Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's go someplace like Bolivia.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is this the Twitter Make or Break Night?

Personally, I haven’t been a big Twitter user. Maybe that’s because my close friends aren’t on it. My editors might say I don’t have any ideas that fit in 140 characters.

The New York Times speaking the truth that dare not speak its name (a quote).

In the meantime Twitter Election is here.

And newspapers...more of the below

“The next year to 18 months may be ‘make or break’ for the newspapers,” says David T. Clark of Deutsche Bank in a report summing up the NAA Retail Advertising Forum that just wrapped up in Dallas.

Noting that all signs point to weak retail sales and lean advertising budgets for the balance of this year and much of next, Dave says it is “unclear” whether newspapers “are moving fast enough to secure local market share for when the economy climbs out of its hole.”

From quote:
...perhaps the only CEO in Silicon Valley who knows how to set type one letter at a time, just like his hero, Benjamin Franklin.

From Reflections of a Newsosaur, aka Alan Mutter - a Managing Partner of Tapit Partners.

E-books, beware...perhaps

Thanks to Wired for this.
Peter Sunde, one of the founders of Pirate Bay, wrote a mysterious blog post today asking for someone in the U.S. to send him an Amazon Kindle, and hinted that he might be working on a new project involving eBooks.

“Do [sic] anyone wanna help me out? I’m looking to make an interesting service together with some friends in the New Media Market…,” he writes.

Now...Peter Sunde is:
...Peter Sunde (born September 13, 1978), alias brokep, is a Norwegian-Finnish computer expert,known as the co-founder of the BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay.

Here's the original Sunde post.

Either a good joke, or the start of something fairly significant in the world of books. For this is the Wikipedia/LA Times take on The Pirate Bay:
According to the Los Angeles Times The Pirate Bay is "one of the world's largest facilitators of illegal downloading", and "the most visible member of a burgeoning international anti-copyright — or pro-piracy — movement."

It was only a matter of time.

The Pirate Bay is here.

Everybody's at the trust thing now...

Done gone viral...
The only way we can bring sanity back to the credit and stock markets is by restoring public trust. And to do that, we must improve the quality, accuracy, and relevance of our financial reporting. This means resisting any calls to repeal the current mark-to-market standards. And it also means expanding the requirement to the securities positions and loan commitments of all financial institutions.

From the WSJ. And its co-authors...
..Mr. Levitt was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1993 to 2001. Mr. Turner was SEC chief accountant from 1998 to 2001.

That's a byline to trust.

But what about Irene Adler?

The field of cognitive expertise has a certain tradition of using case studies of experts, but in a recent article we went one step further: we analysed a famous but fictional expert – Sherlock Holmes (Didierjean & Gobet, 2008).

The use of citations taken from Conan Doyle’s works made it possible not only to present the latest advances in the field of cognitive expertise, but also to suggest avenues of research that we believe should be explored with more attention.

From the Psychologist.

Google on the future

Many of the things on the Internet, whether mobile or fixed, will know where they are, both geographically and logically. As you enter a hotel room, your mobile will be told its precise location including room number. When you turn your laptop on, it will learn this information as well--either from the mobile or from the room itself. It will be normal for devices, when activated, to discover what other devices are in the neighborhood, so your mobile will discover that it has a high resolution display available in what was once called a television set. If you wish, your mobile will remember where you have been and will keep track of RFID-labeled objects such as your briefcase, car keys and glasses. "Where are my glasses?" you will ask. "You were last within RFID reach of them while in the living room," your mobile or laptop will say.

The Internet will transform the video medium as well. From its largely programmed, scheduled and streamed delivery today, video will become an interactive medium in which the choice of content and advertising will be under consumer control. Product placement will become an opportunity for viewers to click on items of interest in the field of view to learn more about them including but not limited to commercial information. Hyperlinks will associate the racing scene in Star Wars I with the chariot race in Ben Hur.

At the moment Google feels like Shakespeare in 1599...


Where Facebook meets the language school

Increasingly, sites are depending on the wisdom of their users to build their businesses, from CrossLoop’s IT support to Trusera and PatientsLikeMe’s health advice and statistics.

Livemocha leverages the “world wide” bit of the web to create a language learning community and the Seattle-based company has just passed the 1m member mark, a year after launching.

From the FT.

I just feel sad about letting you know

It's hard enough trying to write songs, without having to design Chinos as well.

Billy Bragg on paying the Man, via the @Econ conference.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Derek Draper to end the influence of right wing politics blogs, with magic sword 2.0

...the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere.

Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message.

Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.

From PR Week.

Perhaps Derek Draper should start here.
If the findings of some political scientists are right, attempting to correct misinformation might do nothing more than reinforce the false belief.

Misunderstanding Sarah Palin: the French links...

...the notion that Ethan Winner and his cronies — all of them PR professionals — are just “concerned Americans” who attempted to make the Palin smear video “go viral” out of personal conviction is patently absurd. The obvious question, then, is for whom were Winner and his “associates” working? The most obvious answer is: the Obama campaign. Another and at least equally troubling possibility, however, is that they were working for one of Publicis’s high-powered European clients.

Pajamas media on the "french connection..." This could go all the way.


Being uninformed is one thing, but having a population that's actively misinformed presents problems when it comes to participating in the national debate, or the democratic process. If the findings of some political scientists are right, attempting to correct misinformation might do nothing more than reinforce the false belief.

From Jonathan Gitlin at Ars Technica.

Fold the Front Page

So who sets the news agenda now? One significant influence is a guy with nothing but a page full of links (you know, the kind that “send people away”).

From Publishing 2.0.

News and Drama at the Guardian

I'd like to suggest to you that the term newspaper should be broken into two parts, news and paper. The paper part needs to be put aside for a moment, as it is only one of many potential distribution methods. The news engine is independent of the delivery mechanism, or it should be…. when you move into the online environment you know that deadline is a bit of a funny word, or at least it should be because it can go as soon as it's editorial accepted. The notion that news is continuous as opposed to an episodic thing has a lot of dramatic effects on the consumers of that information.

Vint Cerf tells the Guardian.

No media bias, right?

This from Washington Post political editor, David Broder, 79, when talking to students at Trinity University in San Antonio. Story by Jim Forsyth.

...the allegations of media bias frequently stem from the proliferation of politically charged radio talk shows and television analysis programs, which viewers and listeners 'mistake' for journalism.

"I think their reputation kind of washes over our reputations," he said. "The folks who are sounding off about politics on all of the talk shows and the 24 hour news channels and so on. I would not make the argument that those people are free of bias. They are in fact paid to be opinionated."

The Russian Credit Crunch?

"Well, you know, what did Karl Marx say?" he said. "Money creates taste. I think there's a relationship. I'm not sure exactly if it's the money. But [with] the number of people collecting now, the artists feel that there is more of a potential audience critically, commercially and so on. And that draws out talent, usually. I'm not sure. I think a lot about the same thing."

Anthony Haden-Guest on art dealer Larry Gagosian in Moscow selling art.

Early Product Placement, with smoke

The amounts that film stars were paid to promote Lucky Strike
cigarettes in 1937/8

Actor US$ paid (2008 equivalent)

Gary Cooper 10,000 (146,583)
Joan Crawford 10,000 (146,583)
Henry Fonda 3,000 (43,975)
Clark Gable 10,000 (146,583)
Bob Hope 2,500 (36,646)
Gertrude Lawrence 1,750 (25,652)
Carole Lombard 10,000 (146,583)
Myrna Loy 10,000 (146,583)
Fred MacMurray 6,000 (87,950)
Ray Milland 2,000 (29,317)
George Raft 3,000 (43,975)
Edward Robinson 3,000 (43,975)
Barbara Stanwyck 10,000 (146,583)
Gloria Swanson 1,500 (21,988)
Robert Taylor 10,000 (146,583)
Spencer Tracy 10,000 (146,583)

Source: Tobacco Control 2008

via the BBC.

That war photograph

A 70-year debate over the authenticity of a Robert Capa photograph dating back to the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) may have been settled by an upcoming exhibition...

Artinfo on a new show at London's Barbican.
“Looking at the photos it is clear that it is not the heat of battle," said Cynthia Young, the curator of the show.

The Barbican show.

Some background from Richard Whelan and PBS.
The picture is one of Capa’s two most famous (the other being of a GI landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day), and it has often been hailed as the greatest war photograph of all time.

The allegation had first surfaced in 1975, in a book by Phillip Knightley, a British journalist and historian, about how war correspondents — ever since the beginning of the profession, during the Crimean War of the 1850s — had often distorted the truth.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

133 million and growing

Technorati's state of the blogging nation.

Newspapers sometimes need help

“Whatever The New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” Schmidt said. “It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day impugns the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. [Sarah] Palin. It excuse Sen. Obama.

“Everything that is read in The New York Times that attacks this campaign should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective — that it is an organization that has made a decision to cast aside its journalistic integrity and tradition, to advocate for the defeat of one candidate — in this case, John McCain — and to advocate for the election of the other candidate, Barack Obama.”

Steve Schmidt, a McCain campaign senior adviser claimed this on Monday during a conference call with reporters.

This afternoon The Guardian is leading with:

A firm led by Rick Davis, a long-time McCain aide and chief of the Republican candidate's day-to-day campaign, received payments totalling $500,000 between the end of 2005 and last month from Freddie Mac, according to the New York Times and others this morning.

Are these stories in some way related?

Politics is all about trust, and a southpaw lead

I went on air and reported that Prescott had punched a protester in Rhyl, and expressed the view that this was potentially a resignation issue for him.

When I came out of the studio, a Labour press officer was already waiting on the phone. He told me that party officials travelling with Prescott confirmed the incident had not happened, that Labour was demanding an immediate retraction and an apology and that I had just ruined my career.

From the memoirs of Sky political editor, Adam Boulton. More here.

The Psychology of the States

There's a great interactive mapping of the psychological states of the states of America, in the WSJ.

the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

You bet - at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.

A New news Story?

The pendulum of the Lobby is ready, eager even, to turn against the too smooth, too cool Cameroons.

Guido Fawkes, seasonally, on a media desire for a 'change of narrative.'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Android Phone

...The huge difference: Android is open source and there is an (almost … there are default applications) completely level playing field for mobile application developers...

From Mashable.

And this from a conservative...

For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning.

George Will in the Washington Post.

Facebook, moi?

"It just turns out that narcissists are using Facebook the same way they use their other relationships – for self promotion with an emphasis on quantity of over quality."

Hardly shocking, but interesting. A University of Georgia study shows Facebook profiles can be used to detect narcissism. No, really.

Five "A"s and no place at school?

...with some admissions officers confirming in a new survey that they visit social-networking sites, high schoolers say getting into college is no longer only about sky-high test scores and impressive extracurricular activities. Now it means being smart about their online personas as well.

From the Chicago trib.

Esquire's October 2008 E-Ink Cover

Viewing Google's phone launch

Watch it here at 10.30 EDT.

Ramblin' Man

Trust and maps.

I am at my dad's because he's having his roof repaired, which is always stressful. The builders came last week to set up the scaffolding, only they went to the wrong street - the correct house number, but the wrong street - and built the entire platform (the owners were at work, obviously) before realizing their mistake. I've just asked the boss what happened. He said: "The sat-nav told the driver he'd arrived, he didn't think he might not have."

Water wars: four oceans or five?

Mapping the ocean isn't easy at Thiells Elementary School, especially in the fourth-grade.
...cartographers and others, including the National Geographic Society and the U.S. Geological Survey, have debated whether the Southern Ocean should, in fact, become part of the lexicon.

Some European countries don't recognize it, and the most recent query to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn't specify whether the new ocean has been accepted. The board's approval is necessary before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration places the name on its charts. So far, the name isn't there.

A great story about maps and trust from, in the Lower Hudson valley, naturally.

Gary Wolf is measuring his mood

Currently he's using a one to five scale. Read the comments too.

Google goes even more bookish

By providing tools that help sites connect readers with books in new and interesting ways, we hope publishers and authors will find even wider audiences for their works.

Click on the Google Preview button for an example here. The Google Book Search blog is here.

The Promiscuous Shopper?

For us, it’s like the modern way to do retail. This way, we can travel with the store and try out different neighborhoods. It’s like we are trying out the relationship before we marry.

Lisli moves into moving retail.

And Microsoft moves into Tents.
Luckily, Sean had some spare decommissioned servers we could put in a rack. So, like good Boy Scouts, we installed this rack under a large metal framed tent behind his data center in the fuel yard.

Here are some pictures of our setup. First, a couple of shots of our tent, nestling in the corner of the fuel yard. Sean coined the phrase “Tent City” to refer to our efforts.

And gets Nicholas Carr thinking.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Crunch business plans

With no money, no contacts and no business education whatsoever, Goldman began where any 21st-century self-starter would: “I Google-searched ‘business plan,’ and I found one and just plugged my own words into it. Then it wound up that Wesleyan has an alumni database, and so I looked for people who worked in finance and who graduated 10 or more years before I did. I e-mailed about 500 people, and I just said: ‘Look, I have this idea. What do I do now? What comes next?’ It was a fairly untraditional fund-raising process.”

The NYT on the rise and rise of Unigo.

You Tube and adverts

Right now, Publicis and Google have been testing ads on the iPhone’s YouTube app and are currently working on apps for the Google Android smartphone, but were otherwise tight-lipped about what might be coming.

Paid Content on how an advertiser and Google can get along.

Land is so old school

Still have a landline? You’re showing your age. The young, hip, cool people have cellphones only, and that is bad news for traditional phone providers. In a survey of Internet users, JupiterResearch found that 12 percent “do not subscribe to fixed voice service, and nearly two-thirds of them are ages 18 to 34.”

From the NYT.

Blog comment as theatre

It’s all very Twitter meets Improv Everywhere. Very interesting idea –who would have guessed blog comments could become a stage ...

Thanks to PSFK.

Here's a quote:

Oh it is a long list Mr. Morrison. The Saudi’s, the Roman Catholic church, Hamas, Al Qaeda, a dozen private parties, hell the CIA. Lots of people have motive, but George had the best motive. If he is dead, it’s because George wanted to die.

And here's the live theatre.

IM Productivity

Analysis of these data indicates that IM use has no influence on overall levels of work communication. However, people who utilize IM at work report being interrupted less frequently than non-users, and they engage in more frequent computer-mediated communication than non-users, including both work-related and personal communication.


R. Kelly Garrett
School of Communication
Ohio State University

James N. Danziger
School of Social Sciences
University of California, Irvine

", widgetise and get connected..."

Traditional media people and investors, for example, are happy to spend cash on TV ads, or interruptive online ads, or print ads. Because they get them. They understand that they are to be broadcast and consumed by audiences. And they are part of the audiences that do the consuming.

One of those ROI of social media things. Nostalgia for the experiential world?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

But there are also unknown unknowns...

"Specific information demonstrating that the alleged dragnet has not occurred cannot be disclosed on the public record without causing exceptional harm to national security," Mukasey wrote in a federal court filing in San Francisco. "However, because there was no such alleged content-dragnet, no provider participated in that alleged activity."

From Wired.

There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

Online Etiquette at 35,000 feet

This is all about etiquette.

But first a question.

What's worse: sitting next to a guy watching porn, or sitting next to a guy yabbering away on Skype?

In space nobody can hear you scream. But in mid-air it is very different. Especially on American. From The Consumerist.


The revelation that Sarah Palin maintained two separate Yahoo Mail accounts - both of which have now been deleted - is raising new questions over how much official government business she was conducting with non-logged, private mail services. Palin has come under fire for withholding more than a thousand e-mails from recent public records requests. The New York Times reports that Palin's staff had actually looked into whether using the Yahoo Mail accounts "could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records."

New Twists and Turns in Palin E-Mail Hack, from PC World's blog.