The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Mo Music, Mo Games, mMode

AT&T Wireless Lets the Digital Music Play

"AT&T Wireless Services began serenading its customers with a new music service Wednesday that allows them to preview music, download artists' images, and purchase CDs and ring tones over their mobile phones....

Earlier this week the company announced a deal with Yahoo, allowing customers to use Yahoo Messenger over their phones, and the company has also signed an agreement with Sega of America to offer games.

Additionally, the carrier is offering a collection of Java-powered phones that will enable customers to download more sophisticated games and entertainment content.

The new music services are expected to be some of the most popular next-generation offerings, however, as consumers have shown a penchant for music and mobility. As part of the services, customers can access songs, artist information, pictures, and tour dates from Warner Music Group, which is the first major music company to offer its tunes through AT&T Wireless....

For radio heads, the Now Playing by YES service will also allow users to find out the title and artist for songs playing on over 1,000 participating radio stations via their mobile phones. By entering the station's call letters, users can access the title and artists of the last four songs the station has played." [PC World]

Cell carriers are finally starting to interest me. I'm sure I'll be buying a new phone next spring. The only question will be which one figures out the right mix of games, multimedia, and pricing.

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Exploring Trackback and Pingback In A Larger Context

The Value of Trackback and Pingback to News Sites

"The hypertext link is one of the greatest inventions of the information age. Despite it's simplicity, it continues to fuel innovation along with debate. The latest conversation centers on trackbacks and pingbacks. Both programs automatically notify a site any time another site publishes a link back to them, albeit in slightly different ways....

While it is unclear if these early implementations of this idea are good enough for news sites to use, the idea is worthwhile to consider for at least several reasons:

Realtime feedback: The moment someone posts a link to a news story, the news site can know about it (assuming they 'ping' your news server). It would give a news site the ability to gain immediate awareness of related content and discussion on the Web without having to slog through day-old access logs.

Judge community interest and experts: In the spirit of Dan Gillmor, readers collectively know more about a subject than a reporter does. The track/pingback system, even if only internally deployed, can help identify those on the Web who might prove as valuable sources....

Bring awareness of Web community inside the newsroom: Just the discussion of building in a track/pingback system could bring in some much needed discussion about the symbiotic role between news sites and blogs. Many news sites continue to enforce prohibitive 'deep-linking' policies and limit outbound links to the rest of the Web. Perhaps a small experiment in track/pingbacking can change some minds." [Hypergene MediaBlog]

These ideas go beyond just news sites. They're really applicable to businesses, organizations, and (if I can pull off the implementation of blogging + RSS software at Illinois Library Systems) even libraries.

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Kellner Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot (Again)

Turner CEO Lambasts Ad-Avoiding Technologies (Emphasis below is mine.)

" 'I've been a fragmentor,' Mr. Kellner told the audience at the Association of National of Advertisers's national conference in the Ritz-Carlton Naples ballroom this morning. 'I'm starting to get nervous we're too fragmented.... All things good for consumers are not necessarily good for the economy....'

'I'm not against PVRs,' he was quick to note. 'I've used it myself.' But, he warned, 'the business cannot exist as its current model is today unless consumers are willing to give time for you [marketers]. I believe advertising has driven this country. Without advertising, we will damage this country....'

Because most marketers have been slow to divert their media dollars from network TV to cable -- Mr. Kellner said 75% of media dollars are directed at broadcast networks, which control only 45% of viewers -- Turner funded a massive study of Generation X consumers and their younger Gen Y, or 'millennial,' counterparts to show they are far removed from the channel-surfing, ad-averse slackers conventional wisdom has long held them to be.

'We now know that isn't true,' said Dr. Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner, who divulged little detail but offered his e-mail address for marketers to request a full presentation when the study is complete.

Conducted by Copernicus Research, the study will be released by the end of November. It tracks the customer lifetime value of Gen X and millennial consumers across 12 product categories, along with attitudes about advertising....

'They [under-40 consumers] rival or exceed the baby boom generation [in size and spending], and every year will become more and more important,' he said. He then used his 30-year-old daughter's spending habits as an example." [AdAge.com, via MediaSavvy]

Now, more than ever, I want an answer to my question: does Kellner pay full attention to each and every commercial when he's watching TV? New question: does his 30-year old daughter?

And to which economy is Kellner referring? His company's?

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So Where's The Foldable Printer?

Printer in Your Pocket? HP's Got It (emphasis below is mine)

"Geared for businesses, the 'mobile printing' technology was developed with a host of other companies, including BlackBerry pager maker Research In Motion and cell phone company SonyEricsson....

The new software allows mobile devices to print e-mails or e-mail attachments, such as PDF files or Word documents, from a printer connected to a corporate network. Hotels that cater to business travelers, such as Hyatt Hotels, plan to use the technology on a trial basis, Joshi said.

SonyEricsson plans to add the printing capability to its phones, yet SonyEricsson Vice President Philip Vanhoutte didn't have a time frame for the service's introduction....

Yet kinks in the technology are still being worked out. Jupiter Research analyst Dylan Brooks said a California hospital tested the software as a way for doctors to update a patient's medical records or fill out a prescription bedside. Most doctors, however, abandoned the technology for the traditional paper and pen, Brooks said. (Jenny asks why? Give us details!)

Mobile printing had a more successful trial with city of Toronto health inspectors, who were able to shave two weeks off the time it typically takes to issue restaurant health certificate by printing them on the spot, an HP representative said.

HP and RIM plan to sell the network technology directly to consumers. The handheld software will be available as a Web download in December for free.

The corporate license will cost $35 per user, per year to outfit 100 or fewer employees. The price will drop to $18 per user, per year for more than 100 users, up to 1,000, HP said.

Initially, RIM BlackBerry devices and devices using the Pocket PC 2002 operating system will be able to use the mobile printing technology. HP is also working with PalmSource to make the technology available for handhelds based on the Palm operating system, HP said." [CNET News.com]

This is really interesting, as it could solve one of the WLAN problems for libraries. I wonder if HP would be willing to provide some free licenses for a trial at a couple of libraries.

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Sherman's March (Towards Irrelevancy)

I don't have the energy for a proper fisking of Cary Sherman's editorial You're Dead Wrong, partially because it would be too easy and partially because the RIAA's arguments and defenses are becoming so tiresomely trite, irrelevant, and predictable. So I'll just quote two paragraphs in particular and add my own bolded emphasis as the most obvious example of his sloppy arguments, but feel free to mentally fisk the editorial as you read it yourself.

"In a speech last month at the Optical Storage Symposium, echoed in condensed fashion in a commentary on ZDNet News, Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro took the debate over peer-to-peer file sharing to a new level. In brief, he declared that downloading off the Web is neither illegal nor immoral.

This pronouncement is breathtaking, both because it is so blatantly wrong and because the arguments Shapiro advances in an attempt to justify his conclusions are so transparently specious. Nonetheless, it deserves a response, because people need to know that Shapiro's proclamation, if not a deliberate and outright attempt to misinform, amounts at best to wishful thinking.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with downloading per se. In fact, record companies and legitimate online music companies are aggressively promoting downloading as a fabulous way to get more music to more consumers. There is, however, a real problem with the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material, both legally and morally." [ZDNet, via The Doc Searls Weblog]

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New Christmas Present?

picture of the Rail skateboardOn Monday, I was wondering if there was anything scarier than watching your kids on roller blades in a skate park. I think my answer is yes, if they're on a skateboard. But I'm intrigued by the new Rail skateboard. It has a decidedly different design that is supposed to be easier to control (so maybe I could even use it!). There's more about it in a Chicago Tribune article (free registration required), but they're only up for seven days, so you'll need to access it within the next few days.

"The new skateboard, with its skinny deck and protruding wings, looks pretty weird to most boarders, but its creator, David Gantner, says it's the way to really fly.

Kids who've tried the Rail agree it can go faster than conventionally styled boards, and they say its unique design helps them do tricks.

'It feels really different at first, but then when you get used to it you can really pull some stuff,' says Mikey S., 13, of Oak Park. 'It's better for manuals, [and] you can do a lot more tricks on it.'

Olivia G., 12, of Darien, says the Rail's design makes turning a breeze. 'When you stand on the wings, it makes it easier to turn left and right,' she says....

Gantner thinks the Rail's grip system, which is patented, also helps. 'The grip system is gritty, so it holds the foot, and it's imbedded into the top of the board. There is no tape,' he says.

In addition to its thinness and wings, the Rail differs from ordinary skateboards in other ways: It has unusual end kicks, you can ride bow up or bow down, and the wings can be moved to five positions. 'It's a totally different kind of ride,' Gantner says."

It seems to be an Illinois thing for the moment, available only at our Learning Express, SkateShack, and Zany Brainy stores, although you can also order them online. Cost is $99, although a special offer through November 19 includes a free Rail backpack carrier and free shipping. Tempting....

 

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"We Can Make It Better... Faster... Stronger"

Restructuring Blogdex

"With a few more days to go before our annual research drive here at the Media Lab, I'm nearly done restructuring the backend. There might be some intermittant delays over the weekend when the final touches are instituted, and the data set is cleaned up....

  1. New design, which will inevitably cause some backlash :)
  2. Integrated link statistics, with more emphasis on diffusion (i.e. where a link started, where it went next, and so on), complete with charts (yay graphics!)
  3. A social weather index
  4. User surveys
  5. Historical index of blogdex ("a year ago today...")." [Blogdex, via The Virtual Acquisition Shelf and News Desk]

This is great news because as we're seeing with tools like TrackBack, the blogosphere needs more ways to track connections between bloggers and between relevant posts. Cameron's post is dated October 10 and the changes don't appear to be in place yet, but they should be soon. Go Cameron!

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More Like Moby Launches Book *Exchange*

Moby Launches Book Club

"Moby has started a book club as part of his current World tour.

He wants fans to bring along second-hand books to swap....

He told The Sun: 'When someone finishes a book they put it in a little box and when someone else wants a new book they look into the box and find one.'

'Ozzy Osbourne used to snort ants. Led Zeppelin had sex with hookers on private planes. And I start a book club. Because one can only snort so many ants and have so much sex before one starts to long for the comfort and companionship of a book.' " [Ananova, via LISNews.com]

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