November, 2007 Vol. 7 No. 4
IN THIS ISSUE:
iToon on New Leopard
iToon on Cash Cow
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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
The internet has matured to the point where comparisons can be made on personal preference, ease of utility, features and dislikes much like one compares retail stores before shopping, or skipping through the television guide before potatoing for an evening.
Some of the net's big name players have rivals. There are upstarts, underdogs, rebels and the vanquished. Just like in Real Life (a concept that large segment of the net surfers would rather be left out of their virtual experiences).
For those who don't know what a Duel is, it was an old method of settling questions of honor or points of dispute. Usually at ten paces and at gun point. In this exercise, the weapons are personal opinion fired in words.
The subjective criteria is simple; current usage, ease of usage, features, and intangibles. Does the site really live up to its objectives and expectations? Is there positive buzz or a growing negativity? Does the place really really deliver like your local pizza parlor on a famished Friday night?
A Real News Komix
YAHOO v. GOOGLE
Yahoo! was really the first crazy name dot.com company to hit the big time. It leveraged its brand name into a monthly Yahoo magazine, in essence hot lists of the best websites and new topics for the new economy. There were other competitors in the search engine field at the time, including altavista.
Google started the concept of leveraging search engine results and pushing advertising on affiliate web pages, driving its stock price through the ozone layer. A mountain of treasury stock has allowed management to start a buying spree to become the next Microsoft technology giant.
It is probably a matter of personal preference because both are foremost hypertext search engines. They are basic Internet utilities.
However, after receiving annoying sales calls from people who are selling search placement services which means stealth advertising to get your website allegedly to the top of the first result page, pushy sales tactics in the name of Google turn us off.
GOOGLE MAPS v. MAPQUEST
Prior to interactive GPS services and OnStar customer service, the explorers of the world used maps - - - physical, tightly folded pieces of colored paper. A great portion of the populous will not admit to their navigation shortfalls. But typing in an address, and in a few seconds the map appears is a revelation to those directionally challenged. Add the part of getting turn by turn directions, how can anyone ever get lost?
Well, over time there are flaws in any system. Business addresses that in malls or shopping centers at times do not show up properly. Addresses in towns where the postal city is different sometimes come out skewed.
But the feature that sets Google Maps ahead of the pack is the click on the satellite image of the map screen. You can get detail that used to cost you a crop duster's daily photographic fee.
BEST BUY v. CIRCUIT CITY
There is a time when a retailer takes its presence to a new level. Several years ago, I was in Rockford, Illinois on a Saturday night. The most happening spot in the big box strip mall highway that night was the Best Buy. Tweens, teens, college kids and whole families were hanging out at the BB. Like moths to an electronic flame. The parking lot was full; the store was jammed with talkers (people conversing with each other about things--- bar talk rather than shopping for specific items.) The store has the draw of a social gathering place. You don't hear your buds calling to go over to the Circuit City to hang.
YOUTUBE v. METACAFE
YouTube has been classified as a social engine of change. It is supposedly changing the way people interact, through video. It is supposedly changing the way political campaigns will be run (or ruined). It is giving a creative outlet to the masses. It is also the leader in cease and desist notices under the digital copyright law as users have a habit of uploading copyrighted shows. It is also a haven for mash-ups, individuals who photoshop, soundtrack and merge copyrighted material(s) with new twists. So the battleground is whether the YouTube mash-up entertainment revolution is an infringement or fair use.
Metacafe is a newer video portal. It mirrors the organization of YouTube with categories and channels. If one compares one category, film & animation, Metacafe features more actual instructional videos, and user created animation than YouTube, which seems heavy on foreign soap operas and fansub animation episodes.
iTUNES v. THE WORLD
Apple's iTunes Music Store is the gold standard of e-commerce. It mints gold in the declining music industry, who decried the illegal napster file sharing sites for falling profits. The simple interface, the quick synch with iPods, and a good price point for singles or album sales has made Apple the envy and the villain to the music industry. Labels have become less and less important because distribution can be made digitally on-line and not necessarily in a physical form at the local record store. Apple is making the transition from music to video, with individual episodes of television shows being sold after their original air dates. The next avenue will be on-line on-demand full length movies.
Competitors have tried to match the power and allure of the iPod-iTunes business model. None have succeeded. And since Apple is holding firm on its basic blueprint against content providers, who are free to start their own services, subscription or otherwise, iTunes will remain the top choice for music downloaders.
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
A Real News Komix
NET FALLOUT Observations
There is an interesting observation that recently circulated around the Internet It appears that some researchers have noticed that the world wide web sites have rapidly spread OPINIONs far more than FACTs.
The publishing equalizer, the net, has allowed anyone anywhere to put their work in the public light. Now the light is being analyzed and the head scratching has begun.
The first concept of the net was to connect universities to quickly transfer data and information to better publish research resources. This was to be a fact-based academic network, with a depository of credible knowledge much like a library. The virtual aspect of the net would allow researchers to quickly search for academic papers, studies, data and hard information to apply to their own papers. The net would also allow distant researchers to collaborate in real time to solve problems. It was projected as almost an open university, a national forum for faculty and students to interact in the quest for finding factual truths which could answers society's questions. (That is still the baseline function for obtaining a college degree.)
Numerous educators have found term papers being turned in by multiple students that are exactly the same. The students have cut and pasted wiki pages into their word processor and printed out their reports. In minutes, they create a homework assignment without actually doing any study. The purpose of the term paper is to research, find source material, read the source material, then put your knowledge in your own words into an acceptable report format. The Internet has made the short cut the easiest temptation for a student who has more pressing matters to attend to: athletics, club sports, or video games.
Even news portals, like Drudge, link to newspapers and blogs. But a growing number of those links are attributed not to journalistic reporting of facts but bloggish opinion/analysis pieces which may or may not rely upon any factual foundation. There is a growing rationalization that a person's opinion is more important than the factual truth of the subject matter. If someone believes 2 +2 equals 5, then that belief-opinion is just as valuable as the answer 4. One would hope the scientific basis in fact will hold true when your opinionated doctor must make a specific distance cut to avoid killing the patient on the operating table.
But school is not life and death. The high school drop out rate is an alarming 50 percent. Ten percent of Illinois high schools have been criticized as drop out factories. It can be said that more and more students find their education unneccessary. There can be a fatalistic philosophy at school; you don't need a diploma to work the burger drive-through, work a photoshop program, become a rapper, a delivery man or a clerk in a retail mall. Basic math and science skills were needed when students would go out and try to find higher paying factory, assembly or mechanic jobs or trades. The web is filled with quick rich schemes and quasi-celebrity party people allegedly making millions for doing very little. The wrong lesson is that you don't have work hard to be street smart. And if you fail, so what --- some agency will be your safety net.
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
QUASI-CELEBRITY NETWORKS Trend
They spawn like mushrooms in a damp oak forest. They are popping up with the organic ooze that make readers think about showering. It is nasty, confrontational, exploitative, mean, ugly, intrusive and all the Internet rage: trashy quasi-celebrity gossip sites.
The rag edged housekeeper weekly gossip magazines at the grocery check out counters are now passé and behind the times. The new gossipmongers are running splash and trash stories 24 hours 7 days a week. There is some bizarre demand for constant information on underperforming, alcoholic, D-list reality television contestants/actors under the circus umbrella of Celebrity.
Celebrity is defined as fame, renown, high recognition as in a famous or well publicized person.
The muckers are not the first to steam out nasty bits into the public domain; yellow journalists made and broke careers in Hollywood before the advent of television. If one wants to document the build up a person then experience the collapsing spiral into the horrors of the gritty human existence, then go read some Nelson Algren stories.
The new Hollywood sites are the places where the feeding frenzy paparazzi can been seen and heard making contact with the roster of rollercoaster in trouble quasi-celebrities. If one views these photographic assaults as entertainment then that shows how low the American conscious has fallen. The photogs come on to their targets like the Huns sacking Rome; there is no room for discussion - - they are present to get one thing: an embarrassing photograph or two to sell. And there is money in the ambush picture: reports are the paps can make anywhere from $200 to $20,000 for an exclusive celebrity snapshot. The greasier, the nastier, and the more criminally insane or inane the picture, the better.
And some of the targets have to be addicted to the concept of publicity. They go to places where the photographers hang out. They openly seek out confrontations at times. They want the attention. So there is a complete circle of guilty pleasure in this publicity-gossip-bad behavior machine. In fact, the more bad behavior one has, the more popular that person becomes in the Internet gossip world. Bitter divorces, nasty custody hearings, DUI arrests, assaults, battery, too revealing short skirts, disorderly conduct, cheating spouses, drug addiction, - - - the gambit of the bottom feeding investigators before no-fault divorces --- are the bread and butter stories about people who have allowed their careers to go to pot, but get some reward for being in the gossip pages every day.
The money angle cannot be ignored; the entertainment shows have been paying huge dollars for celebrity stories under the guise of image and photographic licensing fees. Professional journalists do not pay for stories because it compromises their integrity and taints the story as a conflict of interest. Some celebrities have demanded journalists sign PR contract riders in order to get an interview, which the copy would then be edited by their public relations people prior to publication. Fast money thrown about fast lifestyles will corrupt and lower the standards of the news media.
Make no mistake about it, these gossip sites are part of the media. They are reporting on people's activities. They are not binding themselves to the traditional tenets of an established newspaper or the broadcasters code of ethics because the Internet is the wild wild west of information (or disinformation). The proponents have taken the early battle cry that the old rules do not apply to the Internet to carve out a new, raunchier niche in publishing.
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE