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Google Signals YouTube's Free MP3 Ride Is Over
Erika Morphy E-Commerce Times 2012/06/21

What's good for the Google clearly is not good for the gander. The grandfather of all scraping sites, Google made its billions sending robots to download, analyze and extract data from other people's websites. Now it is sending a 'cease and desist' to a company doing the same to one of its own services. YouTubeMP3 is a simple service that does one thing: it provides you with an MP3 version of any YouTube video. The company says what it does is legal and is refusing to shut down its service. Time may be running out, though, so I'm taking the opportunity to convert some old Runaways videos. The quality isn't the best (it's YouTube, after all) but I'll never find this audio elsewhere and it's easier than playing them while recording with Audacity (I feel like I did when I was a teenager tape-recording King Biscuit Flower Hour concerts off the radio).

Today: Total:7 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Did Google Just Cross Over?
Mike Pearson E-Commerce Times 2010/08/18

Google has come in for quite a bit of criticism after striking a deal with Verizon that "many critics say would lead to a tiered Internet at the expense of free expression." Among other things, they say, "the framework would leave wireless carriers free to charge for premium access to some features." Is that how it will shake out - neutrality for wired internet, predation for wireless? Kind of like, um, now? Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Publishers Put Pricey Premiums on iPad Content
Richard Adhikari E-Commerce Times

Well now we can quantify just how much more a closed platform costs consumers. The Wall Street Journal's closed platform edition - specifically, the one being sent to the iPad - will cost $18 a month. This is more than the print version costs, and significantly more than you pay on the open web. And "Time, People, Men's Health and Esquire will be offering subscriptions on the iPad at or close to the cover price of a print issue, the Journal reported." Today: Total:3 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Cisco to Expand Its Video-Conference Room With $3B Tandberg Buy
Erika Morphy E-Commerce Times

So I wonder how many institutions switched from Tandburg to Cisco videoconferencing systems, just to have this happen. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Falling Behind Facebook, MySpace Slashes Workforce
Richard Adhikari E-Commerce Times

I've never understood this. The company is lagging and can't keep up, so they take an action that will make it even harder to keep up. Just saying... Today: Total:3 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The PaaS Era
Erika Morphy E-Commerce Times

PaaS stands for "Platform as a Service" and is the next instantiation of the service-based (or Software as a Service (SaaS)) architecture. E-Commerce Times has a two-part article (Part One, Part Two) on the concept and its application in business. The net effect, in my view, of PaaS, is that it allows much smaller enterprises to access software support previously available only to larger organizations. "Oracle on demand" is a great example of this. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

US Patent Awards: Where Has All the Innovation Gone?
Jeff Meisner E-Commerce Times

This article points out that most U.S. patents these days are taken out by overseas companies. "23 of the top 35 companies granted U.S. patents in 2008 are based in other countries. American companies took only four of the top 10 slots." The American patent system has traditionally functioned as a tax on foreign companies doing business in the U.S., but it is increasingly a tax on their own innovation. Today: Total:5 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Nortel Files for Bankruptcy As Creditors Breathe Down Its Neck
Rob Gillies E-Commerce Times

There seems to be no bailout in sight as Canada's Nortel Networks files for bankruptcy protection. Current news reports are saying that the company, Canada's flagship technology company, will be broken up and sold to foreign interests. This is a sad day for the industry in Canada, and I would have like to have seen something done to prevent this. More from the Globe and Mail. Today: Total:7 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Cost Cuts Help Adobe Reel In a Profit
Associated Press E-Commerce Times

You really have to read carefully these days. What gave Adobe a nice profit this year has nohing to d with cost cuts - if you actually look at the text, the layoffs (600 jobs) are occurring in this month, December. After the nice profits. What kept Adobe in the black was the fact that its sales didn't tank - they actually increased a bit over last year. Which is good news. Or would have been, if Adobe didn't reward its staff for a profitable 2008 by trashing 8 percent of its work force. Which, because layoffs really hurt a company, sets the stage for a more difficult year for Adobe next year. You know, we need to adopt a new ethic for these times, an ethic that rewards companies that keep and value employees, and punishes those companies that treat workers as disposable. Today: Total:5 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Android: The Good, the Bad and That Pesky Kill Switch
JR Raphael E-Commerce Times

Looks like Google is no better than Apple when it comes to control of the platform. If you've purchased one of Google's Android Phones and have installed an application that violates Google's Terms of Service (or maybe just competes against Google) then ZAP! Google will kill it. I can see why content producers and software companies would want to build a monopoly into their hardware, but I don't see even for a minute why people would support that. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

HP's Virtualization Honcho John Bennett: Rethinking Virtualization
Dana Gardner E-Commerce Times

Virtualization is something that will occupy more and more attention in the future. Why? "We see a large number of customers spending less than 30 percent of their IT budget on business priorities, and growth initiatives, and 70 percent or more on management and maintenance. With virtualization and with these broader transformational initiative, you can really flip the ratio around." Today: Total:14 [Comment] [Direct Link]

For Sale: 3 Blogs, Barely Used; Seller Highly Motivated
Brad King E-Commerce Times

Gawker media, a company that hosts ad-supported commercial blogs, announced that it is selling three of its titles, including the formerly popular Wonkette. This comes just a couple of weeks after significant cuts in pay were announced for Gawker writers. And all this comes at a time when the commercial blog world in general is in turmoil. The life of the professional blogger isn't an easy one, according to an IHT article.

There are fears that content is becoming a commodity. Jonathon Handel of Huffington Post wonders whether content is worthless. Newsroom jobs are disappearing by the thousands. David Simon of the Washington Post asks whether the news has any value any more. Michael Masnick argues that content isn't worthless just because it's free. People over-estimate the value of content, he writes.

In the same way, the days of sites profiting by controlling access to content may be numbered. The pressure is on for all content sites to open up and allow syndication. Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, a discussion of virtual sharecropping erupted as people began to question operating systems and social networks that let you put data in, and not take it out. "I think it's important to own your own land," writes D'Arcy Norman, who wonders in passing wther requiring students to post into LMSs and such is not also a form of sharecropping. Think about the way TurnItIn takes student content and turns it into profits.

Paid blogging and paid content are, I think, a blip, an event that catches a small gap between the rapid decline in the cost of content and the even more rapidly declining cost of production and distribution. As both approach zero, the margin no longer exists, and those who were paid for producing content get squeezed. The same happens to sites that are based on monetizing access to content. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Lenovo Targets China's Rural Poor With $199 PC
Joe McDonald E-Commerce Times

Not notebooks, but it's hard to beat the price. Lenovo follows Dell, which in March announced it would sell computers in China for as low as $223. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Modders: Bringing Games to Quirky New Levels
Walaika Haskins E-Commerce Times

One of the ways computer games support learning is through the use of 'modding'. To mod a computer game is to change the programming in some way, creatung a new game out of the old game. Teachers can mod games to import learning objectives, while students can mode games to ry out difference scenarios. This article is a bit of an undeserved plug, at the end, for Sony (which will not "bring modding into the mainstream") but will give you some of the terminology and some good examples. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

In a World of iPods, Will the CD Go the Way of Vinyl?
Jason Silverstein E-Commerce Times

The same story about CDs is the one we used to hear about books all the time. You know, the need for an archive, the need for the physical feel of a book, that sort of thing. The other side is that the market for CDs is falling through the basement, and while there remains a market, it is increasingly one for nostalgia buffs only. A lot like the old vinyl record albums. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Nintendo's Wii Selling Out in Japan
Masaki Kondo E-Commerce Times

I think the deployment of Nintendo's Wii (pronounced 'wee') has many more implications for online learning than does Second Life (though I can imagine an interesting sub theme around the idea of Wii-enabled SL interaction). What makes the Wii revolutionary is that its wireless controllers send input to the program based on its location and movement, and not merely what buttons have been pushed. I've been watching people play with the Wii in the local tech shops. The interaction with the game is a much more bodily interaction, much more analogue. I think (based on what I've seen) that it will be especially popular with women and girls. I think the marketing has been pretty good. But this video will really give you a feel for the product (ignore the offensive title and comments). The Wii is the first of the gaming consoles that I actually want - now that's saying something, I think. (p.s. the two-handed controllers are called nunchuks.) Today: Total:10 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Technology's Impact Depends on Values
Sonia Arrison E-Commerce Times

I believe this: "Technology leaders should use all the tools they can to promote freedom and prosperity throughout the world, but they should remember that the values they help foster may be more important in changing the world than the gadgets they make." My values are slightly different from the author's, but no matter, the point is right. That's why the way you do something, and why you do it, are as important as how you do it, or indeed, whether you do it at all. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Thomson Acquires KnowledgeNet
ECT News Business Desk E-Commerce Times

This is pretty big news in Arizona. The story in one quote: "KnowledgeNet's technology Relevant Products/Services from Intel Enterprise Solutions platform and sales force capability dovetail well with Thomson NETg's learning solutions, resulting in increased opportunities for cross-selling and gaining overall market share." Thomson is based in Toronto, Canada. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Death of Micropayments?
Elizabeth Millard E-Commerce Times

What can go wrong with micropayments? Just about everything. Consider what happened to those companies that tried and failed: ""Some were platform dependent, or asked for unreasonable percentages of the take, or relied on putting everything on a centralized site, which would make them a portal. It seemed like every one of them offered a different road to hell." But that does not entail the end of micropayments. It tells us, though, that any such system must be platform neutral, inexpensive, distributed, and simple. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Google Branches Out Again with Overseas News
Keith Regan E-Commerce Times

Going in exactly the right direction: Google News expands with CRLFCanadian, CRLFAustralian CRLFand British news CRLFservices (I won't comment on what perspective it could be that CRLFmakes Canada 'overseas' from the writer's perspective)... Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Online Privacy Is Dead - What Now?
Keith Regan E-Commerce Times

You know, it's interesting how the very same people who go on and on about protecting content producers' rights blithely accept that consumer rights are dead in the water. Even if these rights are protected by legislation (and it's not clear that they are), expectations of individual privacy and security are pointless on the internet. The minute you conduct a transaction - or even post your email on a web site - you will get spammed and worse by what this article calls "people with less-than-noble intentions." And it's all very well for the author of this article to advise caution - "become more selective about providing information" - but let's not fool ourselves here. A very double standard is being applied. That's why wise pundits know that the very same company that wants to put tracking and enforcement mechanisms into online content to protect copyright wants to use exactly the same data to create individual profiles and launch personalized marketing campaigns. Or worse. Today: Total:3 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Building an E-Commerce Community: Friendship Sells
Keith Regan E-Commerce Times

This item discusses commercial online communities but the same holds for online learning communities. Those that are successful, argues the author, are those that make people feel like they belong. "But community cannot be forced. Many sites founded on pure community ideals, such as Theglobe.com, faltered, largely due to dependence on advertising revenue. Instead, the sites that leverage community to best effect make their efforts transparent, encouraging feedback and interaction without getting in the way." What this means for educators is that the online learning community has to be about more than just learning. Though some components of the community may be non-educational, these components are what build community loyalty and engagement. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Battle of the Online Payment Systems
Lou Hirsh E-Commerce Times

This is one for the business managers, a discussion of competing payment schemes on the web, looking mostly at services such as PayPal and BillPoint. There is some discussion of using peer-to-peer technology to manage online payment, an approach that I think offers more chances of success. Indeed, I would propose what might be called peer-to-peer-to-peer (P3P) that allows the vendor and purchaser to select a trusted broker dynamically. This is a decentralization of online payment, the only approach that will work over many environments. Today: Total:4 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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