April 2008

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Papers are endangered. But I’m not sure the same is true about the collection, editing and printing of news. Or of journalism at its best (as well as its worst, which will always abound).

Marc (Andreessen, not Canter — from down here it’s so easy to confuse these tall guys) has started a serial posting on the subject of newspapers. It led me to revisit my advice for newspapers, which I first offered in ten-point form a little over a year ago.

It’s gratifying to see many papers following advice in numbers 1 through 6…

  1. Stop giving away the news and charging for the olds.
  2. Start featuring archived stuff on the paper’s website.
  3. Link outside the paper.
  4. Start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies)
  5. Start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers
  6. Start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics

But still coming up short on the last three:

  1. Stop calling everything “content”.
  2. Uncomplicate your webistes, and get rid of those lame registration systems
  3. Get hip to the Live Web
  4. Publish Rivers of News for readers who read on mobile devices

So I just went to the other Marc’s site, and whoa! Dig the title of his latest post: How to build the mesh – #4: the Live Web. Way(s) to go!

Here’s where I wrote about The Live Web in 2005. Marc does a nice job of bringing the whole thing up to date. In that piece I give credit to my son Allen for coming up with the term in the first place, back in 2003 as I recall.

Hope it finally catches on.

And a hat tip to Chip Hoagland for getting me started on this.

Editor & Publisher: The San Jose Mercury News, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Cincinnati Enquirer all reported nice increases in daily circulation.


Rush Limbaugh drives me nuts, because he’s sometimes at least a little bit right about some things. Of course he’s a shameless partisan hack — yet with just enough humor and warmth that you can’t help but stay tuned.

Anyway, here’s a transcript of Rush’s show yesterday. It’s one in which he’s feeding on Rev. Wright’s exposed flesh, no less than — as Dave correctly points out here — the rest of Washington’s shark tank. Stories like this (with character and struggle out the wazoo) are too juicy to ignore.

Of course Rush’s teeth are all over Obama as well. Though mostly he’s working to submerge and drown the best of Obama under the worst of Wright.

Andrew Sullivan finds some stuff to agree with, in the midst of Rush’s several-hour chew-fest on Obama. But Andrew also points back toward the high road that Barack needs to find again, if the candidate doesn’t want to hand the game over to Hillary, for her to hand over to John McCain (which is the way to bet now in any case, if you’re just following the odds). Sez Andrew:

  Obama is a mixture in this, as in so many things, a complicated mixture. My view is it is that very mixture, that very embodiment of American complexity that makes Obama such a next-generation candidate.
  It is no wonder the some of the old guard have mixed feelings about his ascendancy; or that Wright, at this point, might feel jealousy and the erosion of his worldview. And that’s why Obama needs to spell out again his own vision of a post-racial America that is not a non-racial America. Instead of seeking to play out the clock, he needs to seize the narrative again, before it irreparably seizes him.

Good luck with that. He’ll need a lot of it.

Here’s the link, and here’s the text:

Additionally, we have awarded two special prizes for the initiatives we considered groundbreaking. The VRM project lead by Doc Searls is from our point of view a very innovative approach to bring the concept of user-centric identity to customer management. During the VRM Unconference 2008 this topic has been intensively discussed for the first time in Europe. The second special prize goes to open source projects Higgins and Bandit, which we consider the most important open source initiatives in the field of Identity Management.

And here’s Bart Stevens’ blog post with photographic proof as well.

Big thanks to Joerg, Martin and all the folks at Kuppinger Cole for hosting and for welcoming all the participants from the VRM crew to EIC2008.

We have many more events coming up. In addition to regularly (and irregularly) scheduled ones in the U.K and elsewhere in Europe (need to get everything on the wiki), we have the VRM sessions at the next IIW, plus the first VRMW (VRM Workshop, unless we come up with a better name for it) at Harvard on 9-10 July. Mark your calendars.

I missed Munich last week, at least physically. But I did get there virtually. There’s a video here of the keynote I gave (complete with slides — nice editing job there by Mike Deehan of the , who also stayed up all night with me as we got this done in the wee hours of East Coast Time). Most of that was not shown at the conference, due to technical glitches. But at least it got captured at the source end.

Here is a nice report by Phil Whitehouse on VRM2008 and the relbutton idea (first vetted publicly at Media Re:public earlier this month), in addition to his own talk there, together with Paul Downey, whose sketchnotes are here.

Two posts

In Linux Journal, Is government open source code we can patch? And in the ProjectVRM blog, VRM is user-driven.

Phil Hughes on Bob Frankson, applied in Estelí, Nicaragua:

  In social-political terms, it means looking for a local solution and then growing that solution to connect to other resources. It seems like something that could be done, would be good for Nicaragua/Nicaraguan communities and would even appeal to some organizations looking to make grants. Much like the grants for the sewer and water projects in Estelí, this is infrastructure. Up-front costs are much larger than operating costs so it doesn’t build that dependency cycle.
  Am I crazy?


Phil is in a great position to build infrastructure from the edge in. Also to see The Problem of centralization for the purpose only of creating artificial scarcities and charging for them. If we’re going to start working around connectivity compromised by value-subtracting business models, towns like Phil’s are good places to start. (Also to start leading incumbent carriers toward a future where they are part of a new ecosystem that’s much larger than the one they’ll need to quit trying to control.)

By the way, Phil is the friend who started (and for most of its history published) and hired me on there in the late ’90s. It was Phil who showed me (without meaning to, which might be the best way) that the software industry was slowly but surely turning in to the construction industry.

And that’s exacty the model we need to follow as we buid this thing back out, from the edge in.

After brunch at yesterday, we caught the — a rope jumping team of high schoolers from Torrington, CT — putting on an amazing demonstration of skill and enthusiasm, outside the Davis stop on the Red Line in Somerville. Turned out they were there to help promote , a movie showing that afternoon, and this evening, right next door at the Somerville Theater, as part of Boston’s .

I’m trying to put up one of the short videos I shot with my little Canon still camera, and it hasn’t appeared yet. Check here to see it it’s showed up. Meanwhile, here are a couple of Forbes Flyers’ own from their collection on YouTube.

So, after going to a museum at MIT for about an hour or so, we returned and caught the movie, and with it an enthusiasm both for the sport and the Xtremely Fine Job that Helen Wood Scheer, Scott B. Morgan and crew did putting the movie together. It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen, on any subject.

It’s showing again tonight at 7:30, and next in San Francisco (Wednesday), Santa Cruz and Charleston. Check this page for details. Also the Jump! movie blog.

So I decided to cave in and say yes to patients waiting in the accumulating pile of friend requests at my Facebook account. Haven’t been to Facebook in awhile, so I was also curious to see if “friending” has improved since the last time I slogged my way through the process.

First, l lost count of how many seconds passed during login. As usual, I clicked “remember me”, but I have no faith that it will next time. It never has before.

Second, I now have 190 friend requests. I know a few dozen of these folks. I would like to say yes to them as a group. While this would be handy and useful, and must be something that users have wanted for a long time, it’s still not there — though it’s nice to see that the silly intermediate checkbox thing (about how you know this person) is gone. Still, it takes another 10 18 25 seconds or so between clicking “confirm” and actual confirmation. With nothing happening in the browser’s status bar. So you have no idea if clicking even worked.

Makes me wonder if there is a cure for silos that isn’t yet another silo.

There has to be. Eventually. Somehow.

[Later…] I just “friended” a few people. They took, 30, 15, 8, 14, 33, 5, 34, 15, 5 and 5 seconds. I won’t bother to average those, because they don’t include the last two I tried. Both took more than a minute before I gave up because nothing happened. Awful.

When a blog comment to an ancient post comes into moderation and it has no relevance to that post, and the English is awful, I’m figuring it’s a splog (spam blog) comment. So I kill it.

The latest one killed went, question: How many guys ( MARRIED) feel that all they do is for not? eg… work around the house/ work for a living eg… bring home the bacon. / try to do all they can with their kids and then some. If you feel the same way i do tell my wife. That’s in response to this post from last September.

What would have happened if I had approved it? Well, in the past at least one of them turned my server into a spam slave. Or something. I just remember that the server was compromised and unscrewing it took a lot of work. The compromise came in through an old WordPress install that hadn’t been updated. One blog was killed outright and another still isn’t back.

More about the risks here. Sad that the Web has turned into a city where everybody has to bolt their doors, but … it is.

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