Interesting Tidbits for December 22nd through December 23rd

Things worth reading for December 22nd through December 23rd:

Hits and Misses From Madison Avenue – WSJ.com – Nice year-end review by Suzanne.


IPhone and Android Apps Breach Privacy – WSJ.com – And people wonder why customers don’t trust big internet?

“An examination of 101 popular smartphone “apps”—games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device ID to other companies without users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone’s location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.

“The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.”

    Start-Up Scoops Up Unsold Tickets – WSJ.com – “ScoreBig Inc., which has raised $8.5 million from investors including private-equity firm Bain Capital and media executive Shari Redstone, has been quietly testing a system that aspires to do for concert and sports tickets what Priceline.com does for airline seats and hotel rooms: Allow customers to buy them at cut-rate prices, while avoiding the whiff of desperation that typically accompanies discounts.”

    ‘Mission: Impossible’ Director Takes on Challenge – WSJ.com – Interesting!

    FCC Chairman to Propose Approval of Comcast-NBC Deal – WSJ.com – “WASHINGTON—Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Thursday will propose approving Comcast Corp.’s deal to acquire control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co., according to sources familiar with the matter.

    “The proposal still needs full commission approval, which isn’t expected until early 2011. And it will include a number of conditions on the deal, requiring that Comcast make NBC and its other Comcast-owned video content available to pay-TV competitors at reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms, according to people close to the FCC’s negotiations.”

    E-Mail’s Big Demographic Split – NYTimes.com – Interesting data, but note that it’s hampered by comScore’s webmail bias. That is, what about on-the-computer email clients like Outlook? “In the last year, time spent using e-mail sites like Yahoo and Hotmail has fallen 48 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds, according to comScore, a market research firm. The statistics only include time spent with e-mail on computers, so the decline may be somewhat offset by teenagers using e-mail on their phones.”

    Facebook Passes Yahoo To Become Second Largest Traffic Source For Videos On Media Sites – “When it comes to getting people to watch online videos from media sites, Google is still the largest source of outside traffic. Search drives views. But the second largest source of traffic is not Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine. It is now Facebook. According to a report on Online Video & The Media Industry put out jointly by Tubemogul and Brightcove, Facebook passed Yahoo in the third quarter to become the No. 2 source of traffic to online videos at media sites. (The study measures videos across the Brightcove network, with a focus on newspaper, magazine, broadcaster, brand, and online media sites).”

    Net neutrality: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile react — Engadget – VERY useful… “Amazingly, the FCC still hasn’t released the full text of the net neutrality rules it passed by a contentious 3-2 vote yesterday, so we can’t really say much about what’s in them — and while this sort of delay is typical of the Genachowski FCC, it hasn’t stopped the carriers from issuing statements on the new rules… Sprint commended the FCC, T-Mobile needs some time to look things over, AT&T called it a “fair middle ground” but railed about “radical voices” and “heavy-handed government regulation” (seriously) and Verizon — well, Verizon issued what appears to be a veiled threat to sue everyone. That’s pretty interesting, since it sure looks to us like the FCC all but rubber-stamped last summer’s Google / Verizon neutrality proposal, but you never know what’s happening behind closed doors… We’ve rounded up all the reactions below — check ’em out. ”

      Interesting Tidbits for December 21st through December 22nd

      Things worth reading for December 21st through December 22nd:

      I m a g i n e >>>> t o m o r r o w: Driving behavior with game dynamics – Very useful piece by David De Boer (who I’m now tracking) on game dynamics. Didn’t hurt that he cites @christydena.


      New Poll: Americans Say ‘No Thanks’ to Online Tracking – “NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Most Americans do not want to be tracked by online advertisers, according to a new Gallup poll released Tuesday.

      “Major marketers such as AT&T are increasingly tracking users’ habits on the web so they can better deliver specific ads to specific kinds of people. The practice, known as behavioral targeting, has come under a renewed government scrutiny, specifically by both the Obama administration and the Federal Trade Commission.<br />

      “When asked if advertisers should be allowed to match ads to people’s specific interests based on other websites they’ve previously visited, a clear majority of 67% said no, compared with 30% who said yes.”


      Community and Context: Thoughts on Closing Comments – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic – Nice post about online community provoked by a contestatory Jaron Lanier post in The Atlantic, surface to my attention by @kathiiberens. NOTE: Jaron Lanier is keynoting #iMediaSummit ‘s Breakthrough event in March.

      “This afternoon, several of our readers questioned our decision to close the comment thread on Jaron Lanier’s post about WikiLeaks, “The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy.” The discussion transformed into an extended Twitter conversation with some of my favorite writers, professors, and readers about the ethics and strategy of that decision. I’d like to walk through my thinking with you all here.”


      What Facebook Has in Store for Its ‘Places’ and ‘Deals’ Features – The eMarketer Blog – Nice interview with Noah and Emily White about Facebook moving into Foursquare and Groupon territory.

      MediaPost Publications Time-Shifted Viewers Still Watch Commercials 12/22/2010 – “Time was that DVRs were going to destroy TV’s ad-supported model. But a new Nielsen report shows viewers watch a notable amount of commercials that they could zap, which is helping increase C3 ratings, the industry currency.

      “The research shows that C3 ratings rise 16%, thanks to people watching commercials while using a DVR. That data is for 18- to-49-year-olds for ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC combined.”


      YouTube – Candlelight – The Maccabeats – Hanukkah – Fascinating meta-cover or a cover, with Taio Cruz coming first with “Dynamite” and then Mike Thompkins’ celebrated a capella cover of it that got play on YouTube and TV. Here we have a Hanukkah themed one… very interesting and well worth a look.

      Technolog – ‘Open’ Internet just a pipe dream – Nice overview by Wilson Rothman about why Net Neutrality matters.

      How not to go crazy traveling with young children – Boing Boing – For any parent who has traveled with a small child, this is a must read.

      FCC Gives Government Power to Regulate Web Traffic – WSJ.com – “The rules would allow phone and cable companies to offer faster, priority delivery services to Internet companies willing to pay extra. But the FCC proposal contains language suggesting the agency would try to discourage creation of such high-speed toll lanes.

      “Companies that operate mobile wireless networks would have fewer rules to contend with. Phone companies wouldn’t be able to block legal websites from consumers. They also can’t block mobile voice or video-conferencing applications. Wireless providers would be allowed to block other applications, however, that they say could take up too much bandwidth on wireless networks.”


      After Critiquing Facebook, Google Researcher Paul Adams Joins It – Interesting… the Google Brain Drain continues…

      Interesting Tidbits for December 20th to December 21st

      Today’s Top Story? *definitely* Net Neutrality… with other goodies included:


      Net Neutrality Rules Are Imminent From the F.C.C. – NYTimes.com – New York Times has a dimmer view of today’s FCC act:

      “But a wide swath of public interest groups have lambasted the proposal as “fake net neutrality” and said it was rife with loopholes. One group, Public Knowledge, said that instead of providing clear protections, the F.C.C. “created a vague and shifting landscape open to interpretation. Consumers deserved better.”

      “Notably, the rules are watered down for wireless Net providers like AT&T and Verizon, which would be prohibited from blocking Web sites, but not from blocking applications or services unless those applications directly compete with providers’ voice and video products, like Skype.”


      FCC Gets Votes to Pass Net-Neutrality Rules – WSJ.com – WSJ’s down-the-middle take: “Phone and cable companies have offered some praise, as have some venture capitalists, including John Doerr, who called it “pragmatic balance of innovation, economic growth and crucial investment in the Internet.”

      “For the most part, phone and cable companies have said they didn’t want new rules on Internet lines. But they have mostly backed AT&T Inc.’s push to compromise with Mr. Genachowski.

      “Liberal activists and some consumer advocates have sharply criticized the proposal, saying it allows too much leeway to big broadband providers and falls well short of promises made by President Barack Obama, including limits on how the rules apply to mobile broadband networks.”


      Four takes on why net neutrality matters – Useful review: “In Internet time, things change fast. Google is moving into television. WikiLeaks is changing the paradigm of international relations. Newspapers, movies, radio and TV are all available on handheld devices. And the FCC is poised to act on far-reaching rules of the road for the Internet. Four new books offer different maps of this territory from different angles, none capturing completely the thin line we tread between information utopia and a preprogrammed cultural dystopia.”


      Al Franken: The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time – Important post from Sen. Franken:

      “Imagine if Comcast customers couldn’t watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast’s Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.

      “That’s why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time. And that’s why, this Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I’ll be watching. If they approve it as is, I’ll be outraged. And you should be, too.”


      Net neutrality plan has the votes at FCC – Computerworld – IDG News Service – Michael Copps, the swing vote at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for a set of network neutrality rules, said Monday he will vote for the proposal.


      E-Mail Use Falls as Young Chat and Text – NYTimes.com – Nice color piece on how Facebook’s email service is different.  Doesn’t really work for business but fine for personal messages, in my humble…


      Augmented Reality on Your Phone – NYTimes.com – “According to a new report released by Forrester research on Monday, the technology behind augmented reality apps has improved enough so that these apps may well become an integral part of using a mobile phone, augmenting real life with broad strokes of information and commentary.”


      Law and the Multiverse Blog Mixes Lawyers and Superheroes – NYTimes.com – “You might not have thought to ask these questions. You might have, in other words, a life. But a new blog and the interest it is generating shows that there are people who look at an epic battle between superheroes and supervillains and really, really want to know who should be found liable for the broken buildings and shattered streets.

      “Those people now have a blog called Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, supervillains, and the law. Kicked off on Nov. 30, it addresses questions like: “What if someone is convicted for murder, and then the victim comes back to life?” And whether mutants are a legally recognizable class entitled to constitutional protection from discrimination. “


      Let It Dough! – NYTimes.com – Very funny.

      Targeted TV Ads Set for Takeoff – WSJ.com – “After years of promises and false starts, TV commercials targeted at individual homes may finally be ready for prime time.

      “DirecTV Group Inc. is planning the biggest rollout yet of “addressable ads,” allowing advertisers to reach close to 10 million homes with commercials tailored to each household. Dog owners, for instance, could see ads for dog food, not kitty litter, while families with children could be shown minivan spots.

      “The satellite-TV service provider has struck a partnership with Starcom MediaVest, a unit of Publicis Groupe SA that buys ad time on behalf of heavyweight marketers such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Coca-Cola Co. Starcom has committed to spend $10 million to $20 million on the new service next year.”

      Skinnygirl Bethenny Frankel, of ‘Bethenny Ever After,’ Finds Having a Baby Is Good for Her Brands – WSJ.com – Fascinating in a train-wreck sorta way.


      Wired 11.09: PowerPoint Is Evil – “Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won’t make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure.

      “At a minimum, a presentation format should do no harm. Yet the PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content. Thus PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play -very loud, very slow, and very simple.

      “The practical conclusions are clear. PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.”

      Interesting Tidbits for December 20th from 06:34 to 07:15

      Things worth reading for December 20th from 06:34 to 07:15:

      Interesting Tidbits for December 4th through December 17th

      Things worth reading for December 4th through December 17th:

      New Life Phases: “the Painted Ponies Go Up & Down”

      I’m writing this short post from the International Terminal at SFO as Kathi (@kathiiberens) and I head out to Le Web in Paris. We’ll be away until mid-month and it’s the first trip we’ve taken just as a duo since becoming parents in 2001. Our children are now 9 and 5, and my mother arrived in Portland yesterday from Los Angeles to care for them while K & I are away. “You’re now playing for Team Grandma,” I told the kids, and we then pumped our fists in the air and yelled TEAM GRANDMA! My mother found us amusing.

      The big life changes hit you in the face and have entire industries surrounding them: weddings, births, graduations, funerals, but little ones abound. I remember clearly when my Nana came to stay with me and my little brother when my parents would zoom away on a big trip to Europe or Asia. Now, my mother is doing for us what her mother did for her, and that means that while we’re the parents of small children we’re no longer the parents of babies. Instead, our kids are capable, communicative and (usually) reasonable… able to help Grandma in the process of raising them for the time we’re gone.

      The kids love Grandma but were already missing us when we left– in my case I’d just returned from a 3 day business trip so they hadn’t seen much of me.  Kathi has never been away from them for more than 72 hours. I installed FaceTime on the big floortop Mac in my home office so that we can video chat when we can connect on time and wifi… and with luck that will be regularly.

      For obvious reasons, this old Joni Mitchell song has been running around my head:

      Next stop, Paris!

      Interesting Tidbits for December 2nd

      Things worth reading for December 2nd from 07:06 to 07:35:

      • Ignoring Internet Banner Ads – “Despite having come of age with the Internet, the survey’s 18-34-year-olds were about as likely as their elders to pick banner ads as the genre they ignore the most (42 percent made that choice). Likewise, 21 percent of the 18-34s said search-engine ads are the genre they’re likeliest to ignore.”
      • Austin Powers in Goldmember, Tom Cruise | 20 Movies That Peak With Opening Scene? | Photo 1 of 21 | EW.com – Fun list, but can I just say that EW arranges this so that it gets 21 page views instead of just 1 and that doesn’t make me 21 times more valuable to advertisers.
      • Why Gawker is moving beyond the blog – Interesting piece by Nick Denton on Gawker’s new format and ad opportunities… I’m not sure why it’s in LifeHacker rather than on Gawker or in a more industry focused trade pub, but interesting.
      • Richard Dawkins | Christopher Hitchens is my hero of 2010 | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk – Terrific profile of Hitchens by Dawkins as the former battles aggressive cancer.

        “Eloquent, witty, literate, intelligent, knowledgeable, brave, erudite, hard-working, honest (who could forget his clean-through skewering of Mother Teresa’s hypocrisy?), arguably the most formidable debater alive today yet at the same time the most gentlemanly, Christopher Hitchens is a giant of the mind and a model of courage. A lesser man would have seized the excuse of a mortal illness to duck responsibility and take it easy. Not this soldier. He will not go gentle into that good night; but instead of a futile raging against the dying of the light he rages, with redoubled energy (and concentrated power in his vibrant, Richard Burton tones) against the same obscurantist, vicious or just plain silly targets as have long engaged him. But he never rants. His is a controlled, disciplined rage, and don’t get on the wrong side of it.”

      • Diller steps down as IAC CEO, Malone swaps stake for cash | Reuters – “Barry Diller is stepping down as chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the company said, adding it had bought out one of its largest shareholders, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp.

        “IAC said on Thursday Liberty had sold its entire equity stake in IAC in exchange for $220 million in cash and the Evite and Gifts.com businesses. The online businesses will become part of Liberty’s Interactive unit.

        “Liberty’s stake had included 60 percent of voting rights of all classes of IAC stock, which had been represented by Diller — a long-time business associate of Malone, the cable television pioneer.

        “The two media moguls fell out in a 2008 court case over how Diller used Malone’s voting rights in IAC.

        “Diller, 68, will remain as chairman and senior executive, while the company has appointed former Match.com Chief Executive Greg Blatt, 42, to be IAC’s new chief executive.”

      • Netflix offering $100K for TV episodes – NYPOST.com – “Netflix is making an aggressive play for in-season episodes of hit TV shows to expand its Web streaming service.

        “The company is in talks with studios about gaining access to current episodes of primetime shows and is willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode, according to a person familiar with the matter. Netflix had no comment.

        “Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made no secret of his desire to move beyond movie rentals and beef up TV offerings. While the company has added a number of shows, such as “Nip/Tuck,” “Veronica Mars” and “The Family Guy, they are mostly episodes from previous seasons.”

      Interesting Tidbits for November 29th through November 30th

      Things worth reading for November 29th through November 30th:

      • Jay Leno’s Tonight Show Ratings Lose To Conan’s Shows Past & Present – “Jay Leno’s Tonight Show adults 18-49 ratings again fell below those of Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show on a calendar week basis (2010 vs. 2009), and also fell below Conan’s new TBS show for the same week.

        “Leno’s Tonight Show for the week of November 15-19 averaged a 0.9 rating with adults 18-49, while Conan’s Tonight Show averaged a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating for the comparable calendar week last year (November 16-20, 2009).

        “Conan’s new TBS show averaged a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating for the week of November 15-19, 2010.

        “Letterman’s Late Show scored a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating for the Nov 15-19 week.”

      • Google in Talks to Buy Groupon – WSJ.com – “Google Inc. has been in talks to buy Groupon Inc., a fast-growing website offering daily deals at businesses in the U.S. and abroad, according to a person familiar with the matter.

        “No deal is imminent between Google and Groupon, said people familiar with the matter. One of these people said that other parties recently offered to finance Groupon at a valuation of more than $3 billion.”

      • Netflix Partner Says Comcast Fee ‘Threatens’ Open Internet – NYTimes.com – “Level 3 Communications, a central partner in the Netflix online movie service, accused Comcast on Monday of charging a new fee that puts Internet video companies at a competitive disadvantage.

        “Level 3, which helps to deliver Netflix’s streaming movies, said Comcast had effectively erected a tollbooth that “threatens the open Internet,” and indicated that it would seek government intervention. Comcast quickly denied that the clash had anything to do with network neutrality, instead calling it “a simple commercial dispute.”

        “The dispute highlighted the growing importance of Internet video delivery — an area that some people say needs to be monitored more closely by regulators. Net neutrality, which posits that Internet traffic should be free of any interference from network operators like Comcast, is thought to be on the December agenda of the Federal Communications Commission.”

      • Microsoft TV: A Bold Move That May Blow Up Broadcast – “For years pundits have been blathering on about the “Trojan horse” that is console gaming. The Playstation 2, arguably, was the first DVD player many of us ever had while the PS3 is probably the first Blu-Ray player many of us ever used. These devices were also some of the first to stream Netflix and, with this new deal, they’ll start replacing the cable box entirely. Imagine – a full complement of content available 24/7 from a box you already own. That is amazingly compelling and, dare I say it, kind of exciting.”
      • Lee Majors looks back on the bionic man, Bigfoot and Farrah Fawcett | Hero Complex – Los Angeles Times – The complete — COMPLETE! — “Six Million Dollar Man” series is coming JUST in time for the holiday. Oy am I tempted.
      • Ari Emanuel: Agency Killer – Interesting profile on Mr. Emanuel’s ambitions… the agencies he wants to kill here are ad agencies, not talent agencies.

      Interesting Tidbits for November 26th through November 29th

      Things worth reading for November 26th through November 29th:

      • Mary Meeker, renowned tech analyst, leaves Morgan Stanley for venture capitalist firm | Technology | Los Angeles Times – “Mary Meeker, a renowned technology analyst and researcher, is leaving her longtime home at financial-services firm Morgan Stanley to become a venture capitalist.

        “Meeker has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner, the firm announced Monday morning.

        “We’re at the beginning of another great wave of tech innovation, and I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to help the next generation of Internet technologies and leaders,” Meeker said in a statement.”

      • Kramer Puts the ‘C’ in Change – Larry Kramer has a new book out: “C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today.” I look forward to reading it.
      • YouTube – Jeffrey Cole – 2020 Shaping Ideas – Terrific short video featuring my friend Jeff Cole of the USC/Annenberg Center for the Digital Future on the future of advertising in a digital era.
      • Why consumers value companies more than their products – Telegraph – Somewhat optimistic take on branding by a UK Agency CEO. “Brand owners would do well to be reminded that their company, rather than their products, may in fact be the source of consumer affection and brand magic. In an era where products are easy to copy, and advantages quickly eroded, it may be that a company’s origins, values or personality are what truly underpins any franchise.”
      • Hate PowerPoint? Here Are 5 Web-based Alternatives – Nice piece from RWW. I’m curious what @nancyduarte thinks of this.
      • Lessons Learned in 10 Years on the Tech Beat — State of the Art – NYTimes.com – Nice 10 year retrospective by David Pogue.

        “Things don’t replace things; they just splinter. I can’t tell you how exhausting it is to keep hearing pundits say that some product is the “iPhone killer” or the “Kindle killer.” Listen, dudes: the history of consumer tech is branching, not replacing.

        “TV was supposed to kill radio. The DVD was supposed to kill the Cineplex. Instant coffee was supposed to replace fresh-brewed.

        “But here’s the thing: it never happens. You want to know what the future holds? O.K., here you go: there will be both iPhones and Android phones. There will be both satellite radio and AM/FM. There will be both printed books and e-books. Things don’t replace things; they just add on.

        “Sooner or later, everything goes on-demand. The last 10 years have brought a sweeping switch from tape and paper storage to digital downloads. Music, TV shows, movies, photos and now books and newspapers. We want instant access. We want it easy. “

      • Lewis Black at The Night of Too Many Stars – Lewis Black’s hysterical 9 minute riff about having to follow Vince Gill and Amy Grant at a charity concert had me giggling helplessly at my desk. NSFW and genuinely funny.
      • The world doesn’t need more entrepreneurs. It needs more people for entrepreneurs to hire. – By Esther Dyson – Slate Magazine – “How to encourage entrepreneurs? Instead of subsidizing start-ups directly, governments should become good customers for them. The U.S. government is a huge customer for all kinds of software companies, just as it helped to build the airline industry long ago by contracting out postal service transportation.”