Nota Bene #95: STFU

Gonna try something different Continue reading

Does Rupert Murdoch have an Internet strategy?

As a follow-on to Dr. Denny’s post on Rupert Murdoch way back on 29 August, there have been further developments worth noting in this space. There has been a flurry of headlines the past few weeks over recent comments by Murdoch, who now is making noises about removing News Corp news stories from Google. He’s not alone, apparently—Belo is considering removing some of its stories as well, as is the owner of the Denver Post. These are all entities that have been seeing their print output hit hard by the drop in advertising over the past year or two, coupled with an outright (and possibly accelerating) decline in newspaper sales. And Murdoch’s comments (and those of other publishers) represent some frustration over the fact that Google News aggregates headlines from all news sources without any fee to the source provider. (Yahoo does something similar, I think, but I’m not sure; but no one seems to care about poor Yahoo these days). See this Bloomberg story or this New York Times story for more details. Murdoch’s plan is to block Google from access to News Corp content, and rather make it available only on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. This is an interesting strategy—how likely is it to succeed? Continue reading

Tournament of Rock: Asobi Seksu vs. Paul Steel – finals

UPDATE: Paul Steel has maintained a consistent (and at times massive) lead, but in the last 24 hours Asobi Seksu fans have gotten into the game. Polls close Friday at midnight – let your voice be heard.
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In last week’s second semifinal, Asobi Seksu pulled away to defeat Rose Hill Drive by a 75%-25% margin. The outcome was very much in doubt until the last day of voting, and we congratulate RHD on a great showing.

And now, The Finals.

New York City’s Asobi Seksu are in the vanguard of a vibrant contemporary shoegazer movement, and their most recent disc (this year’s outstanding Hush) makes clear that they’re not interested in simply reproducing the droning guitars that have defined the genre since My Bloody Valentine. They defeated The Dreaming, Black Mountain and Rose Hill Drive to reach the finals.

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Tournament of Rock: Asobi Seksu vs. Rose Hill Drive

UPDATE: As of right now Asobi Seksu leads Rose Hill Drive, but only by a few votes. Polls close tomorrow (Thursday) at midnight. Winner moves on to the finals.
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In last week’s rock-off we saw the biggest reader response of any match to date, with Paul Steel pulling away to post a convincing 75%-25% victory over Chris Corner and IAMX. Congrats to IAMX, who have one of the best CDs of the year to date. I feel certain certain they’ll turn up in our year-end best-of list. Meanwhile, Paul Steel moves on to the finals.

This week’s semifinal, which determines Steel’s final round opponent, features two very talented, but very different bands. Continue reading

Tournament of Rock: Asobi Seksu vs. Black Mountain

In the second quarterfinal Gogol Bordello started strong, but Paul Steel finished big to win going away. The final tally: 73%-27%. Still, Gogol Bordello is better than the final score might indicate, and we congratulate them on a fine showing in the inaugural Tournament of Rock. Paul Steel moves on to the semis to face IAMX.

Up first in quarterfinal matchup #3 is Asobi Seksu, which thrashed The Dreaming in round 1. Their most recent CD, Hush, is one of the better discs we’ve heard this year, and comments from their previous match suggest that listeners are drawn to the intricacy of their new, leaner sound.

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Tournament of Rock: Paul Steel vs. Gogol Bordello

UPDATE: Paul Steel has opened up a nice cushion, leading Gogol Bordello by 74%-26%. Plenty of time for you to listen and vote, though – polls close Thursday at midnight.

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In the first quarterfinal match-up, England’s IAMX handily dispatched American Pop Undergrounders The Well Wishers by an 87%-13% margin. Frankly, we expected a closer contest, but the tribe has spoken. Congrats to Jeff Shelton and The Well Wishers for a fine showing, and we’ll be looking forward to the next CD. Chris Corner and IAMX now await a semifinal date with the winner of this week’s match.

Up first, 20 year-old UK Power Pop prodigy Paul Steel, who defeated Adele in round 1. In that contest voters seemed drawn to Steel’s accomplishes sense of tunecraft and upbeat energy. Will that be enough in rd 2? Continue reading

Tournament of Rock: IAMX vs. The Well Wishers

UPDATE: As of Thursday evening IAMX has a wide lead over The Well Wishers. However, due to a technical glitch that we’re still trying to sort out, the poll seems to have closed itself a day or two early, and we just now caught the problem. So we’re going to extend the voting through Saturday. If you haven’t voted yet, please listen and register your opinion below.

Sorry for the confusion. Continue reading

ArtSunday: the nonlinearity of influence

“I’m interested in what motivates you, and how you understand the world.” He glanced sideways at her. “Rausch tells me you’ve written about music.”

“Sixties garage bands. I started writing about them when I was still in the Curfew.””Were they an inspiration?”

She was watching a fourteen-inch display on the Maybach’s dash, the red cursor that was the car proceeding along the green line that was Sunset. She looked up at him. “Not in any linear way, musically. They were my favorite bands. Are,” she corrected herself.

He nodded.

William Gibson, Spook Country

I’ve always been intrigued by the curious dynamic of influence. Continue reading

Social networking: the next generation

Have you ever noticed how social networks don’t do a very good job of representing how our personal networks actually function? Sure, places like Facebook and MySpace and LinkedIn have their utility, but their flatness is a problem.

Think about your Facebook, for instance. If it’s like mine, you have friends there who run the gamut from “real life best friend” to “people I know” to “guy I couldn’t pick out of a lineup if my life depended on it.” You may have relatives, friends from school, co-workers and “assorted others.” And they’re all absolutely equal.

Our LinkedIn networks can be even less attuned to how our lives works.

More at Black Dog »

Will OpenSocial help Google reorganize into the first Galactic Empire?

googlegalactic.jpgBy Martin Bosworth

The big news in the tech world this past week was Google’s unveiling of OpenSocial, a set of programming tools that will enable members of multiple social networks to share files and information across the different platforms, and for developers to create programs that work equally well on LinkedIn as they do on Friendster. Noticeably absent from the alliance supporting OpenSocial were the two 800-pound gorillas of the social networking world, MySpace and Facebook…well, at least for a day or so. It was barely 24 hours later that MySpace announced it would join the OpenSocial coalition, leaving the tech press breathlessly wondering what Facebook’s next move would be, and whether this represents another step in Google’s plan to dominate all of the space/time continuum.

In reading through all of this, and hearing comments from Sam about it, I wanted to cut through the hype and address what this really means for people on social networks and the companies that power them. Let’s go point by point: Continue reading

Basic principles for building America’s Internet future

By Martin Bosworth

Crossposted at Open Left.

Senator Dick Durbin has begun a several-night series of conversations with the blogosphere on how to build a set of principles for improving American broadband and Internet development. This is a watershed moment and a fantastic (if long overdue) chance to make the people’s voices heard on this most important issue. You don’t have to be a tech policy wonk to understand the multilayered importance of the Internet, and you don’t need to read all the latest blogs or whatever to know that our country’s Internet development is appalling.

So with that in mind, here’s what I put to Senator Durbin–a few basic principles for what our country needs to build its Internet future. Continue reading

The naked tail: how online social networks are destroying offline social conventions

Do you really want him back in your life?There is a spectre stalking the fringes of social networking; of Facebook, of MySpace, of LinkedIn. It will linger long after the romance of connecting with old friends is gone. It is the spectre of failed relationships, broken hearts, shattered friendships and angry words … unsaid.

When any relationship ends under dodgy circumstances there is an inherent contract which has stood humanity in good stead for hundreds of years; we won’t discuss it. We agree to go our separate ways and pretend we never met. It is a social convention.

All of that is coming undone.

Over the past few weeks I, an unwilling Facebook participant, have been assailed by joyful missives from people I thought I had done with. Other close friends have expressed similar consternation that the sociopaths they assume doomed to their past have turned up once more.

Even email was insufficient to break this norm. So great is the individual’s fear of emotional confrontation that it has taken until the coming of social networking and Web 2.0 to overcome our conditioning. And then what? Am I supposed to respond with a similarly brief, chirpy comment of my own?

Continue reading