Friday, December 07, 2007

Sympathy for the Devil

A defense of political opposition research, from an opposition researcher. Sounds like fascinating work.

The Texas Blue | The Dirt: Opposition Research

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TechCrunch talks about mobile+real-world interactions ...

... in this discussion of LimeJuice, a mobile social network. The problem, well described by TechCrunch, is this:
Using your phone to create or enhance real world interactions is a killer application, but no one has cracked the nut yet. The reason is that the network is useless until it achieves a critical mass of users who are online and using the application via their mobile phone. If no one else is online, there’s little point in you being online, either. And presence detection is another (technical) problem. Even if people have joined the network, how do you know when they are near you?
LimeJuice's solution seems primarily positioned as a dating service. Great, but there are many other applications that are both important and perhaps more profitable. I'm particularly thinking of conventions and conferences as well as facilitated meetings of temporary federations of service providers (e.g., contractors and subcontractors).
LimeJuice’s Mobile Social Network: It’s Easy, And So People May Use It

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Banning Blackberries in meetings?

Scott Berkun says yes but cautions that when people break out the Blackberries at meetings, it's a symptom rather than a problem:
Any real meeting, where decisions are being made (e.g. not a status meeting) should require people’s full attention. If people are voluntarily comfortable half reading e-mail and half-listening, it’s an indicator to me that:
* There are too many people in the room.
* Few decisions are being made.
* I’m failing to facilitate the discussion to keep it on target.
* The information being conveyed is low priority.
* I’m wasting f2f time with information I could deliver in other ways.
He suggests running meetings that are completely optional -- you don't find it useful, you walk out. Unfortunately, academic meetings require a quorum, so we can't allow on-the-fly opt-outs. But the rest of the post is certainly applicable. » Should you ban blackberries at meetings?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

, Leadership, New Media and the Future of Work ~ by Stephen Smith ~ | HD BizBlog | Productivity

Stephen at HDBizBlog writes about Facebook's troubles:
Ad Age Digital has an article about how 50,000 Facebook users joined a group to protest the new Beacon broadcast advertising service
Hmm. Is it really trouble if users are joining a Facebook group? If they're actually continuing to engage with Facebook? Look instead for disengagement.
The Facebook Beacon, and tools for information gathering like it, have massive implications for the future of privacy (we’ll get into this a little more deeply with a book review I have for next week). Will this kind of “Social Advertising” force consumers into creating multiple online personas? What can companies with less-than-honorable intentions do with this technology? And how long before a disgruntled college whiz-kid turns it on its head and does something that no one expects?
Consumers already create multiple online personas, don't they? I know I do -- I don't use different pseudonyms, but I do keep social networking and professional networking separate.
, Leadership, New Media and the Future of Work ~ by Stephen Smith ~ | HD BizBlog | Productivity

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Robot guitars!

Gibson shows new self-tuning guitar - Yahoo! News

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A sad milestone

Slashdot | AT&T To Decommission Pay Phones

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More about that NEA report on reading

Colin links to this sharp-eyed analysis of the NEA report on reading about which people have been talking. The conclusion:

There is little doubt that modern information economies require many more proficient readers than older industrial economies did. Because of changes in the nature and conditions of work, declining proficiency in reading among American adults might cause some concern if not alarm. It is surely also the case that educational institutions at every level can and should do a better job. Yet there is little evidence of an actual decline in literacy rates or proficiency. As a result, the NEA's core argument breaks down. Even if we assume that high school seniors in 1971 spent more of their leisure time reading books than today's high school seniors do (although there is no data going back far enough to support the case one way or the other), there simply is no evidence that today's youngsters don't read as well as Mr. Gioia's peers did at a comparable age. From the information available, we simply cannot construct any relationship, let alone a causal one, between voluntary reading of books and reading proficiency. 

if:book: reading responsibly: nancy kaplan on the NEA's data distortion

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More on mobile phones and video

Another startling statistic:
There are 1.5 billion TV sets in the world; and there are 3.1 billion mobile phones in the world. The total worldwide TV population is growing by about 30-50 million per year. The mobile phone subscription population grew by "only" 400 million this year.
Also, many of those phones now take as well as show video. And the success of the video iPod means that people are now used to the idea of watching video on the small screen.
Communities Dominate Brands: What is Mobile TV? More than TV, beyond just a phone

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More mobile phone subscriptions than TV sets?

The world currently has 3.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions, one for every two people in the world. Now, "more than 28% of all phone owners have two or more subscriptions," so it's not like 50% of the people in the world have a phone. But:
So out of the 3.3 billion subscriptions, how many different people actually own one or more phone subscriptions, that number is about 2.55 billion now at the end of 2007.

Still amazing numbers compared to other technologies such as the 1.5 billion people who own a credit card or TV set, the approx 1.3 billion who now have an internet connection etc.
More mobile phones than credit cards or TV sets. Amazing. No wonder people have been pushing mobile video services such as SprintTV. As mobile phones continue to gain sophistication, they will begin to displace these technologies as well as lower-level computing functions -- actually, that's already happening with credit cards, PDAs, and to some extent email, IM, wayfinding, and reference.

Communities Dominate Brands: 3.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions, yes thats half of planet

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Block Facebook Beacon

My flagger turned up this simple method for those of you using Firefox. The post also has links to fixes for Safari, IE, and Opera.

the Idea Shower » » Block Facebook Beacon

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