Sudoku and Open Source Collaboration

If you haven’t heard of Sudoku, then you must have been living under a rock the past couple of years. Sudoku is the numbers puzzle wherein you fill in the blanks on a 9×9 grid such that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes contains the digits 1 to 9. While the actual concept of the game was invented by an American, it is in Japan where the game first gained popular acclaim, after puzzle publisher Nikoli featured it in their monthly magazine in 1984. But the secret behind Sudoku’s popularity, according to Maki Kaji, co-founder of Nikoli, is a sort of open source collaboration.

The International Herald Tribune had a feature recently.

Nikoli’s secret, Kaji said, lay in a kind of democratization of puzzle invention. The company itself does not actually create many new puzzles — an American invented an earlier version of Sudoku, for example. Instead, Nikoli provides a forum for testing and perfecting them. About 50,000 readers of its main magazine submit ideas; the most promising are then printed by Nikoli to seek approval and feedback from other readers.

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Everyone And Their Brother Going Social

A snowball has been growing over the past month. Big players are creating Digg-style social apps left, right and center. I’ve been waiting for the snowball to slow down so I could write a piece on all them, but it just keeps growing and gaining momentum. So I decided to just go for it. I wonder how many new ones will pop up before I finish writing…this…sentence.

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Loose Wire Launches

While the purpose of technology is to make our lives easier, tech stuff has grown to be increasingly complex and complicated. Sometimes you feel you need to go through an entire user’s manual just to use a Web app, gadget, or some software. Hence those who create applications that make life easier without the need to RTFM everytime are heroes in my eyes. In my opinion, applications shouldn’t come with a learning curve. They should just plain work for the average person. But they should also be powerful enough to accommodate the more advanced users, too.

Jeremy Wagstaff introduces his new blog. It’s pretty much like the 30-second elevator pitch, but this time it’s for various things like applications, hardware and even people. is based on the premise that products and services should be able to convey their worth to a prospective user within ten minutes. Anything longer than that and they are toast. takes a look at new and old products, services, software, gadgets and people, the only requirement being each is given no more than ten minutes to reveal themselves (excluding download and installation times).

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IAC, Dow Jones in personal finance community project

Dow Jones & Company and IAC announced the formation of a joint venture to create a new personal finance Internet business targeting the broad Web-savvy audience. The partnership will launch a community-driven Web site using the personal finance content of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and other Dow Jones products and the marketing and technology expertise of IAC’s businesses, including and LendingTree.

“This venture combines the power of IAC marketing, distribution and technology with the credibility and relevance of Dow Jones’ brands, content and editorial expertise to create a place where consumers can learn, interact and make the most of their financial resources,” said Rich Zannino, CEO of Dow Jones. “The site will help consumers thrive as they progress in their careers and lives.” [Read more…]

YouTube Banned In Turkey Due To Racist Videos


AP reports that courts in Turkey have recently issued an order to ban access to YouTube from within the country, following videos with anti-Turkish remarks being uploaded on the site. The Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court issued the ban Wednesday on recommendations because of videos that allegedly insult Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Turkey’s largest telecommunications provider, Turk Telecom, has immediately enforced the ban. [Read more…]



In an effort to diversify and partly because I am writing this from a plane while in route to Austin, I have decided to expand my social media column. In less than 48 hours the SXSW festival will kickoff in Austin.

In many ways SXSW is positioned well within the festival season. It is held between Sundance and Tribeca. But what really sets SXSW apart is its collision of film, music and interactivity. It is three festivals that happen within a span of two weeks.

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PR: The Lying Profession?

I was shocked and appalled to hear that back in my native UK, the truth lost to subterfuge lies and deception. PRWeek, the industry trade publication, was hosting a debate where the motion discussed was PRs have a duty to tell the truth.

The motion was defeated by 138 votes to 124.

In my first post for the Blog Herald, I opined that social media is bringing a seismic change to the PR industry. We’re moving away from a top-down, spin heavy, heavy handed control of the message to openness, honesty, transparency and spin free messaging.

Clearly I was wrong. Clearly PR is, indeed, the lying profession. [Read more…]

People care about news, they just don’t want to read newspapers

Jason Kaneshiro wrote an interesting post at Webomatica entitled “I Don’t Read Newspapers, But I’d Read Your Blog” in which he challenges Steven Rattner’s (WSJ) viewpoint that Americans are less interested in ‘real news’ and more concerned with entertainment and gossip.

It’s all a response to the ever declining readership of newspapers. Jason’s headline sums up his desire to read the news, but to do it using a medium that offers greater choice and interactivity.

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A Swarm of Angels


We live in a user generated world. On average about 40,000 new videos are uploaded to youTube everyday and millions are viewed. The quest to write the next great novel has been replaced with the desire to become the next great filmmaker. Traditionally the funding, production and distribution of movies has been an elitist pursuit which required large amounts of resources well beyond the reach of the average individual.

The digital revolution has made filmmaking possible for the masses. These days most computers ship with some type of video editing software. Thanks to improvements in imaging technology and falling prices, HD resolution cameras are becoming more common.

With all the advancements in technology the one side of filmmaking that has lagged behind is the concept of web based collaboration. Sure directors assemble a core team of collaborators, writers, producers, actors, editors and composers to name a few, but the current trend in social media has resulted in mostly passive user experiences until now.

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