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January 30, 2009

Pew Excellence in Journalism now watching blogs

Pew’s Research Center for Excellence in Journalism has now added a weekly new media report on what the ol’ blogosphere is blathering on about. That’s you and me, sister. Or what most people indexed by Technorati and Icerocket are talking about, anyway. For example, we seem to have focused a lot on Obama’s inauguration. (Wasn’t that three months ago? Time doesn’t fly when the Republicans are insisting on their old partisan ways.)

And here’s a hasty conclusion from the first week’s report: We bloggers really need to be reading Global Voices in order to get our gazes up from our American innie navels.

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RIAA likes its lawsuits the way it likes its sex…

… in the dark, threatening, and one-sided.

Thus, the RIAA is appealing the decision to let a hearing in its suit against a file sharer — Joel Tennenbaum — be webcast.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (did you remember to join?) has filed a brief in support of webcasting the hearing, in which it says:

“The record companies have long maintained that they brought these lawsuits against ordinary users to start a national conversation about peer-to-peer file-sharing,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “What better way is there for the public to learn what the record companies are doing than by seeing for themselves what happens in these lawsuits?”

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January 29, 2009

David Pogue twitters in public

David Pogue, the NY Times’ tech-for-the-people guy, did a little experiment when giving at talk in Las Vegas: To demo Twitter, he live-twittered a request for hiccup cures. It’s an amusing list of tweets, with a twist in the road in the second half…

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Whitehouse.gov then and now

I recently in passing lamented the lack of links from the new Whitehouse.gov to George Bush’s version. Matthew Battles has pointed me to the archive of it. He also points to the version right after Bush’s 2001 election, which is hilariously bellbottomsy in aspect.

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Radio Berkman: Steve Schultze on regulating the Internet – an explainer

Steve Schultze explains how the FCC got into the business of regulating the Internet in this Radio Berkman interview. I’m the interviewer, so I’m biased, but I think Steve does a great job talking us through this, so that Title I vs. Title II, etc., is clear at last.

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Request for feature: Google calendar

I’d like to be able to jump to a date in Google Calendar by typing in a date, because paging through 15 months takes precious seconds that could otherwise be spent in scratching myself. I was hoping that typing a date into the search field would work, but it doesn’t. In fact, searching for something like “5/8/08″ gives results that seem random but undoubtedly have an inner but unhelpful logic.

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January 28, 2009

RIP John Updike

Hoeing
by John Updike

I sometimes fear the younger generation
will be deprived
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this
simple exercise.

The dry earth like a great scab breaks,
revealing
moist-dark loam –the pea-root’s home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.

How neatly the great weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world
fecunder.

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A commons for law professors

CALI and the Berkman Center have launched the Legal Education Commons, a place for law educators to exchange info with Creative Commons licenses, of course.

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January 27, 2009

A joke I don’t get

I overslept and thus came in at the end of the panel at DLD on women in the industry. The room was packed. A man in the audience (was it Ben Hammersley??) followed up on a panelist’s claim that an EU requirement that 30%of some government body (sorry to be vague; I couldn’t hear so well) made a real difference. The man asked for some examples of the difference this had made in policies.

In the course of her answer, the woman in her perfect English said that she didn’t think women were more peaceful than men. Germany has female fighter pilots, she said, and “Condoleeza Rice was a woman.” Even before she realized her mistake and corrected herself, the audience tittered.

Not a big deal. But I’m curious about why the crowd found this funny, or why it made the crowd anxious. Had the panelist made some other small mistake in English — “Rice are a woman,” “Rice a woman is” — no one would have laughed. It would have been rude to. It was the content of her mistake that caused the laugh, as if the very possibility of changing gender makes us nervous. Or possibly it was because we think power could turn a woman into a man. I don’t know.

Or maybe I’m just a little cranky from a late night, a fantastic dinner, and just a little more wine than I should have had.

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January 26, 2009

[dld] Oberman and Varsavsky on German telecommunications

Martin Varsavsky is interviewing René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom here at the DLD conference. [Live blogging, Missing stuff. Making mistakes.] [Disclosure: I am on the US board of advisers of Martin's Fon company, and theoretically have some options in it.]

Obermann looks forward to gaining the spectrum required to let mobile phones achieve broadband speeds (= several Mb/sec, I believe he said). He compares European and US markets: The US is more focused on consumers. US users use 1000/mins a month; Europeans use a fraction of that.

Martin: Are consumers better off in the US or Europe?
A: They’re better off with T-Mobile.

Obermann says he expects DT to grow in the next year. Last year they restructured and took $4B in costs out of their structure.

Martin: How are currency fluctuations affecting you?
Obermann: Having the Euro is a great thing. Last year, the weak US dollar cost us money.

Martin: I thought pricing minute would disappear in the ’90s. But it hasn’t. Also, crossing borders still costs money. Will minutes and roaming disappear eventually?
Obermann: I thought mobile Internet would be here in 2002. Sometimes we overestimate the ability of the industry to adapt to customer changes. Second, minutes will disappear. But, roaming occurs in imbalanced markets: not everyone is on the same page. Competition will make roaming more user-friendly.

Martin: Mark Zuckerberg thinks about Facebook as an operating system or telecommunications platform, not a social network. Do you think of the customers of T-Mobile as being part of a social network?
Obermann: They think of themselves as members of multiple social networks. Last year 14-15 billion messages were transmitted over T-Mobile. Social networks will be more integrated with telecom platforms. E.g., you can now send messages from Facebook to T-Mobile users [I think]

Martin: Do you want to buy a social networking platform?
Obermann: No, we want to play with many of them.

Audience: Payment over mobiles is still hard. Will it get easier?
Obermann: Micropayments over mobile is technically possible, and can be supported by technical service processes.

Martin: Do you look to higher people with entrepreneurial experience?
Obermann: Yes, big time.
Martin: Are you retaining the key execs of the companies you acquire?
Obermann: Yes.

Audience: Can you imagine, say, YouTube paying you to transport their content to your users?
Obermann: We help our customers get access to whatever they want on whatever device they want it. We don’t want to be monopolists.

Martin: Is the future of video fiber optics or better mobile networks?
A: Both. In the next few years, you’ll see such an increased demand for bandwidth that mobile access will be relatively scarcer and scarcer. It will be hard to cover everything with mobile. The amount of available spectrum will not work. It has to be a hybrd approach.

Audience: When will we see the unlimited, all-you-can-eat program, if the demand is going to increase?
A: Even today, the markets are more more and more aggressive with bundles. In fixed line you see 25-year-old pricepoints. Hopefully billing will become easier…
Martin: It did happen in the fixed world.

Martin: Netbooks are exploding. This is the first time telecommunication operators are selling computers…
A: My mobile as 16GB. Netbooks were one of the hottest selling devices in the past few months. Also, dongles turn laptops into mobiles. The Internet mobilization will have a bigger impact on people’s lives and work than the Internet so far. [Tags: ]

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