Study says some Neanderthals may have been redheads - Yahoo! News
This research suggests “Neanderthals [were] more like modern Europeans, with light skin and hair colour and language abilities, and yet there are no signs of interbreeding with modern humans,” Carles Lalueza-Fox, a molecular biologist at the University of
(tags: neanderthals, redheads)
Techcrunch has announced that Google’s OpenSocial (formerly Maka Maka) will be launching this week:
OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:
- Profile Information (user data)
- Friends Information (social graph)
- Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)
Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won’t try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.
The timing of OpenSocial couldn’t be better. Developers have been complaining non stop about the costs of learning yet another markup launguage for every new social network platform, and taking developer time in creating and maintaining the code. Someone had to build a system to streamline this (as we said in the last few sentences in this post). And Facebook-fear has clearly driven good partners to side with Google. Developers will immediately start building on these APIs to get distribution across the impressive list of hosts above.
I argued several months ago, when Facebook launched their platform strategy, that building in openness to the ecosystem is essential (see The Architecture Of Sociality: Building In Openness).
What Google is doing is not completely open, since after all it is defining its own APIs — in collaboration with a collection of interested participants who are collectively interested in countering Facebook’s growing hegemony — but it is more open that Facebook’s, certainly. It is a more general set of services, one that in a sense creates a level playing feild for social platform companies who want to open their offerings, but cannot get the traction they would like since app developers can’t afford to target every platform.
Google has contrived a meta-platform strategy, which is benevolent so long as they don’t turn around — Microsoft style — and take advantage of their inside knowledge and control of the Open Social archietcture to crush competitors.
Google’s benevolence maybe all we have in lieu of a true open standard.
Several people have inquired about my blog silence. No health issues or nervous breakdown: just busy traveling and working.
Travel is not a vacation, and it is often the opposite of rest. - Paul Theroux
I have found it to be especially difficult to ponder the inner workings of the Web while generally disconnected from it. The EVDO data card I use in the States, that guarantees almost continuous connectivity, has become a lifeline for me. But, I should be back in the groove now that I have returned to London from Tel Aviv, and will be working from my new favorite hotel in Shoreditch for the next few days, before heading off to Berlin and the Web 2.0 Expo there.
The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.
Jeremy Wright asked me to join the new b5 Advisory Board, which I think will be a lot of fun, with people like these: Renee Blodgett, Hugh Macleod, Doc Searls and Robert Scoble. And of course all the b5 folks, too, and Rick Segal.
Looking forward to CES, and not just for the gambling: it’s our first advisory board meeting.
Dopplr Blog » Announcing the Dopplr 100, originally uploaded by Stowe Boyd.
I just realized that the Dopplr 100 announcement used Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Earth map. Fuller is one of my heros. He invented a lot of cool stuff, particularly geodesic engineering (yes, the domes).
This map attempts to represent the earth as a large island chain, and ignores the north/south/east/west bias of other maps. It also has very little distortion, unlike Mercator projection that makes Greenland look enormous, for example.
I really thing that The /Messengers should be one of the 100, but I am not formally bitching. Grumble.
Marshall Kirkpatrick gets to the chewy chocolate center of the TV Links’ founder arrest for “illegal linking”:
If Mr. Sharp will forgive me for linking to it, I will point out that the Internet Archive has preserved copies of the wretched TV Links site through the past 12 months. I want to emphasize that I’m only linking to a site that’s cached a site that’s linking to other sites that may include content that could have been uploaded without the copyright holder’s consent.
Note that I don’t include the link. The Link Police might knock on the door.
No matter what TV Links has done, ultimately we will have to turn away from ‘illegal linking’ as actionable.
[from New Statesman - Neutrality is cowardice by Mark Lynas]
Future historians, assuming that there are any, will have an entertaining time looking back at how today’s journalists wriggled when confronted with the great moral question of our age. Faced with clear evidence of an existential threat to the survival of the planetary biosphere, news correspondents and media organisations not only constantly fail to convey the true magnitude of the story, but also dash for cover every time the going gets tough.
The most sacred principle of news reporting is that of “balance”: giving equal weight to both sides of an argument. I say this principle is sacred because it is so little adhered to. Analyse most news journalism and you will quickly discover a welter of unspoken assumptions and hidden biases, from the false parity accorded to the combatants in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the refusal to question the “need” for economic growth. The reality, as most journalists will tell you after a couple of drinks, is that “fairness” largely consists of balancing out and accommodating the most powerful lobbies and the loudest voices. In an issue as divisive and politicised as climate change, that for a long time meant according the tiny number of sceptics equal coverage with representatives of the majority scientific consensus, leaving the public woefully misinformed. Now it simply means being timid: the reactionary lobby is still powerful enough to shoot down anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and says anything that might vaguely be interpreted as “campaigning”.
The BBC is the proximate cause of Mark’s anger, since its senior management has deemed that weighing systematically against global warming lacks impartiality:
“It is absolutely not the BBC’s job to save the planet,” insisted Newsnight editor Peter Barron. “I think there are a lot of people who think that it must be stopped.”
If Barron is really suggesting that the BBC should be “neutral” on the question of planetary survival, his absurd stance surely sets a new low for political cowardice in the media. It is also completely inconsistent. On easy moral questions, such as poverty in Africa, the BBC is quite happy to campaign explicitly (as with Comic Relief or Live Aid), despite the claim by the corporation’s head of television news, Peter Horrocks, that its role is “giving people information, not leading them or prophesying”.
Jeff Jarvis suggests that this is moral relativism, where it is deemed good policy for the BBC to push for easy moral choices — like starving children in Africa — but where pushing for something potentially at odds with powerful lobbies or constituencies is considered to lack impartiality:
[from Objectivity/impartiality = cowardice, boredom, obsolescence by Jeff Jarvis]
Acting as if there were no agenda in journalism is itself a deception. Why does an editor decide to pursue and publicize a story about, say, public corruption? Because he thinks corruption is bad — otherwise, it wouldn’t be a story — and he wants to do something about it. He has an agenda. Of course, he has. To act as if he doesn’t is a lie of omission.
I believe that Jarvis is right when he argues that journalists find safe haven from uncomfortable ethics in their simplistic notions of balance in the name of objectivity or impartialiality. It is far too easy to find a proponent for green and then to ‘balance’ with some misanthrope who lies about global warming for fees from oil companies, and then to cast it as a fair and balanced story. The world is more complex, or perhaps better said, the world is more subjective and personal than that. This our biosphere they are joking with, our only biosphere. It is an sin of omission to objectify the thin, green crust of life on Earth, or maybe the truest sacrilege.
If the old media can’t see that this is a time when their hand waving about objectivity — which was always a cop out, was always at best a white lie — cannot go on, then they will rapidly crash to the bottom of public trust. While there may be a minority of holdouts on global warming, it is as stark a moral issue today as slavery was in the 18th century, as Mark Lynnas points out.
If the BBC and others don’t believe that need to work to counter global warming, they are nuts, and we have no reason to trust their system if it can’t muster a clear, strong, and single voice to shout, “Enough!”
Clay Shirky reports on a new term by Kio Stark to (please, please, please) fill the slot in the media’s so-called mind where “User Generated Content” is lodged:
Indigenous Content (which is to say “Created by the natives for themselves.”)
Clay says that Kio has the best tagset ever, but I couldn’t find indigenous content there…
Saul Klein of Index Ventures was recently interviewed by paidContent:UK, and he makes the case that London is getting to be a very hot scene for VC:
I think that’s really changed the dynamic for London considerably because you can genuinely have big, big international businesses that can be started and grown out of London and Europe that can become significant global players. Skype or Last.fm or Betfair are good examples of that, Figleaves is a good example of that, Lovefilm is a good example of that as well. All of these are either companies that have tens of millions of users all over the world and all doing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in revenue. That just simply wasn’t the case in the late ‘90s. Success breeds success. The fact that these companies can compete and punch out on a global scale means that people are more encouraged to start business now and really go for it than maybe they were in the late ‘90s.
Another thing I think is important has been the growth of what I would term West Coast-style venture capital in London. In the late ‘90s, while money was available to companies, it wasn’t this sophisticated, experienced capital I think that you’re starting to see being available from the likes of Index and Benchmark, now increasingly Accel and others.
London has a critical mass, not just of entrepreneurs but also of investors, of corporates, of the talent and the professional services - be they lawyers or accountants or marketing people, investment bankers - to go around the startups. In terms of having all of the ingredients of the ecosystem, London is up there with San Francisco and, in some respects, up there or possibly even ahead of Boston. London’s got to be one of the three best cities in the world to get a company funded and have investors.
My own recent experience in London is more limited, but I see a bunch more going on here than, say, ten years ago. Companies like Last.fm, Skype, Joost, and Moo, and clients of mine, like Xbridge and Playyoo, are based in London, drawing on that talent pool.
Anil Dash: Blackbird, Rainman, Facebook and the Watery Web
“Think of the web, of the Internet itself, as water. Proprietary platforms based on the web are ice cubes. They can, for a time, suspend themselves above the web at large. But over time, they only ever melt into the water.”
(tags: facebook anil+dash blackbird rainman watery+web)
Unit Structures: The Directionality of Social Network Platforms
“Although interest in the Platform may have peaked, we’re simply not going to see truly rich applications (that require substantial third-party investment) until Facebook starts giving back to those who use the API.” - Fred Stutzman
(tags: fred+stutzman facebook myspace birectional+apis)
How to Change the World: Ten Questions with Fred Greguras of Fenwick and West
Key legal questions for start-ups
(tags: startup startups legal guy+kawasaki)
Internet companies | Social graph-iti | Economist.com
“Mark Zuckerberg, ten days after turning 23, took the stage in a San Francisco warehouse and announced that he was opening up Facebook, the social network he founded at Harvard University, to outside programmers. Anyone can now build little programs, or
(tags: social+graph social+networks economist good+memes+gone+bad)
Chinese Culture Versus German Culture » Adino Online
Great illustrastions, showing the difference between Chinese and German culutre:
(tags: chinese+culture adiono+online)
Infomania: Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer
More nonsense on ‘infomania’ which is just ‘infomration overload’ again
(tags: infomania InformationOverload)
I have used and reviewed a long list of social media-based work management solutions, including Basecamp (see Basecamp and the Federation of Work), IBM Quickr (see In The Time Of “Me First”: IBM Slowr?), GoPlan (see GoPlan), and recently Huddle (see Todoist and Huddle: This Week’s Work Management Tools).
In basic form, the now familiar Basecampish model is reused: major project information silos being directly mapped to tabs, a right hand panel to select from various projects, a dashboard summarizing status of all projects.
Here we see the dashboard:
Here is a project overview:
Note the various (garish) colors indicating different types of information added to the project. (I have recommended a different color palatte.) Each project has its own secure RSS feed. I find the secure limitation a problem, as I am less security conscious than most. They should make it a toggle.
Basic ‘messages’ (posts) are used for project collaboration:
Files can be attached to messages (and to tickets), and once they are uploaded, the files appear in the right sidebar when viewing the messages (or tickets). Unlike Basecamp, there isn’t a separate ‘Files’ silo, and no versioning is supported.
Strange that Lighthouse doesn’t support tags on posts, but they do so on ‘tickets’ which are Lighthouse’s version of tasks. It is in the area of tickets that Lighthouse really shines:
Note in the above that tickets can be associated with milestones (like Basecamp task lists), have a status (open, resolved, invalid (?), and on hold), and have comments.
Once milestones are created they appear as tabs, and clicking these tabs opens a panel with any associated tickets. A ‘prioritize’ feature allows reordering.
There is an extensive integration with tickets and email that I have not explored, but in essence the status of ticket can be updated by replying to system generated emails. New tickets can be created by emailing Lighthouse, again somethign I have yet to experiment with, but which looks promising.
Lighthouse lacks a number of features that Basecamp offers, such as writeboards, Chat, and time ranges built into tasks.
However, in my case, I never use Basecamp writeboards, because Textile is annoying, and is applied inconsistently across the application. My collaborator, Marjolein Hoekstra, tried the Lighthouse mark-up language, and found it perhaps equally painful, but I generally stick to text and HTML, which seems generally to work in Lighthouse, such as links. (I did encounter a headache with ‘blockquote”, which is styled with a leading quote. Would be good if Lighthouse allowed us to redefine the CSS style sheets.)
Re: Campfire style chat — I use so many other tools for chat, like Gtalk and AIM, that Campfire has never been a big draw for me. Others, of course, swear by it.
Re: time tracking — My work is based on relatively large time chunks (days, generally, not hours) so collecting time from tasks or tickets is not a real need. However, this is an area where a small tweak — adding another field for time expended — could add a lot of value.
So, for me, Lighthouse implements the subset of Basecamp that I actually use. It hasn’t countered some of the flaws in Basecamp — the lack of federation, the orientation toward desktop docs not web docs, etc. — but it has simplified things a bit.
Considering the slimmed-down nature of the app, however, the price is not slim:
Because of Lighthouse modules that support integration with other applications (like Subversion), their support for user-accesible APIs, and the opportunity to support public projects (where anonymous users can create tickets and track their status), the product is really not intended as a lightweight replacement for Basecamp, as I have tried to pigeonhole it. It is really a straightforward issue management tool which happens to overlap in part with Basecamp.
I would really like tags on messages, so that I could bring up both messages and tickets related to an issue, but I can live with it as it is. (At least for a little bit, while I am waiting for the millennium…)
Confirming that the ‘Web 3.0’ meme is inextricably linked to product hucksterism, Nova Spivack offers up his ‘best official definition’, explicitly reprising Jason Calacanis’ similarly heavyhanded official definition, that I explored here. Once again, a impresario is positing a shiny new web in which his patent nostrum is the quintessential centerpoint of a glorious unfolding future:
Web 3.0, in my opinion is best defined as the third-decade of the Web (2010 - 2020), during which time several key technologies will become widely used. Chief among them will be RDF and the technologies of the emerging Semantic Web. While Web 3.0 is not synonymous with the Semantic Web (there will be several other important technology shifts in that period), it will be largely characterized by semantics in general.
Web 3.0 is an era in which we will upgrade the back-end of the Web, after a decade of focus on the front-end (Web 2.0 has mainly been about AJAX, tagging, and other front-end user-experience innovations.) Web 3.0 is already starting to emerge in startups such as my own Radar Networks, but will really become mainstream around 2010.
I have to say that I would like to play with Spivack’s new shiny Twine app, independently of the Web 3.0 mumbo jumbo.
Pointer from Richard McManus, who is also unmoved by the Web 3.0 psychobabble:
I should note that Nova’s definition of web 3.0 is self-serving, because his new product Twine is an “intelligent web” product that uses semantics. Also I am not a proponent of continuing the version numbers - just as ‘dot com’ is the term for the first era of the Web, and ‘web 2.0’ the second, there will be a new term that bubbles up at the right time to describe the next era (perhaps 2-3 years from now).
The people that will invent new stuff that will leapfrog Web 2.0’s social revolution will not be web 2.0 retreads, but radical newbies: five girls in a rock band in an Illinois high school now, or some guy in South Korea working on 3D games, or a loose collective of Estonian graphic designers that invent a composite document metaphor. They will call it whatever is on their minds, not Web 3.0.
TripIt | Organize your travel
Tripit announces TripIt To Me: mobile interface to the social travel app.
(tags: tripit social+travel tripit+to+me)
Industries that Die
“The superstructure mutates, and with that the outward facing media might change, but underneath it all, the foundations which make up all representational media are not so much different than they were 100 years ago.” Ethan Kaplan
(tags: ethan+kaplan old+media new+media)
Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media: Facebook Demographics
Beth Kanter rounds up Facebook demographics
(tags: beth+kanter pointer:steve+rubel facebook demographics)
A VC: Saying No
Fred Wilson makes the case for actually telling entrepreneurs the real reason that VCs won’t invest
(tags: vc fred+wilson saying+no)
Whois Corante.com, originally uploaded by Stowe Boyd.
Sure enough, if I visit Corante.com the place is a mess, although it looks like the old Corante with a bunch of broken RSS plumbing. But when I click on any of the links to specific pages, including my old blog at getreal.corante.com, here’s what I get:
Looks like Hylton forgot to pay for the domain name.
And, so, the passing of a once proud name in new media…
<update>6:11pm ET — Looks like Corante managed to get its domain back!
My first real post at Internet Evolution is up:
[from What’s the Web Worth? by Stowe Boyd]
This is a world beset by disease, riven by war, melting under the sun, poisoned by hate and fear, pinioned by the tug-of-war between contending ideologies, tribes, nations, and religions. Maybe we should exchange the tiny and swindling sliver of what is good and bright in the world for the Web. There is so little of that, and so much that is dark. Maybe our only hope is to rework our notions of happiness, rethink our connections to each other in light of the Web, and put aside even the apparent good that comes from a world divided and turned against itself.
Let’s give the Web to ourselves, in exchange for what we held dear before.
The Web is uncountable, not infinite, but for all intents and purposes, its size and costs are unknowable. It’s changing things like never before, just as if we were rewriting our DNA. We can look back, and try to measure how far we’ve come, or look ahead, to how far we have to go, but ultimately, the value of the thing called the Web will be measured by the changes in ourselves, and what we make of ourselves through it.
I am hoping that the result of my thoughts at Internet Evolution will start to feel like at least the echo or shadow of a book, so I am eager for feedback. The working title is The Social Revolution.
Platial acquires Frappr
Platial extends its offerings in geoloco by acquiring Frappr. Social mapping lives despite Google maps.
(tags: geoloco platial frappr google)
e-mail of the species deadlier than the mail? | confused of calcutta
JP Rangaswami calls (again) for the end of email. Email Delenda Est!
(tags: email+delenda+est, email, jp+rangaswami)
The Facebook event for the upcoming Tel Aviv Geek Dinner is open to anybody who’d like to come. Lot of cool folks coming already, and I will get to meet Liad Agmon, from Semingo, the company that has asked me to visit. (Semingo is involved in some very interesting — totally stealthy until now — work in social search, and I am sticking my nose into it. More to follow.)
It’s my first trip to Israel, and I will have a day off to lie at the beach and work on presentations for Berlin.
Platial and Blogrovr, originally uploaded by Stowe Boyd.
I have recently given the Blogrover RSS plugin another try. Candidly, I did it because Blogrover’s product team included me in a bundle of tech blogs they recommend, and that has led to a big spike in RSS subscriptions.
But I have subscribed to a number of feeds through the plugin, and I am starting to enjoy the ‘coincidensity’ of converging post jumping up when I land somewhere. The screenshot above shows two blog posts that talk about Platial appearing when I am on the Platial homepage.
I couple this with my ongoing use of Feedcrier, which serves up my RSS feed subscriptions via IM. I generally leave a chat session with Feedcrieer open wnever I am online. every few minutes, new posts trickle across my screen.
Somehow, the intersection of these tools suits my peripatetic style better than a stable fixed ‘inbox’-metaphored RSS reader.
Beware of any undertaking that requires editing your Twitter stream.