links for 2009-09-17

  • "I've got a linguistic bone to pick with using the word "women" as an adjective– as in, "women journalists," "women bloggers." Whenever you do that, you are stating that the default gender for that job is male, and you need to add a qualifier before it to make it female. Can we all now, together, say that "women" should only be a noun? I know the dictionary has an adjective entry for it, but sometimes dictionaries are stupid."

links for 2009-09-16

Amy Walks, Sept. 14, 2009

A month and a day after surgery to repair my torn ACL, here’s how I’m walking. Still have work to do, but it’s going well.
For comparison, my friend Michael says a month ago I was walking like Igor in this Young Frankenstein scene.
Oh, and by the way: My t-shirt here says: “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” (Steven Wright)
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Kara Andrade prepares to head to Guatemala

Last night, I attended the Hasta Luego party for my friend Kara Andrade, who won a Fulbright and so later this week is heading to Guatemala with her partner Brad for about a year. She’ll be starting a new citizen journalism venture there. I’ll be following her progress on her blog and via Twitter. Here she shares what freaks her out the most about this adventure.

links for 2009-09-13

  • This podcast episode features a fun discussion between me & the host (Cunning Minx) mocking a bizarre right-wing anti-poly screed.
  • Chromatic Staves: A Better Approach to Music Notation

    "All of the features of traditional music notation combine to make reading music much more difficult than it might be with a better notation system. For an analogy, imagine trying to do arithmetic with Roman numerals. It can be done, but the notation system makes a big difference. Of course it is important to view traditional notation in its broader historical context and to keep in mind the innovations and reforms that it has undergone over time. Alternative music notation systems with chromatic staves avoid each of these pitch-related difficulties, and offer significant advantages over traditional music notation."

  • “When people felt excluded,” says Eisenberger, “we saw activity in the dorsal portion of the anterior cingulate cortex — the neural region involved in the distressing component of pain, or what is sometimes referred to as the ‘suffering’ component of pain. Those people who felt the most rejected had the highest levels of activity in this region.” In other words, the feeling of being excluded provoked the same sort of reaction in the brain that physical pain might cause.

links for 2009-09-12

  • Comment I left on this article:

    "I haven't had a chance to explore Facebook Lite much yet, but I look forward to it. I have broadband and I'm an avid user of social media. But I've shied away from using Facebook much because its cluttered user interface drives me bananas.

    "Facebook has long been a usability and navigation nightmare, and many people have complained about it. Those complaints — and not lack of broadband access — is most likely why Facebook rolled out this version of the site.

    "It seems to me that rather than whine that a more user-friendly site does not serve advertisers well, it might be smarter for advertisers and brands to figure out how to roll with this. Actually using Facebook to *converse directly with people*, rather than just try to push clutter-prone "engagement ads" at Facebook users, would probably work better."

links for 2009-09-11

  • "One of the new data plans costs $9.99 for 25 MBytes while the other costs $19.99 for 75 MBytes of monthly usage. The assumption is that users of such devices will mostly want access to email and light Web access on an occasional basis. The data caps might appear at first glance to be paltry, but Verizon Wireless undoubtedly has done enough data mining of its current customer base to set the caps in an appropriate way. Heavier users of course have the option of buying the other standard data plans."
  • "Taking another page from Twitter, Facebook is giving users the ability to "tag" friends and Facebook Pages in status updates and posts using the "@" symbol as with mentions on the microblogging service.

    "Facebook has long allowed users to tag photos, videos and notes with friends' names. The latest step extends the popular feature for identifying and referencing people to other parts of the social networking site.

    "Now, when you are writing a status update and want to add a friend's name to something you are posting, just include the "@" symbol beforehand," wrote Facebook's Tom Occhino in a post on the company blog today. "As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages."

  • "Because they don't have their own operating systems, feature phones typically don't offer the range of functionality as smartphones. An NPD report last week found that while regular phones are increasingly taking on the physical features of smartphones, like Qwerty keyboards and touchscreens, they still lag when it comes to mobile Web access and applications.

    "Something like OneApp could help feature phones close that gap by giving users all-in-one access to popular mobile apps within the limits of phones' memory and processing capabilities. Feature phones still account for the vast majority of phones in the U.S. but smartphones are fast gaining ground, accounting for 28% of phone sales in the second quarter.

    "Microsoft said it plans to offer the product through partners worldwide and will release the OneApp software development kit by year's end."

  • "Any mobile phone that is not a smartphone or PDA phone."
  • Aha! small but important (for me) research terminology breakthrough. Wireless industry term for non-smartphones is "Feature Phones"

    “Feature phones are taking on more of the physical characteristics of smartphones, and often offer greater exposure to carrier services,” Rubin said. “Although their user interfaces continue to improve, the depth of their applications generally lags behind those of smartphones. With the price gap between smartphones and feature phones narrowing, to remain competitive feature phones need to develop a better Web experience, drive utility via widgets, and sidestep the applications arms race.”

  • March 2009: "According to The NPD Group, a leader in wireless industry market research, consumer sales of smartphones to U.S. consumers represented 23 percent of all handset sales in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2008"

    … Which means 77% of all mobile phone sales in Q4 2008 were NOT smartphones. What kinds of media are available for dumber phones?

  • Lawrence: Well what about you now? what would you do [if you had a million dollars]?
    Peter Gibbons: Besides two chicks at the same time?
    Lawrence: Well yeah.
    Peter Gibbons: Nothing.
    Lawrence: Nothing, huh?
    Peter Gibbons: I'd relax, I would sit on my ass all day, I would do nothing.
    Lawrence: Well you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Just take a look at my cousin. He's broke, don't do s**t.
    (tags: fun movies life)
  • "Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, training for a flight to the International Space Station next month, said Wednesday he plans to orchestrate a five-continent extravaganza as part of his "poetic social mission" to raise awareness of water as a critical cultural and environmental issue.

    "On October 9, for 120 minutes–just a little longer in time than it takes to circle the Earth in space–we will be presenting a unique artistic event in 14 cities on five continents and space. Beginning in Montreal, closing in Moscow, we will travel the world, unveiling part of a poetic tale to a voice of international personality. We will also be presenting…artistic presentations linked to water as an inspiration and as a source of life."

    Among those Laliberté said had agreed to participate are former Vice President Al Gore, U2, Shakira, Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, and Peter Gabriel. The theme of the production is "Moving Stars and Earth for Water."

  • Great example of how blog comments can create journalism transparency. In covering a local powerline controversy, reporter Ken Ward cited a local blog devoted to this issue. He tried to get the blogger on the phone to comment, but they kept missing each other. So Ken wrote his post, the blogger showed up to comment. Ken responded with a followup question in a second comment, and the blogger commented back with a detailed answer.
  • From April 2009:

    "Blanketing major metropolitan areas with LTE is well and good, but the biggest broadband need in the US is getting it to underserved rural areas. It's a focus of the recently-passed economic stimulus package, and former FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will be overseeing rural broadband development in his new role as the head of the USDA's Rural Utilities Service. The RUS will have $2.5 billion to spend on rural broadband deployment, with stimulus money doled out to projects focused on building out broadband infrastructure in areas that are at least 75 percent rural.

    "4G is a real alternative to wired broadband technologies. LTE provides a pool of 50Mbps to 100Mbps to be shared by users in an individual cell, which Verizon says will translate into 5Mbps to 10Mbps of downstream bandwidth for individual users."

links for 2009-09-10

  • "The average US mobile user has 59 contacts, 25 pictures, 16 music tracks, 9 ringtones, 2 videos and 2 games stored on their mobile device. In W. Europe, the average device has 30-80% more content across all categories. 81% of installed pictures and 80% of video clips on mobile devices were taken with the phone's camera, whereas 64% of installed music tracks were transferred to the user's device either via a memory card or via USB cable/Bluetooth connection from their PC. While music-phone owners have an average of 40 music tracks on their phone, the average number of video clips installed on video-enabled devices is only 3."
  • "While the vendor vaguely guided signs of market stabilization, the sharp decline in shipments of its Nseries portfolio remains a concern for the Finnish vendor. The turnaround of its flagship Nseries will be critical for driving revenues and profitability."
  • Globally: "Among the top-five brands, South Korean players Samsung and LG again outgrew all their major rivals, due to robust demand for their touchphones and QWERTY phones. Samsung reached a record high of 19% marketshare, and LG hit an all-time high of 11%. Meanwhile, Apple held steady with 2% marketshare."