Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Web "Real Estate"

Selling and buying websites—essentially transactions without any physical property moving between parties—seems to be a business with high profit margins. To succeed in this cyber “real estate,” all a website developer really needs is a computer, some skills and some people willing to let you work on their company website. It’s much easier than working in the physical world where pipes break, roofs fall and heater systems don’t function—a website can be exactly what you envision it to be, is easily manageable, flexible and sturdy (provided you have the required computer skills).

In the first example of this article, the developer made a whopping profit of close to $171, 000 for his services: his time and ingenuity. The internet holds such a vast array of information that I believe a person who is inclined to learn as much as possible about the construction of websites can have a very successful solo education.

This can open up avenues for so many people who feel disinclined to commit themselves to conventional education systems—think of the money to be made by young, enthusiastic and creative individuals trying to help the older generation survive in a world that is steadily moving into the digital realm. Indeed, it would be a win-win situation for both the website developer, who ends up making quite a chunk of income for a job that he probably finds enjoyable, and the business owner, who sees his customer base broaden because of improved online services.

The average price of a website was recently reported as $78.00 on eBay where blogs and other such sites are the most popular. Now, not only is the internet a medium for selling merchandise, but it is the “merchandise.” It is generating a “mini-industry” based on skill, ingenuity and whatever time it takes to build up websites.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Medialets - App Store Day 4: Observations coming out of the smoke

Since the iTunes App Store and the iPhone 3g have launched, people have been wondering the status of apps. Now, Medialets an ad network for the iPhone seems to have opened up the App Store to provide the answers.

Victory for ebay

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rebooting America

Interesting book of essays commissioned for PDF Conference. Free download.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Increased engagement?

New study reports that almost half of all Americans contacted Congress at least once in the last five years. Internet has become primary means of communication.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gray Shades of Technology - A Crazy Experience...

Two days ago, I was biking back home from the marina nearby my house. As I was crossing the street, I saw a large Escalade inch its way around the corner –bike versus machine, I thought idly. I remember being amused for a split-second before I realized that the Escalade didn't see me coming. Suddenly the battle between the old and new wasn't so funny. It was almost pathetic—my bike suffered a grueling defeat. The Escalade wasn't even moving that fast!

I asked the driver to put his monster of a car in reverse so that I could pull the mangled carcass of my bike out. The car stopped off to the side.

"Hi, sir," I said, "You know, the pedestrian has the right of way on a walk sign." I kept my cool. Mostly because I was still in shock.
He said he knew, and that he was sincerely sorry. He asked me if I was okay, and what could he possibly do? Very decent guy, I thought.
"Just write down your information. Name and number should be fine."
He rummaged around and couldn't find a pen/paper. I didn't have anything on my person either - not even my cell phone. Finally, I asked him to call my cell phone and leave a message on it.

I started lugging my bike up a hill I have to par on the way home. I desperately wished I had my cell phone to call my mom – I was already pretty tired, and the cruel summer sun beat down relentlessly as I walked and person after person exclaimed at the state of my bike.

“Yes, it was a car,” I told them.

I cursed technology the whole time – if we hadn’t built cars, and boats and airplanes we’d be much better off. It’s true that we wouldn’t be able to do half the things we do, but we wouldn’t have expected to do those things either. Wouldn’t society be better off if we all rode our bikes everywhere? With the rising gas prices, I’m sure it would be a more economical thing to do…obesity might go down, roads would be exponentially safer, and we wouldn’t have high expectations of people.

I imagined a utopian world ruled by primitive technology, low expectations and physical zeniths and thought what a wonderful world…

After about an hour of carrying my bike with the mantra, “Sanjana, your muscles will be bigger than your face. Keep going,” playing repeatedly through my head, and rejecting desperate plots of tackling people and snatching their cell phones, I finally reached a public library. I knew my mom would be worried by now – I’d been out for three hours without a call.

I went in and called my mom – she was furious, livid. She was already circling the routes she knew I took to get to the marina looking for me – her anger had reached a boiling point. What, I asked her, was there to be angry about?!

“Sanjana. Why didn’t you carry your cell phone? I’ve told you a billion times, take your cell phone with you…”

High expectations…I’m telling you, we’d all be better off if we were less connected.

I called the Escalade driver from my cell phone when I got home.

“Hi. This is…the bike girl.” I’m really eloquent sometimes…

“Yes. Sorry. I’ll take care of any expenses for your bike.”

The next day my mom and I drove over to an area around where he lives (it was pretty close by). We dealt with all the details, after which he cordially told me that I could keep his number, and that he already had mine so he would know who was calling. He said that if I ever wanted any tickets to a baseball game at Shea Stadium, to let him know…

“Oh, do you work there?” my mom asked.

He said, yes, that it was his profession. He played for the Mets. (I would tell you who, but not online…)

At this point, I proceeded to go absolutely berserk (in my head)—I was in even more of a state of shock than when my bike was crushed. He was so kind and polite about everything—I knew my brother would get a kick out of it all since he is madly fanatic about anything that has to do with sports.

On the way home, I texted my brother who was out of town. He called me right away.

“Sanj. Stop sending me incoherent text messages.” I was really excited and couldn’t press the buttons quite right…

“Guess what?! Remember when mom told you about my bike yesterday? Well, guess who was in the car.”

I told him – he almost couldn’t believe it. After he corrected my pronunciation of his name, and we hung up, I decided to text the famous Mets player.

Like I said, I was absolutely star struck. I send him exactly two insane messages. In the first one, I told him that I couldn’t believe it, and that if I’d have known who he was, I wouldn’t have accepted any money from him. In the second one, I effectively said that I realize that he is high profile, and that I’d keep his information on the d/l. Thinking back on it now, I realize that technology should be kept away from my hands in moments of hysteria.

What, you may wonder, is the conclusion? Technology is both a boon and a curse. The fact that cars are dangerous both damaged my bike and put me in contact with a celebrity. My cell phone served as both a convenient medium for conversation, and as something that society has become addicted/too attached to. In about twenty minutes, I’m going to head to Penn Station to meet up with a close friend from Brooklyn. Without technology, I may never may have been able to keep in touch with her…the utopian world I had envisioned wouldn’t have allowed for it. These are the gray shades of technology…

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Google Claims Internet Freedom is Threatened

Recently Viacom decided to sue YouTube for copyright infringement which it feels is currently being displayed in over 150,000 clips, according to the BBC. Viacom has claimed that YouTube, and its parent company Google, have done little to live up to the standard set by the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act, also stating that the company has done "little or nothing to stop infringement". Google has cited this action as being a threat to the way "hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information over the web." Since last year YouTube has had in place an anti-piracy toll that "checks uploaded video's against the original content in an effort to flag piracy." The suit will likely take years to come to a conclusion as Google has promised to continue to fight the allegations brought on by Viacom, saying that they are ready to go "all the way to the Supreme Court".

Modern Love - Instant Message, Instant Girlfriend

The New York Times style section recently held an essay contest asking college students to define love as they see it. The runner-up, a simultaneously amusing and troubling essay titled, "Instant Message, Instant Girlfriend," chronicles the author's escapades with love online.

Though I disagree with him, I think it's interesting that he comes up with this conclusion: "The Internet is not a separate place a person can go to from the real world. The Internet is the real world. Only faster."

It is faster...but is it real?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This Week's Business Week

In 2005, Business Week published a widely read article titled, "Blogs Will Change Your Business." It showcased the powers of bottom-up media, and described the inability of people against it to control the flow of information. In the June 2nd issue of Business Week, in a relevant and engaging article, Stephen Baker and Heather Green say that they may have been a bit naiive about the whole thing.
Click on the link, it's a great article!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brown Suits and Bright Apples

Walking through Grand Central, I saw a mid-60's executive in a tan suit working out of a tan lock, latches, and leather briefcase. Inside his case was a Macbook Air.

First it was the white earbuds, then it was the white plastic and brushed metal with lighted Apple logos across college campuses. Now, iPhones and Airbooks are becoming the chic and ubiquitous norm among the corporate set and the C-Suite; how?

Last week, eWeek released Apple's new sales numbers. Apple now has 66% of the market for new PC's in the >$1000 category; 64% of new laptops and 70% of new desktops (that's surprising). Ok, so if you want to be hip and trendy, you're going to have to do it by laser-etching or stickering your MacBook. But what it does mean is that the people at the top are adopting Macintosh as their platform of choice at an astronomical rate. It also means that Apple is refusing to compete in the commodity technology market. For those who have the impression that computers are supposed to cost over $1000, the only choice is apple. But for the majority of the world, where what matters most is access to technology, apple won't even be recognized.

In a world where high tech is ubiquitous, Apple will become the mark between the Have's and the Have Not's.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Parting Thoughts

In an e-mail to my father the other day, I vented about the stress of the coming two weeks –the tests, the papers, and the misery. His instantaneous reply was calming, a bit frustrating, and full of typical fatherly advice. “Son,” he typed, “let me remind you again of the words of the great John Wooden: ‘failing to prepare…’ “

I had heard this one a million times and finished the adage in my head: “is preparing to fail”.

I’ve been fond of this quote since the first time he recited it to me a few summers ago. I was in relentless pursuit of my college hockey dreams and paying the price to make them become a reality. How true it is, I thought to myself, that proper preparation brings you peace of mind.

Recently though, I’ve started to question the sage advice of the aging Coach Wooden. Could it be that in our present day and age of extreme convenience that hard work and preparation no longer carry the clout they used to? It seems that society today is overrun with shortcuts brought to us by new technologies. Students can now write a twenty-five page research paper in the time it used to take someone to obtain enough research material to write five; singers are voted to superstardom via text message voting on television shows; professional athletes use performance enhancing drugs and hit 73 home runs in a season.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is a wonderful thing. With advancements in pharmaceuticals, millions of lives are saved; Third World countries are pulled from the rungs of poverty; I’m able to maintain close relationships with my family and friends despite being thousands of miles away from them.

The problem is not that technology is advancing at a chaotic rate; it’s that society thinks it can keep up. Many of us, indulging in the age of convenience, feel smarter, more talented, and stronger than we actually are. My concern is that this will be met with complete and utter disillusionment.

Then again, there is some likelihood that we have past the point of no return. Can we be “saved,” and do we even want to be? Is this where fate has brought us? What is more important, more valuable –the minds creating and using new technology or the technology itself?

One thing is certain: we have to prepare for the coming changes accordingly. A professor once told me, “when it comes to planning let’s remember Noah –it wasn’t raining when he built the ark”. It may not have been raining, but there was a premonition of disaster, and the same is potentially true for the current state of culture and societal values. We know that we are undergoing immense change, though we are not yet sure if it is for worse or for better. Let’s err on the side of caution and prepare for the worse. Let’s visualize for the future and make use of the very tools responsible for “dumbing down” our culture to make it wiser and smarter. Let’s pursue Lee Siegel’s idealism of joining human nature and technology in matrimony.


Forced quiz in order to download

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Telescopes from your computer!

This is a cool idea that lets you view telescopic sights straight on your computer.
Unfortunately its for windows only right now

The dumbest generation?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Heart Warming Semester Revisited

In reading some more literature about e-commerce and consumerism, I've realized that the prediction that I made about e-commerce replacing Mom & Pop stores was a little fantastical. While the internet will capture many consumers, I think physical stores will still draw people out -- albeit in a smaller number than before.

Things Younger than John McCain

Can blogs like this really shape political debate?

It does have a nice layout ;)

Cablevision Strikes Deal to Buy Newsday

Big news for LI :)

Government 2.0

Identity Parade

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Obama Clinton Star Wars

From YouTube to the Television

A man takes a video of an struggle between lions, crocodiles, and buffalo. The mere grouping of these three animals makes most people want to see the video, never mind the fact that it involves a fight for survival as one buffalo calf is surrounded by a group of the two types of vicious predators. This is a video shot by a Texan named David Budzinski, while he was on a safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa. After he returned home he attempted to sell the video and was turned down by the major animal networks, National Geographic and Animal Planet. So instead of let it just sit on tape he posted it on YouTube; that video received over 30 million views! This prompted National Geographic to approach the amateur filmier and purchase the rights to the television broadcast, and will culminate in what is considered to be the first hour-long documentary based off a YouTube clip.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Social networking for kiddies

Heart-Warming Semester

There is no doubt that the internet is revolutionizing communication and commerce in a greater and different way than previous technological innovations (i.e. television, radio). The interactive nature of the internet and the levels of efficiency the internet has facilitated are what make it unique.
The internet’s potential in democratizing anything from commerce to politics means that in America, we will hold it near and dear. Throughout this semester, we have learned that there are pros and cons to increasing our reliance on the internet—a lack of transparency and security remain powerful deterrents to moving our lives online, yet the same lack of transparency is also a powerful tool in democratizing opinion and fostering discussion.
This heart-warming encapsulation of the semester is meant to apply what I have learned about the pros and cons of the internet towards a prediction of the future of the digital realm. I predict that problems with security and transparency will prevent us from moving politics online. I predict that the efficiency and low fixed costs of ventures online will attract businesses to the internet so that Mom & Pop stores will become obsolete. I predict that blogs will flourish and that a healthy balance of professional journalists and semi-professional journalists will be able to exist in harmony. I predict that the internet will negatively democratize art, diluting our perception of “talent.” I predict that the government will not regulate the internet, because it would ruin its revolutionary potential. Internet law will be minimal because it is near impossible to universalize what is “correct.” I predict that the internet is going to shift personal social interactions to social interactions online. I predict that social networks will both help keep people in contact and also cause them to move further apart.
The conclusion is clear: the internet will democratize everything—the question that hangs is this: When is it a good thing, and when should we steer clear of moving online?

The End of an Era

This semester I can honestly say that I now know more people are watching us then i ever thought. We have explored a variety of topics this semester from, online social networking, to intellectual property rights, and private companies collecting data on us like TIA or the Matrix. It was really interesting to see how the private technology sector has been pushed in such a way to make technology for snooping . The people told the government that it was not allowed to spy on us so the answer was to outsource the job to the private sector. This on reflection does make me a bit uneasy because it seems that the government, that is supposed to represent the peoples' will, just bypassed it with their decision to turn the job over to private entrepreneurs. Is this a way out of the checks and balances system that the founders simply couldn't foresee?
The lectures were interesting, except for the one that told me that I was wasting my money by going to a liberal arts institution rather than a more career focused school. "Don't Taze Me Bro" was something i had never seen before so this class also introduced me that and many other funny videos.
Having us blog for a grade was also an interesting practice that I had not experienced before. I enjoyed it as it allowed me to spend more time reading news stories instead of doing my other work.

All in all this was a great class and anyone would do well to take it simply for their own general knowledge in how technology and politics are playing together in this modern age.

Today, I Think I’ll Be Hippohead

Comcast’s Near-Unlimited Bandwidth Limits

The New Hacker Economics

Technology Group Plans Wireless Network

Next Right

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This Semester

Digital Politics (aka Digi) has opened my eyes to new technologies and schools of thought in the digital media that I had not previously realized existed. We are entering a new era of society, evolving completely around technology and we must be willing to respond to new issues as they arise.

Copyright laws need to change for the 21st century. There are ways for organizations to make profits without keeping individuals from using copyrighted materials or downloading music or movies illegally. The right answer is not making it more difficult for people to rip music and movies off the Internet, rather a peaceful coexistence needs to be created between the two groups.

The speakers we have had in class have been interesting and informative. Although Dan Nye may have a more optimistic view of LinkedIn than many critics have, his dedication to the company must be applauded. LinkedIn generally has a great idea for the future of social networking, and if they continue improving the site and expanding the options, I can see it as being just as successful as Facebook. Harris Miller made sweeping generalizations about post-secondary education, and I disagree with him on many of his points. Although career colleges may be useful for some people who do not wish to get much of a higher education, it is absolutely incorrect to say that they are the best option for the majority of the country. Stu Ingis was probably the most interesting of the speakers we have had this semester. Although I disagree with many of the philosophies some of the companies he represents in regards to Internet law, he seems to represent them well and has a knowledge in the subject far beyond many others.

All in all, I have learned more in this class about Web policy and issues than I ever knew existed. I think that the future of the Internet and social networks in particular looks wide open and it will be interesting to see how governmental and corporation policy will adapt to the new technologies the Internet allows.

Follow Up Link to the Previous Post

Is Facebooks Application Explosion Finally Starting to Let Up?

This article shows statistical data collected through various forums, as well as the actually starting up of new applications to show the clear slump that Facebook is going through with regards to designers creating new applications. The affects that this could have on the end users may be evident in the near future.

RECOUNT Movie Trailer

HBO’s upcoming made-for-TV movie "Recount" (premiering 5/25) revisits the chaos in Florida following the 2000 presidential election.

Free Wi-Fi, but Not for All

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How Much Does That Person On the Other Line Really Know?

As the increase in outsourcing of calls continues to rise to with an estimated $280 billion spent last year on such outsourcing centers, many have increased the technology that enables them get information on the caller. An example of this is "Cisco's voice-analysis system monitors parameters including volume, cadence, tone, pitch and inflection, and then sorts callers into six personality types to help agents fine-tune call handling." There is also the use of "context data" which takes into account various factors that are being put on the caller such as weather, the time of day, the location of the call, and recent transactions. This all is to provide the help centers with an increased ability to relate to the caller and allow for the customer to feel at ease. But is it going to far???

Can AM Radio Reign Again?

As satellite and radio starts to emerge one company hopes to take advantage of an already existing technology, but just adding a few key touches to give it a new found power. It is called Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)and is striving to become the "digital replacement for "for traditional long-, medium- and short-wave radio." The advantage of this is that it is relatively low cost, as you would only modify existing AM stations, and at the same time have a greater range than current FM stations. The new technology can allow for music to be heard as far as halfway across the world, this was exhibited in a recent test were transmissions from Europe were heard clearly in Australia. Only time will tell if this technology can hold its own against new-age competitors.

Wikipedia Struggles With What Direction It Should Go

A bitter battle is being fought on the internet today, more specifically on Wikipedia, between a group called "inclusionists" and another called "deletionists". The center of this debate is described in this Economist article as Wikipedia either striving "to encompass every aspect of human knowledge, no matter how trivial; or it can adopt a more stringent editorial policy and ban articles on trivial subjects, in the hope that this will enhance its reputation as a trustworthy and credible reference source." The real problem being if things are deleted, what kind of guidelines will be followed in this deletion? In the past Wikipedia's choice about what to keep and what to delete has come under scrutiny as the article describes. Which side are you on?


Don't forget to bring your laptop and headphones to class today. Thanks!

Google Seeks Open-Access Pledge From Verizon

Free Wi-Fi, but Not for All

Prepping Robots to Perform Surgery

Leading Indian Telecom Seeking Deal in South Africa

As the western powers decline the growing economies look for a new market.

T-Mobile Offers 3G in New York

quicker internet for NYC?

AT&T Welcomes Programmers for All Phones Except the iPhone

Why is Steve Jobs against creativity?

Turning Nonworking Gizmos Into Money

Get money or save the environment? answer is to do both.

Good News in the One Million Missing iPhones

Apparently Apple is finding the argument that the iphone sales themselves are doing the company a good profit. Granted the amount that they get from AT&T is a great revenue apple still benefits a lot from iphones being sold and their brand reinforced. This is another good argument for apple to step back from grouping with the AT&Ts of the world and allow the consumer more choice.

Where Are Those Million iPhones? Everywhere.

Apparently iphones are everywhere even though apple hasn't worked out plans to sell the iphone everywhere. The answer is that all of these phones have been unlocked and adapted to local service providers.

The i’s Have It: The BBC’s iPlayer on the iPhone

The $199 iPhone? Something’s Missing From the Picture

A cheaper iphone? the next generation iphone is coming out this summer and it seems like there might be a subsidy. Also a big part in this article was that apple is thinking about losing the old business model of getting monthly fees from AT&T and just selling phones. Unlocked phones would mean that people would be free to use them on any phone service.

Now in Play: AOL, Facebook and Many Others

Facebook is still the free radical online company but who else will get auctioned off to the "internet giants" in years to come ?

Google Ends Microsoft’s Yahoo Search

In analysis Google of course wins out from the whole situation. But they certainly played a role in the aborted merger

If You Use Outlook E-Mail, Meet Xobni

Monday, May 5, 2008

Could Mobile TV Work?

Does YouTube on your iPhone not cut it anymore to the point where watching mobile TV channels is necessary? People around the world have already started to suscribe to mobil TV broadcasts and channels. In Italy, people pay almost $30 to watch around a dozen TV channels. How far will this spread and will you give in?

Swapping Your TV for Your Computer?

Is your life so entertaining and full of enlightenment that your TV just simply isn't necessary? Is watching TV on your computer just as good? Is the internet too random? Too amateur?

How Does Campaign Merchandise Label Candidates?

The campaign retail stores of the recent candidates offer numerous amounts of merchandise. From the typical buttons and bumper stickers to the more unique polo shirts and clocks, McCain, Clinton, and Obama demonstrate their ways of including everyone. While the merchandise may not unveil any hidden value or purpose of a candidate, it shows how campaign strategy focuses around culture conformity. A candidate wants to reach out to various groups of people who are from all walks of life. The typical saying of "quality over quantity" still resonates around these merchandising techniques. Design critics are able to describe Obama and Clinton as focused on the working class and that McCain broadens his inventory by offering "lesiure-class items" such as sailing jackets. The critics of this article feel that the accessory department of the candidate's inventory reveals the most. With such everyday tools like rulers and ice scraper, it seems that Obama's 'hope bracelet' offers the most sentimental value. These three candidates demonstrate various levels of merchandising technique and while some feel that it really does not give one an edge over the other, a strategy is a strategy. Each candidate tries to target people who are going to show undying support as well as trying to swing confused voters. At the end of the day, a McCain sailing jacket over a Clinton "I'm your girl" button is not going to be the end all be all decision of a voter, but it certainly grasps people's attention.

Cookie monster

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Technology?

Nanontechnology + Phones = Morph

watch this video on the nokia morph. Its not something we will see for a while but its still a crazy way to think about how phones could be in a 5-10 years. To see it in action use this url to watch the video.

The Next Sweet Phone

Spam reaches 30-year anniversary

Cuba allows for home computers

Since fidel has left office a new set of reforms has been implemented one of which being the allowing of personal; computers at home. Unfortunately the computers cost quite a bit more than the average salary in cuba. Also the internet is not able to be accessed for a couple reasons. The first is that Cuba cannot connect to the underwater fiber optics wires from the US because of the long standing US trade embargo. The second option which would be satellite is too expensive and there is not a lot of bandwidth to go around. Venezuela is apparently laying down wires as well for internet and maybe Cuba can connect to them but it is still one more example of how the US is losing out on a market that is so close to their shores. The question also remains if the people of cuba will be allowed to access the net once the opportunity to do so arises. Currently only work places and schools are allowed access.

BBC exposes Facebook flaw

Microsoft and Yahoo The End?

Microsoft says that it is finally giving up its bid for yahoo. Ever since they first put in a bid Yahoo has said that microsoft undervalued their company. Now microsoft is saying that it wouldnt make sense for them to acquire Yahoo anymore because of things that the CEO would do to the company before they could take it over. Instead microsoft will go it alone on web advertising and try to compete with the giant of google. What is interesting is that apparently yahoo started talking to google and other firms about possible mergers but it found out that there would be a lot of problems if it attempted to merge with google since that would be 90% of the ad market under one name.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Is Lawrence Lessig the next Reverend Wright (and a Communist, and a qualsi-socialist, and...)

Will Lawrence Lessig and the Free Culture movement become a political liability?

Ever since Lawrence Lessig emerged into the public sphere, there have been whispers among fringe critics that his ideology is just info-communism, but it looks like the innovators over at Red State have managed to create a new charge against Lessig: anti-christian.

It all started with a Keynote. As part of Lawrence Lessig's iconic Free Culture talks, there's a montage of clips showing off some of the funniest moments of remix culture, including video from the left, the right, and the absurd. Several months ago, as he wound down his focus on Free Culture, and prepared to shift his focus to the corruption of political culture, he began to add several more videos to this series, including a short film by "guerilla filmmaker" Javier Brato featuring Jesus in a diaper lipsyncing Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and well...

This video has been in many of his most recent talks, including his talk in the Authors @ Google series, the footage of which (of course) was put up on YouTube.

Enter Barack Obama. Obama used to teach Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School along with Lawrence Lessig, who began teaching at UChicago after clerking for the legendary jurist (and fellow Chicago faculty member) Richard Posner. In addition to advocating for Free Culture, network neutrality, and a host of other tech-centric policies, Lessig has recently become one of the most vocal supporters of Barack Obama, releasing a series of videos on his support of Barack Obama (which lay out some of the most interesting intellectual arguments in support of any candidate I've ever seen).

Lessig has become a pretty high profile public intellectual, particularly in the technology, and his support of Obama only has elevated Lessig further.

On April 21st, RedState, a conservative blog network, made a high profile post about Lessig, his support for Google and Obama, and his "anti-christian stance", which also immediately urged readers to call the Senate Commerce Committee and ask them to stop Lessig from testifying on network neutrality the next day (this tactic, which I frankly consider to be brilliant, deserves a post in its own right).

Could this be the start of a new trend - quite possibly. The following week, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a right-leaning technology policy think tank released a report entitled Tragedy and Farce: An Analysis of the Book Free Culture (and a fantastically titled accompanying press release: "Free Culture" Akin to "Quasi-Socialist Utopianism"), charging that Lessig advocates that the United States should move to a Soviet Union style system for information policy, and promising that this is merely the opening salvo in their criticism of Lessig's works.

Could this be the intellectual run-up to halt Lessig's Change Congress project? Perhaps, though it's more likely that it's a growing movement designed to curb Lessig's influence on shaping tech industry policy as a whole, not to tie him to the Obama campaign and try to use him to sink the ship.

Additional coverage:

Ars Technica - Lessig, Google, Obama, and Jesus: a net neutrality mash-up

Ars Technica - Is Lessig's Free Culture Just a Modern Das Kopyright?

Netroots miffed by candidates appearing on Fox

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WB Network to Return as a Web Site

Does online video threaten the net

This question is once more arisen about the worries of overloading the internet with tons of streaming video. Some of the ISPs say that they have talked about it for years so clearly its not something that they were unprepared for. One of our class article authors comments in this piece. I think part of the answer to this problem is the government sponsoring more network building if thats what the people demand.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Long Tail

Stu Ingis talked about this when he visited...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Update on Comcast and the FCC

The Senate Commerce Committee met today with the main idea being "The Future of the Internet", they argued (mainly democrats) for "passage of a law designed to prohibit broadband operators from creating a "fast lane" for certain Internet content and applications." This proposal was met with resistance by (and obviously) the cable industry, Republicans, and the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The chairman has noted that their is no need for such legislation as "He repeatedly cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Brand X decision that, in his judgment, stated that the FCC has legal authority to "adopt any rules we deem necessary to adequately protect consumers' broadband rights." Larry Lessig, an expert on the topic and author of multiple books relating to such calls for laws which are "minimal and clear as possible".

Splanwiki Dies In Early Infancy

Splanwiki, seen below on the left during happier times, died last week.

Published: April 22, 2008

The failed ‘wiki’ exercise with great promise met its tragic demise last week.

Splanwiki was the brainchild of Professor Theodore Eismeier’s Digital Politics minions at the esteemed Hamilton College in Central New York. A byproduct of the College’s “Strategic Plan,” Splanwiki hoped to provide an avenue for the college community to chart the college’s future through use of the ever-growing phenomenon, the wiki.

Hamilton College engages in the development of five-year strategic plans to steer vision and development of the College. Following the completion of the 2002 Strategic Plan in 2007, the college began the development of a new five year plan in 2008. Splanwiki was the attempt by dedicated students of the Government department to provide a convenient medium for their tech-savvy peers to voice concerns and visions –be it changes in residential life, academic prospectus, or stir-fry in a cup.

Information Technology Guru Dave Riordan birthed Splanwiki.com after purchasing a seven-dollar domain name and quickly transferring previously accumulated material from an older database. Mr. Riordan’s colleague, Bo Armstrong, created the face of Splanwiki that still makes our hearts patter today.

After a trying whisper campaign, Splanwiki was revealed to the Hamilton Community in early April 2008. The site had several hundred hits on its first day, and with the fine contributions of intellectuals like Samuel Reisen, Christopher Risi, Jenna Cohen, Jacob Kleinrock, Sanjana Nafday, Andrew Small, and Jonathan Wilson, the online Strategic Planning Wiki was on course to be a groundbreaking innovation. Splanwiki even received acclaim from the notorious blogger “The Jaded Gentleman” on contmag.com, Hamilton College’s quarterly magazine that has recently ventured online.

Sadly, Splanwiki endured a horrendous twist of fate. Within days of its public launch, visits to the site plummeted, bounce rates sky-rocketed, and material was severely lacking. Splanwiki’s death was announced on April 10, 2008; lack of interest was cited as the cause.

Splanwiki is survived only by the spirit and dedication put forth by the students of Digital Politics 389.


Myspace teams up with NBC news.

Nokia Signs Sony BMG for Free Music Offering

Someones worried on the other side of the pond

Looks like the English are actually taking note of o'harrow's message.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why no conservative Move-on?

Comcast Caught Slowing Down a Download ... of the Bible?

Recently Comcast was caught by an Associated Press reporter, who was running as test to see if the company would actually slow his peer-to-peer file transfer. When checked it was found out that it did indeed slow the transfer. The article goes on to explain peer-to-peer transfer as enabling "computers to snatch music, data and video files from other computers. To assemble one file, a peer-to-peer service can tap into dozens, or even hundreds, of computers around the world." Also stating that they take up about half of all web traffic. Comcast is defending it's action stating that traffic was to high on the network and the "throttling back" of the peer-to-peer transfer was a network management technique. Yet it exposes a company in the act of slowing transfers and not only that but Comcast has allowed itself the ability to slow transfers whenever it sees fit as the article shows.

A Web Shift in the Way Advertisers Seek Clicks

Optimism and the digital world

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Facebook Gets a Leg Up in Going Global

Using a concept called "collaborative translation", a technique common amongst open-source programming, Facebook is translating its site so that it may be used in languages such as "Japanese, Turkish, Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch to join versions in Spanish, French and German that launched this year". In order to do this translation Facebook has enlisted users to provide the information through an application that helps guide them in the translations. "More than 100,000 users have installed Facebook's translation application. Nearly 10,000 helped translate the French, Spanish and German sites -- the Spanish version in less than four weeks and the German one in two weeks." With the use of this application Facebook has enabled itself the ability to open itself up to new markets at almost zero cost, as its users provide the labor in a process that only increases the value of the site itself.

AT&T Gives a Gloomy View of Future

Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T, recently spoke at a conference in London in which he talked about the future of internet capacity. He points out that the internet is evolving in a direction which will demand more and more video's, rising from 30% of the content today to 80% of the content in 2010 according to his own estimates. He suggests that in order to fill this demand "at least $55 billion worth of investment was needed in new infrastructure in the next three years in the U.S. alone, with the figure rising to $130 billion to improve the network worldwide." How much of this cost will be put upon the consumer remains to be seen.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

lessig and comcast

For some reason it said that my url had illegal characters so go to bbc.com and clin on the news tab link and type in the name of the story "Action urged to keep net neutral"

The first 21st century campaign?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Scale of Security

The correct balance between security and civil liberties has always been a contentious weight to determine – especially for the United States, paragon of freedom that it is. As our country and society get progressively more liberal, we will begin to seriously question the government’s right to invade our privacy based only on a sneaking suspicion of our delinquency. I can’t say what the majority’s opinion will be—and this is what will eventually turn into what future generations see as “history”—but I can speak for myself when I say that I honestly don’t think the government was too out of line. I am completely willing to sacrifice certain civil liberties in favor of personal and national security. After all, what good are rights if you’re not there to enjoy them?

At the same time, I don’t think abusing the power too much is appropriate. The Patriot Act, while invasive and ineffective, could be potentially beneficial. My problem with it, though, is the lack of transparency when the government used/abused the power the act gave them. Fine…go ahead and tap my phone—just tell me that you are! There are obviously certain limitations of what the government should be allowed to do in terms of providing security, and I think the current administration has stayed within that limit. I only ask that if we do have to sacrifice our liberties that we should get something in return. Another attack would be sorely disappointing.

Here’s my bottom line: I don’t mind giving up certain liberties in order to ensure my safety, so long as I am aware of the specific liberties that I am sacrificing. Transparency is key. Further, if I am willing to give up liberties, I should get compensated for it. The government should be able to asses how much an invasion of our liberties is going to pay off in the end. If the pay off is low, then I would be unwilling to part with my liberty. However, if giving the government access to information (not very personal information like credit card numbers, etc.), will really help them “nab that terrorist,” then I would be more than willing to part with that information.

Breeding websites

Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter

Larger Prey Are Targets of Phishing

Comcast’s Concession to Net Neutrality

Warning on Storage of Health Records

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Website Makes Suing Easy

Now you can find a lawyer to help you sue easier online. Whats next, the "e-Supreme Court?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The role of blogger in Bittergate

Smaller Companies Use Blogging to Their Advantage

In today's Wall Street Journal an article explains how smaller companies use the blogging world in order to pitch their products. The primary goal is to reach out to particular influential blogs which could extremely benefit the sales of the company's product. There are certain websites and other free tools that allow a company to discover those bloggers within their industry and to also find out what those bloggers are actually writing. Overtime, bloggers have formed a credible sense of trust with their readers. If an important and influential blogger has something positive to say about a specific product, the readers of that blog will trust him. While the goal is to reach the most influential blogger, it is not always best to attack them first. By working your way up from the bottom, it will be easier to reach the more important bloggers.

There are three important steps to reaching such a level. First, each blog has a general topic of which they focus on. The more specific to your product a blog is, the more press your product will receive. Secondly, it is important to understand what, if anything, has been said about your product in the past. With previous, positive posts, your company has a good foundation to work from. If there are negative posts, the company knows to get their side of the story on paper in order to dissuade other readers from such posts. Most importantly, a company wants to become familiar with the blog comments about their company. If a blogger sees that you read and even post some blogs of your own, that blogger sees that you are truly interested and care about your product.

For smaller companies, getting involved in a blog can be a great benefit.

Digital Graffiti

A Latino Perspective of Net Neutrality

A short Letter to the Editor explaining why net neutrality does not work for everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will the internet help kill us?

NYS Hit's up the Internet Market

Recently the State Legislature put into action a new, but possibly traumatic tax provision with regards to internet commerce. Sites such as Amazon under this new law have until the " June 1 deadline for out-of-state sellers to register with the state and start collecting taxes. The state is threatening that those companies that don’t comply could be subject to audits and bills for back taxes, according to the New York Post." The implications of the "third most populous" state changing this law offers scary effects for sites such as Amazon, and the reaction to this legislative maneuver will likely be seen in the near future.

Obama Let's It Slip

On April 6th Obama let slip this statement, “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The author of this article is the New York Times Op-Ed colunmist William Kristol who analyzes the meaning behind this statement, and further speaks of what this could mean with regards to his policies.

MySpace and Record Labels Combine Forces

MySpace pairs with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony BMG Music Entertianment to challenge Apple Inc. and its iTunes.

A New Business Model for Facebook

Possible Expansion of MySpace? Could it Work?

Ancient history discovered on a virtual reality treadmill

Crazy piece of virtual reality tech

The Importance of Major Record Deals?

Yahoo + Aol + .5Google - tech division = Sucess?

Yahoo is still trying to evade capture by the powerful software company microsoft. It is talking to its rival AOL about merging and for 2 weeks it is using google's ads next to its search to perhaps show its viability as an online advertiser. The author of the article still sees yahoo as being badly run as the main reason it has its back up against the wall currently. But one thing he does advocate is the removal of one of its 2 divisions that yahoo has stood on for so long. Its technology dept. I cant really think of the last time yahoo came out with a big cool piece of tech but doing so would truly put it into the online media category.

Subscription iTunes

In the April edition of the Rolling Stone magazine:

"Apple is in talks with at least one of the major record companies about launching a subscription version of the iTunes music store, according to a label source. The service would allow iPod users unlimited access to the iTunes catalog for a monthly fee or a one-time surcharge."

Memory devices > Copyright?

With IBM having invested so much in new storing devices (through which we could see ipods being able to hold 500,000 songs) I wonder how information is going to be regulated?

You people

According to WSJ editorial on net neutrality below, about 5% of users on Comcast network use 70% of the bandwidth.

No Anti-Piracy For the EU

EU ministers voted against banning persistent file sharers from the internet. Some called such a ban as a gross violation of ones civil liberties. This rejection of anti-piracy bans is interesting because although it means there will be no blanket policy for the EU it does not mean that there will not be any anti-privacy legislation in the separate countries. At this point it has simply been left up to th countries to make this decision individually. I find it interesting that the EU did not pass this legislation perhaps it shows a slight lean to the copy left? or maybe it might provide more justification for the copy left in the US?

Hardships and Triumphs of the Blogger World

An article in the April 10 edition of the New York Times illustrated the blogging lifestyle through the eyes of a blogging leader. Heather Armstrong, one of the nation's top parenting bloggers, has seen several advantages and disadvantages to her blogging life. Ranked #59 on the internet's top 100 blogs, her Dooce.com blogging site has become the primary money maker within her home. While her success is hard to deny, Mrs. Armstrong has been greatly effected.

Keeping a blog "fresh and topical" is critical to the maintenance of a blogging site. After 7 years of constant posting, Mrs. Armstrong certainly suffers from different levels of writer's block on certain occassions. While a lot of bloggers attempt to leave a gap of personal distance, Mrs. Armstrong has often written about her 4 year old daughter, fights with her parents or her husband, and so on. Because of the subject matter of some of her posts, hate mail is inevitable. Hate mail has driven her so far up the wall that she has reached a level of literally printing out the emails and driving them over with her car again and again. The hate mail will continue, but her extravagant pieces also create a bond with her readers that is quite strong. For example, a story as simple has removing a racoon from her chimney attracted more than 500 comments. Furthermore, estimates have been made that shows Dooce.com raking in as much as $40,000 a month due to advertisements.

Having experienced troubles when writing about such personal stories of her family, Mrs. Armstrong has reached a point where she tries to no longer focus specific family mishaps. She understands that a particular boundary needs to be in place in order for her to maintain a lucrative blogging atmosphere as well as a happy and working family. All in all, even with her different troubles of the past, Mrs. Armstrong feels that blogging is a perfect outlet and that she is thrilled to continue as a leading blogger.

Surefers beware

Although this is an old topic it still seems to be relevant and more so today with increased web usage. Topic: Hackers

Beaming Online Services Toward Blacks

He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work)

Author of Harry Potter Series to Testify Against Copyright Infringement

J.K. Rowling makes a fair arguement against "free culture." This article notes that she is a fan of the Harry Potter Lexicon's free website but that she has to draw the line at publishing the website material in a book and charging for it. She feels the book would be "nothing more than a rearrangement" of her own material.

The Makers of Hillary 4 U and Me Revealed

“I believe the YouTube era begins the age when it is impossible to tell parody/irony/performance art from completely sincere product.” -- Eschaton Blog

I think this is what frustrates critics like Lee Siegel and Andrew Keen.

Film piracy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

CBS Said to Consider Use of CNN in Reporting

CBS may start outsourcing reporting jobs to CNN reporters to save on costs. Perhaps I was wrong, maybe the era of actual reporters is ending.

NYTIMES: OK GO lead singer on Net Neutrality

'Free Culture' as copyright bible

I was surprised that 'Free Culture' by Lawrence Lessig was such a bench mark book for copyright activists in Universities because I did not find the book to be very intellectual. I agree with many of his points but like prof Eismeier said, the book is basically a compilation of anecdotes about copyright related problems. Maybe it is just me (and after reading about the free culture movement it seems like it is) but Lessig doesn't seem to be the best reference book to use when creating a powerful argument for why copyright laws need to be loosened or changed. Of the books we've read I think I would probably refer to Benkler before Lessig. Benkler's book was very dry and lacking the plethora of fun anecdotes that Lessig's had but it seemed to be much more grounded in facts and hard arguments.

Students for Free Culture

Dave, did they leave out your bio by accident? hahaha.

The Campaign Against Fair Use

(via /.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fantasy baseball

Take me out to the ballgame! On second thought, leave me at my computer so I can check my fantasy stats. I hate fantasy sports.

What would Lessig say?

I thought this contest illustrates, to an extent, the kind of creativity that Lessig thinks would flourish in a truly "free culture."

I have a ton of questions about the way this contest relates to Lessig. Do these ads exemplify Walt Disney creativity? Do they represent a kind of creativity that can only exist because of the technology available in the information age? Are these ads illegal? If these creators did not get permission to use these products in their art, does that prove that Manes was correct when he claimed that it doesn't really matter whether it is technically a "free culture" or a "permission culture" because people break the rules anyway? And why the ban on iphones and ipods?


Power of Information

Interesting report from UK.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Should Frost Jr., Jr. See Dollar Bills?

As Sam pointed out to me after class, I had a lot more to say about intellectual property and the philosophical concerns about rights to that property the first time we broached the topic.

Before reading Lessig, I didn’t see the distinction between intellectual property and physical property—why should they be treated differently? I used to think that if Robert Frost wanted his descendants to profit from his work, then he should definitely have the right to copyright his material for generations because his creation should be disseminated at his discretion.

After reading Lessig, I started to change my mind (At which point Jonathan told me I was a flip-flopper and could never run for President). Intellectual property is an abstract—the words of Robert Frost’s poems don’t have inherent value. They came out of his own head for free. On the other hand, a pearl necklace, someone’s family heirloom did have value when it was created.

Then I thought about it even further, and realized that the pearl necklace only had value because of the value society places on pearls! Robert Frost’s poetry, similarly, gains value only because he is a well respected poet, and his work has a high potential value.

In handing both intellectual or physical property over to the public domain, a consumer surplus for the goods is created!!

At the same time, if both were placed in the public domain after x amount of years, the family losing the pearl necklace suffers not only the loss of its potential market value, but they also lose the initial investment value. Robert Frost’s family would only suffer the loss of potential gain.

So in the end, there is a difference, but there isn’t and it’s all a muddle and I’m desperately confused as to the philosophical solution to this quandary.

Ed Markey Holds Hearing In Second Life. Seriously.

Speaking of Invention...

Given our discussion of intellectual property and copyrights (not to mention Lessig's refrences to Edison's phonograph), I found this recent discovery amusing. The "Phonautograph" was discovered 20 years before Edison's phonograph.

has strikingly resemblences to this:

Does it not? It definitely resembles this:

Then again, what about this?

Listen to the pre-Edison sound recording here (you may not be impressed). On another note, how many copyrights did I infringe on by using these images?

Cory Doctorow on Personal Copyrights

Cory Doctorow is one of the brightest copyright and digital policy activists out there. A true renaissance man, Cory's a novelist, been the European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the ACLU of the internet), the Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy at USC, and one of the best public speakers for the copyleft.

Talk About a Zealot...

From our limited reading, Manes appears to oppose Lessig more adamantly than Lessig does current copyright law. His sarcastic reproach of Lessig's ideals only softens his arguement. Fighting fire with fire only makes for a conflagaration. (That said, I do appreciate Manes' provokative journalism and venomous pen).

I admire Manes' dedication to covering advancing technology, but I'm afraid Lessig's strong background rooted in a Stanford law education does warrant his liberal ideology concerning copyright law (this isn't an elitist thought, although something tells me Manes, clearly offended by Lessig's reference to him as a "mere 'technology writer'," may see it as such). Lessig, though perhaps a wacky, over-enlightened idealist, is no moron. But neither is the well-informed Manes.

Unfortunately, I can't side with Lessig over Manes or Manes over Lessig. I'm indeed a bit off-put by Lessig's "grand wish" that just about everything be put in the public domain, but I feel stranded by Manes who offers more questions and quips than solutions to the issue at hand (in fact, he even questions whether modern copyright law is even as "onerous" as Lessig pretends). So while I admire each man for being able to take such a single sided stance, I feel tarred and feathered while straddling the fence seperating the "Emerald City of Palo Alto" from what Manes believes to be the rest of the country.

I like that Lessig values "tinkering" as a major part of the creative process, and I have (somewhat passively) come to accept his philosophy of a "rip,mix, and burn" culture. Then again, I'm not blind to Lessig's "sound-bite mastery," and I agree with Manes that "Lessig preemptively calls his opponets radicals when he's the one who's throwing the bombs."

I agree to an extent with Manes that Lessig's assault on copyright "largely helps a ragtag bunch of gleaners who claim that copying is 'creativity' because they can't create anything without directly reusing copyrighted material." I do not, however, agree with him that "copyright largely works fine." When it comes to this stuff, it is shades of grey wherever I go. The more I find out the less that I know. Black and white is how it should be, but shades of grey are the colors I see.

That final jaunt comes from a Billy Joel song. I probably should have put it in quotes so as not infringe on any copyright, but I didn't. According to Manes, "nobody ever seems to sue in cases of plagarism."

***As an additional note, Holland's critique of Lessig and the Copy Left, though not as amusing to read, has more to offer. Perhaps this is because there is no rift between the two of them. Nonetheless, he precisely points out that the abolition of copyright "deadens motivation" despite being "public spirited." ***

"It's the lack of respect that hurts the most" -- Norm MacDonald

Just a thought: would we be less likely to miss our blog/paper chats if they were held in Second Life?

I hope not, Second Life weirds me out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jay-Z and Live Nation Alliance as New Model for Music Sales

I posted this article on APP blog first by accident... call me crazy, but I think it is much more appropriate for HamTech

Google's April Fools for 2008

Some of these were pretty good...


Will this "youtube for intellectuals" fly?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Taking things too in context

If a tree falls on Twitter, is there still a forest to be seen?

The rise of contemporary technology journalism has been principally a celebration of rapid innovation. Rapid innovation is worth celebrating, worth sharing, and worth discussing, but should these be done so rapidly?

The core problem lies in the way we process and synthesize information. There is a belief that the more information one has, the better a decision will be. Knows more = smarter = better decisions. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Unfortunately, when you don't know specific information, you don't know how much you don't know. However, the more information you have, the more confident you are in the assertion that your decision or position is correct. When you don't have the knowledge, you can't make the prediction and you know you can't make the prediction, however, when you have some information, you think you can make the prediction, even if you can't. It's this hubris, this overconfidence in believing one is right because they already know so much, that lends itself to bad decision making because of this overconfidence of precision (this is all straight of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's masterwork The Black Swan). In other words, information overload not only makes it harder for us to process more information, it makes us bad decisionmakers.

Now what does this have to do with the internet? Take a look at my Twitter feed - these are the conversations I'm supposed to be following as they're going on. There are about 100 people who are all talking in short snippets on what they're thinking about. It's incredible for what it is, and in the communities it's become ubiquitous in, it's really been transformative as a conversation tool for understanding what's going on now.

Twitter has also been incredibly transformative as a tool in less free environments, but that's the subject of a different, more optimistic, post.

There are some people who approach tools like Twitter with the expectation that they should follow every conversation and posting in real time. All day, every day, short "tweets" pop up on their desktops, their phones, and they have to be a part of the conversation 24/7. They get lost in the sea of messages, and their real-life relationships suffer. Take this to the next level. Lets not track conversations, lets track people, and lets see what they're doing online. Social network service aggregators make it easy to see all your friends online activities in one place. Tools like FriendFeed and SocialThing make it simple to see what everyone's doing, but it quickly scales into chaos. Take a look at Robert Scoble's FriendFeed. Scoble follows 16,000 people this way, somehow managing to see what's new and cool before everyone else as a result. But Scoble's the exception. Information overload removes context, making it harder to derive meaning.

Ultimately, getting lost in the sea of irrelevant information makes it more difficult for the rapid innovation that much of the discussion is supposed to be celebrating in the first place.

Yahoo's new site for women

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Juicy Campus

We discussed this briefly in class at one point...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yahoo and MySpace join with Google

Yahoo, MySpace, and Google come together to create the OpenSocial Foundation so their programs can be used with a variety of social networking sites.

Obama and the coming of the digital presidency?

Justice approves Sirius-XM merger

I hope merger happens soon, so I can get NFL games next fall.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Survivor technologies

Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out

Companies such as Earthlink are stopping their efforts to make entire cities wireless, such as Philadelphia.

China orders video Web sites to close

The poor Chinese are missing out on the "Don't Tase Me Bro" videos as well as many more!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama speech dominates youtube


Lessig's reform movement.

Newsweek - 1995: The Internet? Bah!

Money quotes:

Then there's cyberbusiness. We're promised instant catalog shopping--just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't--the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

and of course

Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper...

Guess we've been wrong all these years.  Someone tell the New York Times that they don't have to worry about their business model.  Oh and Amazon, don't you think it's time you've thrown in the towel.

(via Waxy)

Truthiness in a post-fact society?

Interesting new book.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Facebook and viral marketing of news

Reinventing Security

Eric Chiappinelli from the Seattle University school of law wrote an incredible piece back in 1992 on redefining the notions of "security" to form a genuine public interest.

Here's the abstract:
The traditional test for evaluating whether a particular investment vehicle is covered under the securities law is in dire need of reform. Under the traditional test, coverage turns entirely on the private needs of private investors rather than on the public needs of the national securities markets. Considerations of the American capital formation and secondary trading markets or those markets' ability to compete in foreign markets remain untouched. The introduction of more sophisticated investment vehicles provides an opportunity to amend the traditional analysis to better address the broader public interest. Considerations of the national markets can be integrated harmoniously into the traditional analysis for the purposes of making securities coverage determinations. Adding a public interest component to the test would provide a useful supplement to the traditional approach. This article analyzes the current approach; moving through a discussion of how the Supreme Court determines what is and what is not a security before delving into the deficiencies of the current approach. An expanded calculus that includes a public interest test is needed so that capital formation, secondary trading markets, and issues of market regulation are explicitly considered. A public interest test is entirely consonant with the traditional touchstones of congressional intention and prior case law. On multiple occasions Congress has acted by amendment to bring a portion of the financial markets under greater regulation in order to protect the public interest. This article illustrates that in the absence of the public interest calculus the traditional test is insufficient. It is therefore important that the courts consider the larger, national implications of securities coverage through the application of a public interest test.
I'd be interested in hearing Bruce Schneider's take on this.

(via Lawrence Solum)

RFID Security - A Guide to Telling Campus Safety That You're The President of Hamilton College

RFID is inherently insecure, yet we're putting so much data into Passive RFID systems, including such innocuous things as clothing product (like Wal-Mart is trying to do), physical access technologies and credit card data.

What's interesting is that some of the most virulent opposition to RFID has been from religious groups, asserting RFID is the mark of the beast.

Apple mulls unlimited music bundle

Where is Wikipedia Headed for in the Future?

As Wikipedia grows how, or will it limit the type of content that is posted on it in order to increase its legitimacy. There are two camps in this struggle, described by The Economist as " “inclusionists”, who believe that applying strict editorial criteria will dampen contributors' enthusiasm for the project, and “deletionists” who argue that Wikipedia should be more cautious and selective about its entries." The question is who will win out, and more importantly who should?

Facebook Update

Facebook looks to update its site, users will have new privacy settings allowing the "ability to preserve social distinctions between friends, family and co-workers online." according to the site. This will allow users to make different levels of access based on distinctions they make as to who fits in what group. This is a pivotal step for Facebook in allowing its users to control their privacy settings to an even greater extent.

The FCC Conducts the Most Lucrative Government Auction in History

Wireless companies recently bid more than $19 Billion dollars in an effort to buy valuable rights to radio spectrum licenses, yielding twice the amount that experts had estimated. This is seen as a crucial step in opening the tightly held market on wireless devices.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NYT Blog, The Caucus

The Caucus is the NYT blog on politics. It works a little differently than most blogs in that the author of the article is a professional journalist. I feel the NYT Blog works a little better than most traditional blogs because it brings a greater number of informed people into the discussion (the NYT probably gets more hits than most blogs on politics - also, we can assume that those posting read the news on somewhat of a regular basis).

Techno thrillers

John Twelve Hawks' novels, The Traveler and The Dark River, are part of a trilogy about the surveillance society. The Tabula, an ancient secret group, is trying to use technology to establish a "virtual panopticon," where everything we do is monitored. Only the mystical Travelers, protected by Harlequins, can save the world.

State of the Media 2008

Emphasizes the disconnect between news and advertising.

Net tracking

Sunday, March 16, 2008

An Interesting Website...

I typed in "politics digital" into Google and found an interesting website run by a "semi-professional" journalist [refer to article link posted below], Colin Delany. He introduces himself towards the end of the about page in a manner which exposes the ease with which semi-professionals can launch successful ventures : " The great thing about running a website is that you get to appoint yourself an expert. So, poof! I’m an expert." But does this "poof" mindset translate into universal success for the masses? Delany would disagree. According to him, many people host pages on the internet devoted to political discursion, but very few use this information to bring about tangible changes in politics.

The other interesting part of his website:
The other interesting part of this website is what Delany thinks are the five ways to use the internet effectively in campaigning. I thought his point about relentlessly morphing political stratagems was original. It is true that many candidates running for office launch websites, but for many, the wonders of the internet fail to manifest monetarily. Perhaps these candidates need to go the extra mile - it is not only about having a website up there somewhere, but about creating one that is engaging, effective and informative.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

IT in 2008

Interesting post about which technologies have had the biggest effect in campaigns.

Will video cause internet taffic jam?

An argument against net neutrality?

Going for the gold

The gold mouse report is certainly an interesting article. In rating the different web sites of various elected officials such as senators and congressmen they have several criteria that are used that I think do truly matter for freedom of information reasons. The people are supposed to be able to access how their elected officials have voted and what they have voted and not voted on. If a website is not kept up to date and has information from a year ago (as some of them apparently do) this process is blocked. Another huge factor that is a necessity is a search engine for their webpages. How else is the average citizen supposed to be able to navigate through a website and find bills or resolutions that have been associated with their representatives. I found it interesting that senate web pages did much better than congressional ones. Another interesting fact was that Democrats web sites got higher grades in 2007 after getting majorities in both houses, (as slim as it is) than when republicans got the majority in the legislature in in the 90s. The book points out that this might have happened because of the websites being already established previously and the only work that was done was simple modernization revisions installing some web tools like search engines. A lot of what scores highly seems to be aesthetic value such as looking professional with high definition pictures for a background homepage. Some of the other categories are more necessary such as ease of navigation, access to representative's activities, press clippings, press releases etc. The article says that the results overall are disappointing but i see this again simply as a product of the different generations in power. Many staffers are not web experts and that job has to be outsourced to consultants which can increase the time needed to update web pages (having an overall negative affect) Many generations are now growing up with the internet, (most of generation y) and when or if they decide to go into public service this problem will most likely be solved to a much greater extent as they will have invaluable knowledge as to the most efficient ways to use the internet. Government websites should continue to work towards Golden mouse awards as that will truly ensure that citizens will be connected to the political process and further motivate participation in elections.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Google Maps finally hits a roadblock

The pentagon has stopped google maps from mapping the insides of military bases in the US after images on google maps of the inside of Fort Sam Houston army base were discovered. They claim that it presents serious security concerns. To be honest im surprised it took them this long to try and stop google maps.

Tracking your surfing

People vs. advertising tracking winner: the people (currently)

nanobots + Mind control > Disease?

This is just crazy

Are newspapers doomed?

Steiger's article seemed to be a very straight forward Journalism piece about how profits have been dropping away from the major newspapers for years. He seems to be nostalgic for an age of journalism that was booming and ruthless. The journalists that uncovered major scandals in Washington, and not some sex fling with an intern. Again, this is difficult for me because I feel that I hear about the ages of yore and how amazing everything was. I don't know how vigorous the news used to be in making sure the Presidential administration was keeping their noses clean, but it doesn't seem to be that way anymore.

Though the big new corps aren't reeling in the profits like they once were, many of them are more profitable but on more realistic scales. I think that the internet will prove to be a boon to Journalism once the news corporations realize/discover how to use it to its maximum benefit. In fact I feel the same way about the TV corporations in this regard. They have been fighting tooth and nail with the internet to prevent their content from being downloaded. As we have seen with the music industry, that isn't a battle that can be won. No matter how many politicians and computer programers they have in the battle, every kid with a laptop becomes their enemy. This seems to be Kessler's point in way. These corporations have to be capable of changing or they won't last in the new internet market. Why should I watch a show on NBC at whatever time they feel like I should, when I could watch it anytime I want online? Why not instead post these shows online along with ads (which is a technique that NBC is using).

Both of the articles we read seem to be dealing with the fact that corporations need to embrace this new technology instead of fighting it. Not look at it as something that will eat into their profits but as a way of expanding their market and thus increasing their profits.

Blogs Are To Fast-Food Joints Like Newspapers Are To 5-Star Restaurants

Compromising Fact and Fiction: The Threat Blogs Pose to Journalism

Sergei Dovlatov was a Russian novelist and journalist who practiced under the Soviet Regime until he moved himself and his family to New York City when he was 38. His book The Compromise, published the year of his death (1990), gave great insight to the artistry of journalism, and the lack thereof when producing for a communist nation. The book is structured around eleven brief articles for which each piece Dovlatov tells the story behind the story, exposing censorship. This raises the question, how much of journalism is "real"? Even in non authoritarian regimes, survival of media giants depends on, as Rosentiel puts it, the "vibrancy of the journalism that newsroom leaders create for the business side to sell." News is a selling commodity, and journalists have the responsibility to write news that sells. In doing so, the truth can sometimes be cloudy. Blogs (which are free) pose a great threat to journalism because they have the potential to inadverdently push journalists to compromise fact for fiction.

Outing, who is yet to see journalists make such a sacrafice, points out that "bloggers can learn a thing or two about accuracy from traditional journalists." Sadly, I don't think bloggers ever will. They don't want to. Their craft would die; inaccuracies keep threads alive.

Bloggers seem to lie to readers more willingly than journalists, but in this day and age journalists are under even greater pressure to produce provocative, enticing material --which is nervewrecking. Bloggers, many of which lack the skill of good writing, cater to a dumbing down of the audience base with ill-written prose wrought with fallacies. Not to mention, as Outing points out, bloggers have no real code of ethics. Bloggers have an inherently easier job than journalists --they get away with more by doing less.

I realize that there are some "full time bloggers" out there who invest a lot of time in what they do. But aren't these types journalists and not bloggers? Ironically, Choire Sicha, editoral director of Gawker Media, points this out: "Here's a little peek behind the curtain over here at Gawker HQ: I just had a two-hour meeting with a blogger who edits one of our sites. We discussed new staffing assignments and rotataions, some feature ideas, and six-month goals." Well developed blogs don't really seem to me like blogs at all. Perhaps "blog" is a term that is too obsessivly and loosely used. The "bloggers" I bear to read are more digital journalists than they are bloggers. And yes, I do think there is a difference.

I think journalism is a wonderful craft. Proper journalism is entertaining but more often compelling to read, and I respect that. That said, Rosensteil points out that "part of journalism is creating the concept of a community, part myth, part hope part tough love. This is the notion that journalists create a forum for public disccusion." This is, in fairness, what blogs aim to do. Blogs aren't all bad. They can potentially fill gaps that journalists can't always take care of, like covering stories that can't seem to be found anywhere else. So why do blogs have to threaten classic journalism? Blogging, with the ability to constantly edit and re-think material, is an engaging activity and can be a practice of good writing, but all too often, it's not. I just wish that blogs didn't have to come at such a high cost to the journalism they ironically thrive off of.

Lastly, Steiger's article, his disenchanted-shocked-and-awed-farewell, concludes with a plug for his nonprofit ProPublica. I wish him and the Sandlers the best of luck with their attempt to "in some modest way make up for some of the loss in investigative-reporting." Very classy.

The Battle Between the Blogger and Journalist Community

Are bloggers capable of performing on a journalist level? Are journalists capable of performing on a blogger level? While these two categories present different titles and perhaps different methods of arriving at their works, the fact of the matter remains that both continue to write about the same news and thoughts. Yes, a blogger may be a little more care free or quick to report, but a journalist may not be opinionated enough or quick enough. Who is to say that the "careless" publishing and the "I publish anything because I can" mentalities of bloggers does not create something effective and maybe even better than some journalist works? Today's world is moving faster than ever, and people gain information and produce opinions on their feet. With such technological advances as the Blackberry on the iPhone, people can afford to constantly be on the move even while staying up to date with the current issues of the world. Similarly, the blogging sites of the interent allow people to remain 'with it' in regards to news. Not only are these blogs fast paced, but they more easiliy create something which some journalists are just not capable of; conversation. More or less, blogs are an extended conversation of some sort with people from all around the world. Once a blogger has posted something, anyone, anywhere is capable of commenting or disputing whatever that statement may be. Furthermore, these blogs demonstrate the true opinions of their writers, creating a better understanding of their personal views for their readers. In short, the story-like telling of bloggers and their works allow for people to become more involved in what they are reading about.

By no means do these blogging 'advantages' rule out the success of journalists. Many argue that due to the 'quick to publish' mentalities of bloggers, their works are not as well edited or written or informative. Journalists focus on capturing the best story and the best pieces from that particular story. While bloggers may produce more works: is it edited correctly? is the information valid? is it written well? Ethics. Do bloggers think before they act, or do they simply write down any sort of story that arises. Because of their obsessive behavior of rapid production, many of their works may be riding on the line between acceptable and unethical. Furthermore, a blogger lacks in depth reporting. Credibility is critical to the journalist world. Without credibility, no one will believe your story and some may just not read it at all. A journalist has the great ability to produce an article, as short or as long as it may be, which somehow grasps the attention of the reader on line 1 and is able to maintain that interest throughout the article.

All in all, does anyone truly have the upper hand? Is it simply just preference?