August 03, 2012
Cory Doctorow on the Century of War Against Your Computer
Cory Doctorow spoke this week at the LONG NOW Foundation. The topic? A provocative one entitled: The coming century of war against your computer.
The war against computer freedom will just keep escalating, Doctorow contends. The copyright wars, net neutrality, and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) were early samples of what is to come. Victories in those battles were temporary.
Conflict in the decades ahead will feature ever higher stakes, more convoluted issues, and far more powerful technology. The debate is about how civilization decides to conduct itself and in whose interests.
Stewart Brand's fabulous summary of the event below where Doctorow kicked things off by framing the issue this way: “Computers are everywhere. They are now something we put our whole bodies into---airplanes, cars---and something we put into our bodies---pacemakers, cochlear implants. They HAVE to be trustworthy.“
Sometimes humans are not so trustworthy, and programs may override you: “I can’t let you do that, Dave.” (Reference to the self-protective insane computer Hal in Kubrick’s film “2001.” That time the human was more trustworthy than the computer.) Who decides who can override whom?
The core issues for Doctorow come down to Human Rights versus Property Rights, Lockdown versus Certainty, and Owners versus mere Users.
Apple computers such as the iPhone are locked down---it lets you run only what Apple trusts. Android phones let you run only what you trust. Doctorow has changed his mind in favor of a foundational computer device call the “Trusted Platform Module” (TPM) which provides secure crypto, remote attestation, and sealed storage. He sees it as a crucial “nub of secure certainty” in your machine.
If it’s your machine, you rule it. It‘s a Human Right: your computer should not be overridable. And a Property Right: “you own what you buy, even if it what you do with it pisses off the vendor.” That’s clear when the Owner and the User are the same person. What about when they’re not?
There are systems where we really want the authorities to rule---airplanes, nuclear reactors, probably self-driving cars (“as a species we are terrible drivers.”) The firmware in those machines should be inviolable by users and outside attackers. But the power of Owners over Users can be deeply troubling, such as in matters of surveillance.
There are powers that want full data on what Users are up to---governments, companies, schools, parents. Behind your company computer is the IT department and the people they report to. They want to know all about your email and your web activities, and there is reason for that. But we need to contemplate the “total and terrifying power of Owners over Users.”
Recognizing that we are necessarily transitory Users of many systems, such as everything involving Cloud computing or storage, Doctorow favors keeping your own box with its own processors and storage. He strongly favors the democratization and wide distribution of expertise. As a Fellow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (who co-sponsored the talk) he supports public defense of freedom in every sort of digital rights issue.
“The potential for abuse in the computer world is large,” Doctorow concluded. “It will keep getting larger.”
For more information on future LONG NOW Seminars in San Francisco, visit their site. They bring one amazing speaker after another to speak, so it's worth attending one if you haven't and live in California or don't live closeby but can plan a trip around one of their upcoming events.
Photo credit: Oreillynet.com.
July 20, 2012
Flipboard's 2nd Anniversary: The Team Celebrates in Palo Alto
Flipboard is turning two years old this weekend and celebrated its anniversary this past week in its Palo Alto CA parking lot with friends, family, employees, investors and Silicon Valley influencers.
For those of you who don't know what Flipboard is, you're missing out on a beautiful online experience. Pegged as a 'social magazine', Flipboard is an app for the iPad, iPod and Android which allows you to view content in a way that is stunningly delicious, where photos and simplicity rule.
Part aggregator and part stunning UI for content you already consume, it was listed in the 50 Best Inventions in 2010 by Time Magazine and they describe the experience: "Flipboard ends the chaos by grabbing updates, photos and links from your friends and other interesting people, then reformatting everything in a wonderfully browsable, magazine-like format." Well said and it's spot on.
The team is headed by former Tellme head Mike McCue, who is a natural "marketing machine," precisely because he "isn't one."
Mike one of the most genuine, down-to-earth understated entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, with a heart and brain that are equally matched.
So, when the team said c'mon down and celebrate with us, how could I refuse?
They have attracted great talent who want to make a difference in the way we consume content today.
In a world where we're constantly barraged by irrelevant stuff, whether its from social media or websites and blogs, Flipboard lets you dictate what you want to see in a gorgeous format.
The casual outside party held a number of surprises, such as the photo booth where you could get your photograph taken in front of magazine cover, like Rolling Stone. You could also feel ten years old again, while you fished for a miniature teddy bear wearing a Flipboard T-shirt from a machine. And, they had a buffet of pork, beef and chicken barbecue as well as a variety of salads, beer, soda and wine.
Below Flipboard CEO Mike McCue and Klout's COO Emil Michael
We all know that Scobleizer aka Robert Scoble is a huge fan of the app :-)
Back to the local touch. Sinister Dexter who has an awesome sound, played blues, rock and hopping jazz for several hours and sadly by the time I wanted to kick off my shoes and swing dance to a number, they were starting to pack away their instruments.
Kudos to the Flipboard team for all of their successes to-date. I, for one, am a fan, and no I sadly don't have any stock or work for them.
Photo credits: team show in car and Emil/Mike shot from Eric Alexander of Flipboard, other photos by Renee Blodgett.
July 09, 2012
Is Social Media Turning You Into a Low Self Esteem Anxiety-Rich Freak?
Roughly half of the survey’s nearly 300 participants, reported that their use of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and others reduces the quality of their lives.
Confidence is affected, they say, self esteem is lower they say and two-thirds claim they find it difficult to relax or sleep after spending time on social networks.
This isn't rocket science. Ask anyone you know who spends a lot of time in front of a screen, glued to online games, social networks, management platforms like Hootsuite or sites where they're engaging in any way.
Roughly a quarter cited work or relationship difficulties due to online confrontations and more than half of the participants say they feel “worried or uncomfortable” at times they are unable to access their Facebook or email accounts. I have seen anxiety arise around me when people can't access their worlds online, including something as small as a Foursquare check-in.
Spend more time in an always on digital world and of course you're anxiety will increase. This isn't rocket science. But people are so hooked into the notion that it connects us 'more' that they don't look for the obvious negative side effects.
Sure, I can meet new people across the globe if I am constantly glued to my Hootsuite stream, and given that I run a travel blog, there's a lot of pluses to that, but bottom line, it takes us away from real human connections - there's only so many hours in a day.
It doesn't help that tools like Klout, Kred, PeerIndex and others assign us grades on a daily basis that encourage high school "who's the popular kid of the day" behavior. Offline for a day or a week and your Klout score goes down.
The tools are so one dimensional and dare I say "unheathily addictive" that it keeps you drawn into a social media online game you can never win, particularly if you want to have healthy relationships offline. Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains doesn't lie. Not a new book, but the behavior shift is real whether or not you agree with everything in the book. Also see my post from last year on multiple digital personas.
I find it ironic that a post entitled: How Social Media Makes Romantic Relationship Thrive is immediately above a post entitled: Social Media Fuels Low Self Esteem & Anxiety on Mashable, where I originally learned about the study. Here's a link to a video reporting some of the results.
People I talk to seem to be fighting to get quality time with their other halves and the main culprit in the way? Mobile Devices and their PCs. Enuf said.
July 9, 2012 in America The Free, Europe, On Geo-Location, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, On the Future, Reflections, Social Media, TravelingGeeks, United Kingdom, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 23, 2012
Top 100 San Francisco Twitter Users
|#1) @jack - Jack Dorsey|
|#2) @biz - Biz Stone|
|#3) @Veronica - Veronica Belmont|
|#4) @mrdannyglover - Danny Glover|
|#5) @Ustream - Ustream|
|#6) @kevinrose - Kevin Rose|
|#7) @GavinNewsom - Gavin Newsom|
|#8) @goldman - Jason Goldman|
|#9) @travelbargains - Travel Deals|
|#10) @MythBusters - MythBusters Official|
|#11) @dickc - dick costolo|
|#12) @gadgetlab - Gadget Lab|
|#13) @karaswisher - Kara Swisher|
|#14) @wefollow - wefollow|
|#15) @twitter_de - Twitter auf Deutsch|
|#16) @wiredscience - WIRED Science|
|#17) @donttrythis - Adam Savage|
|#18) @GuyFieri - Guy Fieri|
|#19) @Metallica - Metallica|
|#20) @TwitCause - TwitCause|
|#21) @mingyeow - Ming Yeow Ng|
|#22) @RoomtoRead - Room to Read|
|#23) @BrianWilson38 - Brian Wilson|
|#24) @iheartquotes - i heart quotes|
|#25) @Kiva - Kiva|
|#26) @IGN - IGN|
|#27) @klout - Klout|
|#28) @grantimahara - Grant Imahara|
|#29) @Twitvid - Twitvid|
|#30) @TylerFlorence - Tyler Florence|
|#31) @jess - Jessica Verrilli|
|#32) @zynga - Zynga|
|#33) @Kjer - Kjerstin Erickson|
|#34) @womensprosoccer - Women's Pro Soccer|
|#35) @davemorin - Dave Morin|
|#36) @delbius - delbius|
|#37) @Samasource - Samasource|
|#38) @1bog - 1 Block Off the Grid|
|#39) @dougw - Doug Williams|
|#40) @jennadawn - jenna|
|#41) @humphryslocombe - humphryslocombe|
|#42) @aspirationtech - Aspiratio|
|#43) @WeBlogtheWorld - Travel,Ideas,Culture|
|#44) @rsarver - Ryan Sarver|
|#45) @jkalucki - John Kalucki|
|#46) @rk - Ryan King|
|#47) @mrtall - Andy Lorek|
|#48) @JoinTheFlock - Join The Flock|
|#49) @abdur - Abdur Chowdhury|
|#50) @bs - Britt Selvitell|
|#51) @starwars - Star Wars|
|#52) @stop - Doug Bowman|
|#53) @anm - Alex McCauley|
|#54) @Macworld - Macworld|
|#55) @kevinthau - Kevin Thau|
|#56) @kanendosei - Kanen Flowers|
|#57) @Fresh - Davon Scooter Hill|
|#58) @balletrusse - Maria Kochetkova|
|#59) @todsacerdoti - Tod Sacerdoti|
|#60) @CNETNews - CNET News|
|#61) @abduzeedo - Abduzeedo|
|#62) @briansolis - Brian Solis|
|#63) @digg_updates - Digg_Updates|
|#64) @TheKevinButler - Kevin Butler|
|#65) @SocialMedia411 - Social Media News|
|#66) @drkiki - Dr. Kiki Sanford|
|#67) @pcworld - PCWorld|
|#68) @Techmeme - Techmeme|
|#69) @onlyinsf - Only in SF|
|#70) @tyleroakley - Tyler Oakle|
|#71) @djshadow - DJ Shadow|
|#72) @github - GitHub|
|#73) @californiabeat - California beat|
|#74) @thirstyapp - Michael Abehsera|
|#75) @willsmith - Will Smith|
|#76) @Revision3 - Revision3|
|#77) @summertomato - Darya Pino|
|#78) @petecashmore - Pete Cashmore|
|#79) @00joe - Joe Royall|
|#80) @Hameed_Hemmat - Hameed Hemmat|
|#81) @crystal - crystal|
|#82) @Focus - Focus|
|#83) @couponlovin - Coupon Lovin'|
|#84) @dlprager - David Prager|
|#85) @k - Kevin Cheng|
|#86) @pud - Philip Kaplan|
|#87) @fANNEtweetworld - Lifestyle|
|#88) @mickhagen - Mick Hagen|
|#89) @EcoGlam - EcoGlam|
|#90) @Sfkeiko - Keiko Marutani|
|#91) @Jvascellaro - Jessica Vascellaro|
|#92) @sumaya - Sumaya Kazi|
|#93) @patrickklepek - Patrick Klepek|
|#94) @Maggie - Maggie Mason|
|#95) @noah - noah glass|
|#96) @TammyCamp - Tammy Camp|
|#97) @narendra - Narendra Rocherolle|
|#98) @c - Coley Chen|
|#99) @emilychang - Emily Chang|
|#100) @Trace_Cohen - Trace Cohen|
June 13, 2012
Fotobabble for Websites, Facebook Timeline & New iPhone App Release
Fotobabble announced three new updates this week: Fotobabble for Websites, Fotobabble for Timeline and a new iPhone App release.
Fotobabble for Websites is a new application that for the first time lets an organization run photo and audio-driven campaigns and promotions directly from any website. Through the visual impact of photos, the emotion of voice and the power of social media, brands and businesses can increase web traffic and audience engagement.
Everloop.com, the leading online social site for kids and tweens, selected Fotobabble for Websites to power its INSPIRE contest with international pop star Greyson Chance. Kids were invited to take a photo of what inspires them, add their voice, and enter to win an iPad and autographed posters.
Fotobabble for Timeline is the only Facebook application that engages fans with the visual impact of photos and emotion of voice. Easy to install, brand and customize, the app lets organizations launch creative Facebook marketing contests and campaigns.
Fotobabble features such as photo contests and voting; "like-gating" with Talking Photos; customized photo galleries; and more are now fully Timeline compatible.
Creating Talking Photos with Fotobabble’s iPhone App allows you to make iPhone photos bolder and more beautiful with just a couple of simple clicks. Powerful effects, filters, cropping tools and more help you create Talking Photos that you’ll want to share with everyone.
- Effects – Choose from ten gorgeous effects ranging from vivid color to washed-out retro.
- Filters – Enhance, adjust, and perfect your photos with one-click editing tools.
- Cropping and rotate tools – Flip, crop, and rotate your photos to position them however you want to.
- More – Fix red-eye, brighten or saturate your photos and more.
May 12, 2012
Facebook & Twitter: Lonelier Beings For Using Them?
The Atlantic Validates Our Prediction: Social Media May Make Us Lonelier In this year's edition of our annual predictions of top media stories, one of our prediction was: "We may be immersed in social media, but we’ll spend less time with actual people."
Back in Jan., we wrote, "So many people use social media sites – from Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn, to and more -- that people have less time to spend with their friends and family. We’re not sure if this will get much media coverage..." Well The Atlantic Monthly has validated our prediction in its May 2012 issue.
It's article, "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" makes the point that: "Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill."
Written by Stephen Marche, a novelist who writes a monthly column for Esquire, the article reports on "what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society." It's well worth reading. And today's Boston Globe validated our prediction that "
The desire to be connected 24/7 may change in 2012." Op-ed columnist Joanna Weiss wrote, "Giving screens -- and ago -- a week off," in favor of unplugging from 24/7 and a Screen Free-Week. Check that out, too.
Late-in-the-Day Update: Just got around to reading Jane E. Brody's column in today's Times. She's a must-read health columnist, and her current column, "Making Progress Against Clutter," went beyond thinking of clutter as physical objects. She spent about half the column talking about how much she enjoyed a recent trip to Antarctica because she and her two sons did not spend hours monitoring email and world news.
Instead, We read books and missed not one excursion, lecture, vista or conversation with an interesting shipmate. As I watched others buried in their iPads, laptops and smartphones, I wondered what people did on vacation before we had this plethora of electronic equipment keeping us “in touch” 24/7.
Perhaps they telephoned now and then to see how the dog was faring. Not knowing about problems back home or at work surely meant vacations were more relaxing, a real break from daily stress. Makes a pretty strong case for unplugging.
Reposted from Norman Birnbach's fabulous blog: PR Back Talk. Original link and post here.
See an earlier blog post I wrote on digital life overload last year.
April 12, 2012
Relevenz: Your Mobile Calendar Marries Relevant & Hyper Local Promos
Finding things that matter to you amidst the clutter (bring on smart and interesting curators please) is like finding a needle in a haystack. And truth be told, while the content needs to be interesting, it also needs to be relevant.
Relevenz is banking on the fact that people are starving for more and more relevance in a world where so much of what comes our way either doesn't spark our interest or has nothing to do with who we are or what we care about.
Relevenz is a downloadable app (they're starting with iPhone and Android with other mobile support coming later this year) that focuses on relevance within your social calendar. The idea is simple: share relevant plans with people who matter to you (Plancast has demonstrated that sharing events with friends is something people will spend their time doing), and within the parameters of that shared information, you can be informed of local offers, products and services that are most relevant to your world.
Additionally, you can make requests for products and services you want. Who would want to use this? Says co-founder Stephen Oman, "we're targeting people who have extremely busy schedules, such as husband wife teams with children who have a hard time synching up their schedules."
Obviously small business owners and consultants make logical targets as well. If you're a retailer or a vendor, you could use Relevenz to reach your customers in a very targeted way, get notified what your customers might be looking for and with the knowledge, allow you to make useful decisions to best bid for their business.
If you're a business, you can create targeted hyper-local offers in a simple self-service mode.
They have integrated with Google apps to give content "context." For example, if you put Austin Texas in your calendar, Relevenz knows your location so it can push relevant information to you within a few miles of your current destination.
When the merchant wants to throw up a specific offer, that offer will show up under a special "offers" tab to ensure your inbox or calendar doesn't get cluttered with promotions...yet, it's there under a customized tab if you're interested in exploring. Obviously the offer is hyper local adding to the relevancy. The vendor gets charged not the consumer - it's almost like a reverse Groupon.
As far as expansion and business model? They plan to open up their API so developers can build once there's more data. Check out their site for more information as well as links to download their app.
April 10, 2012
LocalSocial: The Bridge Between Mobile, Proximity Marketing & Great Deals
LocalSocial is all about the bridge between mobile and proximity marketing. Targeting business owners, retailers, merchants and venue owners, they're trying to make it easy to create offers and loyalty points rewards that can only be unlocked on the premises.
The goal of course is to drive footfall, repeat visits, and provides deep insight and social context for new and existing existing visitors. It turns anonymous walk-ins in to real people, enabling merchants to better engage with your customers in a way that's convenient and fun for them.
What they're doing is not new, but it is relevant and it is tapping into a massive market, one which a ton of players are banking on the fact that the power of proximity and location mapped with interests and culture will be a goldmine for brands.
LocalSocial's proximity framework uses Bluetooth and other technologies to detect physical proximity to other people and devices to enrich user experiences using multi-player games and marketing apps, presumably useful ones that will provide value to consumers not detract.
Here's How it Works:
Say you run a pizza takeout restaurant, a hair salon, coffee shop, pub or convenience store, LocalSocial allows you to create custom special marketing offers, ads and deals customers can 'grab' on their phones in real-time, so you can better engage with new and existing customers nearby.
The business model is pretty simple and makes sense. There's obviously inherent value in customer data, particularly data on a customer when they're close to your shop. Data this 'targeted' and 'relevant' can increase your customer base and turn existing ones into extremely loyal and "sticky" fans.
Essentially, businesses pay a monthly fee to participate in the network and a little extra for premium analytics.
Brands and Advertisers are already paying for this kind of data and analytics yet may not have the most accurate "proximity" and "behavior" figures. LocalSocial has a compelling "GridView" so you can see deals arranged by shop. What's most useful here however is that "proximity" is flagged, so that as a user, you know which shops are “right here, right now” and have offers of interest and value to you precisely at the time you're nearby.
If you're a retailer or small business, the service seems like a no brainer to check out, particularly if you have locations in various regions. are simply trying to drive more traffic to one of them or your only one.
If you're a Foursquare user or a "social media app" addict, it seems like you could just get hooked. After all, deals just might be more interesting and lucrative than what is being offered in the "fluff" pipeline today. If you're not an early adopter but just thrive on a good deal, it's also an interesting concept.
Remember that the company is still small and hasn't yet expanded to global cities, so give them time to expand their network before you get frustrated that they're not yet available in your country or city yet. The idea however holds a great deal of promise so keep an eye out for their updates and 'new market announcements.' LocalSocial is a very promising start-up with a mobile solution that offers something of value to both customers and small business.
April 10, 2012 in America The Free, Client Announcements, Europe, On Branding, On Geo-Location, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, PR & Marketing, Social Media, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 09, 2012
UCLA's Social Media Business Course on April 27-28
There's a fascinating social media "business" course coming up in LA April 27-28, 2012 at UCLA. Entitled the UCLA Social Business Course, the course is designed for executives and professionals who want to go beyond the basics and learn how to apply social media to get concrete business results.
Led by industry veteran Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, she'll explore real-world examples using case studies and explore how social media affects each functional department (PR, marketing, customer service, product development, etc.). The course will also dive into ways to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for each.
Social media monitoring will be part of the curriculum, along with an assessment to benchmark the "as is" state of your social media initiatives and compare them to "could be" via best practices geared toward social media and digital programs with higher monetizations of social media investments.
With this insight, business leaders can assess their next steps; create executable strategies and tactical plans that make sense to traditional organizations (even those not familiar with social media); and make the approval process for initiatives and implementation simpler, more efficient, and effective because they are grounded in business fundamentals that maximize the ROI in social media.
If interested, you can find out more and register here.
Entrepreneurs: Look Outside Silicon Valley for Innovation, Talent & Money
In the states, Denver, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Portland and Seattle are all making strides.
Just this week, I was informed of a few start-ups out of Montana which just closed small rounds.
Outside the states, many entreprenuers and VCs alike know about the flood of activity coming out of Israel, the UK and mobile apps from developers in Eastern Europe, Asia and South Africa (Memeburn is a growing social media and start-up blog for the developing world and a hot new Cape Town-based start-up conference is unveiling in the fourth quarter).
Paris-based LeWeb is one of the hottest start-up and technology conferences around and given its growth and diversity, it's not just focused on Europe anymore. In the last six months alone, I've met 6 French entrepreneurs who are moving from Paris to the Bay Area to increase their likelihood of getting funded and hiring the "right" names. Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore too are all sprouting up new initiatives and innovations.
I talked to the Singapore folks at SXSW who fed me fabulous chicken wings at their booth. They have a presence in Silicon Valley and are hoping to grow it in the coming months and years, as is Ireland with Enterprise Ireland, who is responsible for the funding, development and international growth of start-up companies in Ireland.
The popularity of the Dublin Web Summit and the F.ounders conference are both strong indicators that the number of entrepreneurs and smart ideas coming out of Dublin and other pockets of the country is on the rise.
Ireland also had a strong presence at SXSW with 30 companies on-site under the Enterprise Ireland umbrella. Part of their pitch to the social media and technology world was not just of their own talent, but to encourage others to bring their businesses to Ireland.
Ireland has a E10 million fund for international start-ups. While it may not be brand new, many may not be aware of it. Why Ireland, besides the natural reasons of it being a gorgeous country with landscape to die for and a country loaded with smart, witty storytellers?
What many may not realize is that Ireland has the most business friendly tax regime of any country in Europe or the Americas, which is pretty attractive when your budgets are small and you're trying to raise early capital.
It is obviously English-speaking as well, which makes it easy for Canadians and Americans to migrate east and Ireland's geographic position and EU membership provides easy access to money flow on the continent. The World Bank's 'Doing Business' report rates Ireland as the easiest EU location to start a business. And, the Irish Government has an assertive pro-business economic policy, offering a 12.5% corporate tax rate and 25% R&D tax credit.
For those soley focused in Silicon Valley, perhaps it's time to think a little more global. With more expansive thinking will come additional resources, capital and creativity not to mention interesting culture, social benefits and economic development outside of what northern California has to offer.