Monday, December 11, 2006

LINKS:New York Times Surrenders To Social News


New York Times Surrenders To Social News: "

newyorktimes210.jpgThe New York Times has decided to let users post stories directly from their site to Digg, Facebook, and Newsvine. As of Monday, the paper will embed links to all three sites to most of their online stories.

The new link will not be embedded into stories used on the paper’s premium content site, TimesSelect, staff blogs or wire stories.

nyt275p.jpgThis seems like a begrudging move for The Times, a paper with an elitist reputation and a crossword puzzle that you need a PhD to solve. A social networking site like Facebook doesn’t seem the type of company that The Times would consort with but getting into social news sharing is just good business these days.

Christine Topalian, manager of strategic planning and business development at, told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the paper had been ‘looking for ways to tap a tech-savvy audience that is accustomed to commenting on and sharing news stories.’ Apparently, they started by contacting Digg and Newsvine directly, while Facebook was included because they had contacted The Times earlier this year with a news-feed service pitch.

Although you could always manually add The Times stories to news sharing sites such as Digg and Newsvine before, the capability to do it directly from the story means that The Times is paying attention to where its stories are shared, who reads them, and, more importantly, what they are saying about them. Currently, The Times offers limited ability to comment on its stories. The world of readers’ comments can be brutal (believe me, I know this first hand), and by dealing directly with the sites that facilitate this, The Times exposes itself to far more reader interaction than they have ever had before.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


(Via TechCrunch.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

LINKS:Uh Oh, Gmail Just Got Perfect

Comments: So true.

Uh Oh, Gmail Just Got Perfect: "

Google quietly added a small feature to Gmail this week called Mail Fetcher. When that feature launched, Gmail became perfect.

Mail Fetcher allows users to access non-Gmail email accounts from within the Gmail interface. If you have a Yahoo email account, and a work email account, etc., you can simply access that email from within Gmail, using POP settings. Gmail will now work in a very similar way as Outlook does on the PC desktop.

This is something I have criticized Gmail for in the past. I went on and on about this issue here when discussing the new Mac web mail product. It was the one feature that Gmail lacked that, in my opinion, kept it from being the perfect webmail application.

Every other webmail service is now inferior to Gmail. Gmail offers more storage than any other free service. They offer free POP access to Gmail from other email applications like Outlook (Yahoo and Microsoft charge for that). They offer access to other email accounts within Gmail (only Yahoo offers that). Gmail’s mobile client is killer (although not yet available for most phones). And only Gmail allows tagging of emails for categorization under multiple topics (I just wish it was a quicker feature).

I am seriously considering switching from using my desktop email client to Gmail. Since I work from multiple computers, using web mail eliminates the syncing problem. If Google implements an offline version of Gmail, in a similar way as Scrybe or via Adobe’s Apollo platform, it will become even more compelling.

Kudos to Google for finally implementing this. It’s just awesome.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Tags: , , ,


(Via TechCrunch.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spacious 1 BR, Close to Stanford and downtown Palo Alto! (palo alto) $775 1bd

Spacious 1 BR, Close to Stanford and downtown Palo Alto! (palo alto) $775 1bd: "Hello,

I'm advertising a single, 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment that's right off of Alma St., a mile and a half from both the Stanford Campus and downtown Palo Alto. It's a perfect location for student/commuters (only a few blocks away from the California St. Cal Train Station). It's a cottage style, single-story apartment, with covered parking, kitchen and laundry facilities on site. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested so that we can arrange a time for you to see the place.

You can move in as early as December 20th, 2006. Thanks!


(Via craigslist s.f. bayarea | apts/housing for rent search for "palo alto".)

Studio in Palo Alto (palo alto) $895

Studio in Palo Alto (palo alto) $895: "



. Palo Alto, CA 94036.........


(Via craigslist s.f. bayarea | apts/housing for rent search for "palo alto".)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

LINKS: UK Term Extension -- latest

UK Term Extension -- latest: "

The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property will be released today. I’ll post when it is up.

Meanwhile, you can read two reports the Review commissioned. One is a fantastic report about the economics of term extension. You can download it here.

The second is a report about Orphan Works (I’ve not read this yet). You can get it here.

My piece in the Financial Times today about the report is here. The punch line:

There are some who believe that copyright terms should be perpetual. Britain did the world a great service when it resolved that debate almost 300 years ago, by establishing one of the earliest copyright regimes to limit copyright to a fixed term. It could now teach the world a second important lesson: any gift of term extension should only go to those who ask.


(Via Lessig Blog.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

LINKS:Ancient Greeks Even Smarter Than Previously Thought

Ancient Greeks Even Smarter Than Previously Thought: "

John Noble Wilford writes in the N.Y. Times about a strange contraption found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece. It was discovered 100 years ago, and was known as ‘the world’s first computer,’ but recent high-tech analyses have shown that the contraption was even more sophisticated than researchers first realized. The instrument, with gears and dials made of bronze, was apparently designed to calculate and plot out astronomical information, ‘particularly phases of the Moon and planetary motions.’ It is thought to have been designed by the Greek astronomer Hipparchos. ‘Technology historians,’ Wilford writes, ‘say the instrument is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward.’

Which leads to an obvious question: so why didn’t the technology move forward for an entire millennium? (If anyone out there has a good answer, please let us know.)

I found myself thinking a very similar question the other day, when I was in Chicago and visited the Field Museum. I went for the King Tut exhibit, which was okay, but found myself more interested in the exhibit on Gregor Mendel. You remember Mendel, from biology class—the friar/scientist whose study of pea plants in the 1850’s helped bring about our modern understanding of genetics.

Here’s what surprised me the most. In a timeline chronicling the human understanding of genetics, the first note was about the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, who proposed ‘that tiny particles from every part of the body of each parent became blended, producing an individual with the characteristics of both.’ That sounds pretty modern, doesn’t it? But then, the timeline noted, ‘Aristotle dismisses Hippocrates’ theory, noting that children do not always resemble parents, and that people who have lost limbs through accidents produce ‘whole’ children.’

As with Hipparchos’s ancient ‘computer,’ Hippocrates’s genetic theory was apparently just too far ahead of its time. Even by the time Mendel got to work on his peas, the world wasn’t quite ready. His research sat dormant for years, and wasn’t embraced until well after his death.


(Via Freakonomics Blog.)

LINKS: JotSpot Case Casts Doubt on Future of Web Office Startups

JotSpot Case Casts Doubt on Future of Web Office Startups: "

Recent Google acquisition JotSpot found itself the
subject of unwanted attention this week, when an early customer complained of being shut
out when the Google acquisition happened. href="">A blog
post by someone named Kevin (no last name supplied) had all the gory details, but
Kevin then subsequently deleted it (note: I'd already read it before it disappeared).
Techcrunch then href="">
posted the cached text of the post. My concern when I first read it wasn't so much
for the damage to JotSpot's reputation (which the company is more than capable of
defending), but the implication that hosted applications in general carry more risk
than people normally assume
. Here's the key extract from Kevin's post:

'Pick your hosted application service provider well. Relying on web hosted application
services is much more dangerous than I ever would have assumed. This is especially true
for those services that are ‘closed source’ like those of JotSpot.'

What's more, href="">
in the Techcrunch comments another person who claims to have been a JotSpot customer
has his/her say:

'I can’t reveal much about my experience with Jotspot either, but our company
has been heavily screwed because of the merger.

After the merger, Jotspot went on some kind of blackout as far as communications, and
a portal we developed on jotspot’s servers is half-assedly done, but the developer
can’t do anymore work because Jotspot has been quiet on whether they will pay him
or whether google will. Unfortunately, we already have 50 customers (NOT USERS,
CUSTOMERS) not understanding why basic functionality is not fully developed.

We’re probably going to dish out tons of cash to redevelop the portal on another
engine entirely.

Thanks, Jotspot. Thanks a ton.'

To his credit, JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus then href="">
leaps into the comments to defend his company. He says that Google has a policy of
'not announcing anything about future product direction' and so 'our ability to give any
sense of timeline and capability is extraordinarily limited'. Joe promises they're not
going to abandon their partners and customers. Now, I have a lot of admiration for Joe
Kraus and I think he's one of the smartest people in the valley. Nevertheless, the sense
here is that JotSpot's customers have indeed lost out in this deal - and there's not a
whole lot JotSpot can do about it because of Google's restrictive policies. So where does
that leave the customers?

Peoples faith in web hosted applications has been shaken by this - and in particular
in the Web Office realm, where hosted applications have a lot of business value invested
in them by their customers. How can customers guarantee that a Web Office company
acquisition (or worse, a bubble burst) won't negatively impact their own business?

This problem isn't new - back in the dot com days these types of hosted providers were
known as ASPs (Application Service Providers). But ASPs very rarely replaced entire
office suites (in particular Microsoft Office). In the case of Web Office, over the past
year or so some of us have been talking up the potential of a whole business being run on
a hosted platform - which is of course a threat to Microsoft Office. However the risk
increases the smaller the hosted provider is. Just as Amazon has a decided advantage
providing hosted infrastructure (S3 etc), the likes of Microsoft and Google (with their
own apps) have a big advantage over the smaller Web Office providers.

This has to be a concern going forward for Web Office startups. How on earth can they
convince customers that they're as rock solid a (business) investment as purchasing a
license for Microsoft Office, or downloading OpenOffice? Will they need to open source
their technology, as Kevin's post alludes to? Or will it just require tightening up the
service level agreements for customers?

And from the Web Office startup's point of view, how difficult does this make it for
them to compete with Microsoft or Sun Microsystems? Imagine a Microsoft ad campaign that
has as its main message: 'why take the risk of running your business on a small startup's
servers?' It's not that far fetched an idea for an ad campaign.

I'm interested in your thoughts, because obviously I think Web Office startups have a
lot to offer in terms of innovation and Web native functionality. But the business risks
are something they need to overcome, to gain the trust ant uptake of customers.


(Via Read/WriteWeb.)