Did online content providers screw themselves?

Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?, from the NY Times … nearly a decade after newspapers began building and showcasing their Web sites, one of the most vexing questions in newspaper economics endures: should publishers charge for Web news, knowing that they may drive readers away and into the arms of the competition? Executives at The Times have suggested that the paper, which already charges for its crossword puzzle,.. Read More

Googlewhacking Is Good For You

Googlewhackers: Two Words, One Hit, reprinted here from the Boston Globe Crazy as it sounds, Googlewhacking may be good for your mental health. “It’s excellent exercise for many brain centers,” says Allen D. Bragdon, founding editor of Games magazine and author of a number of books on enhancing brain function, including “Exercises for the Whole Brain.” “It requires a high order of a cognitive skill called ‘theory of mind,’ ”.. Read More

Hacking NASA

I’m a little behind in my reading of Nature News, so I only just read this article from mid-January: Amateurs beat space agencies to Titan pictures. A group of enthusiastic amateurs managed to process raw images of Titan from the Huygens probe faster that any of the giant space agencies in charge of the mission. This is remarkably timely, since just a couple of days ago I read chapter 3.. Read More

Google & Wikimedia

According to this post on SearchEngineWatch, Google has offered to donate servers and bandwidth to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is old news apparently; the first post on Slashdot on this was Feb 10. Slashdot has a link to a very brief unofficial statement from Wikimedia on this. The terms of the offer are currently being discussed by the board… …this agreement does not mean there is any requirement for us.. Read More

RFID for Dick and Jane

Parents protest radio ID tags for students, from CNN The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will rob their children of privacy. The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on January 18 rely on the same radio frequency and scanner technology that companies use to track livestock and.. Read More

The Evil Empire vs. Don’t Be Evil

Microsoft releases Google rival, from CNN Because, as the author of this article from Technology Review, wrote: “Microsoft doesn’t innovate, they just steal other people’s ideas and turn them into mediocre products.” Though this does sound useful: One new capability that Microsoft will be introducing with Monday’s launch is the ability to create RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, feeds that allows users to track search results through an incoming data.. Read More

The rise and rise of spam

Law Barring Junk E-Mail Allows a Flood Instead, from the NY Times Since the Can Spam Act went into effect in January 2004, unsolicited junk e-mail on the Internet has come to total perhaps 80 percent or more of all e-mail sent, according to most measures. That is up from 50 percent to 60 percent of all e-mail before the law went into effect. How do you force a profitable.. Read More

Human-Computer Collaboration

Tool for Thought, from the NY Times Now, strictly speaking, who is responsible for that initial idea? Was it me or the software? It sounds like a facetious question, but I mean it seriously. Obviously, the computer wasn’t conscious of the idea taking shape, and I supplied the conceptual glue that linked the London sewers to cell metabolism. But I’m not at all confident I would have made the initial.. Read More

The iPod economy

Thanks to Yvonne for bringing this one to my attention: Birth of an Industry: iPod Loading, from the NY Times On the one hand, just how lazy can you get? I mean, ripping a CD is something you can do while multitasking… it doesn’t exactly require your whole attention, does it? On the other hand: Consumers are realizing that the digital wonder that was supposed to unify and simplify their.. Read More

Apple: ThinkSecret

Apple sues Mac rumor Website, from CNN This is a strange story: Apple is suing ThinkSecret for posting information about the Mac mini, before its release. Apple claims that the information posted …could only have been obtained by someone who had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple. But apparently none of the ThinkSecret people actually had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple. Instead, Apple’s claim is that ThinkSecret had induced.. Read More