May 17, 2009

The 4 reasons anybody ever consumes information (or opinion), and what that tells us about business models

The online world is abuzz with discussion about the future economic models of the publishing industry. It might help in evaluating various proposals to consider why anybody might possibly want to pay money or attention for information or opinion, whether delivered in published or personal-communication form. Since this is a very long post, I’ll put a few of the conclusions here up top, namely:

Those conclusions, in turn, are based on the theory that the the best selling proposition for decision-supporting information and information technologies is:

Keeps you fully and conveniently informed about subject area X, where X is important to you. Read more

May 8, 2009

Consumer Reports + National Enquirer + ? = the future of free societies

Another week, another round of debate about the future of journalism. As usual, I’m too overwhelmed with my own duties of news reporting, commentary, consulting, and small business administrivia — not to mention basketball-watching and kitchen repair — to chime in at the length I’d like. But even given those limitations, I’d like to reiterate something I said in a prior post about the evolving information ecosystem:

a significant fraction of news is something large organizations have a vested interest in releasing

In my opinion, that’s a crucial point. On subjects where primary sources want information to get out, traditional journalists are not needed to relay news. Comment (especially sceptically)? Sure. Filter? Maybe. Story-tell? Yes, but only if news-as-entertainment is your idea of fun.

Basically, the “death of media” concerns should for the most part be restricted to the future of investigative features. When one thinks of major investigative reporting that society would have been poorer without, it’s usually either a feature story or a series of articles that might as well have been a feature. The reason those are threatened is that their huge value to society is not always paired with a huge “fun”/”interest” factor in consuming the stories, and hence traditional attention-based economic models may not work for them. Read more

April 20, 2009

The new Attensity — deal overview

A new Attensity Group has been created in a complex set of maneuvers. So far as I understand or guess, elements of the deal include:

I was told on the phone empolis was doing something like €30-40 million. Attensity and Living-e were under $10 million each. That surprises me a bit, as I thought Attensity was in that range on commercial business alone, and was doing more than $10 million counting its government accounts.

It turns out that if I had been paying attention to the news filters I could have seen this coming. Read more

April 11, 2009

There’s a virus on Twitter: StalkDaily

Twitter got a virus today.  I’m updating what I know technically in my Network World post on the subject.  The gist apparently is that somebody found a way to hack Twitter pages by hacking the URLs in one’s Twitter settings,and created the hacked @GadgetBoyHah profile.  Then he got lots of clicks on it via the usual tactic of following lots of people who, upon notification, checked him out. I was infected too.

The implications for Twitter’s security are not good. The best way to disable or remove this malware is, as I write this, not yet clear, but I hope to get clarity and update the post linked above accordingly.

April 5, 2009

(Humor) You don’t exist if you’re not on Twitter!

I’d like to recommend two Twitter-related comedy videos:

But I’m still waiting for a Twitter-related takeoff on “The Trouble With Tribbles” …

April 3, 2009

Google has a lot more features than I realized

A features and syntax page reveals that the basic Google search box now gives you flight times, weather, stock quotes, sports scores, currency conversion, calculator results, and a lot more. Wow. I did not know.

Since the early 1980s, I’ve thought that natural language interfaces — spoken or otherwise — would someday win.  While this versatility isn’t natural lanaguage per se, it still in my opinion is evidence in favor of that belief.

April 3, 2009

Thoughts on the rumored Google/Twitter deal

Michael Arrington reports that Google and Twitter are contemplating both:

I have three initial thoughts on this:

1. Clearly, in Google’s mission to “organize all the world’s information,” there are several web areas it isn’t yet doing well in, and one of those is microblogs. What’s more, much as in the case of YouTube, it’s hard to see how Google would do that organizing any time soon unless it owned or otherwise was in bed with the leading platform for that kind of content — i.e., Twitter.

2. The YouTube example is apt in another way as well — it’s not clear where the monetization would come from. Google famously doesn’t make much advertising revenue from YouTube. And Twitter is even worse as an advertising platform; sticking ads into the tweetstream would quickly drive users elsewhere, and any other advertising scheme would likely fail because of the broad variety of interfaces — such as various mobile phones — Twitterers use to get at the service.

3. I’ve been suggesting all along that Twitter needs radical user experience enhancements. But when has Google ever made made user experience enhancements to a service? Its core search engine always looks pretty much the same. Ditto GMail. Ditto Blogger. Ditto YouTube.

April 3, 2009

A savage critique of Microsoft’s online efforts

Loose Wire Blog offers a savage critique of Microsoft Encarta (whose discontinuation was recently announced). Although the blog seems in general to be a bit over-the-top curmudgeonly, that particular post seemed well-reasoned.

I’d like to make a more general comment about Microsoft: its online stuff is awful, and Encarta is no different. There are already plenty of people musing on why Encarta died, but I’d say one good reason is that it’s hard to access and get your mind around as pretty much every Microsoft online property.

April 1, 2009

Actually, Google’s other April Fool’s joke is indeed funny

CADIE is an an AI with a MySpace-like blog suitable for a young girl.  (E.g., lots of cuddly panda bears.)

I suspect CADIE is going to grow up a lot over the course of the day …

April 1, 2009

Google’s April Fool’s joke seems pretty lame

3-D browsing.  Yawn.  Not like this Google April Fool’s classic.

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