Suggestions for RSS .92 spec

Media, Technology
I’d like to suggest a few optional additions to the specification. Here are some ideas I’d like to throw around for discussion: At the item level : This would allow us to specify a particular date for an item. I think it would be nice for those of us who have several days’ worth of content in their RDF channel. At the channel level: These could be encapsulated in to an section that would include all links to outside of the channel. : Much like points to the page the channel is for could point to a page of information about this channel. this could link to a FAQ or more information about the channel. : Points to a page where wireless devices can go. : Points to a page where broadband devices can go. : Points to a page where narrowband devices (browsers for blind people, text-only browsers, etc..) can go. : Points to a P3P page to check the privacy rules. : Points to either a VXML source file (which can be read by a VXML browser) or a sound file. For example, it could serve up a radio feed related to this story. : Same as above…
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From Scandinavia With Love

Business, Politics, Technology
I was recently speaking at a conference called Escandinavia 2000, which covered the state of the Internet in Scandinavia. During that conference, I had a chance to speak to a number of people about the state of wireless in the Scandinavian countries. Here’s what I’ve learned and how it can help those of you who are working in the wireless space in the United States. The Hybrid World Lives! Many of you may remember the February 10th issue about Hybrid Computing. While talking with Birger Steen, CEO of Scandinavia Online, I discovered that the concept is not that far off the market. It is his contention that WAP-enabled phones are largely a pain in the back when it comes to interface. Having to key in every letter on the small phone keyboard is far from the easiest thing in the world. As a result, Scandinavia Online has developed a set of services that allows users of their portal jump on their site and configure their WAP view on the web. From his point of view, this is the best service he can offer now to wireless users. The point was reiterated by a few people around the conference that told…
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Napster Shut Down

Media
It’s official: it’s curtain for Napster for now. The judge in a lawsuit filed the Recording Industry Association of America ordered the service to shut its doors by midnight this Friday. The genie is out of the bottle Yet, I can’t help but believe that the shutdown of Napster will not do much in terms of limiting distribution of online music. People will now move to alternative services like Gnutella and Freenet. In other words, it’s time for the recording industry to face the music. Shawn Fawning and his crew did, in the words of the judge, create a monster but I seriously believe that if the goal of the RIAA is to stop widespread distribution of digital music, this lawsuit is a moot point. Back in March, I talked about Gnutella, a Napster-like client/server applications that escaped from AOL‘s vaults. Since then, Gnutella use has increased, largely due to the fact that Napster was being sued and that Gnutella has no controlling authority. Since no one is officially in charge of Gnutella, no one can be sued. And since the service can’t be sued, it’s a much tougher one to deal with as far as the recording industry is…
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It’s About the Customer

Business
Recently, I tried a new application called MediaBridge from Digimarc. The basic concept is that if you have a quickcam or scanner attached to your PC, you can access extra content through a URL embedded within a newspaper or magazine page. Interesting concept as one could see this being used in Internet directories or for more information on a particular article. However, the focus here has been on advertising and advertising alone. Wired is the first publication to test it out and there are ample benefits to the advertisers. First of all, they can track what publication has prompted someone to go to their site and second they can target readers of those pubs with different messages. Interesting concept but what’s the advantage to the customer? Unfortunately, Digimarc’s approach is not that uncommon in our industry. Designers build sites that are beautiful eye candy requiring tons of plug-ins and then wonder why more people are not using them. The answer is quite simple: customers do not like to download plug-ins and a recent study showed that customers do not even care that much for graphics on a page. In a reversal of what is happening in the print world, Internet…
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Challenging WAP?

Technology
As regular readers of this newsletter know, I’ve been looking a fair amount at how to get untethered from the Internet lately. While I have played with a wireless Palm and looked at WAP, there seemed to be something missing to the whole unconnected Internet issue. What I came to realize is that what works for a computer does not necessarily work in a wireless environment. The main issue is input and output. A wireless Palm is great to get information but somewhat difficult to use to send out email (typing in graffiti being the biggest challenge so far) and WAP works well to get little bits and pieces of information but is limited to a set number of characters (depending on which version of WAP you’re using, you will get an allocation of between 1500 and 2000 characters). As a result, sending out something like this newsletter over WAP does not seem to make sense. However, a new breed of services is now popping up and it could be the next big thing: connecting to the Internet by just dialing into a phone number. In order to test this out, I checked out several services: Tellme Networks, which launched…
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Internet 4.0 is coming

It’s Connectivity, Stupid!

Politics, Technology
Here in New York City, I take my wireless connectivity for granted. The same thing was true of my trips in Europe. Carrying a cell phone and a wireless Palm has never really been a problem and, for a while at least, I was convinced that the wireless revolution was upon us any minute now. Last week, while on a business trip in California, I bumped into what may be the largest barrier to a wireless Internet: lack of connectivity. San Francisco had OK coverage but the Silicon Valley, supposedly ground zero for the Internet revolution, seemed to lack the proper infrastructure. At any moment, your connectivity is jeopardized and a move of a few feet can make all the difference in the world between connection and lack thereof. All and all, a sad state of affairs. However, it was perfectly understandable, considering all the hills and valleys covering the area. What is more worrisome is that I have yet to find someone else addressing this issue. In the last week, I have talked with several people in that area and most of them looked at wireless internet access as somewhat of an oddity. All the people I talked to…
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