|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Monday, November 24, 2003
Shirky: The FCC, Weblogs, and Inequality
: "people who believe that our goals should be diversity and freedom and damn the consequences haven't had much effect on the traditional media landscape to date, so we have very little evidence on the practical effect of their proposals. The most obvious goal for this group is radical expansion of media choice in all dimensions, and a subsequent dropping of all mandated restrictions. For this view to come to pass, restrictions on internet broadcast of radio and TV should be dropped, web radio stations must live in the same copyright regime broadcast stations do, much more unlicensed spectrum must be made available, and so on. " Weblogs are cited as an example where freedom and diversity resulted in great inequality, with a small proportion of blogs getting a great majority of the usage. "Diverse. Free. Equal. Pick two." 10:42:40 PM
Shirky: Permanet, Nearlynet, and Wireless Data: 3G vs WiFi, with an interesting take on disruptive technologies: "The permanet [3G] strategy is to start with a service that is good but expensive, and to make it cheaper. The nearlynet strategy is to start with a service that is lousy but cheap, and to make it better. The permanet strategy assumes that quality is the key driver of a new service, and permanet has the advantage of being good at every iteration. Nearlynet assumes that cheapness is the essential characteristic, and that users will forgo quality for a sufficient break in price. What the permanet people .. have going against them, however, is incentive. The operator of a cheap but lousy service has more incentive to improve quality than the operator of a good but expensive service does to cut prices.
And incremental improvements to quality can produce disproportionate returns on investment when a cheap but lousy service becomes cheap but adequate. .. [Meanwhile] coverage over cost is often an exponential curve -- as the coverage you want rises, the cost rises far faster" (ie, from home, to street, to town, to suburb to rural area, the cost per area keeps getting higher). 10:30:05 PM
Shirky: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy
: The first really good thing I've read in the field of "social software". A fun read too, with stories from 1978 bbs' onwards, observations on social process, and useful (essential) advice for service providers and software authors. 10:15:42 PM
O'Reilly speculates on Meetup and Blogging Stats as an Opinion Indicator: EG:
Meetup Top Topics in Politics & Activism
1. Dean in 2004 (>144,200 members)
2. Clark in 2004 (>45,400)
3. Kucinich in 2004 (>18,300)
4. Kerry in 2004 (>16,800)
Feedster for each candidate's name:
Howard Dean - 25,724 blog mentions
Wesley Clark - 7,624
John Kerry - 7,382
Dennis Kucinich - 3334
Or, check out the Fundrace Money Map for the geographic spread of donors. 9:44:40 PM
Dell Closes Overseas Call Centers: "After an onslaught of complaints, direct sales computer king Dell Inc. has stopped routing corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India. ..
"Customers weren't satisfied with the level of support they were receiving, so we're moving some calls around to make sure they don't feel that way anymore," Weisblatt said. He would not discuss the nature of the dissatisfaction, but some U.S. customers have complained that Indian support operators are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses. ..
Corporate customers account for about 85 percent of Dell's business, with only 15 percent coming from the consumer market. Consumer callers won't see a change in technical support, Weisblatt said, and Dell has no plans to scale back resources at the Bangalore call center. Worldwide, Dell employs about 44,300 people. About 54 percent are located abroad. ..
Among Dell customers dissatisfied with the company's use of overseas labor is Ronald Kronk, a Presbyterian minister in Rochester, Pa., who has spent the last four months trying to resolve a miscommunication that has resulted in his being billed for two computers. The problem, he says, is that the Dell call center is in India. "They're extremely polite, but I call it sponge listening—they just soak it in and say 'I can understand why you're angry' but nothing happens," Kronk said." 9:28:33 PM
Xteq URL Bandit
: "Xteq URL Bandit 1.2 - Grab URLs from the clipboard fast and easily Xteq URL Bandit is a little program that monitors your clipboard and catches all URLs it finds. These URL are saved so you can later easily access them and don't lose them when you turn your computer off. " 5:45:11 PM
Iraq's new challenge: civil society:
Nice profile of an Iraq-American RTI contractor in Baghdad: "When they say it's an occupation, I say, and why wasn't Saddam? I get frustrated with that," Saraf says. "Every day without Saddam is a blessing. I think I can speak for Iraqis on that. Impatience is going to do us injustice." 11:55:56 AM
Developing Nations Begin to Embrace Internet Commerce: NYT has a few random notes on developing country developments. Two interesting points:
- Thailand has focussed policy and investments on increasing Internet penetration; it has now reached >50% outside of Bangkok.
- "Everest S.A., a family-run business in San Salvador, sold a 69-kilogram lot (152 pounds) of coffee beans in an Internet auction from one of its five farms for a record price of $14.06 a pound. .. [They] entered the Cup of Excellence competition, which included 335 of the country's roughly 23,000 farms, and in early May received first prize for beans from the family's Kilimanjaro farm. Cup of Excellence then arranged an online auction featuring lots from the competition's finalists.. The auction put her company in direct contact with buyers. In the past, she said, local mills would buy the farms' beans and sell them to distributors. "We've now taken the middleman out, which is huge," she said. .. Ms. Batlle said she had maintained a relationship with the Norwegian coffee distributor that bought her beans as well as a Japanese distributor that bid $3.20 a pound for coffee from another of the family's farms in a July auction. That change, she said, will help the farm lift average prices above the 30 cents a pound it received last year." They now pay their laborers 4 cents instead of 3 cents per picked pound.