Pilgrim Notes

Reflections along the way.

Month: September 2006 (page 1 of 3)

Defending Joe Lieberman

There’s only one political race that I’ve been following this year and that is the Lieberman-Lamont showcase showdown. And the only reason is that I think Lieberman is a decent guy that was completely hung out to dry on the basis on one issue. So I was delighted to read this little article on Lieberman today in The Stanford Daily.

I don’t normally mention politics here simply because our culture has moved far beyond any form of reasoned discourse or proper rhetoric. I think many of us Americans are not on the fringe waiting and wanting to virtually crucify the “other guy.”

There are real problems in our world and real disagreements as to how to solve those problems. If we could ever learn to listen and really dialogue (Martin Buber), we might actually find places of wisdom that teach us to avoid killing each other (virtually or literally).

Free Education!

Lifehacker posted some great free education resources. This excites me because I have so much to learn.

When I graduated from college, I thought I was pretty smart. By the time I graduated from Graduate school (’94), I realized that I was completely ignorant. Since that time, I’ve been trying to catch up but it sure feels like I’m getting dumber as the years go by. So there may be no hope!

But who knows, maybe Lifehacker combined with The Teaching Company may at least keep me from fading into total illiteracy.

YouTube Toast?

Apparently YouTube is getting ready to be sued into oblivion. At least that’s what Mark Cuban believes. According to Reuters,

“There is a reason they haven’t yet gone public, they haven’t sold. It’s because they are going to be toasted,” said Cuban, who has sold start-ups to Yahoo Inc. and CompuServe.

Dang! I was just starting to like YouTube. One minute they’re the fastest growing video sharing site in the world and the next minute they’re a burned up piece of bread from yesterday’s breakfast.

I actually think there’s potential to find a way to keep the irreverent and diverse user-generated content while still making peace with copyright holders and even welcome more commercial entities.

Well here’s hopin’ Cuban is just showboatin’ and the zany world of YouTube keeps growing and shocking.

via Drudge

Managing the Madness

My wife sent me a great Fast Company article on how several top tech executives manage their the overwhelming schedules. You can visit the article to read their stories, but if you want the bullets, here’s the skinny:

1. One size does not fit all. Cingular Wireless CEO Stephen Carter handles almost every incoming email in real time; Sun Microsystems EVP Marissa Peterson checks email just twice a day. When it comes to multitasking, no single solution works for everyone. Pick the tactic that’s best for you.

Doug Comments – I’m an NF, and I don’t know if this is true for all NFs but I cannot even follow the same process for extended periods. It helps me to change the way I do things every so often, or I feel like I get into a creative rut.

2. Paper piles only grow. When you get a paper report or memo, deal with it, then file it or hand it off. Piles of paper make for more work.

Doug Comments – My wife is an organizer, so I’ve heard this for almost twenty years! But I love stacks and stacks of paper and stacks and stacks of books careless thrown about on my desk. It’s not about a method for processing that info: I try to deal with stuff ASAP or flag in email so I will remember. But if I am working on a project, I need the clutter to help me create. Otherwise, I feel as blank as the desk.

3. Heading to a meeting? Go unplugged. When you meet with someone, you’re using a nonrenewable resource: your time. Don’t let cell-phone or pager interruptions waste it.

Doug Comments – Totally on board with this. I do not answer my phone when I am in conversation or meetings. The person in front of me receives top priority. The Amish have a handle on this. One reason they seem to reject technology is the destructive impact it can have on community. So a phone cannot be in the house because it will interrupt the importance of the people who are present (think: answering the phone during supper). There is one exception for me: the wife! Once we were at Walmart and I was talking with an old friend. My phone buzzed and buzzed and buzzed and buzzed, but I completely ignored it and focused on my friend. Suddenly my wife appeared. After looking for me for about twenty minutes, she was a minor bit frustrated. I learned my lesson: she takes priority!

4. The next killer business app? Instant messaging. IM is faster than email and just as inclusive. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. Think of it as the online equivalent of an elevator conversation.

Doug Comments – During the day, I work online all day: this is my contact point of choice!
5. Delegate: It’s the ultimate time-saver. Investing in frequent communications with your staff — lunch meetings, daily emails — yields big dividends. Your staff members can’t lighten your load if they’re out of the loop.

Doug Comments – Good. In my ministry world, I am trying to learn this.

6. Working in hard-to-reach territories? Voice-mail it. Voice mail is more dependable than email and better for keeping globe-trotting executives emotionally connected with the home team.

Doug Comments – If you need to talk with them, make sure to leave times and phone number, when you are available to avoid the dang phone tag wars.

I have a comment about your review!

Amazon has added a comment functions on reviews. Users can comment on reviews, and then police comments. I will be interesting to see how well this takes off.

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Sepaking of the Evil Empire

Yipes. Jeremy went to Disney on Ice last night. Disney is certainly not a member of the culture of generosity!

Web 2.0 Winners and Losers

Micahel Calore, Wired News Online, recently asked readers for the best and worst of Web 2.0. Yesterday, he posted responses. Worst? MySpace. Sure it’s the most popular, but it’s also the ugliest and doesn’t want to play with other Web 2.0 apps. Here’s the rest of his list:

Best Top 5

Flickr (I likee.)
Odeo (I need to play around podcasting at some point.)
Writely (I personally like ThinkFree better)
del.icio.us (it is just me or is that hard to type?)
NetVibes (This is one of my faves!)

Worst

MySpace
Squidoo
Browzar
Fo.rtuito.us
Friendster

The Great Wall of MySpace

Trying to keep out open source invaders, MySpace has decided to erect walls around its interface, claiming YouTube, Flickr and others are simply leeches on the MySpace body. Or as Peter Chernin says,

“If you look at virtually any Web 2.0 application, whether its YouTube, whether it’s Flickr, whether it’s Photobucket or any of the next-generation Web applications, almost all of them are really driven off the back of MySpace.”

It appears MySpace is going to make their space less friendly to outside companies by blocking external links in flash widgets and more. They also plan to develop proprietary widgets for video and other services.

As TechCrunch says, “It sounds like MySpace’s owners may not want to play a game where everyone wins.”

Too bad. We’ll see what happens. Maybe MySpace won’t take their ball go home. And if they do, hopefully someone will come and play even better ball than before.

Transforming a Web 1.0 site into Web 2.0

iVillage, once the very example of websites dedicated to women, is now a perfect example of Web 1.0 thinking. Originally built around message boards, the site limits the amount of user input and customization. While the technology can easily be modified, can the administrative thinking behind the site change? can it go from a site with highly managed content to a free-wheeling customer content driven site?

NBC bought iVillage in March, Bob Wright, NBC President, recently announced that they plan to make iVillage the foundational pattern for NBCs digital efforts. Bambi Francisco of MarketWatch offers a wonderful comparison and analysis of MySpace vs iVillage and the challenges ahead for NBC.

MySpace is as close to a democratic virtual world as you can get on the Web, as its own liberating culture and subcultures allow for new talent to rise from the virtual pool of wannabes. To wit: MySpace recently struck a deal with SNOCAP so that the 3 million bands on MySpace can sell their music to their fans directly.

Ten-year-old iVillage, on the other hand, is a first-generation Internet community site, built on an earlier top-down model of what community meant to those of us who were around back in the old days of the Web — message boards. IVillage has 1,000 message boards. But they are so limiting that the only way to demonstrate self-expression, besides writing in all caps and using expletives, is to upload a photo. Additionally, iVillage is a place where news is delivered to you; where editors rule the roost; where the audience learns and takes more than they give, and where the bulk of the content is polished and scrubbed. It’s almost too perfectly maintained compared to the anarchy, mess and grunge of MySpace.

The differences remind me of my walk through the Sausalito, Calif. Art Festival a couple weeks ago. As I made my way through the very clean, organized and civil art show, I couldn’t help but think of my friends who were — at that same time — attending the raucous, eclectic and countercultural art festival called Burning Man. The two environments couldn’t be more different. One liberates our individuality, like MySpace. The other quietly asks us to conform, like iVillage.

 

Link.

 

More Social Shopping Sites

The list of social shopping sites is growing. New York Times ran a piece on the growth of this new phenomenon. In a way, its an expansion of the Amazon reviews. Anytime I buy I book, I almost always check out the Amazon reviews/debates. It is fascinating to see how these review pages often become an ongoing conversation or argument among Amazon reviewers. Take this to the next level, social shopping allows people to share their passion for a variety of products and to build a community of friends at the same time.

Check out some of these social shopping sites:

Stylehive

ThisNext!

Wists

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