Saturday Feb 28, 2009

Measuring Twitter Mania

The San Francisco Chronicle summarizes the Pew Internet & American Life Project's report on Twitter.  

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

The Echo Chamber

Paul Jay, CEO of The Real News Network, talks to Daljit Dhaliwal about the echo chamber:

Tuesday May 06, 2008

Connecting News Sources

As I was driving back from Java One in San Francisco Monday evening, I listened to the BBC report on KQED.

The BBC carried a 5-minute-long report on Iraq, describing the "conflict" there and the immense rise in poverty and lack of basic services, without once managing to mention that taboo word: "occupation".

In the morning, Financial Times carried a picture on the front page describing how sophisticated military equipment was being used to create an exclusion zone around the oil terminals in southern Iraq, from whence 1.5  million barrels of oil were carried away every day on British, Australian and American ships.

For how long can a country be dispossessed of its resources, supply the world with vast quantities of oil and live under military occupation by foreign powers, with vast parts of its population reduced to abject poverty with every passing day?

Saturday Apr 12, 2008

The Real News

In modern times, distribution has become the bottleneck or the "filter" for ideas.

Those sources that have access or control of distribution shape the ideas that arrive before our eyes and ears. 

Internet, at least as it stands today, affords distribution to other sources. However, this medium of distribution might not last long as we know it and, as the volume of content grows, searching for what matters becomes like searching for a needle in a giant haystack.

Example: I don't even remember how I ran into The Real News Network (Beta) reports, including the report embedded here, and some others, including one on Iraq.

Monday Sep 17, 2007

UK Bank Run or the Advantage of Reading Two Papers

I subscribe to two papers that are delivered every morning at my doorstep: The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times

For three days now, Financial Times has carried stories and pictures of a bank run in the UK, involving Northern Rock, a financial institution focused on savings and loans geared to the mortgage market. (Some have argued that if there's only a single bank run, we do not have a bank run. However, financial crisis have their own way of diffusing to neighbors.) This morning, FT carries, above the fold, a 1/4 page picture of a crowd waiting to withdraw their savings from a Northern Rock branch. Cambridge - Customers of Northern Rock waiting patiently to withdraw their savings.

No two industrial economies or countries are as intertwined as the UK and the US. Yet, if you read The Wall Street Journal this morning, you would hardly notice anything going amiss in the UK. On the front page, the news of the bank run is reflected only in a two-sentence paragraph falling on the fold, making it hardly visible, with a jump to page 3 of section C ("Money & Investing"), a section which bills an educational piece on yield curves on top of its own fold. On page C3, two short columns summarize the least salient parts of story, with no mention of a bank run.

I should end this by noting that the electronic version of FT, accessible here in California, has no images like the ones in the print edition on its front "page" today. However, one can find relevant images on Flickr -- like the one I've posted here.

Saturday Aug 04, 2007

Aljazeera on the Net

As far as I know, no major U.S. cable carrier currently offers Aljazeera English, but if you are in the U.S., you can still watch Aljazeera English programs on YouTube or directly from

Friday May 04, 2007

News, Blogs and Sun Microsytems Inc.



We are witnessing the close of a decade when blogs might begin to mirror meaningless news and when meaningful news might begin to appear as blogs, like these Reuters Alternet Blogs.

Note that Sun Microsystems Inc. powers Reuters Alternet for the Reuters Foundation.

With its independent board, Reuters continues as one the most independent media and news organizations in the world. 

Tuesday May 01, 2007

Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal and News Corp

Financial Times has several stories about the recent News Corp bid for that American tradition of a newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. (Earlier I wrote about the Journal's recent redesign here.) Perhaps, now, some folks will put greater value on the independence of the Reuter's board.

Wednesday Apr 11, 2007

Mobile Media and RSS Readers

Mobile RSS readers and aggregators seem to have come of age. For example, take a look at the list here. Many modern phones, like this one, carry browsers capable of loading RSS feeds.

On the other hand, many sources of news media are beginning to use a similar naming convention for their mobile editions:

These are no-nonsense text editions that are easy to load and read. Using this de facto naming convention seems like a good idea and a tradition that should probably spread and continue.

Sunday Apr 08, 2007

A Mobile Java News Reader for Financial Times

Try it out, starting here and comment below how you like it. Leiki, the company behind it, works out of Helsinki.

Wednesday Dec 20, 2006

Torrents to Distribute Video Content


Legal writers on the Internet have viewed it as a giant copying and distribution machine.

They are not far off the mark, and from this position, they have argued that the Internet should be let loose as such a machine with only minimal limitations, and that the legislature need to reconsider and rewrite copyright laws to bring them back to their original intent.

Let the machine do what it does best and figure out how to use it to benefit society at large, they have argued.

Roberto Chinnici and Michael Calore write about a major use of BitTorrent protocol for (copying and) distribution of video content from a major news media outlet, the BBC. 

This is a grand idea and a great use of the machine.

The only potential downside I could see is that BitTorrent works best when a piece is popular. For it to work for programming that does not always suit the popular taste of the masses, a major news outlet must also use enough torrent seeds to ensure these programs remain available for distribution. This way the less popular programming can still have the minimal torrent seeding necessary for efficient distribution while the more popular programming gets the benefit of additional distribution through the collaborative distribution BitTorrent makes possible as a piece becomes increasingly popular. In other words, popularity should (and can, thanks to BitTorrent) pay for itself.

One day, the designer of BitTorrent will be considered a great visionary who changed the face of the Internet. He made a great leap to make the copying and distribution machine more efficient and more fair.


Thursday Dec 14, 2006

Disruptive with TV

Roberto Chinnici puts some probing questions to non-mainstream English language TV channels. His solution to their problems to break into the U.S. market: Use the web to your advantage to be disruptive with conventional TV programming.

To address the complaint regarding economic cost of bandwidth, finding a way to include decent advertising may prove sufficient. Furthermore, there can be a web-based subscription model that collects small subscription fees (or micropayments) for access to programming. This will work because bandwidth will still be able to serve all users particularly if programming does not emphasize real, real-time news and breaks content into pieces available separately.

Tuesday Nov 14, 2006

Reuters Plucks Pluck

Reuters, the innovative newswire service famous for its bylaws and independent board, "plucks" Pluck, a blog syndicator for news outlets, through a $7 million investment. 

Sunday Nov 05, 2006

From Yorkville to San Francisco

There is a big difference between bloggers and blogging and professional journalism. For an example, see this video production by two British journalists (from The Guardian) on the mid-term U.S. elections which shows how professional journalists with a bit of resources and a bit of freedom of action can easily outdo any media-caster (of any variety of media) in very good style even if not in the full range of content.




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