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Office of self promotion: T/S founder named to Silicon Alley 100 list

Posted by andreaitis on December 9, 2009

Here’s LD, clocking in at #42 on Silicon Alley Insider’s annual top 100 list.  This year, the list actually goes up to 113 and represents “people in the NYC digital community who did really cool stuff.”

No worries, world.   Our collective T/S ego remains in check.  And if it dares to swell a bit we simply have to pull up the other Silicon Alley Insider story about us, the one that called us boring five minutes after our alpha launch.

Ok, that’s not fair.  It was more like 12 hours after we launched.

Seriously – on behalf of LD – we’re excited to make the list.  Thanks, SAI.

dvorkin 2009 silicon alley 100_12-9-2009 12-48-02 PM

Top 50. Not too shabby, LD.

Posted in Business, social media, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mobile Music: Pandora is coming to your car

Posted by andreaitis on December 8, 2009

Shall I go with puns like ‘Opening Pandora’s Box’ and ‘Sirius Trouble’ or simply say yay, Pandora?  I love Pandora.  If you’ve never tried the music site, go to pandora.com and try it right now.  G’head, I’ll wait.

pandora 12-8-2009 4-58-57 PM

A great product doesn’t just meet your expectations, it exceeds them.  Pandora is both functional and elegant.  They’ve integrated advertising in a classy and reasonable manner.   They have cool tech that enhances the value, giving me more of the music I want to hear (rather than cool simply for the sake of cool).  They are humble and scrappy and whole-heartedly believe in what they’re doing.  And, as this news confirms, they’re smart.  They are not looking at music today, but music tomorrow.  Music that is mobile, that moves with me wherever I go.

Within a few years, new cars will have Pandora built in and “bundled with either the price of the car or services associated with the car,” he said, ramping up competition with subscription-based satellite radio providers as well as terrestrial radio broadcasters. While he wouldn’t commit to a time frame for the first implementations, and automotive innovation cycles are notoriously long, Conrad hinted that some relevant announcements could be coming out of next month’s CES event in Las Vegas.

Pandora has already succeeded in seamlessly moving from a desktop service to a mobile one, with smartphone adoption driving significant subscriber growth. Having cheated the hangman and stabilized its cost structure this summer, thanks to a licensing agreement forged after an arduous negotiation process, Pandora has the financial runway and the confidence to act on its mobile advantage and expand into the car radio market. After all, isn’t your car another mobile device you rely on?

via Pandora Is Coming to Your Car – GigaOM

I’m in, Pandora.    Baby you can drive my car.

[youtubevid id=”8Ts2U1mkfz4″]

Posted in Entertainment, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

10-year-old Bill Gates fanboy sings love song for Windows 7

Posted by andreaitis on November 15, 2009

His name is Will Smith, and he’s proving yet again that geeks rule.  For his fifth grade talent show, Will wrote a song all about Windows 7, literally singing its praises.  Here’s the video from the talent show rehearsal, Will’s own  a cappella version of  ‘Windows Rising.’

windows 7 rising 11-16-2009 12-49-01 PM

Will Smith sings love song to Bill Gates: 'I see Windows 7 rising...'

TechFlash’s Todd Bishop saw the video and contacted the 10-year-old’s mother in Lakeway, Texas.  Carolyn Smith confirmed that Will is a “huge Microsoft fan” but said Microsoft had nothing to do with the song.

“I just wanted to write a song about the new Windows operating system,” Will said after his mom put him on the phone. Asked about his favorite feature, he said it’s the new taskbar. And this, frankly, is almost more unbelievable than him writing the song: He said he has upgraded all four of his family’s computers to Windows 7.

When he grows up, he said, he plans to work at Geek Squad, or Microsoft, probably as a programmer.

via Ballad of a Windows 7 fanboy

Will Smith even looks like a young Bill Gates.  Can’t wait to see a Will Smith / Bill Gates meet-up.  If Microsoft is smart they’ll make that happen and it’ll end up on YouTube soon, too.

Will’s mom said he was mobbed by girls in the green room after he performed his song.  No word on whether any of them were named Melinda.

UPDATE:  By popular demand, geektastic lyrics below so you can sing along.

I see Windows 7 rising
I see it coming on the way
I hear my laptop making new sounds
I change my background every day

Don’t stay with XP
‘Cause you’re bound to get confused
Windows 7 really rules

I see that Microsoft has done it
I like to shake my Windows up
I like my Internet connected
I like the bigger icons too

Don’t stay with XP
‘Cause you’re bound to get confused
Windows 7 really rules

Hope you got your system going
Hope you have Windows 7 too
Looks like we’re in for nicer task bars
Windows 7 really rules

Don’t stay with XP
‘Cause you’re bound to get confused
Windows 7 really rules

Don’t stay with XP
‘Cause you’re bound to get confused
Windows 7 really rules

Posted in technology | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sarah Palin's new Twitter page is a mess

Posted by andreaitis on November 10, 2009

This is Sarah Palin’s brain on Twitter.   If it looks like a cluttered mess, don’t adjust that dial — you’re seeing it properly.  And that blank white space in the middle?  Oh, yeah, that’s where the thoughts are supposed to be.

sarah palin usa on twitter 11-10-2009 1-04-59 PM

You can follow the former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate at  twitter.com/sarahpalinusa.

Who knows, maybe she’ll retweet @SenJohnMcCain

Posted in Politics, technology | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Your mobile phone can diagnose your cough

Posted by andreaitis on November 10, 2009

Gotta cough? There's an app for that.

The latest in hacking technology. Literally.

Soon all you’ll have to do is  cough into your phone for an instant diagnosis. Software being developed by STAR Analytical Services will measure your cough by comparing it to a pre-recorded database of coughs.

Software being developed by American and Australian scientists will hopefully allow patients simply to cough into their phone, and it will tell them whether they have cold, flu, pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.

The software would compare the patient’s cough to a pre-recorded database of coughs, containing the sounds of all respiratory diseases from people of both sexes and various ages, weights and other variables.

Currently the STAR team has a database of several dozen patients, but they estimate they will need a total of around 1,000 before the software will be reliable.

The software is currently run on a computer, but it is anticipated that it could be rewritten as a smartphone application.

via Cough into your mobile phone for instant diagnosis – Telegraph

The project is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Hmm, mobile phone diagnosis.  Would this be considered a public or private option in the health care debate?

Posted in Health, technology | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Rupert Murdoch angry at 'content kleptomaniacs' and crazy like a fox

Posted by andreaitis on November 9, 2009

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M...

Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Two pieces of news from the Murdoch empire:

1. New York Post circulation continues its downward death spiral.

Nearly every paper in America has lost circulation, but The Post more than most — down almost 30 percent in 2.5 years, to 508,000 in the most recent reporting period, against 544,000 for The Daily News. The slide accelerated after The Post’s price returned to 50 cents last year. And this year, The Daily News has surged far ahead in online readership.

[New York Post editor] Mr. Allan, who called it “a joyous occasion” when The Post took the lead, now takes a more subdued view of the competition, saying in an e-mail exchange that “whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

Sober Mood at New York Post as Circulation Spirals Lower – New York Times

2. Rupert Murdoch suggests he will remove News Corp. websites from Google and other search engines.  At least, that’s what the headlines are blaring.   Are they jumping the gun?  I think so.

If you listen to the first five minutes of Murdoch’s interview with Sky News political editor David Speers, you hear the following:

–  Speers delivers a classic and very public introductory suck-up,  referring to his interview subject (and big-time boss) as “the world’s most powerful media owner.”

–  Rupert Murdoch says users should not have had free content, that “we’ve been asleep.”  He sees the paywall as long overdue, but says we’ll be surprised by how minimal some of the fees will be.

–  He wants a different kind of audience – not drive-by consumers but loyal and engaged users with high-frequency habits.  Or, at least, users who will open their wallets.

“What’s the point of having someone come occasionally, who likes a headline they see in Google?… The fact is, there’s not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our website, but paying.”

– At this point, Speers raises the Google index question.  When he asks Murdoch why he hasn’t removed News Corp. sites from Google’s search index, Murdoch replies “Well, I think we will.  But that’s when we start charging…”

BUT Murdoch doesn’t stop there.  He goes on, indicating that perhaps he didn’t fully understand Speers’ question.  They clearly were not communicating on the same, uh,  Google wavelength.

“…We do it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get usually the first paragraph of any story, but then if you’re not a paying subscriber of wsj.com there’s immediately… a paragraph and a subscription form.”

Does that sound like he doesn’t want News Corp. content to appear in Google or Microsoft search results?  Nope.

Speers follows up, asking  if this is the model we should expect to see.  Murdoch’s clear as mud answer: “Maybe, maybe.” He mumbles something about the Fair Use Doctrine and taking it slowly.

So all those headlines shouting about Murdoch pulling his sites out of Google?  Not quite accurate.

When you take another  look at the comment from New York Post editor Col Allan, it all starts to make a bit of sense: “…whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

It seems Rupert Murdoch is saying size doesn’t matter.  It’s quality of audience, not quantity. The only quantity he wants is the dollars from subscribers, in both micro and macro payments.  Perhaps he’d rather build audiences that are meaningful, loyal and consistent because these are audiences that can be sold and targeted to an advertiser.

Will he pull all of his sites out of Google?  I doubt it.  When he refers to “content kleptomaniacs”  I’d venture he means not the initial link, but the pay-off link to the full story that is currently not providing a pay-out to the content creator or publisher.

Rupert Murdoch is bold and brash.  He is not stupid.   He is approaching the digital news  problem the same way he approached his move into television:   just because this is the way it’s being done doesn’t mean it’s the way it has to be done.

Remember when ABC, NBC and CBS were the only three networks?   Remember when CNN and MSNBC were the only dominant news players on cable?

I worked at Fox while Rupert Murdoch was transforming it.   I remember when he announced he was going to start a new cable news channel.  I walked through that studio as it was being built.  Murdoch is a challenger, even when the status has barely reached the quo.   I’m not counting him out just yet, and neither should you.

Watch the first five minutes of his interview with David Speers and you’ll see what I mean.

[youtubevid id=”M7GkJqRv3BI”]

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

World's first dedicated Twitter device now available. Because this is what the world needs.

Posted by andreaitis on November 3, 2009

Get a look at Twitter Peek while you can.

Get a look at Twitter Peek while you can.

The guys at Twitter apparently thought this was a good idea.  They partnered with Amol Sarva, founder of Peek Inc. , to build a new mobile device only for Twittering.  This is a variation of Peek’s other device, a “simple gadget allowing you to send and receive email while you’re on-the-go.”    Kind of like a mobile phone  minus the phone, calendar, address book, web browser, alarm clock….you know, all the other useful parts.

Anyway, the Twitter + Peek collaboration led to a version  of the Peek device exclusively  for sending tweets.

Clad in “Twitter blue,” the TwitterPeek allows all the same functionality of a desktop Twitter client – reading tweets, sending tweets, replying, retweeting and direct messaging – only it gives users that access on the go.

It’s really nothing new, though. Most new smartphones have access to Twitter. Sarva said the TwitterPeek is built for consumers looking for an affordable alternative to expensive smartphones with higher monthly fees. The TwitterPeek sells for $99 with a $7.95 monthly fee or $199 with a lifetime of service.

via The First Mobile Device Dedicated Exclusively To Twitter – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ

I have two questions:

1. Anyone remember the AOL Mobile Communicator?

I still have  one.  It doesn't even work all that well as a paperweight.

I still have one. It doesn't even work all that well as a paperweight.

2. Anyone still using the AOL Mobile Communicator?

[chirp. chirp.]

I rest my case.

Posted in technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Google's social search circle jerk

Posted by andreaitis on October 27, 2009

This March 25, 2008 file photo shows the sign ...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Everything’s coming up search (again):  context and filtering through real-time search,  Twitter search,  social  search, Friendfeed,  people-powered search, etc etc.

So when Google launched its Social Search project in G-Labs yesterday, I was pretty excited to check it out.   I was all set for the test drive:   in one tab,  I clicked over and joined the experiment;  in another tab, I opened search  jedi master Danny Sullivan’s thorough review of Social Search.

One thing I love about the new service is how it makes use of the “social circle” term rather than “social graph,” a phrase more popular in 2007 and 2008 but which doesn’t really explain much to people. Social circle makes sense — these are people you are connected with. They’re in your “circle” of friends.

So far so good. I agree about use of the phrase Social Circle.   I never really understood Social Graph, and now I no longer have to  nod along in faux deep concentration while someone blathers on about the Social Graph.   So thank you for that, Google.

But how does Google know what your social circle is, in order to produce the social search results? Three methods, the company told me, when I talked with Google about the service:

* Your Google Reader account

* Your Google Chat / Gmail Contacts

* Your Google Profile

Okay, I read this part thinking ‘check, check, and check.’   I’ve got all that.  And then I did some testing.   Lame.  Hardly any social search results.  After the first few searches, I realized my downfall:  I have all that and more.  Multiple email addresses, some from way before Gmail existed.   My Gmail account never became my primary email address, and that is my social search downfall.  According to fellow T/S’er Kashmir Hill, it may also bring me domain shame and detract from my cool-ness, but I can live with that.   What I can’t live with is this Social Search limbo.

Do I need to change my email addresses at Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and  Flickr (to start)?

What if I merge my other email addresses into Gmail, will that solve my social search situation?

What about my email domain through Google Apps?

Is this yet again Google’s way of making me bow to its omnipotence on its march to world domination?

Am I just completely socially searchingly inept?

Head over to the Google lab and try social searching here.  My self esteem and I look forward to your feedback.

Posted in technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Woman arrested for Facebook ‘poke’

Posted by andreaitis on October 10, 2009

Facebook poke

Image by liako via Flickr

The Tennessean reporting on what might be a first:  a woman arrested for virtually “poking” someone on Facebook,  violating an order of protection.

According to the affidavit filed in Sumner County General Sessions Court, Shannon Jackson is accused of using the “poke” option on Facebook to contact a Hendersonville woman, thus violating the terms of the order of protection, which stipulates “no telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner.”

Violating an order of protection is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, violators can be punished with up to 11 months, 29 days in jail and a possible fine of up to $2,500.

via  Facebook ‘poke’ leads to woman’s arrest | tennessean.com | The Tennessean

The recipient of a Facebook “poke” receives a message saying “You’ve been poked by <insert Facebook user name>.”  Maybe not the traditional definition of contact or communication, but it’s contact all the same.  And it’s easy to see how a virtual poke can be just as threatening as a real-life poke.

Maybe the terms of an order of protection should be expanded to include no poking, sharing, emailing, friending, tweeting, IM’ing or DM’ing.  And maybe we all need to train ourselves in online self-defense mechanisms like privacy settings and blocking capabilities, just as we train for real-world self defense techniques.

Caveat Emptor Poker, people.

Posted in crime, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Washington Post crisis of credibility continues (but don't Twitter that)

Posted by andreaitis on October 5, 2009

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”

That used to be the Washington Post’s ad campaign.

Ironic, huh?

Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote a piece yesterday in response to the Post’s anti-social media guidelines for reporters.  The title, Do Ethics Guidelines Threaten Freewheeling Social Media?, suggests these rules are about ethics.  They’re not.

It would have been fine if Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said only this:

“What you do on social networks should be presumed to be publicly available to anyone, even if you have created a private account,” the guidelines warn. “If you don’t want something to be found online, don’t put it there.”

But he didn’t.  That good, basic common sense was just part of the guidelines that Brauchli summarized in a staff memo:

“Reporters and editors should not express views that can be construed as political, nor should they take sides in public debates.

There are prohibitions against “writing, tweeting or posting anything — including photographs or video — that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.” The guidelines “apply to all Post journalists, without limitation to the subject matter of their assignments.”

I presume Brauchli is okay with this memo making the rounds.  If not, he wouldn’t have written them in an email, right?  Here, though, is the final kicker in Alexander’s column:

To Brauchli, the policies speak to neutrality, which he told me is “essential to maintaining our credibility.”

Neutrality is not the only thing essential to maintaining credibility. Transparency is also essential.  Authenticity, an open dialogue and an open mind to how news happens in today’s world.  And these policies contain more neuter than neutrality.  Newsweek’s Dan Lyons is currently engaging in a conversation right here on True/Slant as journalism students dissect one of his columns.  If Dan worked at the Washington Post, he’d be violating their “prohibitions.”

You’d think the Washington Post would have learned something from the off-the-record exclusive access for cashola lobbyist scandal.

I guess it’s true.  If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

Posted in technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »