donderdag 31 maart 2005

Enterprise collaboration with blogs and wikis

No matter what company or industry, blogs and wikis can add value. InfoWorld takes a look some of the possibilities and issues.

“Blogs and wikis play opposite roles,” says Martin Wattenberg, a researcher on the collaborative user experience team at IBM Watson Research Center. “Blogs are based on an individual voice; a blog is sort of a personal broadcasting system. Wikis, because they give people the chance to edit each other’s words, are designed to blend many voices. Reading a blog is like listening to a diva sing, reading a wiki is like listening to a symphony.”

Trusting mass-media

Will mass-media adapt?

"Bruce Schneier, a world-class authority on security-in-technology issues, points out an AP story reporting on the flagrant lies told by the Bush administration's Transportation Safety Administration about its scandalous handling of "private" passenger data. AP won't call the agency's dissembling for what it is -- lying -- but Schneier does. This is one reason why people don't trust mass media -- the too-common fear of telling things as they actually are, perhaps for fear of offending people in power. And it's one more reason why domain experts like Schneier get increasing readerships."

maandag 28 maart 2005

Benefits, salary and technology

It would definitely be a criterium for me, and apparently I'm not the only one...

"However, according to a recent study (in Canada, at least), more and more employees are recognizing that they they need to make sure that potential employers will supply them with the technology tools to succeed -- or they won't take the job. They're realizing how important technology has become to the job, and if they don't have the necessary tools, they know that, not only will they fail in the current job, but it will set them back at future jobs for not being aware of the latest and greatest."

Who's joining for Internet 2.0 in Paris?

Next month the Internet 2.0 conference will be held in Paris on April 25th. You can see the program and register here. If anyone else is going from Amsterdam (or surroundings) send me an email or leave a comment. May be we can go there together.

Within the last few months, the Internet as we know it has started to change very fast, taken by storm by blogs and social software. I decided to organise the event in my city, Paris, an event to help us better define what's coming next, the first of this kind in Paris, all in English and with a dream panel of the key movers and shakers in the world. It is a one day and (probably) one evening event on Monday, April 25th, so you could also plan for a cool week-end in our beautiful city of Paris the day before.

Do you see it?

Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. It's another example of recent developments that are shaping the future of media, entertainment and culture in general. I think the industries that are currently in control of these segments of society must see what's happening, but I don't think they really understand.

"Excellent news. So who's next? Google? Nokia? Apple? Come on folks... ;-) Hardware, software and services that support Creative Commons is key for creating the sharing economy. Creative Commons was designed to enable machine readable encoding and this is a great example of why."

zondag 27 maart 2005

Open-media, Ourmedia and Windows MCE

When I first read about the launch of Ourmedia last week, it reminded me of something I read about at least half a year ago, but I couldn't find it anymore. Thomas Hawk's wish for an Internet Archive plug-in for Windows Media Center Edition was the trigger I needed, since this was exactly the same thought I had when reading about, which turns out to be the same thing as Ourmedia.... Back in August I even suggested the plug-in idea to Microsoft, but it ain't there yet as far as I know. Which is really too bad, since it would provide access (through MCE's Online Spotlight) to excellent content that you would not be able to experience via regular TV or radio stations.

Ourmedia buddies

Last week I wrote about the launch of Ourmedia. If you register, make sure to add me as your buddy so we can both learn more about how Ourmedia will develop. You can do that on my personal page after you've registered. And you will have to (register) if you pretend to understand anything about the future of online media, social networking and many other things....;-)

Yahoo's game of photo tag

Can't wait to see what this next wave of internet innovation will bring us. Companies like Yahoo! are making serious, but smart, bets. Would like to make some myself as well, but these babies are taking up all of my time for now...

"Tapping into group intelligence to create and administer tags could open the door to unknown and surprising applications. If anyone can add their own personal tags to anything, and enough people participate, whole new models for finding and consuming information might emerge."

Thin and fat

There it is again, the never ending discussion on the networked computer vs lots of processing power for the desktop. Or fat vs thin clients. Or... As Techdirt's Mike Masnick says: some people are missing an opportunity here.

"Bill Gates apparently found this article worthy of attention to the point that he's penned a response noting that the power of the PC isn't just in centralized servers but in the fact that plenty of intelligence has moved out to the ends of the network. To some extent, he's underplaying this point. There obviously is plenty of room for server-based applications, and many users are moving more and more applications in that direction. However, just because there are more network-enabled server-based apps, it doesn't mean the power at the ends is useless. Those cycles are an opportunity that can be used, whether in distributed computing applications or for other local tasks."

The digital hospital

I guess it's easy to say that this is a good Return On Investment. But there is much more to win...

"More important than saving money, of course, is saving lives. Poor information kills some 7,000 Americans each year just by missing drug-interaction problems, according to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. All together, hospital errors result in up to 98,000 deaths annually. Early evidence indicates that proper technology can reduce the toll. Hospitals that have begun using electronic prescription systems have seen up to 80% fewer prescription errors. And at Hackensack, patient mortality has dropped by 16% over the past four years, in part because of its digital initiatives."

zaterdag 26 maart 2005

Assembling custom TV spots

If done right this could definitely increase the relevance of TV-commercials. And therewith decrease annoyance I hope....

"To a client base that already includes Ford Motor Co., 1-800-Flowers and others, Visible World is offering a technology that allows marketers to automatically assemble TV spots from components stored on a remote server and customize them to a ZIP code, even a few hundred households linked by the cable operator's head end."

woensdag 23 maart 2005

New music business models

Nice idea, glad the music execs were there to hear about it. It might, just might, inspire them..

"Can you imagine being at a concert and saying, 'OK, everyone turn on your Bluetooth. We're going to send you a ring tone for free just for being here at the concert'?" Andrews said."

maandag 21 maart 2005

Create. Share. Get noticed.

Ourmedia has launched on the day that Flickr was sold to Yahoo!. I'm curious to see in what way the first will be a 'competitor' to the latter...

"A resource and global registry to bring freely shareable media to the desktop so users can create image albums, slide shows, jukeboxes and media libraries with a few mouse clicks"

zondag 20 maart 2005

Start podcasting

If I had a radio station I would embrace podcasting. It's a great way of making sure listeners can actually listen to your shows when, where and how they want. Podcasting is too much of a hassle for some at the moment, but I'm sure that will change soon. If only because a lot of new and interesting radio stations/shows are popping up, but than without the radio...

The reason is clear, of course, and it has nothing to do with Luddism. I’m sure that public-radio folks are acutely aware of the latest trends in microcontent delivery, and that they would gladly podcast all of their work if it meant they could reach more listeners. No, the reason has to do with survival. Streaming audio hasn’t undermined broadcast radio--but podcasting just might. If people could listen to Fresh Air on their iPods, they would stop listening to it on their public radio stations.

zaterdag 19 maart 2005

Changing world

No comments necessary other than that this happened in a Canadian hotel lobby, but could (and does) happen anywhere.

"This morning . . . I heard a distinctive "ring ring" sound that any Skype user would recognize. What followed was a 25 minute long conversation in Hebrew. I asked a collegue of the guy, "Skype?", nod of head yes, "To Israel?", nod of head yes, "it's changing the world", nod of head yes. 25 minutes, and no landline, wireless, or international carrier got a penny."

Escaping the Country of the Blind

Larry Lessig is not only a true thought leader, he's also an individual leading a movement trying to make sure our children will be allowed to "write freely", a right that took hundreds of years to be established and defended.

"Existing law conflicts with the technology of the 21st century and that gives us a choice: Reform the law or reform the technology. Since 1998 there has been a clear choice—it was made for us by our own village doctors. They assembled in Congress and what they have collectively given us as an answer to this choice--reforming the law or reforming the technology--is to utter the words of HG Wells: To cure them, all we need to do is a simple and easy surgical operation, namely to remove the irritant body, the machines, your technology. They want to blind us. To conform us to 18th century law."

Year of the MoSoSo

This is the year?

I think and its ilk could hit in a big way this year, as people move away from online personals in search of new ways to find one another. MoSoSo has been confined to geekdom long enough -- it's due to enter the mainstream now that we have the phones that make it so easy to do.

Flickr spelling

This is fun and a great example of the advantages of open API's.

Privacy is dead

"Yet making pictures using mobile phones is rapidly becoming mainstream. The other side to this is, just like webcam's, our most intimate moments can be observed and recorded by others. Privacy is dead, get over it."

I couldn't agree more. Learn to live with it. Resistance really is a waste of time.

Skype ring back tone

Nice solution for an (HP) problem I have as well...

"Skype should build functionality for something like a ring-back tone that plays a customizable message with a customizablke pop-up. You/I could say: "I may not have a microphone connected so when I answer your call, you may hear silence for a few seconds while I dig around for one to connect," the pop up could be for you/me to send a text message saying: "hold on, still looking" or "not going to find it, gonna switch to text."


Amazon's OpenSearch initiative is very interesting. It's much more than just making it easier to find things.... And it's also more than just having an RSS feed for Google search results. It's about opening up and reorganizing the web in new ways. I strongly believe this will create huge business opportunities in the area of content aggregation and syndication, and in information retrieval and presentation. If that turns out to be true it will impact the way business is done (on the web) in many ways.

"Many sites today return search results as a tightly integrated part of the website itself. Unfortunately, those search results can't be easily reused or made available elsewhere, as they are usually wrapped in HTML and don't follow any one convention. OpenSearch offers an alternative: an open format that will enable those search results to be displayed anywhere, anytime. Rather than introduce yet another proprietary or closed protocol, OpenSearch is a straightforward and backward-compatible extension of RSS 2.0, the widely adopted XML-based format for content syndication."

woensdag 16 maart 2005

Web services as a strategy for startups

Opening up and letting go is not a mantra by which many managers run their business. But there's so much to win if you do it that way.... Flickr is a great example, read more here and here.

"Capturing the creative energy of the hive can be scary. It requires giving up some control, and eliminating lock-in as a strategy. This session candidly addresses what went right and what went wrong, using concrete examples drawn from the code shipped by outside developers to illustrate what opening up can mean to a startup."

dinsdag 15 maart 2005

DRM hurts

Cory Doctorow would like everyone to wake up since DRM is a failure in the developed world, and a danger to the developing world. And because it simply doesn't work, something he's been saying for a while now.

"Indeed, there has never been a single piece of DRM-restricted media that can't be downloaded from the Internet today. In more than a decade of extensive use, DRM has never once accomplished its goal."

Stubborn newspapers

Will they listen this time...?

"The problem with newspapers these days is that they're missing two very important cultural changes. First, is that there no longer is a captive audience. If you don't make it easy to work with you, then people go elsewhere quickly. That means registration or charging drives people away for good. Second, is that many people no longer view the news from solely the consumer perspective -- but also from the ability to share the news with others -- and registration and charging makes that more difficult as well."

maandag 14 maart 2005

Mind control

Somehow this feels a bit scary, but also extremely fascinating.... Like Clive says: "why not take one of the brain-computer interfaces and hook it up to a 3D online world, so that a paralyzed person can walk around in the game?"

"A bundle of wires as thick as a coaxial cable runs from a connector in Nagle's scalp to a refrigerator-sized cart of electronic gear. Inside his brain, a tiny array of microelectrodes picks up the cacophony of his neural activity; processors recognize the patterns associated with arm motions and translate them into signals that control the Pong paddle, draw with a cursor, operate a TV, and open email."

zondag 13 maart 2005

Screenagers and Eccky

I was interviewed by NRC Handelsblad, a large Dutch daily, on why teenagers are spending so much time online, what it is this Generation M is doing over there and how companies are taking advantage. Although we haven't introduced Eccky yet, I think it's a good example of a commercial concept that fits well into the lives of these screenagers...

"Let's make a virtual baby"
"This is the headline of a one page article by Natascha van Aalst in Saturday's NRC Handelsblad, a leading Dutch daily newspaper. It's about how children are spending their time and money online and Eccky is profiled as one of the potential beneficiaries alongside another, very succesful, example: Habbo Hotel. The latter has millions of users and, at least in The Netherlans, the monthly average revenue per user is 7 euro. Interesting benchmark;-) Anyway, it's a good read with some interesting interviews as well, looking at what really motivates these teenagers to do these things most parents do not understand...

The skinnable world

Sorry for the long quote, but Terra Nova's Greg Lastowka simply raises too many interesting questions about a topic that's always on my mind...

"One question to ask is how we'll all feel about this creep away from the physically visible and toward the virtually important. People seem already annoyed enough about how those talking into tiny cell-phones disrupt standard social expectations. What will they think of people playing pervasive games in real spac? And if Dave Winer is annoyed now at how Google Toolbar annotates his web pages, how is he going to feel when Google starts annotating him and his physical spaces? If we can dress up Martha digitially, how long will it be before we start enhancing ourselves digitally, dressing our real environments with virtual ornaments, and even dressing other people with metadata that can be "seen" by those who share their local space and own the right virtual glasses? Our increasingly large metadata profiles are out there now, in fact, they're just not geographically linked, so that (most of us) can't currently profile the random passerby on the street. But we're starting to profile locations -- that's a first step down a longer road."

That’s inter-tainment!

Yes, you can conceive a different form of entertainment if you take into account the unique characteristics of (using) a mobile device. But it does not mean there's anything wrong with more traditional forms of entertainment developed for a mobile device. It's probably easier to make money with the latter...

"A playful mobile device need not entrap its owner within its own RAM. Rather, it can connect the owner with other people, the environment, or the temporal reality in new ways. Who is available? What is around me? What's going on right now? Instead of enter-taining, these devices might do better to inter-tain us -- that is, hold our connection to other people, places and things."

Life, work, it's all a game...

This book makes me wonder what the influence of games like the ones we at Media Republic are developing, Eccky & Killzone, will have been when we look back in about 20 years...

"At its core, Got Game is a guide for senior managers stumped at how to manage their gamer employees. Its purpose is to teach them that they must treat video games as serious preparation for the workforce, and that gamers possess a unique set of skills necessary in the modern business world."

Generation Media

What else are they doing?

"Kids these days are ever more plugged in and ever more multitasking, according to a new report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. As distilled in this Washington Post article, America’s children now pack 8 1/2 hours of media exposure into 6 1/2 hours of viewing time. Their media time is so overwhelming that Kaiser calls them “Generation M,“ standing for Media in the Lives of Children."

vrijdag 11 maart 2005

Internet and democracy

I guess the web indeed facilitates, or even breaths new life into, democracy...

"They call last year a “breakout year for the role of the Internet in politics,“ and claim that 37% of the adult population and 61% of online Americans used the Internet to get political news and political information, or to discuss candidates and debate issues via email, or to directly in the political process by volunteering or giving contributions to candidates. That’s 75 million people."

woensdag 9 maart 2005

WAP like it's 2000 again

So finally WAP is going mainstream. I still feel that operator's have been a major factor holding back the growth in WAP-usage by making it so difficult and expensive to use. And even now that users are figuring it out for themselves, operators still are more of a roadblock than an enabler of business.

"There is, of course, a fly in the ointment. As so often happens with mobile, it's down to billing. Billing on off-portal WAP sites is today still occurring via reverse billed SMS. This is because the WAP billing systems that make purchasing content on the operator portals so easy -- enabling content to be charged to your bill with one click -- are still not available as a third-party offering."

dinsdag 8 maart 2005

Discovery and delivery

This is a wise thought by Joi Ito, people in the (digital) content distribution business should take it very seriously. And also the people that produce content while letting others distribute it...

"Also, I'm not against businesses making money. I just believe that the cost of marketing is going to increase and the cost of delivery is going to decrease as the Net gets stronger and mass media gets weaker. In a world where discovery is more important than delivery, it's the people who find, remix and direct attention to old stuff that should be rewarded, not the people who deliver it or sit on it waiting for someone to show up."

How important is 'live' in TV?

Yuri says "there will also be demand for live TV events/programs as a way for people to get a shared cultural experience in a time of more and more media fragmentation. This universal need for shared experiences will be only be more pronounced in times of egocasting, blogs and niche on demand programming."

But what kind of current programming needs to be truly live in order to make it a shared cultural experience? Most programming doesn't have to be live for people to share the experience, not even sports. We need format-innovation in order to make the live aspect truly important. I only see one direction for that, make sure the audience is part of the format so there is no other way than to experience it live....

zondag 6 maart 2005

War for the living room won by the mobile phone?

In the end our mobile phone, or any another device we always carry with us like a watch, will probably be the central computing device in our lives. Sony Ericsson sees it that way as well and therefore they have released the Bluetooth Media Center MMV-200. I normally don't blog about gadgets here, but this is a promising concept and contrary to Engadget's doubts, I do believe there will be massive consumer demand for something like this. Although it could very well be that the required network intelligence will be embedded in the various devices instead of in a separate hub like this one.

"Not sure whether there is any massive consumer demand for something like this, but the MMV-200’s basically a hub you connect to your home entertainment rig that let’s you beam photos to your TV or stream music to your stereo from your phone (Nokia has had something similar out for a while). You can also pop your phone’s memory card into the MMV-200 and then use your phone as a remote control."

The fall of centralized marketplaces

Jeff Jarvis on centralized marketplaces:

And, in fact, I've also said -- and said to Craig (Craigslist founder Craig Newmark)-- that I believe he and Monster and company are only waystations to a different future, a distributed future when these buyers and sellers won't need to come to a centralized marketplace but, instead, will sit out there, anywhere, on the internet waiting to be found by some specialized successors to Google that put them together (with, perhaps, no revenue at all).

I think he's completely right, and I'm trying to proof it with a new project I'll tell you more about later. Although Eccky is an amazing project that's keeping me busy 15 hours a day, I just can't ignore the interesting opportunities that will be the result of the developments Jeff is hinting at....

Are social networking sites useful?

Roland Piquepaille writes about whether or not social networking sites can be useful. He points to an American Reporter article that focuses on this topic as well, but which also relates it to web services. It's an interesting read and although no real answers are given it touches upon many trends and issues that are shaping our online/offline future.

"These criticism apply to social networks they way they're currently implemented. Because viral marketing and new media have an excellent possibility of becoming important social movements, I think online social networks will grow in importance, and at some point somebody will make one that works. We can also move to yet another stage where we statistically measure our network and learn from aggregate facts about the people we know. There's plenty there for a century of innovation."

Popularity slider

Recommendation systems can be very valuable but they also tend to direct you to the most popular things. "This is popular" is not the same as "you’ll like it". Finding ways around that might prove to be even more valuable for users of these systems.

"An easy way to mitigate this is to selectively decapitate the recommendation engine’s results. Last year I blogged about Andrew Grumet’s “Similar Feeds”, which implements this. I just came across a music filtering site that makes the feature more prominent and intuitive by putting a nice, fat “popularity slider” right at the top of recommendations pages. Try playing with the slider on this page to see how it works."

Taking care of mobile patients

Near future?

zaterdag 5 maart 2005

Viral campaigns

Everybody's talking about them, and many want them, but it's not that easy to get one. The New York Times has story on this topic and basically the final paragraph says it all. That's why it's hard...

"The success of Brawny's "Innocent Escapes" depends largely on the entertainment value it brings visitors, said Stephen Strong, director for interactive at the Chicago office of Foote Cone & Belding, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. "It's human nature to share that stuff," he said. "People will be sending each other stuff online until the Internet shuts down."

The operator's dilemma

Russel advices mobile operators to embrace V0IP. It's an inescapable future. Although I agree with the latter, I'm not sure the consumer benefit is going to be compelling enough to see a very rapid penetration of VoIP calling. We'll see...

"The only other approach is to shrug (Gallically, if you manage it - the French do shrugging so well) and although it feels counter-intuitive, embrace these changes. You have to run as fast as you can towards the approaching danger. Seek out handsets which are VoIP compatible and market the new service aggressively to your users."