The business side of my new neighborhood

A few months ago I moved into the edge of Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, near the Piemont and Pill Hill districts. It’s a really interesting part of town — but I’ve been puzzled why the nearby stretch of 40th St. has seemed kinda semi-vacant and lackluster.

Over on OaklandLocal, I just published a story where I interviewed the entrepreneurial co-owners of a new restaurant opening just around the corner from me.

See: Homeroom opens next week: Could mac & cheese revitalize 40th St.?

That interview shed some interesting light on the local situation for small businesses, and which opportunities might lie almost literally in my backyard. I’ll have to watch this more closely.

And in the meantime, mac & cheese… nomnomnom…

More break-the-story-box news tools: Andy Carvin, Twitter, and Egypt

Form follows function — which is why when traditional journalism tries to shoehorn fast-breaking, multidirectional events that unfold via social media into traditional narrative stories, it often flattens (and sometimes skews) the experience.

This is why I like tools that allow reporters and others to break “story box” by creating real-time collages that combine original reporting and commentary with curated contributions from social media and elsewhere.

The past month, NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin has been doing this via Twitter — first for the Tunisia uprising, and now with the Egyptian revolution. Today Berkman Center research Ethan Zuckerman published an excellent interview with Carvin exploring why he’s been posting an average of 400 tweets daily for the last month, and what others can learn from his efforts.

I summarized some highlights from this interview that might especially interest news professionals over at the Knight Digital Media Center site.

See: How NPR’s Andy Carvin is using Twitter to tell Egypt’s story

It’s not HTML5 anymore

On Jan. 19, the group responsible for the long-overdue new HTML standard, announced a decision which WebScanNotes recently noted:

They must have heard murmurs of frustrations over their slowness in finalizing the HTML5 standards, and have came up with one of the most innovative ways to address it – by dropping the “5″ version and call it a “living standard”.

Read: HTML5 to Drop the “5

This makes sense from a standards-management perspective, and I guess it’s less embarrassing…  But I think it might make it harder for people who aren’t hardcore insiders to track the kind of developments that make HTML5 interesting, especially for mobile web projects.

Murdoch’s Daily: It’s 1994 all over again!

Quote of the day from Scott Rosenberg:

The question is whether the Daily’s secession from the Web is a matter of convenience or ideology for its creators. Did they put their energy into spiffing things up for the iPad — the hard, fun, innovative part — figuring that they can circle back to beef up their Web offerings later? Or do they feel that it is their calling, their mission, to leave the Web behind?

My prediction: If they’re pragmatists about the Web, they’ve got a chance — they can adapt and evolve their product so it’s a little more up to date, less hermetic and more inclusive of the public that lives online today. But if they’re ideologues — if they really believe that what is essentially a magazine “pasted on a screen” is the future of journalism — then they’re in deep trouble, and the Daily will only be Murdoch’s latest and most spectacular digital money-sink.

via Murdoch’s Daily: post-Web innovation or CD-ROM flashback? — Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard.

Three generational gadget trends for news orgs to watch | Knight Digital Media Center

Today at the Knight Digital Media Center site, I took another look at a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project about generational differences in tech gadget ownership and user.

See: Three generational gadget trends for news orgs to watch

The trends & implications I saw are:

  1. Picture-taking is the most popular non-voice cell activity, even more than texting! So why not do more with community-contributed pictures?
  2. Tablets are still a niche market. Right now, there are much bigger mobile fish to fry in terms of potential market size. Consider where your business interest really lie.
  3. MP3 players are especially popular with young adults, so consider doing more with podcasts and other audio content.

I discuss the details more over at my article on KDMC.

How mobile device use varies by generation

My latest CNN Tech mobile blog post . Pew has a new report out examining how Americans in different age groups use tech gadgets. The report also covers stuff like computers and game consoles, but I focused on mobile devices.

It’s not especially surprising news, but still good to know.

Report: 90% of Americans own a computerized gadget – CNN.com.

One point I note: According to Pew, 5% of US adults currently own a tablet.  I wrote:

If tablet prices start to drop and more options for size and connectivity emerge (especially likely for Android models), it’s possible that that many people who rely primarily on feature phones might choose to invest in a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet (a one-time expense) rather than upgrading to a full smartphone (with higher monthly bills and often unexpected charges).

Thoughts?

Verizon reserves right to throttle data for high-consumption users: Is that you?

As of today, Verizon Wireless says it may start “throttling” service to the 5% of its customers who consume the most data over its network.

Today is also the first day that people can pre-order the new Verizon iPhone. A Verizon spokesman told the Wall St. Journal that this is just a coincidence.

Yeah. Right.

A move like this indicates that Verizon is concerned about growing network congestion, which affects service to all customers. And they should be. But the way they’re going about it is pretty frustrating…

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Video will dominate mobile data traffic by 2015, and why that will probably cost you more

My new CNN Tech mobile blog post is about Cisco’s prediction that video will comprise 2/3 of mobile data traffic by 2015.

See: Video will dominate mobile data traffic by 2015, forecast says

The catch: Thank to lax net neutrality rules passed by the FCC last December, wireless carriers are free to charge users extra for any kind of mobile content they choose — even if it’s available for free via wired connections.

Finally! Now you now can find Android apps on the web

Last July, as I was preparing to ditch my iPhone for an Android phone, I complained on my CNN Tech mobile blog about how hard it was to find Android apps without an Android phone. There were some workarounds and third-party directories, but still it was much harder than it needed to be.

Why does this issue matter? Prospective Android users (especially people contemplating switching from another platform, like iPhone or BlackBerry) often want to know which apps are available on Android before they commit to that switch.

Today, Google finally corrected this oversight…

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