plus, when I enabled Google Buzz, it was using a photo on my personal Buzz page (not my profile or anything) that I'd taken on my Droid but hadn't ever uploaded. Why? And why that photo? And–what? That's just creepy as hell.

    "But it's less creepy than the mobile privacy. I will say, thank goodness, at least Google Buzz doesn't opt you in to this creepiest feature of all: revealing your location by exact address. When you first visit the mobile app on your Android phone & attempt to post, you'll be asked whether you want to Share Location or Decline. The "Remember this Preference" box is prechecked too, so be sure you're ready to have everyone know where you are. At minimum, uncheck the Remember button so you can decide whether to reveal your location."

  • How to really turn off Google Buzz completely.
  • "The real secret sauce: A few months back the engineers at Siri gave me a secret look at how they stitch the APIs into the system. They’ve built a GUI that helps them hook up the APIs from, say, a new source like Foursquare, into the language recognition engine.

    "I just asked Siri “who checked into the Half Moon Bay Ritz?” Now you and I know that we could look at Foursquare to find that answer, but Siri didn’t know the answer and brought me results from Bing. Very unsatisfying. But the team now could hook up Foursquare’s APIs and make this question answerable.

    "Siri has developed a new programming language and GUI for the API web. This is huge, although it’s too bad that it’s so early and so hidden. We can’t help Siri’s developers out (if we could, maybe we could add Foursquare’s APIs tonight) and we can’t think of ways to make systems like Foursquare that would have APIs better designed to talk with a system like Siri’s"

  • Post includes excellent comparison chart of focuse, strengths, weaknesses of Google Buzz, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.

    "Google’s entrance causes media havoc but web strategists should stay focused. Find out where customers already are through developing data around consumer behavior called socialgraphics. Facebook continues to demonstrate a sophisticated marketplace for consumers and brands to mix about, however don’t discount MySpace’s active consumer based –if your customers are there. Continue to monitor Twitter and respond if customers are there –but they’ve yet to indicate sophistication to help marketers, instead rely on third party tools and agencies to respond. The feature set of newly spawned Google Buzz isn’t important, what matters is their ability to aggregate social content which will impact search strategy for businesses trying to reach consumers."

Why limiting employees’ online presence is a big mistake in journalism and elsewhere

Recently Forrester Research decided on an unfortunate, shortsighted policy. Forrester analysts can no longer can their own personally branded research blogs. They’re allowed to run their own blogs about their personal life or topics unrelated to their work at Forrester. But all their blogging on work-related topics must be done in blogs that are owned by Forrester.

Forrester’s rationale for this, according to VP Josh Bernoff, is that “Forrester is an intellectual property company, and the opinions of our analysts are our product.”

Which IMHO is the equivalent of saying “If you work for us, we reserve the right to own your brain and your social/professional network and reputation.”

Here’s why that’s a bad idea all the way around — not just for research, consulting, and IP companies, but for news organizations and journalists, too… Continue reading

links for 2010-02-12

  • "This is the key issue. When analysts have their own blogs with dedicated followings, their discussion of the research with which they’re involved can reach people the official Forrester blogs won’t reach. (If you think that’s not true, go back and read Dana’s comment again.) And if keeping the IP on the Forrester site is so all-fired important, why share it with the likes of me so I can report the same IP on my blog and podcast?"

    "Other companies with bloggers don’t compare because, Bernoff argues, their products aren’t about IP. I would argue that Microsoft and IBM are entirely about IP. Both companies encourage their employees to blog wherever they like. The companies link to those blogs on a page that links to all of the company’s bloggers. (Here are links to Microsoft’s and IBM’s employee blog directories.)"

  • Not a bad way to make a buck

    "The company – Afilias – already owns ".info" and had been running ".mobi" and others under contract. Now by owning ".mobi" outright, Afilias gets an undisclosed annual fee for each of the nearly 1 million ".mobi" names registered."

  • Now THIS is the right kind of attitude news orgs should have to social media! Washington Post, please note: Restricting or prohibiting social media use by journos is not only hypocritcal for any institution rooted in free speech. It's also bad for the news business.

    "BBC news journalists have been told to use social media as a primary source of information by Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global News who took over last week. He said it was important for editorial staff to make better use of social media and become more collaborative in producing stories."

    "This isn't just a kind of fad from someone who's an enthusiast of technology. I'm afraid you're not doing your job if you can't do those things. It's not discretionary", he is quoted as saying in the BBC in-house weekly Ariel.

  • Methinks that for all their complaining and bellicose attempts to bully, AP is realizing that even they need to be as findable as possible or they got nothin'

    "New articles from the Associated Press have quietly started rolling out on Google’s news site in the past hour, ending a nearly seven-week absence stemming from contentious negotiations between the two parties.

    "…A Google spokesman issued the following statement: “We have a licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. The licensing agreement is the subject of ongoing discussion so we won’t be commenting further at this time.”

    “We have nothing to add to Google’s statement,” an AP spokesman said.

    Uh, yeah. Really, did you expect AP to say "Ooops, we didn't realize we aren't really in charge anymore?"

  • Smart move from Salon to make their content accessible in more than one way.

    "All Salon presents all of our stories in chronological order, much like a blog. We're fortunate to have a lot of readers who simply want to read what we publish, and this makes it extremely easy to dive in. The page also includes lists of the latest wire stories (more on that below), the most popular Salon stories, and recent editor's picks from the Open Salon blogging community, making it a robust landing page."

  • MNG explains how pay wall will work: "The sites will place content outside the pay wall if it's necessary to remain competitive with other news outlets, Saltz said. Breaking news and multimedia fall into that category. And all of the new types of content that Saltz referred to (more on that below) will be free. MediaNews has established some guidelines on what will be free and what will be premium content, but many decisions will fall to editors and producers. "If someone robbed a bank, that's in front of the wall," Saltz said. "The story of how bank robberies increase when the economy goes bad, behind the wall."

    ME: Ok, cool go for it MNG! You're just clearly laying out how niche and local news venues will be able to steal your local audience. I don't think people will pay for analysis and investigation in story form. As a service or interactive/customizeable tool? Maybe. But for stories? No, sorry, news stories are a commodity product.

  • "Google's new social media service Google Buzz will show up in your Gmail account this week. Here's how to customize and use Buzz–or opt out of its inbox-cluttering updates completely."
  • So apparently I have a channel. Haven't used it yet, but it might be worth a try. Seems to be a more usable alternative to Ustream, plus it integrates FB & Twitter.

links for 2010-02-11

  • "Now, for the first time, the federal government has invested significant resources toward the development of high-speed rail in the United States, with an $8 billion allocation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $2.5 billion more in Congress’ fiscal year 2010 budget.

    "States across the country are hungry for improved passenger rail. Indeed, states have requested seven times more money for passenger rail improvements than was allocated under ARRA. And that figure does not include many other important and worthwhile projects that were not requested because they were further away from being “shovel-ready.”

    "State requests for passenger rail funding under ARRA – coupled with the broader agenda for high-speed rail development articulated by the Obama administration – present a powerful vision for the future of transportation in America, touching virtually every region of the country."

  • "A Google spokesperson tells us the followers lists are public by default so that people can quickly find new people to follow. Obviously, that's a good thing for Google, which is hoping to get as many people using Google Buzz as soon as possible. It's also meant to be helpful for users. And for those who are unconcerned with telling the world who they email most, it is. But for everyone else, it's terrible.

    "It gets to a deeper problem with Google Buzz: It's built on email, which is a very different Internet application than a social network.

    "The good news for Google is that this is a very easy problem to fix. Google must either shut off auto-following, or it must make follower lists private by default as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's how to IMMEDIATELY stop following someone OR turn off Buzz…"

  • If you have a wordpress site, you can use this plugin to create wikis within your site.

links for 2010-02-10

  • "We've relied on other services' openness in order to build Buzz (you can connect Flickr and Twitter from Buzz in Gmail), and Buzz itself is not designed to be a closed system. Our goal is to make Buzz a fully open and distributed platform for conversations. We're building on a suite of open protocols to create a complete read/write developer API, and we invite developers to join us on Google Code to see what is available today and to learn more about how to participate."
  • "This afternoon, the producers of American Idol announced that Fox Broadcasting plans on bringing in the zombie corpse of former American Idol judge Paula Abdul to replace Simon Cowell when he leaves the show. They explained how her recent departure from prime time was only due to a slight bout with death, and that she is “as capable as ever” as a brain dead flesh eating night stalker.

    “We feel this is a big win for the folks at Fox,” said a network executive. “Despite years of relative incoherant blathering, Paula has always been America’s favorite judge. I don’t think that America will even notice that she is a drooling flesh-eating zombie. It is hard to even notice a difference.”

    (tags: zombies tv humor)
  • "Colorado regulators are getting more involved in Xcel Energy’s smart-grid project in Boulder, now that the utility has started charging customers statewide to cover some of the rising costs. Xcel Energy estimated the project’s cost at $100 million, with some of the money coming from seven companies working with it. The utility had projected its share of the funding at about $15 million, but now believes its cost will reach $42.1 million. Xcel Energy and the other companies have declined to say what the partners are contributing.
  • Data visualization of Facebook profiles: "Looking at the network of US cities, it's been remarkable to see how groups of them form clusters, with strong connections locally but few contacts outside the cluster. For example Columbus, OH and Charleston WV are nearby as the crow flies, but share few connections, with Columbus clearly part of the North, and Charleston tied to the South.

    "Some of these clusters are intuitive, like the old south, but there's some surprises too, like Missouri, Louisiana and Arkansas having closer ties to Texas than Georgia. To make sense of the patterns I'm seeing, I've marked and labeled the clusters, and added some notes about the properties they have in common…"

  • This kind of paranoia and suppression of free speech drives me bonkers. When any company claims the right to basically control your online identity — by, say, forbidding you from blogging or using social media — they are actively depriving you of future opportunities and income. Maintaining and controlling your own online identity is crucial to having almost any kind of career these days. It makes you findable, it gives you a chance to show people what you're like, what you can do, what your interests and strengths are. It makes you easily recommendable.

    I propose that any employer who attempts such restrictions also agrees to make a minimum payment of 3 years salary to each complying employee as advance compensation for future lost earnings. Because they're not guaranteeing to keep you employed, are they? Right.