Friday, April 18, 2008

Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Labor ...

is apparently going to endorse Obama. That's not the part that amuses me. Here's how he's described in the New York News:
The endorsement in question is that of Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Labor and a friend of both the former president and his wife for four decades.
But the two actually had a date in college. How strange would it be for someone you had dated to endorse someone else?

Heilemann: Robert Reich to Endorse Obama -- Daily Intel -- New York News Blog -- New York Magazine
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Facebook apps for office/career use

The Social Web trawls through the offerings and finds tools for office software, to-do lists, project management, etc.

The best Facebook apps for business and career enhancement | The Social Web |
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Web 2.0 was about sharing, Web 3.0 will be about filtering and aggregation

That's the upshot of this TechCrunch post. The examples are FriendFeed and Twitter. Basically, we need dashboards for these streaming tools.

Web 3.0 Will Be About Reducing the Noise—And Twhirl Isn’t Helping
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Creating listservs for SMS

That's basically the idea of this startup. Seems like Twitter should have this capability. Something like this would be useful for rapidly organizing cohorts at events such as conferences.
If you are looking for a rapid and free way to send a text message to an entire group then txtmob has the solution you have been looking for. To get started, simply go to and register your email address along with your cell phone number and the carrier. Instantly, you will receive an SMS message from txt mob containing an authorization code that you must enter at to complete registration. After registering, you can either join existing groups or make your own. You and your co-workers could join together and send messages to the entire group either online or by sending a text message to “ This is most certainly the easiest and cheapest way of sending and receiving group messages available.
Update: Guy Kewney points to this post, but inaccurately attributes the last sentence of the above block quote to me. The block quote comes from the linked source and was probably submitted by the startup itself. I do not endorse the service, I just note the capability and the trend. - Send and Receive Group Text Messages | Visit
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One of the 200

Andrew Sullivan links to the world's most unappealing music, created by conceptual artists in the 1990s based on polling data of the most unappealing features of music. I confess that I love this train wreck. But then again, I love Severed Heads' early work with musique concrete.

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Videos of paper prototyping

The Interaction Designer's Coffee Break points to a YouTube video of paper prototyping usability tests at Corel -- a great resource for those of us who teach the technique, despite some of the dated aspects of the video. What is really interesting, though, is that YouTube has a ton of "related videos" involving paper prototyping. Who knew?

Video of paper prototype usability tests - GUUUI
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Now here's a killer startup: ask philosophers questions

Web startups are difficult to monetize. Philosophy is certainly difficult to monetize. Let's put them together! - Philosophy For Everyone | Visit
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The lessons of Bittergate are obvious

"Bittergate" -- the recent incident in which some of Barack Obama's off-the-record comments at a fundraiser were circulated via a blog -- yields lessons that should have been learned much earlier:
But Bittergate does serve as a key reminder of the Macaca Moment’s core communications lesson for 21st century campaigns:

Digital recording devices - video recorders, audio recorders, cell phone recorders -- are everywhere. All the time. They are small, discrete, often invisible – even when they are being used. And video and audio can be sent wirelessly from anywhere to anywhere, anytime – so that a comment made in San Francisco (or rural Virginia) may be instantly shown on national TV.

Combine (1) this rule of Digital Omnipresence with (2) the rules of Off-the-Record/On the Record (i.e. – nothing is ever truly, reliably, off-the-record), then you’ve got Bittergate.
techPresident – Bittergate's Digital Import
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Granular social networks

A short, intriguing post by Thomas Vander Wal about how social networks can be improved. He says:
What we have is partial likes in others and their interests and offerings. Our social tools have yet to grasp this and the few that do have only taken small steps to get there (I am rather impressed with Jaiku and their granular listening capability for their feed aggregation, which should be the starting point for all feed aggregators). Part of grasping the problem is a lack of quickly understanding the complexity, which leads to deconstructing and getting to two variables: 1) people (their identities online and their personas on various services) and 2) interests.

Explaining the Granular Social Network :: Off the Top ::
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coverflow on the web

Led Zeppelin's website uses a Coverflow-like browser to allow you to browse their albums and DVDs. I'm not a fan of the Flash-only site, though.
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Why Salesforce + Google Apps won't work -- Zoho's perspective

Surprisingly evenhanded and provocative. In a nutshell, closed vs. open mindsets.

Zoho Blogs » Very Expensive + Affordable = Still Very Expensive
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Rapid prototyping -- paper or Fireworks?

My former student David Lee swears that Adobe Fireworks is a better prototyping platform than paper. (This pairing reminds me of the spate of Scandinavian articles on cooperative prototyping with Hypercard that we saw in the 1980s.) Do you have a preference? Why don't you drop by his blog and leave a comment.

Inventing Web 3.0: Rapid Prototyping pt2 - Paper vs. Fireworks
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A quote from the Obama flap and the blogger who reported it

Again via my flagger. Marc Cooper, who edits the blog on which Obama's controversial remarks about Pennsylvanians were recorded, discusses the ethics of citizen journalism in fundraisers. This part seems perceptive:
"Obama was indeed more loose-lipped than usual. He should be more careful in his choice of words when he is staring into so many video cams, no matter who is holding them.”
Right. Some are making noises to the effect that fund raisers are "off the record" and so citizen journalists should not report them. But conventions such as "off the record" only work when you can establish a stable relationship with a stable entity (such as the NYT) and enforce the convention by restricting access to that entity if it does not live up to the bargain. When every supporter can bring a videocamera and post the results, nothing is off the record.

Katharine Q. Seelye - On Line - The New York Times - Politics - Election 2008 - New York Times
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There are languages missing

Via my flagger, a meditation on how citizen journalism is reported in the established media. The case is that of the blogger who attended Sen. Obama's fundraiser and heard his controversial characterization of rural Pennsylvanians. But the broader issue is one that will be hashed out quite regularly going forward, I think. Who broke the story -- a newspaper, a special interest group, a campaign staffer? Or did it just come from nowhere, the way Tim Russert portrayed it?
We're in uncharted territory here. There are languages missing. People get mad when they don't know what to call things. So much so that Mike Allen of the Politico in 12 reasons 'bitter' is bad for Obama couldn't even find the word "website" to describe the Huffington Post, which became in his tortured rendering, "a liberally oriented organization that was Obama's outlet of choice when he wanted to release a personal statement distancing himself from some comments by the Rev. Wright." Sounds like a shadowy 527 group.
Jay Rosen: The Uncharted: From Off The Bus to Meet the Press - Off The Bus on The Huffington Post
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Naked federations

I came across Conjunctured, an Austin company, by following a few links:
We help organizations have conversations online.

Conjunctured leverages the power of collaboration and community. We are inspired by the existing concept of coworking and call ourselves a “co-company” – it’s a term we came up with that describes how the company is structured – we don’t employ people. Instead, a team of independent freelancers, all specialists in their own areas, come together to collaborate on the projects they feel most passionate about.
What interests me is that the described structure sounds a bit like what Zuboff and Maxmin call a "federation," a group of independent professionals or contractors who come together for a project, then disband at the end of it. Conjunctured sounds perhaps a bit more stable than that, but it forefronts the distributed model of work rather than hiding it, as most federations do.
Conjunctured » Howdy
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Anthropology, design, and cellphones in the NYT

My flagger points me to this article on one of Nokia's design researchers, Jan Chipchase, who travels the world examining how people use their mobile phones. He theorizes their impact and imagines how to design them to better fit their cultural and physical environments.

Being the NYT, the story does not link to his website.

Cellphones - Third World and Developing Nations - Poverty - Technology - New York Times
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