The changing landscape of news reporting

There were several reports coming out today about shootings in Mumbai, India.  It appears that this was a series of coordinated attacks throughout the city.

I haven’t been following the story in real time, or even that closely – the truth of the matter is, this is far away from my consciousness – and as such, I can wait for a news summary to gather all of the information and present it to me in a more traditional way.

For others, this is much more time- or proximity- sensitive.  And for those people, I found this story to be interesting.  It shows how internet tools like Twitter and Flickr allow a distributed user base to quickly broadcast information to the world, events litteraly unfolding right before their eyes.  Add in a smartphone and you’ve got mobile reporting like never before.

This is just one great example of ‘web 2.0’ capabilities – taking advantage of the public to generate content.  In some cases it means you can get cumulative data to give you an idea of how good a movie is or whether a restaurant is worth trying.  In this case it means you can get live unfiltered information much quicker than any news agency can get shoes on the ground and cameras on the air.

Assigning smart attributes to your stuff

Now this is pretty cool.

I came across this device in some random web browsing.  It’s a device that can read RFID chips (tiny microchips that contain ID codes – think digital barcodes) and perform certain actions.

What you do is attach an RFID chip to something, and when the sensor (they give it the unfortunate name Mir:ror) recognizes the ID chip, it does what you’ve told it to do.

From the site:

Examples of use are limitless: show your umbrella to a Mir:ror and it will give you weather forecasts; wave your keys on top of Mir:ror and it will send an email to your loved ones saying that you are back home safe; put your pill box on Mir:ror and it will recall you when you last took your medicine! (their exclamation)

This current product is perhaps a little clunky, but it’s a pretty good idea.  Picking up an umbrella and getting the weather report is a lot easier than launching a browser, entering a website, etc.,

Now if only I could figure out what those figurines are for..

Photos from Germany posted


After a bit of a delay, I’ve finally gotten around to posting some images from my trip to Germany earlier this year.

In September, just as I accepted an offer for a new job, I took off to Germany for two weeks.  The trip started in Munich where I met up with Erica, a former coworker from my Intuit days.  Erica, Kathleen (Erica’s sister) and I then spent a few days hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps.

After an overnight train to Berlin, I met up with my father and the two of us visited some old friends throughout Germany: Eta in Berlin; Dieter in Bavaria; and Bill in Ludwigshafen.  We had a great time.

A shot in the dark from the heart of Silicon Valley

I have a routine when I start up my day, absorbing “news” from around the web.  It basically goes like this: call up Yahoo (for my subscribed-mail (this is the email address I use when buying/registering/sharing); Gmail (I forward all of my personal mail to Gmail); and an RSS newsreader.

My “News” is made up of different sources from different places.  The idea is to learn what’s going on in my world – things relevant and interesting to me.  This is made up of international, national, local, and ‘hyper-local’ information; hyper-local being items concerning my friends and family.

To that end, tools like Twitter and Facebook are helpful but there are those of us that like to manage that information a little differently – we choose to manage (and control and own) our own online presentation.

KPAO is a site run by a few folks, including my friend Dave.  They decided to collaborate on a single site rather than each hosting their own as a way to bring some variety to the content being delivered.  The postings range in topics from product reviews to political thoughts to insights and ponderings about daily life.

Dave tends to be the largest contributor of content, which is good as he’s the only one that I actually know running the site so the posts tend to be a little more relevant.  He’s pretty opinionated and doesn’t hesitate to share his thoughts.  I don’t always agree but when I don’t I still walk away with something to think about.

An excellent take on green opportunities

Another in a great series of podcasts..  This one from the Commonwealth Club and a talk given by Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO.

Schmidt talks about the opportunities that exist when looking at green technologies.  It is incredibly encouraging to hear him speak – to see business leaders embracing the true opportunities that are out there.  He’s not talking about the environment, he’s not talking about climate change, he’s talking about money and opportunity – language the will resonate with even the staunchest old-school industrialists.

And by the way, it helps the environment, national security, job creation, the economy and so many other concerns that cut across so many American demographics.

Could we see this kind of innovative thinking coming to fruition in the near future?

Listen to it here or subscribe to the commonwealth club on iTunes

Spam success rates

In an earlier post, I pondered how many people could really be falling suseptible to a particular form of SPAM.

Today I stumbled across this article on the BBCs website which reports on a recent study looking at how spammers work and what their success rate looks like.  The good news?  Not that many people are falling for them (but you knew that didn’t you?).  The bad news?  Enough people clearly are as these guys are still out there, still making money..  But it does provide some entertainment value when I receive an especially crafty one.