Nokia Offers New Email Accounts Via the Mobile Phone

Niti has an intriguing post including this quote describing service for the Nokia 1202:

the new devices will allow users to set up an e-mail account on Nokia’s Ovi Web portal without ever going near a PC. That’s an important distinction for the millions of mobile-phone users who live in regions without reliable electricity, much less computers and Internet connections. “It gives those millions of users their first identity on the Internet,” says Alex Lambeek, Nokia vice-president in charge of handsets aimed at low-income users.

A brilliant move, IMHO, and makes me wonder about which other bits of the PC-oriented Internet could be mobilized.

But Niti goes on to explore how an email address changes our identity or online presence differently.

Social Media as a Product Testing Audience (e.g. for Motrin)

To catch you up, Motrin posted the below ad and people, particularly baby-carrying mothers, were so offended that the makers of Motrin pulled the ad.

Many of the offended people (“Motrin Moms” there were dubbed) were on Twitter, as well as blogs and YouTube. As a result, marketers are starting to get scared of social media, just as social media is taking off as a legitimate communications approach.

But another way of looking at it is, better the Motrin ad underwent a social media firestorm than a mass media firestorm. Continue…

Creative Commons: Good for Nature

At Overlap 08 this past weekend we talked a lot about sustainability in all its forms, including sustaining nature. This was on my mind this morning as I cycled over the Brooklyn Bridge and saw a small video crew capturing some footage of the bridge. Surely, I thought, there’s so much footage of this bridge already, you hardly need more. But of course they do need their own shots since most of the existing video is copyright protected. So crews all over the world today are traveling and otherwise consuming resources to recreate what was created yesterday.

Creative Commons is the legal infrastructure to change all that, helping us share all our media which gives us no competitive advantage, such as video footage of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve been sharing and using creative commons media for my work, and it occurred to me this morning that CC not only makes media available for everyone’s use, it encourages reuse which is one of the better ways to preserve our natural environment.

Put simply, reusing existing media is a more environmentally sound approach than creating media.

Lifehacker has a great list of 6 ways to find reusable media.

creative commons logo

Happy Birthday Noise Between Stations

This here blog turns 9 years old tomorrow. Quantitatively speaking, she’s got 2,041 posts, 590 comments, and 130 categories. Checking the PageRank, it’s a 6, the same as generalmills.com, whatever that means.

Location-Aware Ads Have Arrived

From the New York Times, In CBS Test, Mobile Ads Find Users

CBS plans to announce on Wednesday that it is trying one of the first serious experiments with cellphone advertising that is customized for a person’s location. Its CBS Mobile unit is teaming up with the social networking service Loopt, which allows its subscribers to track participating friends and family on their mobile phones.

Kevin Kelly on Eight Uncopyable Values

Kevin Kelly established himself as an Internet pundit with true foresight with the 1998 New Rules for the New Economy which is still a classic, if showing a little age with its dot com bravura. Now he’s working on a new book piece by piece on his blog. The latest chapter examines the future of value online. In Better Than Free he posits:

“When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.
When copies are super abundant, stuff which can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.
When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.
Well, what can’t be copied?”

His answer is eight uncopyable values, which he calls “generatives”:

Immediacy — Sooner or later you can find a free copy of whatever you want, but getting a copy delivered to your inbox the moment it is released — or even better, produced — by its creators is a generative asset.

Personalization — A generic version of a concert recording may be free, but if you want a copy that has been tweaked to sound perfect in your particular living room — as if it were preformed in your room — you may be willing to pay a lot.

Interpretation — As the old joke goes: software, free. The manual, $10,000.

Authenticity — You might be able to grab a key software application for free, but even if you don’t need a manual, you might like to be sure it is bug free, reliable, and warranted.

Accessibility — Ownership often sucks… Many people, me included, will be happy to have others tend our “possessions” by subscribing to them.

Embodiment – …PDFs are fine, but sometimes it is delicious to have the same words printed on bright white cottony paper, bound in leather. Feels so good.

Patronage — It is my belief that audiences WANT to pay creators… But they will only pay if it is very easy to do, a reasonable amount, and they feel certain the money will directly benefit the creators.

Findability — …no matter what its price, a work has no value unless it is seen; unfound masterpieces are worthless.

The State of Video Education

Having started a school of sorts, I’m interested in anyone pushing the envelope of what can be done to teach people, and lately I’ve turned my attention to reaching more people with sessions online rather than only in the classroom. The first generation of “distance education” from universities mostly sucked; schools were sold software that forced them to shoehorn pedagogy into a particular medium (discussion boards, online text, chat rooms) and it really only worked when you had a perfect storm of content that fit the medium, students and teachers comfortable and patient enough to use the medium, and classroom instruction that filled in the gaps. I taught an information architecture class at the New School/Parsons School of Design years ago and it was a royal pain in the ass, but for those few people in Asia that had no other option, it was probably fairly useful.

Fast forward several years where Web 2.0 meets the classroom. Specifically, with broadband our palette of media opens up to include audio and video, and our business models open up to include architectures of participation. YouTube is now the richest playground of education experimentation online. Here’s two examples:

You Suck at Photoshop
Boring, technical techniques are thwarted with dark humor. Perfect for graphic designers.

Team Ukemi Parkour Tutorial
Instructional techniques lifted from technical illustration, mixed with attitude, and applied to video (“just take the marker and draw right on my back”)

Awesome, but this just scratches the surface. How can we use this approach to teach business, design, and business design? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We’ll Reach the Semantic Web One Small Step at a Time

XFN and FOAF were two small steps in that direction, and Google just built on them with the Social Graph API (watch the friendly little video intro).

Any day now we’ll see an application that not only helps us generate XFN and FOAF data, but does so in a way that manages our online identities, particularly with regards to search. It’ll tip the balance of art and science in SEO toward science.

Top-down semantic web visions were judged by skeptical-but-realistic critics to be overly systematic. Well, yes, but if we get there a piece at a time, helping people understand, implement, experiment, and capitalize with each little piece, we’ll get there in an organic way.

Time to go generate some XFN…

Links to what others are saying.

Fighting Spam and Apologies in Advance

An off-topic post…

Apparently I have a high enough Page Rank that spammers love my site. I actually have two different anti-comment-spam plug-ins running on my WordPress installation. But lately there are been hundreds of spam comments per day that the system can’t decide are spam or not, and so it offers them to me for moderation. I just don’t have time to sort through them all, so I simply delete them.

I haven’t heard any complaints, but if your comment falls into the pit of false positives, my apologies.

Update: I installed another WordPress plugin that asks you to answer a simple math question before posting, and this seems to be working perfectly so far.

Hamel and the Technology-Driven Future of Management

Here’s some terms from a recent interview with Gary Hamel, management guru…

digital device
Internet
the Web
Googlers and bloggers and mashers and podcasters
community
open source projects
PCs, routers, and hubs
social network
MySpace

I’m fascinated by his view that technology — particularly Internet tools — will change management. This isn’t just the hyper-hype of the Cluetrain Manifesto, this is a top-tier business professor who regularly publishes in HBR. When I wondered aloud a couple years ago, Who are the new rebels? (Managers?), I saw this as daydreaming, but perhaps the entrepreneurs of the Internet will also influence future management techniques.

The Internet is the New LAN

As we build more and more functionality into both the client and server sides of the Internet, we’re ending up with, well, client-server technology. But instead of a server in a closet up on the 3rd floor, it’s around the world.

If Microsoft were to update Visual Basic’s user interface and transmission protocols a little, they could leapfrog everyone with a rich Internet application platform ;-)

Protoscript: AJAX for the Rest of Us

In the evolution of programming languages, we’ve been moving to higher and higher levels of abstraction, for example from binary to assembly to C to scripting. Writing code gets easier, but the more generalized functions are balanced with less flexibility, which limits how much abstraction is practical.

Bill Scott’s Protoscript is a small but significant step in this evolution:

Protoscript is a simplified scripting language for creating Ajax style prototypes for the Web… I am a huge proponent of breaking down the barriers for the non-techies among us to be able to do what us techie geeks can do.

There are many AJAX frameworks out there, but Protoscript is designed to address a different and widespread need — those of us non-programmers who would like to make rich websites — without over-generalizing the code too much. It still involves looking at code, which I think will scare off many people, but it seems he’s thinking about how a graphical interface can control this.

For designers, it means you will soon be able to do more without relying on a developer, and developers can focus more on the backend systems. For everyone else, it means the web will be getting more interesting more quickly.