Wed, 29 Dec 2010 01:57:25 -0500Google Maps & Label Readability:
Terrific UX rundown of the Google Map UI by 41latitude:
Why Do Google Maps’s City Labels Seem Much More “Readable” Than Those of Its Competitors?
For months, I’ve been trying to figure out why Google Maps’s city labels seem so much more readable than the labels on other mapping sites.
To me, Google’s labels seem to “pop” much more than the other sites’ labels. Major cities also seem to stand out much more.  And whenever you’re quickly scanning the maps, the label you’re searching for seems to stand out just a little sooner on Google’s maps.
Mon, 29 Mar 2010 17:03:03 -0400How Facebook is Adding an Identity Layer to the Internet | Social Hacking:
“What users may not realize is how much data they’re already sharing. This new style of Facebook Connect actually mirrors the behavior of Facebook itself. When you visit a Facebook application for the first time, it automatically knows who you are and can access your public data. When you then click “Allow” to authorize the app, you give it access to all of your private data. Currently, an external web site knows nothing about you until you click “Connect.” If you do click, it has the same access to your private data as an authorized application. Now, Facebook is letting sites initially act like new applications by giving them access to your public data prior to full authorization.
Wed, 24 Mar 2010 11:53:07 -0400andrearosen: What is this supposed to MEAN? That the Times could buy Gothamist if it really wanted to? That the Times has surrendered to the fact that they can’t fix their Metro or hyperlocal reporting? I had the pleasure of talking to Dave Winer this afternoon about the hyperlocal space and the work the Times is doing with his students at NYU to produce a niche blog for the East Village. On his own blog, he questions where the money will come from to support these efforts. Big institutions seem to think there’s some mysterious code to crack with the production and business model of hyperlocal, when in fact there is an institution that had been doing it well for decades and only recently started to stumble when they couldn’t keep up with online: the alternative weekly (I cut my teeth at one such publication, The L Magazine). What can the Times et. al. learn from the alt weekly model as they dive into hyperlocal blogging? 1. Organize: Most alt weeklies would not have survived as long as they did without the aid of networks like the AWN (Alternative Weekly network) and AAN (Association of Alternative Newsweeklies), who sell national ads on behalf of each market. The Times should assume this position themselves and become the mothership for a network of independent local blogs—they already have the sales staff in place to support this. The blogs themselves would, as alt weeklies do, supplement this with sales to local businesses. This sales model probably isn’t sustainable forever, but innovators like Foursquare are proving that national brands indeed want to be a part of the local market. 2. Never use New York City as a model for the rest of the country: New York is an abnormal market simply because there is more going on here per square mile. An early project of mine at The L was to work on a site that would aggregate listings from alt weeklies across the country and uniformly organize them. We built the site with our listings for NYC in mind, with super-specific ways of breaking down the city’s geography and the categories of events and venues. Of course, we never took into account that in smaller markets, organization would be far broader. And so, we had a site that looked effectively empty because nobody else had as many listings as we did per insanely narrow category (“Psychedelic Jazz,” anyone?). If we apply this to blogs, we can definitively say that “hyperlocal” just doesn’t mean the same thing in New York as it does in another market. It’s why three high-circulation alt weeklies (The L, The Village Voice and The NY Press) are able to coexist in one city—because they speak to different segments of it. Here, “hyperlocal” means neighborhoods, sometimes even fractions of neighborhoods. But most single neighborhoods in Boston will never provide the same amount of blog fodder as the East Village because they don’t have the same volume & variety of activity within them. For such a market, it’s likely that a collection of neighborhoods will have more value to the audience. And in an even smaller market (say, my hometown of Northampton, MA) blogs would have more value if we expanded the definition of “hyperlocal” to include neighboring towns as well. In fact, the alt weekly currently serving Northampton does just that: the Valley Advocate reports on the entire Pioneer Valley. On a related note, I’m really excited to see the new Foursquare statistics when they come out, because I think it will shed a lot of light on how much narrower, geographically speaking, a New Yorker’s view of their own city is in comparison to residents of other cities. 3. Don’t create something that already exists: Why are so few alt weeklies real contenders in the hyperlocal blog space? Because they just don’t have the resources to do print and online well, simultaneously, and most decide to keep the labor and money they do have in print because it’s what they’re comfortable with. So, New York Times, see those free papers shutting down and go[...]
Mon, 22 Mar 2010 13:01:13 -0400(image)
More Americans watching TV and Internet together: according to Nielsen, nearly 60% of American viewers now report using the Internet at least once a month while also watching TV. As Late Night co-producer Gavin Purcell notes, and per my post last week, this should read as a big opportunity for producers to create some pretty innovative new media. — Tim
Sat, 20 Mar 2010 12:50:17 -0400“For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.”
Mon, 15 Mar 2010 13:53:43 -0400PSA: If you're going to attempt insurance fraud, you might want to avoid posting on YouTube [w/video] — Autoblog:
Unfortunately for Chen, during the paperwork processing following that ‘second’ accident, the body shop informed Chen’s insurance company that it had been holding on to the mangled GT-R since March. Investigators then searched YouTube for any evidence of the incident, and apparently they believe that they’ve found it – the insurer alleges that the footage shown after the jump incident shows damage consistent with that of Chen’s GT-R after a mountain run with a Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR goes awry. The actual crash doesn’t look all that bad, but the apparent $76,000 repair bill shows that near-supercars can cost a boatload of money to fix. Regardless of the severity of the accident, as a result of the investigation, Chen has officially been charged with six felony counts of insurance fraud, and his sister has been charged with one count.
Tue, 16 Feb 2010 13:07:51 -0500“One of the strangest challenges porn faces is competition from online games like World of Warcraft, though the connection may at first seem random. “It is all entertainment that you are getting involved in the same way as porn is entertainment,” said Aiden. “The games are competition for porn. Fans jerk off to porn and are done, but you can keep playing a game.””
Sun, 17 Jan 2010 09:17:58 -0500Kindle Fans Punish Publisher For Delaying Ebook Releases By Giving Books One-Star Reviews | Techdirt:
Last month we pointed out what a bad idea it was for book publishers to go against the market’s wishes and to delay the release of certain ebooks, hoping to drive more people to the (higher margin) hardcover versions of the book. This is incredibly anti-consumer thinking and assumes, incorrectly, that people will happily accept the format the publisher gives them. Not surprisingly, consumers are starting to rebel. Apparently some of the books are getting hit with one-star reviews on Amazon as punishment. For example, HarperCollins – one of the leading supporters of these silly “windowed” releases – is discovering that its well-hyped book Game Change is filling up with one-star reviews. Going against what your consumers want is almost never a good idea.
Tue, 05 Jan 2010 15:53:12 -0500width="400" height="300" id="youtube_iframe" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ihUt-163gZI?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=http://safe.txmblr.com&wmode=opaque" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Tue, 05 Jan 2010 15:35:33 -0500Dishwashers, and How Google Eats Its Own Tail :
Google has become a snake that too readily consumes its own keyword tail. Identify some words that show up in profitable searches – from appliances, to mesothelioma suits, to kayak lessons – churn out content cheaply and regularly, and you’re done. On the web, no-one knows you’re a content-grinder.
Tue, 05 Jan 2010 10:22:33 -0500“
This will be the year when it becomes apparent that the future of news and media is entrepreneurial, not institutional. The year will see the rise of the new overtake the fall of the old. Even so, while we suffer moguls’ death rattles, we will hear continued debate over government intervention to protect them through proposed changes in copyright, tax favours and direct subsidy. If the government steps in, it will be to bail them out as it did for bad banks and General Motors. And we know how well that worked. A concurrent debate in Washington will reach its climax this year over net neutrality and the means to bring broadband ubiquity to the nation. That is the intervention the entrepreneurs seek.
If, instead of the same tired debates over old media, you seek something new, go mobile. In 2010, we will see Google battle Apple for the right to connect us, not just with each other but with information about any place, any thing and anyone. As we also say in America, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Fri, 01 Jan 2010 22:15:20 -0500(embed)
Mizuko Ito, trained as an anthropologist, has spent more than a decade hanging out with, interacting with, and observing young people who are engaging new media in their own ways - from her early observations of the ways young girls in Tokyo were appropriating pagers and mobile short-messaging for their own social purposes, to her most recent ethnographic study of youth media practices.
Sun, 27 Dec 2009 16:48:47 -0500dembot: Today marks the five year anniversary of the great Asian Tsunami of December 26th, 2004. This was a turning point for online video as it was the first time people from all around the world went online to watch. For all who now take online video for granted, this was even before Google Video. Here is a story I wrote about my own experience which happened just two months after I had launched Rocketboom: “On a Sunday when I was writing the script and looking for news stories for the following Monday, I witnessed the tsunami go down online via the main stream media like cnn.com particular. So I knew the issue was so intense that there would be nothing else to say on Monday and so I spent all day looking for images and video and personal accounts - anything that I could find to “show”. This was something I had never done to this degree because I had never really had an impetus. But looking around for footage and pictures was what I would do for any event, big or small on a daily basis for Rocketboom so it started as just another day. Anyway, I couldn’t find any videos on the day of, but I found two sites in Singapore that had about three people total who had posted a whole load of photos. So I believe I created perhaps the first tsunami video online that was a montage of the images with intense background music. While we did not have as much of a reach with our content at the time, we gained very high search return results for “tsunami video” apparently. There was another major factor that led to the endurance of tsunami traffic: When Waxy and others like myself had accumulated the videos the next day, the same that also became really popular, I decided to turn them all into quicktime videos because there were none. As a result I was the only one serving the Quicktime files for several days and so probably all of those original batch videos that are out there that are quicktime, are generations from me (not to say that makes me special or anything, just pointing it out because i think its interesting), coincidentally. A few sites took these files and re-seeded them in bittorrent sites and then they quickly surpassed our search authority as it stacked against the time, I reckon. I assume Robin Good has an interesting tale to tell because we received a huge amount of traffic from his massive roundup as just one example. [**aside: Of course I could not pay for the bandwidth and had the videos on the Parsons.edu server space. I brought the graduate multimedia sever down to a grinding halt (the same server that everyone uses to experiment with all kinds of wacky and powerful stuff). We couldn’t even get the server to deliver a 5k gif file until I renamed the videos and brought them back on slowly over days. [**to the other aside: I watched as iFilm, the massively obnoxious and ad invasive leech site, learned a thing or two during this time as well about search return results. Of course with their link authority, they became the mainstream site to watch the tsunami videos as the only known option to a lot of people to start with. I remember later, on the day before the Superbowl this year, iFilm had posted all of the superbowl commercials, including all of the text and even video and image placeholders for ALL of the commercials in order to get them up first and to receive the best search results. So if you went to iFilm that night before the game, you could click on a bunch of superbowl commercials, which of course never loaded. But all of the advertisements surrounding the commercials were there and they were already making big bucks before they even copied the broadcasts and then posted the videos. Thats crummy of them and you can predict their behavior to be like this in the future[...]
Fri, 11 Dec 2009 02:47:28 -0500“As adults, by and large, we think of the home as a very private space – it’s private because we have control over it. The thing is, for young people it’s not a private space – they have no control. They have no control over who comes in and out of their room, or who comes in and out of their house. As a result the online world feels more private because it feels like it has more control.”
danah boyd, Guardian Interview
Another gem quote: “As a technologist, we all like ‘techno-utopia’, this is the great democratiser… Sure, we’ve made creation and distribution more available to anyone, but at the same time we’ve made those things irrelevant. Now the commodity isn’t distribution, it’s attention – and guess what? Who gets attention is still sitting on a power law curve … we’re not actually democratising the whole system – we’re just shifting the way in which we discriminate.
Thu, 12 Nov 2009 02:04:56 -0500Everything old is new again: Facebook and AOL - aiaio - the Alexander Interactive blog:
What makes Facebook interesting these days? Basically the same things that made AOL a star a decade earlier.
- private messaging without an external email client: just like AOL!
- live chat: just like AOL!
- integrated games and shopping: just like AOL!
- every company feels a need to be there: just like AOL!
And here we are again, with consumers converging on a single site and companies clamoring to capture their attention.
AOL was eventually done in by a lack of openness and charging for options that were free elsewhere. So far, Facebook has avoided those mistakes. It will be interesting to see what social and economic forces drive its future–and whether it ultimately becomes something other than The Next AOL.
Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:33:20 -0500“
The core of the issue is this: the TV buyers have 50+ years of econometric modeling history that tells them if they buy X amount of GRPs or TRPs (Target Rating Points), it will generate Y in return. Everyone acknowledges that there are major flaws with this methodology, but are, for the most part, resigned to it; accepting it as the best we’ve got.
As video expands to other platforms, including online, digital out-of-home, and mobile, there’s a natural desire to take that same metric and apply. But doing so fails to account for the unique attributes of these new digital delivery channels — things like interactivity, ratio of ad clutter to content, dynamic ad serving, and so forth.”
I’ve already talked about how online GRPs are not the answer. Not only are all screens not created equal, but there is a big difference between seeing an ad inserted into Lost on Hulu and an ad on a monkey video on YouTube.
Or the powerful custom integration and white label content executions that sites like blip.tv can produce. We’re seeing record interaction rates as we get better and better at figuring out how to make awesome digital video ads that WORK.
Wed, 28 Oct 2009 11:56:41 -0400(image)
Losing Net Neutrality, Worst Case Scenario : Gizmodo
This is John McCain’s wet dream.
Mon, 21 Sep 2009 19:41:24 -0400FCC Backs Net Neutrality — And Then Some.:
Ryan Singel at Wired News
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski delivered Monday on President Obama’s promise to back “net neutrality.” But he went much further than merely seeking to expand rules that prohibit ISPs from filtering or blocking net traffic — he proposed that they cover all broadband connections, including data connections for smartphones.
Genachowski, Obama’s law school classmate, announced in a speech Monday at the Brookings Institution his intent to codify and expand the four current broadband principles (.pdf) known as the Four Freedoms and extend them to all broadband connections. He said that an open internet is necessary for economic growth and democratic participation. The rules were originally applied only to wireline broadband services, and the FCC kept postponing any ruling on whether they also applied to wireless services.
Tue, 01 Sep 2009 12:34:27 -0400“The NFL said Monday it will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games. Players, coaches and football operations personnel can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media up to 90 minutes before kickoff, and after the game following traditional media interviews.
I don’t think refs would benefit from being on the internet much.
Tue, 25 Aug 2009 08:53:36 -0400Publishers Are Killing Web Advertising’s Potential With Misguided Pricing | paidContent:
Nice, all online ad pricing is wrong. This concrete measurement crap is misleading. The “truth” is contained in offline ad pricing. We should apply that methodology to the Internet.