Friday, October 10, 2008

Virtual worlds proliferating

Sony and Microsoft are poised to do battle in virtual worlds.

The console kids both announced Second Life-style virtual environments at the Tokyo Game Show today. Both games show striking similarities to Linden Lab's creation

PC Authority for more.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

At Last: a Great Piece about Why "we" Don't Get Social Media

I don't know if this speaks to a generation gap or an experience gap. But if I belong to a generation that "doesn't get" social media, it is not entirely because we're computer illiterates. Many of my classmates have had rockstar careers in the tech industry. I seem to remember that some 40% of Oracle's new employees in 1989 were recent Stanford grads. If anything, we are a bridge generation: the first to use desktops, but prior to the domestication of the Internet.

The experience gap is not inexperience with machines, but is inexperience with their unique kind of social presence and interaction. We're not used to the practice of posting profiles about ourselves (I exclude myself), and of keeping constant contact (in a discontinuous and partial sort of way) with friends and colleagues. We're phone-based and email-based, and at our stage in life, time simply doesn't afford us the surplus attention with which to attach ourselves to the social web.

Time would be the reason most of us would cite for our online invisibility. But I think that there's something more.

For lack of a better phrase, I'll call it the "alienation" of social media. To integrate social media into your daily life you need to project yourself into it. You need to be able to live in a kind of time that's very different from the time of the everyday. You need to be able to pay attention without bankrupting your focus and concentration, need to be able to sustain high levels of availability to a world that's neither "here" nor "there," again, without dissociating from the here and now.

From /Message. This is a must-read about differing generations of web users. By Adrian Chan.

Wozniak in the Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph launches the IPod is Dead group.
"The iPod has sort of lived a long life at number one," he says. "Things like, that if you look back to transistor radios and Walkmans, they kind of die out after a while.

"It's kind of like everyone has got one or two or three. You get to a point when they are on display everywhere, they get real cheap and they are not selling as much."

Mr Wozniak even speaks out against the iPhone 3G, Apple's latest cult product which caused pandemonium in the West End when it was launched in Apple's Regent Street store this summer.

"Consumers aren't getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down," he says when comparing the iPhone's closed operating system to the new Google phone's open source system which allows anyone to modify and adapt the way the phone works. "I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed," he laments.

Steve Wozniak: Apple co-founder, on the iPod, iPhone, and future for Apple

Why humans link better

That’s why link bloggers like Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, Josh Marshall, and Matt Drudge have become such a powerful force on the web. They understood, even where traditional news orgs did not, the value of bringing their unique perspectives to filtering the web, of having a “linking voice.” They understood the editorial power of the link.

Here's another semantic web test, surely? Perhaps the new Turing Test should be called something like the Bob Woodward Cup.

Publishing 2.0 asks: Will Algorithms Make Human Editors Obselete?
And answers: Not If Journalists Collaborate

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Jazzin' with the Johny McCain Two

Of all the things I thought Tina Brown's Daily Beast might do I didn't think it would remind me that Charles Mingus once wrote a piece named:
All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother

Listen here on Last FM. A little free form, more cerebral than maverick, I'd say. Anyway...

...The Daily Beast gets some news shrinks on the candidates. Old-school Tina, old-school.

McCain, meanwhile, is grappling with a subconscious desire to lose the race. “He is essentially shorting the presidency,” said Karasu. If he loses, he brings down the Republican party, and validates his unconscious desire to blow up his own party.

Looking at the mini bar now costs

My wife just called to ask and was told, "If you open the mini bar door, there’s a sensor in there and if you move anything in there... you get billed for it."

The Consumerist gets a tip off about hotel mini bars.

Clue: expensive.

Google searches last night during the Second Debate

Similar to last Thursday, people sought to understand the meaning of several words mentioned in the debate: morass, commodity, junket, cynicism, and cronyism to name a few.

More from the Google blog.

From Slideshare, ITunes for PowerPoint?

I like this, shouldn't but it is fun.

Storytelling 101

From: ethos3, 2 months ago

Storytelling 101
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: rockstar maverick)

Tips and tricks on how to create better stories for your next presentation.


SlideShare Link

Multiple personae as a key to online trust? get to know someone or a group of people, you have to lose your own set of beliefs and views and start from scratch as you seek out the functional reasons why things happen.

This method is critical for successfully connecting to people, especially online when you have no physical cues to tell you about a person. In essence, you have to lose your own identity at first, in order to get a better idea of how to best connect to someone new. When you approach a potential link partner, you know very little about that person except for a few clues picked up in the analysis of the site that he or she controls. Your best bet is to pick up that information as quickly as possible, because you have a very limited amount of time to make or break that connection.

Personas makes use of the ethnographic method in SEO and are intensely valuable.

LinkFishMedia owner Julie Joyce writing at SearchEngineLand. This is very interesting: the idea of using what Joyce describes as "ethnographic" techniques to understand who it is that is communicating online.
Once you get basic information, start to dream up a few actual people who fit the profiles that you have, and flesh them out as much as you can.

A typical persona should contain as much identifying information as possible without being so unique that it cannot be used to speak to a larger group. That’s the tricky part, but you can overcome it by imagining common characteristics of users (they like punk rock) rather than specifics that will only fit a tiny percentage of your audience (they like early Avail).


Down to Zero

"When we started out two years ago people were holding onto their content and weren't seeing value of link for reward rather than payment for reward", Davies says.

"Paid [for] content will die a death in the mainstream, and we're getting closer. People are [now] starting to realise that.

"That's how we're able to do these kind of [licensing] deals now."

Were they ahead of the curve? "We assumed this is where it was going – it's what the music industry has done," he says.

Idiomag, co-founder, Andrew Davies, tells that in launching two years ago he:
'wanted to apply this concept of personalisation to the consumer [magazine] industry'.

Programmer Journalism, joining Google?

Holovaty gained fame for linking up Google Maps with local crime statistics to create, one of the first mapping mashups. And he gained cred in the journalism world by melding programming and reportage at the Washington Post.

Adrian Holovaty helped to create Now he has a local news start-up, Everyblock. Here is Chicago.

And this is the FAQ
EveryBlock is a new experiment in journalism, offering a Web "newspaper" for every city block in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC — with more cities to come. Enter any address, neighborhood or ZIP code in those cities, and the site shows you recent public records, news articles and other Web content that’s geographically relevant to you. To our knowledge, it’s the most granular approach to local news ever attempted.

So will Mr. Holovaty join Google? Valleywag thinks so:
If Holovaty does land at Google, expect him to transform Google News into a site that's more of a database of information than a news archive. He's long been critical of the newspaper industry's focus on stories, rather than information. A police-blotter news report, for example, is not as useful as a website which displays crimes on a map by type and date. If Holovaty's going to save journalism, he may have to do it at a search engine that many believe is killing the newspaper business. They can't say he didn't warn them.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Post Jobs "heart attack" speaking the obvious becomes the norm

“Citizens” — people who are not professional journalists — can use a platform like iReport to legitimately report news. Remember those eyewitness reports from the Minnesota bridge collapse?

The problem is — and this is something that advocates of citizen journalism typically overlook — that if a platform is open, and anyone can participate, that means not only can well-intentioned citizens participate but so can bad actors, spammers, liars, cheats, and thieves.

That’s the double-edged swords of open systems — you have to take the bad with the good. In fact, you have to EXPECT the bad with the good. The ideology of open participation has revolutionized media, but that same ideology is often quite naive.

Publishing 2.0...

Or ZD Net:
I can’t say that this investigation is unexpected. I came across the story very early on in the day on Friday (via Digg) and after about 10 minutes worth of digging around was certain that it was false...

It is strange that it seems to take shorting on a falling Apple share, huge stock market losses, or a bank being wiped out before issues of trust and authenticity go centre stage?

Here's one good question today though:
"Your company is now bankrupt, our economy is now in a state of crisis, but you get to keep $480 million. I have a very basic question for you. Is this fair?"

Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives oversight committee, questioning Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld over the bank's collapse last month.

Have cell phone can blather

Second stage (and thus first change) is literacy. The approx 6-7 year old learns to read. And goes to school and discovers friends not selected by the parents or not out of the back yard of the home. New friends, new influences. Now things like brand competitiveness starts to emerge, I want Levis brand jeans, not the ones mother had suggested, etc.. But most importantly for readers of our blog, any digital media will not be powerfully (probably fully) able to be used. Yes, we have lots of videogames and basic computer programmes for even younger kids but after they learn to read, they can go Google and discover the digital world for themselves. If for some reason you don't have the PC and connection for them at home, soon they will find a best friend who has a PC and broadband in their room and suddenly spend a lot of time visiting that friend.

The above and a ton more cellphone aphorisms, can be found here. Tomi T. Ahonen is a "five-time bestselling author and consultant on digital convergence and mobile telecoms", who is based in Hong Kong. Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on high tech and convergence.

Thankfully not on life.

Search you can trust? (With Added Librarians)

With this latest launch, they’re expanding their focus on relevance by engaging with librarians to manually compile lists of “trusted” sites for particular categories. They say that “Google (and others like Google) don’t make the distinction of what is credible (or quality) what is not.” They note Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s recent comments when launching the World Wide Web Foundation that new systems are needed that give trustworthiness labels to web sites that have been proven to be reliable sources.

SearchEngineLand explains.

Hakia explains its "trusted results scheme".

Hakia itself for a test.

A search engine with librarian backed verification? Sounds good. But can any search engine compete with Google?

Or is that a too era-centric question?

Monday, October 06, 2008

The VP debate and what people searched on Google

Governor Palin's claim that "Israel is in jeopardy of course when we're dealing with Ahmadinejad as a leader of Iran" led viewers to try to learn more about this leader even if they could not spell his name. They searched for [Achmadinijad], [Akmadinijad], [Akmadinajad], and the correct Ahmadinejad. Some did not even try, instead looking for [president Iran] and [Iran leader]. The Governor also referred to General McKiernan, the U.S. military leader in Afghanistan, as "McClellan", sending viewers in search of McClellan, general in Afghanistan, General McClellan Afghanistan, and general Afghanistan surge. Some searchers eventually did find the correct general, but not that many.

Instant checking, slower spelling...? Google as fact checker and trusted source. From Google's blog.

BBC Open City

Without the BBC, universality of news service might dry up, investment in UK programmes and journalism would be substantially damaged and we might find ourselves with total market failure. It would resolve the tensions between preserving an innovative and varied ecology in media and needing a public service champion, but a global representative is going to take some bold and creative thinking.

The Guardian's Emily Bell on the BBC.
The Guardian's Jemima Kiss on the BBC.
The director general Mark Thompson has directed the corporation to think beyond proprietary rights management to a new era of interoperability that offers consumers wider choice, control and benefits from "network effects" - the virality and interconnectedness of the web.

And more...
In regional news, the BBC could make all its video reports, audio, text and comments available to commercial rivals and trigger a renaissance in local journalism. And it could allow people to remix BBC news footage for themselves, perhaps for a "day you were born" birthday present or a significant football match.

Tina Brown & the Daily Beast

There will be a prize of half a crown for the longest essay, irrespective of any possible merit.

Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall

Tina Brown - the ex-queen of the newsstands - is back, this time on the Web.

Her new venture, Daily Beast, which sees itself as a must-read for hipsters in news, politics and pop culture, is set to debut today.

Says the Post.

Here it is.

The Beast stands for strong mutually antagonistic governments everywhere," he said. "Self-sufficiency at home, self-assertion abroad."

Evelyn Waugh, Scoop.

"I have been here before," I said.

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.

“If we can't stamp out literature in the country, we can at least stop its being brought in from outside.”

Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies

Life in what the Reader's Digest calls These United States has become a Good News/Bad News joke, only minus the Good News. There must be something, other than O.J.'s impending immuration. Isn't Donald Trump's casino operation tanking? That would be good news. And Kim Jong-Il, Dear Leader—God I love that man—didn't he just have a stroke? But before we start clog-dancing for joy, this just in: North Korea is facing another record disastrous harvest. What's more, high level voices caution that Kim Jong-Il may be followed by someone even worse. Worsethan Kim Jong-Il? Is that even scientifically possible?

What Fresh Hell Is This? By Christopher Buckley in today's Daily Beast.

This is a good question.

"You don't know how it killed me not to be up during the primaries," she said. "It may be a horrible economic time, but it's a wonderful journalistic time."

Tina Brown to the FT...

And the Washington Post explains everything, with Tina Brown.

The name: It's an inside joke for the lit set familiar with Evelyn Waugh's Scoop. Do people get it? Brown: "Some people get it and some people don't but that was the whole point. I realized when I chose it, it was a little bit of an in joke to the few members of the literary circle who would remember that novel ..,. but at the same time, it also has a lot of vigor and energy to it, which is what I liked,"

"I am sure it is not your fault & that you are being bothered by some boss in the United States. Take heart; he has forgotten about it already. I was once a journalist for seven weeks & I know about bosses. They are volatile creatures.

Evelyn Waugh letter to John Osborne of Life magazine, 1946.

The Return of News?

Denton tells us Snyder may be taking Gawker in a more newsy direction (Gawker's biggest traffic spikes in the last twelve months have been the result of breaking news stories i.e., The Montauk Monster, the Sarah Palin emails, and the Tom Cruise Scientology video. Says Denton: "In another era, Snyder would have been one of those beloved tyrants who roamed the newsroom." To that end, Gawker has also announced they will be hiring two new reporters.

From Mediabistro.

Stress, control and conspiracy theories

Or why the Da Vinci Code sold so well in an era of war on terror, perhaps?

The researchers say that their experiments, which also tested people’s tendency to detect conspiracies and see superstitious lessons in stories, help explain why conspiracy theories and superstitions flourish when people are feeling out of control. Previous researchers have reported, for instance, that first-year business-school students are more prone to imagine conspiracies than are second-year students, and that deep-sea fishermen have more elaborate rituals and superstitions than ones who fish in more predictable conditions near shore.

From the NYT, there's a great visual experiment as well. It is something to do with the images above.

Kool aid

Put the words Obama and cool into Google, and it will spit out an astonishing 21 million hits. He is black, he is hip, he listens to Jay-Z on his iPod (and Yo-Yo Ma). He plays basketball. He fist-bumps. He is cool, a word that transcends age, race and gender.

Ben Macintyre in the Times.

News Innovation

I've challenged the team to look at improving "conversations around news" - to use digital community-building tools to enhance people's connections to their local communities and to news and information about those communities. If the class is successful, the students will develop new ideas for building these community connections - and a new Web site or service that brings those ideas to life.

Here are the high-level goals for the class:

To understand the ways that journalism has historically helped enable civic engagement and provided a forum for conversations around news.

To understand the nature of people's interactions online and to apply that understanding to local communities and the role of media in a democracy.

To develop recommendations on how to approach news, online conversations and civic engagement.

To develop software prototypes for enhancing online conversations and engagement.

From the MediaShift Idea Lab

Now even Professors of Theology are on the trust case

But if I could only have one question, it would have to be "Why should we trust you?" The crisis of trust in this administration is so severe that it is fraying whatever fabric is left of our national identity.

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Here she is on trust and the USA.

A tale of two third generations

Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

Rolling Stone on the make-believe maverick.

Rise up, you have nothing to lose but your IPhone

The mobile society - is completely different to the industrial society, it requires a new logic and a new way of thinking of how to create business, civil governance, health care and education.

The Mobile Society already exists, dotted across the 4 corners of the globe - yet it does not exist in any one country. This is because we are in transition from one type of economy to another, the collapse of the banking system recently perhaps a painful symbol of that transition.

But also the reason why it is not universally adopted is because there are vested interests that do not want the mobile society to flourish - as it signifies [1] a re-ordering of business models, [2] flows of communication [3] the appearance of new gate keepers in the information distribution wars. This is a natural pattern when society changes structurally.

From Alan Moore.

Monday morning warning - heard before

But newspaper publishers are not so relentlessly stubborn that we can expect them to continue churning out papers until there is only one reader left. The industry would lose critical mass and collapse long before then.

Engame in sight, says Philip Mayer of University of North Carolina.