Sunday, March 28, 2010

UK regulators officially mock US over ISP "competition"

Here's how US regulators do a broadband plan: talk about competition even while admitting there isn't enough, then tinker around the edges with running fiber to "anchor institutions" and start collecting real data on US broadband use.

Here's how they do it in the UK: order incumbent telco BT to share its fiber lines with any ISP who is willing to pay. In places where BT hasn't yet run fiber, order the company to share its ducts and poles with anyone who wants to run said fiber. In the 14 percent of the UK without meaningful broadband competition, slap price controls on Internet access to keep people from getting gouged.

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[link to original | source: Ars Technica - Law & Disorder | published: 2 days ago | shared via feedly]

DVDStyler Burns Virtually Any Video to DVD

DVDStyler Burns Virtually Any Video to DVDWindows/Linux: Burning any old video file to a playable DVD is a bit of a hassle. We've always liked using DVD Flick for tackling the task, but DVDStyler is another great option with a bit more focus on nice menus.

Apps like DVDStyler and DVD Flick work by first transcoding your video files to DVD-friendly MPEG-2 format, then burning the results to your DVD. DVDStyler has pretty excellent support for popular video formats, including AVI, MOV, MP4, MPEG, OGG, and WMV, and codecs like MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, MP2, MP3, and AC-3. While it doesn't seem to support quite as many as DVD Flick (which handles over 45 file formats and over 60 video codecs), it seems like it covers the most popular options. Everything you'd want to do with DVDStyler is available through simple, user-friendly drag-and-drop, so there's not much to using it other than dragging videos you want to burn into the app, tweaking the WYSIWYG menu editor, and burning.

DVDStyler is a free, open-source download for Windows and Linux. Note: DVDStyler will try installing a crapware toolbar, so pay attention during the install process and be sure to opt out.

[link to original | source: Linux - Lifehacker | published: 2 days ago | shared via feedly]

Piracy up in France after tough three-strikes law passed

France's toughest-in-the-world Internet disconnection law has yet to start cutting off P2P pirates, but the "Hadopi" law has been on the books long enough to see how its provisions are altering behavior. According to a team of French researchers, online copyright infringement is down on P2P networks—but it's up in areas that the law doesn't cover, such as online streaming and one-click download services like Rapidshare.

In fact, since the law was passed, total infringing behavior has actually increased by three percent.

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[link to original | source: Ars Technica - Law & Disorder | published: 20 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Idiot users still intentionally opening, clicking on spam

Internet users are still opening their spam e-mail with abandon and clicking the links and/or opening the attachments within. These are the latest findings from the Ipsos Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), which found once again that people continue to practice poor e-mail habits despite awareness of the consequences. A healthy dose of denial and ignorance about who should protect them is apparently enough to keep users clicking away.

According to the MAAWG report, a full half of all North American and Western European users admitted to having opened spam, with nearly half of those people (46 percent) doing so intentionally. Sure, a quarter of those users claimed they did so in order to unsubscribe or complain to the sender—bad idea, people!—but a full 15 percent said they opened spam because they were interested in the products or services being offered. Another 18 percent simply wanted to "see what would happen," and four percent actually forwarded an e-mail they identified as spam to someone else.

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[link to original | source: Business IT- Ars | published: 1 day ago | shared via feedly]

Why HTML5 is worth your time

The debate over HTML5 vs. Flash is great for comments and page views, but all that chatter obscures the bigger issue: Should developers and designers invest in HTML5?

According to Eric A. Meyer, an author and HTML/CSS expert, the answer is a definitive yes. In the following Q&A, Meyer explains why HTML5, CSS and JavaScript are the "classic three" for developers and designers. He also pushes past the HTML5 vs. Flash bombast to offer a rational and much-needed comparison of the toolsets.

HTML5's feature set

Mac Slocum: How is HTML5 different than HTML as we currently know it?

Eric A. MeyerEric Meyer: It's really the HTML we're all used to plus more elements. But that's the 80/20 answer. HTML5 adds new elements for things like sections of a document and articles, and figures and captions for figures. So it covers things that a lot of us do all the time, like create <div class="figure"> and then <p class="caption"> inside of that to go along with an image. Now there's just an element called "figure" and you insert an image and you have an element after that called "caption."

There's been an attempt to look at what people are doing. What class names are people using over and over again? What structures are they setting up over and over again? Because HTML doesn't have elements that directly address those.

The HTML5 spec also attempts to very precisely and exhaustively describe what browsers should do in pretty much any given circumstance. Older HTML specifications would simply say: "These are the elements. These are the attributes. Here are some basic parsing rules. Here is what you're supposed to do if you encounter an error." HTML5 has these really long algorithms that say: "Do this, then this, then this, then this. And if you hit a problem, here, do this other thing." There's a lot of debate as to whether that's even a good idea. But if the vision that's encoded in those algorithms is brought out -- I'm not saying it will be, but if it is, then browsers will be a lot more interoperable.

But that's the base level answer. As you push further into the more obscure corners, then the answer to "how is HTML5 different?" becomes much more complicated.

MS: Is HTML5 becoming a full-fledged development environment?

EM: I don't see it stepping forward into full-fledged programming. But I do see it pushing HTML forward so that it's a better foundation for web apps. That's one of HTML5's primary goals. There are sections of it that are devoted solely to how to deal with web application environments.

The thing that's most directly applicable to making HTML more web-application friendly is the attempt to include what's known as microdata. That's semantic information and little snippets of data that can be embedded directly into what we think of as pages right now. But these can become the views a web application presents. It's the kind of stuff that we put in cookies now.

But HTML is not getting for loops or switch statements. That's going to stay with JavaScript. In that sense, no, HTML is not becoming a programming language.

What developers and designers need to know about HTML5

MS: What skills do developers need to take full advantage of HTML5?

EM: Developers need to know HTML5. They need to know JavaScript and they need to know CSS. That's the classic three.

MS: How about designers?

EM: Designers need to know mark-up. They need to know HTML5. They need to be able to write CSS and understand web layout. And they need to have at least a decent grasp of what JavaScript does. I don't necessarily insist that everyone who ever touches the web be able to write their own web app by hand, but designers should understand how JavaScript works.

There are a lot of people who call themselves web designers who are really just designers who put their designs on the web. And there's nothing wrong with being just a designer. But they're not necessarily web designers. They're visual designers. There's a difference.

MS: Would you recommend starting with web development skills and then adding Flash and others later?

Yeah. Make that your grounding and then add things to it if you like. You're making a very dangerous bet to not have web tools at your disposal. The developer should be able to do web work. And it's not a bad idea to add Flash to the tool belt.

HTML5 vs. Flash: A rational comparison

MS: Without getting into the "Flash killer" stuff, how does HTML5 compare to Flash?

EM: HTML5 itself and Flash are vastly different. They have different things that they're trying to do. But the HTML5 plus CSS plus JavaScript package is more. I think that's an easier comparison to make to Flash because Flash is supposed to be this total environment. You can put things on the screen and you can script it and you can define interaction. And HTML5-CSS-JavaScript lets you do that as well.

We got to the point a couple of years ago where the HTML-CSS-JavaScript stack can technically do just about anything that the Flash environment makes possible. It's just a lot harder at the moment to do that in HTML5-CSS-JavaScript because Flash has about a decade's head start on authoring environments.

There are a number of people, myself included, who have been observing for a while now that the current web stack feels like Flash did in 1996. Look at the canvas demos, for example. The canvas demos we're seeing now are totally reminiscent of the Flash demos we used to see in the '96 era, where it was like: "Hey, look! I have three circles and you can grab one with a mouse and flick it. And then it bounces around the box and there's physics and collision and animation and they're blobby and woo hoo."

MS: What's your take on plugins? Are they inherently inelegant?

EM: That's been my feeling for a long time. That any plug-in is kind of inelegant and the wrong way to be going about this. And I don't reserve that just for Flash. I really mean any plug-in. The fact that we need plug-ins to play movies has never felt right.

MS: If, for a given application, HTML5 and Flash can provide the same result, why would a developer go with HTML5? What's the motivation?

EM: HTML5 is native to the medium. It's the feeling that if we're going to do web stuff, let's do web stuff. Let's not do Flash stuff that happens to be represented in a web page. So I think that's the philosophical drive.

The technical drive, to a large degree, is that companies don't want to be beholden to somebody else. And doing everything in Flash means that they're effectively beholden to Adobe. With web technologies, the only entity that can reasonably be said to hold the keys to the kingdom is the W3C. And even if the W3C for some reason turned into "evil goatee Spock" tomorrow and said "we want licensing fees," everyone would go, "yeah, no."

HTML5 and mobile applications

MS: Does HTML5 give mobile developers more latitude? Is there benefit in developing applications outside Apple's approval process?

EM: Absolutely. No question. There are some people who have argued that the whole App Store phase is a fad. Granted, a very popular and lucrative and probably long-lived fad, but that it's still a fad.

The argument is that 10 years from now we're going to look back at rebuilding apps for every mobile device and go "What the hell were we thinking?" It's the same way kids who graduate from decent web development programs today don't understand why anyone ever tried to layout a page with tables. I've had conversations with people who literally just can't understand. Even when you explain, "Well, there was no CSS." They're like, "But surely there was something better because that's just awful."

Betting against the web is the sure losing bet of technology. Over the long-term, that's where I see things going.

Note: This interview was condensed and edited.

Judge Orders Blocking of Torrent Sites in Spain | TorrentFreak

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Week in Microsoft: multicore OS rewrites, WinPhone 7 casualties, IE security

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Warner Music to Warner Music: You are pirates! - Boing Boing

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Sony accuses Beyonce of piracy for putting her videos on YouTube - Boing Boing

Who needs comedians when you have record companies...and Beyonce

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dell Moving Factories Out Of China [Dell Computers Moving $25 Billion In Labor, Equipment From China To India, Citing Environment Concerns, Western Companies Bailing On China?] » TFTS – Technology, Gadgets & Curiosities

[link to original | source: | shared via: feedly]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OpenDNS Now Serves 1% Of The Internet

When you think of one percent of something, it's usually not a very big number. But in some cases it is. Like when you're talking about all of the users of the Internet in the world.

Today, OpenDNS is announcing that over one percent of the world's Internet users are using its services. It's the first DNS provider to hit such a milestone, and it means that over 18 million people are using the service to access the web in a way that founder and CEO David Ulevitch calls "safer, faster, smarter and more reliable."

And that usage number has doubled in just the last 12 months, according to Ulevitch.

That type of growth is important because a new, big time player just entered the ring: Google. But despite the big name, and the right price (free), the results for Google's DNS offering have varied. And in a test we ran with Google's own Namebench product, OpenDNS easily beat Google in DNS speed.

The truth is that most users have no idea what any of these DNS services do, or how to go about changing them. So companies like OpenDNS have to rely on partnerships with schools (they have over 25,000), partnerships with large corporations (they have them with many Fortune 500 companies), or parents really worried about what their children are surfing for on the web. But again, the growth is clearly happening, and actually picking up speed, according to Ulevitch, so that's a very good sign.

An even better sign: OpenDNS has been profitable since 2007.

[photo: flickr/jurvetson]

[link to original | source: TechCrunch | published: 22 hours ago | shared via feedly]

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaAll platforms: You want change? Ubuntu 10.04, the next long-term release of the free operating system, is full of change. Window buttons are on the left, default apps are replaced, the theme is new, and many more upgrades are worth exploring.

Click any of the images in this post for a larger view.

One of the first things any user will notice in the pic above, whether new to Ubuntu or a veteran Linux user, is the button layout. Ubuntu 10.04, also known as "Lucid Lynx," has opted for a left-side, Mac-style lineup of maximize/restore, minimize, and close buttons, but switched around the order, so that the close/kill button is the right-most button on a left-hand button panel. That is certainly new, and will take some getting used to. An alpha-testing friend of mine said it took "a few hours" over one or two days to start using the buttons without thinking too much about it, but he still occasionally catches himself mousing toward the wrong side of a window. Time will tell whether this was a smart long-term move for Ubuntu.

There's also a new purple/dark gray theme that's seen the usual "It's elegant"/"It's awful" debate around the net. I haven't used the beta enough to render a real verdict, but it was definitely time to try something new.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaAs predicted, Ubuntu 10.04 will have a built-in music store that ties together with the free 2 GB of Ubuntu One cloud storage given to each user. Ubuntu One's music store is built into the Rhythmbox music player, and once you try to access it, Ubuntu will install the proper MP3 codecs so you can, you know, play MP3s. Alas, I didn't get very far with my own installation, but it does look like a nice alternative to buying songs manually through Amazon and processing them through Rhythmbox.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaUbuntu One itself is integrated into the operating system, and logs in automatically when you sign into your account, after first setting up your credentials. The Ubuntu One folder that automatically syncs whatever you drop in it, just like Dropbox, is stashed in your home folder; why the left-hand location links don't include Ubuntu One by default, I don't know. From your user panel (detailed further down), you can set preferences for how much bandwidth Ubuntu One can use, and control which computers your Ubuntu One account syncs to.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaUbuntu is moving, with each release, toward a more social, net-connected experience built more tightly into the operating system. Clicking on your user name icon in the upper-right corner brings down a user panel that can set your chat status through the Empathy chat client, which connects to Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and many other protocols. You can also set up "Broadcast" preferences to send out messages through Twitter, Facebook, and other short messaging/social network services. And Ubuntu One preferences are controlled through this panel as well.

First Look at Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx BetaI've called Simple Scan a big step forward for Ubuntu, as it takes something that previously involved four windows and hundreds of micro-controls and pared it down to what most people need: a "Scan" button, a rotate-and-crop tool, and a choice of just a few DPI resolution levels. Simple Scan is a default application in Ubuntu 10.04, along with the PiTiVi video editor, which I haven't had a chance to try out in much depth (I've found OpenShot to be remarkably usable of late).

There's a quick tour through what's new and changed in Ubuntu 10.04, but it's certainly not everything. Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 is a free download that can be used as a live CD or installation disc on most hardware.

If you give Ubuntu 10.04 a go as a live CD, virtual machine, or on your hard drive, tell us what's new and exciting, and what's just goofy, in the comments. If you're an Ubuntu user who doesn't want the fuss of setting up a test run, consider using TestDrive for a super-simple VirtualBox try-out.

[link to original | source: Lifehacker: Ubuntu | published: 1 day ago | shared via feedly]

GIF, H.264, and Patents

Arthur Wyatt, in a post on MetaFilter regarding the battle over HTML5 video codecs:

However Mozilla have taken a stance against incorporating H.264 into Firefox on the grounds that it is patented and has to be licensed. Arguments are now being made for and against Mozilla sticking to its ideals. John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out that Firefox already supports proprietary formats such as GIF. Um, perhaps not the best example.

A few readers have emailed me expressing a similar sentiment — more or less that GIF serves as an example showing why Mozilla should continue to refuse to support H.264.

The GIF story in a nut: the file format was introduced by CompuServe in 1987. It was relatively simple and could produce files that were decent-looking at remarkably small file sizes — file size being the most important aspect of a graphics format at a time when online access was via modems. (You can argue that every kilobyte still matters today, but in the '80s and even '90s, every byte counted.) Because of its relative simplicity and small file sizes, GIF was the first major image format of the web. GIF uses LZW compression, however, and LZW compression was covered by a patent held by Unisys. After the format became widespread, Unisys attempted — in various ways and with various (but not much) success — to extract licensing fees for it.

The main result of Unisys's effort was to drive the creation and adoption of the PNG format — which not only was unencumbered by patents but was also technically superior.

The analogy some people are drawing between H.264 and GIF is that the MPEG LA — the industry consortium that controls the rights and licensing for the patent pool behind H.264 — could pull a similar bait-and-switch type trick: give H.264 a few years to become ever more popular, and then, boom, come 2016 (when the current license expires), begin requiring web publishers to pay a licensing fee for distributing H.264-encoded video.

I disagree.

I don't know what the MPEG LA will do come 2016. Perhaps they will attempt to charge web publishers for licenses to distribute H.264 video. But if they do, web publishers will react the way they did to Unisys's GIF threats: by switching to another format. Switching to another format would be an expensive time-consuming pain in the ass, but that's how I think publishers will react if the MPEG LA pulls the rug out from under them.

Other than adding to the pile of evidence that software patents suck and are a drain on the industry, there isn't that much similarity between the GIF and H.264 situations. Unisys didn't invent or hold the rights to the GIF format, they held the rights to a compression algorithm patent that the GIF format was deemed to violate after the format was created and in widespread use. Unisys was a single entity that attempted to profit from a patent that it held. H.264's rights and patents are held by MPEG LA, which is not a company like Unisys, but an industry consortium. MPEG LA licenses patent pools for a variety of technologies, not just H.264. It seems to me it's in their interests to behave consistently and predictably, not capriciously and opportunistically.

Again, perhaps I'm naive. We'll find out in a few years. But web site publishers are clearly betting on H.264 remaining free to use for freely distributed web video. I don't think anyone is arguing that Mozilla should drop Ogg Theora. What some of us would like them to do is follow Google's lead with Chrome by supporting both H.264 and Ogg Theora. (The same goes for Apple with Safari.)

But if anything, I'd say it's Ogg Theora that more resembles GIF, patent-wise. Prior to Unisys's assertion of its LZW patent, GIF was considered a free file format. (According to Wikipedia, CompuServe developed the format in the 1980s without knowledge of Unisys's LZW patent.) The developers of Ogg Theora have released the format and implementations freely, and claim no patent rights to it. But that doesn't mean someone else doesn't hold patents — or will be granted patents — that they believe or will claim Ogg Theora violates. For one example, consider this interview by Jan Ozer with MPEG LA's Larry Horn, where Horn states:

Horn: In addition, no one in the market should be under the misimpression that other codecs such as Theora are patent-free. Virtually all codecs are based on patented technology, and many of the essential patents may be the same as those that are essential to AVC/H.264. Therefore, users should be aware that a license and payment of applicable royalties is likely required to use these technologies developed by others, too. […]

Ozer: It sounds like you are saying that some of your patent holders own patents that are used in Ogg. Is that correct?

Horn: We believe that there are patent holders who do.

In short, using Ogg Theora is no guarantee that the MPEG LA isn't going to pursue you for licensing fees.

This uncertain patent landscape is reportedly one reason Apple doesn't support Ogg Theora. If some patent troll decides H.264 violates a patent, they must go to court with MPEG LA, not individual licensees. If a patent troll decides Ogg Theora violates a patent, they might sue those who are using it. I bring this up not to say browsers should not support Ogg Theora — I'm just saying Ogg is a lot closer to being in GIF's boat than H.264 is.

I don't like the idea that the standard format for web video isn't a free, open standard like PNG or JPEG are for graphics. But that's the way it is. H.264 is popular and growing, and while Mozilla's refusal to support it directly in Firefox may temper that, it's not going to drive web publishers to use Ogg Theora instead or even in addition to H.264. It just means Firefox users will continue to be served video using Flash — often encoded as H.264.

The idealist perspective is expressed here by Thom Holwerda at OSNews:

Now that Internet Explorer 9 has been let out its cage, we all know a great deal more about Microsoft's position towards the video codec situation with the HTML5 video tag. Microsoft has chosen for H264, a codec it already includes in Windows by default anyway. This means that apart from Firefox and Opera, every other major browser will support H264. Some are seeing this as a reason for Mozilla to give in to their ideals and include support for H.264 as well — I say: Mozilla, stick to your ideals. The last people you should be listening to in matters like this are web developers.

This presents a sort of chicken-or-egg scenario. Should browser makers support the formats being used by web publishers? Or should web publishers use the formats supported by browser makers? (Sort of like the descriptivism/prescriptivism divide in the world of language and usage.)

I come down on the side of web publishers, but, admittedly, even though I don't publish much video content, I'm clearly biased insofar as that I am a web publisher. But I think history shows that practical concerns, not idealism, is what drives web publishers to adopt new formats.

But if Mozilla's position were really about idealism — tough love for the good of the web in the name of free, open file formats — then in addition to not supporting H.264, they'd drop support for plugins like Flash Player. I believe such a move would just drive Firefox users to Chrome and Safari (or even back to IE), and I suspect Mozilla knows this, too, which is why dropping plugin support isn't being discussed. But they can't say Firefox only supports free and open video formats while still supporting Flash.

[link to original | source: Daring Fireball (Articles) | published: 16 hours ago | shared via feedly]

Contributing to Open Source projects

Prior to joining Google I always joked that Google was the black hole that swallowed up open source programmers. I'd see awesome, productive hackers join Google and then hear little to nothing from them afterwards. When I joined I decided I'd solve this mystery and post about it but it's been over 2.5 years and I've been busy and somewhat forgot. Fortunately a discussion at work last week reminded me of this again, and a bunch of us got to talking about the phenomenon.

Just as there are rarely absolutes in anything, there are no absolutes about open source programmers' activities after joining Google. The main reasons for them sometimes disappearing, as far as I can tell, are:
  • Many open source programmers are just programmers. They like working on fun, hard problems, whether on open source or otherwise.
  • They're busy. Google seems to suck everybody's free time, and then some. It's not that Google is forcing them to work all the time, but they are anyway because there are so many cool things that can be done. I often joke that I have seven 20% projects.
  • The Google development environment is so nice. The source control, build system, code review tools, debuggers, profilers, submit queues, continuous builds, test bots, documentation, and all associated machinery and processes are incredibly well done. It's very easy to hack on anything, anywhere and submit patches to anybody, and notably: to find who or what list to submit patches to. Generally submitting a patch is the best way to even start a discussion about a feature, showing that you're serious, even if your patch is wrong.
Personally, my increased involvement with Google side-projects and decreased involvement with public open source projects is a bit of all three of those bullets.

Notably, though, I want to discuss the last bullet.

It's pretty difficult to figure out how to contribute in the open source community. Given some package on your system or some tarball you downloaded, it's not always obvious what the right process is for that community to get patches upstream. It's often a research project just to find the upstream version control system, or bug tracker, or the mailing list to send patches to. CONTRIBUTING files in tarballs, if present at all, are often out of date.

When you're used to this, perhaps it's not so bad, but inside a company with a very consistent and easy-to-hack-hack-hack environment, this can be daunting. I'm not just talking about Google here. I'm sure most companies have more internal consistency in tools & processes than the collective open source community.

My request:
So here's my request to the open source community: make a webpage for your project that summarizes your community's development resources & process. And then link the hell out of it. Link it from all over your project's documentation. Make sure you have a CONTRIBUTING file, but don't put the current information in the file.... it'll just get stale. Instead, put your contributing documentation URL in your CONTRIBUTING file. Tools and processes change, but tarballs get old, and distros are rarely bleeding edge.

Good examples of people doing this already (from a quick search) include Django, Mono, and MySQL.

If your project doesn't already do this, as most of mine haven't, or haven't well enough, I made a website to make this easy:


Anybody can (and should!) use that for their project to create a project page with a stable URL listing their project's resources and quick summary of the project's development workflow. Where's your source, bug tracker, code review tool, style guide, mailing list, etc?

I've been creating project pages for all projects I'd started in the past, and making sure to update all their docs and websites with links to the Contributing page.

Here are some of mine:

Still creating them, but afterwards I hope to be able to filter more of my mailing list subscriptions and not feel guilty about people having out-of-date information and emailing me directly.

From now on I will never either a) fail to document the contribution process for a new project I start, or b) document that sending me patches directly is the answer. That may be true for a bit, but projects often change hands, and stale documentation sucks.

[link to original | source: brad's life | published: 2 days ago | shared via feedly]

The Million Follower Falacy

Following up on Anil's post, Life on the List comes HARD DATA showing that having a lot of followers doesn't tell us much about influence. From the abstract:

We make several interesting observations. First, popular users who have high indegree are not necessarily influential in terms of spawning retweets or mentions. Second, most influential users can hold significant influence over a variety of topics. Third, influence is not gained spontaneously or accidentally, but through concerted effort such as limiting tweets to a single topic.

[via @anildash]


[link to original | source: Capn Design | published: 3 days ago | shared via feedly]

Study Shows People In Power Make Better Liars

oDDmON oUT writes "MSNBC is reporting that a Columbia Business School study shows those who hold power over others make better liars. According to one of the study's coauthors, 'It just doesn't hurt them as much to do it.' For the average liar, she said, the act of lying elicits negative emotions, physiological stress and the fear of getting caught in a lie. As a result, she added, liars will often send out cues that they are lying by doing things like fidgeting in a chair or changing the rate of their speech. But for the powerful, the impact is very different: 'Power, it seems, enhances the same emotional, cognitive, and physiological systems that lie-telling depletes. People with power enjoy positive emotions, increases in cognitive function, and physiological resilience such as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Thus, holding power over others might make it easier for people to tell lies.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[link to original | source: Slashdot | published: 16 hours ago | shared via feedly]

First Looks: Magazines on the iPad

Last week, a video of online magazine VIVmag's iPad app made the rounds on the web. Featured in The New York Times as a taste of digital reading's future, this extraordinary, interactive video-infused 'zine was beautiful to watch, but left many others questioning if the expense of creating tablet-ready content like this was actually feasible. For some, that answer - surprisingly - may be yes. According to Jeanniey Mullen, CMO of the magazine's distributor, Zinio, the cost was not as expensive as you may think - it was "not even $100,000," she said. But $100 grand to create one copy of an online magazine? That's far beyond the reach of many micro-publishers. And yet, for them too, the iPad introduces the possibility of reaching a wider audience than ever before.


According to the Times article, the VIVmag iPad version will continue to feature interactive content and video in every issue. For them, it's less of a problem to do so than it would be for other publishers. Although the costs of hiring models, filming against a greenscreen and editing video may seem exorbitant, VIVmag was already an "all digital" magazine from the start. Creating their digital content costs approximately the same as creating a normal print magazine - they just employ different people to do the digital version of the analog jobs. Much of the magazine is templated, too, allowing the company to reuse the same basic structures to display new content in later issues.

VIVmag received quite a bit of press - almost as much as Wired did for their so-called "iPad app." But Wired's app isn't iPad-ready just yet. Built with Adobe AIR technology, the app won't run on the iPad in its current state due to Apple's policies. Still, both of these high-end creations demonstrate the potential for all-digital magazines on the new form factor of the tablet PC. However, incredible tablet-based magazines like these won't be limited to publishers with big budgets.

Magazine with Music Downloads and More

Take, for example, Digital Americana, an interactive literary and culture magazine made especially for the tablet experience. Like VIVmag, Digital Americana will also mix in video with their other content. In fact, they'll offer articles, graphics, videos and music plus extra, downloadable content included in the per issue price.

Part of the magazine's content lineup for their first issue will include exclusive author interviews, a featured musician with playable music tracks, a filmmaker interview and their award-winning short, a featured animator with exclusive commentary, a playable cartoon, five pieces of chosen fiction-reading from American writers and "bonus extras."

From the interactive table of contents, accessible from anywhere in the magazine, you can navigate through the available sections. A quick layout view lets you hop from page to page and you can choose to scan the magazine in landscape mode, too, if desired.

Not Just a Magazine, a Tool Too

The online designer community, Mobile Love, is also turning their niche resource into an iPad "magazine" app. Not only will their iPad app include video alongside the magazine's text, it will offer an included iPhone wireframing tool, which can be used to create iPhone applications. After designing an app, there's a button at the top which will allow the designers to request a quote from a developer if they want to have their application built. (You can see this in action in the video demo here.)



Blogs Become Mags

Video-enabled, highly interactive magazines aren't the only types of new magazine experiences coming to the iPad, either. Another developer has the idea of turning your favorite web blogs into your own, custom digital creations. Called "Blogazine," this new iPad app will let you virtually flip through blog articles in chronological order.

The concept is easy to grasp - blogs become magazines. From a centrally located button, you can tap to change from one blog to another. Another feature lets you quickly share an article on Facebook or Twitter. The app will soon arrive for the iPhone too, but it's on the iPad where it will really shine.



Can't Build Your Own iPad App? Zinio Does It for You

For publishers big and small who, for whatever reason, can't or don't want to build their own iPad or tablet application in-house, digital magazine distributor Zinio will be introducing an iPad application which provides readers with easy access to digital subscriptions and an online "newsstand." The company, which has been around for a decade now, got started by offering magazine reader software for desktop computers. Now that the mobile revolution has taken hold, Zinio has expanded their offerings to include subscription and reading experiences for magazine customers which are accessible no matter what device you use: Mac, PC, iPhone, web or mobile web and soon, iPad, plus - who knows? - maybe one day Kindle, too. Zinio's goal is to make it simple for publishers to get their content out there on any form factor, screen size or platform.

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To get an idea of what these iPad mags could look like, check out National Geographic's latest issue: "Water: Our Thirsty World." According to the NatGeo website, this edition features the "complete content from the print edition, plus extra photo galleries, rollover graphics that animate features like maps and time lines, video profiles of photographers who contributed to the issue, and other interactive features." When the iPad launches, it will also have the same interactive content as is available now in this digital edition, explains Mullen.

Another Zinio partner preparing for the iPad is Sporting News, a multimedia company catering to sports fans. Their newly announced iPad app will have interactive full scoreboards, stats, rotating image galleries, sports video highlights from CineSport and guest columns from athletes, coaches and industry executives. Other benefits of the iPad platform include search, bookmarking, clipping and social sharing to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

iPad: Magazines Transformed?

While these iPad magazine demos are exciting to look at, there's one big question hanging over everyone's head: can the iPad save the flailing magazine industry? For companies like Zinio, the hope is to encourage advertisers to buy across multiple magazines based on categories, instead of just sticking with the most popular print titles. Kia recently did just this and placed their TV ad in 45 copies of Zinio's digital mags. This cross-platform digital buy was the equivalent of one print buy in a physical magazine. But this makes us wonder: will this be enough income for digital publishers to thrive? It's too soon to tell, but in the meantime, we're about to discover a whole new way of reading.


[link to original | source: ReadWriteWeb | published: 19 hours ago | shared via feedly]