Sunday, September 30, 2007

Burma: unknown dead bodies now reported burned at YaeWay Crematorium





After decades of brutal dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising up but as the world stand still they are also being brutally murdered in unknown numbers. I just discussed the importance of freedom of press a while ago in my post about Reporters Without Borders and already the cold blooded murder of Photographer Kenji Nagai in Yangon street three days ago serves us as a frightening demonstration for what I was talking about and for the direction things are heading at.

Now we are indeed getting into the next step as it was now reported that unknown dead bodies are burned at YaeWay Crematorium. Here is a transcript of a phone conversation with a Burmese in Yangon, published on Burma-Myanmar Genocide 2007, a blog that publishes updated news about current ongoing genocide in Burma/Myanmar and English translations of Burmese/Myanmar blogs reporting from within the country:

"Er… they shot… people got killed. Er…but it seems like it wasn't as bad as yesterday in terms of number of deaths, however we will know the accurate picture tomorrow. Er… la another disturbing news is that er… I would like to know if you would inform BBC and CNN about? (sob!!!) They burned the injured protesters/civilian people in the YaeWay Crematorium la la . Er… the staff from crematorium told this, crying, to the people who went to the funeral service. Please let this known to CNN and BBC."

Updated pictures from Burma are available on the original Burmese blogs from the following addresses:

http://niknayman.blogspot.com
http://mmedwatch.blogspot.com
http://ko-htike.blogspot.com

As internet reporters risk their lives to get this information and have it broadcasted on the web a special Indymedia team set up this backup mirror for their Burmese/Myanmar friends.

The Australian reported today that Rangoon - the dilapidated former Burmese capital - is in "lockdown, with a curfew in force from 9pm to 5am. and that "Limited phone connections have been restored but mobile and internet services remain closed."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back with (good) surprises



We don't go out on many vacations and not because we can't afford ourselves or work don't allow. When you are lucky as my wife, daughter and myself to have a large house with enough room for separate offices and the perfect job working with Conceptis at your flat 19' LCD screen you don't need to. In addition, last time we came back from a vacation there was a surprise waiting for us at home and of the type you rather leave for your enemies.

This time, coming back from three days off at the Golan Heights, things were different. Awaiting surprises were counting two and both were of the kind you wish for your friends. First, I was amazed my blog shows up first in a list of new blogs Cooper (wonderlandornot.net) is "reading and enjoying immensely". I seriously had to check with my usual dictionary for "immensely" to make sure I am not misinterpreting anything here. The Free Dictionary says immensely means:

1. Extremely large; huge.
2. Of boundless or immeasurable size or extent. See Synonyms at enormous.
3. Informal Surpassingly good; excellent.

It's good to be loved. Especially by a young bright blogger with a rare combination of talent for words, political consciousness and mass media awareness, not to mention a promising future at the age of 22.

Internet marketing sucks?



As If it was not charming enough of Cooper to mention me this way, I picked up this post at Debo Hobo, a travel blog for tips and information about traveling. When you are tagged with a FAB Five MeMe this way you should reciprocate in a similar manner, linking to five of the blogs listed on the MeMe, including the one who tagged you. You should also mention five other blogs of your choice and pass your MeMe on by posting it on your blog.

Some think this form of blogging is exactly the type of stuff making internet marketing sucks but I think they are missing the point. Internet is not a "parallel dimension" in the form of bytes and megabytes anymore which we should try keeping "clean". Internet has already become a coherent part of the human life stream, and as such it also calls for new marketing minds and profit possibilities. For the good and bad of it.

All sorts of inevitable human activities from sharing your GPS Camera phone photographs and chimeric daydreams to making music and selling Mochi-Mochi knitted toys. all of them need to be reborn now to obtain their Internet form. The new media and marketing strategies are just part of this. Advertising is changing as well. It needs to become faster, and much smarter.

Creative enough to be noticed



The web allows people to be their own marketers and thus made people to be the most useful database in the world. If I'll ever go touring for the original Hawaii Five-O locations Debo Hobo's friends list would be the first place I'll be looking at. I can honestly say some of the most interesting people I have ever met were online mates.

How else could a guy from Israel meet an extremely intelligent math teacher from Finland who is also a devoted Conceptis puzzles addict and make friends with her? Where else could I have met the coolest Urban Culture expert on earth? These people took the effort to be their own web marketeers and were creative enough to be noticed. It takes a considerable effort to think an idea over and over until you have it formed the way you want it too, but it always pays back. As nicely put by David Armano from Logic+Emotion advising us to take the effort required to see things differently:

"
My visual communications professors constantly challenged us to look at things differently. To never be satisfied with our first ideas- they were merely stepping stones to something better. When I facilitate ideation sessions, I remember these lessons. The first ideas can sometimes be really good—but the more ideas build upon each other, the better the chances of ending up with something wonderful."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Puzzles as pain relievers



The History of mankind is full of references to our constant craving for painkillers but the history of pain research and modern pain treatment begins in the 1800s. it was only In the 1850's when Charles Gabriel Pravaz, a French surgeon, and Alexander Wood of Edinburgh independently invented the syringe that Injections of morphine were generally used for local pain. The first public demonstration of surgical anesthesia, shown in the above picture, took place in Boston on October 16, 1846.

According to Wikipedia a painkiller is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems; they include paracetamol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as the salicylates, narcotic drugs as morphine, synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as tramadol and more. There are some other classes of drugs, not normally considered as analgesics but still use to treat neuropathic pain syndromes but they are all drugs. It's got to be a drug.


Poppy: ancient pain relievers

Nevertheless, there are other forms of pain killers that do not fit to the above encyclopedic definition but still used by people as effective pain relievers. For example, have you ever considered puzzles and other casual games as pain relievers? A study conducted about a year ago shows many people do just that. The majority of casual games players, according to the study, are females typically playing the games as a form of stress relief while many of them add the games also provide good mental stimulation. Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a Stony Brook NY-based psychologist and expert on stress management who conducted the research, advocates them as a source of both stress relief and cognitive exercise:

“Casual word and puzzle computer games, such as ‘Bookworm’ and ‘Bejeweled’ can actually develop new cellular brain connections thereby helping to keep the healthy brain active and vital and by seriously attending to the word and puzzle games, people can control stress by cognitively ‘blocking out’ the negative stresses of the day and ultimately train themselves to do this more reflexively. Unlike traditional videogames that tend to over-stimulate while they engage our minds, casual games have a calming effect while still providing an acceptable level of distraction and entertainment.”


Among the findings of the survey were responses to questions regarding the location, duration and reasons for playing Survey findings included:

88% of players indicated they experienced stress relief from playing casual games and 74% cited mental exercise as a benefit; when asked to choose the most important reasons for playing, 41% picked “stress relief/relaxation,” more than twice the number (19%) who chose “entertainment”; 27% said the games provided distraction from chronic pain and/or fatigue, and fully 8% said they derived actual relief from chronic pain and/or fatigue.



The later is the most amazing figure of this research in my opinion. What could be better than reliving other people's pain? Casual computer games, defined for survey purposes as “puzzle, word, simple action/arcade and other family-friendly, non-violent games which can be played on computers and mobile devices.”

The above screenshot is a solution of a gigantic Pic-a-Pix puzzle, one of the most intriguing yet still unrevealed logic puzzles, made by Conceptis. If you ever tried solving one of those you know how much attention and distraction they are able to generate. The puzzle in the picture, as well as easier and smaller ones, can be downloaded or played online on Conceptis' website.

VideoEgg: overlay video advertising

(Ad: Microbounce, Adidas)

And while we are on the subject of the mass media world engaging with the new generation of media users, here is some extended information about a company who does just that very successfully and mentioned in my previous post.

With approximately 30 million unique viewers each month VideoEgg is a rich-media advertising platform specializing in social networks. The company says their innovative advertising format "enhances, rather than disrupts" the viewer experience. Here is a bullet list from VideoEgg website describing the main points of their approach and technology:

Starts with the user, invites the viewer into a dialog
Supports virtually any Flash player, widget application or web page
Helps increase video consumption on a publisher's site
Provides powerful targeting options
Allows for any combination of overlay, pre-roll and post-roll
Offers plug-ins for remnant providers
And has tremendous momentum in media and advertising communities


Check the above video and let me know what you think. Note you can also click the Menu button to see how the advertiser message was integrated at the end of the video. Click the video window in the bottom left corner to view the ad. More clips using the same "video carrier" but with different advertisement available on VideoEgg.com



In addition to the above and through partnerships with Facebook third-party applications, VideoEgg also supports media community rich, innovative ad opportunities on Facebook third-party application pages. Shown in the above image, this VideoEgg implementation comes in the form of expandable Flash banner offering advanced creative options and millions of Facebook impressions per day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Google InVideo: The future of advertising. but where are you?



Soon after the announcement about integrating video feeds in their news services, Google have practically launched a limited version of their new video advertising format branded Google InVideo designed to be used on YouTube. Starting August 21, clicking on an animated overlay area of a Google InVideo ad in some selected YouTube partner videos, launches a deeper interactive video ad defined as relevant and entertaining based on the clip content and while the watched video is temporarily paused. If not clicked within 10 seconds the overlay disappears allowing YouTube users some control over their content/advertising mixed experience.



The world has been talking about a new video advertising format ever since it was clear where high-bandwidth internet deployment is heading to. Both video sharing and casual game websites have been looking for a way to stop forcing their users to watch an ad before pushing the usually very short piece of content they were looking to consume. Yet, even though Google popularized the video overlay advertising format, it seem to have been in use by smaller companies such as VideoEgg, a video advertising start-up in San Francisco that has been serving overlay ads for nearly a year and Adotube and LiveRail who joined the game recently.

According to the NYT, Preroll ads are still the most common form of online video advertising so far. Yet, Eileen Naughton, Google’s director for media platforms, says during their tests, YouTube "users clicked on overlays five to 10 times more frequently than on banner ads that already appear on some YouTube pages". Troy Young, VideoEgg’s chief marketing officer, says both preroll and midroll ads (appearing in the middle of a clip) "may be appropriate for television shows, movies or other long videos but overlays have proven effective at making money with short clips".

Scott Karp an influential digital media blogger and editor of publishing2.com thinks that video advertising is about to cross the Rubicon into a pay-for-performance business model, but at the same time suggests we'll have to wait and see about that for a very simple reason:

"In the traditional TV ad model, it was opt out, i.e. you had to change channels, get up to get a snack or go to the bathroom in order to avoid the ad. Now, it’s opt IN. And now we’re going to find out what people REALLY think of video ads, which Madison Avenue has always known in its heart but has never been able to admit. The ads may be unobstrusive, and YouTube has mountains of videos to insert the teasers into - but if nobody clicks…"

I tend to agree with Scott from publishing2.com about the need for Google/YouTube to prove their new model validity facing reality. Changing the face of the video advertising world is not a simple mission. Have you seen any InVideo advertisements? Allow me to predict you haven't. I am an avid YouTube user myself (check me out here), I researched the subject, read many articles and I still couldn't find even a single working example. If it wasn't for
Shawn Collins of blog.affiliatetip.com who posted a live example of the YouTube overlay ads I would have finish writing this post without even getting to see a single InVideo ...




The TV industry has never been forced to the same standards the online video industry now has to face but LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne expects Google to be able to obrtain a CTR rate of about 4-5% with a $20 ad spend yielding about 40-50 views, working out at $0.45 per view. Yet, "if your ad gets lower CTRs," predicts Trefgarne "then your PPV will rise rapidly".

I wouldn't worry about Google too much. When it comes to a direct conflict between the old media dinosaurs and the newest dot com evolutionized creatures - who do you think will be taking the pretty girl home? The network blog Last100 published this excellent caparison between tomorrows video advertising languages and yesterday's less intrusive format of promotional animations that run on the bottom of television shows.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love sells. Rape sells better.



All right folks, new design is nice but we are in the business of publishing here so check on this "Photo story" titled Make Love Not War I picked-up today thanks to Cooper from wonderlandornot.net. Photographed by Steven Meisel and published by Vogue Italy on style.it this fashion catalog 'tells the story' of US soldiers in Iraq as they reveal the joy of play with a bunch of skeleton like wild looking young women.

Cooper thought it should have been described more like a "photo fantasy" targeted at ignorant men and suggested it has a "rape me" subtext. I tend to agree with Cooper on the subject as the "rape me" style seem to be gaining popularity recently. yes. I think it's there all right, at least in some of the images, and the fact it does not contain Iraqi looking women doesn't change much because that's how it works. because they don't have too. and mainly because western like women would fuel both male and female consumers much better.



I think the interesting thing about this campaign is that it does far more than just carrying another version of the "rape me" message. It is innovative in the sense of what it dares to do. Amazingly I should say, it seem to be notionally flirting with recently published information Iraq and the involvement of (some...) US soldiers in rape of Iraqi women. Hollywood is already aware of the trend and knows how well such a story is able to sell.

Famed film director Brian De Palma (Scarface, The Untouchables) was quoted just a week ago saying when he read about the Mahmudiyah incident in Iraq 2006 (that would be five US soldiers raped a local girl, killed her and her family) he knew he has "a story." Now don't get me wrong: I LOVE De Palma, it's just that I am almost positive the guys from Vogue had more or less the same idea in their mind. Love sells well, but rape sells better.



Looking at those images a few times, I can almost hear how it went: The creative team was perfectly aware of the recent stories. The subject was brought up and discussed. The advantages and disadvantages were discussed, I presume someone must have got up and said something like, “yeh, sure it might turn against us as some pretty ladies will claim this and that, but think about all the people who would talk about it...”.



True, the “any publicity is good publicity” equation might be changing nowadays as the new rules set by the “age of conversation” permeate deeper. Still, things are changing slowly and this campaign will probably achieve its mission, and some of it would be thanks to Cooper and myself. But I still think I should write this and you should read this. This is still the kind of world we live in.

See it all here judge yourself: Make Love Not War

Thursday, September 20, 2007

PeerBox : File sharing goes mobile



The first P2P (Peer-to-Peer) generation was based on a client/server principle and a centralized file list. Napster is the most familiar example and one of the first tools any of us ever used for file sharing. But in a way Napster was also the trigger to the second P2P-Generation which was characterized mainly by decentralization.

The Decentralized file sharing generation came as a direct result of what eventually happened to Napster after encountering serious legal troubles. Yet, the new generation model has been adopted by both leading open source projects such as Gnutella and eMule/Kademlia and by commercial services such as Kazaa.

Third file sharing generation?

Yesterday I have been informed that might be taking its next step towards another major evolution change: Social network and mobile Peer-to-Peer file sharing application PeerBox by Nareos, have just announced their beta version platform peerboxm.com went through the 100K unique user line in more than 170 countries overall.


PeerBox Home screen

Who knows? Maybe some day, in retrospective view, this may be remembered as a milestone in the way to the third file sharing generation, when people have started sharing files using their mobile phones. Does anyone doubt that the day is not far when people would get freaked out when their mobile P2P will stop functioning one day because of lack of supernodes as happened to millions of Skype users just recently?

Tied to a computer

Claiming to be the first true Peer-to-Peer service for mobile phones, PeerBox Mobile is a peer-to-peer file sharing service for your mobile phone. With PeerBox, you can share your videos and pictures with others network members directly from your mobile phone. You can also send messages to friends and watch their videos and pictures. Unfortunately at the moment PeerBox only supports phones manufactured by Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, Samsung and Lenovo.


PeerBox My Downloads screen

According to Alexander Lazovsky, CEO of Nareos, successful viral marketing triggered quick word of mouth distribution and high adoption rate of PeerBox, proving that "people are looking for a way to socialize, create and share content without being tied to a computer.”

According to Wikipedia, file sharing is "the practice of making files available for other users to download over the Internet and smaller networks" but also say "most people who engage in file sharing are also downloading files that other users share. Usually these two activities are linked together."

www.peerboxm.com
www.nareos.com

Digg.com released new enhanced profile system



Digg.com has just announced their new website version incorporating an advanced profiling system allowing users more blogging-like features. This is "the first of many cool new features rolling out this year" according to Digg:
  • Digg Images: A dedicated images section (with thumbnails). Still on track to launch in late October.
  • Revamped Comments: No more ajax loads, new clean and lightweight design (similar to the old comment system).
  • Digg Alerts: Alerts will give you the ability to create customized email alerts - when a story becomes popular, summaries of popular stories on specific topics, and when your friends recommend stories.
  • Story Suggest: Dozens of servers crunch the math to provide you with real-time recommendations (stories and friends) based on what you’ve dugg in the past.
read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dinosaur advertisers beware: Google Gadget Ads released. almost.



Less than five months after announcing their testing group during a summit for the automobile industry and only two days after unlocking the potential of mobile advertising market by launching AdSense for Mobile, Google has just announced a limited release of their Google Gadget Ads a few hours ago.

If you are thinking about running and getting your own Google Gadget Ad right now before even finish reading my post, you better read on because you probably just can't do that: Answering the FAQ of Am I eligible for this program? The friends from Google say that:
Gadget ads require a high level of technical resources to create, and generally also require a high level of support from the AdWords support team. To avoid confusion for users, and to make sure we have appropriate levels of support, gadget ads are currently enabled for a limited number of AdWords advertisers who have created content-rich ads in the past.

Still based on the classic CPC or CPM billing rates, the new Google advertising format is supported by a dedicated editor made by Google for this purpose. I guess this interface is supposed to allow advertisers easier generation of rich media ads, though I am not so sure if it really does that. We'll have to see about that.



Google Gadget Ads editor: requiring "high level of technical resources"...

The Google Gadget applications are written in XML and are converted into HTML and JavaScript. Thus they can be flexibly embedded into websites and blogs, and of course within Google Desktop, Page Creator and iGoogle homepages.

Not surprisingly, Google picked on a very good timing to launch Gadget Ads. Internet advertising revenues have just reported recently a quarterly all-time record of $4.9 billion for the first quarter of 2007. According to Internet Advertising Bureau, coming after a record year in 2006, this means "marketers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the strength, accountability and effectiveness of the interactive medium".

http://www.google.com/adwords/gadgetads

Who is the Technorati Monster?



Who is the Technorati Monster and why is she escaping to the blogosphere, forcing the Technorati guys to go find it all the time? Are you folks getting this as much as I do lately? :)

Edit: site is back to work but an upper message strip says:
We are experiencing and internal network problem at the moment. We are actively working on this. We apologize, but you may experience intermittent failures.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sexy Lemon Slam: macro photo set



I couldn't help myself from sharing this set taken at our garden by your humble servant just yesterday. It will soon be the time for our garden citrus fruit to give birth and they look like they are just about to be ready.



It was lunch break and the light was perfectly set to the right direction and softness level, making the moment a fantastic magic hour macro set opportunity.



Wikipedia says lemon is the common name for "the reproductive tissue surrounding the seed of the angiosperm lemon tree," and that it is used for "culinary and non culinary uses throughout the world". Lemon juice is about 5% acid and has a pH of 2 to 3.



Lemons and limes are very good for your health. They contain unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. In some alternative medicine disciplines Lemons are considered as a tonic for human body systems. Compounds in citrus fruits, including lemons and limes, called limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Lemons can also be sexy drinks. Here is an easy recipe for a Sexy Lemon Slam, directly from drinksmixer.com:
3/4 oz vodka
1/4 oz triple sec
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 tsp sugar

Place a small sugar coated lemon wheel (approx.1/4 in.thick) into the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Pour above listed ingredients into a stainless steel shaker with ice, shake until completely cold, and pour into the prepared old-fashioned glass.
Sip or slam.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Utterz: speak your blog entry



1.8 billion people on this planet have mobile phones. Finland*, Italy, UK, Sweden and Hong Kong have already exceeded 100% market penetration and the Chinese wireless mobile market is expected to grow by 65% through 2010. Even though globally, after rising by an average of 25% in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the over all mobile phone subscriber growth is expected to decelerate in 2007, mobile phones are being used for new purposes every day, including for blogging and social networking.

While some companies are already doing their best to capitalize on the increasing popularity of this Mobile 2.0 phenomenon mobile phones are becoming more significant as internet connectivity devices as they now allow not just consuming of the content but also producing it. Even Linux based phones are becoming more popular with over 20 million units.

Podcast voice messages directly from your phone

Taking my first steps as a mobile phone blogger recently I bumped into this mashable.com article by Kristen Nicole reviewing a new mobile blogging platform named Utterz. I have heard about and done some mobile blogging. It's pretty obvious that if people send so many sms messages to each other they can also send messages directly to their blog, making them walking bloggers. But Utterz take this idea one step further. They allow you to podcast voice messages directly from your phone. now that is cool.

The Utterz stream was implemented similarly to the way it was done by the Twitter guys, only, naturally, they made it smaller and obtained support for spoken blog entries, appearing as audio files as part of your stream.

Having a Utterz account you can call 712-432-Mooo any time and speak your mind, voice an opinion or share a joke with the rest of the members. When you are "tongue-tied" you can just txt your messages to go@utterz.com. You can also post mixed messages of voice, video and text and Utterz 's system will put them together for you. Simply snap some with your cell and send them to go@utterz.com.

Must be a 10 digit US phone number

Utterz is first of all a blogging platform and as such they understand most bloggers wehere not invented just for them. Thus they managed to make themselves "blogger friendly" and provide a nice collection of widgets for their users to plug-into existing networks, including custom made widgets for TypePad, Blogger (blogspot), Xanga, MySpace, LiveJournal and Facebook.

While trying to join the party I got this message saying "Must be a 10 digit US phone number". Na... I checked and found that Utterz is kept free because they "have relationships with phone companies to get a small portion of what you are paying your cell phone company for your calling plan". This business model is interesting but it also limits expansion ratio and on top of everything is somewhat non-compatible with the Internet spirit of a limitless borderless environment.

Anyway, its not everyone's problem that I am an Israeli so bottom line I would say Utterz is one more step for mankind but I hope someone at the high windows of the Utterz building will listen to my cry and get a deal done with my mobile service provider (that would be Cellcom, Israel) as soon as possible.

http://www.utterz.com

* Edit 22:45 GMT+2: Leena, a proud Finnish and an avid Conceptis Addict adds that no matter how figures are interpreted, Finland is the world's leading country in terms of mobile phone penetration levels. Sorry for missing that important figure and thanks Leena!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

100 feared dead in Phuket plane crash: online media review


Photo: AP, news.bbc.co.uk

Online media channels respond fast as number of last night plane crash victims now feared to be 100, according to latest reports. Thai budget airliner crashed while attempting to land in driving rain at the resort island of Phuket. According to Associated Press the plane was "splitting in two as it was engulfed in flames" while trying to land in heavy rain and then "skidded off the runaway and crashed into a wooded area".

There were 123 mostly foreign passengers and seven crew members on the plane McDonnell Douglas MD-82 of One-To-Go Airlines flight OG269 from Bangkok to Phuket. Eight British , eight Thais, five Germans and two Australians were among 42 known survivors, hospital workers said. According to Canada.com , however, there is also one Canadian survival. According to the Jerusalem Post, Eight Israelis feared among dead in the crash. Other victim nationalities seem to include citizens of at least Thailand, Australia, UK and Iran.

Updates come every hours from online media channels who respond quickly but offer very little and mostly similar official information.Technorati indexed 459 posts by now for plane+crash+phuket with the last post from hotelsbycity.net just quoting the basic facts from the BBC UK item. Google blog search now offers 200 results for same query when narrowed down to "last 12 hours" with the last post from londoninfotech.net, posted just 23 minutes ago.

Mostly interesting was The official BBC YouTube channel coming up quickly with a good video of the event as well as with this survival follow-up interview but disallowing embedding option "upon request". Reuters, on the other hand, used their recently launched video embed system to offer the following video for further distribution.

gearthhacks.com posted this kmz file for the exact coordinates of the airport area but it is obviously not an updated one and taken before the accident. When will the world have a public real time satellite service allowing all of us to be updated with a live video feed in the event of a mega-disaster?


From Sudoku to Number-Picture Hybrid magazines



Maxim Popov, Deputy EiC at Publishing Group Bauer Russia, talks about the introduction of 'beyond Sudoku' logic puzzles to Russian Sudoku audience. Sourced from conceptispuzzles.com
read more | digg story

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My technorati favorites

A Technorati account is a great way of tracking up your favorite blogs. Their blog widget selection is not overloaded with too many nonsense gadgets but still has some really great offerings. Check out the following favorites widget for example. Now that I've put it here on this post I can always come back here and check on what's new at my neighbors. My Technorati widget will keep itself updated for me.

deliGoo follow up on my review



After the exciting cross-review with Derami of Web Urbanist and Allsux, the deliGoo guys have kindly and quicklyresponded to my review with adding Individual@Home to their What do mass media and bloggers write about deliGoo? homepage box. how cool.

Friday, September 14, 2007

deliGoo : Google meets Del.icio.us



What will you get if you put some good people from Google and Del.icio.us on a yacht and let them have some drinks together? Perhaps a new hybrid web creature made of Google and my favorite bookmarking/tagging service? I don't have any knowledge of such a yacht cruise ever occurred but deliGoo seems to be exactly such a hybrid.

You remember saved the link in del.icio.us but don't remember under which tag and cannot find it whatever you do. You know you can search the description of the link the tag names on Del.icio.us system but that's not helping. deliGoo now allows you to search the text of the page to which the link you have saved is pointing to. There is no way you can do that without deliGoo. It's like having your own Google.



Another situation has not been answered by the deliGoo guys yet but is claimed to be "in process". deliGoo say they will soon allow search not only on the user bookmarks but also on a certain tag, used by other del.icio.us. users.



I find deliGoo a useful tool and hope for it to develop further. One minor issue: I am not sure if it's me or them but it seems the engine does not support basic deliGoo syntax such as tag1+tag2. Other than this very small problem, thumbs up!





www.deligoo.com

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The story of Brad Will: Journalism Out-of-Service



Keeping an understated ton of voice the story of Brad Will is a 'very disturbing one' for every blogger, as it involves the documented death of a photo journalist while his photographed murderers are still walking free, drinking Mexican beer. They were never arrested simply because the journalist they killed was representing alternative media at its best rather than some commercial mainstream media channel. Yet, above everything, the Brad Will story raises the question whether Journalism should be in the service of justice or just a side viewer and observer of the injustice.



Brad Will in Oaxaca on Oct. 26th 2006, source: indymedia

For those who don't know Bradley (Brad) Roland Will was an American anarchist, documentary filmmaker and a journalist working with the Indymedia New York City center, who was shot and killed on October 27, 2006 during the teachers' strike in the Mexican city of Oaxaca. According to Wikipedia Will, who was 36 when he died, had arrived in Oaxaca in October 2006 in order to film the teachers' strike. On October 27, as he was shooting his footage nearby a pro-strike barricade, a gunmen approached and shot him and two other protesters – Esteban Zurita López and teacher Emilio Alonso Fabián. Will was shot twice. All three activists were killed and several others were injured.



Source: Indymedia

Right from the beginning the Indymedia people claimed they have proof that the killer was a member of paramilitary group affiliated with the PRI, the former Mexican ruling party. Amazingly, Mexican daily newspaper El Universal indeed published photos of the suspected gunmen, who are believed to be local officials. Check them out yourself sourced courtesy of Narconews.com and see how they clearly show the assassins identified by El Universal: Juan Carlos Soriano Velasco (red tshirt), a police officer known as “the Grasshopper”; Manuel Aguilar (dark jacket), city personnel director; and public safety chief Avel Santiago Zárate (red shirt).



Based on his last footage, before getting shot Will was trapped in the middle of a narrow street but kept filming. Thus the footage which was pretty soon published by Indymedia, contains a clear view at the two gunmen including their guns firing which brings up the question of how come these guys were never arrested.



Will was a human rights activist first and a journalist second. Joshua Breitbart from Civil Defense says Will should be remembered as a hero of the New York City Independent Media Center because of his understanding Journalism is "either in the service of justice or it is a cause of injustice". Breitbart can be argued to more than one side but this way or another we think the story of Brad Will calls for an answer.




Above: A poster for the memory of Brad Will published on the Argentinian branch of Indymedia. Click here or on the image to download a high res version for printing and hanging on your wall.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Great Wall of APEC: Rise of Military Urbanism



We all hear and read the horrific news about how everything is getting clearer and more obvious every day now and how things should better be changed if we want any of the plans we have for our children to come true. As we have been up on urbanism issues quite a lot lately (thanks for everything, derami) I decided to make this September 3rd Indymedia news my (second) daily post: Climate Protests in Newcastle and regional Victoria decided its time to make a stand and 'kick off' the 2007 Australian Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting.


Workers erect the 2.8-meter-high fence in the city (smh.com.au)

Hosted by conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney 2-9 September 2007 and attended by USA President George Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Pacific rim leaders, this forum meeting required various areas of Sydney to be contained by a nine foot high concrete and wire security fence. Unofficially dubbed as The Great Wall of APEC, Big, strong, ugly, Virtual Fortress and other names, the APEC wall is according to some opinions a sign for the rise of a new era titled "military urbanism" in Australia.


A section of the fence set to be deployed around Sydney (sourc news.com.au)

Thanks to Stephen Smith, a Webdiary contributor, for coming up with the rise of military urbanism concept and for posting this fantastic quote from journal of the US Army War College, allowing us to get the idea:
The future of warfare lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, industrial parks, and the sprawl of houses, shacks, and shelters that form the broken cities of our world.

New virus attacks Skype for Windows users



What do you know, Skype are on my news once again, and once again not for very good ones. After the recent service outage last month, Skype now have new computer virus called “w32/Ramex.A” affecting their Windows users. Hey, I am using Skype for Windows myself...!

According to an official announcement now published on the Skype blog homepage Infected users appear to be sending chat messages to other Skype users asking them to click on a web link that can infect the computer of the person who receives the message. The infection only occurs after downloading the linked file and running the malicious software. The chat message, of which there are several versions, is 'cleverly' written and may appear to be a legitimate chat message, which "may fool some users into clicking on the link".

Skype says they have been in contact with "the leading" antivirus software companies about this worm and that these companies are "updating their software to effectively stop this worm and as well as its side effects". By now F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab and Symantec have been reported already to update their products to detect and remove the worm.

Also according to Skype, expert users "and only expert users" who know what they’re doing can remove the worm manually with the following procedure:
  1. Restart the PC in safe mode
  2. Run regedit
  3. Go to HKLM/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/runonce find entry with mshtmldat32.exe. Delete this entry.
  4. Go to Windows\System32 directory and delete following files: wndrivs32.exe, mshtmldat32.exe, winlgcvers.exe, sdrivew32.exe
  5. Go to windows/system32/drivers/etc
  6. Find file hosts
  7. Open it with notepad, ctrl+a and delete all entries (this will resume your antivirus updates), save, close.
  8. Restart the PC.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Web Urbanist: the city's voice



Did you know there is a variety of nonvandalistic urban street expression forms such as Light Art and Reverse Graffiti? Are you familiar with Eco-friendly Leave-No-Trace and Urban Expression? Ever heard of Urban Exploration? public space Guerrilla Gardening? Architectural Light Graffiti also known as Projection Bombing...?


Weburbanist.com: Urban Exploration: Beginner’s Guide to Adventures in Building Infiltration

If the answers to all the above is no I bet you still haven't heard of the Web Urbanist, a recently launched online presence in the form of blog serving a collective of blogger-writers focused and excited of in everything about the culture of the big city. Maybe it's because I live in the suburbs for five years already and I have always been a city rat. Maybe it's just me being tired of hi-tech corporate websites, I don't know, but this website turns me on: From subway parties, public pillow fights and spontaneous gatherings to urban abandonments and deserted wonders of the modern world, Web Urbanist has its hand on every latest expression form of urbanism as pure poetry.


Weburbanist.com: Subway parties and subway installation art

The primary Web Urbanist poet is known as derami. "Something of a jack-of-all trades" (in his own words) but with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and recently presented his master’s thesis on architecture and urban design, everything about dermani says "cool" and "thrilling". And don't think I am overreacting here. Even though this website was only launched about three months ago Web Urbanist can already be considered as a meteor in terms of Internet presence and viral marketing, claiming to had over 450K unique visitors in the last month.

If you are not familiar with the Unique Visitors term check the subject on this Wikipedia article. If you are familiar with the term and just skeptic about the above number consider the number of Web Urbanist articles which were starring on the front pages of the most popular social news sites including Digg and StumbleUpon to name a few. I counted nine of them just on Digg, five of them bookmarked by more than 1000 users. With 594 blog reactions Web Urbanist gains an Authority level of 350 and ranks 11,498 on Technorati. Recent 3rd party traffic reports of its reach and ranking, shown by Alexa, also reflect a very strong surge. Check out this online poetic justice:







Amazingly this website is still reported to have a zero (!) Google ranking but you don't have to be an SEO expert to expect this to be changed quickly. Five bad points to Google and Compete.com who are both failing to get the trend in their own yard. If you want an easy way in check on the Top Content Roundup: 6 Most Popular Web Urbanist Posts