Listen First – then Distribute Your Authoring

  The Singer Songwriter 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul.

A question I recently heard was "Where is the Internet going?" My two cents? At least
for communicators I believe it is going towards two major themes.

  1. First LISTEN and then;
  2. distribute authoring to the people.

Let’s talk about what the Internet is not. It is not currently a true conversation. Oh I know all about the manifesto
and have said myself numerous times that it is "conversational". There
is a conversation going on; yet it it is not equidistant to all people.

Calling the Internet a conversation is similar to saying that everyone participated in Andy Warhol’s factory. Or the original rat pack.
Some participated. Some led. Yet for the most part it was voyeurism
pure and simple for the mass majority. Despite the change in mediums we
still see the minority participating in the conversation and the elite
minority leading it. The majority watches from the sidelines.

I am not suggesting the leading minority is subjugating anyone. It is simply that people are shy and stepping up to a global conversation is damn hard.

Continue reading “Listen First – then Distribute Your Authoring”

Relativity Drive – I hope it works!

From the New Scientist magazine there is an article worth reading. The headline is a bit of an over-the-top tease but the concept is real. It is about a scientist named Roger Shawyer in the UK.

Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels?

(snip) Key is the fact that the diameter of a tubular cavity alters the path –
and hence the effective velocity – of the microwaves travelling through

The short version is microwaves are shot into a tube. The tube is shaped like a cone with one end smaller than the other. This causes more force to be directed against the large end of the cone than the smaller end. That force difference creates propulsion which can be used for space craft. If it works….

Visual of the relativity drive here.

The only thing people fight about more than energy is God. Increases in efficiency and alternatives are a good thing. Via digg.

Citizendium and Wikipedia – The Path I want is a Balance of Power

  Originally uploaded by eschipul.

On Citizendium, Larry Sanger and Clay Shirky.

As a long time reader of Corante I can say that, truthfully, half the time I don’t get it. Well I might "get it" if I understood it. They use lots of big words. Ontological. Stuff like that.

Yet Clay is one brilliant guy. And when speaking he does seem to simplify to the point of understanding. I like his belief in folksonomy. I wish he wrote like he spoke. Be clear.

Larry? Passionate? Yes. And a far greater success in the online world that my current ventures so I tip my hat to the man. Yet again I am not sure I follow his thoughts on the subject. And I believe communication is first a burden on the communicator.

My take on all of this is simply that we need both a House and a Senate in Congress, similarly we need both a Wikipedia and a Citizendium in knowledge management. The thinkers and the populace should both get a vote. The answer is somewhere in the middle.

Continue reading “Citizendium and Wikipedia – The Path I want is a Balance of Power”

1080p – 1080 Progressive is the Best HD Available

I have been studying video formats and standards lately (yes, part of my job). I like knowing the standards. We all do. Example:

Q: "I want a portable music player. What should I buy?"
A: "Ipod"

That simple. That is what positioning and branding is about. So, to break down the specifics:

Q: "I want the best HD system available. What should I buy?"
A: "1080 Progressive Scan."

OK, the second example doesn’t have a brand name. But just knowing that 1080p is the "one", that is helpful to me. Same for the folks at the xBox 360 who now support 1080p. Yea!

Citizendium is to Foo as Wikipedia is to Bar

Citizendium aspires to have a group of intellectuals create moderated great ideas. Like foo camp has an invited group of intellectuals.

Wikipedia aspires to have editors from the willing and takes all comers. Like bar camp has unconferences of the willing.

Some background:

Citizendium is being started by Larry Sanger, one of the cofounders of wikipedia. It is like wikipedia but with peer review. From the citizendium essay.

Imagine what is
possible with tens of millions of intellectuals working together on educational
and reference projects.

The wrench in the whole thing is that wikipedia started as a dot com called nupedia with experts and peer review (sanger) . So wikipedia started where citizendium is trying to restart. From Larry Sanger, the cofounder of wikipedia, on slashdot.

Wikipedia’s predecessor, which I was also employed to organize, was
Nupedia. Nupedia was to be a highly reliable, peer-reviewed resource
that fully appreciated and employed the efforts of subject area
experts, as well as the general public.

Is this getting recursive to anyone else?

Continue reading “Citizendium is to Foo as Wikipedia is to Bar”

Target’s Accessibility – Not All Bad, Just Mostly Bad

I tried to explain that last post on the PR Disaster forming for Target (TGT) about refusing to make their site accessible. I had difficulty because had to use geek speak. So in an effort to explain in English I ran some accessibility tests on the target site. It is not all bad news, just mostly bad news for target.

The way a screen reader works is it converts a web site to text and then reads it out loud to the person. So this first image (below) was created with the Fangs emulator and shows the words that would be read out loud. (Note – Fangs is not a screen reader, it is a free emulator used by developers). Anyway, see all of those "Link" and "Bullet" words? Those are links that are images that do not have ALT tags. That is bad. And it is easy to fix. Would you want to have a computer say "link bullet link bullet link bullet" to you over and over? Of course not.

Continue reading “Target’s Accessibility – Not All Bad, Just Mostly Bad”

Target’s PR Disaster Picking on the Little Guy

OK, who handles PR for Target? This public relations train wreck was linked to me by Tim and Jason both after some discussion at Netsquared last night.

Blind Advocate’s Suit Against Target Allowed to Proceed
Group Seeks Right to Sue Retailers Over Website Accessibility
By Mya Frazier

COLUMBUS, Ohio ( — Retailers may soon need to ensure their virtual stores are as accessible to the blind as their physical stores are to wheelchair users.

A lawsuit against Target Stores making its way through a federal court in California has laid the groundwork that gives the blind the right to sue a retailer if its website is not accessible.

this quote from the article says it best

"We felt we had no choice but to bring this lawsuit," Mr. Pare said.
"They argued the law doesn’t say they have to, but that has nothing to
do with whether they should.
Target had billions in profits last year.
They can afford to do this."

For those readers who aren’t technical let me be clear. What Target is
being asked to do is 1) easy and 2) reasonable from a technical
perspective. ALT tags? They are going to the mat against the blind over
ALT tags? Please.

Web 2.0 Sucks! (Unless it’s accessible) – Sharon Rush Speaking tomorrow

Sharon Rush of Knowbility is our speaker for Netsquared Houston tomorrow night.

Houston NetSquared Meetup
Web 2.0 Sucks! (Unless it’s accessible) Sharron Rush of Knowbility comes to chat

Sharron Rush Executive Director


Tue 12-Sep-06 7:00 PM to Tue 12-Sep-06 9:30 PM

Program Description: (a.k.a. the "sales pitch" but it is FREE and for Non Profits so here goes.)

At this month’s Houston NetSquared meetup we’ll be talking with
Sharron Rush about the technology community’s role in making Web sites
accessible and barrier free.

As Executive Director of Knowbility (
), Sharron is constantly working on new and innovative solutions to
transform Internet technologies to be more accessible to the community
at large – including the elderly, the disabled and everyone else!

Web sites and online technology is good for everyone. Knowbility is a
wonderful online accessibility promoter and supporter, with events like
the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) –…   – and fantastic accessibility training.

this Houston NetSquared meeting, we’ll be giving away a copy of
Sharron’s book ‘Maximum Accessibility – Making Your Web Site More
Usable for Everyone’ (check it out online here:…  ). 

miss this great conversation about making the web an accessible place
for all. What are you doing to make the Internet barrier free? What
questions do you or your organization have about building an accessible
Web site? Join us!

Continue reading “Web 2.0 Sucks! (Unless it’s accessible) – Sharon Rush Speaking tomorrow”

Embrace Word of Mouth, Don’t Limit it to Your Branded Site

For all of the PR professionals out there, here is a GREAT case study for your clients. Word of Mouth is frequently generated by… um …. luck. Let’s call it lightning. Lightning struck Coke and Mentos with the videos showing the amazing sticky rocket that results.

From a brand perspective, here is what happened as explained by author John Moore:

The Results of Refuting versus Relishing

Remember how Coke refuted the WOM and Mentos relished the WOM from the Diet Coke/Mentos geyser viral video

Coke refuted the word-of-mouth (WOM) by saying the experiment didn’t
fit with the brand personality of Diet Coke and that they wished people
would drink the cola and not experiment with it. Mentos, on the other
hand, relished the estimated $10 million dollars in exposure from the
viral video that cost the company nothing.


Definitely read it. One of my take-aways is that the marketing managers are just as guilty as scientists when it comes to the NIH syndrome. NIH of course is not-invented-here. For the purposes of branding perhaps we rename it NEH – Not Experienced Here.

Does it matter if a company sees your brand on YOUR site or someone else’s site? Ask a PR professional and they will likely point out it may be BETTER to have it seen elsewhere. Be simple. Just hope people care about your brand at all. Go from that position of humility, even if you are coke.  Thoughts?

eLinear Marketing Speak Obfuscates Unknown

Today’s HBJ notice had an article about eLinear Solutions going out of business. The name eLinear sounded familiar so I went to their site to refresh my mind on what they do. This is the opening paragraph from the eLinear homepage:

Linear Solutions is a network-related technology solutions provider of
comprehensive, integrated security, IP telephony, and network & storage
solutions. By striving to bring additional value to each of our clients with
each project completed, eLinear brings a market-driven, entrepreneurial
approach to traditional technology services businesses, while providing single
provider accountability.

Marketing needs to take some responsibility for their challenges.

Continue reading “eLinear Marketing Speak Obfuscates Unknown”

This Just In: Schipul and Tendenci NOT Web 2.0 Compliant

I forgot I signed up on the wait list for the Web 2.0 conference this year. So in a bizarre twist of marketing fate I was pleasantly reminded that … um …. no. Hee hee. OK, I guess I better just stick with the Barcamp affiliation and not cross my toes for foo either.

On a PR note, O’Reilly really is a master at creating exclusivity and therefore demand among alphageeks. PT Barnum egress is child’s play for the man.

Your Computer the Tsunami Super Hero

Via a post on slashdot, someone has invented a computer program to help detect tsunamis in real time. Like a weather forecaster for earthquakes that might lead to big waves. Except the forecaster is probably a bit more accurate than the weatherman.

The technical approach is interesting. It uses peer-to-peer technology similar to the seti project. The application itself measures shakes of your hard drive similar to what an earthquake would generate. If enough hard drives in a geographic area all jump at the same time, well, it is likely that entire area jumped. Brilliant stuff. A real world use. From the article:

Governments seeking inexpensive technology to warn of tsunamis could be
interested in a free software application that monitors vibrations in
the hard disks of computers in an attempt to detect the undersea
earthquakes that cause tsunamis.

The Tsunami Harddisk Detector is the brainchild of Michael Stadler, who demonstrated the prototype system earlier this week at the Ars Electronica exhibition in Linz, Austria.

As part of their operation, hard disks measure vibrations in order to
keep the read-write head of the disk on track. These measurements can
be read from some hard disks. The Tsunami Harddisk Detector captures
this vibration data and shares it with computers in other locations
connected via a peer-to-peer network to determine whether an earth
tremor is occurring.

Photographers You Should Know Of: Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir

  time flies.. 
  Originally uploaded by _rebekka.

If you have not heard the name of Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, or at least read the name given the spelling, you will. She is perhaps the top photographer on flickr, the new media photo sharing site. Rebekka has accomplished this while living in Iceland and being a student.

_rebekka as she is known on flickr composes beautiful and impassioned shots using nothing more than a great camera and an even more amazing imagination. Talk about doing more with less, one of her most popular shots is of an apple tossed in the air in front of her. Sounds ho hum, until you see the photo. I love seeing ingenuity.

And of course don’t miss her multiplicity set. Creative talent at its best.

Another write up on the photographer here.

Your challenge, if you are in public relations, is to help out these rising stars in the hope they will remember you later. If they don’t, but you have helped grow more talent for the planet, is that such a bad thing?

rocking back and forth, wanting that money

I just finished reading the blog post One Guaranteed Instant Cast Iron Indisputable Success Factor? "Doing it" by Chris Garrett. To be successful start by just DOING IT!

Example: There is a TON of time to read, just cut out TV. And reading blogs doesn’t count. There is something amazing about reading a book that someone organized and put together with an editor. Yet there are people who spend more on DVDs and CDs than books. Which is fine, as long as they are at their own income comfort level.

A wise man once said:

‘It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more money. And I guess that’s what I like about it. It’s easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.’ – ‘Deeper Thoughts’ – by Jack Handy

Today is Labor Day here in the states. Start by just doing it.