links for 2010-06-30

  • "When the second generation iPhones came out, Simkhai immediately recognized their GPS capabilities as a way to enhance the way location could define an online cruising experience. What he accidentally did in the process was to liberate Internet cruising from the desktop. This sounds simple, but it actually amounts to a significant reversal in gay socializing: the very force that was decimating living, breathing gay culture was now offering a reason to once again leave the house and create it.

    “You can go down to a Chris Harris party in Boston and turn Grindr on, and it actually works better. You have 30 guys within 300 feet of you. The incentive is to be mobile, to get out and about. It’s not tying you down anywhere.” Simkhai is running with the notion that location matters, and there have already been more than 150 branded Grindr parties around the country — pretty much designed to mimic the strange sight I saw in P-town."

  • Re: testy complaints from Washington Post staffers about having people who dare to publicly express opinions in their midst:

    "What the complaints don’t recognize is that the personal branding approach isn’t only about self-aggrandizement or a license for punditry. It’s a response to the straitjacket of “traditional” journalism, which presumes that there is only one way to tell a given story, and that all professional journalists will converge on it. It’s a tool to get past false equivalence and he-said/she-said reporting and blandly written, conventional-wisdom-spewing “news analysis” stories, and of saying, “Here is what I, an intelligent, critical observer who has earned your trust (or not) by virtue of my prior work, find to be interesting, newsworthy, and true—and, as important, what I find to be not true.” It is one response to the very real editorial failures of political journalism, which too often fails to inform readers of what is actually at stake. "

  • This is interesting. When the iOS4 came out, allowing an iPhone (3Gs & above only) to pair with a bluetooth keyboard, that overcame a huge accessibility hurdle for visually impaired iPhone users.
  • While I'm getting slammed on Cnn.com/tech today for writing my opinion about Apple finally opening up the iPhone bluetooth stack for keyboards, apparently this came out a few months ago — but only for jailbroken phones.

    "The Bluetooth keyboard app for iPhone works only with Jailbroken iPhones (particularly iPhone 3GS) and iPod Touch devices. Support for iPhone 2G and earlier models is yet to come, presumably, ‘cause nothing is impossible with the iPhone. It is available via the Cydia store. Here is the list of compatible and non-compatible Bluetooth keyboards for iPhone Bluetooth keyboard app."

  • Amazing photography of nature reclaiming abandoned houses in Detroit.
  • "I got to talk to Mikael and Niklas Hed, cousins and chief officers at Rovio Mobile (the company behind Angry Birds), last week at E3 about their game and its success so far. They told me that the game has had four million downloads to date across, both, its paid and lite versions, and they said that they'll keep updating it "as long as the underlying market keeps growing." I asked them why they have chosen this model of just supporting the game with free updates, and they pointed to Valve's Team Fortress 2 as an example; they're updating the game just because they're "focused on bringing great value" to their customers.

    "Future updates to the game will include new birds to play around with and a little bit of multiplayer functionality, which is coming in a "huge update" very soon."

links for 2010-06-29

  • "Short code campaigns may be launched as standard SMS programs, in which consumers aren't charged for the content; or as premium SMS (PSMS) programs, for which consumers are charged. In both instances, the basic messaging charges under the carrier's rate plan apply. With PSMS, the consumer is also charged an additional fee for the content.

    "Due to their ease of use for consumers, CSCs help increase consumer response to advertising and marketing promotions. For some, text messaging is new. Thus, it simplifies the data entry process and the ability to participate in campaigns"

  • "Messages sent to short code can be billed at a higher rate than a standard SMS and may even subscribe a customer to a reoccurring monthly service that will be added to their mobile phone bill until they text e.g. the word "STOP" to terminate the service."

    "An alternative to inbound SMS is based on long numbers (international number format, e.g. +44 7624 805000), which can be used in place of short codes or premium-rated short messages for SMS reception in several applications, such as television voting, product promotions and campaigns. Long numbers are internationally available, as well as enabling businesses to have their own number, rather than short codes which are usually shared across a number of brands. Additionally, long numbers are non-premium inbound numbers. Long numbers do not run on a dedicated messaging network so message speed can be slower than messages transported via a Short Code."

  • Platform for SMS outreach management, but costs START at $500/month.
  • "Our mission: in one day, prototype six different campaigns for engaging residents of Mexicantown (a.k.a. Southwest Detroit) in covering the issues of their community via MobileCommons text messaging platform and the Public Insight Network. We had just hours to learn enough about Mexicantown to brainstorm ideas, and then to test them in the community in the afternoon.

    "My team was made up Mexicantown residents and community activists, myself and employees of WDET The Detroit public radio station) and Public Radio International. In brainstorming mode, we listed a couple dozen ideas for engaging the local community in covering issues significant to Mexicantown. Drilling down, one issue quickly surfaced: semi trucks were being routed down residential streets in Mexicantown, spewing diesel smoke that local residents blame for high rates of child asthma and causing a range of other issues including noise pollution, safety hazards, increased traffic and wear and tear on local streets."

links for 2010-06-28

  • "Post managing editor Raju Narisetti's explanation of the firing offers one headscratcher after another.

    “I don’t think you need to be a conservative to cover the conservative movement,” Narisetti told me late today. “But you do need to be impartial… in your views.”

    "Hold on: If Narisetti wants someone “impartial” covering the conservative movement, that would disqualify any actual conservative from the job, right?

    More from Narisetti: “We’re living in an era when maybe we need to add a level” of inquiry, he said. “It may be in our interests to ask potential reporters: ‘In private… have you expressed any opinions that would make it difficult for you to do your job.’”

    I had to read that one twice, but yes, Narisetti does indeed seem to be proposing that the Post screen hires by making sure that they have never expressed any potentially upsetting opinions in private!

links for 2010-06-25

  • Good basic tutorial and resource for learning about WAP development for lean mobile sites.
  • "The different international relations theories also provide a much greater variety of possible outcomes than the Hollywood zombie canon. Traditional zombie narratives in film and fiction are quick to get to the apocalypse. The theoretical approaches presented here, however, suggest that in the real world there would be a vigorous policy response to the menace of the living dead. Realism predicts an eventual live-and-let-live arrangement between the undead and everyone else. Liberals predict an imperfect but nevertheless useful counterzombie regime. Neoconservatives see the defeat of the zombie threat after a long, existential struggle. These scenarios suggest that maybe, just maybe, the zombie canon's dominant narrative of human extinction is overstated."

links for 2010-06-24

  • "Stearns also asked whether there are stories that don't lend themselves to collaboration, or times when collaboration is a bad idea. I say it depends on if you are ready to do it right. Scott Rosenberg put it better: "It's in the coordination costs."

    "All collaborations have coordination costs and you have to be ready for that. So what are the key elements to coordination costs? Here are some thrown out by the group:

    * Recognition for parties/participants.
    * Communication is key: one person who is tasked with collaboration. It is a significant amount of that person's time. But that was a key element.
    * Ownership of parts of the project.
    * Financial agreements (time/resources/money).

  • "There are a number of new features loaded in iOS4, and the folks at lifehacker have detailed a bunch of them. For me, the most used features are the app folders, multitasking, threaded mail, and improvements in the camera app."
  • "Many editors and reporters understand that a new approach to accountability simply makes sense. So the institutions have begun, haltingly but significantly, to open up. But many individual journalists find themselves at sea when called upon to explain mistakes, defend choices and engage in discussions with their readers and critics. Nothing in their professional lives has prepared them for this. In fact, a lot of their professional training explicitly taught them that all of this was dangerous, unprofessional, bad. They grew up thinking — and some still think — that the professional thing to do, when questioned in public, is (a) don't respond at all; (b) respond with "no comment — we stand by our story"; or if things get really bad © your editor will do the talking.

    "Unfortunately, this means that the typical blogger has more experience dealing with criticism (measuring a reasonable response, managing trolls and restraining the urge to flame) than the typical newsroom journalist."

  • "The London-based Financial Times, a leading global newspaper specialising in financial and business news, has commissioned a South African company to help it crowdsource ideas on how to increase the number of new subscriptions to its online offering, FT.com.

    "The best idea will help to convert FT.com traffic and offline Financial Times readers into paid subscriptions for FT.com. To participate, a user can simply register on The Idea Bounty site, read more about the brief, and send in their most original idea. The winner will receive US$5 000 and the top 10 shortlisted ideas will also be awarded a full annual subscription to the Financial Times."

  • "If we're going to spend taxpayer money in ways that could help journalism, let's make that benefit a byproduct of something much more valuable. Let's build out our data networks the right way, by installing fiber everywhere we can possibly put it. Then, let private and public enterprises light it up.

    "Then we can step back and allow real competition to reign, not the phony facsimile that passes for broadband in American today, a broadband future that the carriers have loudly proclaimed their intention to control at every level. I'm not minimizing the difficulty of making this work; what I'm describing would come with many complications. But this is worth doing, because we simply can't trust our future to the cable-phone duopoly or the relatively weak competition we've seen from wireless providers.

    "The FTC can't do much on its own about making sure broadband works the right way. That's partly the Federal Communication Commission's job. But it's really the job of Congress"

  • "Dan Gillmor argued that the government's subsidy of broadband would be a more appropriate way for the federal government to support journalism than to provide direct payment to establishment media.

    "I agree. Payments to establishment media fund a limited number of existing voices. Expanded broadband coverage – in both geographical reach and availability of more bandwidth to all – would create fertile ground for the growth of many more voices.

    "This is the battle that will be fought in the courts and in Congress over the next months, and years. Will we allow a limited number of broadband ISPs to use their market power to limit the bandwidth that consumers and producers may access? Or will we use the collective power of our government to expand bandwidth to more consumers, to create more entrepreneurial opportunity?"

  • "Centrally manage from this facebook app all the RSS/Atom feeds published in your Facebook Profile and all your Facebook Pages using a flexible and clean tabbed interface."

links for 2010-06-23

links for 2010-06-22

  • The Coen Brothers Masterpiece, as writ by William Shakespeare. An adaptation of an adaptation of a parody of a farce. White Russians served at 7p. The Dude Abideth at 8p. Advance tickets encouraged!
  • "CNN announced on Monday that it will no longer use content from the Associated Press, ending a partnership that had been in place for decades. Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said in a memo to employees that the decision to discontinue the network's use of the wire service was part of an ongoing strategy to "more fully leverage CNN's global newsgathering investments."

    "We will no longer use AP materials or services," Walton wrote. "The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own."

  • "I've been using iCal for quite a while, but finally need to share my calendar with some others on my team but I don't have a ".mac" account, so… so I think I'm going to switch to Google Calendar and live in the Web 2.0 world. My question: how do I export my iCal calendar events and import them all into Google Calendar?

    "Dave's Answer: This process is pretty darn easy, actually, as Google has paid a lot of attention to letting people transfer their existing calendars into the Google Calendar system. Similarly, Apple has made it pretty easy to convert iCal calendars into a different system too, perhaps unusually so for a company that likes to import your data into proprietary data formats. Let's get started!"

  • Audio podcast

    "Vice President Joe Biden is in Midland, Michigan today. He’s there for the groundbreaking of a new plant that will make advanced batteries for electric and hybrid cars. Michigan’s governor, Jennifer Granholm, says she wants Michigan to be the battery capital of the nation and guide a revival of the state’s economy and the automotive industry. It’s a nice idea, Michigan getting back on its feet finding a growth industry, but what needs to happen for it to work?"

  • "For a variety of reasons, cultural as well as economic, the digital revolution has yet to wreak the same havoc on the news media here that it has in the United States and most other advanced countries. Personal blogs thrive in Japan, as do shopping sites and chat rooms appealing to groups from pet lovers to angry nationalists. But sites dedicated to news have found only a small foothold, and most of those are run by major news organizations, which often treat them as sideshows.

    "Most glaringly, there have been few of the alternative news blogs and news sites that have appeared in other countries, like The Huffington Post. Citizen journalism sites have earned the most attention here, largely for taking the lead in challenging media taboos and criticizing Japan’s press clubs. But they are far from prosperous. A well-financed startup from South Korea, OhmyNews Japan, shut down two years ago and Tsukasa Net closed last November."

  • Great, imspirational audio podcast. I especially like her idea of mashing up a museum with a pub!

    "According to Nina Simon, museums should be centers of social interaction and creativity. Too often, they force us to be merely a passive observer, able only to admire and witness. The ideal museum engages the audience, uses their comments, and allows them to create works of their own. Nina Simon's goal is to make every institution reach this utopian state.

    "The first step is to change the structure of our museums: Exhibits should be designed for interaction. People should be told to participate, and should feel good doing it. Comments should be promoted, shared, and implemented. And unity and involvement should be paramount; no more wandering by yourself, but real connection with others. Museums belong to the public. Shouldn't they be all they can be? Nina Simon thinks so, and she has the formula to make it happen."

links for 2010-06-20

links for 2010-06-19

  • "Google’s mobile click-to-call ads program in search is apparently a big success. Although reluctant to share specific numbers, Google previously said that response rates were “5 to 30 percent better” than other AdWords CTRs in mobile. Even the URLs in these ads get more clicks, Surojit Chatterjee, Senior Product Manager, Mobile Ads, previously told me. Google also said that both users and advertisers really like these ads.

    "Now Google is formally expanding the click-to-call program to its content network on mobile devices. This was previously announced at Google’s developer conference in May. But now it’s going live. Advertisers need to opt-in to the content network on “high end mobile devices” and enable Phone Extensions."

  • "Major new features in this release include a sexy new default theme called Twenty Ten. Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies. (Twenty Ten theme shows all of that off.) Developers and network admins will appreciate the long-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, creating the new multi-site functionality which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation. As a user, you will love the new lighter interface, the contextual help on every screen, the 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so you can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click"
  • "…instead of Tweeting from “San Francisco”, I now get the ability to specify that I’m tweeting from my office. Clicking on a place will also bring up all the recent Tweets from that place, and it’s working with Tom Tom and Localeze for the listings data. This brings Twitter’s model closer to Foursquare in that a tweet from a place can be an implicit “check-in”. Of course it’s meant to be a lot more than that, as 140 characters represent more of a status update than a binary check -in

    "Foursquare meanwhile has taken the opposite path by letting users add 140 characters to a check-in. So they’re becoming more and more like each other, which many have argued is tantamount to the death of Foursquare. That could have some truth, given Twitter’s 190 million monthly users, but the new functionality also seeds Foursquare by letting users view recent checkins for any venue associated with the service."

  • I'll definitely want to get this app. I'm really getting to like Groupon, glad it's android-friendly
  • Great 2009 Where 2.0 presentation. Really nails a bunch of things that bug me about Local search.
  • "Why, with only 140 characters, must we waste seven on http://? Neither Web browsers nor ordinary citizens need this ugly cluster anymore to recognize a URL. When was the last time you saw a print ad that included a link beginning with “http://”?
  • I SO relate to this post! And I love the illustrations :-)

    "I begin to feel like I've accomplished my goals. It's like I think that adulthood is something that can be earned like a trophy in one monumental burst of effort and then admired and coveted for the rest of one's life. This is a mistake."

  • "The new open source software, called OpenBlock, will be developed by the non-profit OpenPlans and installed at different-sized newspapers, The Columbia Daily Tribune and the Boston Globe. The Tribune, in Missouri, will use OpenBlock as a stand-alone website. The Boston Globe will test widget integration with their broader digital product suite.

    “As city governments make more data publicly available, it creates a need for tools and strategies that citizens can use to derive value from these data sets and improve their communities. Making block-by-block data available on an open source platform improves the accessibility and usability of this information and encourages people to collaborate, communicate and develop applications that enhance their daily lives,” said Nick Grossman, OpenPlans’ director of civic works."