Friday, January 30, 2009

Where to Micro Blog: Twitter, Facebook or ?


I was looking at my Twitter account and all the current postings and a few things struck me. First was that I had not Twittered in some time but it felt like I had. Second, there were an awful lot of posts that were from newspapers that I follow. Third, that I like microblogging functionality and wondered if cross posting microblogs entries made sense.

FIRST:
The reason it felt like I had Twittered when I hadn't was due to the recent rash of activity on Facebook. The first thing you encounter on the Facebook home page for your account is the text box begging for entry. "Andrew is ..."

Sometimes I enter what I happen to be doing. Which is quite similar to a Twitter post, though Twitter does not surround itself with other distractions like sheep throwing and game playing. So why Twitter?

SECOND:
There is a reason for multiple news postings. I follow a few newspapers. In fact, I like that the news folks are twittering and sometimes, like in the flooding recently, it is very interesting to follow along with the twitter storm.

Alicia L. sent me a very interesting article a couple of weeks ago (thank you) from Publishing 2.0 with the title "A Revolution Quietly Begins in Washington State". It speaks of how a number of reporters from different publications in Washington and the South Sound came together over the web and pooled their twitters via a "waflood" tag, creating a cooperative reporting platform that focused on information and not brand. Pretty cool stuff.

CNN picked it up a week later in their piece "Social Networking Sites Share..."

Mark Briggs likes Twitter enough that today on Journalism 2.0 he makes a case for paying for it.

I can see a journalistic trend here, and maybe that is the direction that Twitter is taking. They may have to allow for multiple categories for following different post trails.

THIRD:
Twitter does not have as much value to me if I don't post. Facebook is taking some of my posts away from Twitter. I don't know how long it has been since I used Quillpill, which I love. And now that Jott is charging, I am not as likely to use it, as it never became ingrained into my routine.

So how about an application that allows you to post to multiple microblogging sites at once? Well, during the writing of this post it occurred to me to try and answer my own question, and voila! I found it. I even posted on it once. SixApart has a typepad based product that is available through Facebook that allows for posting your status on Twitter, Facebook and others at once. It is called Blog It.

They don't have QuillPill there, but perhaps it is coming.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Wiki Reference Dilemma

I am a fan of Wikipedia and I will reference entries in both my postings and in papers that I write. It is not, however, a favorite of many professors who do not recognize its authority given that anyone can provide an entry. Peer review is an important component of legitimizing published information, and more than once I have heard that it does not occur with rigor on the Wikipedia site.

Recently I felt somewhat vindicated in my support of the site as an acceptable reference tool when I visited the Lucy's Legacy exhibit at Seattle's Pacific Seattle Science Center. It focused on Ethiopia's rich cultural heritage and showcased tools art and writing from the five million-year history of the country, sometimes known as the Cradle of Mankind.

More than 100 items in the exhibit illuminate this rich heritage, including fossils, historical manuscripts, paintings, coins, musical instruments, implements of daily use, religious artifacts and more.

Among the exhibits was a wall sized explanation of the language and subject matter of a particular period, looking like something out of a VERY early Starbucks interior. At the bottom of the very scholarly information was listed the sited source, which was Wikipedia. Nice.

Of course now we have to take another step backwards because of anonymous editors who decided that they would list Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd as having passed on. Which they have not.

This is causing a bit of a stir from the founder and users of the site as they discuss new rules by which first time or anonymous users can edit material. Thank you Julie for pointing out this Yahoo article that talks about it. The BBC has their take as well here.

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, proposed the change, which is being called "Flagged Revisions,. This is causing some heated debate on the users forum, but is showing approval by a 60 to 40 percent margin at this juncture.

I hope it is approved. In the meantime, I guess I will have to keep using the site for quick references but be prepared to back them up with secondary sources until it becomes more acceptable.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Streaming the Inauguration

(Reuters/Getty Images)

It amazes me how far streaming video has come, and yet took so long to get here. Way back when, Free Range Media did a streaming webcast of GM's new roll out of automobiles for their dealers who were located all over the US. Set up and produced out of Raleigh Studios in California, it was one of the first corporate uses in streaming media. Also around that time (1999), Victoria's Secret held an online fashion show that crashed from all the traffic and barely held up better than one of the models outfits.

And today, I watched the inauguration with better clarity and audio than I remember getting on any of my old antenna based TV's. I also recorded it at home on the DVR, but this was LIVE. LIVE and clear and in the moment. Amazing.

I watched it on a co-workers PC that happen to have it up and streaming. But even then I had many choices around the campus.

Here is an email sent out earlier in the day:

Today is indeed history in the making. We will have several locations to view the inauguration today:

Tacoma Room GWP 320 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. (streaming)
Carwein Auditorium 8:00-12:30 (streaming)
William Philip Hall 12:30-5 (streaming)
CP 103 8 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (streaming)
CP 206C 8-11 (cable)
CP 331- 8-11:30 (cable)


Televisions 8:00-5 in the (streaming)
GWP Atrium, (streaming)
WCG Atrium, (streaming)
Mat oUWTpost 8:30-5 (cable)


Later they added even another.

Notice anything about the choices? Three cable outlets for viewing and a whopping seven for streaming video. And that doesn't include the eighth streaming venue added later or the number of desktops tuned in.

No wonder Apple is touting their new device as the Apple TV.

As of 11.45am Eastern, CNN and Facebook released these numbers.

-had served 13.9 million live video streams globally since 6am

-had broken its all time total daily streaming record (from Election Day) of 5.3 million live streams.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Startup.com Still Resonates

It has been about 10 years since the dot.com bubble began its burst. The pop was not audible at that time, but brothers Anthony and Micheal Perkins predicted it (though not as dramatically as it occured) in the 1999 book The Internet Bubble: Inside the Overvalued World of High Tech Stocks. The two analyzed 133 Internet-related businesses and advised investors who held these stocks to sell and as history has noted very few listened. I bought my signed copy at a Silicon Valley diner where V.C.s frequented.

They followed it up with a revisit to their predictions and of those 133 companies, only 10 have gained in value.

It is one thing to read about the eventual dot.com shakeout, and you can get a sense of it with "Burn Rate" by Michael Wolff, but it is quite another to live vicariously through the wild ride up and the steep drop down. You can do so by viewing Startup.com.

Startup.com is a documentary that follows two childhood friends who launch and build a web site solution called govWorks.com. The documentary filmmaker didn't know that those two years: 1999 and 2000, would be so full of drama for a web based company but there you have it. Even though you know what is coming and even see it happening around them, the story is fascinating and compelling as a peek into what it was like during that time. Because you are only shown 1 hour and 33 minutes of footage culled from 400 hours of digital video taken over a two year period, there are some obvious gaps in the storytelling.

But it is worth missing some of the business points, such as the fact the company actually started as Public Data Systems which provided software service to government agencies for tracking and payment. The company's money chase started when it was decided to launch it as a web portal. You still see pieces of history in a narrative form.

Among the many awards it received, it won the Directors Guild of America's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary award, an award for best documentary from MTV and was a Grand Jury nominee at the Sundance Film Festival.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Visit from Ron Kornfeld

Serial entrepreneur, technology consultant and all around smart guy Ron Kornfeld visited the Entrepreneurship and Technology class today and gave an excellent overview of business planning for technology companies.

It is no longer required text for the class given the date it came out, but Cracking the New E-conomy, which was released in 2000 is still recommended reading. Written during the heady days of the dot.com boom, it may prove to be even more valuable as we head into some difficult economic times, when creating your own business may be the answer to being employed.

Ron was featured in the book, and is mentioned right off the top of Amazon's review of it.

The college-like text covers everything from software costs and international distribution to backing out of a deal and creating a fiscal-year forecast. Ron Kornfeld, founder of Harmonetrix, a Seattle-based business incubator, wrote a section on creating a business plan.

"The biggest challenge, really, with going from an idea to a real company is eliminating delay, is not having false starts," said Kornfeld, whose former company, Normandy Partners, worked with Internet start-ups....." -- Seattle Times, March 8, 2000


I have been an advocate of an update to the book, and went as far as to put a proposal together for the next iteration. At one point there was discussion of putting it online (after an update) on the WTIA's web site.

Ron did it one better and went over the business plan section with us personally. Since I wouldn't do him justice, I will simply link to the business plan template that he provided to the class.

Thanks Ron.

Additionally, here is a link to a CNN article today that talks about entrepreneurs like Dean Kamen, and mentions their value in the current economic climate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TVW Goes on the (Capital) Record


What cable-only network can be seen in 99% of the cable households in Washington, with a reach of approximately 3.5 million viewers, or 55% of the state's population, and is on 24/7 in most locations. If you paid any attention to the title of the post you would likely guess TVW. They have a blog now too.

Founded in 1993 by Denny Heck, former legislator, House chief clerk, and chief of staff to Gov. Booth Gardner, and veteran government official Stan Marshburn, TVW serves up over 2,000 hours of original programming annually. Though most of its programming is unedited gavel-to-gavel legislative coverage they also produce programs including Inside Olympia, Olympia On-Call, Legislative Review, The Faces and Places of Washington State, The Docket, and Pacific Northwest Technology Tour.

A couple other quick facts. They were one of the first organizations to intern one of our Computer Science students who worked on their programming management software. Their control room allows for the operation of robotic cameras within the chambers to focus in on speakers and cut from one to the other. In fact at one time they had the largest robotic camera facility in the world. TVW maintains 39 robotic cameras in 4 buildings on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

About that blog: Launched in mid December of 2008, The Capital Record is making an effort to keep us updated on what the state Legislature and the Governor are up to.

It is written by former Grit City blogger for the News Tribune, Niki Sullivan, who has also covered government for our regional paper as well as The Associated Press in Oregon.

Note however that they do not allow for comments. As Niki explains:

If we do our job right, you’ll be a more informed citizen after reading The Capitol Record. That might make you want to share your opinion with someone. But the office of your elected official is the more appropriate place to do that. We’ll help facilitate that direct communication by providing links to the Legislature’s web site, where you can find the contact information for your elected official.

Niki also produces the Legislative Review , which airs nightly at 11, and reruns every morning at 7:45. It is also streamed on the web, which all of TVW programming does. They have tags to search the videos that they serve up as well. You can search on the name of a State Senator and you should be able to jump right to them within the program. I hope that someday they are able to aggregate the videos into a searchable database that carry over the tags and topic information from the legislative sessions. What a resource that would be in tracking your elected officials positions.

They are also providing an RSS feed and Twitter access to the blog, though I hope they also allow for Tacoma tagging so that it is picked up by FeedTacoma.

Joe Turner of the News Tribune's Political Buzz blog gives his take here.