Monthly Archive for March, 2008

SLAWNY Spring Sharing: Librarianship = Helping Local Youths Develop

SLAWNY: School Librarians' Association of Western New York - 1

Under Jinny’s invitation (as mentioned earlier), I made my way to Cheektowaga Central High School at 9am for the SLAWNY Spring Sharing event. Organized by the School Librarians’ Association of Western New York (SLAWNY), it was going to be a day workshops, talks and mingling among librarians from various local community and school libraries. Check out how it all went after the jump…

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Vids and Pics: 1st Buffalo Tweetup @ The BrewPub

1st Buffalo Tweetup - 11

As Twitter user Lee mentioned, about twenty people showed up for the first Buffalo Tweetup, an informal meetup of local twitter users, held at the packed Buffalo Brew Pub this friday evening. Yes I was a little shy at first, until I got my camera rolling. Photos and videos after the jump…

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My EPIC-FAIL virtual panelist experience for Start-Up @ Singapore

The kind folks (Marcus & Ridza) at Start-up @ Singapore wanted to have me (in Buffalo, NY) as a virtual panelist for their Web 2.0 session held at the National University of Singapore. I was game, and while we did several trials over the week, on the day itself I had such a hard time making out what was going on.

What do you do in such a dire situation?
I realized that I ended up smiling a lot on camera. :D

Oops, did I appear too communist on the topic of monetizing the web?
Instead of simply denouncing the term “monetization” (aka a bad word), I should have said “monetization is bad because it makes the fans feel used”. You’ll want to let fans give on their own accord, through means such as professional-level subscriptions (e.g. Flickr). This makes the pro users feel good as they are supporting both the web company as well as the entry level users who might not be able to afford to pay for the service. I tend to support transactions that are fulfilling in nature, rather than through artificial means such as intrusive forms of web advertising.

Our Web 2.0 panel at Startup@Singapore

How does it feel to be a virtual panelist?
The big attraction about conferences is to mingle with all kinds of folks. I didn’t get a chance to do that. Instead it felt like I was trapped in a prison (i.e. the laptop), trying to turn to look around, to speak and to listen, but restricted in communicating with only those who came to visit me at the machine. Which reminds me… I need to get a web controlled robot with VoIP built-in, like the Rovio by WowWee Robots for future telepresence sessions.

Look, I'm virtually at Start-Up@Singapore againLook, I'm virtually at Start-Up@Singapore

UPDATE 1: Vantan has shared a seriously detailed post-conference report, while Chin Yong delves deeper into alternate modes of currency I mentioned over video. Renhao also recently contributed his pictorial POV as an active audience member at the talk.

UPDATE 2: Apparently the crowd went wild when I said that “monetization is a dirty word”, and I’m just glad that my stunt got some light bulbs glowing. I’ve received emails from interesting folks in the audience, following up on how we could produce more relevant forms of currency for the web. Since the early Internet days, forums and news commentary sites have been issuing Karma points as a way of recognizing reputation. A lot of the services and tools we use today (e.g. open source) wouldn’t have existed if not for these ideas. I’ll try to compile what I’ve been reading as a blog entry soon, perhaps we could help build web services that are sustainable through direct human relations / labor rather than mediated through cash (e.g. user generated / moderated content).

ATV4mac: Running Apple TV on your Mac (almost!)

ATV4mac 1.4

Most of you know what the Apple TV is… you know that Internet appliance which lets your purchase and rent movie (and music) titles directly from the iTunes store for your television, without the need of a computer?

While Apple has started renting HD movies over iTunes as well, you can’t purchase them through iTunes on your Mac or PC. Instead these HD video rentals are only for the Apple TV!

A shame, since it would have been perfect for viewing on our computers, especially those of us with large computer monitors and no television screens at home. There seems to be some hope in the horizon though.

From the MacRumors forum, there’s word of a partial solution called ATV4mac. It’s essentially a hacked version of Front Row made to function like the Apple TV, running on your Mac. Now it only works on Tiger 10.4.8+, not Leopard (10.5) yet.

My friend Peter dug up details on this, and discovered that those who’ve tried getting HD videos via ATV4mac reached 99% download completion before it fails. ATV4mac is still work in progress, we’ll need to give it some time.

You can check out more screenshots as well as the download at

Magnus “Maestro” Martensson @ United Nations

Having had the honor of working with the multi-talented (and ever quirky) Magnus “Maestro” Martensson, here is his recent performance for International Women’s Day at the United Nations.

His piece came in towards the end of this 2hr long webcast (requires RealPlayer). This video clip will eventually go onto his delightful blog at

Hubdub: Predicting tomorrow’s news is fun!

Photo by Brian Solis

According to their about page, “Hubdub is all about letting you actively participate in the day’s news, following today’s events, predicting their outcomes and competing with other users to find out who the real news junkies are!”

Hubdub harnesses the cognitive potential of collective intelligence, which truly sets it apart from the other social news sites such as Digg, Reddit, or Mixx. I was pretty excited when I started playing with it last month. Still I wonder, how accurate are the predictions? Will it still be useful if the forecasts end up different from real outcomes?

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Howard Rheingold: Craig Newmark on Digital Journalism

In this short 4min videolog, Howard Rheingold shares what Craig Newmark has to say about the philosophy behind Craigslist, the quantity of users vs. abusers in a free market system, and the difference between journalists and bloggers (pressure of revenue, burden of fact checking). For a web service that has a mere 25 staff members handling 10 billion page views per month, that’s pretty mindblowing.

Howard Rheingold, a cyberculturalist most recognized for his seminal book, The Virtual Community (1993), teaches a Digital Journalism course at Stanford University.

He recently invited Craig Newmark, creator of the popular yet non-commercially oriented, as a guest speaker for his class. Available for most cities, Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums on various topics. Since Craigslist is a free web service, it has pretty much killed the newspaper classified ads industry. Newspaper publishers are forced to adapt in order to generate new revenue streams.

This situation goes inline with what Mark Deuze had mentioned through his book and guest lectures on the precariousness of the media industry (video included). Mark presented his finding that jobs the media industry are as “precarious”, offering little stability compared to other industries (e.g. no contracts). In part due to competition from creativity being publicly crowdsourced, thereby undermining the creative profession.

Mark also cites interview data which shows how the media industry is very much a cultural industry where productivity is going up, while the number of employees is going down. Other industries, such as manufacturing, are learning from how the creative industry achieves this, because that formula is literally a gold mine for business. It obviously hurts society as a whole. Evidence can be seen from the layoffs in the newspaper industry; The New York Times was said to be eliminating about 100 newsroom jobs over the course of this year, according to an article they published on 14th Feb 2008.

For more, visit Howard Rheingold Vlog or subscribe to it here.

Speaking: Startup@Singapore, Wikis@SLAWNY, OnlineVideo@TLC

Startup@Singapore: Emerging Industry Series - Web 2.0

In all manner of strangeness, I’ve got three speaking engagements lined up back to back this coming weekend. From major to minor league, here we go…

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Apple Remote + Mighty Mouse = Kensington’s Slimblade Presenter Media Mouse?

Review: Kensington Slimblade Presenter Media Mouse

Spending much of my time online, it’s quite important for someone like me to have a good set of input devices for the physical navigation of digital spaces (e.g. Internet). So it comes with no surprise that I’m always on the look out for a good mouse that does it all, and the latest hit on my wallet is Kensington’s Slimblade Presenter Media Mouse.

Could this all-in-one device replace both the Apple Remote and Mighty Mouse?

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Blog hacked. Partly restored. Migration done.

theory.isthereason mothership is down

Hello dear readers, an unfortunate event has happened. My blog was hacked with index pages replaced. You may still be able to read this from my RSS feed.

This was all the hacker left behind:

r00ted by nEt^DeViL .. Peace .. Damn Israel .. Just t3sting my t00ls ..

Unfortunately my WordPress 1.5.3 install was hosed, so I was forced to make the scary update to WP 2.3.3. Turns out the update was painless, but my personalized blog theme would no longer work. Argh.

While I migrate to a new web host, keep in touch with me via twitter, netvibes or friendfeed.

Update: I’ve got full functionality back. I’ll be migrating web host soon. Migration to was a success!

Shoutouts: John Larkin for being the first person to alert me to the hack (even sent a screenshot!). Alex Halavais, Peter, Shady, Ben Koe and Lucian for sharing advice on recovering my blog. vantan, Siva, Kenneth, for blogging about it. SimplyJean wrote about it too, which later appeared up there on Finally, thanks to folks like the RamblingLibrarian, Brian Koh, MrBig and Bernard Leong for checking in on me. Most of you are now featured on my coveted revolving blogroll (see blog sidebar).