Archive for December, 2006

‘Tis the season to predict, and other stories – December 14, 2006

Predictions season is upon us. Gartner says the end is nigh for Microsoft Windows, blogs will plateau and we’ll all be trackable via our mobile phones by 2010. IDC thinks China and India will become IT superpowers, but will also begin “a more serious look internally, focusing on bridging urban-rural divides and developing infrastructure.” While we’re on the subject of analysts, The Register today has a lengthy article on the tricky relationship between analysts, the media and their clients.

Drama at Le Web 3 – or should I say farce? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Participants were outraged at being bumped off the agenda in favor of last minute appearances from French politicians. The wifi didn’t work. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch fell out with his friend Dave Winer, fired his UK editor and sought solace in his blog. As ever, the comments on these blog postings are the best bit, so check them out if you have time.

HP dumps Wilson Sonsini. As its outside counsel, although the two companies will continue to do business together. The law firm was not involved in the spying scandal itself, but Mr Sonsini was responsible for advising the company in the aftermath and has been criticized for “failing to prevent the incident from damaging the H.P.” according to the New York Times. Never mind, its client list still reads like a who’s who of Silicon Valley…

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December 14, 2006 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

PR standards war, and other stories – December 11, 2006

Standards war breaks out in PR. Edelman has created its own social media news release offering for its clients, called StoryCrafter. Todd Defren of PR company Shift thinks the proprietary approach goes against the grain, but is delighted that it is based on his IP. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley Watcher debates the merits of the thing from a journalist’s point of view. What’s a social media news release? It’s a new format for the tired old press release that presents information in accessible chunks and includes RSS feeds, links to del.icio.us, tags etc.

Times Square becomes publishing platform. Interesting article in the New York Times about a new form of viral marketing. Advertisers have worked out that cool ads or stunts in Times Square spread virally via tourists’ cameras. For example, Charmin’s display of public toilets has been featured on blogs around the world, found its way onto YouTube and has apparently been viewed 7,400 times (here’s one – don’t worry, it’s clean, but quite dull).

Forbes publisher accuses New York Times of liberal bias. Rich Karlgaard’s blog lambasts the New York Times for its “lopsidedly negative” coverage of the death of former Chilean dictator Pinochet. “Will Fidel Castro get the same harshly lopsided treatment on his death?” he asks. Here’s the article in question.

Wozniak says he did it alone. Invent the original Apple computer, that is. So reports ValleyWag from an interview with Gina Smith, author of Wozniak’s biography.

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December 11, 2006 at 9:42 pm 1 comment

New Gallic news channel to rival Anglo-Saxon values

France 24, a French international TV news channel, launches officially tomorrow. It was apparently conceived by President Jacques Chirac at the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq, because he felt that France’s opposition to the war was not accurately represented in the broadcast media – and particularly CNN and the BBC. Given the spate of renaming French fries “Freedom fries” that occurred, I’d say he had a point, although public opinion may well have swung back in the opposite direction now.

France 24 will be on the Internet in French, English and Arabic, and cable/satellite channels in French and English launch this week – with an Arabic language version coming mid next year. State-funded to the tune of 86m euros, it aims to provide an alternative to the “self-centered” Anglo-Saxon point of view of CNN and BBC World, as well as to Al-Jazeera. Chirac hopes that the channel will place France “at the forefront of the global battle of images.” It will initially be broadcast in Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as New York and Washington DC.

It’s certainly an interesting experiment, but I wonder whether there’s room for one more 24-hour news channel, and whether – certainly in the US – there will be much appetite for the French point of view.

If with this move, France hopes to change its perception in the rest of the world, it will have a long way to go if you listen to Simon Anholt, author of the Nation Brand Index research. Anholt reckons that it takes a country 30 years to change its brand image.

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December 5, 2006 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Snippets: December 4, 2006

Be A Little Afraid The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is getting worried about online privacy and security according to Reuters. It warns against the widespread practice of using the same login information for multiple sites and is concerned about the proliferation of tracking used by marketers. On the other hand, it cautions that “a breakdown in consumer trust could impede the future expansion of Internet-based commerce.” Hmm, better carry on shopping and hope for the best then…

Just An Illusion Windows expert Scot Finnie has stirred up a storm among the Mac faithful, cnet reports. Disenchanted with some aspects of Windows Vista, Scot has embarked on an experiment to switch to Apple to find out whether “the Mac is a viable alternative for real people with real jobs.” Mac users everywhere – myself included – await his validation.

The Butler Done It The New York Times and GigaOm, among others, report on the rebirth of Ask.com – formerly Ask Jeeves and now owned by Barry Diller’s IAC. The company today launched AskCity, a local search service and clever amalgamation of a number of its properties, including the Ask search engine, CitySearch and TicketMaster. Watch out for more service mashups involving other IAC sites such as LendingTree, Match.com and Evite. According to Ask chief executive Jim Lanzone, the company will succeed because “there is room for a Pepsi to Google’s Coke.” That’s true, although right now that slot is occupied by Yahoo.

Do You Yahoo!? ValleyWag advises on the etiquette of reproducing “goofy net names” when writing – for example, do you Yahoo! or do you Yahoo? The rule of thumb, it seems, is whether you are trying to cosy up to the company or not. If yes, then it’s eBay, if no, Ebay. Unless you’re a techy, of course, in which case, you write everything in lower case because “the shift key is a sign of weakness.”

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December 4, 2006 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment


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