Look at me I’m Wiki

February 28, 2008

So today I decided to set up a wiki. My partner in Video Production and I are getting ready for our third project. Since we only see each other once a week during class I thought it might be easier to share our ideas on a wiki. Well, maybe not easier but a great experiment to see how it really works. 

100_0520.jpg Sitting at home looking at my bookshelf I can’t help but think about Bookmooch. It could be a possible solution to my problem. As you can see for yourself I’ve got one or two books not including the ones for school. Since I don’t tend to go back and reread trading the old ones in for new ones wouldn’t be a bad idea. I usually just donated them to the library but I can perpetuate my addiction if I get more. Hmmm, I guess this wouldn’t solve my overcrowding problem but it would be fun to try.

 

The other site that I found very interesting was Facebook/ads. One of our freelance editors is helping out with a political campaign. The campaign is a small one without a lot of money to spend. On Thursday the first thing that I did when I walked into work was tell him about it. He thought it was a great idea. The first thing that he worried about was that Facebook might skew too young to vote but when you target voting age constituents this becomes a non-issue. What’s even better is that since the candidate is a democrat they can choose people with the same political view. Political campaigning can be very expensive and this might just help even out the playing field a bit.

 

Ouch, Will You Marry Me?

February 21, 2008

I saw this on boingboing and thought it was interesting. killerring.jpegIt’s a “killer engagement ring”. Now that’s something. Forget running with scissors…running with this ring could be just as dangerous. Also, the big hand off needs to be carefully planned. No hiding this ring in a dessert. I know that they say marriage can be difficult but do we really need to start with a sharp object? I guess your fiance might be a little more careful about hurting your feelings after giving you this. It can also stop any potential fights between brides and in-laws. When brandishing this beauty everyone will be afraid to disagree with you. This is one piece of expensive jewelry that can take a bite out of crime and hand holding.

What’s Your Opinion?

February 20, 2008

One of my buddies just started a podcast and would love some feedback. It’s called Econocorner and it’s about economics. His name is Jared Bernstein and he works for the Economic Policy Institute. If you get a chance to listen and have feedback, good or bad, he’d love it. Basically he wants to know the best way to get his point across.

I Want it….Because

February 16, 2008

I want an iphone. I’ve wanted one since I first heard about it. Apple products do put a spring in my step in general I must admit but I really want this one. I think my Apple obsession started when my parents bought me my first computer in college. It was a Macintosh classic. I loved it. The computer stayed with me until it finally conked out after 6 years. I must admit to getting an IBM computer before I got my ibook but it really was a price thing. The IBM was WAY cheaper at the time. I’m getting off topic here though.

 The iphone is just cool. It’s one of those things that I know I don’t need but still want. I just haven’t been able to justify getting one yet. I think part of my hesitation is that I’m on a family share plan and it would throw the who thing off. Saved from myself again. Now, the question is why do I want it so badly aside from the cool part? I think part of the reason is long train rides. I’ve been doing a lot of commuting from DC to NYC lately and three hours plus takes a long time. It also involves carrying lots of stuff such as books, ipod, phone, chargers, computer (sometimes), and the list goes on. Well, I just read on Readwritewebthat you can read books on it. Now I’m not a fan of electronic book reading but if it means less lifting you’ve got a convert. Tack on to that the fact that you’ve got the phone, ipod, and computer attached too. What a back saver. Also, just one charger. Now I can’t say that I’d like to write a paper on it but it would be great for checking my Googlereaderover the weekends. As we all know when you let it slide a few days boy do you get behind. Throw in a couple of online games with some They Might be Giants ringtones and I’d be good to go. Heck, I might even be convinced to give Twitter a try. Until that time I’ll remain practical and stick with what I’ve got.

It’s Only Right

February 15, 2008

I think that a bill of rights for social network users isn’t a bad idea. My information should be controlled by me. When I read Mashable’s article that included Facebook’sprivacy policies it didn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Here’s the exerp:

 “Facebook also collects information about you from other sources, such as newspapers and instant messaging services. This information is gathered regardless of your use of the Web Site.” Another theory is that Facebook could also be a data-gathering project or if not, used extensively for these purposes. Facebook’s policy also states that it “may share your information with third parties, including responsible companies with which we have a relationship.”

Eeepers! So, you mean to tell me that Facebook is deciding which companies are responsible? If you pay well does that make you responsible? Oh boy, in this day and age most legit companies allow you an opt out option when it comes to allowing advertisers access to your information. I mean if only our “friends” that we choose are supposed to have access why should someone else have it without our consent?

 What might be even more frightening is that Facebook is fishing for more information about us than we already freely gave them. I mean I know we’re making it easy for them by putting as much information as possible about ourselves on their website but they’re searching out more. I must say that if we didn’t have to join this site for class I would seriously reconsider being on it. We have so much other information floating about out there why volunteer even more if not necessary?

 If there was a Bill of Rights for users I would feel more comfortable about posting on these sites. Nothing is perfect but at least it would offer up some protection.

Together we are stronger than our parts. The long tail just keeps getting longer with ideogoras. The idea of collective thinking is not a new one but with the internet the collaboration is much larger than ever before. I love the idea of InnoCentive. There are so many great minds out there and so many things to be discovered. The right mind with the right problem can help find a solution. A company can employ many scientists but who’s to say that they are able to solve the particular problem that faces them. Think of all the diseases that might be cured with the right scientist working on it. This is a much greater possibility with more brainpower. Medications that might not have made it to market due to financial reasons might be able to help save lives.

 

The other interesting thing is that the first people that you go to might not be the only ones with ideas. Look at the example of Goldcorp. The company was in financial trouble so they sent out a call for help across the web. They expected geologists to respond since they were looking for gold pockets but had a much larger response. Yes, geologists did respond, but so did mathematicians and students. While geologists might see the facts one way others can bring new ideas that the normal players may never have thought of. They can help shake things up. With the information that they received GoldCorp was able to pull itself out of a slump by yielding gold in over 80% of the web responders proposed sights.

 

Yet2.com is also an exciting idea. So many patents go to waste. Ideas sit on shelves and don’t get developed. No one else can work on them since someone else has ownership. Why not sell the ideas, make a profit, and get a new product out there? Smaller niche markets also get into the swing of things. Ideas that they might not have the money to produce might see their way to market. They can also find patents that are specific to their clientel and save money on research and development. A smaller company doesn’t have the same manpower as larger corporations but might have the ability to marry a product with its market. Again this just keeps growing the tail.

 

I couldn’t help thinking about The Wisdom of Crowds while reading Wikinomics. The whole is smarter than any of the individuals making up the group. Wikinomics really hits on this idea so the two go hand in hand.

They Might be Tech Giants

February 10, 2008

Two guys named John started They Might be Giants in 1982. By 1983 they were already ahead of their time when it came to music and technology. That year they started dial-a-song. They hooked up an answering machine to a phone line and fans could call in getting a new song everyday. Now you can check out This Might be a Wiki (you can probably guess it’s their fan wiki). Listen to their free podcast or watch their video podcast for kids. You can visit their myspace page or download the latest concert from their website. Bored at work? How about downloading their free clock radio? It has demos on the AM station, live recordings on the FM station and interviews on the EBS station. If that’s not enough how about downloading free mp3s? Oh, it takes to long to listen to them. How about a downloading a free ring tone for your cell phone?

 

I must say that I just didn’t know about how connected they were until I became more connected. I saw them last week at the Beacon Theater and was impressed that they mentioned looking something up on Google and rewriting history on Wikipedia during their concert. After that I was planning on blogging about them. When I got home I did a little research to find out more about dial-a-song and found out about how much more with the times they were than I am. Now I’ve got the podcast on my shuffle and I’m ready to go.

 

Oh, I guess I should tell you a little about the band. To me their songs are like Tapas. Lots of little treats. Most of them aren’t very long but they are fun and upbeat. Some are even informative. There just isn’t any angst there even if the song is about a sad topic it’s upbeat so you have a hard time figuring that out. If you don’t know the band you might know a song or two. They wrote the theme song for Malcolm in the Middle and Istanbul not Constantinople. If you’re a little down and want to hear some fun music check them out.

 

 

Wait, Let me Google it

February 10, 2008

 

Google has become part of our vernacular. For people who don’t use it there’s this website. I was watching a newscast last week where the reporter was talking about Google and Yahoo. She mentioned that you never hear someone say that they’re going to yahoo it when looking something up on the internet. One of the Johns in They Might Be Giants mentioned googling the name of a song writer that he couldn’t remember while on stage. It really is the search engine. Let’s face it the internet without a good search engine would be useless. 

 

With the power of search also comes responsibility. If your business can’t be found on Google it might as well be invisible. If it is found you just might be made. As Google updates their software though you might go from being found to being lost or vice versa. This would definitely make Google a scary entity. They giveth and taketh away. I know that in the past I’ve done a search each time I wanted to find a certain website. Now, with the creation of favorites and del.icio.us a consumer can save the websites to their computers so being found in each and every search isn’t as critical. Also, none of the companies are complaining during a time when they are found quickly. It’s like free advertising.

 

There are also other search engines out there even though Google really is the one that most people use. I guess that could make it seem like a monopoly but it just does search better than anyone else right now. Things change so fast though in the tech world that someone else could leave Google in the dust in the not so far future. I think what makes it special is that it opened another door and others are going to try and step through creating better products. Didn’t Yahoo open a new door before Google? 

 

Should we be scared of one company with so much power due to innovation? Heck no. We should thank them for leading the way and forcing other products to follow suit with their own new ideas.

Will Text for Toilet

February 8, 2008

According to Boingboing Finland will be opening up its toilets for texts. In other words, if you want to use one of the roadside bathrooms you’ll need to know Finnish or at least the word for open in that language to unlock the door. I see a few potential problems with this for foreign visitors. First of all when you check out a Finnish/English dictionary on-line and type in the word open eight different words pop up in Finnish. I hope you gave yourself a little time before it was mission critical to get in the doorway. I always make sure that when visiting a foreign country I know how to say, “where is the bathroom?” I guess I’ll have to expand my vocabulary. The biggest problem will arise if my phone doesn’t work overseas. Will they have special bathroom rental phones? Cellphones are sometimes useless when you travel abroad and when your legs are crossed in a moving vehicle it is not the time to find this out. Heck, even locals could have some problems with this system. I know that I for one have left my phone sitting at home on a charger by mistake. It could end up a fatal error if the need to relieve yourself arises. What if you don’t even own a cell phone? Should only people with phones be allowed to use the bathroom? I also have one more problem with this method. I don’t text. Yes, I know just about everyone else does but I don’t. The feature isn’t even activated on my phone so I can’t text or receive text messages and that’s the way I like it. I just find it impersonal and I hate cycling through three letters to get the one I want while the phone “smartly” puts together a word that isn’t what I was going for. My own little rebellion I guess. You won’t be get a tweet from me anytime soon.