Todd "Turbo" Watson -- IBM Corporation
Apparently Twitter was all Twittered out as I sat here at McCarron airport trying to get a jet plane to nowhere...well, to Austin, actually.
This is probably why. Twitter's still on the Bob Metcalfe Network Effect Growth Curve from...well, you know where.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I kicked it old school for my last night in Viva Las Vegas, walking down to the Sahara at the far end of the Strip to dine scrumptiously at the NASCAR Cafe.
I was going to hold out for the Daytona Chili Burger (unleaded), but opted for the St. Louis Ribs instead, dining all the while gazing out at Carzilla, the world's largest stock car, weighing in at more than three tons and measuring 34 feet long and 12 feet wide.
As I contemplated driving around an oval track for one's livelihood, I couldn't help but wonder if the bartender ever worries about Carzilla slipping in that last turn towards the bar and dropping on him like a lead balloon.
Anyhoo, if you ever need any NASCAR merchandise of any kind, the NASCAR store next door should be able to help you out (I had to contain myself to keep from buying my very own Dale Earnhardt, Jr. mouse pad.)
I somehow restrained myself.
Not everyone can manage such restraint, however.
Take Sun, for instance.
CNET's reporting this morning that Sun is taking Java to the consumer masses, in an attempt to counter Ajax, Silverlight, and other emerging RIA technologies.
Just as long as I can get that double triple mocha decaf with steamed non-fat milk and it'll run on my Palm Tungsten C...
Me, I've got a plane to catch.[Read More]
In his keynote here at The Cable Show, FCC chairman Kevin Martin joked about even getting an invitation, considering many of his recent positions go against the interests of the cable industry.
While Martin said he agreed with the industry that it shouldn't be required to open its infrastructure at wholesale rates or pay general service fees that would subsidize its competitors, he also indicated he does not think Net Neutrality was something that yet needed to be regulated.
Explaining, he indicated that "there's no market failure that merits it" and that regulation could slow down the deployment of broadband.
Sorry, Net Neutrality Save the Internet spaceman, dude.
He also continued a plead for a la carte pricing of content subscription (I haven't yet found Mr. Parsons to discuss the comp on my bill).
Meanwhile, there was lots of discussion by the panel of MSO COOs about the continued opportunity for new broadband and wireless services, including more on demand programming (which all panelists pointed out is a weak spot for the satellite providers)
One exec even mentioned how it cool it would have been over the weekend had they been able to do a concurrent on demand co-release of "Spiderman 3" via the cable networks.
Now that would be a cool way to get lost in the cable industry's time shifting web.[Read More]
Well well well, in the time it took me to drive from one end of the Strip to the other, to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center where The Cable Show is being held, Valleywag reported that Photobucket will be acquired by acquisition-hungry News Corp's MySpace.
We heard most recently from these two when MySpace wouldn't play nice and let the nice little Photobucket streams into the MySpace walled garden after several Photobucket streamers started placing video ads for the new "Superman 3" movie into their streams.
(Apparently, the advertising helped! At least in its own little way: Spidey 3 brought in a cool $148 million over the weekend.)
TechCrunch says the deal's for real. Matt Ingram says the deal makes sense.
Turbo's Take: If a picture's worth a thousand words, a full-on firehose stream of a few million of them has gotta be worth $250 million.
They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
They also say in case of an earthquake hitting Vegas, be sure to go straight to the Keno Lounge -- nothing ever gets hit there.
Let's hope my luck holds out long enough to successfully forge through my panel session today here at The Cable Show in Viva Las Vegas.
Entitled "Thoroughly Modern Messaging: Reaching Customers in the Digital Age," my co-panelists and I will be exploring the opportunities and challenges of the emerging digital media.
And of course Vegas is known for attracting big names, which is why there are some high rollers in town for the event, including FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who will be keynoting a session entitled "Cable 2.0: Growing Cable's Next Business Opportunities.
Me, I'm just hoping for a chance run-in with Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons to see if I can get a comp on my Time-Warner cable bill.
Hey, it's Vegas, I figure I gotta at least ask.
Seven come eleven!
Meanwhile, Robert Scoble reported that eMarketer Geoff Ramsey has told us a FOG has descended across the marketing and advertising industry.
Being from IBM, I know we never properly explain acronyms. So, quickly:
FOG stands for "Fear of Google."
FOG, Scoble explains, is the reason Yahoo's stock shot up last week on rumors of Microsoft putting it in play: "Easy, we wanted it to happen...'We' being journalists who are living in FOG land. Bloggers who'd like to see Microsoft be interesting again."
Well, I don't know if I'd go that far, Robert.
Of course, all this poses the logical question, is it really possible to MicroHoo in the FOG?
Only time, and a virtual army of investment bankers and lawyers, will tell.[Read More]
What a crazy busy week.
Now, Microsoft and Yahoo are said in discussions to merge...again.
My favorite headline in the blogosphere on this news thus far comes from my compadre to the great white north, Mathew Ingram:
Two icebergs, roped together
Ha, and no penguins in sight.
Of course, with all this global warming going on, it's not a good time to be an iceberg.
"They are like icebergs: not only is nine-tenths of them unseen, but they are slow-moving and difficult to steer. Impressive? Yes. Powerful? No doubt about it. But fast, or nimble or imaginative? No. Roping them together would do nothing but compound their problems."
I dunno, I thought Microsoft Bob was pretty cool.
And I loved Clippy the talking paper clip in Microsoft Office (who was laid off when Office XP was released). Clippy was kinda like a pre-Second Life avatar.
Ah, I remember the halcyon days of the commercial Intertubes, back when our own John Patrick awarded Jerry and David "Best of Show" for the new Yahoo! search index at Internet World in San Jose (April 1995).
And now it's come to this?
So, a few short seconds ago, I stumbled on over to Yahoo! Answers to see if I could get some wisdom there, typing in the following simple query:
"Who is Microsoft?"
The Yahoo! Answer diviner responded with the following response (Coined "Best Answer -- Chosen By Voters"):
"Microsoft is an evil corporation."
Well, at least their search engine is working.
Do you MicroHoo?[Read More]
Redmonk's James Governor pretty much nails Twitter in this post, with a hats off to the original Cluetrain gang.
As his post headline indicates, "If markets are conversations, then Twitter is money."
Show me the money!
Me, I'm all more about his mention of the organizational structure of W.L. Gore Associates:
Do you know the size of the Twitter burst that would be necessary just to get through the ranks of our VPs alone???
Me, I'm staying Twitter-free (at least since SXSW, where Twittermania went completely out of control) lest I end up in a 12-step Twitter withdrawal program.
Then again, I've also managed to stay Blackberryless all this time, and am still alive and well.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  search_marketing digital_media ask google interactive_marketing 3,848 Views
Ask.com is launching a new multimillionaire TV and Web ad campaign today, so reports the Wall Street Journal Interactive.
It's intent? To raise awareness about what the company considers its secret sauce: Its algorithm.
That would be the formula a search engine uses to go off and find stuff.
A mathematical formula.
As SearchEngineLand reports, the campaign will focus around the word "algorithm."
As in, "Do you have a lame Algorithm?" or "The Algorithm killed Jeeves" or "The Algorithm is from Jersey" (where Teoma, Ask's algorithm, was developed).
Methinks the Algorithm could be about to get whacked by the Soprano's Christopher Moltisanti.
It's already been whacked by Google.
Valleywag has some pics of the new billboard ads from Highway 101 out in Silicon Valley.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a shareholder in IAC. For now.[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  social_computing lotus second_life virtual_worlds business_partners 4,112 Views
IBM's PartnerWorld conference has been going on in St. Louis this week, an annual pow-wow for our very important Business Partners from around the globe.
Our own Nick Donofrio gave a keynote on "the virtual planet," addressing the emerging importance of virtual business interactions, as well as the need to be able to transfers assets from one virtual environment to another. (CIO magazine online has more about the speech here.)
While Nick's off integrating the planets, I'm just trying to figure out how to put on the new cowboy hat I bought the other day in Second Life.
That experience has convinced me of the perfect way to double digital v-commerce revenues virtually overnight:
Make it so that well-educated professionals like myself go buy a piece of virtual clothing for 200 Linden $$, then make it so difficult for them to figure out how to put the clothing on, that they go and buy a second piece of virtual clothing to see if they can make that work!
Brilliant! The Linden currency exchange will go through the roof!
Me, all I know is, growing up I never had this much trouble putting on a real cowboy hat.
But back to our Business Partners and virtual reality.
In short order, we're going to have a PartnerWorld island inside Second Life where our partners can use virtual rooms to meet up with one another, including private meetings (sorry, no slurl just yet).
Much as we love you partners out there, though, you're on your own when it comes to putting on your virtual wardrobe.
We're also providing Lotus Connections for Partners, a new Web 2.0 social computing resource that allows partners to create and share profile information about their business and their subject matter experts, allows for blogging, and just overall provides for a great venue for collaboration in the communities most of interest to our partners.
And, it's available at no charge to current Business Partners.
They may have been protesting U.S. immigration policy in the streets of Los Angeles and other major cities around the country yesterday, but there was also a major protest going on in the online news community.
No, not the News Corp announcement of its intent to buy Dow Jones. I'm talking about the protest on Digg.
If you haven't used Digg to get news online, let me help you lift up that rock, dust you off, and crawl out from under it to find out's been going on in the world.
Digg is all about people sifting out and popularizing news. It's about letting the people identify, rate, and rank the news that's most important to them. About allowing the mob to become the Internet equivalent of the editorial staff of a newspaper.
They post the stories.
They vote on those stories they like the most with their mice.
They drive the most popular stories up the wisdom of crowds editorial food chain to the front page of Digg.
They are in charge. Not Management.
Except for yesterday, when Management made a call to pull a story down regarding a DCMA-related cease-and-desist request, which, in turn, led to the Digg Users' Revolt of May 1, 2007.
Though Texty's post may suggest something more could be afoot in terms of Digg's decision to pull the story, whatever motivated Digg is not really the issue.
Digg management violated the their most basic and core operating principle: Interference in a community-driven news site where the community decides on which stories appear and which ones don't.
By deleting the story, they deleted the core philosophical hub of their business.
Judging from founder Kevin Rose's mea culpa, Digg learned its lesson.
Bad, Digg. Bad.
Let's hope others turn Digg's lemons into lemonade by having this serve as an object lesson learned for other operations with rating-and-ranking technologies.
The more interference with a supposedly transparent system, the digger the hole.[Read More]
Meanwhile, back at the Gutenberg press, Rupert Murdoch makes a $5 billion buyout offer for Dow Jones & Co., parent company of The Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal's Martin Peers covers his own company's takeover bid here. (Registration to Wall Street Journal Interactive required for the Moment...Keep browsers open and ready for MySpace IDs soon)
I just want to know this: If the deal goes through, does that mean CEOs everywhere will soon have to have their own MySpace pages?
(Google Calendar Reminder to Self: News Corp. bought MySpace last year for a cool $580 million, which is looking more and more like the bargain of the 2006-7 Web 2.0 Merger and Acquisition Binge every nanosecond.)[Read More]
Dell has come a long way from those halcyon days of having no bloggers anywhere in site (circa November 2005) to today.
You know, those days when blogger Jeff Jarvis led a mob through cyberspace and into the telecorridors of Round Rock, only to have them echo downstream from Michael Dell's house overlooking Lake Austin and disappear into the virtual abyss, nary a response in sight.
As my grandpappy used to say, Lord how times have changed.
Today, Dell announced it would be preloading Ubuntu 7.04 (my favorite flavor of Linux).
Where, you ask, did such an idea come from?
Hold on...yes...yes..hit the submit button...from their customers!
Their IdeaStorm site, which launched earlier this year, asked customers across the Web to vote on what it was they wanted most -- call it "social product design and packaging" -- and Dell responded.
The conversation started back around February 16. It's May 1. And now the Penguin will soon be available for preload on Dell desktops and notebooks.
Recently, Jeff Jarvis had drinks with some Dell folk here in Austin, including chief blogger Lionel Menchaca.
I still wonder if he slipped 'em a Mickey.
On second thought, actually, all they had to do was listen.
To their customers.
To the angry Internet mob.
And now, just look at all the love they're getting today with this announcement. Customer preference outbade volume sales opportunity.
There's a long way between those two end points.
The bridge between the two is the way to the future of product development and successful customer relationship management.[Read More]
The Pew American and Internet and Life Project continues to deliver useful and insightful reports about human behavior and our use of the Internet.
In its most recent report, entitled "Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace," some key memes emerge which should provide parents and other relatives (especially the older ones who didn't grow up with the Web) regarding their increasing savvy about both the risks and opportunities presented by the digital media.
Lead sound bytes:
They observed from a 2000 report that teens had embraced instant messaging and other online tools, and by 2004 in another major study had taken to blogging and a wide variety of content creation activities:
"Teens who adopted these tools were no longer only communicating with text, but they were also developing a fluency in expressing themselves through multiple types of digital media -- including photos, music and video."
Social networking continues to drive the evolution of teens' use of the Internet, and this latest Pew report indicates that teens themselves are increasingly astute about their identities and release of personal information online. But continued vigilance and education on the part of parents and guardians of teens online are key to continuing that evolving savvy.
You can download the report directly here.[Read More]
I'm attending a two-day IBM pow-wow for the next couple of days. But rather than attend in person, I'm attending virtually.
Hey, would you expect anything less?
For competitive reasons, I'm not going to talk about the meeting topic. And although the meeting topic was tangentially related to the point of this post, it wasn't the core of the point.
The core was this: How do we go about thinking about planning for virtual meetings, meetings which also include a large component of individuals coming together in a physical space.
Firstly, the people who, for whatever reason, aren't able to come to your physical meeting and are virtual attendees, are probably just as interested and desiring of participating in the meeting as those in the room.
That means the organizers should find a way to facilitate the virtual attendees' full participation.
That means also making sure speakers in the physical room are well-miked and speak to the Internet audience as much as they do to the people in the room.
That also means, the speaker checks in with the people in the virtual audience every once in a while, and requests positive reaffirmation from the people online to ensure they can still hear the speaker and everything is going A-OK.
And, it means that other speakers in the physical audience waits for a microphone or, if necessary, get up and walk over to the phone to ask their question (It'll be good for you, you need the exercise). Otherwise, the virtual attendees can't hear what you're saying, and what you're saying is important, and we want to hear you, but we can't if you're sitting in that chair halfway across the room.
Ultimately, it means the physical group develops a consciousness of those virtual attendees as being an integral set of participants in the meeting. (I'm thinking maybe a PowerPoint slide with a group or collage picture projecting those individuals attending virtually splashed on a wall of the meeting room might be a good reminder.)
The best way to handle all of the above is to ensure that there is an emeeting coordinator in the physical room, but who is actively participating in the emeeting him- or herself to ensure that the online experience is as positive and interactive as the physical experience.
Second, always make sure the meeting materials are viewable and that there's backup for those materials.
For our meeting the next couple of days, we have an excellent wiki that provided many of the presentations in advance, so even when our own emeeting software went dark (hey, it even happens to us) we were able to have a fallback and not disrupt the momentum of the meeting.
Finally, if you have the resources, record the sessions either for podcast or videocast replay.
If the meeting was worth getting all those expensive and great minds together for two days in a physical space, the discussions and presentations were worth recording (well, most of them, anyhow) for those people who couldn't attend, or who couldn't hear because Joe Speaker was talking to himself like a Dilbert cartoon instead of to the Internet audience.[Read More]
Kelly Spors of the Wall Street Journal Interactive has a feature on the importance of search engines as a marketing and awareness driver for small businesses.
The feature is actionable in its intelligence, providing a solid primer (reg required) for the basic steps SMBs should take to have a higher profile on the major search engines' radar scope.
It also explains specific characteristics and expertise you should be looking for when you're trying to enlist the assistance and expertise of a search optimization firm.
On a tangential but related note, Forbes outlines the risks of becoming too dependent on Google or other major engines' traffic when you're a smaller fish in the deep online marketing sea.
Case in Point: Online diamond vendor Skyfacet.com, whose sales dropped $500,000 in three months when its results were relegated to Google's "supplemental index."
The supplemental index is a place in Googleland which the Forbes piece describes as "a dreaded backwater region of Google search results that goes by another name in online marketing circles: Google Hell."
What are some of the key reasons such companies soon find their results heading due south into the supplemental index?
Low-hanging fruit includes web pages inadvertently duplicated in whole or in part and which are mistaken for SPAM pages.
What can you do to pass Google equivalent of Dante's Divine Comedy inferno test?
The Tropical SEO tells you to make sure you give each page a unique title and meta description. It's also helpful to make sure your page content is unique (and not duplicated).
A few trusted links certainly can't hurt, nor can some internal linkbacks.
Whatever you do, keep an eye out for those nasty Centaurs.
All the linkbacks in the world can't protect you from them![Read More]
Yahoo! landed an online advertising counterpunch to Google's intended acquisition of DoubleClick overnight, with the announcement Yahoo had agreed to acquire Right Media, Inc.
Yahoo! had already placed a 20% "strategic investment" in Right Media back in October of last year. The remaining stake was expected to have cost Yahoo a cool $680M, far less than the $3.1B Google was expected to have shelled out for DoubleClick.
Right Media's core business is its "Remix Media" ad exchange, which will now serve as an open exchange for advertisers, publishers, ad networks (and now Yahoo!) to come together to buy and sell advertising both on and off the Yahoo! network.
Yahoo will participate both as a buyer and seller of ads, and advertisers will now have more choices of where to place ads and to allow publishers to sell their own inventory alongside Yahoo's.
In short, it expands the territory for Yahoo to sell advertising beyond the perimeter of its own properties, and it is a "transparent" system, thereby helping widen the pool of would-be buyers.
Yes, but it's also a big bet on the "eBayification" of advertising which, though many would suggest is inevitable, also ignores the importance of human relationships in the advertising business. If everything becomes completely about price, what happens to the opportunity for premium deals thought up by we intelligent, creative humans?
Deals like sponsorship opportunities that include ad inventory but as one small component in a much larger sponsorship that brings two premium, well-matched advertiser and publisher pairs. Or deals that require human ingenuity and creativity, as opposed to two buy/sell orders coming through Right Media's Remix Exchange.
Hey, don't get me wrong, I never met a bot I didn't like. But there's a place for bots, and there's a place for humans, and to be perfectly frank, during my Internet advertising days, I never had a bot bring me a premium deal that conveyed and displayed the unique synergy between advertiser and publisher.
Program me that bot, and we'll shake on it -- well, maybe not.
That brings me to the virtual army of media buyers, who have long served as the industry's advertising inventory gatekeepers since P&G began selling soap through soap operas, and whose hands I can shake.
Their job was always much more than about just making markets -- many of them served as the last point of contact to make sure the advertiser was not only getting value for their advertising dollar, but also as a sort of end-of-the-line brand steward. They were the ones who made sure the IBM (IBM being EveryCo. advertiser, in this case) didn't show up on XXX-YourAdProbablyDoesn'tBelongHere.Com.
How good are ad exchanges like Right Media going to be at making sure the right advertiser doesn't show up on the wrong Web site with content inappropriate to that brand?
Probably about as good as you getting your email address off that SPAM list that has followed you around since Hotmail came into existence??
Yes, the core idea of online ad exchanges is compelling, and, I suppose, inevitable.
But if these systems don't find an intelligent way to involve humans in the new ecosystem, the soul of an industry could become the victim of algorithmic progress, and all in the name of market efficiency.
Before you know it, we'll all be learning how to shake hands with bots and make awkward chatter about Google's "Bourbon" search algorithm update at cocktail parties.
"Hi, I'm Todd, a human from IBM...in what exchange do you function?"[Read More]
If you've never experienced an Oddcast avatar, you really haven't lived a well-rounded virtual life.
The Oddcast crew, based out of NYC and Israel, has been developing and distributing talking avatars for a few years now.
They say, as a way to "enable companies to improve business results, and consumers to personalize online communications and self-expression."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, whatever.
It's their latest endeavor that really caught my attention.
And here it is, ladies and gentlemen, playing one Web only, live from New York Cit-ayyy (drum roll.....)
The Comedy Central "Comedian Constructor!"
Yep, now playing at a small room right up the street from your browser!
Positioning itself as "Building Tomorrow's Stand-Up Comedians Today," the Comedy Central Comedian Constructor lets you build your own customized stand-up comedy avatar.
It's downright innovative in terms of both brand-building, and of possibly finding the next Chris Rock (avatar style) via the Web.
Sorry, you gotta write your own material.
Jon Stewart and his new studio -- or the large talking heads of Robert Loggia or Brian Williams -- are nowhere to be found.
But I figure it's only a matter of time.
Virtual reality is getting a reality check in its need for more computing power.
The "Cell" microprocessor, developed jointly by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba, is about to become core to what we're calling the "Cell Broadband Engine" ("Cell/B.E.") .
The Cell/B.E. will integrate the power of the Cell chip with the security capabilities and unique networking architecture of the System z mainframe to help customers shift demanding 3D Internet applications into overdrive.
The Cell/B.E. project draws on IBM's research, software, and hardware expertise, and is being undertaken in cooperation with Hoplon Entertainment, a Brazilian gaming company which currently hosts its massively popular TaikoDom MMOG on an IBM System z/900 mainframe (Register to read a case study here).
A large game can have a very complex and costly, and often underutilized, infrastructure, with multiple shards running on multiple servers and thus a great deal of redundancy.
Hoplon had originally planned to devote discrete servers to the game's modules, but opted instead for an SOA approach, using the System z/900 which accommodated the game's modular design more seamlessly. It also allowed Hoplon to take full advantage of the System z platform's security, reliability, and high availability.
Building on that success, Hoplon will be able to take advantage of the Cell's distributed processors through the Cell/B.E. project. The Cell chip has a core central processing unit, but also has eight additional "specialty processors" well suited to the transactional processing orientation of mainframes (which can process Linux, Java, and data workloads, as well as encrypt and decrypt data).
This combination allows the Cell/B.E. to handle massive workloads (9,445 business transactions per second, according to a recent banking benchmark), and hence more quickly and smoothly render visually rich (but process-demanding) virtual reality and realtime gaming environments.
And you'll have never seen your avatar move so fast![Read More]
Google's search guru Matt Cutts doth protest too much in a recent post about privacy and Google's Web History feature.
But in light of the impending GoogleClick merger, it's understandable, and I appreciate his attempt to set the record straight about what Google does and doesn't do with the personal information it gathers on my behalf as I Google my way around the planet.
As an example, Matt points out that Google will anonymize my queries after 18-24 months, so that my PII can't be associated with my queries beyond that time frame.
He also points out that my ISP has much more information about me than Google does...it's the ISP that keeps all the IP addresses I visit (and which can also be legally verified with a credit card.)
And hey, ISPs even sell my information. Shocker!
But it was never Google that I was concerned about when it came to the abuse of my clickstream data or search history.
It was the U.S. Department of Justice.
Or my future employer.
Or my health maintenance organization.
Or anybody else whose business none of it ever was but whom might, someday, want to get access to the aggregate digital footprints I've left strewn about (even if only for the past 18-24 months).
That's where the Tropical SEO chimes in, explaining something I was saying to anyone who would listen as far back as 1999: That privacy protection would someday become a cherished competitive feature/function in the new digital milieu.
It seems that day has arrived. Tropical writes:
"At a certain point, search relevancy is a relative commodity, and other priorities are going to determine whether searchers hang their hats. For millions of searchers out there, the overriding "other priority" is privacy....I believe that switching costsare higher than most people commonly think for a search user; at thispoint the only thing that would make me switch my homepage and defaultsearch to Live or Ask would be if they became “the privacy engine” (e.g. take Google’s anonymizing to a new level–2 weeks?–and set a much shorter cookie, etc.)"
Privacy as cherished competitive advantage is also why you're also seeing companies such as "LifeLock" starting to secure $6M in Series B funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins.
Because identify theft prevention is now a matter to take on offense, not defense, and there are now over 100K LifeLock customers paying $10 a month to help ensure that their identity stays their own.[Read More]
The MySQL users' confab is going on out in Santa Clara, and yesterday we announced there an agreement to help make MySQL's database software compatible with IBM's i5 operating system (for the System i).
This deal will also make MySQL Enterprise subscriptions (including database software, services, and support) available to IBM clients worldwide through our reseller network and also through the System i sales team.
MySQL is used to run a number of Web operations, including Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and others.
We haven't heard much from our friends in the virtual worlds lately, including Second Life.
But they continue to grow like wildfire, and now Second Life in particular is looking to get a voice.
At this week's Gartner Symposium ITxpo, one of my personal favorite geekfests, Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale made some news by announcing in his keynote yesterday that Second Life would launch a small beta trial that would allow avatars to have an integrated voice, according to a report from CNET.
Rosedale suggested the incorporation of voice would accelerate using Second Life for holding virtual conference meetings.
Great, now I've got to get a voice for my avatar, along with my rippin' new virtual Matrix suit.
Hmmm....I wonder if I can buy one of those little small voice box distorters. You know, the ones you see in the spy or horror movies so nobody can recognize their voice?
I mean, c'mon, I don't want anyone to know who I am in Second Life! My avatar is my alter ego!
What happens if I run into somebody I know? Might I have to talk to them??
For me, that's always been the whole purpose of Second Life...I wanted to avoid humanity and hide out cloistered in a virtual environment that mimicked a semblance of the real world without having to actually engage in real world activities like conversation!
What's next, my avatar's gonna have to get a job? Which means, in turn, that I have to build him a virtual resume?
What am I supposed to put down for his job history?
Resume: Todd's Avatar
2002-2005 -- Didn't exist. Clueless human owner knew nothing about emerging virtual worlds like Second Life
2006 -- Human owner finally got a clue and I came into existence. Mostly hung out on Orientation Island looking for a clue myself
February 2007 -- Owner bought me some happenin' new virtual threads. Mostly hang out in Virtual Amsterdam trying to master the art of flying and sitting.
Beginning April 2007 -- Owner explained it was time to get a job. Applied to several virtual casinos as a croupier.
Mid-April 2007 -- Thinking about starting blog network inside Second Life...also reconsidering vocational opportunity as a V-DJ, considering the introduction of voice into the Second Life environment.[Read More]
This is per that last post dinging Doubleclick for providing no subscriptions to their otherwise excellent video content.
If you've been wondering why RSS has become part of the basic plumbing for consuming information in the new new world, watch this brilliantly simple video entitled "RSS in Plain English."
If you don't get it after watching this, ya probably had better just hang up this whole new media thing.
It's all about subscriptions, bay-bay....to anything and everything online...now. Easily. Without a lot of hassle and interference.
Click a button...get your content. [Read More]
Can't we all just get along?
Apparently, we can.
Mashable is reporting that Photobucket and MySpace have now kissed and made up, with Photobucket video embeds once again working on MySpace pages after being forced to stand in a virtual corner for the past two weeks.
But Mike Arrington wants to know "who blinked first and why," explaining that Alexa data suggests Photobucket got a PR boost from the controversy as opposed to what many would have expected to be a significant traffic decline.
Bad news is apparently better than no news at all.
Speaking of PR, DoubleClick is going on a rebranding offensive with an excellent example of new media communications online via a site called "Nervecenter," complete with chic video interviews with CEO David Rosenblatt, who speaks about the new new DoubleClick and the opportunity ahead for "redefining the digital space."
Alas, the redefinition does not seem to have been redefined prior to the announcement of Google's intended acquisition of DoubleClick, which means there's no lipstick to be found anywhere on the "Nervecenter" site about the looming privacy pig...or was that an elephant???
In any case, the "Nerve Center" is (mostly) very well executed -- long on style, shorter on substance -- but struck a nerve with me by not having any RSS feeds in sight?
What does one have to do to get a subscription around here? Drop a cookie?[Read More]
turbotodd 100000388Y Tags:  blackberry on_being_untethered twitter pingedness 2 Comments 4,722 Views
I joked about the Blackberry outage last week, even getting picked up on the Wall Street Journal Marketbeat blog where many of the Crackberry, pingneedy untethered had gathered to commisserate their untetheredness.
Over the weekend, The New York Times went deep on the story, with reporter Matt Richtel explaining that the need to be connected was a behavior "fueled by powerful social motivators."
"Interaction with a device delivering data gives a feeling of validation, inclusion and desirability," he explained. "It's no fun to be the only un-pinged person in the room."
He also likened the Crackberry syndrome (my un-scientific phrase for the pingneedy) to a sort of "random reinforcement," that the fact that "you don't know when important news will come...means you will quickly engage in obsessive compulsive behavior."
Man...and all these years I just thought people were checking their email!
There could be a new Web 2.0 business model in there somewhere: A halfway house for Crackberry addicts, complete with thumb therapy and ping withdrawal psychoanalysis.
Of course, you could just trade one form of pingneediness for another. The Times also went deep (well, as deep as one can go) on Twitter, which I wrote about during my recent experience at SXSW.
You'll have to read the full article to get context, but Bruce Sterling's quote sizing up Twitter was worth the price of admission:
"Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite 'The Iliad.'"
Only thing is, the CB radio never came with a global map where you could follow who was saying what from where with the equivalent of realtime digital GPS.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen (and reformed Crackberry addicts), there's now "Twittervision" which allows you to follow the global Twitterers realtime.
The fact that such a thing now exists is both simultaneously fascinating and disturbing.
I figure, at minimum, it will allow us all to keep an eye out for Odysesseus, just in case he does emit a tweet: He'll be the guy wearing the long toga and the well-exercised thumbs.
Me, I'll be sitting back basking in my pingless untetheredness.
And I'll keep the light on for you...but not the Blackberry.[Read More]
IBM announced today that it has processed over 100 million pounds of used and obsolete computer as part of its computer renewal and recycling efforts worldwide in 2006.
This is the fourth straight year IBM has managed to decrease its return-to-landfill volumes.
Old IT equipment has in recent years been no small issue for IT managers everywhere.
As our own Daniel Randsdell, the GM of IBM's Global Asset Recovery Services, points out, "Closets filled with old IT equipment are becoming a huge headache for IT managers across the globe."
It's also worth noting we don't discriminate by brand. Bring your tired and processor-weary Dells, HPs, etc...we pretty much take 'em all.
And if you were wondering whether or not this is something worth paying attention to, try this sound byte on for size: Over 600 million corporate PCs alone are expected to be retired by 2010. But it's estimated only 2-5% of that will be scrubbed of sensitive data and recycled.
That's where the Asset Recovery team comes in. Each week, they take in more than 40,000 pieces of IT gear from clients worldwide, recycling and refurbishing servers, PCs, laptops, even mainframes, at 22 sites around the globe.
Since 1995, we've documented the collection and recovery of over 1.4 billion pounds.
Save a server, spare the landfill.[Read More]
The Google Mint continues to demonstrate steam in its latest earnings, with net income having climbed to $1B in the latest quarter, reports Bloomberg.
CEO Eric Schmidt explained that "We overspend relative to what people think we should capital..." and ..."underspend on people in, say, customer service because we're automated."
But the Google $$$ printing machine ain't the only thing being automated out in Mountain View.
Search swami Danny Sullivan has also outlined some new changes to its search history system. The feature formerly known as "Search History" has been renamed "Web History."
The feature allows Google to record each and every single search and Web site you visit.
Google is being purposely transparent about the move, but the level of personal data associated to individuals is greater than it has ever been with this move.
On the other hand, the personalization of search brings great user benefits, allowing the consumer to reach back and easily find previous searches or Web site visits (search the searches!).
It's a mixed bag. Become a more informed and educated Googler. Read Danny's post and decide if the privacy tradeoff is worth it for you personally.[Read More]
MySpace is attempting to lure the wisdom of crowds as they try and take on Google News and Digg.
The TimesOnline is reporting that MySpace is going into the news business with a service that will scour the Internet for news and let users vote and rank and rate the most popular ones.
But MySpace is owned by News Corp...aren't they already in the news business?
Might MySpace's real motive be to get into the portal business?
Only time -- and a contracting or expanding ad rate card -- will tell.[Read More]
I've been holed up in meetings here in Armonk, so all kinds of news has been sneaking past, including some from IBM.
Yesterday, for example, we announced a new and simplified version of IBM's WebSphere Portal software, one that has some Web 2.0 enhancements as well as a set of tailored "accelerators" that help customers get implemented quickly (also leading to faster ROI).
Some examples of the new Web 2.0 capabilities include enhanced interactivity and responsiveness (including Ajax and REST support), in-line editing, intuitive drag-and-drop, and intelligent page refresh.
Later this month we'll also make the IBM Portlet for Google Gadgets available that will make over 4,000 existing Google Gadgets readily integratable into your WebSphere Portal environment.
You can read more here or you can register here to check out the demo.[Read More]
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No, it's not your battery.
Bloomberg is reporting that Research in Motion's BlackBerry service experienced disruptions overnight in North America and other parts of the world.
Yes, it's going to be one of those days: A bad BlackBerry day.
As of post time, there was no expected uptime.
PC Advisor indicated that the widespread outage began last night, as customers started swarming the BlackBerry Forums discussion board to find out what was the situation.
The U.S. tech support line provided the following message:
"We are currently experiencing a service interruption that is causing delays in sending or receiving messages. We apologise for the inconvenience and will provide updates as soon as they become available."
Translation: Your BlackBerries have stopped working and we're hearing from a lot of you, and we will make it start working again soon or business in the Western Hemisphere could come to a screeching halt and we'll get blamed for it!
CNBC just reported that the outage did, in fact, impact all users in the Western Hemisphere, that the failure began at 8 o'clock last night, and that there are now concerns that an overwhelming rush of messages when service does return could cause greater failures.
Face the music, rest your thumbs: It's gonna be a "Send smoke signals" kinda day.[Read More]
I spent much of today on an airplane...a JetBlue airplane, in fact...so talk about being out of the loop for a full news cycle.
Though I did have access to satellite TV nearly 7 miles up, alas, there were no IP bits to keep me informed of the fact that Google announced a Web-based presentation tool.
Well, excuse me if I don't jump up and down on the roof of IBM headquarters here in Armonk in celebration, but I already have a presentation tool...it's called Microsoft PowerPoint, and it works just fine.
And I can't say as I perceive that to be an overwhelming innovation...although I will reserve judgment until I see the sharing capabilities...that's always the worst part of PowerPointing (it's a verb in my vocabulary) sending multiple versions out to your various colleagues over and over and over again...so if the Googleites do some innovatin' on that front, and also in making it easier to find old versions of GooglePoint slides, then I'll be more convinced.
That, and getting a few million of my closest colleagues to consider a wholesale switch to the new Google PowerPoint clone.
Meanwhile, it's also being reported that Sprint could be Vonage's white knight. I hope that's the case, as I'd like to still be able to make VOIP calls...or any calls, for that matter...from my home office.
Sprint: Together with NEXTEL, and Vonage. "Woo woo, woo woo woo."
And then there's AdAge reporting that media outlets including The New York Times and Inside Edition are purchasing keywordsrelevant to the Virginia Tech massacre.
I'm as big a proponent of search marketing as anyone, but The New York Times having a sponsored link for the keyword phrase "Shooting at Virginia Tech"???
As they shouted at "United 93" when it first appeared in theatres, "Too soon"...not to mention, too direct. I would have expected better from the elegant and usually tactful Gray Lady.
Apparently it wasn't too soon for "Dateline NBC" either, who were already trolling Facebook groups in search of "friends of the accused" and who apparently had "camera crews nearby ready to talk to anyone who can supply information about him and his movements leading up to the tragedy."
I understand the need for "gets" by the major media, but the day after the horrible incident, folks? Haven't those brave and steady Virginia Tech students already done enough interviews for the time being? Maybe give them a couple of days to collect their thoughts without shoving a TV camera in their face?
Finally, it appears that the copycatting has begun, and right in my own backyard.
I discovered late this PM once on the ground in NY that St. Edwards University, a long stone's throw from my home in Austin, had its own bomb scare evacuation earlier today after a threatening note was found in a bathroom.
This led to a cancellation of classes for the rest of the day's and evening's classes to "allow the university adequate time to ensure the security of the campus."
St. Edwards were notified of the class cancellation and dorminatory evauations via both email and loud speaker.[Read More]