Many thanks to timothyfor getting my Sunday post about AT&T Wireless onto Slashdot on Sunday evening at 9:58PM. I normally get 1800-2000 page views per week. The impact of the Slashdot mention was 24K page views in the next 30 hours.
I will reply to all comments, hopefully before the end of next weekend. Thanks.
... I already run
four instant messaging clients on my laptop. A single client would be
nice, but it's not that important. Once we finally learn how
availability should work from an existing player like Skype or from an
entirely new overlay network (as Skype was a few years ago), then we
can worry about consolidation.
Now I'm not so sure.
Who will aggregate this flood for me, in some convenient and semantically meaningful way?
Where is the tool that lets me organize my diverse connections?
There's an opportunity here for a new class of solutions...
Well, I'm still without a working computer of my own, but I've borrowed an office at our Paris facility that has a PC with a French keyboard layout, so let's see if I can type anything...
It's been a fascinating week with a some interesting meetings and a few new learnings from the AdvancedTCA Summit Europe, but best for my personal interests was a meeting with Benoît Felten who's blog, Fiberevolution, I've followed avidly since I discovered it last spring.
I hadn't realized Benoît is a telecoms consultant whose work has ranged over a wide variety of telecom topics. Indeed, it appears his avocation, i.e. broadband access, is one of the few telecom areas not part of his day job. So we had wide ranging discussion across all of telecom – really fun!
I also got a much better sense of what going on with FTTH in France. I'd read individual blog posts (e.g. this, this, this, this), but I didn't grasp the extent to which the French have enacted laws and regulations that ensure local authorities are allowed to build telecom networks. Boy, would the folks in Lafayette Louisiana have loved that. But of course I've written on this subjectbefore.
The only curious thing was we chatted in a French bistro in the plaza by the Arch at La Defense, but the house red wine was from Chile – that's a first in my book. :)
Upon arriving in France on Monday my laptop crashed. Luckily I already had copies of my presentations for the AdvancedTCA Summit Europe on a memory stick: But, I've been disconnected from email and my blog (and the web) since then. I expect to get an hour or so per day on other people's PCs, but if you are awaiting something from me, it could be mid next week before I'm home, have my problems sorted out and then catch up.
I'm a feed junkie. Perhaps not as bad a some, but at one point my Bloglinesaccount peaked at over 250 feeds. Meanwhile, I keep stumbling on additional feeds I wish I could follow, but there's just no time. Long ago I established a "Probation" folder for feeds I might want to follow and a "Too busy" folder for feeds like Slashdot where even scanning headlines is a problem. Gradually more and more feeds ended up in "Too busy" or just unsubscribed.
Now I've found an interesting solution —BlogRovr from Stickis. They advertise themselves as:
the perfect companion for blog reading. Tell Rovr which blogs you like. From then on, as you browse, Rovr fetches from them stories that link to the what you're browsing and shows them to you right on the page.
This happens via a tiny tray that briefly slides in from the right when you hit a new page (blog or otherwise) for which there is related content in any of your BlogRovR subscription. See the example on the right.
After two weeks of use, my BlogRovr subscriptions now include not only the feeds I subscribe to in Bloglines, but every other RSS feed I've stumbled on that looks even mildly interesting. The net effect is that, if a mildly interesting blog covers a subject I otherwise happen read about, I find out about the related article(s).
I'm now removing overlapping coverage from my Bloglines subscription. Who needs to see everything from all top 30 VoIP bloggers when most (certainly the top ten) present slightly different shades of opinion on the same set of stories?
I now follow the busiest sites in headlines-only mode and rely on BlogRovR to point out related articles.
It appears that's how long it's taken for Jensen's study to make it's way from a conference presentation (here are the original slides) to publication in a peer-reviewed journal, i.e. “The Digital Provide: Information (technology), market performance and welfare
in the South Indian fisheries sector”, by Robert Jensen, to be published in the
Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 2007.
Not to boast, but the graphics in my original post beat the text in the Economist article although that text is good:
...starting in 1997 mobile phones were introduced in Kerala. Since
coverage spread gradually, this provided an ideal way to gauge the
effect of mobile phones on the fishermen's behaviour, the price of
fish, and the amount of waste.
As phone coverage spread between 1997 and 2000, fishermen started to
buy phones and use them to call coastal markets while still at sea.
(The area of coverage reaches 20-25km off the coast.) Instead of
selling their fish at beach auctions, the fishermen would call around
to find the best price. Dividing the coast into three regions, Mr
Jensen found that the proportion of fishermen who ventured beyond their
home markets to sell their catches jumped from zero to around 35% as
soon as coverage became available in each region. At that point, no
fish were wasted and the variation in prices fell dramatically.
Missing from the Economist article were some significant results Jensen provided in his January 2006 talk. At that time, he concluded by pointing out other impacts, beyond prices and reduced waste of fish. The advent of cellphones also led to a 6% increase in
educational enrollments and a 5% increase in the probability of using
of healthcare when sick. All this with no government programs and no new
funding of existing programs.
While I'm on the subject of social networking, Kenji Mori reports that mixi.jp, a major Japanese social networking site (Wikipedia info here) is going public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September. While the potential valuation (over $1B US) seems absurd, at least as a public company we should get some insights into the inner workings of one social networking company - all the others I'm aware of are private of captive of a larger organization.
Fukumimi is already dissecting their prospectus (and reporting in English!).
The major, major, Korean social networking site, Cyworld, has versions in Chinese and Japanese and, beginning today, in English. The US site has been in alpha for many weeks, but today it's open to anyone, so I tried it out. My new "Minihome" is here.
Looking around, i.e. sampling other members via the "Random Minihomes" button, the current US members are predominately Asian Americans. Quite a few members list their MySpace and other contact info prominently on their Cyworld Minihome, but this may be a reflection of the alpha test policies and the familiarity of the Cyworld brand in Korea and Chinese communities.
A key feature of Cyworld in Korea, mobile access, is either missing or downplayed on the US site. That's too bad. Other than that, it was easy to get started and I think I prefer the look of my Minihome to that of my entry on Myspace.
If Myspace didn't already exist, Cyworld US might have a chance, but to go against Myspace at this point they will need a distinctive product position. I don't see at it, at least at the moment. As I commented in July, Facebook is taking the elitist position and thus growing their niche of college kids and college-bound high school kids. Cyworld has an enormous, profitable business in Korea and they are owned by SK Telecom, so they have the resources to stick it out. I'll be interested to see how their product position evolves.
Even with an estimated 30,000 internet police, he said it was difficult
to monitor bulletin boards. "The technology hasn't reached a level that
will allow us to control them. And we must also consider the trend of
democratisation, which cannot be stopped," he said. "China is very big.
If you want to control such a large country, mere politics is not
enough. You must control minds. You need to win the battle for ideas."
As I've commented in the past, the Internet is as significant in its long term benefit for humanity as were the advent of speech, writing and the printing press in their epochs. Each has allowed a greater number of people to connect with other people across distance and time. The sharing that results is natural, enormously beneficial and unstoppable.
It appears the Indian Department of Telecommunications has given Indian ISPs a rather extensive (several pages long) list of specific blogs to be blocked, but that some ISPs have reacted by blocking all blogs at popular hosting services like Blogspot and Typepad. Rumors are flying. The "Great Indian Mutiny" claims:
Two sources, one inside the Government of India and the other kind
of inside/outside have confirmed to the Mutiny, that ISPs are being
instructed to ‘control’ access to blogspot. It seems that some blogs
are being used by some terror units (read SIMI) to communicate.
There is a crack down in place. IP numbers are being physically
located and identified. All should come back to normal once this
operation is over. There is no ban in place.
Of course, if the goal is to catch terrorists, leaving blogs alone and secretly tracing specific people and specific blogs would seem to be a much more effective strategy.
What I find disappointing is the mainstream Indian press. Where is the outcry? Where is the discussion? This situation has been visible in the Indian blogsphere since Saturday morning Indian time. It's now (very) early Tuesday morning in India and yet I haven't seen any coverage in the mainstream Indian press beyond the Rediff article mentioned above.
What's up with the "world's largest democracy"? Why no discussion?
Just catching up on the blogosphere from my hotel room at the Kerry Centre in Beijing. Unfortunately I can't read variousspecificblogs. Other web addresses seem fine, my Bloglines reader is accessible and I can read postings in the blocked blogs through my subscriptions at Bloglines. What the blocked blogs have in common is they are all hosted in the blogspot.com domain, i.e. they are run by Google using software from their acquisition of Blogger.com. Blogger.com (the software) is reachable but any reference to blogspot.com (the blogs) times out.
The other thing I notice that different from 2003 is that all the readily available web proxies - those you can find with a simple Google search, even those that require a human to type a password - also appear to be blocked. Finally, the Google secure VPN client which I used once a few years ago, is now only available at a few locations in Mountain View.
I don't have a lot of time right now and I'm off to Singapore tomorrow, so that's it for experimentation on this trip.
April 25th was the first anniversary of this blog, but I was too busy to post. This morning I got a moment to look at the statistics. I've written 109 posts, the majority of which are mini-articles. The subjects were all over the telecom space, reflecting my personal interests, but true to my original idea and reflecting my passion for telecommunications. If you're reading this, hopefully, there's some overlap in our interests.
Headlines that convey meaning
One thing I've figured out, from the 120-150 feeds that I typically follow, is the value of headlines that tell what the content is about. I follow RSS and email feeds using Bloglines, typically in headlines-only mode. If the headline doesn't describe what's in the post, I'm unlikely to open the post. A few months ago I noticed what I was doing and resolved to make the headlines in my own blog more informative. I hope that's working for you.
More than 2/3rds of visits to this blog come, not from subscribers, but from search engines and other referrals. Here's the breakdown of those referrals over the past 30 days. I was in India in February and since I've written severalposts about the incredible growth of subscribers in Pakistan, so the high rank of Google India and Google Pakistan is no surprise. Here are the numbers:
Until two months ago, I didn't pay much attention to blog statistics beyond the basic information provided by TypePad. Two months ago I signed up for SiteMeter. Their customer service is non-existent, even for paid subscribers. However, their standard statistics package has all sorts of interesting items in it, and I expect to continue to use them. Here's an interesting view on the browsers that people who read this blog are using:
If you click on the image you'll see that Microsoft Internet Explorer (all versions) at 66%, Firefox is at 28% and the various Firefox predecessors/ brethren (Mozilla & Netscape) have another 2.1%.
I host this blog on Typepad and find the Typepad user interface just fine, but for one thing. It only works when I’m on-line. So when I want to compose a post while I’m in the Maine woods or on an airplane (most airplanes, with occasional exceptions like this one), I have to compose it in some other application and then copy it into Typepad once I’m reconnected. There are multiple ways to approach this, but everything I’ve tried ends up with more complex HTML than Typepad wants (and table spacing gets screwed up and so on…), or I give up on the links when I'm composing and add them later, when I’m finally on-line.
So following the lead of Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz, I’m trying Blogjet. It appears to allow me to write posts offline, including HTML, save them locally (as .bjd files) and then post them directly once I’m reconnected.
I'm currently at the 2005 World Technology Summit and Awards conference in San Francisco. It's the first time I've attended a World Technology Network event. The conference brings together (roughly 150) leaders in diverse fields (IT, communications, biotech, materials/nanotechnology, energy and space) for two days of discussions, presentations and social events. Day one has been extremely interesting and I've met a variety of really fascinating people, in other disciplines and in communications. I'm glad I came.
I'm impressed with people who can blog conferences in real time, but sitting down to write this short note in the early morning of the second day, it's clear I'll never be such a reporter. While I'm at an event, I'm too caught up in the opportunities for face-to-face discussion and in absorbing details during presentations. So this is all you'll get out of me today! I promise to write up something later in the week on the conference in general, my communications keynote address and the discussions in the communications breakout session I moderated yesterday afternoon. But right now I have to get back to the excitement!
This is for people who aren't familiar with news aggregators, a.k.a. feed readers, news readers or RSS readers. If you already use a reader/aggregator, or have some other way to get notified of my postings, just skip this.
I keep having conversations with people who say they read my blog, but in further discussion it becomes apparent they do so by checking my URL on some regular or not so regular basis. It's always flattering to find someone, besides my mother, who cares what I write, so if you really are interested, here are some specific alternatives for tracking new posts in this blog.
"Communications", i.e. this blog, is a website where I post occasional articles and comments. There are two principal ways to get notified when I've made a new posting, by email or via a web feed and a feed reader.
For email subscriptions, I use a service called Feedblitz. Once a day, Feedblitz will check my blog and, if I've posted new material, send you an email containing the new posting(s). To get started, look to the right. On the fourth line below my picture, you'll see a box for your email address and a button "Subscribe me!" If you enter an email address and click the button, you'll see a Feedblitz acknowledgment page, then a few minutes later you'll get a confirming email. You must click on the link in that email to verify you really want email notifications.
If you want to track several people's blogs and/or other web-based news services, there is special software that makes this easy, helping you organize sites and track new postings. Alternate names for this software include news aggregator, feed reader, news reader or RSS reader. Versions are available that run on your PC and that run on a website you access with your browser. About.com reviews the top feed readers here.
My personal choice is a web-based feed reader, Bloglines, because I use several different computers in a typical day. With Bloglines, I have a single view of my subscriptions regardless of which computer I'm using.