The all-at-once political platform

In 2005 Stephen Harper's Tories began the election with the announcement that they would cut the dreaded GST tax to 5 per cent from 7 per cent. This headline-grabbing statement (made in a consumer electronics store), was followed up with almost daily policy announcements. In fact, it soon became clean that the Tories' election strategy was based on releasing their entire platform one trickle at a time, with well-staged photo ops.

This worked brilliantly. And, frankly, I think it's good for democracy. For as long as elections are covered by TV (or its new-media variations) photo-ops will be necessary. For years, these photo ops felt like exactly what they were: bad, vacuous theatre arranged by political handlers. To have a photo-op be tied to a policy statement -- ie. an announcement of a potential change to life in Canada -- provides these photo ops with some meat. And by stretching out these photo-ops over weeks, reporters, intellectuals and the rest of the voting public can digest all of the policy they may or may not vote for.

After Harper beat the unbeatable Martin, I predicted that this would be the status quo for Canadian elections henceforth. 

It seems I was wrong. The NDP and the Tories are both set to release their policy books next week. We, the voting public who are influence by policy, who are trying to care about this election, and who are also stretched so many ways, will be asked to vote on fat books of policy presented all at once, and likely poorly read or summarized by time-constrained journalists. Sure, eventually these red books, green books and blue books will be fully digested by policy-minded people, but by then they will not be new and thus not news. And when something isn't news, it doesn't make the news, limiting the number of people who receive digested versions on this policy.

This is bad politics, because we're back to vacuous photo-ops. And this is bad for democracy because we're back to voting for the man or woman we hate least.

Radian6 -- social media monitoring

I guess they're reading this.

'Cause that's what Radian6 does; it reads tiny little blogs (and big ones), and all other manor of social media, finding what people say about its clients. I would have thought you could just do this with google, technorati and maybe a few phantom flickr and facebook accounts. Maybe they do? But they hint that they have a substantial back end.

This is a nice article as it doubles as both a look at where social media meets PR, and it profiles the unique strategy Radian6 used to launch their start-up. They gave it away for free to a small, local sub of a global PR firm, in exchange for feedback (and cred.) It worked brilliantly. interview on Social Networking for business

... companies must avoid the "Kumbaya Zone" - the place where social media is ultimately a time-waster and has little business value.

The album is a mix tape

I think the first mix tape I made was for myself; maybe some Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin I'd jog to. Then I found out girls liked mix tapes and I started making them with different songs -- each carefully chosen to represent something.

Now it's not just teenagers in love who make playlists in iTunes. Really, these are not songs but lists -- lists that call individual songs from one's harddrive. And it's the individual song that people purchase (or don't purchase) today. Playlists can have hundreds of songs and there can be overlap from one playlist to another. In fact, they can even be random or "smart" -- not pre-set, but based on attributes such as how often songs are listened too, how highly they're ranked, their genre, etc.

But where does all this wizardry leave the 14-song CD sitting at the counter in Starbucks? Given the context of 99 cent songs at the iTunes store, infinite playlists and zero-loss digital copying, I think of that CD as just another playlist

Like Sheryl Crow just made me a mix tape.

A conservative for Obama

It's not just the optic of a former publisher of the National Review turning to Obama, it's his clear and plain language description of what conservatisim means for him.

I fear that Bushies have deluded Americans into seeing them as something very far from what they really are; whatever doctrine history ascribes to Bush, it is unlikely to be "conservative." But wrapping yourself in the flag shortcuts the whole question of what is your doctrine.

No one cares anymore what McCain believes: half of America sees this race as about true America versus something else. A flag versus hippie-ideals. And it's not.


The last time I used this service it was called

Seriously, I think the functionality is pretty much the same, but it's how Skimbit uses social bookmarking that makes it interesting.

Key phrases for this site are: collaboration, decision-making, web-clipping, social bookmarking.  

Okay, say you need to decide what hotel you and four lads will stay in in Paris. So you set up a Skimbit account, create a project called Paris Hotel, and invite everyone to join the project. Then each member can go off and clip suggestions from web searches at the leisure with a handy little button on their browser. Each suggestion is ranked by the critieria you set at the outset (price, location, near a bar). After a week or two, you have loads of options and a good point from which you can decide.

That's the collaborative part -- you can do it in Google Docs and it's only a little more ugly. 

But I think the social part -- the ability to view some of the other users' decisions -- that will provide the web2.0 value; it'll play a role in organizing the web's content.

YouTube as iTunes

Ever dug into iTunes with a tune in your head, only to find you can't buy it on iTunes?

Ever used iTunes like an LP player ... one song at a time?

YouTube is basically a P2P music service, with every song I've ever wanted to hear in video format. Content owners likely allow YouTube to host music videos for the same reason they let radio play songs. But if they knew I used YouTube like a kind of infinite LP player, maybe they wouldn't.

TechCrunch 50 review

Okay, I've read through the 50 profiles and a few look cool. That said, anything around developer's tools, gambling or video games aren't interesting to me.

Also, I think the point of this post is not to highlight an angel investment opportunity, but to show a few directions the web is going in (that's the kind of grammar up with which I will not put!).
This enriches news stories. For bloggers, etc, you annotate a block of text and that annotation is shared in some way with others. So, say there's a CNN story on something like "McCain apologizes for pig ad," a million people could annotate that "meme" and come to some wisdom-of-the-crowds solution for what it means.
Applied to all web content, it could be interesting. 
Revenue stream: not obvious.

Yammar. It's like twitter, but for colleagues. It looks like there is a single webpage with status updates for everyone. Ie. "finishing the headline; mocking up the icons; testing the mail lists; brainstorming"; etc.

Mass customization of interactive content, for the non-technical writer. (ie. if it's raining today in the home city of the web-site visitor, a cute joke about that is the headline.) I think this will feel weird and forced at first, much like those animated paintings must have seemed odd when Hogwarts first got them. But, seriously, how much more rich can you make media?
On the other hand, there's a small chance you'll visit this website on an iPhone and it will advise you to flush.

This gets a gold star. Widgets are sorta neat, but tingz are widgets built specifically for mobile computers, and which are meant to work across platforms. In my future, people will have screens with magnets stuck to their fridge. They yank them off, add a few items to the grocery list, and check out their schedule for the weekend. Ten minutes later, the husband goes into the grocery store and sees a his updated list on his iPhone. (Or robots just anticipate and fulfil our needs; it depends on the time frame).

I don't know what this is, but it caught my eye. I think you enter a track a wide range of personal metrics (weight, HR, $ life savings, weekly run mileage, avg. commuting time) and then do something with it.

You wear a thingy that tracks all your personal health activity and then it wifi's it up to a site that analyzes and reports the exact minute of your death (I made the last bit up.)

This gets my second gold star. It could totally fail, like the guy who invented a keyboard that was better than QWERTY like a century after every secretary learned QWERTY. Or it could succeed like the BlackBerry's little buttons. 
It's a better way to enter text on tiny keyboards. The company is really just an algorithm that forms words based, not on tapping keys, but on swiping a pen over a flat screen image of keys. So it's still QWERTY, but much more fluid. A small change, but if you can go from 10 WPM to 50 WPM on your iPhone/BlackBerry, it's good.
What caught my eye is that the co-founder invented T9; that predictive typing app. for SMS that's on like 2.5 billion or so phones.

Turns your desktop into a wormhole. Except instead of sending documents to a universe where Sarah Palin is POTUSA, it goes to another desktop. Like your home one when you're at work. Coolest part is that it appears to work without you having to do anything special. Just put a doc in a folder (a magic folder).

Web 2.0 in 1.0 years

You could read a bunch of stuff about where the web is going. Or you could just go there:

(is 1.0 plural; technically, no. but it sounds wrong the other way.)

Getting things done.

I've always been pretty unorganized; coming from an initially "creative" career, it seemed appropriate.  But I don't think I can cope with the complexity of 30-something life (career, commuting, home, money, parenthood, husband hood, school, sports ...) without getting my shit together.

I spent this weekend doing just that -- electronically. It's funny, but I didn't buy a new suit or a new briefcase; I downloaded Google Chrome, re-started my Remember The Milk account, and created a bunch of new folders. Lame, maybe, but it feels good on a Sunday night. Here's what I picked up:
  • I think there should be a constitutionally enshrined law that no folder can contain more than 7 items, and no more than two of those can be other folders. Ideally, bookmark bars should have folders with 3-5 items; you should be able see the contents of every folder at once, not by reading.
  • When you're trying to get organized, I think it's helpful to have an "all the stuff I have to do eventually" list, and then ... in some totally different application (RTM?) your top 5. Give each of the top 5 a fair time estimate. Look at your week; do you have five, 30-hour days?
  • Create a minutiae list: don't cram your top 5 list with junk. Everyone has points in the day where they feel like doing nothing (ie. engaging in flame wars on digg). Working through your minutiae is only a bit more taxing.
  • I swear this is the nerdiest thing ever. And not in a cool-but-geeky way; like in a pocket protector way. But if you're part of the creative economy, you probably need David Allen. I read about him on a flight two years ago; read his first book. It helped a lot. (10 second take away: purge your brain of Things To Do by itemizing them all [like all!] and scheduling each one)
  • After downloading Chrome, I set up a series of web applications "on" my desktop. Google Docs is neat, but it was also a few clicks to get into something (say I've got a page of jokes I think up randomly ... okay, I have a page of jokes I think up randomly). A theme that drives Google, I think, is that 0.5 seconds is much much better than 3.5 seconds. If you want to do something on a computer, and you click, 3.5 seconds can be extremely annoying, so much so it becomes a barrier. Frankly, I store random thoughts in txt files, because they seem to open instantly. Chrome is quick, and my jokes list is up in ... about 1 second even.

Be afraid of Finland


Google Chrome

Had it for 10 min.


the long tail

This is to the Internet what "The Making of the President" was to the making of the President (after 1960).

FTA: "Hit-driven economics is a creation of an age without enough room to carry everything for everybody.... Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are ... In other words, the potential book market may be twice as big as it appears to be, if only we can get over the economics of scarcity. ). "

Republican brand is "trash"?

Jack Cafferty's column is helpful.

Things in the U.S. have gone so far under Bush that I was actually underwhelmed by Cafferty's statement, "[Bush is] arguably the worst president in the nation's history."

Without reflecting much on it, I've come to view Bush not as a bad president of an otherwise great country, but as the first leader of an un-American country. Maybe I'm apocalyptic, but I've come to view the U.S.'s future under a series of Republican leaders, starting with Bush, as a move toward permanent religious war, fanaticism, Orwellian control of communication and ultimately dictatorship.

The alternative is that the 2006 rejection of the Republicans would be just the beginning of a pendulum shift back to a fairly decent country. Cafferty seems to think that just this will occur. That it will be a landslide in all three houses.