October 18, 2007

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To Andria Krewson at Global Vue for the kudos. Good stuff there, btw. Also at Andria’s other blog.

Just got turned on to SeatExpert.com, which competes with SeatGuru.com, a service I use all the time. Both are exceptionally helpful for choosing seats on airplanes. Always keep one or both open when you choose seats on your booked flights.

Not long ago I had to change flight plans while in the United Red Carpet Club at SFO. The person behind the counter was helpful, but couldn’t answer questions such as “Which window seats are missing windows on this 757?”. So I pulled out my laptop, brought up SeatGuru.com, checked out the United 757-200 page and found out that windows are missing on rows 11 and 12. When I showed the site to the person behind the counter, she was amazed, and gratified that people other than United (with huge help from customers, actually) were filling in the airline’s blanks. Now I see that SeatExpert covers the same bases. With more detail in some cases. The competition should make both better.

Kevin Marks: In the Blogosphere, like Lake Woebegon, everyone really is above average.

China is reportedly blocking and redirecting queries of Google Blogsearch, Yahoo and other search sites, all to its own Baidu site. While one can see this in political or economic terms, it’s much deeper and sadder than that.

There has long been a trend toward seeing the Net as a plumbing system for “content” all owned and filled public and private entities that can be muscled into selectively valving whatever flows through it — and not as a worldwide “place” with a nature beyond containment by countries or companies. That’s what it was designed to be, but in reality it’s not.

Can we protect the Net as something non-national? I doubt it. It’s been two years since I wrote , and not much has been done. Today in most countries* the Net has little or no legal standing as something other than a “medium” (pipes, that is, like the cable TV and telephone lines that “carry” it into our homes and businesses) for pumping “content”. Worse, lobbying forces anchored in the “pipes & content” conceptual system are more than formidable, especially here in the U.S.

I see little cause for optimism here, beyond whatever spine the search engines and other large sites can muster when doing business with countries like China — and others who share China’s belief that censorship (for whatever reason) is a Good Thing.

* Maybe some of the rest of ya’ll have details here. Bring ’em on.

Yes and know

Stuart Henshall asks, Are Many Blogging? He suggests one reason some may be blogging less is that “You are no longer on Doc’s blogroll”. ouch.

Anyway, I’m blogging more today, because … I don’t know. Just a lot of spillover from other work, mostly. On the whole, however, I’m blogging less. I think that’s because I’m working more on various projects. I’m also spread around more. See here, here and (again soon, maybe) here.

Live, though dead

James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti. Thanks to Jim Thompson for the lead.

Every family has a black sheep. That’s what Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, said after discovering that Lynne Cheney revealed that Barack and Dick are 8th cousins.

Watch your money

From TechRepublican:

  Ron Paul’s supporters have provided a measure of radical transparency into his fundraising that would make most political operatives suffer heart failure. Going well beyond the now-passe end-of-quarter fundraising “bat,” the Paul campaign has set a public goal of $12 million raised for the quarter, posting their current total live on the homepage and including the names and hometowns of donors. If a donation comes in while you’re on the site, you’ll see it update live.
  As if this weren’t bold enough, RonPaulGraphs.com has taken it a step further. Using the live data feed that powers the graphic, the site publishes an impressive array of analytics including a minute-by-minute view of donations and projected totals for the month and quarter.

On the Q side, the TechPresident folks have just launched 10Questions.com, with help from the The New York Times Editorial Board, MSNBC and a total of 40 sponsors. Fun to see that the first video question was posted by my old pal Ruby Sinreich. :

On the answer side, here are the editors:

  Why a new online presidential forum, on top of all the others this year? Well, we believe the internet offers our democracy the chance to end the era of soundbite TV politics and start the era of community conversation. Old fashioned televised debates have their value, but TV has several inherent limits. Only a few people get to ask questions. The candidates have very little time to answer, forcing them to speak in canned sound bites. The audience has no way of providing meaningful feedback. If the candidate doesn’t answer the questions, we have no way of pushing them to do so.
  10Questions will turn all that on its head.

Meanwhile, I can’t resist pointing to the Onion News Network (ONN) video story, Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters. Hard to believe it’s not true. Maybe 10Questions can turn that around.