April 19, 2007

Chinese Political Prisoner To Yahoo!: Do You Hate Me Now?

A long, long time ago on a blog post far away Yahoo! decided to expose its users to the wrath of the red dragon lest it get burned in China’s backyard.

Well, apparently they are now beginning to reap what they have sown, as one of the prisoner’s family has filed a not too friendly lawsuit against the search engine prince (as Google is King).
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Joost inks HealthiNation as content partner

HealthiNation, a New York City-based digital health network, announced that it will be a featured content partner on Joost, the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service. HealthiNation’s advertisers will be offered a range of interactive features such as interactive overlays, integrated video placement opportunities and other engagement oriented features.

Joost’s platform offers HealthiNation’s complete health video library, which features compelling digital bio-animation sequences, on-camera doctors and real-life patient experiences on a wide range of health topics like diabetes, pregnancy, cancer treatment, autism and nutrition.

“Online video viewers are looking for engaging and high-quality content experiences, which drives the need for flexible consumer platforms and great content.” said Raj Amin, HealthiNation CEO. “In this new environment, marketers need more tools to connect with this engaged and sophisticated video viewer, which is why we’re pleased to be working with Joost, which offers a slick consumer experience with a variety of features for consumer engagement.”

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Any question? Go to Jabbits

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Jabbits Inc., the Denver-based innovator of webcam consumer research, has launched a new video question and answer tool that is likely to revolutionize video communications for both personal and business purposes, and bridge an existing gap between two major online services.

The new tool allows members of the Jabbits community to upload video of questions to which they are seeking answers, from webcams, mobile phones or camcorders. The free service allows other users to view those questions and upload answers, or ask questions of their own.

Jabbits users have the option to record a Public Question, posted to the entire community, or record a Private Question where answers are solicited in a private, invitation-only environment. Jabbits has been designed to bridge two fast-growing online categories – engaging video sites and interactive Q&A sites – and represents the first truly-integrated service of its kind.

Any question? Post it at Jabbits instead.

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All Hell Breaks Loose In Sci-Blog Land!

The science blogging community has been inundated over the last week-plus with commentary on the subject of “framing” and whether scientists should be framing things in easy-to-digest sound-bytes for consumption by the general public. It started with an article in Science Magazine by Matthew Nisbet and Chris Mooney, entitled “Framing Science.”

This was followed by an NPR On the Media segment and another article by Nisbet and Mooney in Sunday’s Washington Post titled Thanks for the Facts. Now Sell Them., and it seems like everyone who is anyone has weighed in on the topic.

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The State of Affairs for Web Browsers

Have you checked the state of affairs for web browsers lately? According to Browser Market Share for March 2007, Internet Explorer still leads but Mozilla Firefox is gaining ground steadily.

According to the stats, here are some of the most popularly used web browsers and their market share:

  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer – 78.57%
  2. Firefox – 15.10%
  3. Safari – 4.51%
  4. Opera – 0.80%
  5. Netscape – 0.70%
  6. Mozilla – 0.18%
  7. Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer – 0.03%
  8. PSP (PlayStation Portable) Internet Browser – 0.02%
  9. Danger Web Browser – 0.02%

According to their Browser Share Trend, while usage of Internet Explorer has dropped about 5% in the past year, Firefox has increased about the same. Other web browsers such as Safari, Opera, and Netscape have flatlined with very little change over the past year.

I would have thought that with the ease and flexibility of Firefox, more people would convert and give Microsoft a run for their browser money.

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The Writer’s Dilemma and the Blogger’s Secret

As I write this, I wonder what you might find worthwhile or entertaining, where you are, and how I might offer you a puzzle, a thought, a question, you find worth pursuing. It’s the writer’s dilemma. I remember it stated best in an interview in which Hunter S Thompson was asked, Would you rather research or write? He answered simply,

“Researching is much easier, because no one can help you write.”

That’s really the problem, isn’t it?

No matter how we look it. No matter how much we read and research it. At the end, at the start, it’s me alone with my thoughts and hopefully, something to say. Anyone can watch and critique. Some can offer direction or guidance, but no one can be my voice. No one can do my writing.

I come to this blog with a writer’s ego and a writer’s self-doubt. The ego is what makes me brave enough to put the words where folks can read them. The self-doubt is what makes me curious and more centered in the folks who read. The ego makes me reach for expression. The self-doubt makes me listen for sense and meaning.

I hate writing. I love having written. — Hugh Prather, Jr.

Quote after quote tells the story of writers who know that they have to go it alone. Every blogger worth his or her blogging salt knows the same thing.

Yet we do it. Why do we do it? We have a secret.
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April 18, 2007

WordPress Wednesday News: WordPress 2.2 Due Monday, Sponsored WordPress Themes, WordPress.com Splog Fighter, and More

The big WordPress 2.2 release is due next Monday has been postponed for a week or so. The excitement is building. Expect next week to be a busy WordPress week, and I’ll have lots of WordPress News next Wednesday. WordPress.com is about to turn 1 million users old. The issue of sponsored WordPress Themes and Plugins heats up. WordPress.com recognized as a leader in the fight against splogs. The WordPress Community also celebrates the one year anniversary of a favorite support volunteer with WordPress.com. And plenty more WordPress news for this week.

WordPress News

WordPress 2.2 Release Date Delayed: The next major WordPress release was to be April 23rd and Matt Mullenweg has announced a delay of a week or two. Several of the new features, including the addition of tags, has proven to be a little more complex and trouble in the final testing phase than originally thought. They are hard at work fixing things and the announcement of the new release will come soon.

The list of new features and improvements is impressive, though. Here are some highlights of what to expect:

There has been a lot of announcements that tags will be included in this release of WordPress. While things may change, it looks like it will be delayed to a later release. As Christine Davis, author of the Ultimate Tag Warrior WordPress Plugin, can attest, tags are not that easy to implement. What appears easy to us on the surface is a nightmare of code to write and test. So there will be a slight delay, but tags are coming.

Currently, 216 features, bugs, and fixes are closed on WordPress 2.2. For more information on what to expect in upcoming versions of WordPress, see the WordPress Roadmap.

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UK teachers blogging the gritty truth of school life

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“I’m not sure the general public realises what goes on. There is no discipline system. It just wore me down,” confesses Frank Chalk, a burnt-out teacher who uses his blog to rant at the system, the Government, children and their parents.

One of his “St Thickchild’s” posts begins “Dear parent/guardian/window-licking inbred”

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Podcast on nanotechnology launched

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Lumera Corporation announced that it would host a series of podcast interviews with industry leaders who are familiar with Lumera’s technology and are experts in nanotechnology, bio-arrays, drug discovery, electro-optics, and wireless technologies.

Dr. Niro Ramachandran, a research associate at the Harvard Institute of Proteomics led by Dr. Josh LaBaer, will be featured first in the Lumera podcasting series. Ramachandran is an expert in next generation drug discovery and diagnostics and is one of the early beta users of Lumera’s ProteomicProcessor™ instrument. Dr. Ramachandran’s podcast will be available for download today.

The podcasts will be available through a variety of distribution networks and can be downloaded among other places at podtech.com, Apple’s iTunes, Rocky Mountain Podcasting, and at Lumera.

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A Remix Culture

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I’m a fan of remixes and mashups. A couple years back mashups exploded onto the scene. One of the most downloaded albums of all time is Danger Mouse’s Grey Album – a creative mashup of JayZ’s black album and the Beatles’ White Album. The Grey Album was plagued by copyright issues and couldn’t be officially released but that only fueled demand and massive downloads via p2p networks.

They often say where audio goes video follows. Bands were crafting their own master pieces via their desktop computers long before it was possible to edit video on consumer gear. But with the current explosion in user generated content, large numbers of people are spitting out content for mass audiences consumption. It seems likely that the next evolution in user-gen might just be found within in a remix / mashup environment.

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