Reading blogs #14

By | March 14, 2009

I started collecting this digest about two weeks ago, but between the A-exams and other commitments, I did not have the time to update or publish it. So, here it is. Perhaps slightly outdated, but hopefully still interesting:

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • MICT and politics
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
  • Recent news related

    GfailGfail.  My past nightmare was recently shared by many others who could not access their Gmail accounts and faced a rather annoying 502 error.  TechBlorge wrote – “The Gmail is failing, the Gmail is failing!” – Bits told about – “Four Hours Without Gmail” – and VentureBeat asked – “Where were you during the great Gmail outage of February 2009?” (more here).  Now I am even more eager to figure out if it is possible to back it up with the offline version.  In the meantime, Google has offered a compensation to its corporate (read “paying”) costumers – “Paying GFail victims get 15 days of free service“.  Google also published their official explanation to the blackout.

    And as long as we are on Google, here is another piece of news – “Google Switches Approach to Philanthropy” – now it is going to be more focused and more technology oriented.

    [Image by anonymonk]

    Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations

    The Atlantic Century: Benchmarking EU and U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness” (via Thoughts about k4d) (PDF of the full report) – The Information technology and Innovation Foundation has released a report comparing the climate of innovation in 40 countries.  In fact, for me, the findings were not as interesting as the methodological part, because it is not an easy task to measure innovation.  Here is a NY Times article about this report.

    Job Seekers Turn to the Web” – As the unemployment skyrockets, Hitwise show that more and more people turn online to look for jobs. top of Digg league” – A post with a graph showing the frequency of digged stories from different outlets; my sense though is that it accounts for only British newspapers.  Kind of expected, but still interesting to see some numbers attached to it.  Also, they highlight the growth of traffic to LinkedIn, which may suggest some new, social-networking-heavy, trends in job searching.

    Is a Plane More Fuel Efficient Than a Prius?” (via FlowingData) – Apparently the answer is “yes”.

    Comparative fuel consumption

    Ephemeris” (via FlowingData) – You have probably heard about a recent collision of two communication satellites, this is a neat visualization of the various garbage floating around the earth.

    Some country stats:

    • Bosnia – mobile subscribers base
    • Greece – broadband penetration
    • India – web traffic
    • Russia – information technologies and services export
    • World – internet domain names

    Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions

    The Future of Internet Regulation” (via Information Policy) – Phil Weiser from the law school at the University of Colorado published a working paper where he outlines a model for internet regulation, focusing primarily on the US case.

    The ‘Black Box’ of Peer Review” – If  you are in the academia, you may be interested in reading this review of Michèle Lamont’s book “How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment” or maybe even the book itself.

    Digital Divide

    Surprise: America is No. 1 in Broadband” (via LIRNEasia, full report PDF) – Even though LIRNEasia kind of dismisses the idea that adoption of technology can (or perhaps even should) be measured not only by the number of links or the speed of connection, I find the approach described in this report an interesting step in potentially right direction (need to read it in more detail to form a clearer opinion).  On the other hand, here is a critique of the report and in fact of any kind of measurements.  I am not sure what exactly was the aim of the critique apart from suggesting that if everybody is connected and uterly technolgically literate it will be very good.  But the author does not suggest any ways of assessing the process of getting there, which I think this whole measurement debate is about.

    Industry pitch that Smartphones belong in classroom” – The more smartphones become like computers, the more sense it makes to integrate them in the classroom; but I wonder if there is a $100 (or less) smartphone coming any time soon and what its operational costs would be…

    German Government Introduces National Broadband Strategy, Pledges to Auction Digital Dividend” – I’ve mentioned it in a previous digest and here is more info.  I just wonder what does “growth friendly regulatory environment” mean… ideas?

    Vint Cerf: We Still Have 80 Per Cent of the World to Connect” (via Information Policy) – The “father of the internet” is referring to some technical aspects of “bridging the digital divide”.

    MICT regulation

    As I have mentioned in one of my previous digests, the Internet Governance Project is publishing – “A Field Guide to the ICANN Reforms“.  So far they have published two parts.  First part (which is actually second 🙂 – “September 2006 Diagnosis: The GNSO Needs Fixing “. And the second part (which is actually third) – “The Board’s Plan to Reform the GNSO“.

    We Should Only Subsidize Wireless And Next-Gen Wireline Broadband” – In general, I think this makes sense, as investing in technology that is going to be outdated by the time the infrastructure is in place may prove to be counterproductive.

    Turning Universal Service Funds into Agents of Change” – Andres Maz on Cisco’s blog is calling for reviewing the “good old” universal service policy.

    Obama’s deficit plan hikes tax on carried interest for VCs, hedge funds” – I believe this is one of the first criticisms of the recovery plan and the way it was passed.

    MICT business

    How Does WordPress Make Money?” – I find this rather inspiring how a company like Automattic (WordPress) are making money by being good and not just by exploiting human weaknesses or simply by taking chances.

    Lehman Brothers Spins Off Venture Capital Arm” – Just a note to self about some post-bankruptcy changes.

    “New” media

    Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki” – In case you wondered which of the Fortune 500 companies have blogs, this is an attempt to pull them all together.  I am not sure I completely understand what is that site that hosts this list and who stands behind it, but it has some cool stuff like – “Big Questions Wiki” – which attempts to answer questions such as “Why do we sleep?”.  Does anyone have a clue who stands behind this project and what is its purpose?

    Facebook and Bebo risk ‘infantilising’ the human mind” – Susan Grrenfield gave a rather scary talk to the British government, which reminded me the early reactions to television (more here and here).  Even though she is a scholar researching the brain, I didn’t see her pointing at any research to have a meaningful debate.  What do you think?

    Primates on Facebook” (via Inside Facebook via ICT4Peace) – On a related note, this is a glimpse at the social dynamics on FB; I wish there was more data available.

    *Social* media literacy: The new Internet safety” (via Eszter’s Blog) – Some interesting thoughts about “soft”approaches to online safety (contrary to “hard” approaches such as filtering).

    Netflix streams already rushing past DVDs in 2009?” – In the midst of HD-DVD vs. Blue Ray war I remember reading an argument that it may not be at all relevant because we will be able to stream high definition video pretty soon.  I wonder if that day is coming closer.  Here are some more thoughts on the subject.

    MICT and politics

    A new era of fiscal responsibility… and blogging” – The Obama administration is blogging about budget and I wonder if we start seeing some gaps emerging between the ways things are presented at the White House blog and the media.  What do you think?

    All eyes on Obama” – On a related note, Alexa blog is showing a retrospective on Obama’s web-presence, comparing the popularity of his campaign site,, the website of the White House, and the recent

    All eyes on Obama

    Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff

    Tasks Written in Easy to Read Fonts Are More Likely to be Completed” – Now, if that actually holds water, it make sense to switch to Arial permanently; it may particularly interest those of us who need to hand out exams and assignments.

    Musicthatmakesyoudumb” (via Digital Inspiration) – An exercise by Caltech PhD student, Virgil Griffith, where he correlates music tastes of students with SAT scores of the schools they go to.  Apparently, he also did a similar exercise with books and posted some interesting insights on his website.

    Working landscapes” – A post about photography that is trying to capture industralization – beautiful in its special way.

    Skype 4.0 VoIP Service” – I am using this version for probably a week or two now and am starting getting used to the new interface.  I am not sure why they needed such a drastic interface change though.  Maybe it is trying to compete with the sliker designs of their competitors such as – “ooVoo VoIP Service“.

    4 thoughts on “Reading blogs #14

    1. John Cass

      Hi Dima, Thanks for the mention about the fortune 500 business blogging wiki. The wiki was set up by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine after chatting with Doc Searls about which large company’s blog. Ross Mayfield from SocialText offered to host the census of business blogs and so the wiki is hosted by SocialText. Not sure about the list of big questions, that might be another part of the SocialText site, rather than the fortune 500 wiki. Though if you see a link to the list of big questions, let me know, that’s not very relevant. Currently I am the volunteer community organizer for the site. We catalog the list of fortune 500 companies blogging, and also ask bloggers to write reviews or interview fortune 500 blogs and bloggers. The blogger posts the review on their blog and wiki links to them.

    2. Dima Post author

      Thank you, John, for your explanation. This is a very interesting project and I would be really interested to see how it evolves.

      I see there is now a short “about” bit on the website, which was not there when I first looked at it. I think it is really good you added it.

      Again, thanks for clarifying!

    3. John Cass

      Hi Dima, Glad to help. Reading your background, I was thinking you might look at some of the work at the Society for New Communications Research,, I am a research fellow with the society, and many of our fellows conduct new media research in your area of research.

    4. Dima Post author

      Thanks again, John!
      I will definitely look at the website.


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