Tag - web

Apple Said to Be in Talks to Buy Music Service Lala (Update3) – Bloomberg.com

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — Apple Inc., maker of the iPod player and iTunes music software, is in talks to acquire online music service Lala, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The terms of the deal weren’t known. The people declined to be identified because talks are still in progress. Investors in Palo Alto, California-based Lala include New York-based Warner Music Group Corp., Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures and Ignition Partners in Bellevue, Washington.

The Lala service lets users listen to any song on its site once for free. Customers can then opt to buy the track for 10 cents and listen to it on the Web. The service differs from iTunes because the music is stored on servers via so-called cloud computing, instead of being downloaded to the user’s computer. If customers decide to download a track, the cost is 79 cents — compared with iTunes’ price of 69 cents to $1.29.

via Apple Said to Be in Talks to Buy Music Service Lala (Update3) – Bloomberg.com.

To everyone who is nuts about FourSquare

FourSquare is an up-and-coming social web app that provides context to place and people, allowing you to:

  1. Find your friends
  2. Get points and badges
  3. Discover cool things to do

To all those who are endlessly plugging it – many people in the web2.0, social media sphere – I have a few questions:

  1. Do you have a regular 9-5ish job?
  2. Do you have a spouse?
  3. Do you have children?

If the answer is no to all three questions, I understand your passion for FourSquare. Your life probably revolves around your circle of friends, what you’re doing tonight, where you’re going to eat, and who is going to be with you. You’re probably also in your 20s or early 30s. You are a grown-up teenager.

But for many more people, the answer to those three questions is yes. And for those, I think FourSquare is just not that interesting. The first (and probably most important) use of FourSquare – finding where your friends are – is just not as relevant. For these people, they’re busy, they’re eating at home with spouses and kids, they’re taking kids to lessons and practices, etc.

As for the second use – points and badges – umm … are we in grade school again? Get real, buy yourself a used Tamagotchi.

The most realistic use I can see is the discovery feature: what people have done that is cool and interesting and unique … and you want to do it on the weekend.

Am I wrong? Go ahead, flame me.

Google's Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years

From the ReadWriteWeb story:

# Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.

# Today’s teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years – they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.

# Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.

# Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance – and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.

# “We’re starting to make signifigant money off of Youtube”, content will move towards more video.

# “Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results.”

# There are many companies beyond Twitter and Facebook doing real time.

# “We can index real-time info now – but how do we rank it?”

# It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

via Google’s Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years.

Toes in the stream: dealing with information overload

Everywhere everyone complains about information overload. Forget the 1000-channel universe – we’re dealing with the million-channel universe … times 10.

There’s too much news, too many new technologies, too much information, too many tweets, too many great blog posts, too many ads, too much of everything. As we’ve been saying for years, it’s an attention economy and the scarcity is in our heads.

Here’s how I deal with information overload – mostly influenced by Dave Winer, who invented the “river of news” concept, in addition to a bunch of other interesting and ubiquitous stuff like RSS.

The stream is there. The stream is flowing. I can’t stop right river, and I can’t stop the water. Building a dam is just a temporary solution, as eventually, after backing up, the water will start flowing again, either over my dam or around it.

So …

  • when I want some news, I dip a toe in the stream
  • when I want some social (yeah, I know that is ungrammatical and sounds weird) I hit Twitter or FaceBook
  • when I want to see what people I’ve connected with are saying, I visit Google Reader
  • when I want to see what’s hot, I go to PopURLs

And when I don’t have time, I don’t. When I don’t feel like it, I don’t. When I’m too busy, I don’t. And don’t stress about it either.

There’s a simple realization inherent in this: there’s just too much to keep up. Maybe there always has been, in spite of a perception that “all the news that’s fit to print” was in the dead tree thing that appeared on your doorstep in the afternoon. So there’s no point trying. In fact, if something is important enough … it will find you.

Adopting this attitude is a wonderful stress reliever if you are the type (seemingly more common in older generations) that feels a need to keep up with everything.

It certainly has been for me.

Media barons demanding to be lied to

OK, here’s the definitive quote of the day:

“When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.”

The source is Clay Shirky, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.

This is particularly relevant to me now, having just participated in a new media round table on journalism, papers, and the web: New Media Round Table.

8 things bloggers can learn from Perez Hilton

I hate gossip rags at the checkout counter, and my opinion is no different when the medium is a blog. But I love this post on 8 things bloggers can learn from Perez Hilton by Marko Saric.

The fact is, Perez Hilton is a fantastic success story. According to Saric, here’s how he got there:

  1. Find a topic there is an audience for
  2. Find a topic you have passion for
  3. Be consistent
  4. Be unique
  5. Do not censor yourself
  6. Be provocative
  7. Experiment with the blog monetization
  8. Expand your blog

More details and expansion of each of those points in the original post – if you’re a blogger, I recommend you read them.

A couple of provisos:

  1. Be careful about the no censorship rule
    If your blog is not where you make your money, be careful. It can have a backlash with colleagues, your boss, organization, or family. My advice: don’t write anything you don’t want even one person you care about knowing. That includes your boss!

  2. Be careful about being provocative
    If you’re writing a trashy celebrity blog, maybe that’s a good rule. It’s probably not quite as good an idea, however, if you’re writing a legal blog, a business blog, or diplomatic blog. Sure, you want to be interesting. But it’s never a good idea to go out of your way to insult, disparage, or denigrate others. And picking fights simply in an attempt to be interesting is juvenile and likely to backfire.

Being careful may not be the way to create exceptional art. But it does have some advantages in building relationships and getting things done.

Nielsen ratings: top 20 social networks

Facebook continues to grow at a torrid rate. Reunion.com is growing almost as fast. Ning, Tagged, and Multiply are also all growing at over 100% annually.

However, Twitter is the runaway winner in unbelievable growth rates. While it’s growing from a smaller base, and therefore it’s easier to get a higher multiple, a growth rate of almost 1400% annually is just astounding.

twitter-februaryFree Legal Forms

Those are some scintillating numbers. Wow.

Happy birthday, World Wide Web

As I first saw on Twitter, the WWW is 20 years old today.

It’s hard to believe that something so ubiquitous and useful and … essential is only 20 years old. I mean, I wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the web, and that’s probably true of millions of people today.

Around the web:

C|Net:

Back in 1989, Berners-Lee was a software consultant working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside of Geneva, Switzerland. On March 13 of that year, he submitted a plan to management on how to better monitor the flow of research at the labs. People were coming and going at such a clip that an increasingly frustrated Berners-Lee complained that CERN was losing track of valuable project information because of the rapid turnover of personnel. It did not help matters that the place was chockablock with incompatible computers people brought with them to the office.

Read Write Web:

Berners-Lee has some great ideas about where the web should go next. His vision is of a major advance that could serve as the foundation for innovations that we can’t even imagine today.

One year ago Berners-Lee said that all the pieces needed to build a new Semantic Web are now in place. Last month he gave an impassioned talk at the high-profile TED conference about a related concept called Linked Data, a set of ideas he outlined in 2006. The gist of the idea is that we need every institution that can do so putting raw data in standardized format up on the web.

ZDnet:
The original “napkin” sketch …

web1

Plugged In:

The term ‘Web’ was invented by English scientist Sir Time Berners Lee on March 13th, 1989 and now the wild web has reached 216+ million websites (as per February 2009 data from Netcraft).

TED blog:

Watch Tim Berners-Lee’s talk from TED2009 on TED.com …

Technologizer:

I’m about to board an airplane to go to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, and have been brooding about the fact that I’ll be deprived of the Web for just a few hours while we’re in flight. It’s startling to remember that something as essential as the Web is so new–and that the guy who came up with it is not only still with us but very much involved in shaping its future.

TechCrunch:

The Web is becoming a massive interlinked computer, and computers need data. As more and more data becomes linked across the Web, the more that it can be accessed, analyzed, and computed. As Berners-Lee says, “Data is relationships.”

Thanks, Tim!

KPIs and Metrics: what's the difference?

OK. So you’ve launched your new social-viral-mashable-linked-web2.0-connected web place, and you’re tracking a million metrics. Which ones should you actually be paying attention to? Those are your Key Performance Indicators.

As Rhian James at FreshNetworks mentioned in a comment on my recent post about measuring social media marketing efforts, that’s really the key. Burying yourself in a mound of data is unproductive; knowing which data tracks progress to your critical initiatives is pure gold.

FreshNetworks posted on this topic on their blog, and created a valuable SlideShare presentation illuminating the difference:

FAQs that are not frequently asked (but companies wish they were)

I signed up for a Windows Live Messenger account this morning and was struck by the infrequently asked questions:

not-faqs

The title says frequently asked questions, but they’re obviously not. They’re actually questions Microsoft wishes people would ask …

What ordinary person – Joe in the warehouse, Betty in accounting – has ever asked: How do I create a strong password? Betty is much more concerned about creating one that she can actually remember.

And Joe has never wondered: How can I create my mobile credentials?. Seriously now … what on earth are those? I’m not sure I know, and I’m a COO and architect for a software company!

These are FAQs that have never been asked. Someone, somewhere, has been told: write some FAQs so we have some help on the website. Go figure out what people might want to know.

It might be easier to … just ask people what they want to know. Or check your logs and figure out what seems hard. Or watch a couple of users interacting with the system.

It’d certainly be better.

Listening to the web: 8 free tools for reputation management

Whether you’re an individual, brand, or company, it’s good to know when people are talking about you. It’s even better to know what they’re saying.

The last thing you want is to find out that there’s a firestorm of negativity about your latest post, product, or brand when a forest of media microphones are thrust in your face and the media trucks are camping out just off your property. Instead, you want to be in tune with what people are thinking and saying, and you want to be able to enter the conversation with your perspective.

Here are 8 quick, simple, free tools for listening online:

  1. Best and easiest: Google Alerts
    Set up an alert. Set it to be emailed to you at the frequency of your choice. Wait for the messages to hit your inbox. Could it possibly be simpler?

  2. Most immediate and fun: Twitter search via RSS
    Enter your search items. Grab the RSS feed. Save it in your RSS Reader (Google Reader, or any offline reader). Watch the items get pushed to you every 15 minutes – or however often your reader updates.

  3. Web 2.0 old-skool: Technorati
    The fact is, Technorati is not what it once was. But it can still be a useful tool to electronically eavesdrop on what millions of bloggers are blathering about. Go, search, subscribe to the RSS feed. Simple.

  4. Comment search: backtype
    Pretty much the same as above, except this search engine focuses on what opinionated people – the 5-10% who comment on blog posts – are saying. Visit, enter your search terms, and get email alerts.

  5. Reviews, etc.: Omgili
    This can be particularly helpful if you’re in packaged goods or electronics and you want to check out how you’re being reviewed (example: Panasonic TV). But you can just visit the home page for generic search and cast a wider net.

  6. Really old school: Google, Yahoo!, perhaps Live
    Maybe, if you want to know what people are saying about you, you should just search the web. What a thought! Alas, you actually have to do it yourself, although you can set up some automated searches too … but it’s a good idea to do it weekly or so.

  7. Social media ear to the ground: Facebook, MySpace, Friendfeed, etc.
    More and more people are joining social networks, meaning a lot of the web’s conversation happens behind closed doors. But you can get in … perhaps with your own profile, perhaps just with judicious searching, perhaps by joining conversations … and hear what’s going on that’s important to you.

  8. Yes, discussion boards still exist: BoardTracker
    Online discussion boards still exist, despite their low profile in the web2.0 era. Even though they’re one of the oldest forms of online community, they are in some cases still growing. BoardTracker is a good way to search these often thinly sliced vertical niche sites. And yes, you can set up alerts to come to you,

So … that’s 8 ways of listening to your clients and your community that won’t cost you a dime, and in most cases not even much time.

Web 1.0: How NOT to foster community on your site

If you don’t really want people communicating on your site … you don’t really want feedback on your articles … you do really want to spam people … you do really want to “monetize eyeballs” … and you don’t really care that your brand is in the toilet …

Then you act very web 1.0 and have a comment registration form like ZDNet’s:
zd-net-registration

I wanted to comment on Michael Krigsman’s latest pay-attention-to-me-I’m-relevant flamebait article, only to be met by that monstrosity of a sign in form. And it’s only part one!

Note that all fields are required. Odd, for some reason they’re not asking for your credit card too! Perhaps a copy of your fingerprints or DNA would be appreciated.

Nothing says “we don’t care about our users” like a sign-in form that is so completely, so obviously, and so unashamedely commercial and self-serving.

How very web 1.0.

This is evil (or, rage against the Captchas)

Those of use know live and contribute online know what captchas are and what their purpose is. And we all, uniformly, hate them with a passion usually reserved for Nazi war criminals or past US presidents.

But, generally we accept that to keep blogs and other social spaces on the web free of spam, we’ll submit to the hassle of typing in some nonsense word that purports to communicate that we are, in fact, human and not Martian.

But this captcha is not just annoying. It’s pure, unadulterated evil. In fact, you can almost see the vitriolic green acid oozing out:

evil-captcha

It stands to reason, therefore, that this is a captcha from Google, the company whose founders have famously promised to do no evil.

Somebody call Sergei and show him this!

5 Things Twitter Needs Now

I’ve been using Twitter for probably over a year. But I’ve really only being using Twitter for perhaps 3 months.

In that time, there’s a few things that I think would add huge value to Twitter:

  1. Context
    Yeah I know it’s a river. But some rivers have tributaries, channels, and eddies. Some of them are even dammed. And it’d be nice to have some context for your latest tweet: “Need help with my current project.”

  2. Categories
    Look, there are some people we follow because we know them. Some we follow because we think they’re interesting and make us smarter. Some we follow because they’re famous, and everyone else is doing it anyways. And some we follow just because they followed us.

    I’d like to be able to categorize followers – and people I’m following. Better yet, do it for me: geographically, by industry … and let me tag them.

  3. Space for URLs
    Every single web address on every single profile is cut off. When it’s ubiquitous, you know you’re doing something wrong.

  4. Quoted messages for DMs
    I know I already have context down, but it’s a particular problem for direct messaging. When someone says “I have a new red door,” and I DM 2 hours later “Interesting, how big is it?” … how on earth do they know what I’m talking about?

  5. Searchable following/followers
    Right now, I want to send a message to a Twitter feed I’m following for a conference. I know it starts with W … but I don’t remember the exact name. How can I find it today? Only by tediously paging through lists of result pages. And they’re not even alphabetical! So I have to do a search of ALL Twitter users to find the one I want … and it’s only even possible because I happen to know most of the username.

    I think I’d even settle for sortable following/follower lists …

I’m not in the make-Twitter-do-everything camp. It’s simple, and that’s great. But would just a few more features to improve the signal-to-noise ratio be so bad?

BTW, here I am on Twitter. Follow me!

DilbertFiles.com … not just a comic strip

OK, this is seriously funny. The latest Dilbert strips have been focused on Dilbert’s second job: DilbertFiles.

dilbert-strip

Funny, good, enjoyable … but just a comic. Or not?

Wondering a little – because I’ve read Scott Adams‘ books and know how smart he is in spite of his constant and nearly-successful attempts to hide it – I decided to check out dilbertfiles.com.

Lo and behold … there’s an actual website there:

dilbertfiles

And an actual business, to all intents and purposes. Now, because Scott Adams is congenitally disinclined to anything approaching actual work, he must have simply struck a deal with a file transfer company to re-brand their solution for him. As if the guy doesn’t have enough money already.

Life imitating art, huh? Actually, in more ways than you might notice.

As completely appropriate for our favorite corporate drone, DilbertFiles’ uploader software only supports Windows!

It’s the cherry on the cake, obviously.

5 Years of WordPress Hits SlideShare Home Page

Interesting!

The slide I recently put together of 5 years of Add New Post in WordPress (from Ozh’s blog) hit the home page on SlideShare:

slideshare-johnkoetsier

Very cool.

(I wish I had grabbed a screen image while it was the first one, but hey … you have to sleep. By the time I grabbed it this morning it was way down low, and I was forced to stitch a couple of screenshots together. Hence the double scroll bar!)

Unusability: How NOT to do geolocation

Sometimes when doing business online, you want to know where your users are coming from. If you don’t do it the right way, they’ll waste little time telling you where you can go.

Zinio, a digital publications company, wants to know where you live:

zinio-unusability

But they don’t geo-locate IP addresses, which would accomplish the goal without any user intervention. Instead, they provide this “handy” layer over their webpage.

Problems:

  1. Extra action
    They force users to do something instead of geo-locating.

  2. Map not clickable
    The map is not clickable. So, most users who assume when seeing a map and a query about where they are, they can just click on their country are going to be sadly disappointed. They’ll click a couple of times. Some may leave. Some will see the drop-down menu and, swearing under their breath, use that.

  3. Map loads last
    The layer with the map loads after the rest of the entire page. Even over broadband, this means there are several seconds of inability to do anything – not fun.

How many chances to do you get to make a first impression? Yeah, I thought so too.

When you fail on your first impression, you’ve got an uphill climb for your second and subsequent interactions with potential clients. Now they already think you’re a difficult-to-work-with company.

Save the trouble and make it right from the beginning!

Economic crisis = software2.0 opportunity

So SAP’s in some trouble

Adding fuel to the raging fire on which stock valuations are now burning, SAP (SAP) Co-CEO Henning Kagermann this morning warned in a statement that market developments of the last few weeks have been “dramatic and worrying to many businesses,” which has triggered a “very sudden and unexpected drop in business activity” late in the company’s third quarter.

Well, when you sell multi-million installations to major companies, you’re extremely vulnerable to the onslaughts of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that is currently plaguing the interconnected global economy.

This is an opportunity for smaller, nimbler, simpler, and – yes – cheaper software. Web2.0, enterprise2.0, everything2.0 … this is your chance.

The needs have not changed. The requirements have not changed. If anything, they’re getting bigger, harder, and more intense. Because of this crisis, companies have to ramp up innovation, ramp up marketing, ramp up workloads just to tread water.

If they can’t afford the $150,000 solution … maybe they can afford your $500/month pay-as-you go software service.

Social media: blessing or curse

Have you ever seen DearAdobe.com?

It’s a site created by a designer who knows and loves Adobe products … and hates their many flaws. Visitors can add new gripes and vote up existing ones – just for fun, check out the top gripes. Most gripes are about Adobe’s installers (horribly awful), prices (sell-your-organs high), world pricing policy (schizophrenic), and bloated software (slow and complex).

Now imagine reading this as an Adobe exec. Do you think:

a. What great client input!
b. Uh oh – bad press!

Your response determines whether social media will be a blessing or a curse to you.

One trillion pages on the web

From the Google blog:

We’ve known it for a long time: the web is big. The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a lot of big numbers about how much content is really out there. Recently, even our search engineers stopped in awe about just how big the web is these days — when our systems that process links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion (as in 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web at once!

Awe is a good word – one trillion is a big, big number. Wow.

New Facebook app, please

I would like someone to create a new Facebook app, based on the myriads of Likeness quizzes. But instead of likenesses based on fruits, movies, books, cars, friends, or anything else, it would be based on the degree to which you dislike likeness quizzes.

Bah. Humbug.