Those late night guys have … writers?

Like most people I find myself unsympathetic to the plight of those poor, underpaid, overworked Hollywood writers.    Also confess I’m ignorant about the issues involved and might even wind up agreeing that the writers are the cornerstone of Hollywood content, and therefore may deserve fatter paychecks and tons of internet royalties.

But this raises the key problem.   Hollywood writing stinks. 

You are telling me it takes a legion of clever writers to put out a few hours of the late night network talk show drivel that passes as “entertainment?”.  Apparently so because they are immediately switching to reruns.  Reruns of late night talk shows.    (better stock up on barf bags before I tune in).  

Even with the most robust satellite network you can hardly escape the constant onslaught of Britney, Paris, and Lindsay party jokes mixed in with silly monologues featuring a few clever shots at Hilary or Rudy G.   This is writing?

Is this going to affect Charlie Rose or McNeil Lehrer?    Now THOSE are writers who deserve a raise.   Or how about the writers at the New York Times, Washington Post, or the legions of hard working and *really* underpaid journalists struggling under the weight of blogOspheric news mania?  THOSE writers deserve raises as well as they keep the fires of quality journalism burning even as, um… those of us who don’t have any of them journalism degrees keep on jabbering away as if we were real live journalists.

But don’t take my word for it.   Here’s a quote about the implications of this strike from the President of the Writer’s Guild East:

“Losing Stewart and Colbert is something like losing Cronkite during the Vietnam War. ”

Excuse me, but now I definitely have to go find those barf bags…. 

David Carr has a good summary of the event, and the lack of much interest.   Hey, I say give HIM a raise instead!

Google to everybody: Open up and say “Google”

Matt Ingram  has it right again – Google sees Openness as a competitive advantage, but Google is also correct that Open Social networking and open cellular software and hardware are in the best long term interests of the internet community.

The tech blogosphere has been abuzz for several days now with Google’s message of Open Social Networking (Open Social) and Google’s gPhone / Google Phone / Android / Open Handset Alliance.   Open Social will bring a very open architecture to websites and networking while  Android will craete very open software and presumably unlockable and open hardware for the mobile market.

Is Google being generous?    Not really – they correctly see this as a path to even greater Google profits from advertising.    Google scoops up some 50% of all online advertising revenue now, and this is likely to continue until Yahoo and Microsoft get their advert-asses in gear, which does not appear to be happening anytime soon.    So, while the long term consequences of openness are very unclear the short term benefits are going to go to … Open up and say it loud … GOOGLE!*

* No, I would not recommend buying GOOG at $700 per share.   This pretty much anticipates a smooth transition to a Google world, which seems unlikely.  The internet, after all, is not driven by rocket science … it is driven by … advertising.

Open Social challenge – Guilt by Open-Social-Association ?

Don Dodge has an excellent post today where he suggests the Open Social hype machine has spun out of control.    I don’t really agree with him because I think Open Social is a sincere effort by Google to create the truly open social networking many have been wanting for some time.    At the same time I would say there are a lot of challenges with Open Social, and it certainly was an aggressive move to kick Microsoft in the Face-book and take the winds out of the Microsoft Facebook partnership deal.    Google is remarkably good at being sincere, innovative, brilliant, and ruthless all at the same time.  In fact it’s become a hallmark of their success though they never seem to acknowledge the ruthlessness of some of their decisions – it’s kind of a collective delusion at Google that what’s good for the Google is good for the gander.   This is often true, but not always.

Back to Don’s interesting point:   What happens if a friend of yours – on whose profile you appear as a “friend”, goes over to a porn site which is using Open Social networking.   Does your smiling mug and name wind up appearing next to objectionable material?   Yikes – you could lose your job, wife, and family all in one fell Open Social swoop and you never even did anything !     

Although I can’t say be sure I’m confident this problem has been solved.  Probably via some form of content controls or content ratings for sites that are allowed to participate.  Will there be bugs in this?  Of course, as Don notes Plaxo already had a problem with their Open Social implementation, but on balance I think it’s still reasonable to see this as a social networking sea change, albeit one that will take some time to shake out.

Open Handset Alliance

Today Google and partners announced the Open Handset Alliance, a group of phone related businesses and technology providers that are committing to develop phones and software with an “open architecture”.   

Although showcasing an actual Google Phone would have been more dramatic, this approach will likely shake up the cell phone world in a variety of ways, especially if this approach gains quick traction in the developer community.   On November 12th Google will make available a free package, the “Android SDK”  which is  a  software kit for phone application developers.   If the Google mapping applications used by the iPhone and the Treo are an indication of the kinds of new phone functionality we can expect from this Google’s expressed goal of trying to create something like a “magic phone” could actually become a reality.  Google asked kids what they’d want in a “magic phone”.    I think this was a neat way of helping adults innovate and think out of the box during the software design phase.