Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

nanotube-paper battery

Via Knowledge Problem, this is the type of thing that keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep. I start reading about cool new things and all of a sudden realize I should have gone to bed hours ago.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new energy storage device that easily could be mistaken for a simple sheet of black paper.

Rensselaer researchers infused this paper with aligned carbon nanotubes, which give the device its black color. The nanotubes act as electrodes and allow the storage devices to conduct electricity. The device, engineered to function as both a lithium-ion battery and a supercapacitor, can provide the long, steady power output comparable to a conventional battery, as well as a supercapacitor’s quick burst of high energy.

Paper thin batteries! The potential for future devices powered from such batteries is almost endless. The research is not done yet, as they haven’t found a way to cheaply mass produce the product, but apparently all of the materials are pretty inexpensive.

I don’t know. This is pretty interesting to me, maybe not to anyone else…

Read Full Post »

Tech Daily has “tech policy profiles” of all the presidential candidates:

Presidential candidates have made plenty of headlines this year for their increasing use of technology to campaign, but they also have views on technology issues. In this special series, Technology Daily offers a detailed look at their views on matters facing the growing tech community. Tech Daily consulted the Congressional Record, speeches, candidates’ Web sites and campaign spokesmen to compile profiles of each presidential hopeful’s technology policy views

Let’s see … San Brownback is a decency nut (but so is Hilary Clinton); all the Democrats support net neutrality legislation, but all the Republican except Huckabee are against it; Obama and Clinton have the most to say on tech issues compared to other Democrats; Giuliani only has opinions on technology that will help him erode more civil liberties (he wants to build a virtual border fence?); How can McCain sponsor legislation that would require sex offender registries online and also a bill in support of online privacy?; yay for Ron Paul voting against silly Internet gambling bans and increased broadcast indecency penalties; Romney has drunk the Internet predators kool-aid; who the hell is Duncan Hunter?

Read Full Post »

I’ve decided that I’m taking a hiatus from libertarian posts. How often can I post that I’m against banning things and for individual rights? Don’t answer that. I’ll probably post something that irks me the wrong way soon.

So, anyway I like new techie things. Here’s a fun link to play with via my old friend from high school Jeff.

The link, Built With, has you identify a web site and it will tell you what it’s built with (ie CSS, HTML, AJAX, the list goes on).

Fun times had by all, really no joke.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes the technological generation gap – the gulf between digital natives and digital immigrants, if you will — manifests itself in weird ways. Just now, a group of older men at my work were talking in the office behind me. I don’t really pay much attention to people talking at work unless they’re talking directly to me, but I assumed they were discussing something complicated, given the amount of discussion it was warranting. Finally, one of them – the big department boss, actually – turns to me and says, “Maybe you can help. We’re trying to figure out how to determine the number of miles between two cities.”

Really? Really?

“Uh, Mapquest?” I suggest timidly, thinking surely there must be more to this issue, something more complicated that I am not yet grasping.

“I don’t know, will that work?” he asks. I pull up the site, type in the two cities. They hulk over me, watching observantly. “2803.56 miles,” I tell them. Satisfaction abounds.

This is actually not the first time people here have been amazed! at how quickly I will find something they ask for on the Internet. I know, I know, I’d be totally hopeless back in the days when reporters actually had to put in some effort to find information – to call people! Or go places! Or use books and almanacs and directories! … I admire them that they’ve all worked through that era. I know I’m a spoiled tech brat. But … it’s Mapquest, people, Mapquest. Hasn’t Mapquest been around since Geocities? Geez.

Read Full Post »

This has already been everywhere, but oh well. There are just so many interesting things about danah boyd’s social-neworking/class analysis I don’t know where to start. A few weeks ago I mused that “Myspace will remain as the go-to site for musicians, aspiring porn stars and people looking to hook-up with strangers; Facebook for college kids, hipsters, tech geeks, activists and academics.”

Turns out I’m mostly right, according to danah. She has been interviewing young people across the nation about their relationship with social networking and other technological phenomenon, and writes a series of academic and non-acedmic articles about her observations. One of her latest discussions is on class divisions evident in the Facebook/MySpace divide.

Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some teens are flocking to Facebook. Who goes where gets kinda sticky… probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.

After hashing out the obvious origins of this divide (facebook’s original .edu account only membership policy), danah attempts to briefly deal with just what “class” actually means in U.S. society, which I thought was one of the most interesting parts of the essay. She cites sociologist Nalini Kotamraju, who argued that lifestyle and “social stratification” are more indicative of class in the U.S. than income.

In other words,” danah writes, “all of my anti-capitalist college friends who work in cafes and read Engels are not working class just because they make $14K a year and have no benefits. Class divisions in the United States have more to do with social networks (the real ones, not FB/MS), social capital, cultural capital, and attitudes than income.

Ezra picks up this thread and adds

I’m not making very much right now, but … there’s an issue of potential here. I’m choosing a low-income field, but it would be easy enough for me to take the LSAT, dart off to law school, and quintuple my salary. Not choosing that option doesn’t mean it’s not there. Should class actually be tired to the most-renumerative reality you could feasibly inhabit?

Similarly, I’ve been in grad school this year, and making practically nothing, like most of my fellow students. But no one would look at us, our lives, our possessions, and call us “working class.” We have ikea furniture and laptops and iPods and embarrassingly high weekly bar tabs, though combinations of previous incarnations in the working world, help from parents, student loans, meager part-time incomes, school stipends, etc. (for the record, my parents are not paying for anything for me, lest you think I’m one of those subsidized academic brats). And we have post-grad prospects that, while dismally not as bright-and-shiny as we’d like, at least mean that we’ll be able to make our way in the world and keep drinking expensive beer and maybe even open a savings account some day soon. Commenters at Ezra’s point out that, really, education is what we’re talking about here. And upward mobility. But education is the clearest predictor of upward mobility, so … class can be boiled down to education.

This is gonna get me off on a tangent here, but … I never realized how much the type of education you had predicts your future success until I moved to DC. I went to a state school in Ohio and entered the job market in Ohio and pretty much everybody else I was competing with went to school in Ohio and nobody much cared if you went to a private school or a state school or a community college. But in DC, which can afford to be much more picky, I’ve noticed that certain internships, certain types of jobs, certain networks, are nearly exclusively brimming with Ivy-leaguers or people with equally impressive academic credentials. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like because you didn’t do the right internships at 20, you’re never gonna get where you want to be. But this is neither here nor there. Back to the class thing … I think it’s about education, but also about mindset. Which is what danah was originally saying, I think. So back to danah’s essay. Danah posits that:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we’d call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities. MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

She points out that this is visually represented by the difference in Myspace and Facebook aesthetics. Personally I am horrified when someone (usually not a current friend but someone I went to high school with or something) posts a glittery blinking loony toon flash graphic on my MySpace comments section. Similarly by people whose pages have, like, sixteen slide shows of their friends or their kids, graphic memes, and blinking backgrounds. But danah points out that in certain cultures, “showy, sparkly, brash visual displays are acceptable and valued” (that explains all those moving-waterfall-florescent-wall-hangings that are so popular in my home town).

The look and feel of MySpace resonates far better with subaltern communities than it does with the upwardly mobile hegemonic teens. This is even clear in the blogosphere where people talk about how gauche MySpace is while commending Facebook on its aesthetics. I’m sure that a visual analyst would be able to explain how classed aesthetics are, but aesthetics are more than simply the “eye of the beholder” – they are culturally narrated and replicated. That “clean” or “modern” look of Facebook is akin to West Elm or Pottery Barn or any poshy Scandinavian design house (that I admit I’m drawn to) while the more flashy look of MySpace resembles the Las Vegas imagery that attracts millions every year. I suspect that lifestyles have aesthetic values and that these are being reproduced on MySpace and Facebook.

This is getting really long, but the last thing I want to share from danah’s essay is her analysis of class divisions in military use of social networking sites.

A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This was a very interesting move because the division in the military reflects the division in high schools. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook. MySpace is the primary way that young soldiers communicate with their peers. When I first started tracking soldiers’ MySpace profiles, I had to take a long deep breath. Many of them were extremely pro-war, pro-guns, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, pro-killing, and xenophobic as hell. Over the last year, I’ve watched more and more profiles emerge from soldiers who aren’t quite sure what they are doing in Iraq.

I can’t help but wonder if part of the goal is to cut off communication between current soldiers and the group that the military hopes to recruit. Many young soldiers’ profiles aren’t public so it’s not about making a bad public impression. That said, young soldiers tend to have reasonably large networks because they tend to accept friend requests of anyone that they knew back home which means that they’re connecting to almost everyone from their high school. Many of these familiar strangers write comments supporting them. But what happens if the soldiers start to question why they’re in Iraq? And if this is witnessed by high school students from working class communities who the Army intends to recruit?”

Read Full Post »

Mother Jones July/August issue is all about “open-source” politics. Haven’t read through much of it yet, but it looks like there’s some interesting stuff,

Read Full Post »

Looking for even more ways to avoid interaaction with the real world? Ning is a “meta-networking” site that allows users to create their own social networks for whatever they want to. On the front page of the site right now (I’m assuming it changes daily) are networks for something called the Brooklyn Art Project, the “Sick Puppies Network,” and the “One Tree Hill VIP Lounge.” Ning’s passion, they tell us, is “putting new social networks in the hands of anyone with a good idea.”

With Ning, your social network can be anything and for anyone. You start by choosing a combination of features (videos, blogs, photos, forums, etc.) from an ever-growing list of options. Then customize how it looks, decide if it’s public or private, add your brand logo if you have one, and enable the people on your network to create their own custom personal profile pages.

I read about this today on Cultureby, and my first thought was, oh, that’s kind of cool, because I think I’m kind of conditioned to think that about every new Web platform that gets introduced. But then one of the commenters asked, “what is the value?”


What is the value added here? What do people get out of this? Why does everyone keep joining these things? At a certain point, do you really gain anything from joining a newer/bigger/more-compartmentalized/whatever network? Or do you just spend more time out of your day checking out 13.5 million sites, with absolutely nothing added for belonging to more than one? It’s kind of like blogrolls — the more blogs I read, the more other blogs I get led to, and the more blogs I, in turn, add to my RSS reader. At this point, I just look at my massive list of feeds every morning and feel daunted. I resort to skimming just about everything. I was probably better informed about life, the world and the blogosphere when I only read 5 blogs total.

(Another commenter at Cultureby pointed out that everyone keeps talking about how there needs to be one giant aggregator, something where you can combine Flickr, YouTube, blogging platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, your RSS reader, etc., but if we got to that place, “would the security issues freak us all out?”)

Read Full Post »

Random technological news of the day: France bans government officials from using blackberries (for fear that US is spying on them)

Read Full Post »

You know it’s sad when it’s a wee bit before midnight and you haven’t even hit the half way mark for work. Alas, if only I had an extra hundred dollars to spend, I could hire a work-servant to do it for me! I could then spend my day blogging about which color line metro is my favorite (yellow still holds a fond place in my heart but green is coming up a quick second).
With my (slight) obsessive tendencies towards reading business magazines, I came across a
Red Herring
article on the PayPerPost company. What is PayPerPost?

PayPerPost, a website that lets bloggers write reviews about advertisers, and get paid by those advertisers, said Tuesday it raised $7 million in a second-round led by prior investor Draper Fischer Jurvetson.

Before anyone gets all angry and Captain America on the issue. PayPerPost has a code of Blogger ethics. That’s right. To keep us all safe from ourselves and our tendencies towards lying and trickery.

Disclosure Badges

The Disclosure Badge example on this page is a representation of graphical icon that informs the reader that a particular piece of content is a sponsored post. Advertisers may request that you place these icons next to the appropriate content in your blog as a signal to your readers.
In-Post Text Based Disclosure

In the event that an advertiser does not request a Disclosure Badge you are free and encouraged to disclosure within the post itself via a text disclosure. Example of test disclosures include: This Post Sponsored by ACME, This Post Brought to you by AMCE, Thank you to my Sponsor ACME. Always thank the sponsor themselves, not PayPerPost.
Site Wide Disclosure Policy

You can choose to adopt a site wide policy that lets your readers know that you accept sponsored posts. This policy MUST be displayed in a prominent place that is easy for your readers to locate.

I’m all for it. Call me the lady for looking for ways to make legit money, but you have company A and they want to help companies B-X. So they source out the work for people willing to do it. Those people get paid for talking positively or negatively about said companies B-X. Masses who listen to those people either take it in or not. What’s the big deal? We have sales people hocking bad perfume and cheap watches in malls across America.

Looking at possible arguments, if companies B-X try to do illegal work, that is not the fault of company A. Also, if blogger is engaged in illegal activity and signed the ethics agreement, it could be fishy legally, but ethically, company A is not wrong (maybe if they were behind the illegal actions but we won’t go there yet).

Plus, with any quote that mentions Google right now, is so looking for some SEO action!

“We want to be the Google of consumer-generated advertising,” said PayPerPost CEO Ted Murphy.

Read Full Post »

My best friend is a crazy cat lady. She also refuses to join facebook, despite my best prodding. I was joking the other day that maybe if I created a profile for my cat, she would at least join up to create one for hers. Ha! Turns out, this is now entirely feasible, with new facebook application Catbook.

Catbook allows you to create a profile for your cat, tag your cat in photos, find cats in your area, and much more!

But this is not really a post about cat profiles (although I cannot assure you with 100 percent certainty that my two kitties will not become social networkers the next time I get drunk), but about facebook in general. And why I think the people there are brilliant. And why it’s becoming the digital platform du jour.

That’s right, I said “platform.” Not “social networking site.” I was listening to Facebook’s Chris Kelley speak a few weeks back at the IS2K7 conference, and this is one of the first distinctions he made: with the introduction of all the new facebook apps a few weeks back, the company really wants to position itself as an Internet “platform.”

If you’re not on facebook, or haven’t checked out the apps yet, there’s a run-down of just about each and every new facebook application in detail (weighing the pros and cons, the creepiness and usability factors, etc.) over at All Facebook, a bizarre but strangely compelling blog devoted entirely to social networking news.

Girl from the South analyzes some of the new facebook apps here:

While they still need to get rid of the passive away message [interlude from me — I hate that!], Facebook went above and beyond that last week when they opened up the platform. Most of the applications are fluffy (dogstar and netflix queues?), but the possibilities are really amazing here. The Causes application is particularly exciting. A few months ago, nonprofit job was asked to sign on, so I got to play with Project Agape and set up our profile. While I’m not a fan of the name, it’s a great concept. It’ll be interesting to see how it takes off. I particuarly like the RSSbook. Facebook is quickly becoming the one-stop-shop for all web purposes.

I second Girl from the South’s glowing praise for the apps. A few months back, I was held at gunpoint and forced by Raee (or, you know, talked to about it a lot) to join things like Twitter and iLike. I signed up; I created accounts; I never came back. Now that I can use them both from the safety and comfort of my facebook profile, however, I’ve given them both another try. It’s just nice to have a whole bundle of Web 2.0 technologies and capabilities all in one site, and I’ve already noticed myself signing into facebook more often.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was a facebook naysayer in days of yore. I just didn’t understand the point. Poking people? What is that? Why? And in order to find out anything new about anyone, you had to go around looking at their profiles all the time, and who had the time or inclination for that? The news feed thing in the fall produced a lot of controversy, I know, but looks like it turned out to be a really good move, mostly because it actually keeps people actively engaged in the site. You log on, you don’t just see your own profile (like on MySpace), you see immediately what all your “friends” are doing. You may see on your news feed so and so tagged so and so in a picture, you decide to maybe look at the whole album; you see someone added someone new as a friend, and you didn’t realize they were on facebook, so then you go look at their profile. Whatever. The news feed means there’s more to do, in an easily accessible way. The applications just compound this 10 fold.

A Newsweek article comparing Myspace and Facebook recently noted:

In terms of minutes per visit—an area where MySpace used to trounce Facebook—”Facebook has caught up,” says comScore’s Andrew Lipsman. This is interesting because Facebook is “more of a utility,” as Barker explains it, and MySpace has much more media to burn minutes.

And, as another AllFacebook article pointed out,

It is also important to recognize that the role of groups, i.e. affiliation networks, plays a much more prominent role on Facebook. Facebook users typically belong to many different groups, ranging from social causes to sororities to the zany: ‘I remember playing Legend of Zelda.’ This diversity of groups serves a double service: it serves as a source of personal identity and more importantly, serves as catalysts for exposure to new people outside one’s immediate network “Unlimited” is a major keyword because following network theory, the more networks one belongs to the more likely one is to expand their personal connections and thus enhance overall network success.

In contrast, MySpace’s use of groups is more limited to building out profiles (takes more effort) and bulletin boards (dated and non-conducive to interaction). Based on the difference in group structure and design alone, it is easy to see why Facebook’s growth should continue to skyrocket (up 152% in April) while MySpace (only up 49% in April) is likely to level–out over time. Coupled with MySpace’s overall emphasis on profile individuality and personal network interaction, the future for users exploring and expanding with more out-of-network friends seems dubious at best. Especially with Facebook’s new Applications, such as Facebook Causes, I would only look for a larger disparity to soon emerge between the two superpowers.

Although MySpace currently has more visitors per month (66 million v. 23 million), MySpace’s growth is apparently leveling, while Facebook is adding 150,000 users per day.

I was also a MySpace enthusiast in days of yore (this was a short-lived period, however), but now I hardly ever sign in to MySpace unless I’m looking up a band. MySpace obviously still provides a better networking platform for musicians, and arguably other performing arts entities, like small theater groups, festivals, etc. Perhaps with Facebook now stealing a significant portion of MySpace’s spotlight, MySpace can get back to it’s musical roots. That’s my prediction, anyway. When the last social networking battles have been fought, Myspace will remain as the go-to site for musicians, aspiring porn stars and people looking to hook-up with strangers; Facebook for college kids, hipsters, tech geeks, activists and academics. Oh, and for my cats.

Read Full Post »

Thanks to my friend Gynine for this nice piece of news.

Let’s weigh in on this, is it right or wrong not to tell someone you are filming them? I’m sure we’ll add go privacy this and privacy that. How many of you are going to click and see it though? I won’t tell.

In a bet that we could get famous on the internet by the end of the semester, we decided to broadcast our friend’s life on the internet to millions of viewers (Without actually telling him.)

How creepy. It’s like Justin TV but even more voyeuristic. Watch at your own will but remember….

Ryan doesn’t know…so don’t tell Ryan.

Read Full Post »

No more juice, Jose.

It’s baseball season (exclamation!). All right boys and girls, are we ready for stories on ‘roids and corked bats? I’m hoping for good-old Yankees better loose baseball season, personally that’s my opinion. But if by chance, you are a Yankees fan or even a steroid fan, put down the needle and go see the eye doctor. The LA Times had an interesting article on the new trend in baseball, improving eye sight through surgery.

Now, they’re among a growing number of professional athletes focusing on new and improved technologies to recover lost vision skills.
Not all the attention is coming from players with damaged or diminished eyesight. Even players with normal vision are turning to everything from laser surgery and tinted contact lenses to eye-strengthening exercises and high-priced “ocular” machines in search of a competitive edge.

Impressive isn’t it. It’s like RoboCop, but instead it’s a baseball player.

Or getting the team to spend the money, which is what Carlos Beltran did when he signed with the New York Mets before the 2005 season. Included in his $119-million contract was a clause that required the Mets to purchase an $85,000 “enhanced ocular device.”

Just thinking how amazingly awesome this might be, seeing your favorite baseball pitcher squint his eyes and out shoots a laser beam. How wicked would that be? Okay, okay, I digress is successful? I mean going under the knife for baseball? As long as there is no crying in baseball.

The device is a high-speed pitching machine that fires specially marked tennis balls at speeds up to 155 mph. Players try to read the markings as the ball flies by, an exercise intended to improve both focus and concentration. The Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and the Olympic champion U.S. women’s softball team have experimented with the ocular machine.

And if all else fails, and you favorite team happens to be the Cubs,

Then there’s the Rigoberto Betancourt method. The former coach of Cuba’s national team taught pitchers to focus more sharply by having them throw while blindfolded.

Interesting stuff, this eye sight surgery in baseball. I’ll have to catch a game with my favorite team–Go Indians, and see what they’ve got. Made some day, I’ll see the lasers.

Read Full Post »

Reformation is here,

After reading about the 2.6 million patent deal for mobile social networking technology, it got me thinking about why and how you could patent technology. Well, I seem to be semi on par with Congress. This past Wednesday, Congress introduced the Patent Reform Act of 2007.

The Patent Reform Act was introduced Wednesday in the Senate and the House. It would award patents to people who first file for the patents, instead of those first to invent, it limits damages patent holders can collect in infringement lawsuits, and it creates a new procedure for those questioning the validity of a patent to challenge it after it’s been granted. The U.S. has the only first-to-invent patent system worldwide.

To make this all easier, here’s the current case of Vonage, which was sued by Verizon. What exactly was going on? The American Chronicle has a good look at the case.

The patent in question is the popular VOIP (Voice of Over Internet Protocol) that goes under other names such as IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, Broadband Telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice Over Broadband (www.wikipedia.com). This is advanced technology that routes the voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network. It allows you to make calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line (www.fcc.gov/voip).

Phone calls on the Internet? Sweet. So what’s the problem? What patent did Vonage abuse?

This technology may be viewed as commercial realizations of the experimental Network Voice Protocol (1973) invented for the ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency Network) that is responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military (www.wikipedia.com). It was established in 1958 in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957, with a mission of keeping the US’s military technology ahead of its enemies.

Opportunity for consumers to chose their provider that best fits their needs and budget? Awful. How can you patent innovation? Why would you want to? Wouldn’t as a business, make you try harder to keep your customers and force you, as a company, to provide more?

Maybe, not. So what do patents do?

The basic concept of a patent is to allow the CREATOR of inventions that contain new ideas to keep others from making commercial use of the ideas without the creator’s permission (Elias & Stim, 2004, 226).

So right now, this is all in limbo. Internet patents are wonky and aren’t getting a lot of PR. They should. This is important for technology companies, really for any company with a patent on something that is not tangible. How can we continue to impede the future? What could be done if we change the law? In my opinion, much more.

“We think the bills will help maintain our country’s innovation leadership, reduce excessive litigation and damages awards, and improve patent quality,” John Kelly III, IBM’s senior vice president for technology and intellectual property, said in a statement. source

Click here for Patently-O, a great analysis of the Patent Reform Act’s legal jargon side.

Read Full Post »

A big thanks to Twitter for introducing me to Mashable and this latest development.
Mobile Social Networking is the current buzz trend of marketers, business folk, and techies alike. The patent (number 6618593) just sold for 2.6 million.

The patent covers mobile social networking – set to be one of the hottest tech markets this year. It covers location aware devices that connect to a remote server and allow users to make connections with other users based on distance and other factors. This is the system that a lot of the existing mobile social networks use: you say you’re interested in dating hot girls who dig World of Warcraft (ok, it’s a longshot), and the system alerts you when a matching person is in your vicinity. Loopt is a current example. We’re not sure who bought the patent, or whether they plan to go after those making use of the tech. The guys who filed it, however, were geniuses: they came up with this stuff 7 years ago.

So what does this all mean, or I should say, what’s the big deal?

The field of application of this patent is essentially mobile social networking and mobile dating. Both markets are soon to explode, especially in the US with million of users on the verge to shift from PC to cell phone to manage their digital social life. These mobile applications are the obvious next steps for websites such as MySpace, Facebook or Match.com. Several start up companies are already launching their services.

Money and technology and the future are the deal. And looks like the patent author is invisible, or at least for now.

While the buyer’s name is not disclosed according to the rules of these IP auctions, one can imagine it might be a large online social networking portal wishing to lock the market with a strong patent, or a company specialized in the monetization of intellectual properties willing to license this promising asset to the various players on the market. But for now the only people making profit out of it is the group of inventors who filed this innovative patent seven years ago.

Here are some of the Mobile Social Networking sites to make you salivate:–Twitter, Dodgeball, Socialight, Frengo, GotZapp (No longer in beta, it’s live! Thanks Josh for the update), ImThere, Groovr, and JuiceCaster.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been working with AU’s Center for Social Media on a research project about user-generated content and copyright law, which is neat because I’ve gotten to attend a conference today (and also tomorrow) with IP lawyers and general counsel and the business and communication departments of places like Microsoft and Facebook and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard Law School and Creative Commons etc. etc. etc.

What we found in our (very limited) study is that … well, nobody really knows what the hell they’re talking about when it comes to copyright and UGC, and while this might partly be due to just a lack of general education, its also because there are a lot of gray areas, and even copyright lawyers and business execs and all the rest are somewhat confused about how to best deal with all the new realms of potential copyright liability without discouraging/prohibiting creativity.

The report — “The Good, the Bad and the Confusing — User-Generated Video Creators on Copyright” — is available on CSM’s Web site. It’s short, and a quick read; you should check it out! (shameless self-promotion and whatnot).

Anyway, in conducting interviews, it came up that a lot of people I know don’t really know about Creative Commons, or about fair use (although everyone says they know about fair use, but then goes on to explain a concept that is definitely not).

This is my favorite Creative Commons video. It features lots of cute bobbled-headed cartoons telling you about what CC is and how it started.

CSM also has a lot of resources and best practices guides about fair use, as they apply to documentary filmmakers and other subgroups of creators.

More tomorrow about some of the actual issues. Too tired right now….

P.S. Fun CSM video on “Remix Culture,” featuring some old-school-in-Internet-terms throwbacks, like the fat kid singing that techno song (I know that’s a poor description, but I don’t know what the song is and don’t know how to better describe it but still think people will know what I’m talking about)

Read Full Post »

Eeeek! Via Provisions Library’s new blog, Signal Fire, it’s an aggregator for aggregating aggregators.

Read Full Post »

This survey is being conducted to understand how new technology on the Internet is spread among friends. All information is kept confidential. If you have any questions I can be reached at rs1704a@american.edu.
Thank you for your participation.

Send to friends. It can be like that long awaited “Hello.”

Read Full Post »

Last week, Chris Clarke at Pandagon shared the funniest description of 1984*** I have ever read:

1984 was a book by George Orwell. 1984 describes an alternate history in which Oceania (Australia) is at war with Eurasia. It is a utopian book because it talks about a place where everyone is watched over by Big Brother, who makes sure people are doing what they are supposed to.The protagonist is Winston Smith. Thre is something about rats at the end, but it is confusing. The end is probably supposed to be ambigous.

*** it has since been changed

It’s from conservapedia (which Clarke refers to as a “wingnut pinata”). Conservapedia is, apparently, the “conservative’ answer to wickipedia, which conservapedia’s creators feel is too liberally biased. But, as the first commenter on Clarke’s post said:

Wait… is it an earnest but half-finished and inept attempt to create a conservative encyclopedia, or is it a snide anti-conservative joke? I really can’t tell.

I was confused at first, too, but I’m going to go with earnest, just because it’s really elaborate and I don’t think anyone would go to this much trouble for a little snark. And now that I’ve randomly declared it’s credibility, let’s have some Fun With Conservapedia!

Conservapedia has a list of 24 (and growing, it assures us!) examples of liberal bias in wickipedia, including: (more…)

Read Full Post »

America is so far behind in mobile technology. I just read this article over at Red Herring.

More and more Japanese are using mobile phones equipped with an electronic chip that lets them swipe their handsets over special readers to pay for train tickets and snacks at retailers.

One less thing to carry, one more opportunity to spend money I don’t have. Sweet!

And least we forget those fast food eaters.

Japan’s top mobile phone operator, plans to offer electronic payment services at McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) outlets, with special promotions for some users.

The thought of never being without greasy food while out on a drunken night never felt so good.

Read Full Post »

I was a PC user at one time. In fact, almost two years (in August) when a cup of water killed Sherman, my computer. It was a sad fate. I didn’t know him well. Alas, my files, songs, and pictures were gone however, it allowed me to step up purchase a Mac. No this isn’t a “I hate PC.” But more a look at the operating system and the hype around the Orwellian fear tied in with it.

Those familiar with PC’s are aware that a screen often pop up asking users if they would “mind” sending windows data of their Internet and computer usage. This is no different in Window’s lastest operating system, Vista.

The Vista license requires users of the software to consent to the periodic transmission of information that relates to the software and the hardware on which it is installed. Again, this validation process is meant to discourage pirated software. It also means, however, that any system with Vista installed on it will be monitored by Microsoft for compliance.

TechWorld seems to have the Big Brother mantra down pat.

PC users around the globe may find driver software is stopped from working by Vista if it detects unauthorised content access. Peter Guttman, a security engineering researcher at New Zealand’s university of Auckland, has written A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection. He reckons Vista is trying to achieve the impossible by protecting access to premium content. Users will find their PCs’ compromised by the persistent and continuous content access checks carried out by Vista.

Whether or not it’s Big Brother, Microsoft is taking measures at protecting its assests. It’s not illegal. They are doing what they think is in their best interest. We’ll have to wait and see what it does for their sales. Don’t like it? Who cares. Just don’t upgrade or don’t buy Vista. Have a glass of water instead.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »