Friday, April 30, 2004

Web (product) development: Words to live by

From Oliver Wrede's Details of a global brain: "There are a number of reasons why user interfaces of many software packages fail. I assume (slightly unfair and inaccurate), that in many cases there is no interface designer involved with user interface development, but rather the interface is designed by the application developers.
Here is a list of (some) common fallacies of some developers in regard to user interface design.

Here's my summary of Oliver's list---read more here.
--User centered design approach is optional.
--Features are more important than usability.
--"Design" is just an emotional and subjective quality.
--Functionality is what the user could do.
--Personal experience is the best advisor.
--Good application design is the primary determinator for good interface design.
--It's OK to reject major changes of the application for minimal interface design improvements.
--A bad user interface alone cannot set the seal on the fate of the application.

These rules are as valid for web sites and web-based services as for software applications--and they are important successful factors--ignore at your peril.



Scraping by start-ups: Advice froma friend

Talked with a friend yesterday who thinks his start-up may be going under.They'rewaiting for that next nfusionof VC cash,and if it doesn't happen...they're doomed,
Then talked with another friend who's done start-ups over the past 6 years.
His advice: "If they have money for 6 weeks for 15 people,then they probably have about $150,00-200,000.If they have that,they should immediately fire everyone except for the 3-5 people who can write the plans and work the hours to make the ciompany reinvent itself so they can get some new funding. Everything else should be secondary, and they should use that $150,000 to make sure they can get to that next level."

Berkeley conference: So good to know you

Others have blogged this morning's Berkeley conference sessions in detail, so I will confine my comments to personal stuff.
First of all, I had a great time--the discussions were sharp, the speakers smart, and the audience interesting. I listened and learned and talked a little, too.
Some of the people who made great comments were(in no particular order) Dan Gillmor, Vin Crosbie, Mark Pincus, Craig Newmark, and Ken Sands. Ken edits the Spokesman-Review newspaper web site in Spokane, and is doing some very interesting stuff, highly innovative by hugely conservative online news standards
Also got to meet Mark Glaser, who I read regularly in OJR and Tim Bishop, whose blog I enjoy. Chatted with Christian Crumlish and Mary Hodder, and caught up with old friend Marcia Parker and education blogger Pat Delaney (yes, I know,this post is uncharacteristically chatty and social.) Left after lunch and snuck off to have coffee with Phil Wolff, then had the wheel-gripping, mind-numbing pleasure of two hours of traffic heading south from Bezerkeley to San Jose. Yuck.

Carrie Fisher: The best awful is just awful

Is it her or is it me? I remember loving Carrie Fisher's first novel, Postcards from the Edge, and enjoying the second, Surrender the Pink, so I picked up the best awful, her latest book, and geeze, it is awful. Not just bad but awful in that didn't they have an editor that cared kind of way.
Early warning passage from page 23, regarding the heroine's attendance at a Hollywood funeral:
"She should've known. The death of a Hollywood producer was not going to be a simple memorial so much as an event--a somber premier to celebrate Jack's ascension to a better place. Where dead agents could convince him he'd reached the elusive nirvana: a place full of decreased hookers and drug dealers, maybe even a triplicate pad or two with a bevy of understanding pharmacists. At the very east a stalled Porsche and grounded G-IV."
Carrie, you turned into a sit com writer along the way--what happened to Buck Henry's clever pal?

9AM Berkeley conf: Revisiting Virtual Communities: The internet impact

Liveblogging from the conference.: Craig Newmark just gave a good chat about Craig's List and how it addresses what people want (jobs, housing,dates) as a metaphor for addressing bigger issues (reforming government.) Mark Pincus is now describing how the web and social networks allow people to create their own groups and causes--"the revolution of the ants"-creating communities that can bypass traditional media and traditional choices by allowing them to form and trade in tribes.
Pincus: "The Internet is more and more about generating leads--for a date,a job,a purchase. But all leadsaren't the same--social networks---who you know--are a filter that saves time and creates relevancy. Tribe is an experiment to form groups and then act."
Markos Moulitsas (Kos) is also on this panel(I am too); He describes his evolution from being a political commentator to being an activist, driving readers in to becoming involved inp olitical campaigns (and make donatiosn) for the first time.
Say Kos:"We're trying to use the power of the web to draw people in who can become invested in a political campaign and donate---they're not strangers anymore."

More coverage here.

Discussion: "So why are people becoming more politically involved online? Is this a new group of people, or the same group in a new channel?

Comments from the group: What makes virtual communities work? What's new? (Mernit talks about social identify and FOAF as emerging tools and attitudes).
Craig says "Think globally, act locally."

Question: Do web blogs increase insularity and the echo chamber? Mark says: We're seeing tribes cross and argue passionately about opposing points of view--
at Tribe.there's been much discussion in the groups about freedom of expression.
Kos:"I just don't believe in fair and balanced media.I think it seeps into coverage no matter what is published. I enjoy

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Google files: $2.7 Billion

To think they started only 4 years ago--and now the company's filing a $2.7B IPO. Money's got a story, as does everyone else in the blogosphere.

Psst, Feedster's got the Google IPO watch. And Google news has stories as well., as does Topix.

Yahoo UK: Stupid kid(and poet) tricks

Kevin Burton sent me a funny link to Yahoo UK's The Office: Attachments, The best of the web circulated by you. Tyson the skateboarding bulldog is there, as are some scary looking clown babies.




Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My (new) toaster is an SUV

The toaster broke this morning. That is, it started toasting the bread(yes, we still eat bread) on only one side.
My husband came home this afternoon with a new toaster that, I swear, is almost as big as an SUV.
The Hamilton Beach 24507 4-Slice IntelliToast Toaster, in all for business black,has four double-wide slots for toasting two bagels at once.
(Why wait? Spencer asked.)
It also has two sets of (amazingly complex) dials, far more than I want to see at 7 am.

As Amazon reviewer Fred Brack says "Each pair of slots has separate controls, so at least two diners' preferences can be fulfilled simultaneously. Dials offer six browning settings, from light to dark, and a microchip to ensure consistency, while slide-out crumb trays and levers to lift short slices extra high provide convenience."

Are there toaster fetishists? Is this model the one? (Actually, the customer reviewers on Amazon seem to hate it--"It doesn't toast on both sides!" they complain.)


About.com: Can citizen media= citizen dollars?

Just got a note from Peter Caputa about the About.com post--he had so much to say he did a blog entry, which I found completely fascinating (Yes, I am one of those people who enjoys watching established companies work to keep on their feet as paradigms shift). Among the points Peter makes:
"The about.com model was that [online] publishing is now a much lower-cost business than it used to be [offline].
(snip)
Publishing (not journalism) is now a no-cost / low-cost business because of tools like blogger and typepad.
(snip)
Peter's solution to spread the $$ around: Syndicate Weblog Content to about.com directory. Compensate webloggers and editors based on ad revenue generated from their writing/editorial activities. "
Share the wealth.

This all relates back to Jarvis' business of blogging shtick. Citizen media=citizen dollars?

Don't eat that--Hungry Girl's diet tips


Are you on diet? Were you on a diet last week? Planning to start one next month?
If you are a part of the population for whom diets are a recurring fact--or a constant way of life--Lisa Lillien's new website and newsletter, Hungry Girl, is worth a look. Lisa's a pretty normal person who cut calories way down to fit into her (Versace) pants, then decided lots of other people would want to share tips and struggles. Viz, Hungry Girl, kinda a Daily Candy for not putting the wrong things in your mouth.
Among the content nuggets (okay, pardon the pun, are the HG Top Ate Snacks Under 100 calories:
1. Steamed Artichoke w/ No Cal Butter Spray
2. Original Boca Burger on lettuce "bun" with a smear of BBQ sauce
3. 4 Celery Sticks with 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
4. Sugar Free JELL-O w/ 2 Tbsp Fat Free Cool Whip
5. Egg White Omelette with Salsa
6. 1 Cup of Frozen Grapes
7. Haagen Daz Sorbet & Yogurt Bar
8. Sugar Free Hot Chocolate with 5 Mini Miss Meringue Cookies

For moire like this, sign up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Berkeley conference worth a look

Starting this Thursday and going into Friday, The J-School at Berkeley has put together an interesting series of panels on what could be called new media or convergence, but could also be described as " the way things are going to be, someday.'
I'm part of a discussion on virtual communities (with Craig Newmark and Mark Pincus, among others), and there are additiional panels on disrupting the news industry "living with the genie'--(Whatever the title, it's got Denise Caruso, Howard Rheingold, Richard Rhodes and Michael Pollan, among others), followed by a whole day on China's Digital Future.

Update: Kinja digest for the Berkeley conf.
(Via Denton)

More random links: Donewaiting.com

Old friend Robert Duffy was rumored to be doing something very cool in Columbus, Ohio(No, my friends say that is actually not a contradiction in terms). Guy-o's got a kick ass blog network focused on the local music scene--and it is damn good. Actually, he seems quite the mogul, with a Columbus blog, concert production and all kinds o stuff. Congrats, Duffy

San Jose Public Library: The eBook collection

Digital Libraries: Surfing around looking at the most obscure series of links, I discovered that The San Jose Public Library has an ebook collection. Apparently, you can check out ebooks (via digital download) and "borrow" them for 21 days, though, in truth, they remain on your computer.
(Now of course I realize that lots of libraries have digital collections and that one of my favorite sites, The Internet Archive, has tons of digital material, but the idea this big public library chain in the heart of Silicon Valley has a digital collection is, well, appealing.)

About.com: I shop, therefore you ad-target me

Story today about how Primedia's refocusing About.com to become more of an online destination that can serve targeted ads against users' profiles and behavior in a session.
A year ago, pre-new regime, an executive no longer there explained in detail that About.com's strategy was to be discovered as top-line results in as many search queries as possible, particularly on Google.
Now Peter Horan, new CEO of the unit, is directing that the site have a make-over "in an effort to draw in more readers and build brand identity," as the Reuters story says.
Update: The makeover's here, and it looks like an attempt to grab the iVillage reader. There are 25 new channel fronts, such as Small Business, which promote articles and offers. Within these sections are the guide areas, such as Career Planning within Jobs & Careers. The design is nice and clean, but it seems curiously flat.
Will be interesting to see if usage goes up or what.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Tacoda to form paid aid network based on audience profiling technology

Tacoda, the company that's done such a good job of selling audience management/ad targeting tools and online registrations systems to publishers and portal sites(such as Advance.net and About.com), is rreported to be planning a new advertising network that will essentially compete with paid search products from Google, Overture and others.
Today's ClickZ story quotes CEO and founder Dave Morgan as saying "There's so much demand from advertisers for cost-effective, scalable advertising that's easy to buy, that's targeted," and "It's more intuitive for a marketer to buy a person than a keyword,"

Some Mernit speculations:
--Tacoda's new product may also be DART-compatible,which could offer sites the capability to synchronize their IAB advertising with paid search links, creating highly targeted advertising solutions.
--It might also be compatible with--or customized to fit--existing classifieds solutions, which would be a fascinating opportunities for news and information sites--particularly local ones--to find ways to win back some of this advertising (I'm thinking of targeted employment/recruitment display ads and auto dealer ads).
--How about applying this new product to ecommerce referral? Targeted CTC sounds like an interesting opportunity to explore.
--And how about hyperlocal? I bet small newspaper chains will be all over this--it should definitely improve their ad serving value.





Great blues band in SF Thursday night; hubby headlines

Nepotism central: The Spencer Jarrett Band will be at Biscuits and Blues this coming Thursday, April 29, starting at 9:00pm, with a great line-up plus some special guests.
.

Fortune: Craig's List flick to air

Craig's List, the movie, is about to happen.

What's next: IBM and Morgan Stanley weigh in

Just downloaded a new report from IBM's consulting group on the future of digital media. The summary says:
"This paper, a collaborative discussion by thought leaders from the IBM media and entertainment practice, discusses why industry and market forces will propel media businesses to become more open to business partners, customers and consumers -- opening content reserves and formatting, production processes, packaging and sales options without opening the company to increased vulnerability."
PDF(44 pages) is here. Summary here,
Also about to check out Morgan Stanley's preso on Internet Trends.


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Sunday in Santa Cruz

We have a new routine--taking the dog to Lighthouse Beach in Santa Cruz one weekend morning. Since I didn't get back from New York until Saturday, today was the day.

Every time I head over the mountain, the beauty reminds me why I want to live in California--the idea that all this outdoor goodness is 40 minutes away is fantastic.
We walked along the beach front, took Winston into the paths through the tall grass, and stopped to watch the surfers and kayakers practicing in the bay near the Santa Cruz Surf Museum.
Just a couple of hours, but a great time was had by all.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Using Google Gmail, and then some

As email systems go, Gmail seems like one of the best--so long as the fact a machine is scanning every word you write and inserting relevant ads into messages doesn't bother you. Like Orkut, the system is intuitive and smartly designed. I particularly like the clean interface and simple information management features such as the ability to label emails and create threaded posts in the process. The mail is also blazingly fast. Clearly, that amazingly large Google server farm has been deployed as part of the back end infrastructure. The only buggy feature Iíve encountered is the Contacts Manager/Address Book--it just doesn't work on my machine. I have no idea how many of the address I am writing to (or getting email from) are being saved, and I havenít figured out if there is a way to add manually add addresses.

Iím leery enough of the whole thing to not want to make it one of my main email systems (they invited me to be part of a test, after all), but I find myself liking the system and wanting to use it more--Iím just concerned about getting attached to something that might get turned off after a month.

And then some
Iíve also been experimenting with Froogle, the shopping referral engine. Froogle has the potential to become an invaluable tool once the interface and the information presentation are refined a bit and some additional capacities are built around the core product. Iíd particularly like to see Froogle Integrate Googleís local search capabilities, allowing people to search merchant results by location as well as item and price. A syndication API and RSS/XML feeds also seem like must-haves, enabling buyers and sellers to use the Froogle infrastructure to create a trading market of sorts (yes, I am thinking that if this tool was combined with an eBay like auction structure and purchasing system, the results would be killer--and monopolistic in the extreme.)
And finally, I wonder how Froogle would work if its functionality was integrated with local classifieds, powering a far more granular FISBO (for sale by owner) product, which Google could then syndicate to online newspapers as an entry point into helping them get back (and therefore owning a chunk of) their online classifieds business.



Thursday, April 22, 2004

Liveblogging: Working up the drive by

Jarvis blogs ASNE (American Society of Newspaper Editors and astutely realizes he is in civilian territory:
"It occurs to me that live-blogging is a new kind of reporting. There's no chance for analysis or even organization, but there is a chance for editing: You type what is of interest as it happens. If you want a completely masticated and digested view of an event, a news story is far better. If you want a complete and unedited view, go to CSpan. But for a quick hit of what's notable (which is what blogs are best at anyway), liveblogging has its advantages.
As I saw the stories about the event today in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Washington Times (links later when I'm not on the train), I realized that, thanks to our geeky tools of citizens media, I was the first to report to the world what these guys said."

Netscape hires, AOL expires?

Lots of notes in the media today that the current general manager of Netscape.com, Jeremy Liew, posted notices that Netscape was actively hiring.
Of course, the positions seem to be at the CompuServe campus, in Columbus, Ohio, so it is probably understandable that the 450 West Coasters that AOL laid off in December--many of them product managers and tech folks formerly on the Netscape team--might not have been candidates to move to Upper Arlington, OH.
This news is also interesting placed against AOL head Jonathan Miller's vow to the board to trim staff and cut costs in his division...
Uh oh, think AOL's been down this path a couple of times before...
Does repetition guarantee success?
Maybe they should just sell the darn thing before they hire and expire(okay, layoff) another batch of people.

John Battelle sez "So you want to get the most out of AOL? Clean it up and spin it out. Enough said. Move on, Time Warner. The AOL mess is no longer Case or Pittman's problem. It's yours. And if you don't want to run this company, let someone else do it. "



Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Houston, I've got GMail

Just got an invite to test GMail. Who wouldn't?
Now have Gmail account.
Please send me some mail at mernit at gmail.com and I'll report back on using it.
In some ways GMail seems like a blog or threaded message board----posts and responses to it are grouped together . The interface is like little notecards.
And they don't want you to delete your mail...That part scares me, kinda like the old Twilight Zone episodes where they feed the hungry humans lots of grub--so they can fatten them up for dinner later. (Translation: The more messages they can scan, the better the targeting, the more money they make on sending you ads.)
Vroom, vroom, I'm intrigued--what if this is another really neat improvement on digital life from good ol'Google?
Prediction: The (very empty) Manage Account screen for my account would be a great place to link in FOAF data and Orkut info...is that tk?

Vin Crosbie weighs in: Is blogging journalism?

Vin Crosbie: "Is blogging is journalism? What are the differences? If you want to know, don't invite speakers from either side. Instead, invite speakers who each are are both bloggers and journalists. They'll know the answers."
Vin has a long and detailed set of posts about discussions of blogging at recent conferences: BloggerCon, Mediamorphosis, Clickz's Weblog Business Strategies conference and the University of Texas' annual Online Journalism Symposium.
His appraisals seem pretty right on, according to lots of folks who've been at more of these conferences that I have, and certainly on target for the ones I've attended (though his view of Mediamorphosis is harsher than mine), but the best part is Vin's insightful and systematic approach to how people ask this question.
(Side note: Vin is definitely on a role these days; his increased presence on his weblog is terrific and he is writing some great items, such as today's post on online news.

Donaton: Time for a new class of magazines?

Scott Donaton, Ad Age: "It could be time for the magazine industry to build a new wall to intersect the one separating editorial decisions from advertising considerations. This second wall would create a distinction between magazines whose primary purpose is to inform readers and those whose primary purpose is to entertain them. Each side could then operate by a standard of editorial integrity judged against the expectations of their respective audiences rather than those of journalistic watchdogs.
(snip)
"...As the debate unfolds over what role, if any, there is for magazines in the branded-entertainment sphere, it may be unfair to hold all titles to standards demanded at the top journalistic tier."
(snip)
"Cathie Black was right to note that editorial guidelines issued by the American Society of Magazine Editors are "irrelevant" to Hearst's forthcoming Shop Etc. That's not a knock on ASME; its rules should remain tough, and news, business and other journalistic magazines should be judged by their adherence to them. But it does bolster the argument for building a new wall and a class of magazines judged not by an impossible standard but by readers' expectations."

On the money, Scott, as always.

Online news: Recirculation and search as the referrer

Earlier today, a publisher was showing me the web site stats and describing how traffic has soared. "Do you know where they are coming from?" I asked.
His expression became more sober. "Well, that's one of the problems" he replied. "We have lots of information, but we don't know that."
IWe agreed would be useful to know how many people were coming in as a result of a news search to read a specific story, how many came via a headline on the home page or other key entry point, such as sports main, and then where they went--did they read one story and leave, or were they recirculated? And if yes, to where?
The conversation went on in much more depth and got into questions of branding, focus, and strategy (with revenue as the backdrop for everything of course). We parted, agreeding to talk further.
I was reminded of the relevance of these questions to many newspaper sites when I read a post on the online news list from the Albuquerque Journal's Donn Friedman's on how readers enter his site: 28% from a search; 16% from a Google search and a reply from journalism prof Eric Meyer saying that newspaper sites are commoditizing search and "trivializing" their content.
I think I'd put it another way--in a world where sophisticated search tools make it easy to pull up your content, how do online news sites prepare for readers who may bec oming in as the result of a specific link in an aggregated list? T
his kind of user case makes a news story much closer to a blog post than to a traditional article, in that it is discovered as part of a linking strategy evoked as the result of a query (I am thinking of topix and Google News here). So how best to acquire these users, or at least, recirculate them into the parts of the site?




Sunday, April 18, 2004

Recent reading

I've been under house arrest for a week, working in my office, but not going out cause of this rotten cold. Somehow, I never feel too lousy to read. Here's the list:
Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk . This is my first by this (amazingly famous) writer and I liked it and hated it at the same time. Totally compelling, but a bit cheap and tawdry at the same time, with the implied fillip of being deliberately so, as in spoofing a genre. Okay, so what was it really like to read this book? Think Martin Amis rewrites Rosemary's Baby, with the screenplay to be optioned by Reese Witherspoon.
Eastern Standard Tribe, a novel by Cory Doctorow: This one is good. Not great, as in plot gets really formulaic, but a in his understanding of people and technology and his ability to describe both are right up there with William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Neil Stephenson. Definitely reading the rest of Mr.D's books.
Heart in the Wild, a Journey of self-discovery with animals of the wilderness, by Susan Chernak McElroy: Boy, was this a mistake. Not for me. Not when she goes off to talk to Mr. Elk all the time. Oops. Back to the library.
When Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOLTimeWarner by Nina Munk. A friend who just left AOL said this was better than Kara Swisher's book, so I got it, but I think I'm ready to put AOL behind me at last, which means I am probably not going to finish it. Just a little too familiar.
Nothing Makes You Free: Writings by Descendants of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, edited by Melvin Jules Bukiet. I can't wait to read this!
My Life as a Fake, a novel by Peter Carey: This also looks great.

The age of Happiness

BoingBoing cites a Guardian article on happiness--apparently people become happier in their earlier forties when they face the fact they're not going to be rich and famous like they imagined. Happiness rises into the 60's when it peaks, at least for people in good health.
Your 20's? Fuggedahabout it. That's yearn city.

Esther Dyson: Google's big data sets

As we all know, Google is collecting a lot of data. And it's more and more personalized. Esther Dyson does a good job articulating further ways in which Google's big, targeted data sets can create new markets (and by the way, it is great to see her posting more!)
Esther writes: "While right now Google is collecting information through AdWords for targeting, there's no reason it couldn't start using advertiser-entered data for display as well, as it already does with data feeds in Froogle. Some companies may start sending these new kinds of feeds expressly, while others might fill out a slightly more complex , domain-specific form when they advertise. Then hotels could start to compete on the basis of their swimming pool hours."

As Esther points out, Google is building the ability to offer more precisely targeted results, both as responses to queries, and as ads. When you think about Google refining this capability and then syndicating it to partners, wow.....that's another way to be the OS, as Skrenta says, for sure. Of course, Yahoo wants to have the same capabilities (don't we all?)

Bloggercon wrap-ups and links

Tara Liloia's compiled a list o links from Bloggercon. She points to the Feedster link as well.
Link highlights: Betsy Devine's top quotes from the journalism session.Brian Strawser on John Perry Barlow's session. Lisa Williams' community notes, as well as Halley, Mary, Jarvis, Frank, Jay McCarthy, and Dave.
What's interesting, from this remove, is that the comments seem kind of muted, and with the exception of some wonderfully rich posts, actual ideas seem sparse(as opposed to the here's who I met and how I felt about it comments).
Was this judged a success by the attendees?
Think so, certainly would like to help do a follow-up on the West Coast.

Update: Seems like one of the key after-shocks of this conference is an awareness--and a certain amount of " Oh shit, what do we do about it?" recognition that blogging is just like life: people form hierarchies based on both friendship and what they perceive to be merit (or like thinking.) Seth Finkelstein has an extensive post about this, with a really interesting interchange with Rebecca Blood in the comments. If you are into reflecting and dissecting this society, this is worth reading, if not...let it go.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Netscape: Navigator--localized version of AIM Today and AOL.com ?

There's a beta release of a Netscape navigator toolbar-type app, and news that a new release of the browser is due.
In many ways, the Netscape Navigator beta reminds me of the AIM Today window and of AOL.com, only with a more localized focus. All have boxes for listings content for news,movies, weather, etc, and all update/refresh periodically so long as there is a persistent connection to the Net.
The AIM team did such an outstanding job (IMHO) building 9.0 and the benefits have appeared in many other products, including the recently refreshed AOL.com, it's interesting to imagine them turning their attention to Netscape and a Netscape-labeled app to run along the IE browser as a way to get more AOL-developed tools and content through the pipeline.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Blogging: It's next generation journalism and I don't care who disagreees

JD Lasica's got some good thoughts on blogging and citizen journalism.
"What really set me on edge was the notion that we should return to the days when only big-J journalists practice journalism and bloggers, well, whatever they did, it certainly wasn't journalism."
Dave, Rebecca, and others have some good posts.
Truth is, I am sick of talking about blogging and journalism.
Why can't we all just practice both?
Remind me of Stephen Spender being asked what he does, and he said "I am a poet."
Not--I write poetry. I AM A POET.
And then later, he mocked himself for wanting the label, not the practice.
Well, I am tired of really smart journos explaining why bloggers can't cut it--and I am tired of bloggers saying they're just as good as journos.
Practice your craft and be done with it, alright?

Mary's tired of this too.

Wild Oats: Translations from the teen-age-ese

Being one of those formerly wild kids, who did a great job of hiding my madness until I left home at 17, I am amazingly sensitive--would the word paranoid suffice?--to the tricks played by teens I know(who shall remain nameless to protect their privacy.) Unfortunately, I'm the sort of parent whose bullshit radar is turned on at the slightest provocation, so what kids say--what I then hear--are really different.
Kid: A few of us are going camping. No, about ten--for XX's birthday."
Translation: About 100 kids are going off in the woods, and we're having a rave.
Kid: "We're going out to get some groceries for the trip."
Translation: We're stashing $100 bucks of liquor in the trunk--don't look.
Kid: "Yeah, XX is driving so we can fit everything in the truck."
Translation: I'm going to be so wasted, I couldn't back out of the driveway.
Kid: "I love you, see you Saturday."
Translation: Don't call, won't pick up anyway.
Of course now that I am the parent, it would be wrong to assume that the teens I know are up to no good, so I work hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.
On the other hand, if any of you little f&(*$ are reading this blog, watch out --cause if I discover that any of this is true, not just the product of an overprotective adult's mind, trips to Europe and all good stuff are off.
And you know who you are.
(Okay, that last part was all a joke. Unless your name begins with...)
Ha Ha Ha Still joking
What, you don't think it's funny, too?


Charting a new (software) paradigm

Tim O'Reilly's written a very clear and persuasive essay about distributed software and data storage, which he calls a new software paradigm shift. The leverage points--not Microsoft Passport and AOL Screen Name Service, two ideas that didn't take on much of the power they expected---are email and search, FOAF and indexing, all working across large distributed datasets.

O'Reilly says "...Pioneers like Google are remaking the computing industry before our eyes. Google of course isn't one computer -- it's a hundred thousand computers, by report -- but to the user, it appears as one. Our personal computers, our phones, and even our cars, increasingly need to be thought of as access and local storage devices. The services that matter are all going to run on the global virtual computer that the internet is becoming."

He concludes by asking, "But who owns the data?" and that of course, is what makes gmail critics nervous.
(Thanks Chris!)

Slate: Library helps transform damaged books into art

Lisa Davis has a wonderful piece in Slate about how the arts community worked with the SF Public Library to create beautiful artistic statements after a disturbed patron vandalized dozens of books with gay themes and authors.
Queer Reader Mandorla by Amy Conger courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.
Davis writes: "On a whim, Jim Van Buskirk, program manager of the library's James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center (where much of the destruction occurred), discussed the subject with a few artist friends. They came up with the idea for what developed into the "Reversing Vandalism" exhibit. Artists interested in the project would be sent a damaged book, with the agreement that they would create a new piece of artwork from it. As Van Buskirk and the rest of the library staff spread word of the project to the art community, the response from straight and gay artistswas staggering. That the hate crime, seemingly fueled by religious zeal, had been directed specifically at the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations certainly stirred many to respond. But response was also driven by a deep anger at the notion that someone would so viciously harm books. Art created from the books began to arrive at the library last summer, and in January "Reversing Vandalism" opened to the public."
(Thanks, Judy)


Skate-boarding bulldog

Ever seen a bulldog on a board? This hearty fella's got the moves down.


Thursday, April 15, 2004

E&P Awards: Google News gets finalist status--journos argue

I've been following the comments on the online news list regarding Google's finalist status in E&P's best online awards.
To my chagrin, some list members are upset that Google's automated service could make the list at all, since the service is completely automated.
The best comments so far have come from blogger Adrian Holovaty, who said:
"In 2003, ESPN.com was named Best Internet Sports Service. A prominent feature of ESPN.com is its Gamecast technology, which displays graphics and stats for sporting events in real time. Sure, humans somewhere enter that data, but as far as ESPN.com is concerned, Gamecast is automated. It is made possible by software algorithms.

Also last year, CBS MarketWatch.com was named Best Internet Business Service. That site has an amazing amount of dynamically created market information -- graphics, tables, averages, all sliced and diced in convenient ways. I'm willing to bet that few humans at CBS MarketWatch are involved with day-to-day generation of that content.

The point, as these somewhat contrived examples show, is that many Web sites -- and probably *most* big-media sites in 2004 -- are maintained by algorithms to some extent. Programmers, not necessarily journalists, write the code. Google News just takes that to the extreme.

Please note my bias as a professional programmer, but I'd say a news application developed by computer scientists is just as deserving of journalism awards as a collection of news stories produced by traditional journalists."

I'd agree with Adrian--with the proviso that smart online news folks meet the challenge through determining what kinds of news products algorithms can't create--and making sure to lead with those (this comment is a slap at a community so terrific of blogging that at a recent conference, folks couldn't get off debating "big vs. little" media (ie bloggers and journos, yawn)

AOL Content: Beauty, Fashion, Style--Can't find it on AOL

Jim Bankoff, EVP of programming at AOL., told the press this week that AOL was going to make its content more accessible on the web to non-subscribers.
When I heard that, it sounded like a re-tread of the AOL/Netscape/TW strategy of getting all the content out there for free. On the other hand, AOL may not have too much content beyond the TW properties to whom they are paying a reported $40MM a year for the right to keep their info only for subscribers.
This seems more likely than not, because I just went on to AOL and did searches on three keywords that used to pop up main pages from the women's channel:Fashion, Beauty, and Style.
When I keyworded them at AOL I get--nothing!
Or, more specifically, I get search results directing me out to the web, to non-TW properties such as Style.com ,a competitor from CondeNast.
Clearly, the old AOL fashion and beauty pages,which were not great, have been taken down.
But no one at AOL seems to have taken steps to make sure their keywords go to relevant AOL pages instead of being dumped into a search list.
Basically, this means that unless you key in People or InStyle or Real Simple, you would NEVER find fashion, beauty or style content from those magazines as part of your AOL experience.
Isn't that a little odd? And the opposite of what many editors would consider a good reader experience?

Tina Sharkey and Deanna Brown, if you are running the women's channel, something seems very wrong here.
Mark Golin, and Ned Desmond, if this is about managing Time Inc content, have someone at AOL redirect keywords to find your sites.
And Jim, my friend, maybe you should have your guys keep improving the integration of Time Inc magazines into the AOL framework so subscribers have better access to that content, assuming of course, that members still rule.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Anil's Bag: What he's packing

Gizmodo talks to one of the smartest--and nicest--guys in the biz about the contents of his carry bag.
" 9 earpieces, counting my four pairs of headphones and my telephone headset. Five microphones, from the headset, the phone itself, my PocketPC's voice recording feature, my laptop's mic, and the audio capture on my camera. Two cameras, one standalone and one in the phone. Three devices capable of playing MP3s: The PocketPC, the laptop, and the phone. (The GameBoy could play MP3s if I bought that accessory, but that seems redundant.) 512 MB of storage total on the various Compact Flash cards. Five independent LCD screens. Two wifi-enabled devices and two bluetooth enabled devices. Six USB devices. Over 100 feet of cables. Total carrying weight is approximately 15 pounds for all of this gear and their associated power cables. "

Note: Anil lives in New York, so he can't stash all this gear in his car.

Whine: I have the cold from hell

Was it the month of traveling? The relative in Florida with pneumonia? That last long flight with recirculated air? Or just some germs I picked up at the park? Whatever the cause, I've got a helluva cold working its way from my throat to my nose to my chest and--yick--back up to my (now bright red) nose.
I was going to meet some friends tomorrow night, but if I'm like this in the morning, I ain't going anywhere (sigh.)

Amazon's A9 is now alive

John Battelle got it first(the story that is). A9--Amazon search product--just launched.
Battelle's big question (a good one) is :" How will Google - and more broadly, the entire search-driven world - react?"
Battelle's answer: "It seems to me, Google's position in Amazon's A9 implementation is at best a step backwards. If A9 is as good as it seems to be, every customer that uses and/or switches to A9 becomes an A9 search customer, and, more likely than not, a deeper and far more loyal Amazon customer. (The service incorporates a personal search history and many other really neat tweaks, including a wicked good Toolbar.) In essence, Amazon seems to be making a play for Google's customers"
Battelle reader comments note that Safe Search seems to be permanently turned on(ouch), and that they may not be licensing the full Google data set.

Question: Will A9 show that fewer results-across a rich range of sources--may be better? Stay tuned--I am going to use it for the rest of the week.
Erik Benson's got a good roundup, with comments on posts.

Business models for blogging

Jarvis lays'em out in prep for Bloggercon. This is the list, alright--Jeff's got discussions going on the wiki he set up.
Loic le Meur makes a great point--how about getting some feedback from people who are making $$ about their experiences?
This should be verrryyyy interesting.

Do you Googlephrase?

My husband is addicted to Googlephrasing--we just didn't know that was what people called it until I read Mark Hurst's Good Experience newsletter this morning and saw a reference to this blog post.
Googlephrasing, for those who didn't know, is an expression coined to describe searching Google for a phrase such as "I have a confession to make" or "I absolutely hate" and seeing what comes up.
Spencer likes to use it when researching travel plans and restaurants, searching for phrases such as " a great home cooked meal" or "off the beaten track" in conjunction with a place name, such as San Francisco.
Mark has some fun ones such as
I've always wanted to go to
there's absolutely no reason to believe

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

'Mitsah Kurtz, He Dead': Om Malik in India

Om Malik is posting eloquently from India on call-center workers:"Saturday night, Delhi borderÖ Odyssey night clubÖ the music is clearly local - bollywood and bhangra hits mixed with some popular songs from the 80s and 90s. Beer is flowing, bodies writhing and people generally seem to be having fun. The night club which is in one of the newer malls that have come up in Gurgaon, a dusty former cow patch, now a shiny suburban high tech haven, is one of the most popular destinations from those who work in the outsourcing/call center business. The place comes alive after midnight when apparently there is a shift change."
Om has lots of great data--and stories--that bring aspects of outsourcing--both the costs and the opportunities--into vivid detail.
--And the reader posts are really varied.

Dept. of How you know when it's time to take a break

I've been working on a detailed proposal for a new project and have written about 12 pages.
Put it aside today to work on other things. LOTS of phone calls.
I went back to the proposal tonight and discovered, to my horror, that I had somehow managed to delete everything but the first page.
Arrgghhh!
I started trying to get the file back--
First, I restored the system to an earlier today. Nah, that didn't work.
Next, I restored it to Monday, Didn't work either.
Went into the recycle bin and tried to get the file back--the version in there only had the first page too. Waah!
Went online and read about all sorts of system restore programs that work only if you've installed them before you lose something.
Just as I am about to face the zen of redoing this whole thing from scratch, I click on the file and realize it is waaay to big to have only one page.
Where did the rest of it go?
Sure enough, I find out that the whole thing is there--there's just been some glitch in the formatting that's created a batch of blank pages after the header.
Ta-dah! File restored.
Lesson learned: Working too fast, slow down.

San Francisco and New York: More comparisons

Auren Hoffman weighs in on the two cities.
Some of his observations: "San Francisco and Silicon Valley are more of a meritocracy than any place I have ever been. Discrimination in SF is based more on one's brain than on one's background. In all my dealings in the Bay Area, I have never been asked, in a business setting, what my father does for a living or what high school I went to."
"A New York friend is far more likely to invite you into his home than a San Francisco friend. I have no idea why, but New Yorkers are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Need a place to stay? Want a meal? Need help moving to a new place? Look no further."

Anyone one else want to comment on this (endlessly fascinating) topic? Posts welcomed here.

Boingboing: New ways to continue the conversation

Boingboing's implemented a Technorati query as a link to each of their posts, starting today. This means that not only can I enjoy BoingBoing info; with another click, I can open a new window and see who is linking to this post and what they said.
I hope, however, that this nifty new featurette doesn't supercede Bongboing's use of message boards-the impact of posting and reading those 258 odd responses to Mark's query last week about the site making (mo) money couldn't be achieved with a mess o'links to individual bloggers posts.
Nevertheless, this is great--
Dave. this is really viral--neat implementation!
(Thanks, Kevin)

How it works:
1) Create your post with a permanent link such as this one. Go to Technorati and put that link into the search box--
3) Add the result as the New! See what other blogs are saying about this
4) My example may not have any links--but you get the idea of how easy it is.
Update: Boohoo! Xian and JD and Ross all linked to this post, but the URL seems to get cut off on the Technorati side. You can see the links when you run a fresh query at Technorati, but not in the stored search string.

As Frank Paynter points out, Dave Sifry has far more on this here.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Wayport to wifi McDonald's

Why am I happy about this news? I don't eat fast food and I dislike food franchises--but I want to see Wifi everywhere so I can plug in as needed.
Truth is, I don't like Wayport that much either, but it's a start.

Washington Post: SEC will charge AOL

Washington Post article: "The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing documents alleging that Time Warner Inc. booked more than $400 million in questionable advertising revenue following the company's January 2001 merger with America Online Inc., according to people familiar with the investigation....The most prominent single item in the Time Warner matter is a $400 million ad deal with the German media giant Bertelsmann AG, federal sources said.
(snip)
...The SEC is refusing to approve any new stock offerings by Time Warner or any of its divisions while the Bertelsmann issue hangs in the balance."

A friend who (still) works at AOL says "Time Warner just wants to get all this over with and then sell the company."

Condei Rice: Beat off the ticket?

Did Condi Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission ruin her chances for a spot on the Republican ticket? The Nation's John Nichols says yes.
"Fair or not, the impression that Rice created on Thursday will spell the end of her political prospects. She will never win a place on a national Republican ticket as a candidate for president or vice president. No matter how much Republican operatives may try to spin her back onto the short list, it is simply impossible to imagine that Rice, or anyone else, could survive the repeated airings of that exchange in an election year."


Time Mag does Video Blogging piece

Of course they quote Jeff Jarvis!
Here's Jeff's nut graph:
"Jeff Jarvis, an early champion of vlogging and founder of BuzzMachine.com, a blog that deals with politics and the media, sees great potential in the phenomenon. "Vlogs are a weird, new kind of way that people can document their lives," says Jarvis. "It has the potential to be the farm team for new talent used by big, mainstream media. Suddenly anybody can become an Andy Rooney." Or better yet, an Edward R. Murrow."

Alan Webber, founder of Fast Company, has a piece in USA Today talking about workers' discontent with their corporate jobs. Webber quotes a recent study by Spherion, a Florida-based recruiting and outsourcing firm, that found " 51% of the 3,000 workers interviewed wanted to leave their jobs, and 75% said they were likely to leave within one year. Both percentages are substantially higher than the numbers from Spherion's 1997 study."

Webber says "But you don't need a study to see it coming. Workers would rather take early retirement and gamble that they'll find something better later. Take the example of Verizon. Last year, the telecommunications company offered generous early retirement packages for workers and managers, hoping to trim the workforce by 12,000 people. Instead, more than 21,000 people took the buyout package, including 16,000 managers who thought the company's offer was too good to refuse."

Webber adds: "...Costs are easier to total up than the "soft" numbers. Human-resource experts will tell you the real costs of employees opting out are deep, systemic and long term. The reason is simple: The best people always leave first, because they have the most choices. After the best people leave, the second-rate people get promoted and they have a tendency to hire and promote third-rate people. Follow this to its logical conclusion, and you can see how once-great companies gradually slide into mediocrity and then failure."

The piece is also clear on Webber's ideas that the years of cutbacks, layoffs and wage inequities have burned out lots of American workers who are now more interested in running their own businesses or working in smaller companies that they once were.

(Thanks, Halley)



Dept of Once You've Had Matzoh...Madonna to observe Shabbat

The always reliable Page Six has an item today that Kabbalah discipline Madonna has decided to no longer perform on Friday nights so she can observe Shabbat.
Even given that fact that many Jews consider Rabbi Phillip Berg's Kabbalah to be a form of fake, cult Judaism, this is hysterical.
(I'm imagining Madge at home in LA in one of those floral print dresses she wore to her book signings, pulling the roast chicken out of the oven and running to light the candles as Demi, Ashton, and all those cute Willis girls look on and Britney--accompanied by on-again, off-again &*%^ buddy Colin Farrell--drops in for sponge cake and dessert.)

Ex AOLer surfaces in Napa, says US tech outsourcing worries are 'Baloney.'

Former AOL boss Barry Schuler's in the press again, but this time it's for a speech he made at his local high school in Napa, Ca in which he said worry about US jobs outsourcing was "Baloney" and the real issue was whether the US could continue to innovate.
According to the article, he is now a vineyard owner and founder of a local private school, as well as the head of an AOL digital services group (Possible translation from the jargonese: they're still paying his contract out.)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Now this is cool

Geeg Allen's list of his Kinja reads

eAcademy, or is social networking the new Tupperware?

A post by eAcademy member Hendrik Deckers describing how networking--using eAcademy, of course--awoke his business' potential after years of wasted effort.
Of course, this is a little bit like Tupperware--Mr. Deckers is so entranced by it all he ends up launching eAcademy Belgium and winning a pink Cadillac as a reward for his efforts.
Okay, I made the last part up, but my cynicism switches on whenever I hear stories that make new efforts sound quick and easy. Planning, listening, and patience pay off more often than fast, simple, and cheap.
(Via Online Business)

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Owen Wilson's blog?

Via Boingboing: This secret celeb's blog--whomever it is, I like him--he's smart.
First post(excerpt):
"Call me Rance.
My life is boring and not worth writing about, except for my knowledge of one thing. So this blog will focus on that thing. It is, for lack of a better word, celebrity. I stumbled onto it by a series of chance events. Suffice it to say, I can tell you what it's like to see your picture on the magazine rack every now and again when you pay for groceries. And that'll have to suffice. I'd like this to be the sort of account afforded only by anonymity. And it that happens, if my identity were revealed, I'd quickly be selling grapefruits -- instead of paying $14 a pop to eat them -- on Sunset Blvd. "

Newsreader ruling: Judge says content aggregation is legal

Read up at techdirt and the Atlanta Journal Constitution,

Jerry Colonna on finding purpose in life

Jerry Colonna has a wise post: "So much struggle is bound up in our compulsive need to be defined, especially by what we do. As Jeffrey likes to quote, we confuse motion for meaning. We confuse activity for self-worth.(snip)
I read Lunar Men a few months ago and was struck by the 17th Century notion that it was proper, desirable even, for a man of learning to study beyond their specialized field; doctors writing poetry and industrialists studying botany, all perfectly fine."



Friday, April 09, 2004

How to fund BoingBoing?

Beloved blog Boingboing'sMark Fraufelder announces that John Batelle is going to advise on the revenue/strategy side and calls for comments from readers--there are over 250 responses so far.
Seems ot me that there are two related questions here:
1) How can BoingBoing cover its costs?
2) Should BoingBoing try to profit from the current commercialization of blogspace? As blogs develop traffic that outstrips some "big media" sites, advertising revenue, transaction and subscription revenue all become real possibilities, and yet BoingBoing, one of the "older" success stories in blog space, was not built to print money in the same way that Gizmodo and its cousins might.
Obviously, BoingBoing has some great options--some immediate scenarios that come to mind are:
1) Find a backer and launch a refurbished web business, with print extensions(John and Mark, I have an idea on what you might do here that I bet you haven't thought of) and other spinoffs if possible.
2) Link with a publisher looking for more web properties and/or for the BoingBoing demographic, and then follow #1.
3) Work the hell out of monetizing both the site and the audience, as much as you can without driving people nuts--and focusing on higher CPM ad assets that don't add clutter, Build a revenue base, show growth as a business case, and then do #1, with far more control over the product and the business (have some thoughts on this one, too. guys both on the revenue and the business case side.)

Summary: BoingBoing is great and should benefit from its own wonderfulness...If I can be of any help--let me know--but hey, getting John B will be an amazing asset for you--congrats.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Virgina Woolf portrait discovered

BBC News: A long-lost portrait of Virginia Woolf, painted by her sister Vanessa Bell, is rediscovered.

(Via Amy's Robot Link Factory)

How product development is like roasting chicken

When I was about seven, I'd sit in the kitchen and watch as my mother cooked dinner,. She'd take the (kosher) chicken and pat it down with butter and olive oil, rubbing the fats into the skin before putting it in the roasting pan, smiling at the good dish she was preparing.
Walking back to the hotel today, after a day spent working on developing a new product, I think about my mom cooking that chicken.
Is that a way of saying this project is delicious?
I suppose so.

My life in tourist land

In New York(again) for 24 hours, I've wandered into a new dimension: tourist land. Staying in a hotel on 8th Avenue and 48th puts me in the middle of the big hotels, Broadway shows, chain restaurants, and flocks of travelers in which this area specializes.
It's a quick visit into another version of New York. amazing different in tone from staying just 8 blocks away.

Fox's The Swan" New high in trash show lows

Watching the premiere of The Swan, flawed women put into the hands of a team of plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, fitness trainers and therapists to be made over to compete in a--wow--pageant (do women over 20 really enter these?) To make it even more interesting, each episode features two volunteers who compete in the make-over sweepstakes.
After $70,000 or so of services each, one women is chosen to "go on to the pageant;" the other goes home (yes, she gets to keep the boobs, tooth veneers, hair dye, etc.)
Of course, even as I'm busy dishing the dreadful values of this show, I am watching, enthralled through all 30 tacky minutes of delicious story. Who can't be seduced by the idea of having your own team of expert elves turn you into Snow White? And isn't the joy of these women contagious? As silly as it is?
Verdict: Delicious trash. Extreme Makeover to the max.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Charting the hidden agenda: What Google wants

Skrenta groks Google's master plan. From a guy who helped create The Open Directory, this rings true.

Some girls have all the luck: Mama Lopez wins $2.4M

Jen Lopez's mom, Guadalupe, won $2.4 M on a $3 bet at an Atlantic City casino earlier this week. According to a story on people.com, Mama Lopez won big this past Saturday night. She promptly credited the saints, saying: "It was divine intervention. I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe ... and had just looked up at the $2 million and said a little prayer to her when I hit the jackpot. Our Lady really looks out for me."
Our Lady or Ben Affleck?
Journos think the Gambling Man may have taught his almost mother-in-law how to roll dem bones.

Monday, April 05, 2004

iMedia: Bruner on blogging

Nice work, Rick! The iMedia article on the growth(and potential) of blogs is through, well-done, and easy to read. Lots of meaty quotes from those in the thick of blogging as biz and good stats, too. Definitely a must-read--and one your blogging readers can show their (non-blogging) friends.

$830,000 house the norm

Metafilter: A typical California family, making $100K a year, two incomes, now owns a home valued at $830K.
Washington Monthly story tells the tale.

Bloggercon bound

Heading to Boston April 16th for the April 17th Bloggercon. More than 350 people have registered, including Rafat Ali, Phil Wolff, Dan Gillmor, Scott Johnson, Lisa Williams, Betsy Devine.
Schedule is still evolving, but prelims are here. The last Bloggercon was my first meetup as a blogger, and it was filled with smart people with things to say. I expect this one to be no different, even if I personally don't get enthused about discussions of about A-list bloggers (I think blogging works as nano-media) and politics--lots of other topics--and people--will hold my attention.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Sarasota, Fla

Flew down to Sarasota for the Passover holiday after a couple of days in New York working on a project and seeing family. Now, more family.
It was the first time I flew SONG, a new Delta division, and I became hooked on a music trivia game that was networked into the Direct TV sets in the seat backs. When we participated in answering the multiple choice trivia questions, your score was logged into the network and reported. Games played in rounds of 20 questions. Everyone was ranked and there was a winner. Once I understood how it worked, I became addicted--especially when I realized that my scores were neck and neck with a couple sitting in seats across the aisle.
I'd heard people talk about designing and implementing multiplayer games on airplanes, but this was the first I'd seen--and it was good fun.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Why does the Okrut guy look like a cop?

First, I get this weird mesage on my Orkut profile page --and I can't find a way to remove it. I
I email the help desk, and they tell me it's an April Fool's joke.
The email message says: "The 'desires' field on your orkut profile is part of
our April Fool's announcement that orkut.com now offers "Telepathic
orkut," a way to add your deepest desires to your profile without the
hassle of typing."
(Obviously I have no sense of humor).
So, I log into Orkut and this Orkut guy illo comes up--and the guy in the drawing looks just like a cop.
Guys, what were you doing at Google today--smoking wacky weed?

Comments on Kinja, the non-newsreader newsreader

Publisher Nick Denton says: "Kinja allows even casual internet users to browse topics, explore the latest weblog writing, and then choose favorite authors to track. A personal Kinja digest contains excerpts from a user's favorites, whether they're friends who blog, or experts on a particular topic. Kinja is a blog of blogs."
Meg Hourihan, who led the team, says she's leaving end of April.
Online blog says Yahoo's name appears in the terms of service (actually what it says is a bit nastier, but let's give them benefit of the doubt.)
Lockhart Steele says skip Kinja.
Techdirt, Fred Wilson, John Battelle, Jeremy Wagstaff, and more.
The outpouring of negative comments--in kottke's comments file, for example-- is worth noting; a sense of resentment--and of dismay at those (annoying) sponsored ad links.
I put five feeds in to start, but when I tried to import my OPML file, it said it was too large--hope that changes post-Beta. I'll keep playing with it--and add more feeds--but I'm not wowed yet...The design is clean...but the little pictures scrolling down beside the blog entries don't thrill me.

News of the Day: Which one is an April Fools Joke?

Google announces gmail
Kinja, the new blogreader/guide goes live
Gawker Senior Edition planned

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