Komarnitsky’s Halloween Webcams – amazing..


Alek informs me that he really is up to amazing X10 cam tricks with lights and inflating Homers despite the fact that it was a hoax back in 2002. It really is amazing then.
Alek Komarnitsky has (not!?) set up a remarkable use of remote online control at his house for Halloween, with 3 webcams, light switches, and inflatables controlled by the viewers. Amazing. NOT Amazing.


Google vs Microsoft reveals a pitiful MS

Today’s Tech headlines:

Google Aquires JotSpot

Google shares ad wealth with videographers 

Microsoft has a new image on their boxed software 

Who’d have thunk just a few years ago that so many would be pitying Microsoft as the “has been” of computing innovation?     Sorry, but Ms. Dewey is just not going to head off Google, MS guys.

Sex, lies, and commercial blogging disclosures

Mike Arrington suggests that PayPerPost is now officially absurd with a new and silly disclosure policy and I think I agree:

PayPerPost’s disclosure options are already effectively obsolete because checking the first box = “Look at me, I’m a very virtuous blogger” does not disclose the use of that blog as a powerful search optimization tool for *other* websites by the blog author or his associates. Also, if somebody runs ads and gives the money to charity I consider them *more* virtuous than somebody who refuses advertising, yet these standards imply otherwise.

I think the whole notion of commercial vs personal is getting so blurred that we need to either stop worrying about this OR look for an extremely high level of blogger identity transparency (e.g. a clear itemization of vested interests posted and verified by a third party with public consequences if the blogger fails to disclose vested interests).

Non-commercial bloggers become speakers and book writers and link to friends – is that commercial? Of course it is.

Face it, Facebook isn’t even close to being worth what’s going to get paid for it

Like many frothing at the mouth online analysts and social networking ravers, Pete Cashmore suggests that Zuckerberg is right to act like he’s in no rush to sell Facebook, but this is silly. Zuckerberg is playing high stakes poker and he has a LOT to lose – certainly hundreds of millions if Facebook hits any major snags or if some newer and hipper online community takes root. I suspect he knows this but is loving the game, and I certainly admire this young whippersnapper for that and for creating such a magnificent web community. Magnificent, but only “worth” a fraction of the 1+ billion Cashmore suggests Facebook is now worth as an independent business.

But then what do I know, I traded my Apple for WCOM back in the day.

I do think Google will now scarf them up as part of their “empty the lake of big fish” marketing strategy, and I predict they’ll pay about 1.1 billion, but this is the luck of timing by Zuckerman, not a market based assessment of the value of Facebook as an independent entity, which everybody seems to be wildly overestimating. YouTube’s the same situation, where it’s value is not in streaming 100,000,000 crappy videos per day, rather in the fact that it helps Google, now awash in high valued stock, consolidate their position as the key online advertising leader.

The funny thing is that the *same rationales* used in 1999 are rearing their silly heads again, and only a handful of investors are noticing this. Unlike 1999 there are now many *real companies* out there with moderately long and profitable online histories, but ironically they appear to be very undervalued compared to the more speculative plays.

Should Blogging ban Conferences?

Nielsen banned blogging at a recent conference leading Steve Rubel to ask “Should Conferences Ban Blogging?” I think a much better question is this:

Should Blogging ban Conferences?

Over the last 18 months or so I’ve made a point of attending several internet-related conferences. Some were informative, some fun but one of the most important things I took away was how much more I could have learned by simply spending an equal amount of time in careful online study of new developments.

This was even true at the best conference format from the superb UNconferences held by Dave Berlind and Doug Gold in Mountain View. So, why am I heading down to their latest effort, Startup Camp, next Wednesday and Thursday? … Well, it’s because conferences are a very enjoyable way to meet people and learn a few new tricks and “get out” from the somewhat nonsocial work environments in which many online professionals dwell much of the time, especially independents like me.

But blogging those conferences is really enjoyable, creates highly relevant new content for the web, and most importantly spreads the word to people who can’t attend due to expense or distance or whatever.

The idea of conferences banning blogging is very shortsighted from the conference’s financial success perspective since blogging is free publicity for next year and will encourage the growing legions of citizen journalists to attend.

FAR more importantly, Banning blogging is also turning the internet efficiency on it’s head and suggesting that the goal of conferences is the greedy monetization of the conference itself, rather than the appropriate monetization of the education and social experience.

Hey conferences – if you have something worth saying, it’s worth your attendees blogging about it.

UPDATE:  Max has a thoughtful reply, though I don’t agree:

Max this is a thoughtful argument and correctly separates this case from normal conference blogging as I failed to do in my critical post.
However I remain skeptical of any anti-blogging policy since it defies a new open standard that suggests blogging keeps the online world humming along nicely.  This appears to be too close to asserting that it’s OK to profit from online communities and activities with no obligation to share insights with that same community.

Myspace to Facebook migration underway. Next Facebook to ?

Washington Post piece suggests Myspace may be in trouble as teens migrate from there to Facebook, which until a month ago was a college socializing website but now covers the globe. I’m not sure Facebook will be the endpoint though. Seems to me that the ‘need’ for a social network separate from the internet network is a transitional thing. What we’ll see eventually are socializing applications/gadgets/routines that will collect information from everybody’s online activities and disperse the info in ways over which we will have a fair amount of control.
For example as I write this blog entry (or do anything online) I should be able to click a button and have all the content dump into all my other web “spaces”. (This actually happens at Facebook already and kudos to them for the blog import feature).

Seems that any writing I want to make public should be placed in any and all appropriate places and be completely searchable from many search engines within minutes. We are a long way from that but I see social networks as a transitional form, not a final form, of online socializing, content creation, and content distribution.

Complicating the commercial analysis of the migration is the fact that users of Myspace are getting older, and probably are less likely to shift once they have established themselves on a social network.

However, it would seem to me that the most profound aspect of social networking has not really surfaced yet and that’s the fact that people will become increasingly frustrated with the fact that their Myspace / Facebook web pages and web views are primarily and overwhelmingly benefiting those companies rather than the content producers.

Heavy online users often don’t even realize that simply surfing around online and composing new and original content is a key component of all those juicy ad dollars flowing to many in the food chain like Google and Myspace and Facebook, but not to the owner of a Facebook or Myspace page.

Interesting Tech Items Today

Lot’s of neat tech news this morning:

David Berlind is concerned about IBM’s lawsuit against Amazon which suggests IBM patented online advertising.     This may make reverse domain hijacking look like child’s play.

Bog Cringley’s involved in a a new flash drive project that really looks promising.  Cheap storage = good.  Helps lead to ubiquitous information landscape = global mind = fun and educational.

Tim O’Rielly is provocating again with “Search Startups are Dead, Long live Search Startups.

Alison Krauss Rocks the Country House

Alison Krauss is my favorite vocalist and with Union Station puts out superb bluegrass music. Unlike many, MANY in country and pop music she does NOT use Auto Tuning software (usually the Antares version is used by pros I think). Tonight she’s on CMT with Vince Gill, another great country performer.

Auto Tuning takes off-key notes and puts them in key. This process is used routinely on recordings and even in many real time performances using high end gear that routes the microphone output through the auto tuner before it goes out the amplifier.

I don’t object to the use of Auto tuning – it’s inevitable – but I wonder if it’s changing the music industry in undesirable ways.  For example attractive artists are now more likely to beat out unattractive ones because their pitch problems can be corrected.   Why is that a problem?   Clearly innovative music is more likely to come from great musicians, not attractive ones, and obviously better musicianship is an asset to the industry.

Obivous -ly

Evan, a founder of blogger which was sold to Google, has returned big VC cash to investors in his ODEO music project and started a new company called Obvious Corporation.

This statement about why he’s changing course is a very articulate vision of the new web economy. As he suggests the new web is getting more uncertain and experimental every day. I think success will increasingly follow biological evolutionary form and be more a function of experimentation, following niche specialization, and lucky survival much more than following textbook approaches.