links for 2010-08-31

  • Demo site is now live (for Boston)

    "OpenBlock is an open source software initiative to bring hyper-local news and data capabilities to news organizations of all sizes.

    "OpenBlock builds upon the source code originally developed for EveryBlock.com, and is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation."

  • " for all of the heated rhetoric blaming news aggregators for the decline of journalism, the fall of civilization and male pattern baldness, many are still left asking the question: are news aggregators violating current law?

    "Today, CMLP releases a white paper entitled "The Rise of the News Aggregator: Legal Implications and Best Practices" that attempts to answer that question, and to provide news aggregators with some "best practices" for making use of third-party content."

  • Verizon is hard at work trying to get its first Long Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed network online late this year, but MetroPCS will beat Verizon according to reports that the MetroPCS LTE network will go live in September. MetroPCS is the fifth-largest operator in the U.S., and a Samsung executive let slip that the MetroPCS LTE network would light up Dallas and Las Vegas next month.

    The Verizon LTE network may go live in November, but the carrier has indicated the first LTE-capable smartphone won’t appear on the network until next year. Samsung has stated that MetroPCS will make the Samsung Craft phone available in September alongside the launch of the LTE network. The Craft is thought to be a smartphone with sliding QWERTY keyboard, and steps down to CDMA when LTE is not available.

  • "For now, it appears the AP has gone in a more conventional direction, however, taking an undisclosed sum of money from Google for the rights to host its content."
  • "The latest and most talked about feature in Yelp 2.0 for Android is augmented-reality Monocle option. Once this feature is switched on it activates a camera and a radar display appears. By using a combination of the GPS and the compass in the device one can search the surrounding areas for hotels, bars, restaurants or “everything”.
  • "Did you know that Google is doing deals with carriers to provide their on-deck search? It is true that there are financial agreements between search engines (not just Google) and both mobile phone carrier companies (ex: T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) and handset manufacturers (ex: Samsung , LG, iPhone, etc.) The search engine agrees to provide a search engine for the default web home page included on the phone. These are generally branded with the name & logo of the search engine, so most people would think that they provide the same results as if they were searching from Google.com or Google.com/m but THEY DON’T. While the results appear to be based on the existing algorithm, searches performed from these start-pages will give different results that appear to preference content from the carrier or handset manufacturer."
  • "mobile browsers. First of all, they tend to use the same search engine on their mobile device as they use on their PC. Even though there are 234 million wireless subscribers in the U.S., only 10% use mobile search (which is still 23 million people). Adoption rates of mobile browsing are much higher in Europe. Finally, mobile searchers are goal-oriented: they want to get the info and get out. They don’t tend to browse or surf.

    A few general practices for optimizing your site are:

    * Keep your content brief
    * Use brief, custom titles
    * For mobile stats, check out MMetrics.com
    * Mobile sites need to be as simple as possible to ensure compatibility among all mobile browser software."

links for 2010-08-30

  • MITE provides interactive testing and validation of mobile content right on your desktop. Test content with 1,600+ mobile device profiles over a live wireless network, mobile carrier or Internet connection.

    Why Keynote MITE?

    – On demand testing with no phones, contracts or SIMs to manage

    – See the actual source code behind the scenes

    – Record once, play back across multiple device profiles

  • "
    I did the outline this way for the journalist that uses social networks, but doesn’t also work on the website.  The Producer section is intended for the station looking to actually create a lead position to oversee social media and web efforts.  The entire outline, which also separates out uses and goals for certain social networks and the web, can be used in any broadcast or print media outlet and even be implemented in any business."
  • "You need to enter your destination and schedule details (appointment time) and then select the people you want to notify (it integrates with your address book) with a personal message if you like. Just to be clear here, you do not need to be using TeleNav’s GPS navigation solutions to use this utility, it is a stand alone GPS location-based notification system that just uses your current location and the destination you enter to perform the calculations.

    Your recipient(s) will receive notices when you leave and an ETA, based on your GPS location, and then up to three additional status messages may be sent based on your preferences. OnMyWay does not share your specific location in the notifications."

  • Sounds like it boils down to: As far as GAO can tell, wireless consumers are better off now than earlier — but that doesn't mean they're isn't substantial room for improvement in a more competitive wireless landscape.

    "In particular, additional data could help assess the competitiveness of small and regional carriers, as well as shed light on the impact of switching costs for consumers. FCC should assess whether expanding original data collection of wireless industry inputs and outputs–such as prices, special access rates, capital expenditures, and equipment costs–would help the Commission better satisfy its requirement to review competitive market conditions with respect to commercial mobile services. FCC took no position on GAO's recommendation, but provided technical changes to this report that were incorporated as appropriate."

  • excellent, succinct coverage of the big issues

Would you quit Twitter? Reflections on personal media choices

Wow. If You Think Quitting Booze Freaks People Out, Wait ‘Til You Quit Twitter.

Very interesting insights from TechCrunch’s Paul Carr.

I think there is much to be said for periodically cutting back on (or eliminating) anything that feels absolutely essential or habitual to you, to gauge how much you really need it.

In the last year I asked myself, “Do I need a house?” Nope. I’d like to have a house again, but I can be happy without one.

Several years ago I wondered, “Do I need a car?” Nope — and I’m much happier without one. Same with printed books: “Do I need several crammed bookcases around to reassure me that I’m smart or that I won’t get bored?” Again, no — I’m far happier with my Kindle and with being able to make better use of limited space.

I doubt that I’d ever entirely quit using social media because in my case it has vastly improved my life in many ways. But in the last couple of months I’ve cut back on it quite a lot — some days I post a lot, but others I don’t post at all (and a post-free day NEVER used to happen to me). I feel less compulsive about it.

However, I have definitely increased my use of two kinds of social media tools in recent months: social bookmarking tools and Facebook… Continue reading

links for 2010-08-29

  • Apparently, Oakland's historic preservation guidelines are nationally famous
  • "Unfortunately, the prepaid phone situation in the United States is pretty backward. Yes, you can buy prepaid SIM cards here, but it's a more convoluted process than it is in many other countries. For example, while most U.S. carriers require you to buy a phone to get prepaid service, carriers in other countries don't have such restrictions. I've been to a few countries in Europe and Asia where I purchased a SIM card from a carrier store and then popped it into my handset I brought from home. They didn't care whether I used one of their handsets or not; it only mattered that I was purchasing service. Other countries, particularly those in cell phone-loving Scandinavia, make it even easier by selling prepaid SIM cards in vending machines.

    "There are a few places in the United States that sell SIM cards without a phone. I would check a few wireless stores when you get to Delaware and see if they have them. Best luck in third-party cellular stores not operated by a carrier.

links for 2010-08-28

  • "The app was a favorite of news-junkies and reporters around the world. Even members of the RedCross said they used it to find out about natural disasters before any other channel alerted them. Then in November, Breaking News announced that it had sold control over its wildly popular Twitter account to MSNBC. Today the organization announced that its iPhone app will be shuttered. BNO will now sell access to its news exclusively to the corporate media clients it had originally disrupted with its innovative nearly-free service to consumers."

    "When BNO sold control of it's popular Twitter account to MSNBC, the difference was immediately and for serious news-hounds, disappointing. It felt less personal, there was no MSNBC branding on the Twitter account, but a substantial number of the links posted went to that company's site. It was still pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as the independent organization that it had been before."

  • Yes, newspaper publishers made this top-10 list. Oddly, so did wireless carriers — and that's REALLY odd!
  • "The Minneapolis city attorney's office has decided to pay seven zombies and their attorney $165,000.

    The payout, approved by the City Council on Friday, settles a federal lawsuit the seven filed after they were arrested and jailed for two days for dressing up like zombies in downtown Minneapolis on July 22, 2006, to protest "mindless" consumerism.

    When arrested at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 6th Street N., most of them had thick white powder and fake blood on their faces and dark makeup around their eyes. They were walking in a stiff, lurching fashion and carrying four bags of sound equipment to amplify music from an iPod when they were arrested by police who said they were carrying equipment that simulated "weapons of mass destruction."

  • If I ever want to reuse the SIM card I pulled from my own iPhone, these instructions might come in handy.
  • "Four days after that, on Sat., Aug. 21, more than a week after the original mistake, the Post did publish a correction. Good luck finding it on the Post website, though. The paper does have a dedicated online corrections page, which is linked from the News menu in the top navigation bar. Yet the Mozart Place correction notice doesn't show up on this listing. Meanwhile, there's also a link to "corrections" in the footer of the Post website, but right now that link points — inexplicably and uselessly — to the corrections page for a single day two weeks ago."

    "Why not streamline the process?

    Correcting an error of this magnitude shouldn't require days of deliberation, the valuable time of a deputy managing editor, or concern over distinctions between "correction" and "clarification" that are meaningless to the public. It ought to be a simple matter to go in and fix the error on the website, as bloggers routinely do."

  • "It is pretty clear by now that Apple’s iWork productivity suite is an acquired taste. But soon, folks who are interested in publishing their content in the ePub format — an open eBook standard — might just develop a taste for it. Apple today released a new update to the iWork suite that makes it simple to export documents in the ePub format, allowing them to be read easily on Apple’s iBooks app for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch."
  • "ChinaSMACK is a treasure. It provides such a useful com plement (and coun­terbalance) to mainstream China news, precisely because it isn’t news at all. Instead, it’s a cross-section of the stuff that’s criss-crossing Chinese web browsers right now. It’s weird and funny and meme-y. Sometimes it’s gross and depressing. But it’s always revelatory.

    "Importantly, chinaSMACK filters and translates not just Chinese internet con­tent, but also the comments on that content."

  • "Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.

    Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
    During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
    By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.
    “Young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, but their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users,” explains Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and author of the report. “Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications.”

    One in five (20%) online adults ages 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago.

links for 2010-08-27

links for 2010-08-26

links for 2010-08-25

  • "Sort of an odd thing I noticed the other day- My daughter and I were out visiting a friend, and as we were conversing, the daughter-unit was feeling a bit shy, but wanted to have certain stories shared, so was requesting that I recount the stories to "them". There was just the three of us present, and she's pretty good with pronouns, but I just wrote it off as misspoken. This occurred several times during the conversation though, and it became apparent to me that she thinks of other poly folk in the multiple sense. Even if you're partners aren't present, or if you're poly-single, she seems to apply plural pronouns when speaking with poly types."
  • Google Earth 1.1 doesn't let you snorkel past schools of fish or snuggle up to reefs teeming with sea life. Instead, it offers Android users the opportunity to see what the Earth's surface looks like beneath the water. Google suggests, for example, that users look at the Monteray Bay Canyon, which it says is larger than the Grand Canyon.

    There is a "look around" button that lets users change the angle of view and take a new look at what's under the water.

    Another tool added to Google Earth 1.1 is what Google calls the "Explore the Ocean" layer. This layer offers up a collection of photos and videos from contributors from all around the world.

  • oooh, this is handy!

    "Zamzar supports conversion between a wide variety of different file formats. We're adding support for new formats all the time -
    if there's a format that you'd like us to support why not
    contact us and we'll do our best to add it."

    (tags: tools)

links for 2010-08-24

links for 2010-08-20

  • "Journalism is a profession for storytellers, and our newsroom culture celebrates romantic myths that are generally hostile to structure. We enjoy jockeying with authority, poking bureaucrats and annoying anal-retentive city editors. Few journalists are good with numbers, and we don't see that as a weakness. It's all part of a rebellious "ink-stained wretch" identity that hasn't reflected reality in at least a generation, if in fact it ever did.
    So I understand my curmudgeonly colleagues when they scoff behind my back at the word "metadata." They don't see its value, so they mock it. The beancounters? I expect even less from them. And the newspaper management class? Don't get me started.
    That's why I don't expect newspapers to lead this charge. It's far more likely that television, or a web-only start-up, will take the lead. What's left of the newspaper industry will follow suit once it has exhausted every other possibility. Because that's just how they roll."
  • ok, if I can get a BY keyboard working w/ my Droid incredible, I'm getting this.
    (tags: phones devices)
  • "I think it's pretty clear that human beings are both. We're highly adaptive and responsive to cultural conditioning, but our experience and behavior also reveal deeply ingrained structures reflective of evolutionary pressures. Our culture has convinced many of us that a Big Mac, fries, and a milkshake constitute a good meal. But when we eat this way, our bodies inevitably rebel. So we're highly malleable, but only within certain biologically-imposed parameters."
  • "the Atlantic published this article, which made myself, and no doubt others think; maybe the monster homes, the McMansions of the past decades have become realistic again, not to show ones wealth and ability to carry debt, but as a means to have multiple adults and children under one roof."