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So, That’s It For Thunderbird
Sarah Perez TechCrunch 2012/02/23

Thunderbird is my primary email client, so I'm disappointed that Mozilla is suspending development. Though that said, there isn't really much more I want my email reader to do besides read email, which Thunderbird does exceptionally well. So I guess I'm OK with it. More here.

Today: Total:8 [Comment] [Direct Link]
How Google Pulled Off Their Live Video Skydiving With Glasses Demo
John Orlin TechCrunch 2012/06/29

We've all gone through the tech demo that goes wrong. So we can appreciate the special courage it took to do a tech demo that involved jumping out of an airplane streaming live video. Best. Live. Demo. Ever. Here's the video.

Today: Total:12 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Racism And Meritocracy
Eric Ries TechCrunch 2011/11/23

I think this article makes two good points. The first is that there is a selection bias whether or not we are conscious of it. "This is partly a cognitive problem, that people harbor unconscious bias, and partly an organizational problem, that even a collection of unbiased actors can work together to accidentally create a biased system." The second is that the elimination of bias itself fosters diversity, and that bias is eliminated through fairness. It is important, not only that the selection be fair, but that it be known to be fair. I'm not convinced of the third point, that "when people are in a situation that defies stereotypes, reminding them of the stereotype diminishes their performance." I think systems that unfair, one way or another, produce less diverse results, and it is this unfairness, not mere 'reminding them', that causes the result. This item is worth reading in conjuction with another item summarizing a Bryan Caplan post on how elite professional service firms hire their staff: select only people from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or (maybe) Stanford. As the Chronicle states, "You also can’t read this study without getting the feeling that the game is rigged." Today: Total:18 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education.
Sarah Lacy TechCrunch 2011/04/12

The mythology is this: if you work hard and get into a good school, you'll be set for life. This myth supposes that it is the education that sets us up for life. But maybe what people are paying for isn't the education at all. "If Harvard were really the best education, if it makes that much of a difference, why not franchise it so more people can attend? Why not create 100 Harvard affiliates?" But in fact Harvard won't franchise, because Harvard isn't about access. "It's something about the scarcity and the status. In education your value depends on other people failing. Whenever Darwinism is invoked it's usually a justification for doing something mean. It's a way to ignore that people are falling through the cracks, because you pretend that if they could just go to Harvard, they'd be fine. Maybe that's not true." It's not true. Yes, education is valuable; I'd recommend it for everyone. But no, education doesn't guarantee financial security; you need political policies promoting social equity to do that. So instead of paying all this money paying for access to the rich-people's social club, why don't we open access to all, and see about minding that gap between rich and poor. See also dkernohan. Today: Total:12 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Scribd CTO: We Are Scrapping Flash And Betting The Company On HTML5
Erick Schonfeld TechCrunch

Scribd - which specializes in making documents difficult to read - is betting the company on HTML5. Scribd co-founder and chief technology officer Jared Friedman says: "We are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5 is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash. Now any document can become a Web page." Well, yeah. That, and Apple won't support Flash. Today: Total:6 [Comment] [Direct Link]

It Took A Year, But Fitness Gadget Fitbit Will Finally Launch
Leena Rao TechCrunch

"What does Fitbit do? The sleek little device clips onto your clothing and tracks your movement, sleep and calorie burn throughout the day and night. Fitbit, which costs $99, uses the information it gathers about your movement to help you determine how much exercise you've been getting and how many calories you've burnt." I'm sure the learning implications of such a gadget are apparent. Today: Total:10 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Next09: Video Interview With Chris Messina On The Current State Of OpenID
Robin Wauters TechCrunch

As usual, it's the big players' inability to work with each other that is sinking yet another positive initiative. "Most of the big names that are issuing OpenID parties have yet to support the project by allowing users to effectively be able to sign in to their services with third-party digital identities. The big exception - surprisingly - is Facebook." Related: Experimental Firefox Add-on Weaves OpenID Into the Browser, from WebMonkey. Today: Total:6 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Are Blogs Losing Their Authority To The Statusphere?
Brian Solis TechCrunch

The concept of blog "authority:" was ridiculous when Technorati introduced the idea a few years ago, and remains ridiculous today as sites like TechCrunch can actually lose 15,000 links (according to Technorati) in a few months. "It goes back to the definition of authority. Links from blogs are no longer the only measurable game in town. Potentially valuable linkbacks are increasingly shared in micro communities and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and they are detouring attention and time away from formal blog responses." Well, year, but because your post has been retweeted, or cited in a Facebook status (probably your own), does that mean it is somehow authoritative? No, that suggestion has never made sense, and it doesn't now. To track authority, you have to track ideas, and nobody in the socialsphere has even come close to that yet. Today: Total:10 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Facebook Platform Now Open Source: fbOpen Released
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

Well, let's be clear here. "Parts" of their application platform has been open sourced. But hey, they're still ahead of Second Life (which promised... when was it again? that they would open source their platform). Today: Total:6 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Facebook To Open Source Facebook Platform
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

According to this report, "Sometime soon, perhaps this week, Facebook will turn the year-old Facebook Platform into an open source project, multiple sources have told us." Waiting. Seeing. Today: Total:18 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OLPC 2.0: A Striking eBook and a Step In the Right Direction
John Biggs TechCrunch

The next-generations "will consist of dual touchscreens on a single spine and include keyboard, face-to-face, and ebook functionality. The touchscreens will be built by a start-up by former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen. These screens will be readable in direct sunlight, just like the OLPC." Too bad they'll be hobbled with Windows. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Twitter Can Be Liberated - Here's How
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

"Decentralizing Twitter," writes Michael Arrington, "isn't about having backups of content if the service goes down. It's about making sure that the service as a whole can't go down." The key to this new decentralized Twitter is XMPP, an open standards based instant messaging protocol. Because Twitter is, at its heart, an instant message sent to a group of (self selected) people all at once. Via . Today: Total:8 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Facebook Responds To MySpace With Facebook Connect
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

Basically, Facebook is making user identities and some attributes available to external applications. Here's their announcement. It's not clear what the details are. My own take is that Facebook - and Google, and MySpace - would rather set up an identity federation among themselves rather than allow a much more open system such as OpenID. There will be much discussion of these initiatives as they are launched. Today: Total:20 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Rocketboom Founder Puts His Twitter Account On Sale
Duncan Riley TechCrunch

This was the weekend to abandon online things, I guess. I can't think of anything funnier (or weirder) than Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron putting his Twitter account up for bids. Here's the eBay page ($1550 as of this writing; if it's gone you read this item too late). Rocketboom, of course, is the online video channel that dropped from the map ever since co-founder Amanda Congdon was fired. Not sure which is jumping the shark most here: Twitter, Rocketboom, or eBay.TonNet suggests it's probably better to leave than to stay in the echo chamber. Today: Total:6 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Facebook Invited To Join The DataPortability Work Group
Duncan Riley TechCrunch

Robert Scoble has had his Facebook account reinstated (big surprise). Facebook, meanwhile, has been invited to join the DataPortability Workgroup. Today: Total:10 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Google Testing OpenID With Blogger, May Offer OpenIDs To Users
Duncan Riley TechCrunch

If Google goes all-out in its support for OpenID this will entrench the technology for all of us. "If the 1000 pound Gorilla in the room decides to adopt OpenID across its range of products, presumably with Blogger being only the first step of a broader rollout, OpenID may finally take off outside of the first adopter and tech communities." Today: Total:10 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Secret Strategies or Common Sense?
Dan Ackerman Greenberg TechCrunch

If there is a theme in today's newsletter, it revolves around the conflict between people wanting to use new technologies to form communities and to talk to each other, and advertisers and marketers wanting to take that environment, control it, and monetize it. This article may be a startling revelation to some people, but for those who (like me) are jaded it will be seen as just business as usual. It is a pattern we have seen followed in every arena since the internet was founded: people build an environment, and then it is corrupted by marketers and advertising. This article, which at the time of posting had 469 comments, has had a huge impact. Via Twopointtouch. Today: Total:12 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Is Facebook Really Censoring Search When It Suits Them?
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

Facebook has been taking some (well-deserved?) umps in the press regarding its use of personal information, its failure to delete accounts when requested, and now this, the evident gerrymandering of search results. Today: Total:2948 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Details Revealed: Google OpenSocial To Launch Thursday
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

Here's the Slashdot discussion. Due to launch tomorrow, Google's OpenSocial will be "a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called 'hosts') that choose to participate." This will allow users to manage user information, their social graph, and activity information, which will be available on multiple sites. One of the nice things is that "developers use normal javascript and html (and can embed Flash elements)." This is being depicted in some quarters as an alliance against Facebook and Microsoft. But Mark Andreesen (Ning, one of the partners) depicts it as the next step in a process initiated by Facebook. "A big part of what's happening today is market expansion, and Open Social will definitely help fuel market expansion, which is in everyone's interest, including Facebook's." Alec Couros writes, "When proprietary standards are threatened, I am a very happy guy." And as Harold Jarche asks, "can OpenSocial become OpenLearning?" Related: FOAF Sites: "These FOAF Sites are open social networking sites which host a large amount of 'Friend of a Friend' FOAF data. they generate it automatically for all users. If you know of sites not on the list, please add them." Today: Total:22 [Comment] [Direct Link]

9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network
Mark Hendrickson TechCrunch

The idea of a 'white lable' social network service is that you use them to create your own social networks - the brand of the service fades into the background and it is your name and network that sees the light of day. That's the theory, though in practice it turns out to be hard to get these services to put their own name into the background - a Ning social network always looks like a Ning social network. But it's a good article, quite detailed, and covers the terrain really well. Via Alec Couros. Today: Total:20 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Desktop Tower Defense Played 15 Million Times
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

I kept this link for another project, but figured I might as well pass it along here, because the game is pretty addictive. Direct link to the game. Today: Total:8 [Comment] [Direct Link]

$100 Million Payday For Feedburner - This Deal Is Confirmed
Michael Arrington TechCrunch

Using Feedburner? Looks like you'll be embracing Google ads in the near future (along with redirects through the mighty Goodly empire for all of your readers). So reports TechCrunch, at least. Today: Total:8 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Swivel Aims To Become The Internet Archive For Data
Michael Arrington Techcrunch

"Academic types are going to go nuts over this," writes the author. Here's why: "We use farms of powerful computers and algorithms at the Swivel data centers to transform a lonely grid of numbers and letters into hundreds - sometimes thousands - of graphs that can be explored and compared with any other public data in Swivel." This could open some very interesting possibilities - but we have to keep in mind, people aren't lining up to view data sets the way they're lining up to view videos. Today: Total:108 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Technorati Announces Support for Open ID
Marshall Kirkpatrick TechCrunch

This is the tipping point. Expect most major online services to support OpenID (or OpenID 2.0 if people can agree on one) shortly. As Marc Canter opines, by the end of the year. Then look for browser plug-ins to support OpenID, as I have urged. What then? Well, I guess, look for someone to claim to have invented it. Today: Total:6 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Newsgator Posts Roadmap For the Future of RSS
Marshall Kirkpatrick TechCrunch

A look at what the future of RSS may hold, as related by the people behind Newsgator. Me, I think personalized feeds, social network generated feeds, and context-specific feeds will add a whole new dimension to online content. Thanks Todd for the link. Today: Total:2 [Comment] [Direct Link]

AllPeers Is The FireFox Killer App
Michael Arrington Techcrunch

Interesting application that could become something more. "AllPeers is a simple, persistent buddy list in the browser [specifically: a Firefox extension]. Initially, interaction with those buddies will be limited to discovering and sharing files - If you choose to, you can share any file on your network with one or more of your friends." How do you make something like this illegal? But if you don't, how could you stop file sharing? And if it gets beyond files, and supports instant messaging or even audio and video communication... Today: Total:8 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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