Tag Archives: internet

What makes a word buzz?

You hear all kinds of new words being thrown around these days, but where do they come from and why are people using buzzwords?  

1. Relevancy – Most buzzwords become hip for the simple reason that they are relevant to the times.  Remember Y2K?  Throw a buzzword into ANY or EVERY conversation you have and nobody will argue it.  People will remember it and use it themselves.

2. Contagiousness – Buzzwords are fun to use, they’re easy to say, and often spread like wildfire.  Buzzwords can be heard everywhere these days- in the news, on TV, on the internet, and more recently from Advertisements.  Politicians drop buzzwords on the public too; in 2008 we heard about to avoid pork-barrel spending, or earmarks.

3. Meaning – New words give new thought, which is the whole idea behind using them.  In 2008 it was all about going “green“, and how we can reduce our carbon-footprint, and become more eco-friendly.  The words are out there for anyone to use; they help corral thought and give direction.  

Thought-provoking buzzwords can come from just about anywhere these days.  Companies like Budweiser that invest heavily in market research can afford to make up words.  Just look at the new drinkabilty ads for Bud Light.

Now, what are your favorite buzzwords?

Facebook gets a “new” facelift

Well Mark Zuckerberg is at it again… or at least his infrastructure team is.  As I mentioned in May, Facebook would be launching a redesign and some are now witnessing the “new.facebook.com” looks, acts, and thinks much differently.  It was rolled out last week, and I’ve given it a thorough test drive.

The re-design scared me at first, it looked too much like myspace.  Homepage changes include a wider sidebar on the right, and the freakish absence of my beloved left-hand nav.  Applications can now be found in the top blue bar or made into bookmarks on your homepage.  The overall look comes off as more sloppy I think because the site has grown so many legs in the past year with all the new applications and tools.  Where can you put it all?  I have to say I am a bit disappointed with this update, but maybe I was expecting too much (after all the company did acquire mozilla’s online OS parakey last year) anyways heres the breakdown: 

PROFILE LAYOUT (TABS):
So instead of having a single-paged profile now we have customizable tabbed profiles which is by far the biggest change in the update.  For those as confused as I was, profiles were basically enhanced with more information space, new navigation, and an impressive “back-end view” that makes editing a breeze

But what are the benefits of tabs?  Profiles are no longer one-stop-shops or billboards for personal information, tabs make personal info and activity a few clicks further away.  They have essentially deepened the pool of information here, making users actually have to dive deeper if they want to invade someone’s privacy.  

THE WALL & NEWSFEED AS ONE:
Like before the newsfeed still displays stories related to you and your friends and it still shows everything the same as before, such as friend requests or action items (like being tagged in a photo). But the big change here is to give users the ability to toggle which stories are shown at any time by choosing either “Posts by _____”, “Posts by Others”, and “All Posts”, along with moving the wall onto its own dedicated profile tab.

Activity is less transparent, the feed works differently now (reminds me a lot of pownce).  The days of landing on a friend’s profile page and stumbling across any back-and-forth conversation with someone else is over.  However you still can view users “wall-to-wall” conversations if you want.. but then your just a creep and trust me facebook will know.

NEW “PUBLISHER”:
Think of this as a widget docked at the top of your homepage.  It can add links, photos, videos, notes, updates in a snap and allows 3rd party development access which of course rules but for someone like myself who a whole lot of uploading, its an eyesore!  With all the options and preferences out there already, I’d really like the ability to remove this.   

FRIENDS PAGE:
The last change I noticed was a new friends page layout, its given a taller left hand navigation list and makes it a little easier to create friend groups, and organize contacts.  

If you use Facebook you may notice a lot more information being pushed through the site this year and the recent redesign was built to withstand the wave.  The importing of activity from other social websites like flickr, digg, and hulu will play a huge role in connecting social networks.  Could this be the year Facebook and Myspace start exchanging info? I doubt that, but its an idea..

Can you feel it?!

After seeing Al Gore endorse Obama the other night I was a bit dizzy.  The ‘hope’ campaign had finally made its debut in Michigan and I was standing front-row center when they took the stage.  Actually no, if I remember correctly we had nosebleed seats and it was a bit hard to hear.  Though given the unusual ant-sized perspective we had I was happy to at least recognize each politician before they reached the podium.

To understand the personal significance of Monday night’s rally we’ll have to go back in time a bit… not far back but about six months.  So Christmas had long passed and the new year had arrived, and I now had a brand-spanking new hard-drive to fill (thanks Santa!).  This is when I began to download heaps and heaps of new media, which I highly recommend doing.  I had my own place with my own computer, and I paid for the Internet, so why not?  I managed to download just about every political documentary that was floating around on the pirate bay.  I started running out of video content to discover and in some cases my searches began bringing up the same results… so I switched media.  This is when I discovered the art of the audio book.  GENIOUS!

The Art of the Audio Book:

It never really occurred to me how listening to a book could actually be so enjoyable but audio books really make the act of absorbing a book painless and the material easier to comprehend.  This is the case with Barack Obama‘s audio translation of The Audacity of Hope in which Barack himself passionately narrates the story behind his grassroots Illinois Senate campaign, then actually leads listeners into Washington to hear stories about meeting President Bush for the first time, candid conversations in congress, and hundreds of new observations.  This audio book is a breath of fresh air.  Also note that if you listened to this for just one hour each day it wouldn’t take even a week to finish!

Enlighten yourself.  Change your Perpective.  Try something New.

If you’re reaally feeling risky you might try putting in a copy of Al Gore‘s newest, punchy and thought-provoking audio book: The Assault on Reason narrated by Will Patton.  The material might seem a little dry at first (after all it was written by Al Gore) BUT, and this is a huge but… the conclusion that is eventually reached stands as an accurate depiction of our current state of politics.  Its a bit disturbing.  Focusing mostly on media, former presidential candidate Al Gore expresses a sincere outrage to a nation that is described as being continuously misled and ruled through fear.  He details all the lines that were crossed by Bush’s administration leading up to the unnecessary war in Iraq.  Gore also brashly devotes an entire chapter of this book to the explanation of all the ways in which Americans are ruled through the television media.  Finally!  The book also covers the importance of net neutrality and its link to democracy.

These audio books have made a huge impact on the way I choose to follow politics in 2008.  They give concrete proof to the sad fact that presidential campaigns, wars, and entire ideologies are now being sold to the American people by our government.  We are beginning to lose our highest form of democracy to the age of government marketing strategies and a way-too-highly concentrated media.

So Monday night was special -I knew it would come eventually but to actually be there to witness Gore publicly endorse Obama was kind of magical.  Watching ant-sized Obama preach about carrying his grassroots campaign until November and hearing his strong reach for younger generations gives this country hope that we can break from the disguised lies, and from the sound bytes.  I don’t want to comment too much on the next election, but wow it almost feels like something is upon us.  Maybe you’re in the dark and don’t see it.  You will.  American Revolutions always seem to happen at a decades end, so here’s to 2008.

P.S. if you’re interested in a copy of either audio book I mentioned e-mail me and I’ll send you a free copy.

Mozilla Firefox Download Day

June 17th, 2008: Firefox Download Day

Today marks an epic event, although the Firefox 3 browser is still beta Mozilla is encouraging all users to head here to be part of this movement.  Our goal is to reach over 1 million downloads in 1 day, and to take a piece of market share away from Microsoft’s IE7.

I’ve been loyal to Firefox for about 2 years now and I will never go back.  Try something new today.

Facebook & Web 3.0 Integration

a few words about the evolution of Facebook and the future of the platform:

Yesterday facebook added a new set of features that allows users to import information from other websites (i.e. flickr, delicious, digg, twitter) directly into your mini-feed, and your friends feed.  Just click over to your profile, view your mini-feed and click IMPORT near the top to get startd.

Say you add your summer vacation photo’s to your flickr account, now you won’t have to double-post them on Facebook because your all-knowing friend feed will have already notified your friends that you posted them over there, cool right?

The next step Facebook needs to take is to integrate some kind of open office tools (i.e. spreadsheet, word processor, slide presentation) that way the platform is capable of sharing all kinds of data.  Facebook could be used as a strong business tool if businesses had the option of privatizing a network, and then going further with developing applications using the Facebook open API.

Also, note that last June the company aquired an online OS named “Parakee”, who’s interface mirrors that of Mac OS X, it was developed by Mozilla for use within the Firefox browser woohoo.  So if Facebook can integrate that interface within it’s own platform they could establish the first workable version of Web 3.0 and the elusive Online Desktop.  I’m excited for that one.

King of the Web

Look at Alexa’s World Wide Web traffic rankings and compare any top-ranked company’s website to it’s real world operations -at least for those companies that actually do “real-world” operations (i.e. microsoft, google, amazon, BBC) It was announced last week that YouTube.com overtook the #2 spot for overall traffic worldwide; beating out Live.com (Ranked #3) and it’s own parent company Google (Ranked #4). Who’s still at #1?

…to everyone’s surprise that would be Yahoo.

Interesting stuff because much like everyone else, I use Google to search on the web (77% of web searches are done using Google). I also keep the website as my browser’s homepage like the rest of the world. So who uses Yahoo??? After thinking about it, I can recall having a decent-sized list of contacts whom I message through Yahoo’s mail server. These rankings are suddenly more important when we find out the #1 and #2 could just become a bigger number 1.

A few months ago Microsoft Corp. who manages two separate domains in the global top 10 (Live.com, MSN.com) made a bid of $42 Billion for Yahoo. $42 BILLION! This acquisition is unsettling for those of us who enjoy using an “open internet” like we have today. The world wide web was originally thought of as an open forum for individuals and groups. The internet as a platform has continuously encouraged open communication and more lately has provided the advancement of data sharing, which can now be sent almost instantaneously. Within years we’ve evolved the world wide web into a “newer modern-day internet” with the help of system administrators, database engineers, and the designers of each page.

Web portals and newer, more practical web applications have raised the bar yet again, coining the term “web 2.0”. These websites offer dynamic ways to share information through multiple domains seamlessly. This is evident through text ad campaigns, the sudden development of web API’s and their large range of applications around the web. These applications can be a convenient map service, a local weather forecast, new stock updates, or a from-afar image upload. Around this time last year, Microsoft acquired the #1 global e-mail provider hotmail.com which gave them a head start on the competition. If you can’t beat em, buy em? Which is perfect reasoning for a company now bidding on Yahoo, who is the largest provider of e-mail today.

Microsoft is buying users into the internet experience they intend to provide, which sounds harsh but this experience is sold as Windows Live. Imagine a internet portal that gives each user an internet toolbox, with resources that update automatically and easily convert, and mountains upon mountains of customer support. I would be okay with that idea, and it actually sounds quite nice… but the mere idea of selling e-mail accounts and web traffic seems like a doop. Will I be eventually be stuck using Live? I would like to assume the world is capable of upholding its diversity and not surrendering to any one company who attempts to control everything at large. If Microsoft can strike a deal with Yahoo the company would grow to provide nearly 20% of all the world’s e-mail.In conclusion, if my e-mail is so valuable to a company willing to buy it, then where’s my cut???

Windows (OS) + Internet Explorer (Browser) + Live (Online Services) = Total Domination

Microsoft is aiming to take the space that AOL once held in the mid-90’s… Is it fair to let one company take hold of this technology? Net Neutrality is important and Open-Source standards are important. Diversity is also very important because if we let this pass us by there may be no turning back, the internet should not be controlled like radio and TV. The net lives off of its users and this is a medium that was born free, we do have a right to decide.

Big government and Internet providers are slowly trying to pass legislation without anyone realizing the big effect on our information. When I discover new ways to speak out against these regulations I’ll post them on this blog. Stay tuned!