Archive for July, 2008

Tuesday news – 7/29

We dealt with only a couple of topics today. Cuil came out yesterday, a new search engine, started by former employees of Google.  It supposedly indexes more pages than Google.  I tried it, wasn’t impressed with the presentation or the design.  Then, blog posts started piling up with criticisms.

And, not getting too far astray from all things Google, we read the TechCrunch piece spreading the unconfirmed story that Google had walked away from the Digg acquisition. The article has a list of other failed attempts to sell Digg.  Wonder what will happen next.  Will Kevin Rose ever get his payday?

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Monday news roundup 7/28

Icahn gets 3 seats on Yahoo’s board. We’ll see if what happens at the shareholder meeting on Friday.  Check your tech RSS feeds during the day on Friday to see if there is any news.

We talked about a couple of gender-related items.  A study in Science (the journal) found that the difference in math scores between girls and boys had disappeared. Interesting. Let’s see if that translates to more women in mathematical, tech, and computer science careers. And a NY Times piece on the Blogher conference dealt with the glass ceiling that exist for women bloggers to rise to the top blogger lists. Good discussion about these issues in class. Students had good insight into the cultural and social factors that can create gender disparity.

Another NY Times piece dealt with literacy. How are our Internet activities affecting literacy?  For better or worse. The article was balanced, showing the naysayers who think that Internet and mobile communications are ruining language, and those who are excited about the new ways that young people are using technology to communicate.

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News Items 7/24

Several interesting items today:

Twitter in USA Today – you know it’s mainstream when it’s in USA Today. And, a blog post on Everything You Need to Know About Twitter from Social Media Today.

We talked about Facebook’s new strategy with Facebook Connect to play nice with the rest of the Web. Zuckerberg discussed at the F8 Developer’s Meeting.

Look for Esquire to use electronic paper for its cover for its 75th anniversary edition. Look for it in the October issue.

Google is negotiating to buy Digg for around $200 mil.  Why? Because they can.  Let’s see if this deal goes through, as Digg has been an acquisition holdout for years.

NY Times is linking up with LinkedIn to provide news content to the professional social networking site.

And, Apple’s running short of 3G iPhones, now with wait times of 2-3 weeks. Glad I got mine!

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News Items from 7/21

From Social Media Today: Should Social Media Fall under Technology or Public Relations? Good comments regarding its place as a communication tool, but that PR departments might not have technical types (at the moment) that can work with these tools.  Also, 4 Unexpected Observations from Blogher, compares it to SXSW in terms of social media importance.

Wired on John McCain’s lack of tech savvy.  This concerns me.

NY Times on Wikipedia’s proposal to apply a review system. redesigned their site.

Wii jumps ahead of Xbox and PlayStation as the video-game console of choice.

Web Strategy highlights the best and worst social media campaigns. BMW 1 Series was the only one with a passing score in four categories.

Lorne Michaels will use YouTube to give Jimmy Fallon some practice before hosting Late Night. Good idea. NBC is not likely to give Fallon lots of time to hit his stride, and he’s never done anything like this before. The YouTube episodes will be shorter than a show, but will appear at regular times to get people used to seeing Fallon.

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UT Reynolds ASNE High School Journalism Institute

I got to visit my old alma mater today, went to UT to visit with some high school journalism advisers at the Reynolds ASNE High School Journalism Institute.  I had an hour to talk about the ways I use social media in the classroom. I didn’t want to bombard them with Web Design concepts, since they would have sessions on using the ASNE content management system later in the program.  So, I thought I would provide an overview of social media techniques and how they could be used in academic settings, tools that are free and easy to implement.  I was only on my 2nd slide, the timeline of milestones in multimedia, when the discussion got derailed regarding social networks.  I asked if anyone was on MySpace or Facebook. I think a couple of people out of 32 raised their hands.  This led to a discussion of their fear of using those sites, due to potential liability across a variety of issues.  Since I am not a high school teacher, nor am I an attorney, I didn’t have much solid advice to give them that would dispel their fears.  I emphasized that knowing about these spaces is much better than not knowing, and finding ways to use them (and others) might help them understand their appeal.  I agree with one of the participants who stated, at the end of my talk, that it is important for us to communicate these technologies to students in a way that does not make them fearful, but makes them feel empowered in their usage.

When things got back on track, I continued with my presentation, that is embedded below.  I showed how I used blogs in different settings (coverage of actual event, blogging about class discussions on my tech blog, classroom blog assignments, personal site), how I kept up with technology via RSS feeds, and how I created a social network for my former students.  My goal was to provide a brief overview of a wide range of tools, with hopes that each person might find one that would be of interest to them.  The presentation went quickly, but I hope the handouts provide them access to resources to explore further on their own.

Here’s the presentation I gave, using Slideshare to embed. BTW, this is the first time I’ve tried Slideshare, heard about it last week from a TX State colleague.  It was very easy to use, upload a powerpoint and it hosts it and allows you to embed in a blog post. Always trying new things…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Also, I was trying to show how to grab the Embed code from YouTube at the end of my presentation, but the Internet connection was running too slow. Here is a screenshot from a YouTube video page. You can see the Embed box.  Copy that code and paste it into your Blogger blog. Just remember to press the Edit HTML button before you insert it. You won’t actually see the video until you Preview or Publish the post.  WordPress uses a different method to embed video.

Many thanks to the teachers for their attention and comments during the presentation.


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Obama Girl in Austin at NetRoots

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow, good thing Obama has such an informed and eloquent person representing him. Here’s the story.

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False Web Sites

From the darker side of the Internet, a UT employee was sued for making a false Web site that included libelous statements.  The person basically set up a page that looked just like a legit newspaper’s site, The Oklahoman, and then posted links to it on some other sites.  Stupid.

And, here’s the commentary we read on Facebook Never Forgets.  Keep that in mind the next time you post a party pic of yourself on a social network.

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New Kindle/NetRoots/Viral Videos

Rumors are circulating about new Kindle models, the e-book reader from Amazon.  Looks like they will try to make them cuter to appeal to kids. Get them while they’re young.

This weekend, political bloggers descend on Austin for the NetRoots convention. It used to be called the YearlyKos, named after the blog Daily Kos.

From Social Media Today, I like the way this blogger discusses viral videos.  You can’t set out to make them.  They just happen.  There’s no recipe or formula – anything that has worked before will probably not work again.

And, a story from The Daily Texan about a UT student who is starting his own college-based social network. It’s called

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Is this a Social Revolution?

Great post on Social Media Today by Brian Solis entitled The Social Revolution is our Industrial Revolution.  We need to start thinking about things differently and our direction with the social usage of the Web is a major shift.

This NY Times piece discussed some of the legal implications of blogging, subpeona’s being delivered to blogging platforms to release information on anonymous posters.Very significant in terms of our understanding free speech online.

And, also by NY Times, a pretty fascinating read from the Allen & Company conference.  Billionaires comment (sometimes anonymously) on the Yahoo/Microsoft saga.

And a piece from Web Strategy: Dell let’s the community create green advertisements; and

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Lively, iPhone and Congress on Twitter

The Silicon Valley Insider details the differences between Google’s Lively and Second Life.  Mainly, no sex in Lively.  It’s the PG virtual world.

This Yahoo/Microsoft/Icahn just won’t go away, and it gets uglier by the minute.

NY Times had two views of Apple on the same page. One was very complimentary about the efficiency of the apps for the small screen of the iPhone. The other talked about the companies problem with back-dating options. There are lawsuits.  Still unsure as to how it will be settled and the exact damages. This occurred between 1997-2001, prior to Apple’s current reigning status.

And, finally, there’s an argument in Congress about Representatives ability to use tools like YouTube and Twitter. Supposedly, a Democratic contingent wants to limit usage of commercial sites that generate ads.  A proposal for guidelines was made by Michael Capuano that “intended to prevent members from using public money to communicate on outside Web sites featuring commercial and political advertisements.”  John Culberson of Texas thinks it would limit free speech, and is worried that it will apply to things beyond YouTube, like blogs and other Web sites.  Culberson uses Twitter.  When Congress starts using these things, you know it’s hit the mainstream.

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