October 2006

All Your Reddit Are Belong to Conde Nast

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2006

Reddit logo

Over at TechCrunch, Michael Arrington reports that Reddit, the social bookmarking site that I think of as “Digg for the non-developmentally-delayed”, has been acquired by Conde Nast, publisher of Wired (as well as other fine publications such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Cookie).

No price has been disclosed, but I think it's more than sufficient to say that my friend Aaron Swartz, one of the two people who joined the founders, should be able to take me out for a nice dinner the next time I see him. I see that Aaron's been keeping track of what they've written about the acquisition on his blog, and here's the article in Reddit's own blog in which they comment on the sale.

According to the TechCrunch article, Reddit will be left as a standalone site, but will probably have its links integrated into other Conde Nast properties. I hope that they don't ruin the Reddit experience; it's one of the must-check sites that I hit several times daily.

Link

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11:15 a.m.: With files backed up, the Windows Vista RC1 DVD goes into my IBM ThinkCentre's DVD drive and we're off to the races. When presented with a choice between a clean install and an upgrade (in which I get to keep my apps and files), I choose the upgrade option.

11:17 a.m.: Windows Vista reports which apps aren't compatible with it. My IT-department-installed Symantec AntiVirus? Not compatible. IT-department-installed auto-backup solution? Not compatible. Java Web Start? Not compatible.

Here's the kicker: Microsoft SQL Server 2005? Not compatible.

I tell George this over IM and he suggests that there's one more app that might not be compatible with Vista: “The Internet”.

11:32 a.m.: Copying files… (4% complete). Thankfully, I have better things to do, like have my weekly update meeting with the boss.

12:06 p.m.: Expanding files…(30% complete). I think about lunch. There is no cause-effect relationship between the two.

12:14 p.m.: Hey, it looks as though the machine is shutting down for reboot. We have lift-off!

12:15 p.m.: Hey, it looks as though the machine is still shutting down for reboot. Patience, young grasshopper…

12:16 p.m.: How long does it take for a machine to reboot, anyway?

12:17 p.m.: No drive activity. No screen activity. Ctrl-Alt-Del defibrillation failed. I call time of death at 12:17 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. I hold down the power button and shut down the machine old school.

12:18 p.m.: Power up! First the regular BIOS graphics, followed by…one line of DOS-text gibberish, about 10 characters long and a blinking underline cursor. I press a key.

The machine reboots, and seconds later, the same 10-or-so characters, followed by the underline cursor, which mocks me with every blink.

I IM George and say “Good thing I didn't have anything important on that box.” He says that that should be translated into Latin and put on the Microsoft crest.

More reports as I make my second attempt at installing Vista.

Don't forget, folks: at Global Nerdy, we ruin perfectly good computers so you don't have to!

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Google Treats Itself to JotSpot

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2006

Joe Kraus, CEO of JotSpot, is a happy little goblin today:

OK, I can finally blurt it out: JotSpot is now part of Google, and I couldn't be more excited.

As we built the business over the past three years Google consistently attracted our attention. We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online. Then when we had conversations with people at Google we found ourselves completing each other's sentences. Joining Google allows us to plug into the resources that only a company of Google's scale can offer, like a huge audience, access to world-class data centers and a team of incredibly smart people.

This is a bigger deal from a business user and enterprise standpoint than for the individual user, but those lines are getting blurrier all the time.

While JotSpot's current pre-built application portfolio (calendaring, spreadsheets, text processing) may look redundant for Google, it actually expands Google Apps for Your Domain, and Google Docs & Spreadsheets by adding custom application development on a wiki framework—ideal when virtual teams working on projects together need something that the pre-built Google suite doesn't quite deliver.

It also allows JotSpot to go places it otherwise couldn't, thanks to Google's ad-driven revenue model. JotSpot will now be free.

TechCrunch's take on the deal adds the following forward-looking question about Google's rush to fill out their team productivity and collaboration services suite:

If Jotspot can be integrated as smoothly as so many other Google web applications have been, it will go a long ways towards strengthening Google for the upcoming web collaboration wars. How much longer until a web conferencing company is acquired?

This is yet another deal where Yahoo! was rumored to be a suitor, but Google wound up getting the girl.

Link

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Joey deVilla as 'Jason' holding up a copy of Windows Vista RC1

You're supposed to do scary things on Hallowe'en, and what could be scarier than installing the first release candidate of a new version of Microsoft Windows? That's what I'll be doing today.

I got my grubby paws on RC1 last night at a Microsoft presentation in Toronto, where some 'softies from Redmond did presentations coverig the new features for IT and security in Vista. I took notes and will blog them later.

Being a release candidate, the installation DVD doesn't come in the newly-announced packaging currently headlined on Techmeme; rather, it comes in a standard DVD case with the woodland scene that serves as the background image for the Windows Vista Team Blog.

I'll be installing Vista on the standard-issue Tucows PC desktop, an IBM ThinkCentre with a 3GHz P4 and half a gig of RAM (hmm…I should really fill out a request for more). According to the Windows Vista RC1 Reviewer's Guide, this may not be enough for the “Premium” Vista experience, for which 1GB is required.

I'll post my notes of the install experience, and later I'll take the newly-available Windows Media Player 11 (an early review appears here) and IE7 for a spin and post those experiences here as well.

Remember folks, Global Nerdy lives on the bleeding edge so you don't have to!

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No Blogging Please, We're Nielsen

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2006

Nielsen BuzzMetrics hosted a Consumer Generated Media conference where, as this attendee puts it, they didn't let their consumers generate any media:

Today, I am off to Nielsen BuzzMetrics' clients-only CGM Summit 2006.  The agenda is cram packed with sessions covering all aspects of Consumer Generated Media (CGM) including an overview of where we are today, why people do this stuff, where CGM is going in the future, and how exactly marketers can leverage and measure this powerful channel.  Ironically, the confirmation email I received for the event includes this warning:

"Off The Record: the CGM Summit is off the record, so please no blogging, reporting, recording or broadcasting."

This made Nielsen look a little clueless (as does using the term "consumer," an inapporpriately passive noun when talking about the emerging world of user- or individually-generated content).

Their CEO responded (admiraby enough, in his blog)

It was a closed, invite-only event and we specifically brought it to our clients as an "off the record" forum at which they could share highly confidential experiences with some level of comfort that those case studies would not be discussed outside of that room. Those who have had to go to their corporate communications department to get clearance to share a case study knows that this type of "off the record" environment is sometimes essential to getting permission to present or discuss this type of material.

I can sympathize: this isn't a conference open to the public, it's a meeting for Nielsen clients. At any rate, despite the warning, the client's in the driver's seat here. If one of them felt like blogging what they had heard their peers say, nothing (binding) is stopping them unless they signed an NDA.

I don't think what Nielsen did was wrong, but it sounded a bit off. Actually, if anything, I think their worst mistake was putting something like this in writing. It would have been far better to appeal to the attendee's individual sense of discretion with a polite request to refrain from disclosing obviously sensitive information in public. A blanket injunction against even self-censored blogging means that Nielsen's clients are being deprived of potentially interesting observations from around the blogosphere, and that, ultimately, should have been an obvious downside to organizers of a "Consumer Generated Media Summit."

Link [via BoingBoing]

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Newspaper Circulation Plunges

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2006

'J. Jonah Jameson from the original 'Spider-Man' animated TV series.

The New York Times reports that circulation at some of the U.S.'s largest newspapers — itself, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times — has plunged over the last six months. The same in happening in Canada; the Globe and Mail reports that both they and the Toronto Star have experience slight dips in circulation, while the National Post's dropped 10% for weekday circulation and 11% for its Saturday edition.

Some of the blame has been put on the migration of both readers and advertisers to the internet. Mark Evans suggests that newspapers are being squeezed, just as radio and movies were squeezed by television, which is also is competing for your attention span with the 'net. His advice may be unspectacular, but it's right: the market has changed, so newspapers need to change the way they operate and make money to account for these changes.

One such change in the that they may want to address is increased “time pressure” that people face. Greg Sterling at the blog Screenwerk makes the point that while reading the paper version of the Sunday New York Times is an “aesthetic experience”, people are turning to the online version because they can get and absorb the information more quickly.

Luckily for the newspapers, there is a silver lining: while their dead-tree circulations are generally falling, online readership, accordion to both the Times and the Globe and Mail is up. The Newspaper Association of America reports that some papers showed a 20% increase in their web audience in the 25- to 34-year-old demographic, which happens to be the one that's deserting the print version. With the continually improving advertising ecosystem on the net, all major browsers now supporting RSS subscription and the vast majority of web surfers still unaware of the benefits of syndication feeds, there remain opportunities to snag readers and advertisers that newspapers have only begun to tap.

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The 13 Scariest Things in IT

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2006

Here's some Hallowe'en light reading made just for the Global Nerdy readership: eWeek's slideshow, The 13 Scariest Things in IT, which they say are:

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