Posts from February 10, 2004

Friends and enemies

Friends and enemies
: Bill O’Reilly turns on Bush:

Conservative television news anchor Bill O’Reilly said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The anchor of his own show on Fox News said he was sorry he gave the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons program poised an imminent threat, the main reason cited for going to war.

“I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this,” O’Reilly said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“What do you want me to do, go over and kiss the camera?” asked O’Reilly, who had promised rival ABC last year he would publicly apologize if weapons were not found.

O’Reilly said he was “much more skeptical about the Bush administration now” since former weapons inspector David Kay said he did not think Saddam had any weapons of mass destruction.

While critical of President Bush, O’Reilly said he did not think the president intentionally lied. Rather, O’Reilly blamed CIA Director George Tenet, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton….

Even George Bush is Bill Clinton’s fault. Wow.

Mobile hacks

Mobile hacks
: Now I’m at an Etech session on mobile hacks. I’ll digest/distill/divulge to the best of my ability.

: Right now, I’m hearing a lot about telecom plan costs and speeds and I’m zoning. I’ll read about the election instead. Politics is now more enlivening. Watching paint turn into lead is more enlivening.

I’m giving up on blogging this session.


: Now at an ETech session on “untethering the social network.”

: Howard Rheingold, Dr. SmartMobs, says the users take over technology and do with it what they please, not what the company providing it pleases.

: Mimi Ito on her research on kids’ use of mobile phones in Japan: Most communication occurs inside an intimate group of two to five friends… As social software, it’s different from the Internet because it’s more personal…. Some say it’s now rude to make a phone call without first sending a text message to make sure it’s ok; it’s the knock on the door….

There’s much use of photo mail. “One common genre is the new-haircut shot.”

: Joi is asking how to make mobile devices more hackable to get more social development. The devices aren’t hack-friendly. The telecom networks certainly aren’t hack-friendly. But open-source, open-standard, hack-creativity as we’ve seen on the Internet will explode development in mobile.

Joi is talking about hacking the power law, too. See the Technorati discussion below; the blogs with five links, in aggregate, have more links than the blogs with hundreds of links. Similarly, in the mobile social sphere, the links and networks and connections are all fewer.

So it’s not about mocking mass media. It’s about expanding communications.

: Howard uses the opportunity to share a “cheap joke” of a scene he witnessed here as one person greeted another with the question: “Are you my friend?! Yes?! No?!”

: Kevin Marks asks what it will mean when videogame boxes are connected to the Internet. Danah said there is a backchannel to the gameplay. Even here… “We’re playing at the same time that we’re engaging.” Orkut is play, too. “You can’t take it seriously.” People game it because they don’t take it seriously.

: A questioner and Mimi Ito see a tension in blogs and in mobile interaction between intimate, personal tone and larger-scale addressing an audience.

: Someone said this was unreadable. Admitted. This one was hard to distill. Or perhaps to digest. Or perhaps I’m just stupid.

The two-way (albeit async) New York Times

The two-way (albeit async) New York Times
: Dan Okrent, public editor of the NY Times, has started putting up online-only responses to some of the many, many emails he gets. They call it a “journal.” It’s not really a forum with open discussion. It’s not really a weblog. But it is another way for readers to at least talk to The Times and get answered — all the better because it’s in public. It’s not fully two-way but it’s a start. [via Anil]

Moving the Mouse by RSS

Moving the Mouse by RSS
: At an ETech session on moving content via RSS on Disney, they say that Dave Winer and Adam Curry suggested the architecture that allows them to give users full-quality, instant-on video on the home pages of ESPN and other sites. If you go to a Disney site and want this video, you’ll end up downloading a tiny ap (Windows only) that is actually an RSS aggregator that takes enclosures of the video material to cache on users’ hard drives.

Nice technology, nice use, nice gestating of big-media technology in nanomedia.

: They’ve shipped more than 500 million videos with this technology.

: Disney is now talking about how they migrated TV production “shift logs” to Movable Type. They didn’t tell anybody it was a “blog.” And the staff called them geniuses. “Hmmm, what else can we steal from the blogosphere,” they said. Next: They use RSS to distribute internal information via NewsGator and Outlook. “They don’t even know it’s not email. It just shows up and they’re happy.”

They’re looking to replace RSS with Atom because it’s more two-directional. (I don’t know what that means. I report; you understand.)

: Conclusion: “RSS and weblog software are very useful to business and it doesn’t have anything to do with anybody’s opinions.”

The American media diet

The American media diet
: Stuart Hughes of the BBC spent a few weeks in America and came away with this impression of American media:

… what has struck me most is the homogeneity of the coverage on offer there.

Journalists in every country I


: So I went to get a cup of coffee at the conference and the top layer of cups was empty, so the guy in front picked up the tray to get a cup and put it back over a dwindling number of cups below. It was soon to be a game of Janga: When will the tray fall? I was about to comment on this, just to make friendly conversation, when I looked up and saw Jeff Bezos, god of the Amazon. Naw, couldn’t be him, I thought. So I rudely checked out his name badge: Yup, him. By the time those thoughts cycled through, he was gone and I just looked like a dork.

Still, it’s neat that Bezos is here. What other CEOs should be?

: Update: I can tell he’s just outside this room because I hear his famous laugh.

: Speaking of fame, Doc is going to be on CBS Sunday Morning on Feb. 29.



: Dave Sifry is giving a talk on the wonderful Technorati, my ego-info-heroin.

: It’s now tracking 1.6 million sources — 11k new weblogs tracked per day. Since last march, he has seen a sharp increase in new weblogs from 3k per day then.

“On average, a new weblog is being created every 7.8 seconds.”

: They define churn as no posting in three months; 35 percent of weblogs starve and die thusly.

: They see more than 100,000 updates per day.

: This is beautiful: The median time now from when a post is posted to when it is in the Technorati data base is seven minutes. That makes it exponentially more powerful. That enables the conversation!

: He’s praising Amazon for creating a product ID for anything anybody wants to talk about and link to; almost all the links to Amazon are direct, deep links to products. (A wise marketer would use the cosmos to reverse that flow and look at what people are saying. See earlier Tim O’Reilly notes.)

It’s a beautiful thing! The page gives you not only the links back but shows you the linker who has the most authority (inbound links) and context for the link — a positive or negative review.

I’m sitting next to David Weinberger as we watch this. “I love him,” says Dave. Me, too.

: Sifry wants to make the data base part of the presentation. Coming… He’s asking us all to blog that link. So we’ll see how quickly they show up. The link: It took three minutes for blogged links to show up on the cosmos of the cosmos.

: “We know this: It’s not the most user-friendly experience today. We’re working on that. But my goal was, let me give you great data.”

: Sifry wants to know: “Who found Salam Pax?” Great question. A few people, his friends linked to him. Then one warblogger linked to him; then Glenn Reynolds, “then voom.” It’s a way to see “meme propagation.”

It’s a new tipping point: the giving of tips.

: “Everybody talks about the power law. F’ it, I got the data!… Everybody gets the power law wrong… When you have fair access to media… by its very nature, you’re going to have a curve that looks like this…. This is not necessarily a bad thing… THis is not about the top 100. I mean, kudos to you on the top 100 but BFD….” He goes down the chart and finds guys with five links. There he sees a community. He puts up another chart showing how many people have the same number of links. “There’s a helluva lot more people who have inbound links and the aggregate number of inbound links even at the lower end of the curve greatly outnumber the top 100.” The masses matter, man!!

: He doesn’t care about Technorati as a destination site. He cares about it as a platform with data being used by others. He’s putting out APIs for all his data free for non-commercial use. Developers’ site: He’s listing some of the better hacks.

: To get your posts indexed faster, go here.

: What’s next?

> This will lead to really powerful products reviews. (Ping Consumer Reports!)

> You can subscribe to a set of keyword and Cosmos filters that interest you (tell me whenever someone links to or comments on my company).

> Technorati will reorder your blogroll based on who’s updated. You can tell a reader that a blog has just updated (rather than constantly polling them, which is stupidly inefficient. This makes Technorati the platform for what’s new)

Go here to have Technorati check your blogroll (or OPML) for you.

> Vote links. This solves the big problem with assuming that links are link love. He suggests adding a tag that says vote equals minus one, zero (the default), or plus one. Thus, you can make it clear that those you hate don’t get more authority. Bravo!

Note to Movable Type: This needs to be added to the user interface (I see smiley faces and fingers).

Somebody already suggests a more grayscale mode of voting (so we don’t keep saying that we’re a red-and-blue nation).

> Geographic search and filtering will come in time (as input of geocoding becomes automated).

: He talks about breaking news and being too busy to follow the news. And then he realized, “gee, we’re tracking 1.6 million people who probably have more time than I do….[beat for punchline] in aggregate.” Breaking news “is using you as my collaborative filter on the world.” He made rules: at least three bloggers have to link to it and he ranks them on when they were reported. He also gives us context.

This is the GoogleNews of the future: editing by mob, not machine (and not editor).

(But this needs better design.)

He says to think of Breaking News as a blog. Current Events, on the other hand, are ranked by popularity, the articles with the most conversation going on around them.

: Jay Rosen suggests that a way to increase the credibility and attention of webloggers with journalists is to send journalists the cosmos to their articles. Great suggestion.

: Great presentation.