Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Data Mine

Yesterday, I was listening to Bruce Schneier’s talk at DefCon 15. As always, fantastic. While some of it was familiar, one new bit I picked up from him is the legal ramifications of not owning the data we create. We don’t know when it’s being used for secondary purposes.

“And the 4th Amendment doesn’t work to protect our privacy (secure our person and papers) when our papers are not in our desks, they’re in our SMS messages, ISPs and Google, etc.” – Bruce Schneier

Ouch. I’m not sure lack of Constitutional protection is mentioned in ‘I agree to the terms and conditions’. Puts a whole different price tag on ‘free’ services.

It also helps me better grok the Vendor Relationship Managment project Doc Searls is heading. If individuals control their data – the chances of massive data breaches1 seem less likely, as do the Facebooks. Plus, individuals start to have some idea of the market value of their information. Hint – it’s greater than zero.


“How much of my data are you letting me control today? That’s pretty much all that matters to anyone, imho. – Dave Winer”

“I don’t deal with applications, I deal with data” – John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Braininess is open data standards and protocols, not free APIs that trap data and developers in the holding pens of big companies. Sorry, did that in the 1990s.” – David Young, Joyent

P.S. For those of you playing along at home: BINGO!

1. Techdirt does a great job of tracking this issue.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Tyler Cowen Mostly Cloudly on

Ben and I have been exchanging late-night previews of our respective side projects for a while now.

The idea behind Ben’s project – asks, can we turn the weather into Wikipedia? (Wisdom of the clouds – hehe).

Will we get better weather predictions from it? Dunno. From what I’ve seen of the site, it’ll be fun trying.

Tyler Cowen gets all uncov on Ben:

“I predict this will fail — how many government agencies already work at predicting the weather?”

I’m glad we got out of the way even before launch.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Client Blogging: Joanne Henry

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been setting up a blog for Joanne Henry co-founder of the Henry Schafer Partners marketing.

When I sat down to walk her through WordPress, she already had 3 posts ready to go. She’s been steady since. Which is great, her writing style is perfect for blogging – informal, local, and full of her personality. From her post on the Twin’s stadium construction outside her office window:

“What I’ve liked at the Ford is the ability to come up with an idea, run it by others – and get their participation – sometimes all within an hour, but certainly within the same day. Call it the anti-committee.” – Joanne Henry

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Ze Frank vs. RocketBoom – What Counts?

It’s great that Andrew got on my TiVo, great that he’s on phones, getting the traditional media comfortable with alternative distribution methods. Andrew deserves our thanks for going down this road (it’s not one that sounds like fun to me).

To his credit, I can’t tell the difference between RocketBoom and the news from local affiliates. So, it must be working. But, I don’t want smaller, shorter television, I want 3 minutes of interestingness.

What’s it matter if RB has 10x the audience if Ze’s fans buy him bling duckies and dress up their vacuum cleaners?

“Should we even care about eyeballs? I don’t. I care about my audience, but my show ends on March 17th, 2007 whether I have one eyeball or a million. Given the current state of web metrics, talking about eyeballs seems to create more risk than value anyway…..In the absence of sane metrics, we’re already repeating the mistakes that turned television into what it is today.” – Ze Frank

And later:

“[Ze] Frank says that Baron’s numbers are inflated and make it difficult for he and other video bloggers to sell advertisements with much lower numbers to offer. …. Ze Frank and many other video podcasters ought to be able to make a living doing what they are doing.” – Marshall Kirkpatrick

Uhhhhh, Mr. Kirkpatrick, there are many other ways to make a living than advertising. Sure, none of them are fashionable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

There are two problems with metrics:

  1. Measuring the right thing is hard – and different for everyone
  2. What gets measured gets attention – whether or not it’s the right thing

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

RE: What this Website Looks Like

Ben has some recommendations for wordpress publishers using the Hemingway theme (like I am of this writing).

While I agree with some of his suggestions – the undercurrent of the entire discussion is that visual presentation doesn’t really matter – let alone main pages.

Search engines shouldn’t index the main page of a blog (cause it changes lots) – only the links off it, so the likelihood of someone coming by the home page via a search engine should be low – Google et. al should be pointing to the category archive or permalinks.

Secondly, there’s a thing called RSS that delivers the web without a visual presentation. I read all my favorite and not so favorite websites through RSS (including Ben’s) – so I rarely see a what it looks like.

Between you and me, I’m a big fan of just trying on new themes. I’m doing this right now at the First Crack podcast and Working Pathways. When I find a few moments here and there, I’ll tweak the standard to more my liking or find an entire theme closer and repeat.

No, I’m not entirely happy with Hemingway – for some of the reasons Ben states. Yes, I’ve got some changes in the works – when will you see them…..maybe never. Especially if you’re reading this through the RSS feed.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Leo Laporte Gives Up on Podcasting

I’ve subscribed to the Daily Giz Wiz for quite a while now – the combination of goofy banter, unloved gadgets, generally silliness, and it’s brevity makes for great podcasting. It’s the only TWIT-family podcast I was still subscribed.

Unfortunately, in today’s – #166 – the new TWIT intro calls it a ‘netcast’.

Lame. What’s a ‘netcast’? Do I need a boat and a body of water?

I heard Laporte’s rational for attempting to change the name at the recent 2006 PodcastExpo – he wants Apple to claim trademark of ‘podcast’. A term and media form developed by the podcast community – not Apple.

Double Lame. Rather than standing up to Apple, supporting the podcast community, simplifying the explanation for new listeners, keeping things simple for existing listeners – Laporte gives up.

Like Dave Winer said about RSS vs Atom: Two is more than twice as bad.

This thing – a multimedia file distributed via an RSS feed – is a podcast.

I’m unsubbing from DGW until it’s called a ‘podcast’ or at least a ‘clambake‘. I can’t support a name change and the software I’m using only understands ‘podcasts’.


” I’m afraid, I can’t have anything to do with Twitter, either. It’s just fueling the confusion [with TWiT].” – Leo Laporte

I completely agree with Tony @ Deep Jive Interests when he says:

“I just don’t see what [leaving Twitter] is going to solve.”

This is another silly publicity stunt from the big twit.


“I surrender Twitter. You win.” – Leo Laporte

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Security is Really Customer Service in Disguise

A confused, elderly woman with a full, knotted, plastic shopping bag was in front of the scanner. The security checkpoint line out of Minneapolis stalled as I put all my stuff in multiple bins.

When a uniformed TSA person asked her if she had a boarding pass, she mumbled the need for help getting a ticket for Transworld Airlines.

“I can’t help you ma’am, I’m the supervisor and I could lose my job if I left my post.”

After a couple exchanges identical to this, the supervisor thankfully handed the woman off to another TSA person.

Reminded me how customer service is smarter, cheaper, more effective, and generally happier than level-orange security.

Reminds me, why are airports so dreary and generally unhappy. Thankfully, Ze Frank gave me the airport smile I was looking for.