Is “The New York Twitter” the Future of News?

I’ve been in dozens of conversations over the last several weeks about how “blogging is dead” and “Twitter is the future of news” to “people only have time for the headlines” and the inevitable, “Of course newspapers are dying, whose got time to read an entire article?”

Oh really? If that’s the case, we’ve got really big problems kids (and they go beyond accelerating panic and fear about swine flu pandemics). If the objective with all of these new communications technologies is to be able to simply skim over the surface of news and information, then expect to see only the skin-deep stuff, the superfluous, and the inane.

It’s one reason why I gravitate toward those on Twitter who add value through linking to articles or posts. Yep…if something intrigues me I’ll go out and read it. In depth understanding is what I try to gain and maybe go off on tangents finding other opinions, perspectives and relevant information.

I reject those who think that we can truly know something through only the headlines.

Think the Internet has progressed?

Tonight I spent some time roaming around inside the Internet Archive and came across the video below from a San Francisco public television show, The Computer Chronicles.

Here’s what it says at the Archive for this video,

It wasn’t quite the World Wide Web yet, but everybody started hearing about this thing called “the Internet” in 1993. It was being called the Information Superhighway then. This program looks at the earliest stages of the Internet including Aladdin Systems SITComm, a Macintosh communications program for Internet access, and the WELL (Whole Earth Lectronic Link), an early online community.

Also featured is a visit to the former Bell Labs in New Jersey (now Bellcore) for demonstrations of internet based teleconferencing, video on demand, ISDN, and optical network technology; a preview of the World Wide Web as used at NASA; a visit to where it all began, ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency in Virgnia; and a look at the Internet Multicasting Service in Washington, the first Internet radio station. Guests include Brendan Kehoe, author of “Zen and the Art of the Internet”, Howard Rheingold, author of “The Virtual Community”, Dr. Robert Kahn, former found of ARPA, and Carl Malamud, author of “Exploring the Internet”. Originally broadcast in 1993.

Take a peek at this now 14 year old video and realize how far we’ve come…and where we’ll undoubtedly be 14 years from now as the rate of change accelerates.

Zipidee: A prosumer digital goods marketplace

If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know I’m a bit of a fanboy for user generated content. No question that there is significant untapped potential in those of us who have knowledge and experience that we could pass on to others and yet there aren’t many effective ways of monetizing our Long Tail knowledge.

A digital marketplace for sellers (i.e., content producers) and buyers to come together — with protection for the content so it can’t be given to non-paying others for free — seems like a good idea but Zipidee’s beta launch isn’t showing that idea in its best light.

Their press release today details their value proposition:

Zipidee today announced the public beta release of the premier Prosumer Generated Content (PGC) marketplace for digital goods. Zipidee is an open marketplace that empowers PGC digi-good owners, from aspiring media moguls to large media companies, to generate revenue from their existing digital assets. Zipidee provides the storefront and tools for content owners, distributors, and networks to publish, protect, promote, and profit by selling their original digital content. Zipidee provides digi-good buyers immediate access to an extensive library of content without shipping fees or wait time. The platform currently supports videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and music, with eBooks, games, and ringtones coming in the near future.

The problem? The content available in this launch is incredibly bad. From poor editing to tragically amateurish talent, I found absolutely nothing that I’d pay money for (prices ranged from $1.99 to $7.99 with owning the download at ~$9.99) and, in fact, as I watched about 25 videos I thought they should pay ME for watching these!

Zipidee must’ve swung a deal with a firm called Education 2000 since about 90% of the videos seem to have come from that firm’s inventory. Almost all of the ones I watched seemed to be of the type that an infomercial might be hawking at 2am showcasing “the educational hits from the 70’s” or something cheesy like that.

What could’ve or should’ve been done and why am I so uncertain Zipidee will have any success?

Read More

Consumer Electronics Show

cesMany years ago I used to regularly attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Held in Las Vegas every January and again in Chicago in June, it was the place for the trade to experience the products manufacturer’s hoped consumers would covet.

Now with only one show in Las Vegas in January, it’s much different. Especially now that Comdex is no longer. So coming out here for CES this year has caused me to remember the shows I attended in the past — but more so how dramatically CES has changed (as well as Las Vegas itself).

While the blog Engadget is doing a great job showcasing the innovation being displayed at CES — and I’ve only seen 25% of the floor thus far — my first days observations are these:

  • The width of plasma TV’s are causing vendors of furniture (mostly non-mainstream vendors) to innovative with wall units with new, wide openings for these TV’s, furniture pieces where the flat panel TV’s rise up out of the piece, and even casual chairs for watching movies
  • The iPod and accessories for it are everywhere. One company had an in-wall, iPod docking station with an in-wall controller for playing the audio on your iPod in your home. Another (Monster) showed several iPod accessories including the iCruze which replaces a CD changer allowing the iPod to be used within any car already equipped with a CD changer
  • A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company (BroadVoice) has, in my mind, hit the sweet spot of really cheap and really fully featured internet telephony. For example, they’re offering unlimited in the U.S. for $9.95; unlimited world for $19.95 (ahh…most of the world); and unlimited world plus for $24.95 (basically everywhere). They also have a host of other features.
  • Bluetooth, USB and other protocols/standards had numerous innovative products utilizing them
  • One of THE most interesting startup companies (with a nice presence too) was Control4. These guys are using open standards and protocols (based on Linux and TCP/IP) offering a series of products and a platform on which to build products and services for automating the home. Why was this so interesting? Others like X10 and SmartHome’s Insteon are either old protocols or proprietary ones. Open standards and protocols = good. Proprietary = bad (unless you’re the troll living under the bridge collecting tolls (i.e., license fees) from all the passersby).

There’s a lot more but not much that was jaw dropping. If it hadn’t been for today’s rain, I doubt my colleague and I would’ve ducked in to the innovation area and stumbled upon some pretty fun stuff like these really tiny USB thumb drives called iDisks. (…and they are *really* tiny).