So this site is totally screwed. Can't access my MT installation and the place is full of comment spam. Resorting to editing the MySQL database directly. (Not a forte of mine).
Have fled to safer pastures until I figure out this mess.
Rupert Murdoch made a speech to American newsmen finally tipping his hat to the importance of the Internet. Murdoch had been one of the most circumspect old media bosses about it and had a few unfortunate misadventures in the space. He seems to get it. (You can read how here, here and Jeff Jarvis's excellent report.)
Murdoch has set out the first challenge for newspapers:
For some, it may have to become the place for conversation. The digital native doesn’t send a letter to the editor anymore. She goes online, and starts a blog. We need to be the destination for those bloggers.
Call this cultural challenge number one. Some papers are experimenting with blogs, tip o'the'hat to Raf because the Observer blog is the best example of a newspaper blog on the net. And handling the cultural change should be easier than the first digital culture shift (in the mid-1990s). At least today, journalists use the Net.
The biggest challenge is the business model one. Underpinning any newspaper's web site is a bunch of print advertising subsidising the news gathering operation. In some cases, the newspapers are run as flagships, proto-lossmaking vanity games for their owners, supported by classified trade papers. Over time, as readerships of paper erodes and classifieds go to craiglist and ebay, where does the money to support these professional operations come from?
I was pleased to read that the BBC and others were launching a creative licenses to allow ornery folk to rip and mix their archive content.
I had alluded to something similar a few years ago but it is fantastic to see so many organisations step up to the plate. The next step is to widen the licenses to the point where we find it weird that something out to be kept out of the shareable domain of the creative commons (that'll be a cultural shift). And how about extending it to code?
SpinVox, ~BleepBlog reliably informs me, turns voicemail to text. So I tried it out and here are my impressions.
Very polished service. Lovely website, good instructions. Very cool that with a single * command you can turn move from the in-network voicemail provider by your mobile operator to a 3rd party voicemail provider. (Can we see some decent voicemail innovation here--for example the text messages are sent from the number that called, even if it is a landline number. Although, weirdly, when I call from my Skype phone the missed number is +44 7967 316 649.
But I am so certain they have someone transcribing the messages because (a) they spelt my name right (b) there are typos in the transcription (c) it takes ages for the message to arrive transcribed.
I do love the FT. It is my theme for the day.
Continuing my short-lived retrospective on the Net, I noticed that today's FT carried three convergence, lean-back/lean-forward, community prosumer plays. So very 1999, d'ahling. [FT reg' req'd, try bugmenot.]
The first an important nod to the shift in media business models. The head of BBDO implies the ad-supported TV business model is dead (natch) and that the always-on-me, always-on, context-aware mobile phone marketing business model is well and truly blooming. I agree and I would take it further. That the profits in the advertising business depend on firms not knowing which half of the spend is wasted and that mobile phones marketing will tell advertisers exactly which half (or more) is going down the toilet.
The third is an interesting spot-check on photo sharing and the rise of amateur social media.
There are people far better than me who'll be able to critique it but you're here, so here is my take.
- Nicest features are the privacy controls. You can decide who sees various elements in your profile (friends, f's of f's, f's of f's of f's, or everyone). That third degree control is quite nice.
- Everything else needs a little work. My gut tells me it is too corporatised to work as a blogging tool and too unfocussed to work as a social networking tool.
- There appears to be no way of changing or modifying layouts, certainly far less control than LJ of Typepad offer (and, of course, much less than any server platforms).
- 360 isn't 360 at all in that it only integrates Yahoo! services (such as Yahoo! groups or Yahoo! messenger.) Y! hasn't been brave, at this stage, to allow you to integrate your Skype, AIM or MSN status or connect to Google groups to which you subscribe. Sure you can pull in RSS feeds but there is an expectation that you'll swallow the whole Y! service platform rather than pick and choose.
- Overall the user experience is pretty poor. 360 works in a technical sense (the code functions), it's way off on any human metrics of usability.
- Did I mention it's really ugly?
So I look at it and I think, this isn't the Yahoo! of 1994 which thought hard about users. This is an established firm with a broadcast mentality struggling with the idea of user-generated content. They just bought Flickr, so hopefully they want suffocate its informality, its edge, for the sake of corporate branding guidelines.
I guess it means I disagree with Om: Yahoo has a long way to go before it finds the old Y! mojo.
Anyway, you can see my page here and if you want an invite drop me a mail or a comment and I'll send you one.
It's 1998 all over again.
But wait. AFP sues Google for linking. No it's 1996!
I picked up the rather lovely Linksysy WVC54G wireless webcam today. The idea being that distant relatives can occasionally keep tabs on Salman.
The trouble is Linksys stupidly decided to use ActiveX and ASF as the format for the video feed. Why they couldn't have used Java and a cross-platform video format, I don't know.
Dubya has put Wolfy in charge which, well, could herald a new direction for the World Bank.
What can we expect? More politically tied aid? Disruptive, poorly thought through 'directional' strategies because things can't be any worse than they are?
Bangladeshi mobile phone customers take to the streets over high charges--still cheaper than over here.