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June 30, 2004

Gonzo Gaming

"Lord Foucault is an admitted rapist. He does it on impulse -- for the thrill of it and for the feeling of control he has over his female victims.

"But he's not attacking women in real life. Instead, Lord Foucault is a character in Sociolotron, an online virtual world that gives players a platform where they can act out a wide range of fantasies.

"Sociolotron, currently in beta, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The game offers fare such as battling monsters, questing and other fantasies familiar to players of games like EverQuest and Ultima Online. But Sociolotron differs by providing a way to indulge in sexual taboos like rape and bondage with consequences like sexually transmitted diseases and even pregnancy. And it is quite explicit in informing would-be players about what they may experience in-world."

Daniel Terdiman. Pursuing the Libido's Dark Side. Wired News. June 28, 2004.

See also Xeni Jardin. High-Speed Love Connection. Wired News. June 24, 2004.

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Safari RSS–Apple’s Next Generation Web Browser

"By giving its blessing to XML syndication, Apple is joining the trend of browser makers embracing Web news feeds and potentially bringing the technology to the masses.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer Inc., previewed the company's next version of its Web browser, dubbed Safari RSS. RSS refers to the acronym for Really Simple Syndication, the major format for XML syndication.

"Safari RSS will allow users both to aggregate feeds directly in the browser as well as to automatically detect when a feed is available on a Web page."

Matt Hicks. Apple's RSS Embrace Could Bolster Adoption. eWeek. June 28, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Alliance Demonstrates P2P Commercial Potential

"Veteran rocker Steve Winwood has partnered with 'Access Hollywood' in an experimental marketing alliance intended to demonstrate the commercial potential of file-sharing networks such as Kazaa, according to people involved in the project.

"The deal is one of the first to use sponsored downloads to support commercial music on the same peer-to-peer networks that the music industry has blamed for an explosion in piracy and weak CD sales in recent years.

"The major record labels are so afraid of file sharing that they're missing the opportunity,' said Bruce Forest, a principal in Jun Group, which brokered the unusual marketing alliance and helped place the free tracks on Web networks."

Reuters. Promo Uses P2P Networks To Sell Songs. News.com. June 29, 2004.

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Will "De facto" Standards Rule?

"When is a standard not a standard?

"Technology users are pondering that conundrum more and more as the industry moves to technology standards. Most are administered by the World Wide Web Consortium, to ensure interoperability between disparate systems.

"But some of the most common formats in computing veer away from the standards process in one way or another, creating a nebulous area of 'de facto standards' that mix democratic ideals with corporate concerns.

"As a result, these technologies are testing long-held assumptions about the standards process."

David Becker. When Standards Don't Apply. News.com. June 29, 2004.

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PC Mythbusters

"Tired of not knowing which way to turn while operating your PC? Bad advice that wastes time and money have been exposed by revealing the biggest myths involved in operating personal comuters.

"Do magnets really interfere with modern storage devices or hard drives? Why do airline attendants require passengers to stash away their gear before take offs and landings? Is the government really reading all of everyone's e-mail?

"Before believing everything you've heard, when in question, ease on the edge of caution."

Gregg Keizer. Busting the Biggest PC Myths. PC World. June 28, 2004.

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Tiger Searching With Spotlight

"Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, demonstrated his answer to one of computing's most pressing problems: searching for files and information stored on desktop computers.

"Search is a problem for every personal computer company, it's easier to find a document in a million pages on the Web using Google than it is to find a document on your hard drive.

"A new feature called Spotlight will allow users to search quickly for words and concepts stored on a hard drive by using search technology borrowed from the company's iTunes (.pdf) online music service. Spotlight will be part of the next version of the Maccintosh operating system, Tiger, scheduled for release in the first half of next year."

Laurie Flynn. Apple Putting More Focus on Simplifying Searching. The New York Times. June 29, 2004.

See Also Ina Fried. For Apple's Tiger, The Keyword Is Search. News.com. June 28, 2004.

See Also Leander Kahney. Apple Lets Cat Out Of The Bag. Wired. June 29, 2004.

See Also Sean Gallagher. Apple Throws Spotlight on Search. eWeek. June 28, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004

Certified Ethical Hackers

"Sporting long sideburns, a bushy goatee and black baseball cap, Ralph Echemendia has a class of 15 buttoned-down corporate, academic and military leaders spellbound. The lesson: hacking.

"The students have paid nearly $4,000 to attend 'hacker college,' a computer boot camp designed to show how people will try to break into network systems -- and how they will succeed.

"The course prepares students for an exam offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, or EC-Council. If they pass that test, they get the ultimate seal of approval: Certified Ethical Hacker."

Reuters. Ethical Hacking Is No Oxymoron. Wired. June 27, 2004.

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SimDesk's Alternative to Microsoft Office

"SimDesk Technologies is the first company to provide access for people to tap into their programs from whichever computer they happen to be using without needing Microsoft's full-blown Office Suite.

"Individuals can log on to the SimDesk Web site, use basic programs, including word processing, email, and spreadsheet packages, and store their stuffon the company's computers.

"Because much of the software and all the data are kept on SimDesk servers, schools, libraries and community centers are able to use older hardware rather than buy fast new machines every few years."

Peter Burrows. A Sweet Deal in Suite Software. Business Week Online. July 5, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Linux Adds Media Player

"As more user-friendly software makes its way onto the Linux desktop, the free operating system is starting to make progress in its David-vs.-Goliath competition against Microsoft, the dominant power in PC software.

"Linux distributors, Red Hat and Novell, are expected to announce that they will ship the media-playing software of RealNetworks in their Linux desktop products.

"By the end of the year, Linux will be running on 1 percent of the desktop PC's worldwide, compared with 2.8 percent for Apple's Macintosh, and 96 percent for Microsoft's Windows, according to Gartner Inc."

Steve Lohr. One Small Step in Uphill Fight as Linux Adds a Media Player. The New York Times. June 28, 2004.

See Also:
Stephen Shankland. Red Hat Unveils Storage Software. ZD Net. June 25, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:10 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Yahoo Research Labs Interview

"Dr. Gary Flake is Principal Scientist & Head of Yahoo! Research Labs. In Part I of this wide-ranging interview, he talks about the daily work of researchers at Yahoo Labs, and what they're doing to make search better.

"Flake said his mission is to ‘look for, or perhaps produce, research and development results that could disrupt the industry.’

"A 'couple dozen' full-time research lab workers are pursuing the path to a perfect Web search tool that would produce an answer to every query that would be as good as you would get if you asked the smartest people in the world, in other words, the search engine would be an artificial intelligence."

Gary Price. Behind the Scenes at Yahoo Labs. Search Engine Watch. June 24, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:30 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Police Use PDAs

"A police officer stops you on the street, then taps something into a device in the palm of his hand.

"The next minute, he knows who your relatives are, who lives in your house, who your neighbors are, the kind of car you drive or boat you own, whether you've been sued and various other tidbits about your life.

"A growing number of police departments now have instant access via handheld wireless devices to vast commercial databases that contain details on just about anyone officers encounter on the beat."

Martin Finucane. Cop On The Beat Now A Walking Database. Anchorage Daily News. June 24, 2004.

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Internet Attack Disarmed

"Web surfers are no longer playing Russian roulette each time they visit a Web site now that Intenet engineers were able to disarm a Russian server that had been the source for a far-reaching Internet attack.

"Still, Web surfers should take precautions, as the Internet underground is increasingly using this type of attack as a way to get by network defenses and infect officer workers' and home users' computers.

"This stops the problem for the short term," said Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering for Symantec. However, it just takes a new culprit to come along and do the same thing all over again."

Robert Lemos. Web Site Virus Attack Blunted. ZD Net. June 25, 2004.

See Also:
Robert Lemos. Researchers Warn of Infectious Web Sites. News.com. June 25, 2004.
James Niccolai. New Attack Hitting Web Users Through Major Sites. InfoWorld. June 24, 2004.
Dennis Fisher. DoS Attack May Tap Web Graphics Flaw. eWeek. June 24, 2004.
LURHQ Threat Intelligence Group. Berbew/Webber/Padodor Trojan Analysis. June 25, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

The Business Blog Blooms

"Until recently, the thought of employees blabbing freely to the masses about their work on company time would have created panic in the executive suite. But in the past year, employee blogs have begun to multiply across Corporate America -- and a growing number of companies approve.

"It started mostly as a techie thing when engineers and product developers at places such as Macromedia, Sun, and Dell began posting first-draft free-for-alls of their own volition as a way of communicating with customers, each other, and the outside world. Though employees represent just a fraction of the 2.7 million bloggers today, experts predict they will grow robustly as consumers demand information in a more unvarnished way."

Michelle Conlin and Andrew Park. Blogging With The Boss's Blessing. Business Week Online. June 28, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Skipping Past the iPod?

"While Apple maintains that skipping iPods are indeed rare, it hasn't stopped competing electronics makers' efforts to create a new market in lower or comparably priced skip-proof alternatives.

"Philips, Samsung, iRiver and Creative Technology are all aiming to serve music lovers on the go. To lure active users, technology companies are adding to their lineup players built using flash memory and with no moving parts, making them less prone to skipping.

"Analysts say it's a trade-off: Do you want something that fits on your arm and you don't even know it's there? Or, do you want something that has the world stored inside it?"

Reuters. iPod Alternatives Shaking Up Market. The New York Times. June 27, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:39 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

I'm On the Phone. Go Away.

"Sociologically speaking, mobile phones pit the priorities of the 'in' group - those on the phone - against those in the "out" group, or people in close proximity to the talkers.

"Ordinary phones, of course, created this dynamic more than a century ago. But mobile phones have extended this exclusivity to places where community used to be the norm - on planes, for example, in conference rooms and in restaurants. Settings previously devoted to eye-to-eye contact and earnest talk are fast turning into venues for shutting out others."

Ken Belson. I Want to Be Alone. Please Call Me. The New York Times. June 27, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:15 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (1)

You've Got Ads!!

"America Online has agreed to pay $435 million in cash for Advertising.com, a company that specializes in online direct marketing for mortgage companies, correspondence courses and the like.

"AOL said the acquisition would help it expand in online advertising, an area that is growing rapidly even as AOL's traditional dial-up Internet service shrinks.

"But at a time when AOL is trying to promote its technology that can block spam, spyware and pop-up ads, Advertising.com has been associated with all of these marketing techniques."

Saul Hansell. AOL to Buy Advertising.com, an Online Direct Marketer. The New York Times. June 25, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:32 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Hey, Could You Lie for Me?

"Cellphones are usually used to help people keep track of each other and stay in easy contact. But they are also starting to take on quite a different function — helping users hide their whereabouts, create alibis and generally excuse their bad behavior.

"There is nothing new about making excuses or telling fibs. But the lure of alibi networks, their members say, lies partly with the anonymity of the Internet, which lets people find collaborators who disappear as quickly as they appeared."

Matt Richtel. For Liars and Loafers, Cellphones Offer an Alibi. The New York Times. June 26, 2004.

See also SMS.ac

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:22 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004

Municipal Government Site Syndicates

State and Local Government on the Net, a Web directory of government Web sites at the state, county, city, and local level, announced recently that it has launched SLGN Notes, a blog about recent changes on the SLG Web site. Recent entries include additions of new municipal sites, link changes to existing municipal sites, and notifications about reports concerning e-Government.

The blog can be syndicated through an RSS feed.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of SLGN Notes through a posting in Library Stuff, edited by Steven Cohen.

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A Reader In Every Palm

"The Wi-Fi world's here. Some of us dinosaurs choose to lug our PCs around to take advantage of it. Other, smarter consumers save their backs by getting phones, PDAs, and next-generation computing devices such as the Sony AirBoard to do Web stuff, be it surfing, emailing, trafficking in PDFs or anything else.

"If Adobe has anything to say about it, PDF will be there as a content vehicle for all of these new machines, making good on its mantra of 'publishing anything, everywhere, on any device.' This month, the company announced that it will port the Acrobat Reader to Linux-driven consumer devices--the first of which will be a Sony navigation system available only in Japanese cars for now."

Don Fluckinger. Adobe Reader to Find Its Way to More Devices. PDF Zone.com. June 23, 2004.

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June 25, 2004

Paperless Hospitals

“Medical care would be improved and millions of dollars would be saved if hospitals were fully wired, said Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who jointly announced a program to bring American medicine into the Internet age.

“On Monday, the political partisans put their party differences aside to tout electronic prescriptions, online patient records and an integrated, paperless health-care system.

“Gingrich said 98,000 people die annually in hospitals due to medical errors. He suggested information technology could save billions of dollars now wasted on procedures, such as unnecessary tests and redundant record keeping.”

Brook Donald. Gingrich, Kennedy Pushing "Wired" Hospitals. eWeek. June 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:41 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Hotmail Boosts Storage in July

“Microsoft said Wednesday that it will boost storage limits in its Hotmail Web e-mail service, a move intended to counter similar steps taken by rivals Google and Yahoo.

“The upgrade will increase Hotmail's free e-mail storage limits from 2 megabytes to 250MB and its paid e-mail service, which costs $19.95 a year, from 10MB to 2 gigabytes. The changes will begin in early July.

“The storage boost started when Google announced in April that it plans to launch a new e-mail service called Gmail that will give people 1GB of storage for free.

The service has attracted some controversy, because it will serve advertisements based on keywords found in the text of peoples' e-mail messages."

Jim Hu. Hotmail to Offer 250MB of Free Storage. ZD Net. com. June 23, 2004.

See also Matt Hicks. MSN Hotmail Joins Storage Race. eWeek. June 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:29 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Utah Blocks Antispyware

“A district court judge in Utah has blocked the nation's first-ever law targeting spyware. He has ruled in favor of a New York company that makes advertising software, sometimes referred to as ‘spyware,’ that tracks Web surfers' activities.

“Judge Joseph C. Fratto Jr. issued an injunction this week that temporarily blocked the Utah law, known as the Spyware Control Act, which was signed into law by Utah Governor Olene Walker on March 23. WhenU.com had applied for a temporary restraining order, claiming the law would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to its business.

“WhenU runs what it calls a ‘global desktop advertising network’ using software that it bundles with other, popular applications that are distributed for free on the Internet. The WhenU software is installed on users' systems along with those applications. Once installed, the software displays advertisements in pop-up windows, Web page banners, buttons, toolbars, and text links.”

Paul Roberts. Utah Judge Halts Antispyware Law. PC World. June 23, 2004.

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Most Friendly Web Sites Rated

“Microsoft rules -- at least when it comes to serving visitors to its Web site.

"That's according to a new study rating Fortune 100 companies' Web sites based on 90 attributes that consumers say matter to them most, from how well companies respond to inquiries to how well they protect consumers' personal information.

“Microsoft topped the list, followed by Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Bank of America, and Medco Health Solutions, according to the study by The Customer Respect Group, a consulting firm.

“Most of these sites aren't shopping destinations for consumers, but given Americans' propensity to do online research before shopping, a company's ability to keep Web visitors happy has implications for the bottom line.”

Andrea Coombes. Cream of the Online Crop. CBS Marketwatch. June 23, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Wireless Tipping Scales for Web Wars

“Technology battles have long been a feature of the IT industry. Most IT managers will remember the LAN wars -- Ethernet .vs Token Ring -- and the bus wars -- Industry Standard Architecture .vs Micro-Channel Architecture. In both cases the eventual winner was the least proprietary solution.

“In the Web services war the two dominant platforms are Java and .Net. Conventional wisdom indicates that most enterprises will adopt strategies featuring both, but recent research suggests otherwise. In surveying 500 developers currently involved in Web services, 70% believe that support for multiple operating systems is more important than support for multiple languages.

“The reasons are apparent from answers to a question about time frames for developing Web services with wireless devices.”

Brian Bakker. Who Will Win the Web Services War?. Computerworld. June 23, 2004.

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Wireless Marketers Linking to Consumers

”The champagne was on ice, the music by Puddle of Mudd and Metallica thundering loud and hard. This was America's Party, a live show from Las Vegas and it looked like a standard televised New Year's Eve bash.

“When the subject of e-mail communications comes up, ‘my clients just hold their heads,’ says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of a New York retail consulting firm. 'My clients are reporting it is one big mess.' His advice for now is to hold off stepping up e-mail marketing efforts until phishing problems have been worked out.

”Most companies are still adding to e-mail marketing budgets -- but not by much. Total category spending will rise from $1.2 billion in 2003 to $1.57 billion in 2007, but it will slip as a percentage of total marketing spending from 18% in 2003 to 11% by 2007, predicts Forrester Inc.”

Stephen Baker. A Marketer's Dream: Your Cell Phone. Tech News World. June 22, 2004.

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June 24, 2004

Send Voice Mail As E-Mail

"Nextel is offering a new service that allows its cell phone subscribers to record a voice message and send it to anyone with an e-mail address. NextMail builds on the company's popular push-to-talk service, which allows Nextel users to radio each other by pressing a button on the side of the phone instead of dialing a number."

"The push-to-talk service is a lucrative one for Nextel, whose customers pay more per month on average than those of other cellular companies, in part because its business customers want the walkie-talkie feature. Push-to-talk is used by more than 90 percent of Nextel's 13.4 million subscribers."

Yuki Noguchi. Nextel Offers Voice Memos Sent as E-Mail.WashingtonPost.com. June 22, 2004

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:39 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Proposed Law Targets P2P Networks

“New legislation introduced late Tuesday by a group of powerful U.S. senators would let artists and entertainment companies sue creators of products, such as peer-to-peer software and copying programs, that ‘induce’ copyright violations.

“Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, clearly targeting Peer-to-Peer vendors, claims his bill focuses on companies that profit by encouraging children and teenagers to infringe copyrights.

"Hatch stated ‘It is illegal and immoral to induce or encourage children to commit crimes and tragically, some corporations now seem to think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal. Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises of free music.'

"On the other hand, P-to-P United, calls the bill ‘horrible public policy.’ The measure could stifle the development of future technologies that could be used for copyright infringement but have substantial legitimate uses."

Grant Gross. Copying Programs Could Be Outlawed. PC World. June 23, 2004.

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Thief at AOL?

“A 24-year-old software engineer at America Online Inc. was arrested yesterday on federal charges that he hacked into the company's computers to steal 92 million e-mail addresses that were later sold and used to bombard AOL members with spam.

“Jason Smathers is accused of illegally obtaining the e-mail addresses of nearly all of the Internet provider's customers in May 2003. Smathers allegedly sold the names for $100,000 to Sean Dunaway, 21, who ran an Internet gambling business in Las Vegas, prosecutors said.

“Dunaway then sold the list to unidentified spammers, who used it early this year to send millions of e-mails peddling herbal penile enhancement products, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York.”

Jonathan Krim and David Vise. AOL Employee Charged With Stealing Names. Washington Post. June 24, 2004.

See also David Legard. AOL Worker Arrested on Spam Charges. PC World. June 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:01 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

RFID Use Growing

"Radio Frequency Identification technology, or RFID, has been around for a decade -- including use in the E-ZPass system that helps speed drivers through toll booths on many East Coast highways -- but RFID is now robust enough, and getting cheap enough, that it is beginning to transform numerous sectors of the economy by allowing unparalleled tracking of products and people.

Early this month, Accenture won a contract worth as much as $10 billion from the Department of Homeland Security that will include using RFID at U.S. border checkpoints. And Delta Air is testing RFID baggage tags on its service between Jacksonville, Fla., and Atlanta, to help with security and lost luggage.

"But RFID initiatives alarm privacy advocates, as well as some federal government officials and state legislators, who understand the benefits but worry about the possibility of abuse in the tracking of goods and people."

Jonathan Krim. Embedding Their Hopes In RFID. WashingtonPost.com. June 23, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:58 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Google's AdSense Turns to Blogs

"Google's recent decision to extend its AdSense program to all publishing sites means that searches done on, say, a blog I create could have a commercial element. I would get revenue for searches done from my blog site, assuming I passed the qualification test. Google says sites have to apply to be part of the revenue-sharing program. Google does not disclose whether a site has to generate a certain level of traffic to qualify for this new revenue-sharing program."

Bambi Francisco. Google Makes Us All Marketers. CBS Marketwatch. June 22, 2004.

Stefanie Olsen. Google to Publishers: Some Butter for Your Bread. News.com. June 21, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:44 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Fair Use Support Building

"A group of technology vendors, consumer rights groups, and ISPs are banding together to support 18-month-old U.S. House legislation that would let consumers make personal copies of copyrighted digital products, including movies and music.

"The Personal Technology Freedom Coalition has kicked an effort to push the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act through Congress. The legislation was introduced in January 2003 by Rick Boucher. It would allow consumers to break copy controls to do such things as make personal copies of compact discs or movies. Supporters say the bill is necessary to protect consumers' so-called fair-use rights to make personal copies, which the (DMCA) curtails."

Grant Gross. Looser Digital Copyright Laws Urged.PC World. June 22, 2004.

See Also Declan McCullagh. Tech Heavies Support Challenge to Copyright Law. News.com. June 21, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:22 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Anti-Spam Alliance Announce Proposals

"A coalition of top Internet service providers on Tuesday advocated a set of technical guidelines designed to stem the tide of spam.

"Yahoo, Microsoft, EarthLink, America Online, British Telecom and Comcast announced a proposal of best practices (.pdf) for filtering and sending e-mail.

"Among the recommendations are technical methods for authenticating e-mail senders by Internet Protocol address or with digital content signatures. That way, ISPs and e-mail providers could help prevent e-mail fraud, one of the chief frustrations for antispam fighters.

"The group also advocated ISPs detect and shut off Internet traffic from 'zombie' machines, hijacked consumer PCs on their networks used to send millions of unwanted e-mail messages every day."

Stephanie Olsen. Alliance Turns Up Heat On Spam. News.com. June 22, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Who's Counting Anyway?

"You know that computers run the Internet. You know computers are efficient and flawless counting machines. Conclusion: Internet websites must know with excruciating accuracy who is visiting them. Right?

"Wrong.

"Surprising as it may seem, most websites have no idea how many people view their content. This inherent fuzziness is causing problems for commercial websites, especially online publications desperate to make money from Internet advertising.

"The challenge How can you charge for ads when it's nearly impossible to tell advertisers how many people will see them?"

Gregory M. Lamb. Hits or Misses. Christian Science Monitor. June 21, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:14 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Wi-Fi Security Draft Nears Ratification

"Industry sources said the IEEE 802.11i specification could be ratified this Thursday, adding a needed layer of security to the Wi-Fi standard.

"The draft specification is on the agenda to be ratified this week as part of an IEEE-SA standards committee meeting in Piscataway, N.J. Although a vote on the proposed specification is not guaranteed, a decision to end the three-year standards process is likely.

"The 802.11i standard would add a needed layer of security to Wi-Fi, which has become widespread both in the consumer and corporate spaces. Early attempts at security provided some basic security but were derided as too easy to crack."

Mark Hachman. Wi-Fi Security Standard Nears Approval. eWeek. June 22, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:09 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Enterprise Software or Shelfware?

"You've just finished an ambitious enterprise software installation, only to find that employees aren't using their shiny new tool. What went wrong?

"Silence. That was the sound in our support center. Our team interpreted this hush as a sign that our largest customer's software installation was working perfectly.

"We were basking in the glory of a perfect enterprise rollout. The users had gushed over the new software during training and swore that they couldn't wait to use it. What a grand success!

"Turns out we were acting like the proverbial ostrich with our heads buried in the sand. Sure the software was installed OK, but no one really knew if it was working because no one was actually using it.

"Our management team decided to review the implementation project and found three major reasons why the rollout ultimately failed."

Eric Spiegel. Why Enterprise Software Rollouts Fail. CIO Update. June 18, 2004.

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June 22, 2004

Library Stacks Going Digital

"For the last few years, librarians have increasingly seen people use online search sites not to supplement research libraries but to replace them. Recently librarians stopped lamenting the trend and started working to close the gap between traditional scholarly research and the incomplete, often random results of a Google search.

"A three-year study of research habits, including surveys of 1,233 students across the country, that concluded that electronic resources have become the main tool for information gathering, particularly among undergraduates.

"Librarians have to respond to these new ways and come up with a way to make better research material available online. That means working with commercial search engines to make ever more digital-research materials searchable."

Katie Hafner. Old Search Engine, the Library, Tries to Fit Into a Google World. The New York Times. June 21, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Ask Jeeves Expands Smart Search Shortcuts

"Ask Jeeves announced today several new 'Smart Search' shortcuts, along with a new page preview tool.

"The shortcuts allow searchers to enter a trigger word and get a relevant answer, often from a high quality source directly at the top of the results list. If an answer isn't actually shown, then a link is general provided to specialized database.

"Smart Search is about providing the right information in the right place at the right time. We can match up with specialized databases on the fly. We're built to scale Smart Search with others people's data."

Gary Price. Ask Jeeves Sharpens Its Focus. Search Engine Watch. June 21, 2004.

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NYC Goes Wireless

"New York City plans to build a public safety wireless network of unprecedented scale and scope, including the capacity to provide tens of thousands of mobile users with the ability to send and receive data while traveling at speeds of up to 70 mph citywide.

"Menchini described the planned network as 'the most challenging and most comprehensive' wireless project that he's aware of.

"The network would provide mobile users from the New York police, fire and emergency medical service departments with broadband access to information such as mug shot and fingerprint databases and building floor plans. The city also wants to use the network to control traffic signals and support an automatic vehicle-location system that would be tied into its dispatch systems."

Bob Brewin. NYC Wireless Network Will Be Unprecedented. Computerworld. June 18, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:25 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Proposed Loophole in Privacy Act

"A Pentagon effort to persuade Congress to allow military intelligence agents to work undercover in the United States met with resistance in the House when the provision was left out of the highly secretive intelligence funding bill.

"However, the Senate's version of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2005 still includes the provision, which exempts Department of Defense intelligence agents from a portion of the Privacy Act, a 30-year-old law that outlaws secret databases on American citizens and green-card holders.

"The bill would allow Pentagon intelligence agents to work undercover and question American citizens and legal residents without having to reveal that they are government agents."

Ryan Singel. Pentagon Seeks U.S. Spy Powers . Wired News. June 19, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 07:00 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Copyright Bill Targets Technology

"A forthcoming bill in the U.S. Senate would, if passed, dramatically reshape copyright law by prohibiting file-trading networks and some consumer electronics devices on the grounds that they could be used for unlawful purposes.

"The proposal, called the Induce Act, says 'whoever intentionally induces any violation' of copyright law would be legally liable for those violations, a prohibition that would effectively ban file-swapping networks like Kazaa and Morpheus. In the draft bill seen by CNET News.com, inducement is defined as "aids, abets, induces, counsels, or procures" and can be punished with civil fines and, in some circumstances, lengthy prison terms.

"The bill represents the latest legislative attempt by influential copyright holders to address what they view as the growing threat of peer-to-peer networks rife with pirated music, movies and software."

Declan McCullagh. Antipiracy Bill Targets Technology. News.com. June 17, 2004.

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June 21, 2004

SNTReport.com Goes Mobile

If you're like me, you want your social software news 24/7, especially when you're avoiding the crowd at a Father's Day dinner. So sometime between dessert and seeing Phil Mickelson gack at the US Open 17th, I started surfing on my phone. When I went to SNTReport.com the standard web format displayed, but was a bit unwieldy for use on the smaller screen. Something had to be done: Getting away from my family. Oh yeah, and designing a version of SNTReport.com for use on a cell phone.

Just point your phone or PDA's web/wap browser to sntreport.com/wap and if you run into any problems, please email us. It worked fine on my still-virus-free Nokia phone, and hopefully it will on yours too.

Now if I can just convince the boys in Marketing to hire Sting for the inevitable "I want my S-N-T" jingle...

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Aligning IT with Business Goals

"The relationship between management and IT has always been dysfunctional. When times are good, the bosses praise IT. When money gets tight, the front office sees IT as the villain, spending precious resources.

"Adding fuel to the fire was the article published last year in the Harvard Business Review called 'IT Doesn't Matter' by Nicholas Carr. The article asserts that IT has reached a point where it has become a commodity. The competitive advantage a business was once able to realize from IT has diminished significantly.

"This is the beginning of a new period in IT where the focus shifts from the technology to the business process itself.

"This shift is defined by one of the current technology buzz phrases: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It is the means to create a competitive advantage through cooperation and synthesis between management and IT. SOA means looking at IT from a strategic perspective, integrating IT functionality into the business goals, and allowing end users access to as much data as possible."

Michael Pelletier. An Introduction to SOA. Darwin. June, 2004.

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Senate Addresses Cybercrime Treaty

"A controversial treaty that is the first to focus on computer crime is inching toward ratification in the U.S. Senate.

"Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at a hearing Thursday that the Council of Europe's cybercrime treaty should be ratified quickly because it 'will help the United States continue to play a leadership role in international law enforcement and will advance the security of Americans at home and abroad.'

"The treaty would require participating nations to update their laws to reflect computer crimes such as unauthorized intrusions into networks, the release of worms and viruses, and copyright infringement. The measure also includes arrangements for mutual assistance and extradition among participating nations."

Declan McCullagh. Senate Debates Cybercrime Treaty. News.com. June 18, 2004.

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Viruses Hit Mobile Phones

"It had to happen: A computer virus has spread to cell phone networks. Kaspersky Labs issued an advisory Thursday on a network worm called Cabir that affects phones that use the Symbian operating system.

"Cabir uses the Bluetooth wireless peer protocol to propagate, copying itself to other Bluetooth devices as far as 30 feet away, depending on the environment."

Carol Ellison. This Time, Cell Phone Virus Is for Real. eWeek. June 18, 2004.

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Hotmail Joins Mailbox Rivalry

"The Web mailbox wars escalated last week when Yahoo expanded its free e-mail accounts from 4 megabytes to 100 MB.

"Microsoft has quietly been expanding the storage it offers to at least some users of its free Hotmail service to 25 megabytes, up from the 2 that were available before.

"Both are reacting to Google's plan to offer 1 gigabyte of free storage with its new Gmail service, which is still in trial form with a limited number of users."

Leslie Walker. Hotmail, Yahoo Step Up The Mailbox Rivalry. Washington Post. June 20, 2004.

See also Jim Hu. Yahoo! Launches 100 MB of Free E-Mail. News.com. June 15, 2004.

(Editor's Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper's fee-based Archives.)

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 06:20 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Yahoo! Spikes Business IM Effort

"The dropping of Yahoo Messenger Enterprise Edition marks the end of the Web portal's now-defunct enterprise software division. The unit was created in 2000 to sell customized Web portals and videoconferencing services for internal use in corporations. But in October 2003, Yahoo scrapped the division and melded its businesses with their consumer counterparts.

"Yahoo said the enterprise instant messenger was shelved because Yahoo is largely a consumer company and is not structured to take on the kind of support tasks and other responsibilities that come with selling corporate software."

Jim Hu. Yahoo Scraps Enterprise Messaging. News.com. June 17, 2004.

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June 20, 2004

Stupid Licensing Tricks

"The old licensing argument is that you 'signed' a shrink-wrap agreement when you opened the package. This in itself is stupid. What if I can't read? What if I'm 12? If I want to protest the signing of a software licensing agreement because the terms are onerous, I am told that I simply cannot purchase, er, I mean license, the product. But since Microsoft is a monopoly, what choice do I have? How am I not trapped in a form of indentured servitude? Does anyone find this as annoying as I do? I'm having weird dreams about it."

John Dvorak. License Dirt, While You're At It. PC Magazine. June 14, 2004.

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Winer Shutters Weblogs.com

"Blogging pioneer Dave Winer has shut down the Weblogs of about 3,000 users on weblogs.com, one of the first blogging sites.

"Winer is a respected figure in Web development circles and was a driving force in the emergence of blogging and Web syndication; last year he took up a fellowship at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, part of Harvard Law School, where he heads up the new Blogs at Harvard initiative. But such accolades meant little to the thousands of users who discovered that their blogs had summarily been taken offline, with some users comparing the act to murdering one's own child."

Matthew Broersma. Bloggers Up in Arms Over Closure of Weblogs.com. eWeek. June 16, 2004.

See also David Morgenstern. Weblogs.com Authors Gain Reprieve. eWeek. June 17, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Carol Schwartz Joins SNTReport.com

SNTReport.com is pleased to announce that Carol Smith Schwartz has joined the editorial staff as an intern through this summer. Carol has earned her Masters of Library and Information Science and Masters of Information Management degrees (magna cum laude) from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, and is working toward her certificate of advanced studies in digital libraries, also from Syracuse.

Carol will be responsible for selecting, editing, and writing stories for the main page, assisting with special projects, and collaborating with other editorial members on SNTReport.com's forthcoming glossary on social software, due in the fall.

We believe Carol will bring a fresh and unique perspective to our venture, and we look forward to having her contributions benefit our readers.

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Canada Becoming Global Hub for Advanced Research Networking

"CANARIE, Inc., Canada's advanced Internet development organization, has selected Nortel Networks Optical Multiservice Edge 6500, an optical convergence solution that provides resilient, secure and scalable broadband connectivity. CANARIE will be using the product to support research in such fields as astronomy, bioinformatics and high energy physics.

"As part of its ongoing work to position Canadians to reap the benefits of the latest technological developments, CANARIE is adding a third 10Gbps wavelength to CAnet 4, the national optical Internet research and education network that interconnects universities, research centers, government research laboratories, schools and other eligible sites nationally and internationally.

"As part of this network expansion, Nortel Networks Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 was chosen to perform SONET/SDH line termination and cross-connecting functions through CANARIE's User Controlled Lightpath software. This feature of CAnet 4 gives end users the ability to provision, partition and allocate network links to other users without involving a central management organization."

Business Wire. CANARIE Expands World's Most Advanced Customer Empowered Research and Education Network Using Nortel Networks Optical Networking Solution . Forbes.com. June 17, 2004.

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Senate Commerce Committee Urged to Regulate VOIP

"Senators grappled Wednesday over how to free Internet-based telephone calls from regulations while simultaneously protecting rural phone service, 911 funding and antiterrorist wiretaps.

"Internet telephony, known as voice over Internet protocol, allows people to make calls using a computer and broadband connection by breaking the conversation into digital packets, just as an e-mail is sent.

"Services, such as the peer-to-peer Skype and phone clients built into instant-messaging software, only allow Internet users to call other Internet users.

"However, 'connected VOIP applications' such as Vonage allow Internet-to-traditional-phone calls.

"The Senate Commerce Committee heard arguments that unregulated VOIP would be a 'haven' for terrorists unless the government forces connected providers to build special wiretapping capabilities into their systems."

Ryan Singel. Senate Tangles Over VOIP Rules . Wired News. June 17, 2004.

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Google Dealing with Backlash

"The soon-to-IPO search giant is hearing more advertisers gripe about its pricing and service. That could hurt down the road.

"For years, Google's basic mantra of 'don't be evil' had injected a refreshing dose of good intentions into the business world. Yet the slogan is now becoming a wry joke among the growing ranks of Google watchers who say the little search engine that could has grown a little too big for its britches.

"After years of glowing praise and fawning press, America's search darling is now dealing with a backlash. With an initial public offering just weeks away, complaints are beginning to surface: Some customers are irked, management experts are skeptical, and Google is feeling a new kind of heat. For the first time, the pesky little upstart has more than competitors to worry about."

Alex Salkever. Is a Google Backlash Building?. Business Week Online. June 15, 2004.

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Messaging Mediums Require Interoperability

"Communication formats from e-mail to instant messaging are beginning to converge, offering greater flexibility to end users as well as creating potential new headaches.

"Vint Cerf, widely thought of as the father of the Internet, opined Thursday at the E-mail Technology Conference that all messaging mediums--including SMS (Short Message System), e-mail, instant chat and voice mail--are equally important and require interoperability where it makes sense.

"For example, instant chat provides an informality to people's discussions and lets them seamlessly transition between text, voice and video. 'It should interwork with other messaging services like paging and SMS,' he said.

"There are unintended side effects with any advancement in technology. For example, by allowing voice mail to be indexed in e-mail, the communication is no longer as ephemeral as it once was, because it can be easily forwarded or disseminated onto the Internet."

Evan Hansen and Stefanie Olsen. Oops, Was That an IM or E-mail? News.com. June 17, 2004.

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June 17, 2004

AOL AIMs at Business

"America Online has launched AIM Business Services, a platform that lets users host or join conference calls and Web meetings through the AOL Instant Messenger interface.

"The first services launched are AIM Voice Conferencing and AIM Web Meetings. They work only with AIM 5.5.

"AIM Voice Conferencing places conference calls through the AIM client. Buddy List contacts who are online automatically appear in the Call Roster; hosts click to issue invitations. Invited participants get an instant message with conference call details and a request for a contact phone number. Participants who supply the number receive a phone call within seconds.

"AIM Web Meetings uses a similar Call Roster interface to set up and initiate video conferencing via AIM. Invitees are asked to supply an e-mail address, and click on a Join Meeting button in the e-mail message to get the URL and meeting number necessary to attend the conference."

Laura Blackwell. AIM Hosts Online Meetings. PC World. June 10, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:28 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Social Software Sites: Solution or Sham?

"The accumulation of those connections on social software sites has been part game, part marketing exercise and part simply a test of what in early March was the newest, hottest offering in the swirling nexus of hype and hope that is online social networking. Social networking has arrived on your PC, and is coming to your phone, your favorite computer game, your chat program and anywhere else you might consider tapping into the Net. There are already at least 250 social networking sites or companies, and the mergers-and-acquisition crowd is eyeing them all hungrily.

"The promises made by social networking proponents are sky-high: They'll get you jobs, get you laid, get you a party invite or a mountain-biking partner for next Tuesday. Social networking software -- with its idea that human relations can be hacked, that community can be programmed -- is a geek wet dream.

"The critique is equally charged. Social networking sites are a hotbed for data-miners and marketing strategists, controlled laboratories in which the question of what human beings like to do and with whom can be studied with greater accuracy and detail than ever before."

Andrew Leonard. You Are Who You Know. Salon. June 15, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: Salon.com normally requires a paid subscription, but you can view articles if you register for a free day pass.)

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E-Mail Wars Heat Up

As a response to increased storage offerings from competitors, Yahoo! Mail has upgraded its free e-mail service to begin offering 100MB of storage.

"The storage boost comes as no surprise. Yahoo arch-rival Google in April announced plans to launch a free e-mail service called Gmail with 1GB of storage. The upcoming launch of Gmail has changed the landscape for free-e-mail users, but also raised privacy concerns because of Google's decision to serve advertisements based on scanning the content of e-mail text. Yahoo executives last month announced the company would offer its own storage upgrade as part of overall changes to the service."

Jim Hu. Yahoo! Launches 100 MB of Free E-Mail. News.com. June 15, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:07 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Social Software Status Report

"Social networking is on everyone's thoughts, it seems; but other sorts of social tools are likewise getting a lot of interest. And the reason for that is simple: the core benefits of all social tools are very similar, and because of those core similarities, we are going to see (and in fact are seeing) a lot of convergence.

"The major enterprise instant messaging solutions are rapidly being reworked into a combined communication/collaboration solution, providing a broad spectrum of capabilities ranging from minimal one-to-one text messaging to many-to-many real-time Web collaboration with all sorts of shared application support. In essence, this movement toward real-time application sharing through the instant messaging infrastructure will mean that nearly all nonsocial software will become socialized.

Stowe Boyd. The State of Social Tools. darwin. June 2004.

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Gaming Introduced Into Education

"Hi-Tech Who Done It! is part of a research project called the Education Arcade that aims to make computer and video games a valuable component of teaching. The undertaking is a collaboration between MIT and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will ultimately bring together a consortium of educators, game designers, publishers, and policymakers to develop sophisticated games that range from quick demonstrations that illustrate points made in lectures to semester-long projects that support the content of courses. The educational games will be aimed at motivating high-school students or helping advanced-high-school or first-year college students learn complex concepts. Teachers will also benefit, as the Education Arcade is developing a website that will serve as a clearinghouse for lesson plans coordinated with existing commercial games, projects and programs to help students learn to create games, and online forums where teachers can share best practices with their peers."

Sally Atwood. Education Arcade. Technology Review. June 2004.

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June 16, 2004

PC World Compares RSS News Readers

"RSS readers are one of the biggest new categories of software in recent memory. A quick online search will find more than 50 programs designed to scan subscription news feeds, and each one works a little differently than the others.

"Most of these applications work very similarly, but a few go above and beyond the call of duty. After rounding up 18 RSS readers for this article, we picked the best representative of each type; there are five types in all. Go to our expanded chart for brief reviews of the other apps. After you've selected a reader, click here to subscribe to PC World's own RSS feeds."

Bob Stepno. News on Demand. PC World. June 7, 2004.

Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:49 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The High Cost of Copyright Permissions

"When some 20,000 first-year American medical students reported to their schools last summer, they received a free 20-minute multimedia collage of music, text and short video clips from television doctor dramas, past and present, burned onto a CD-ROM.

"'The patients you meet in the coming years may have doubts about you because of the doctors they see on prime-time television,' the introduction reads. 'The aim of this presentation is to explore why that is, and suggest what you can do about it.'

"But the CD was perhaps more of an education for its developer, Joseph Turow, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.

"'It's crazy,' Professor Turow said of the labyrinth of permissions, waivers and fees he navigated to get the roughly three minutes of video clips included on the CD, which was paid for by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The process took months, Professor Turow said, and cost about $17,000 in fees and royalties paid to the various studios and guilds for the use of clips. The film used ranged from, for example, a 1961 episode of 'Ben Casey' to a more-recent scene from 'ER.'"

Tom Zeller, Jr. Permissions on Digital Media Drive Scholars to Lawbooks. The New York Times. June 14, 2004.

Knowledge Held Hostage Web site.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:40 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Search Personalization and the Privacy Conundrum

"To some, personalization signals a new era of search, in which people can quickly navigate through the Web's vast reaches. To others, it is an ominous harbinger of encroachment on consumers' right to online privacy. No doubt the personalization of search results has emerged as one of the most promising weapons in the search market business. But are consumers being asked to give up too much personal information in exchange for more relevant search results?

"The user preference and demographic information needed for personalization is not very different from what is already being collected from consumers. So companies like Yahoo and Google need only collect the most basic information. But what constitutes this "basic" information?"

Steve Johnson. Privacy Tradeoffs and the Search Wars. News.com. June 11, 2004.

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IM Goes Corporate

"Since IM exploded in the consumer market, several companies have been trying to tap into the trend for their corporate customers. IM software makers such as Microsoft and IBM-owned Lotus have been trying--with limited success--to hook IM into other tools like word-processing, spreadsheets and e-mail to bring what has been a mostly social tool into the business world. Similarly, corporate telephone equipment maker Avaya recently came out with gear to marry IM and landline phones."

CNet. Companies Start to Get the Instant Message. News.com. June 10, 2004.

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Google's AdSense Profiled

"Google is not necessarily synonymous with 'the future of search technology.' Bill Gates of Microsoft has given more and more pointed warnings that his company is preparing a frontal challenge for dominance in computerized searches. No one in the technology world doubts that Microsoft has the talent, the money and the power to pose a formidable threat to Google. Even now, in some circumstances, small, specialized search tools can improve on Google's results. My recent favorite is Vivísimo, founded by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, which clusters search results into useful categories rather than putting them in one big list.

"But Google is the clear leader, among competitors like Overture and Kanoodle, in a modest-seeming innovation with potentially broad implications. For Google, it is another way to sell ads - and a fast-growing source of revenue. For people who rely on the Internet for information and expression, it may open an opportunity."

James Fallows. How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising. The New York Times. June 13, 2004.

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Women, Not Teens, Comprise the Future of Gaming

"Women age 40 and older, when they go online, spend a longer time playing games than men or teenagers do. Cyber games are replacing TV, books, films, or exercise for 44 percent of these women.

"Industry pundits cite the growing number of women in games as evidence that the industry itself is coming of age. Ten years ago, the core gaming market was teenage boys. Today, the average age of gamers is 29, the core demographic is 18 to 35, and a third of game players are women."

Gloria Goodale. Games Women Play. Christian Science Monitor. June 11, 2004.

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June 15, 2004

The Popularity of RSS

"The major attraction of RSS for Web developers is its simplicity. (In fact, RSS is often known by an alternative name, Really Simple Syndication). An RSS file can be created from scratch using nothing more than a simple text editor and sample file as a template, posted to a Web server as though it were a Webpage, and retrieved and read by a wide variety of applications. Additionally, and this probably accounts for its recent burst of popularity, numerous content management tools now create RSS files automatically and applications called headline readers enable users to view the contents."

Stephen Downes. RSS: Grassroots Support Leads to Mass Appeal. Learning Circuits. No date.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:57 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Public Enemy on Sampling

Stay Free! has devoted its 20th issue to copyright, featuring interviews with NYU professor Siva Vaidhyanathan and the revolutionary hip hop group Public Enemy.

The PE interview, in particular, is interesting because lead rapper Chuck D and principal producer Hank Shocklee talk about how they used sampling to create two albums that are widely regarded as two of popular music's best and most revolutionary albums of the last quarter century. Moreover, the interview is done by Kembrew McLeod, whose Owning Culture: Authorship, Ownership, and Intellectual Property Law is an outstanding book on the intersection of copyright law and popular culture.

Kembew McLeod. How Copyright Law Changed Hip Hop. Stay Free!. No Date.

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Wireless Networks Vulnerable

"Through 2006, 70 per cent of successful wireless local area network (WLAN) attacks will be because of the mis-configuration of WLAN access points and client software, according to market research group Gartner, Inc.

"Security for WLANs and PDAs in the company needs to be driven by updated security policies that address the unique demands of the mobile workplace, according to the analysts."

Leigh Phillips. WLANs Major Wireless Security Issue for Business Through 2008. Digital Media Europe. June 11, 2004.

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June 14, 2004

Syracuse University Library Adds IM Reference Feature

I just received a notification that the Syracuse University Library is offering reference service via instant messaging, or IM.

"LibChat is a reference service that provides online, interactive assistance to Syracuse University students, faculty, and staff engaged in research activities from both on- and off-campus locations. The service is open to those who have questions about Syracuse University, the Library or its collections. LibChat is staffed by reference librarians from Syracuse University Library."

The service, which apparently has been operating since February given bibliographic information on the LibChat Web page, is available for 34 hours during the summer semester. Hopefully, we can get an interview with an SU librarian and publish a Connections column on this initiative in the near future.

Syracuse University Library. Welcome to Chat. Feb. 17, 2004.

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Government Entities Using Open Source

"It used to be that governmental agencies enamored of the status quo -- and that's pretty much the whole government -- were not interested in open source solutions to their IT problems. Like the rest of the IT industry, though, government is now looking to open source to make its resources go further. Unlike the rest of the industry, and atypical for government, federal and state agencies are embracing open source ideas and ideals."

Mary E. Tyler. How Your Open Source Company Can Begin Government Contracting. IT Manager's Journal. June 8, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:56 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Simple Games Grow Into Big Business

"The revenues generated by casual online gaming will be 1.5 times greater than those produced by the much hyped massively multi-player online game sector, according to a report from market analysts Screen Digest.

"Much of the games industry remains focussed on the success of massively multi-player online role-playing games such as Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot and Star Wars Galaxies. However, it is far simpler browser-based fare such as cards, solitaire and puzzle games that have emerged as the largest money-spinners. Most of these are written in Java, Flash or Shockwave; can be developed quickly and cheaply and have a far broader appeal than 'hard-core' online games."

Leigh Phillips. Online Gaming Worth €1.8bn by 2007 - Report. Digital Media Europe. June 11, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:21 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Cities Reject PATRIOT Act

"In the past two years, more than 300 cities and four states have passed resolutions calling on Congress to repeal or change parts of the USA Patriot Act that, activists say, violate constitutional rights such as free speech and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

"Barring that, the resolutions declare that their communities will uphold the constitutional rights of their residents should federal law enforcement agents come knocking on the door of local authorities for assistance in tracking residents. This means local authorities will insist on complying with federal orders only in ways that do not violate constitutional rights. The resolutions are not binding, however, and do not affect the federal government's actions."

Kim Zetter. Cities Say 'No' to the Patriot Act. Wired News. June 7, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:09 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Report on the Information Commons

"The Internet offers unprecedented possibilities for human creativity, global communication, and access to information. Yet digital technology also invites new forms of information enclosure. In the last decade, mass media companies have developed methods of control that undermine the public's traditional rights to use, share, and reproduce information and ideas. These technologies, combined with dramatic consolidation in the media industry and new laws that increase its control over intellectual products, threaten to undermine the political discourse, free speech, and creativity needed for a healthy democracy.

"In response to the crisis, librarians, cyber-activists, and other public interest advocates have sought ways to expand access to the wealth of resources that the Internet promises, and have begun to build online communities, or "commons," for producing and sharing information, creative works, and democratic discussion. This report documents the information commons movement, explains its importance, and outlines the theories and "best practices" that have developed to assist its growth."

Nancy Kranich. The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report. The Free Expression Policy Project. (.pdf version) 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:00 AM | Send to a friend!

Is Microsoft Missing With XBox

"To the gaming community, the Microsoft Xbox console has a lot to offer and promises even more in the future. But the company has not been able to get worldwide sales, especially Japanese sales, to the levels it hoped for. Depending on whose report you read, the Sony PlayStation is outselling the Xbox at a 4 to 1 pace, and that's an optimistic ratio. The Xbox has become the number-two platform in the USA, ahead of the Nintendo GameCube, but it still has not been popular enough to become a profit center for Microsoft. All this has recently been compounded by Microsoft's decision to cancel or delay the release of its online game True Fantasy Live Online.

"What's wrong with this picture?"

John Dvorkak. The Future of Microsoft's Xbox. PC World. June 7, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:36 AM | Send to a friend!

June 13, 2004

RSS v. Atom

For those looking to get a simple explanation of the RSS/Atom distinction, see Sean Gallagher's article.

"RSS has established a substantial foothold on the Web; it's used for everything from news feeds from major media organizations to alerts from social networking sites. Dave Winer, a fellow at at Harvard Law School and founder of Userland Software, has placed the specification for the current version of RSS, version 2.0, in the hands of the Berkman Center under a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to adapt it or extend it.

"But rather than moving to incorporate RSS 2.0 itself into the web standards process, the two major Internet protocol standards bodies have instead been focusing on another syndication protocol, Atom. Tim Bray of Sun Microsystems, and Sam Ruby of IBM, co-chairs of the Atom Project, have been leading the effort to turn the project into an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) working group."

Sean Gallagher's Root Access. RSS, Atom, And The Syndication Standards Dance. eWeek. June 5, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:23 AM | Send to a friend!

June 11, 2004

Apple Sends Music Across the Air

On the same day that Apple Computer announced a fix to its greatest security threat in several years, the company also announced the debut of a new wireless product that allows music and file sharing.

"AirPort Express, due in July, features both analog and digital music outputs to connect to speakers or sound systems. The device also plugs directly into a wall outlet, with no need for additional cables or power adapters, which Apple said should make it appealing to travelers as well as to those who want to stream music in their homes.

"Like Apple's existing AirPort Extreme products, the Express uses the 802.11g wireless standard. Music is streamed from an iTunes-equipped PC or Mac that uses a technology Apple is calling AirTunes."

Ina Fried. Apple's AirPort Adds Home Music Streaming. News.com. June 7, 2004.

Leander Kahney. Apple Pumps Music Through Air. Wired News. June 7, 2004.

Apple Computer. AirPort Express.

Apple Computer. AirTunes.

Apple Computer. iTunes.

Ina Fried. Apple Patches "Critical" OS X Flaw. News.com. June 7, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:06 AM | Send to a friend!

The Next Generation of Mobile Devices

"I first noticed that the leaders of Silicon Valley are *still* behind the times when I saw the line up for O'Reilly's Web 2.0 conference. Not a single member of telecom industry there and only one session that talks about telecom - and its focus is VoIP. Are you kidding me? Anyone who doesn't realize by now that the Web 2.0 is going to be dominated by mobile devices must be living on, well, here in the U.S."

"You know what the mobile industry needs in the U.S.? An evangelist. The GUI had Jobs, the web had Andreeson, blogs have Winer. We need someone to explain to the masses the difference between what 'wireless' means and what true 'mobility' is. We need someone to repeat ad-nauseum the incredible societal changes that will take place in an always-connected world. We need someone to thump the drum until it becomes common wisdom and we wonder how we ever thought differently in the first place."

Russell Beattie Notebook. Where's the Mobility?. June 5, 2004.

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Google Mulling RSS Offering

"Google is considering renewing support for the popular RSS Web publishing format in some of its services, CNET News.com has learned, marking the latest twist in a burgeoning standards war over technology that could change how people read the news.

"In April, Google seemingly chose sides, bypassing RSS support for most subscribers of its Blogger publishing tool in favor of rival Atom. But now, there are signs that Google may be poised for a change of heart, as support has grown inside the company to restore equal footing to both formats."

Stefanie Olsen and Evan Hansen. Google Mulls RSS Support. News.com. June 9, 2004.

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Who Will Survive the PDA Shakeout?

"Twenty years ago a small group of engineers at Apple began dreaming up the next revolutionary device. What they came up with was the Newton, a multi-purpose handheld computer that then Apple-CEO John Sculley predicted would kick-start a $3 trillion 'personal digital assistant' market by the turn of the century. Apple, and its Newton, is credited with pioneering the PDA industry.

"However, a good idea is just that, a good idea, and Apple had difficulties executing that idea. Sculley and Apple had overestimated the size of the market. Eventually, after sinking more than a half-billion dollars into it and selling less than 300,000 units in four and a half years, Apple killed the Newton. (Ironically, five years later Apple released its iPod handheld digital music player, a single-purpose device that has become a runaway best-seller.)

"Now it appears that consumer demand has shifted to smart cellphones, or communicators, that combine the features of a cellphone with that of a PDA."

Steven Bush. Then There Were Two. Brighthand. June 4, 2004.

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Publishers Face RSS Challenge

"The Web is as littered with scraped feeds as it is with the orange XML and RSS boxes widely used to identify that a site offers its own feeds. Readers aren't stressed about business models or strategic planning. They know content feeds can be done. They think it makes their lives easier. They either find a way to do it or they move on, abandoning sites that don't make the effort to provide feeds.

"Today's online news universe might be divided into outlets that have joined the RSS ranks, ones that have declined and those that continue to take a close look. Without doubt, a mechanism that drives traffic to a site would be beneficial, but what are the downsides?"

Staci D. Kramer. RSS Feeds Can Build Web Traffic, but Fence Sitters Note Problems. Online Journalism Review. June 4, 2004.

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June 10, 2004

Is Blogging Really Useful?

"Blogging is the hottest thing on the Internet since, well, the Web browser. This is not news, as just about everybody who spends time online is maintaining a blog, regularly reading and contributing to a blog, or knows someone who is maintaining or regularly reading and contributing to a blog. And blogs are everywhere. The National Institute for Technology & Liberal Education Blog Census has logged about 1.9 million Weblog sites, 1.2 million of which are in English.

"Blogging is red-hot, but just how constructive is it?"

Scot Petersen. Throw Another Blog on the Fire. eWeek. May 31, 2004.

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Getting Away From E-Mail

"According to a Gartner statistic cited at the recently concluded INBOX conference in San Jose, Calif., 75 percent of all knowledge assets exist in e-mail. E-mail is a corporate asset, goes the logic. (And a corporate liability, too, as Microsoft famously discovered. These days, you almost need an attorney on retainer to open your e-mail.)

"While INBOX wrestles with the intractable problems of blurred international boundaries, too-complex authentication solutions and too-expensive computational and payment schemes, more and more of us are routing around e-mail for all but the most basic services.

"IM for supply-chain communications, social networks for collaboration spaces, and RSS as the glue that ties these data points together."

Steve Gillmor. As E-Mail Hassles Pile Up, RSS Is the Elephant in the Room. eWeek. June 3, 2004.

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Blogs & Commerce

"Very few blogs will be able to generate money. Within the Gawker and Weblogs Inc. empires one will find a handful of blogs that can generate income. Therefore I am not a big fan of the concept as a way to make big income. Blogs associated with network sites like our Jupiterweb, on the other hand, can in fact tangentially generate revenue because the readership is likely to want to find out more about a writer and this in turn can lead to lead generation. We see this with our Jupiter Research division. Several analysts write blogs which are free. Readers of these blogs might be impressed with the opinions expressed by one or more of our analysts -- and this can lead to sales leads."

Micro Persuasion. Alan Meckler: Few Blogs Will Generate Money. June 4, 2004.

Alan Meckler. Internet Media Commentary.

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The Future of Music

"The future playback of recorded music will not be tied to physical media (e.g., compact discs) or singular virtual players (e.g., iPods), but to many objects with shapes and sizes designed to appeal to our tactile relationships with music and, at the same time, to have the features of a virtual music device. I imagine these being called Playbacks.

"Playbacks may look like CDs. Many will cost about the same cost as a CD. But, Playbacks will be everywhere, appearing as all kinds of things. Some will look like traditional recorded media (CDs, tapes, LPs), but some will look utterly different."

The Ear Reverends. The Future of Music Playback. June 6, 2004.

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Getting Down to One Device

"Regular readers know that I am in constant field trials with new mobile devices. Right now, my bag contains a BlackBerry 7230, a Nokia 6620 phone, and a PalmOne Treo 600 PDA. All three devices ostensibly do the same things — phone, messaging, and personal information management — but they take radically different and inconsistently effective approaches to each function. I have yet to find a single device that makes the other two unnecessary.

"Thanks to Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry handheld messaging device, I’ve got a decent shot at bagging the competent unified handheld of my dreams. If RIM has its way, BlackBerry Connect software will make every mobile device act like a BlackBerry."

Tom Yager. A BlackBerry By Any Other Name. InfoWorld. June 4, 2004.

Research In Motion. PalmSource and RIM Introduce BlackBerry Connect for Palm OS. May 18, 2004.

SNTReport.com. A Berry In Your Palm. June 1, 2004.

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June 09, 2004

WiFi Hot Spots Proliferate

"At cafes, malls and downtown business districts, there has been an explosion of Internet access points, or Wi-Fi hot spots, that let computer users log on to the Internet for free. That growth is a fundamental reason - though not the only one - that technology start-ups, investors and industry analysts who had high hopes for Wi-Fi are scrambling to find sustainable business models.

"A director of a medical device research company pays T-Mobile $6 an hour for a wireless Internet connection when she is in airports if there are no free access points. But it is another matter when she is working outside the office in San Francisco."

Matt Richtel. Where Entrepreneurs Go and the Internet Is Free. The New York Times. June 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Ring Your Local Vendor

"Marketers have created the Google empire by paying the company every time consumers click on an ad. Imagine how much advertisers would pay if Google and other search engines could get customers to actually call instead.

"Herding customers of local businesses to the telephone is the latest effort of search engines to attract small and medium-size advertisers, which represent a huge, and as yet untapped, market: only about 350,000 small businesses worldwide are using paid search advertising.

"In recent weeks, technology companies have begun unveiling new services to further the effort."

Bob Tedeschi. Transforming Clicks Into Rings. The New York Times. June 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:59 AM | Send to a friend!

Big Business Takes to the Blog

This venture may portend the end of the blog as an information/journalism tool, and mark its beginning as an advertising medium. If this happens, the venture may also mark the beginning of a time where only large corporations and consolidated media voices dominate discourse over the Web.

"Gawker Media, a small company that operates snarky Web logs on culture and politics, like Gawker and Wonkette, has begun blogging on behalf of major advertisers.

"The company's first paid blog is for Nike. Called Art of Speed, the blog will spend about a month showcasing a series of 15 short films on the theme of speed, all commissioned by Nike. Gawker Media Contract Productions, a new division of Gawker Media, will supply layout, commentary, links and other features."

Nat Ives. Nike Tries a New Medium for Advertising: The Blog. The New York Times. June 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Is the BlackBerry About to Burst?

"This week in Washington, judges at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit are scheduled to ponder whether Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of the much-coveted BlackBerry hand-held wireless e-mail device, should be barred from doing business in the United States. At issue is who has the patent for the BlackBerry's technology.

"In August, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dealt RIM a stunning blow, ordering the company to pay NTP, which sued RIM for patent infringement, $53.7 million in damages and granting an injunction to prevent RIM from making, selling or servicing the devices in the United States.

"The injunction was stayed, pending RIM's appeal now before the Federal Circuit, the nation's highest patent court."

Teresa Riordan. Contest Over BlackBerry Patent. The New York Times. June 7, 2004.

Richard Shim. RIM Loses Patent Infringement Ruling. News.com. Aug. 5, 2003.

Jennifer Greene. BlackBerry Turnover. Legal Times. Jan. 27, 2003. ("In a series of unusual twists, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director James Rogan ordered a re-examination of five patents -- four of them central to the lawsuit -- belonging to NTP Inc., the Arlington, Va.-based holding company suing for infringement. Equally improbable, the U.S. House of Representatives' Chief Administrative Officer sent a letter to lawyers for both sides pleading for them not to take Congress' BlackBerrys away.")

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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RFID Middleware

"RFID middleware provides key features, such as reader coordination, data filtering and routing, that help companies intelligently integrate the right RFID data into the applicable business processes--and the applications that support those processes. Driven by RFID mandates, application and pure-play vendors like Manhattan Associates and OATSystems were quick to bring these middleware offerings to market. SAP, an incumbent within many consumer products companies facing mandates, also launched an RFID middleware product based on its NetWeaver platform earlier this year.

"More recently, top platform veterans have staked their claim on the market, touting unparalleled experience with high-volume integration and data management scenarios."

Forrester Research. In the Middle With RFID. News.com. June 1, 2004.

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June 08, 2004

Apple's Rendezvous Expands to PocketPC Platform

"Apple Computer released a very unique network recognition system, aptly named Rendezvous as part of its OSX operating system. The basic role of Rendezvous is to allow machines, and inadvertently their operators, to locate available networks and initiate conversations, in one form or another. For the most part, these conversations are either social a la user-user chat or functional a la synchronization, streaming, and sharing of files/resources.

"In the next few weeks, the Rendezvous methodology of auto-discovery will be unlatched from Apple, and more importantly from the desktop and destined for your pocket. A bright developer, Razvan Dragomirescu of Simedia, is poised to release his newest application: Pocket Rendezvous."

Get Real. Pocket Rendezvous: Spawning Connectivity. June 3, 2004.

See also

Andrew Orlowski. Promiscuous BluePod File Swapping -- Coming to a PDA Near You. The Register. June 3, 2004.

Technobiblio. Thoughts on "Rendezvous" Services in Libraries for Our Users. June 4, 2004. ("What if library patrons had their wireless device and we had a 'book locator server' that they could link to that would help get them to the book with step-by-step directions? Do a catalog look-up wirelessly, say you want to find that book, and your wireless device tells the server where you are in relation to that book and gives you 'MapQuest' directions?")

Andrew Orlowski. Apple's ‘BluePod’ – Promiscuous Exchanges with Strangers. The Register. Dec. 6, 2002.

Apple. Rendezvous: Networking Simplified. No date.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:12 AM | Send to a friend!

The New Music Marketing

"Today's music fan interacts with a "community" that is far larger than anyone ever dreamed possible before the widespread personal use of the Internet. This social networking is changing the way people market and sell music and it's doing so on a global scale.

"Here's how: One fan hears a song and 'tells' a dozen others online. Each in turn sends the information (and sometimes the entire song file) to another dozen people, and so on. If the song's hook is catchy and universal enough, the artist can reach thousands of fans in a matter of seconds. It's fast, it's easy, it's free, and it's global.

"Does this viral communication bring any income for that artist (or songwriter, or publisher, or manager, or agent, or distributor, or record label)? No. But does it provide vital publicity that has the potential to sell singles, albums, concert tickets and merchandise? Absolutely."

eMediaWire. Social Networking and Music Marketing: MySpace.com is Putting It All Together. June 5, 2004.

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Social Software Scorecard

Judith Meskill has created a list of all the social software sites since May 1. She plans to track these sites, updating the list on the first of each month.

The Social Software Weblog. Home of the Social Networking Services Meta List. May 25, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:25 AM | Send to a friend!

Foreign Languages for the Mobile Phone

"Foreign language education specialists Berlitz, together with mobile content developers Player X, have launched the world's first foreign language phrase guides for mobile phones.

"The two firms launched the service, initially available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch, in London yesterday. A number of mobile phrase guides are available for different situations under different categories, including holiday phrases, eating out, popular phrases, cool lingo and chat up lines."

Leigh Phillips. Berlitz Launches Foreign Language Phrase Books for Mobiles. Digital Media Europe. June 4, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:05 AM | Send to a friend!

Is Paid Inclusion Passe?

"Yahoo sees paid inclusion as a solution to some of the problems crawlers have in gathering content from across the web. Much of the screen real estate on search engines is unsold -- a surprising amount, some will find. Google has one of the lowest percentages of free material on its search results pages: half of Google's major outgoing links are devoted to ads.

"Of course, most of these paid links at Google reside in the less prominent ad area along the left-side of its results page. That's why Google doesn't feel so ad heavy. As for "sell-out" Yahoo, it devotes more of its search results page to editorial content than any of its competitors.

"Why not simply have all paid listings and stop giving away traffic away for free? Because doing so might hurt relevancy. You can't earn at all, if people stop coming to search with you.

"Enter the attraction of paid inclusion."

Danny Sullivan. The Paid Inclusion Dinosaur. Search Engine Watch. June 2, 2004.

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June 07, 2004

Voice Your Opinions (Or Not)

"For just $4.95, bloggers can, using AudioBlog's BlogRecorder capability, record their entries (they can also upload prerecorded MP3 and WAV files). This is not progress. At least when people had to write down their thoughts, they might have edited them a bit. Now people will speak into the PC microphone and record and upload unexpurgated stream-of-consciousness blather as quickly as they can think it. All I can say is, "Yuck!"

"AudioBlog has some sample blogs on its site that sound quite clear and lucid. Founder and chief evangelist Eric Rice has one, but I can tell by the cadence that he's reading off prepared text. It makes him sound stilted and uncomfortable. But his information-rich audioblog (explaining how the service can work with XMLRPC and non-XMLRPC weblogs) is the exception and not the rule for what promises to be yet another unfortunate online trend."

Lance Ulanoff. Blogs Speak!. PC Magazine. June 2, 2004.

See also SNTReport.com. Visualize Your Blog. June 4, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:18 AM | Send to a friend!

Wikis Gone Wild

"The amazing thing is that wikis work at all. Created in 1995 by Oregon programmer Ward Cunningham, who named them for the "Wiki-Wiki," or "quick" shuttle buses at Honolulu Airport, wikis are special Web sites on which anyone can post material without knowing arcane programming languages. Likewise, anyone can edit them. This can lead to mischief: Jokers have posted images of male anatomy on Wikipedia. But graffiti is usually gone within minutes, because the previous version of a page can be restored with a click. In sensitive corporate situations, access can be controlled, too.

"That's one reason the onetime nerd novelty is infiltrating the corporate world. Peter Thoeny, creator of TWiki, a leading open-source wiki program, says at least 35,000 people have downloaded TWiki since 2001. Two-thirds of his programs are going into businesses -- Walt Disney, SAP, and Motorola among them."

Robert D. Hof. Something Wiki This Way Comes. Business Week. June 7, 2004.

Robert D. Hof. Wikis' Winning Ways. Business Week Online. June 7, 2004.

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Microsoft Should Spend Money to Fix Its Products

"As far as I'm concerned, the company has just one real job: to provide an operating system that works well for users. Nothing else counts. Microsoft has over $30 billion in the bank, and that figure is growing. This is not some suffering little Podunk company about to go broke selling faulty software. Microsoft has all the monetary resources in the world and over 20,000 programmers. The company can afford to pay more than half a billion dollars in fines to the EU. It can pay settlements totaling hundreds of millions to companies it has wronged in some way or other.

"With billions and billions of dollars, why can't Microsoft fix its software?"

John C. Dvorak. Microsoft, Spend Your Money!. PC Magazine. June 22, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Big Media and RSS

"Almost certainly these are the early days of a developing medium. By getting into RSS in 2004, you can get ready for what comes next in 2005. I'd argue that not only is it necessary today to be publishing in RSS, but your organization should also be a user of RSS. Your editorial, advertising people and execs should subscribe not only to your own feeds, but also subscribe to those of your competitors and bloggers. Then in 2005 you'll see with your own eyes what follows and be able to participate. This may be the most important reason to get involved with RSS now."

Really Simple Syndication. Would a Big Media Company Lose Traffic if They Supported RSS?. June 2, 2004.

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The Future of E-Mail

"Information overload will drive e-mail into the ground unless software vendors act now and make major changes to the 30-year-old technology, warned a leading Internet expert Wednesday.

"During his keynote speech at the Inbox e-mail technology conference, Eric Hahn, founder of antispam firm Proofpoint, called on software developers to stop treating e-mail inboxes as places to dump memos and start thinking of them as control centers that combine e-mail, instant messaging, voicemail and other communications.

"E-mail technology has remained virtually unchanged since it was first developed in the early 1970s. But as more and more individuals and businesses have begun to rely on their inboxes to manage important documents -- and as marketers have begun to fill those inboxes with spam -- the system has begun to show signs of stress."

Amit Asaravala. The Changing Face of E-Mail. Wired News. June 3, 2004.

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The Dangers of Being Too Connected

"We resent distractions and can become angry when our own meetings are interrupted by a mobile phone. I'm afraid the research shows that we all want to have our cake and eat it."

BBC News. Modern Gadgets Raise Work Stress. June 3, 2004.

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June 06, 2004

Licensing Liberties

Ed Foster, a former editor at InfoWorld, recently finished a three-week take on licensing agreements, and some of their egregious terms and restrictions. While Foster is from the software world, his examples of restrictive licensing are from all industries. Given the digital age in which we live, and the trend toward licensing goods rather than selling them (which would allow consumers federal rights under the copyright law's first sale doctrine), these columns are very important.

Ed Foster. A Good Deal. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 20, 2004.

Ed Foster. EULA Nasties. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 13, 2004.

Ed Foster. Fair Terms. Ed Foster's Gripe Log. May 6, 2004.

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Return Receipt Requested

E-mail programs like Eudora and Outlook have long offered an optional return-receipt feature, which prompts the recipient of a message to inform the sender that they have opened the message. Another service, MSGTAG, notifies users by e-mail when their outgoing messages have been opened. But DidTheyReadIt is the first such service to keep itself a secret from the recipient, as well as the first to report on where the message was read.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, calls the program "basically an evil service."

Mark Glassman. Who Got the Message? There's a Way to Know. The New York Times. June 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:54 AM | Send to a friend!

GMail Again Gets a Good Review

"While privacy advocates pontificated, lawmakers legislated and Google posted notices about how important privacy is, I got a chance to try out Web-based Gmail. I was generally pleased, though it's not yet a finished product.

As for privacy, there are a lot bigger fish to fry as messages travel from computer to computer across the Internet and into the recipient's Google account.

The privacy debate tends to obscure assessment of other Gmail attributes - namely usability, storage and search. In most of these areas, Google trounces other free e-mail services, including those offered by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc.

Matthew Fordahl. Google's E-Mail Service Flexible. WashingtonPost.com. June 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Politics & Blogging

"Political bloggers chew over the news of the day, frequently skewering journalists' coverage or spotlighting what they feel are undercovered stories. Objectivity is generally verboten in the blogosphere, although ideology tends to be less rigid than the partisan debates that play out so repetitiously in newspapers and on television. And bloggers are a clubby bunch, referencing and linking to each other even when ideologies clash.

"A few hours into my research, I felt a rising sense of panic--there was SO MUCH OUT THERE."

Rachel Smolkin. The Expanding Blogosphere. AJR.com. June/July 2004.

Update: Cindy Chick's LawLibTech, citing Roll Call, notes that Mike Pence (R-Ind.) became the first U.S. Congressman to start a blog.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Friendster Adds Friends

"It pays to have friends online, six degrees of them to be precise. That's the theory propelling the growth in social networking sites. And in a sign that business is booming, Friendster has pegged Scott Sassa, a former NBC executive, as its new chief executive.

"Sassa's recruitment 'represents the latest move by Friendster of Mountain View, Calif., to transform itself from a quirky Internet start-up to a profitable online business,' The Wall Street Journal reported. Sounds like a throwback to the good old dot-com days."

Cynthia L. Webb. Friendster Expands Its Network. WashingtonPost.com. June 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Businesses Warm to Net Calling

"Corporate spending on VoIP also will rise from this year's expected $1 billion to $5.5 billion by 2008, according a study released this week entitled 'Corporate VoIP Market: 2004-2008.'

"The forecast is among the rosiest yet for VoIP, a decade-old technique to digitize phone calls and dispatch them either over the public Internet or a corporation's own Internet Protocol network. VoIP calls are generally less expensive because they avoid heavily regulated and taxed traditional telephone networks. But quality of service, in most cases, isn't as good."

Ben Charny. Study: Dipping Costs to Fuel Corporate VoIP Growth. News.com. June 1, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:12 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 05, 2004

UK Economist Rails Against Record Industry

"he copyright lobby has acquired its power because it has persuaded creative people that it defends their interests. I remember upbraiding a colleague who was using pirated software: I argued that we had a common concern to protect intellectual property. But I was mistaken. The law protects computer programs but not the ideas of a think-tank. That is why software businesses are well endowed and think-tanks are not, except for those that lend support to arguments such as those of Mr Munns.

"The claim by the music business to maintain control of every subsequent exploitation of its product has no more moral basis than the claim of a think-tank to control every subsequent expression or development of its ideas. Or the right of Trinity College, Cambridge, to approve every application of calculus, the invention of Isaac Newton, its late employee. Far from stimulating creative effort, such restrictions would paralyse it. The unreasonable nature of the assertion and its unenforceability reinforce each other. This pretty much describes the music industry's situation. So it will be the first industry to be genuinely transformed by the internet."

John Kay. The Music Industry Needs to Change the Record. FT.com. June 2, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:46 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

Finding Buddies to Play With

"Xfire, part instant messenger and part social network, exists to bring gamers together. And it is really interesting that its potential growth and revenue structure are beyond viral—they rely on peer pressure. It is an application that gamers run on their desktop, like an instant messenger client. The application tracks what game you are running and lets you see which games your friends are playing. You can just click on any friend's name and, if his (or her) game server has room on it and you have the game software, you'll find yourself in the same game, on the same server as your friend, so you can play with your pal.

"Without Xfire, there's no simple way to do this."

Rafe Needleman. All The Other Kids Are Doing It. Always On. May 31, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 08:17 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

New RSS Guide

"RSS is...

1. A format.
2. Content management tools that generate feeds in the format.
3. Aggregators and readers that subscribe to the feeds. ..."

Really Simple Syndication. RSS is .... May 29, 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of Dave Winer's RSS Guide through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

The Times Jumps on RSS Bandwagon

"Hopping from site to site in search of the latest information can waste hours. Now there's a tool that promises to automatically capture just the information you want, when you want, from the Web.

"Called R.S.S. (the initials are variously said to stand for Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication and more obscure formulations), this increasingly popular online tool turns a morass of disparate information sources into an automatically generated and neatly organized index of the latest articles and postings."

John R. Quain. Fine-Tuning Your Filter for Online Information. The New York Times. June 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 07:03 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

Blogging Democracy

"The Democratic National Commmittee, in what its officials believe is a first in the world of politics, is granting convention credentials to a carefully selected group of bloggers. They will join thousands of conventional journalists covering the festivities July 26-29 at Boston's FleetCenter.

"These traditionally non-establishment social commentators will be chosen based on their professionalism, the number of readers who check their blog on a regular basis, and how much of their content is original. DNC officials have not determined how many credentials will be issued."

Jennifer Peter. DNC Invites Some 'Bloggers' to Convention. WashingtonPost.com. June 3, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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RIAA Seeks to Restrict Legal Copies

"Record labels say CD sales have plummeted as a result of copies--and copies of copies. Now the labels are testing technology that would limit the number of times a CD, or its copy, could be burned.

"Tools under review by the major labels would limit the number of backups that could be made from ordinary compact discs and prevent copied, or 'burned,' versions from being used to create further copies, according to Macrovision and SunnComm International, rival companies that are developing competing versions of the digital rights management software."

"Such anticopying efforts have met with consumer resistance in the past, but if the labels have their way, it may be that not only CDs, but also iTunes-style digital downloads, will be restricted."

(Editor's Note: Jenny Levine, editor of The Shifted Librarian, points out that the industry seems willing to allow corporate partners to give away downloads, but will not allow the same opportunity for libraries.)

John Borland. Labels to Dampen CD Burning?. News.com. June 2, 2004.

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Google Goes After Business

"Google is hoping to rev up lackluster sales in the enterprise search market with an updated hardware and software package that promises faster and more comprehensive results for corporations, governments and universities.

"The new box is the first upgrade for Google's enterprise search appliance since the appliance was launched two years ago. The new system is bigger, with more processing power and memory, allowing a single box to index up to 1.5 million documents and 300 queries per minute, fivefold increases over the earlier model. The boxes cost between $32,000 and $175,000 each, depending on the configuration."

Evan Hansen. Google Updates Enterprise Search Appliance. News.com. June 1, 2004.

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Sony Exits PDA Market

Sony said Tuesday it will end production of its Clie handheld line in the United States and Europe by the end of the year. Sony, which debuted the Clie in August 2000, will continue to make the units for the Japanese market.

Analysts have said that high-priced PDAs are losing sales to smart-phones like the Handspring Treo, which PDA leader PalmOne now manufactures.

The Clie runs on the Palm operating system, and thus the loss of the Clie will hurt licensing revenues for the parent company. But PalmOne's partnership with Blackberry maker Research In Motion -- in which RIM's BlackBerry wireless communications service will be made available to Palm OS licensees -- may help Palm add the communications features it needs in order for its PDAs to compete on value with smartphones.

Sony's announcement came on the same day that a market research company announced that Palm leads the smartphone market in North America, but trails badly in units shipped outside the United States.

Ina Fried, et al. Sony to Exit Key Handheld Arenas. News.com. June 1, 2004.

Tony Hallett. Nokia Dominating Smart-Phone Market, Study Says. News.com. June 1, 2004.

SNTReport.com. A Berry In Your Palm. June 1, 2004.

Update: See also Dan Gillmor. Future of the Palm OS. Dan Gillmor E-Journal. June 2, 2004.

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Nokia Phone Addresses "Moblogging" Phenomenon

"Nokia has begun shipping the 7610 -- a camera phone with video-editing and mobile-blogging features -- in Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

"The 7610 phone can capture, edit, store, print and send pictures and videos. The handset comes with a Kodak application designed to let users upload pictures to a virtual photo album on the Web. Images can be printed using a Bluetooth connection to a compatible printer or at kiosks at Nokia stores and other photo shops.

"Nokia also recently announced a site called Lifeblog that lets subscribers archive cell phone photos in chronological order, along with other data, including text, video and audio, using a personal mobile Web log."

Dinesh C. Sharma. Nokia Releases "Moblog" Camera Phone. News.com. June 1, 2004.

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Mother May Really Know Best, After All

"Beautician Paula Ward was concerned about her 11-year-old daughter's safety during internet chats so she decided to invent a way to block unwanted numbers.

"The Phone & Net Guard - which allows the user to bar specific numbers - could net the Surrey mother a fortune, as Ward became the first Briton to win the top title in the 20-year history of Inpex, the world's largest invention trade show."

But a Techdirt posting asks a relevant question: what does blocking a phone number have to do with protecting a child in a chat room>

BBC News. Mother's Winning Chatroom Device. May 30, 2004.

Techdirt. How Does Blocking A Phone Number Protect Children In Chat Rooms?. June 1, 2004?

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Visualize Your Blog

"Video blogs don't require sophisticated equipment, just a PC or a Mac, a high-speed connection and a digital video camera as well as a hosted weblogging service like TypePad and, if you want, editing software such as Apple's Final Cut Pro or iMovie.

"Although millions of text-driven blogs have blossomed worldwide, there are only a couple hundred video blogs out there."

Jeffrey Ressner. See Me, Blog Me. Time. May 31, 2004.

Attribution:: SNTReport.com first discovered news of the video blogs through a posting on Library Stuff, edited by Steve Cohen. Cohen also made the following observation about video blogs: "Librarians, think of the possibilities of using video clips in your weblogs. There can be real-time tutorials on how to use the online catalogs and fee-based databases, or a tour of the library (just a few that popped in my head)."

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June 03, 2004

Elsevier to Allow Pre-Production Posts

"According to a post on the SPARC Open Access Forum, Elsevier has declared they will allow authors who publish in any of their 1,700+ journals to put their peer-reviewed post-prints on their personal webpages and their own institutional repositories, where they can be made available, for free, to anyone with internet access.

"This does sound like a big shift on Elsevier's part, and now that Elsevier has made this concession, it is crucial that authors take the next steps to ensure that their research is made available to wider audiences.

"But I still see plenty of challenges here for librarians, who will have to continue advocating for open access, promoting institutional repositories, and developing ways for all that material to be made accessible through simple search systems.

"Does all this mean that Elsevier has seen the light? I wouldn't bet on it."

Commons-Blog. Elsevier to Allow Open Access Archiving. May 27, 2004.

Updates:

Richard Wray. Reed Allows Academics Free Web Access. The Guardian. June 3, 2004.

Reed Elsevier. Comments on Evolutions in Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishing and Reflections on Possible Implications of Open Access Journals for the UK. (.pdf) February 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news of the Guardian article and the Elsevier report through a posting in beSpacific, edited by Sabrina Pacifici.

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Library Associations Form Information Access Alliance

"Libraries conduct business with numerous companies to acquire scholarly resources for their user communities. Over the last 10 to 15 years, however, many of these companies have been bought and sold, resulting in fewer and fewer publishers in the commercial marketplace.

"Within scholarly publishing, librarians have watched the number of companies shrink while prices rise and service declines. Individually, library associations in the United States have conveyed their concerns about major mergers to the Department of Justice. These included the 1991 purchase of Pergamon Press by Elsevier Science, the Thomson-West merger of 1996, the proposed merger of Reed Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer in 1997, and the purchase by Reed Elsevier of Harcourt General in 2001.

"The Association of College & Research Libraries, recognizing that it was time for a new strategy in confronting mergers, invited colleagues from several other library organizations to discuss how to pool efforts on a more public-policy focused effort to bring attention to this issue. Out of these discussions in spring 2002, the Information Access Alliance was born.

Mary M. Case. Information Access Alliance: Challenging Anticompetitive Behavior in Academic Publishing. C&RL; News. June 2004.

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Newsweek's WiFi Cover Story

Newsweek magazine's June 7 issue features wireless technology as the cover story. The online version of this package includes many -- if not all -- of the stories from the print edition.

"Certainly a huge part of this revolution comes from untethering the most powerful communication tools of our time. Between our mobile phones, our BlackBerrys and Treos and our Wi-Fi'd computers, we're always on and always connected—and soon our cars and appliances will be too. While there's been considerable planning as to how people will use these tools and how they'll pay for them, the wonderful reality is that, as with the Internet, much of the action in the wireless world will ultimately emerge from the imaginative twists and turns that are possible when digital technology trumps the analog mind-set of telecom companies and government regulators."

Steven Levy. Something in the Air. Newsweek. June 7, 2004.

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Creator of NetNewsWire Interviewed

(Editor's Note: I use NetNewsWire 1.0.8 as my primary newsreader. It is a very good piece of software.)

"Brent Simmons is the 36-year-old developer behind the highly acclaimed Mac OS X feed reader NetNewsWire. His company, Ranchero Software, started in 1995, was put on hold for several years while Simmons worked for UserLand. In 2002, he and his wife Sheila 'rebooted' Ranchero, and shortly thereafter NetNewsWire was born. A public beta of NetNewsWire 2.0 is set to be released in June."

The RSS Weblog. The New Net Architects, Part III - Brent Simmons. May 26, 2004.

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Inside the Courtroom at the P2P Corral

"At first, the RIAA’s strategy to sue individual users of peer-to-peer networks generated a stir, but, since last fall, most cases have quietly disappeared in private settlement agreements for sums averaging $3000.

"A recent court hearing offered a view into what might happen if these cases did not end in settlement negotiations and instead proceeded to trial. Inside the courtroom, the attorneys for the recording industry outnumbered defendants by a two-to-one margin, and the disparity of resources and expertise between the sides only continued to widen."

Berkman Briefings. Inside the Courtroom: The Music Industry Takes on the Uploaders. May 27, 2004.

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June 02, 2004

FCC Plans to Consolidate Media Ownership

"On June 2, the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission will vote on a plan to significantly loosen rules that cap the number of outlets a single media firm can own. If adopted, the plan will allow the country's largest newspaper and TV companies to greatly increase the number of outlets they own. The commission's three Republican appointees (including chairman Michael Powell) are expected to vote in favor of the proposal, ensuring its passage.

"It's true that the Web has allowed unprecedented diversity in media, and simply looking at the most popular Web sites doesn't quite capture the broad range of views the medium allows.

'But regardless of the platform, the most popular content remains in the keep of a small and shrinking bunch? A firm that owns a great swath of the traditional media has phenomenal leverage on new platforms. A Web site may be great -- but it becomes even greater, and only really valuable, when you also own TV stations and newspapers, a situation that Powell's rules will exacerbate."

Farhad Manjoo. Can the Web Beat Big Media? Salon. May 21, 2004. (Subscription required.)

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MPAA Still Has No Successor

(Editor's Note: Valenti's successor is a critical appointment in the social software landscape because the Motion Picture Association, along with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has consistently sought to curtail peer-to-peer networking and file sharing through the courts and Congress.)

"For two years Jack Valenti, the venerable, 82-year-old chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, has been trying to retire.

"After nearly four decades as Hollywood's leading lobbyist, the silver-haired former adman and White House adviser announced in March that he would be gone within a few months. But those months have passed, summer approaches and the association is nowhere close to finding Mr. Valenti's successor.

Doesn't anyone want to run the M.P.A.A.?"

Sharon Waxman. Hollywood's Casting Problem: Who Will Run the M.P.A.A.?. The New York Times. May 30, 2004.

(Editor’s Note 2: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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The Continuing Need for the Commons

I found this intriguing editorial published in the Christian Science Monitor, and written by one of its former writers. What struck me particularly about the piece was that libraries remain true to the ideas -- and ideals -- of a commons, yet many communities fail to recognize them as such.

"Every invention, business technique, story, and song draws on what has come before. I couldn't write this, nor you read it, without the English language - a gift to both of us. We all stand on many shoulders; and earlier concepts of property acknowledged this.

"Nowhere was this thinking more evident than in the realm of invention and ideas. America itself is an idea, the first nation so conceived; so the views of the Founders on this point are especially telling. Jefferson and Madison considered the mind to be the mother lode of freedom, and they wanted no restrictions - private or public - on its fruits. The copyright and patent clause of the Constitution generally restricts these private monopolies to limited times; and this provision is of a piece with the First Amendment protections of freedom of speech."

Jonathan Rowe. Our Dangerous Distance Between the Private and the Commons. Christian Science Monitor. May 27, 2004.

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WiFi Opens Access in More Ways Than One

"Experts say that while Wi-Fi hardware makers have made initial setup easy, the enabling of security is anything but. Meanwhile, average users are no longer tech savvy. The gadgets are mainstream, appearing on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other mass retailers.

"The result? A lot of wide-open networks that offer anyone within range of the Wi-Fi signal free access to a high-speed Internet connection. Any hacking is unlikely to be noticed, while illegal activity would be traceable only to the name on the Internet account."

Matthew Fordahl. Wi-Fi Popularity Breeds Huge Security Hole at Home. kgw.com. May 30, 2004.

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Baseball Has a Hit

"Like an outfielder charging a sinking fly ball, MLB.com, the Internet arm of Major League Baseball, has been aggressive in the options it offers fans on its website. Analysts say its strategy is a case study for other sports."

"The casual baseball fan can retrieve free daily audio and video highlights, as well as scores, statistics and pitch-by-pitch updates on games in progress. Visitors can also access video of memorable moments, like Arizona's Randy Johnson's recent perfect game against Atlanta, where clips of all 27 outs are seamlessly fused together."

Now if only the Expos can play in DC ...

Katie Dean. Baseball Hits a Homer Online. Wired News. May 29, 2004.

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June 01, 2004

Entertainment Industry Pushes "Pirate Act" to Kill P2P

"A proposal that the Senate may vote on as early as next week would let federal prosecutors file civil lawsuits against suspected copyright infringers, with fines reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The so-called Pirate Act (S. 2237) is raising alarms among copyright lawyers and lobbyists for peer-to-peer firms, who have been eyeing the recording industry's lawsuits against thousands of peer-to-peer users with trepidation. The Justice Department, they say, could be far more ambitious."

Declan McCullagh. Pirate Act Raises Civil Rights Concerns. News.com. May 26, 2004.

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Hacking the Linksys to Become the Majordomo

"If you have a Linksys WRT54G router, here's what you can use it for after less than an hour's work. You get all the original Linksys functions plus SSH, Wonder Shaper, L7 regexp iptables filtering, frottle, parprouted, the latest Busybox utilities, several custom modifications to DHCP and dnsmasq, a PPTP server, static DHCP address mapping, OSPF routing, external logging, as well as support for client, ad hoc, AP, and WDS wireless modes.

"If that last paragraph meant nothing at all to you, look at it this way: the WRT54G with Sveasoft firmware is all you need to become your cul de sac's wireless ISP. Going further, if a bunch of your friends in town had similarly configured WRT54Gs, they could seamlessly work together and put out of business your local telephone company.

"That's what I mean by a disruptive technology."

Robert X. Cringely. The Little Engine That Could. I, Cringely. May 27, 2004.

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CoCo at the Philharmonic

"As the trumpets surged and the bassoons swirled, a 31-year-old lawyer sat in the audience at Avery Fisher Hall on Thursday evening staring at a device eerily resembling a Palm Pilot. When not absorbing the sentences flashing across the screen, his eyes darted to the New York Philharmonic, playing before him.

"He was one of 75 people test-driving Concert Companion, a hand-held device that delivers a play-by-play analysis of the music as it unfolds. The mission of device, nicknamed CoCo by its creators, is to deepen the understanding of regular concertgoers and to make classical music accessible to new audiences that do not know their glockenspiel from their xylophone. The Philharmonic sent a message to 30,000 people on its e-mail list, offering the chance to test one of the 75 devices."

Lola Ogunnaike. Concertgoers Multitasking to Stravinsky. The New York Times. May 29, 2004.

National Public Radio. A Digital Companion for Concert Fans. Sept. 30, 2003.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Microsoft's Shot Across the Bow

"Microsoft's MSN unit will shortly launch a test version of a search tool that will let users search for information across the Web, e-mails, and their own computers, followed by a first release within 12 months," according to a CBS Marketwatch story.

"The technology was already anticipated as a part of 'Longhorn,' Microsoft's long-awaited upgrade of its Windows operating system," the Marketwatch story continued. "However, MSN will launch the feature separately ahead of Longhorn, which isn't expected to be released until 2006."

Mary Jo Foley, however, says that Microsoft's grand plan includes more than just search.

Mary Jo Foley. MSN Investing In More Than Just Search. Microsoft Watch. May 28, 2004.

Michael Paige. Microsoft Unveils New Search Tool. CBS Marketwatch. May 27, 2004.

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Yahoo! Maps Gives Hotspot Locations

(Editor's Note: I know I read this in a story I received through my aggregator, but I cannot recall the story for attribution, so I'll just claim it as an original discovery.)

Did you know that you can find WiFi hotspots using Yahoo! Maps? Just enter in an address, click on the "Click here to add WiFi hotspots" link that is located near the the top of the response page, and then look for the Intel Centrino symbol on the map.

The new feature is part of the service's attempt at bringing users more localized information. This is very cool.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:48 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

A Berry In Your Palm

Research In Motion, maker of the popular Blackberry handheld device, and PalmSource finally have presented details of an alliance that will RIM's Blackberry wireless communications service available to licensees of PalmSource's operating system.

The deal between the two handheld specialists was struck in May 2003 but the companies are just now releasing details of how they'll work together.

Through RIM's licensing program, Blackberry Connect, device makers using the Palm OS will be able to use software that allows their devices to access the Blackberry service wirelessly. An email client for the service, Mail for Blackberry, also will be available through PalmSource and will become a part of its regular software licensing package.

Both pieces of software will be commercially available in the second half of the year.

This is great news for Palm device users who prefer their Palm as a handheld, but may have been frustrated by having to depend on cellular telephone providers for e-mail service.

Richard Shim. RIM and PalmSource Connect At Last. Silicon.com. May 19, 2004.

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The Skype's the Limit

"The peer-to-peer strategy used by Skype is very similar to that of the Internet file-sharing systems, such as the original Napster, that have become the bane of the music industry. Indeed, the creators of Skype are largely the same team that unleashed Kazaa, the music-sharing program perhaps most loved by music swappers and most reviled by music corporations.

"But in reality, the key Skype team members are hardly radicals out to destroy the telephone as an instrument of profit. Despite their nonconformist markings, they’re simply ambitious businessmen intent on changing the economics of making a phone call."

Skype also has announced that it expand its service to include a paid service that will connect Skype calls to regular phones.

All of Skype's innovations could go for naught, however, if the U.S. does not resolve a potentially horrific thicket of regulatory issues.

Roxanne Khamsi. Skype Beyond the Hype. Technology Review. June 2004.

Eric Hellweg. Untangling Internet Telephony. Technology Review. May 28, 2004.

Colin McClelland. Skype Creator Promises Official VOIP Program Release. eWeek. May 19, 2004.

Posted by K. Matthew Dames at 06:38 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)