Thursday, August 31, 2006

10 Blogger Superstitions

1. My blog is an accurate and consistent reflection of my true self.

2. Since my blog is a digital record of my thoughts, insights, and feelings, it would be a crime against history and my own personality to even think about changing or removing any post, for any reason at all.

3. I must never criticize or condemn any belief system, religious faith, or political party, no matter how barbaric, patriarchal, or genocidal it may be.

4. I must praise and appreciate any comment on my blog, and never debate, question, or ridicule what is said by a comment poster.

5. I can express any feeling or thought on my blog, without considering how stupid, self-obsessed, or vain it makes me look.

6. I can judge my blog's worth by how many comments I get.

7. Someday I'll read and cherish all 25,000,000 posts I published over the years...and my children and grandchildren will treasure my blog long after I'm gone.

8. I can leave comment spam on my blog, and no one will consider it unprofessional or lazy of me to do so.

9. My blog will remain intact for eternity, and nothing will ever make it disappear or cease to exist.

10. I'll never regret any nudity, profanity, or idiocy that I post to my blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pluto is a Planet VIDEO

The liars and con artists of the International Astronomical Union have demoted Pluto from "planet" to "not a real planet". What a load of bunk! It's politics, not science.

Saying a "dwarf planet" (Pluto) is "not a planet" is like saying a small person (dwarf or child) is not human. Google "Pluto is planet" and see the links to all the raging controversies. Even Wikipedia has locked up the Pluto page "due to vandalism". Man, this is Interplanetary Blogocombat at its best!

Children watched the news report: Pluto is too little to be planet. Sad faces. They're little, too. Thus, insignificant?

Pluto not a planet?

Now, the politically correct planet must be: orbiting sun, round, tidy. (See IAU quote below). This is a scientific definition? Why round? A planet cannot be boxy, lumpy, or square? There is a square shaped galaxy, you know.

Disgruntled pseudo-astronomers, angry that NASA is sending a probe to Pluto for the first time, are using the sour grapes approach: "Big deal, you're going to Pluto. As far as we're concerned, it's not even a planet. In fact, we'll re-define it as a non-planet."

Textbook publishers are very pleased. Now schools have to upgrade their astronomy curriculum to reflect the change.

Pluto to Earth:

"LOL. I don't clean up my neighborhood? How about your neighborhood, Earth? How clean is it?

You're full of orbiting space junk debris, pollution, crime, war, rape, gambling, gluttony, addiction, insanity, genocide, and global warming...yet you lecture me about a clean neighborhood? You suck. Maybe we planets should vote on a resolution to demote Earth from planet to freakazoid. Bite me."


IAU Resolution: Definition of a Planet in the Solar System

Contemporary observations are changing our understanding of planetary systems, and it is important that our nomenclature for objects reflect our current understanding.

This applies, in particular, to the designation 'planets'. The word 'planet' originally described 'wanderers' that were known only as moving lights in the sky. Recent discoveries lead us to create a new definition, which we can make using currently available scientific information.


The IAU therefore resolves that "planets" and other bodies in our Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A "planet"1 is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape2 , (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects except satellites orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar-System Bodies".

1 The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

2 An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either dwarf planet and other categories.

3 These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.


Vaspers: "Pluto is a Planet" (7:00)

do a video, blogger!

Laugh at my mistakes. Poke fun at my failures. Learn from my goof-ups. Then get up off your hat and make a video. Video blogging is more personal, human, and intimate. It's like literally entering your reader's room and saying "hello, here's what I'm thinking about today". You become more real, more immediate, more your audience.

A video is similar to a blog post. Maybe easier. If you're good at talking, or acting, or being funny, video is perfect! Just blurt it out and see if anyone cares or benefits from it. Sometimes, the simple act of being transparent, authentic, and sincere is enough.

Vaspers "do a video, blogger!" (5:08)

video chatting is the new blogging & Doc Searls VIDEO

Come on, come on, wake up, you wankers!

Video chatting is what all the cool kids and super CEOs are into, for good reason. A live video chat really puts your goods on the line. You either come off as a stupid incoherent dork, or a brilliant affable genius.

Text blogging is for sissies and losers. Podcasting is much more human. But videocasting is the most humanized interaction platform of all. People want to do more than just read your crummy words. They want to hear you and see you in action.

Loren Feldman said he thinks bloggers shy away from videocasting because then we'd see what pathetic nobodies they really are. It's hard to look intelligent and informative on video. Especially unscripted video.

Videos, in most cases, should not be scripted. Scripts kill the whole "in the moment", spontaneous discourse feel. Scripted videos are just text posts being read by some knucklehead in front of a webcam. Thus, no improvement. Unscripted, unrehearsed video seems more raw, realistic, intimate, and candid.

A CEO, specialist, or expert should be full of good information that is easily articulated "on the spot", with no preparation. Who likes prepared press statements? They seem like contrived spin or posing.

Video requires more authenticity and genuine expertise.

Anybody can publish a blog.

Anybody can rip off other people's ideas and re-blog them via copy and paste paraphrase: you copy a post, paste it in your post template, edit it to remove the marks of plagiarism by changing a word or two, voila: instant rip off post for your blog!(--and you don't even know or care what it is you're supposedly talking about!)

No, my friends, this is not real communication!

Text blogs are for dummies. Podcast and Videocast blogs are the real deal.

Don't knock it till you try it. Download a non-corrupted Skype SetUp exe file if you can find one, buy a webcam, hook the USB cord into your hard drive, set up the Tools > Options > Video (beta) for Automatically Turn On Webcam During Chat, and you're set.

For example, if you called me on Skype (ring up name: vaspersthegrate) right now, I'd hear a ringing sound. After making sure I'm not hallucinating again, I'll pick up by clicking the phone icon in the Skype pop up window. Webcam automatically turns on. I can see you and you can see me, as we talk.

Loren did it. You can too.

"My Life is Complete, I Video Chatted with Vaspers"

All I remember is how I could not get a word in edgewise on the topic of Pluto's regaining it's title of "planet", a very serious matter, IMHO. Those disgruntled guys who were not invited to work on the NASA Pluto space probe got together with astronomy text book publishers and banned Pluto from its proper position as a planet in our solar system, the wankers!

Anyway, video posting and video chatting is the ONLY way to blog anymore.

Text blogging, like I said, is for video-disadvantaged technophobes. Evolve. Go beyond textblogging. Move up to video. Webcams are cheap.

Hop on it. Now.

Doc Searls
"at Foo Camp 2003-2" (3:17)

Monday, August 28, 2006

new Jakob Nielsen book on top usability issues

Here are some chapter headings and subheads from #1 usability specialist Jakob Nielsen's new book Prioritizing Web Usability.

As a fan of Jakob Nielsen, I can pretty much guess what he's going to say about these topics. Do you understand these issues? If not, you can go to Use It, his web site, and learn a ton. Then, for more expertise and applications of the principles, dive into his books.

I'll be speaking of these usability issues more in the coming days.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the complex URL. I have seen very info rich sites use very simple and short URLs, so don't let any programmers tell you it can't be done.

Look at how Jakob Nielsen assigns URLs to his web site pages. As brief as possible. Most would make the URL to his new book page end with ".../prioritizing-web-usability". But he deleted the last two words. Why? To make the URL easier and faster to type.

NOTE: Web usability guidelines are "for most sites, most of the time". They are not rigid, anti-creativity straitjackets that stifle artistic imagination. Usability principles are based, not on arbitrary whim, but case studies of user testing, interface design, and eye-scan research.

Narcissistic designers often argue against usability recommendations, but they tend to want the praise of other designers. They don't seem to care if users can accomplish tasks. Users don't enter the equation.

These pseudo-designers want a portfolio addition that will make other designers think "Wow! Bizarre. You are so talented", rather than "Did this help users find the info they needed? Did this site accomplish the goals of the client?"

Altruistic designers ask: "How do typical users attempt to accomplish web tasks? How can I make a functional and attractive site, where users won't have to learn new skills and non-standard terminology?"


Problems That Haven't Changed

o Links That Don't Change Color When Visited

o Why Designers Don't Believe Us

o Breaking the Back Button

o Fitts' Law of Click Times

o Opening New Browser Windows

o The Curse of Maximization

o How Can You Use Windows if You Don't Understand Windows?

o Pop-Up Windows

o Most Hated Advertising Techniques

o Design Elements That Look Like Advertisements

o Avoid Influencing Users During Testing

o Violating Web-Wide Conventions

o Vaporous Content and Empty Hype

o Dense Content and Unscannable Text

Technological Change:
Its Impact on Usability

o 1986 Air Force Guidelines Stand the Test of Time

o Don Norman's Three Levels of Emotional Design

o Slow Download Time

o Frames

o Flash: The Good, the Bad, and the Usable

o Low-Relevancy Search Listings

o Multimedia and Long Videos

o Teenagers: Masters of Technology?

o Frozen Layouts

o Sad Mac

o Cross-Platform Incompatibility

o Mobile Devices: A New Argument for Cross-Platform Design?

Adaptation: How Users Have
Influenced Usability

o Uncertain Clickability

o Links That Aren't Blue

o Scrolling

o Registration

o Complex URLs

o Pull-Down and Cascading Menus

Restraint: How Designers Have
Alleviated Usability Problems

o Plug-Ins and Bleeding-Edge Technology

o 3D User Interface

o Bloated Design

o Splash Pages

o Moving Graphics and Scrolling Text

o Custom GUI Widgets

o "About Us" Features Don't Say Enough

o Not Disclosing Who's Behind Information

o Made-Up Words

o Outdated Content

o Inconsistency Within a Web Site

o Premature Requests for Personal Information

o Multiple Sites

o Orphan Pages


future tech demo VIDEOS

Augmented Reality: "Amazing Future Technology" (5:56)

Quanser "Telepresencing System" (0:31)

Minority Report: "Sony Revolution" (2:58)

demonstrate your product with video

You can use videocasting to demonstrate your product, in a dynamic, emotionally moving, visually interesting manner. Just be creative and think: what would my typical user want to see?

People, as Loren Feldman preaches, would rather watch something, than read something, or just hear something. (1) text (2) photo (3) podcast audio (4) videocast motion visual.

Demonstrate. Display. Promote...with VIDEO.

Halo2TV: "Boot Camp" (6:21)

I disappear VIDEO

Vaspers: "I disappear" (1:05)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

my first video honor at YouTube

Go figure. A video that I did merely as a sidebar mini-player placeholder, "Self as Star".

Honor = #97 Most Linked YouTube Video: "News and Blogs" category.

EDIT UPDATE: It's ephemeral, a transitory honor. When I checked, just after midnight, YouTube now shows Honors:0, like the status of honor was a daily item, withdrawn the next day. But I did see my video displayed on the 5th page of the Most Linked Videos section prior to midnight.

deconstructing Dave Winer's blogocombat

Here's your intense Sunday Vaspers post: I "deconstruct" a Mr. Dave Winer, a sample of some combative statements he recently made, that I admired.

Really, this post can be safely skipped, seeing as it's just another infotaining and rambling lecture, cleverly disguised as a rudimentary running commentary of another guy's blog post.

A Scripting News post that I found highly instructive and inspiring. Hope you love it as much as I do. Check out the RSS Info Miracle, streaming online news rivers.

Click on the New York Times newspaper image in my sidebar, and you'll see the NYTimes River. I love it. Linked heads and one sentence decks, that's all. No ads, no logo, nothing but info flow.

"Internet time" by Dave Winer (excerpt).


Actually, there is lots that's new in what I'm doing now,

[VASPERS: And how about YOU, blogger? Is there "a lot new" in what you're doing with your blog? Have you learned how to template tweak? Upload digital photos? Embed video players? Why not?

If you refuse to refine and evolve, your readers will move on ahead and leave you behind.]

except it was new in 1999, when I was doing it for the first time.

[VASPERS: Here we have the pioneer blogger still stooping down to us cranky consumers of his information, still trying to explain himself to his jejune audience. Someday, I may try doing that, explaining, defending, and justifying myself. Too busy now, but someday...]

And as you can see from Bob Stepno's piece, the concept is as old as journalism. He's saying the same thing that Paul Kedrosky said, without being condescending. (We should give awards to people who find a way of giving feedback without attacking someone on a personal level. Stepno, who is a gentle person, would rate high.)

[VASPERS: Now we see the blogger making an observation about blogocombat. Still, this issue of online debate pre-occupies the A Listers, and rightly so.]

Some wise old fart once said, "Everything on the Internet is just like something else. Or if it's any good it's just like everything else."

So, we've been having this discussion about whether or not something is new, for a long time. And it's such a waste of time, because whether it's new or not is hardly the issue. Doc Searls gets that and says it well. What's new is that people are getting it and they're happy!

I think sometimes that's a big problem for some of the kvetchers and complainers, they just don't want anyone to be happy. If you're feeling happy, don't worry, we can fix that!

[VASPERS: Aha! See? I feel oddly justified externally now: Dave Winer is rappin' 'bout Player Haters, one of my favorite, though slightly sour, topics lately.

Player Haters: your friendly fire comrades and family members who hate to see you happy and successful. They complain, and gripe, and act clueless.

"Now, what's all this fuss about blogs and RSS?" they whine half-heartedly, in a hurry to get the explanation over with, so they can jabber annoyingly about their boring trivial crud life.
It annoys them that their plans fail and yours do too, but you keep on trying.

They're scared you'll eventually succeed big time, and make them feel even worse, you rotten little turd-like over-achieving perfectionist scumbag. Ha! They're just so darn cute and funny, I can't get angry at Player Haters, like my Judas nemesis, Chillroom. It's all satire and manly entertainment.]

I love that one of the jackasses who says I'm an idiot

[VASPERS: I interupt this post to focus our attention on what just happened: a pioneer A Lister blogger and RSS genius, he just called someone a bad word. A "jackass". Heh.

The blogosphere is a rough and tumble wild west. Blogging is about authenticity, confrontation, and angry. Get used to it. Pack plenty of online ammunition. I do. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...]

also happens to be squatting on the "generic" domain in this area. Yeah I'm working for the asshole, but he isn't smart enough to avoid kicking me in the ass as I make him a bunch of money. Isn't that the height of stupidity? (Don't worry, I bought, just for fun.)

[VASPERS: I am blown away by the NYTimes news river. Got a link to it in my sidebar, see the New York Times newspaper clickable button in my sidebar.]

People said, in 2004, that podcasting was an instant success that could only happen in Internet Time. Uh huh. Except that we started pushing it in January 2001, and didn't arrive at the right pitch until the summer of 2004.

Of course the world had to change too, it helped that there were lots of iPods and people were receptive to thinking about new ways to use MP3.

A picture named blueShirtKhakiPantsMBA.jpgWe were excited about WAP in January 2000, and we (UserLand) made it so Manila automatically generated WAP and WML from each site's home page. Where did that go? Nowhere, because no one was using mobile stuff then, they were just having conferences about it.

[VASPERS: "they were just having conferences about it." LOL. Sounds a bit like Web 2.0, and Blogger Pow Wows of assorted genders and issues, usually just getting wasted and gossiping about other bloggers who aren't there.]

You have to stick with ideas if you want to actually deliver.

[VASPERS: Thus, do NOT abandon your blog and its meager or colossal audience, do NOT stop dreaming, do NOT bow down before Player Haters, flamers, trolls, baiters, and jealous band mates or VPs.]

No doubt there are people with khaki pants and blue shirts, MBAs, and mid-range BMWs, raising money right now with VCs to do what you see me doing here. They don't like old Jewish guys who use their hands when they talk. I think they're scared we might hug them.

Anyway, some of the khaki dudes will get rich, and some of them will meet me at a TechCrunch party one day and thank me for the work I'm doing now.

Your crazy uncle,



Hey Dave...thanks NOW for what you did back in the old ancient blogging era, for pioneering a territory that you continue to lead the charge through, valiantly, defiantly, and gallantly.


Rock on, brother.

multi hyper media blogging. meredith.

All blogs must now evolve from text/photo to podcast/video.

Audio and video increase the personal, human connection quality of your blog. Your video presence on a user's computer screen makes you more real to them. You can also use video to demonstrate your product solving a specific need, show your facilities, and introduce staff.

Vaspers the Grate:
"multi hyper media blogging" (3:19)

1938 Media
"Meredith on Web 2.0" (3:25)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

self-marketing neo-markets

John Hagel III, co-author of Net Gain, from his Edge Perspectives blog post entitled -- "Mastering the New Marketing Practices":


Nirvana is the walled garden of direct marketing. It is captured in the mantra of “one to one marketing” – one vendor dealing individually with each customer.

A different approach will be required to succeed in a business landscape defined by the economic shifts described earlier. I describe this marketing approach “collaboration marketing” and define it in terms of three “A’s”:

* Attract – create incentives for people to seek you out.

* Assist – the most powerful way to attract people is to be as helpful and engaging with them as possible – this requires a deep understanding of the various contexts in which people might use your products and a willingness to “co-create” products with customers.

* Affiliate – mobilize third parties, including other customers, to become even more helpful to the people you interact with.

In contrast to the “one to one marketing” mindset of conventional marketing, collaboration marketing requires a “many to one” mindset. The winners in this new world will be orchestrators who can mobilize rich networks of resources to serve customer needs.


"John Hagel III is one of my top 10 favorite marketing authors. Is somebody bringing more cheese-dip? We seem to have run out." - vaspers the grate

My reply to this post was a question about how CEOs and ROI will fit into the new user-controlled share economy, consumer-producers sharing freely and abundantly with users via freeware, free hosting, etc.

No markets or niches, just people helping people.

Or at least that's how I remember it. A bit of gloss and over-amplification, but true nonetheless.

You make electronic music, display the mp3 link, I download it, burn it to a CD. New music cost = ZERO. I have an insight about some solution, write it up in a post on my blog, you read it, you solve a problem with it. Professional consultation cost = ZERO.

I want to buy a new web cam, you reviewed it on E-pinions, I read it, I save money while bypassing all corporate communications and advertising venues. Users sharing products and infotainment with users.

You write a book on blog marketing, I read several free chapters online at your blog, I download the entire e-book as a PDF file, print it out, and don't mind the small $5.95 PayPal charge. Didn't spend a penny on gas or precious minutes fighting shopping crowds.

My comment:

I go with Reverse Markets...or Self-Marketing Neo-Markets, which are users sharing user products with other users via user distribution channels on paid networks, with or without ads, with or without sales hype.

Consumers are now, instantly: producers, editors, publishers, content developers, promoters, distributors, re-mixers, up and down loaders, and...anything else that used to be controlled by Them?

It's our world now, the reign of the anti-consumerism producer-consumer as individuals and in new hybrid complexes.

You, I, We can make our own music (audio editors and softsynths), movies (web video), radio show (internet podcast), art gallery (online exhibition-promotion sites), books (blogs and POD download e-pubs), etc.

Where do "corporations" and "CEOs" and "business models" and "ROI" fit into all this? Or do they? Will they?

Friday, August 25, 2006

blogs as publishing: Doc Searls

Pioneer blogger Doc Searls thinks a blog is more than a static place or settled location. It's also a way to transport information to readers (via posts) and readers to other sites (via links).

He and Dave Winer are rightfully excited about the fast flowing news river RSS feeds, like NYTimes River. I've added that one to my sidebar. For mobile devices, but great view in web browsers too. Optimized hurried New York Times headline-deck skim scanning for busy users.

I'd like to make my headlines and decks available as steadily flowing streams to user computers, just the linked heads and the one sentence explanatory tagline or deck. Then users could click on heads to visit posts they select as most relevant.

This means your headlines will generally have to be even more disciplined, and enriched with benefit, promise, specifics. Not vague, absurd, or cleverly obtuse.

River of information is what RSS/Atom feeds provide. The updates are flowing to the user, but we must not forget the vital flow of content (comments) from users to blog author.

Thinking of a blog as a river, or at least a faucet with sporadic flows is fruitful for further research and enablements. Speaking of blog as fixed location where something happens and users must visit it, reduces a blog to a semi-static system. Updates from the author flow to it, but it has no outward flow, until it provides an email alert subscription or XML feed (RSS/Atom).

There is a double dynamic nature of blogging --

(1) author updates (new posts of text, static image, audio, video)

(2) audience interactivity: reciprocal commenting, blogrolling, RSS feeding, podcasting, email updating, post linking, video player embedding, satellite link-up web conferencing, and other interactive mechanisms.

But then again, to see your blog as a perpetual flow of data (posts and comments), leaves the experience lacking in stability, identity, fixed density. The truth seems to be to combine metaphors:

Blog as Location, Transportation, and Communication hub.

The blogger is author, designer, editor, publisher, director, marketer, distributor, promoter, archivist...of his or her own work. All these are marketable skills. Are you developing them to perfection and peer review accolades? Or are you a minimal blogger, just barely getting by?

You are an infobot. As blogger, you dredge up goodies from your inner consciousness, the internet, or offline sources. Items you hunt for, capture, then display to your readers.

You are a "pre-surfed web" service, saving them time and trouble. Your readers encounter a sector of the web and blogosphere, as it's filtered through your blog's editorial values and multi hyper media content.

You work AT your blog, you transmit textual/visual/audio infotainment THROUGH your blog, and point to other locations WITH your blog.

I see the blog as an octopus, rocket, sponge, and church.

As octopus it reaches out (links). As rocket it blasts off (video). As sponge, it soaks up nutrients (comments). As church it preaches, distributes, and archives truth (posts).

I have also called it a car, a thing you get into to travel a territory.

Doc Searls challenges our perceptions and terminology, in his post "River's edge".


When we "develop", "architect", "design", "build" or "construct" a "site" with a "location" and an "address", we are doing more than borrowing the language of real estate and construction.

We literally understand the Web in terms of real estate. Metaphors like The Web is Real Estate bring clarity to what we do, but they also bring limitations. If you're like most bloggers, you know how hard it is to convince some people that a blog isn't a "site" that requires a "designer"; but that it's a "journal" that you "write" and "post" or "publish".

Some people can't get what you're saying because they continue to frame their understanding in terms of real estate, development and construction. They can't see that the Web is also a publishing system.

Conceptual metaphors are what we think and talk in terms of. We unconsiously borrow the language of one subject to talk about another. Yes, we mix them all the time, too. But one usually prevails.

Another example. Jon Stewart and a zillion bloggers have had fun with Sentator Stevens' description of the Net as a "a series of tubes". Yet most Net-savvy techies call the net a "pipe", and the Net itself depends on transport of packets. At a technical level you can't get away from the transport metaphor.

Yet we experience the Net as a place — as something we build on, and publish on. Not just something stuff goes through. Even though that's what it is. So we're not just talking about what's true here. We're talking about how people understand something.

"River of news" usefully combines three metaphorial frames: place, transport and publishing. Using all three, it proposes an approach to publishing that respects the fact that more and more people are going to want to get fresh newsy information on handheld Web devices.

The River of News metaphor not only speaks a new kind of sense to the NY Times and BBCs of the world. It speaks to a new blog sensibility as well.

I'm starting to think about how I might want to change my blog to be more Webphone-friendly. Can I live without all the junk on the left and right margins, for example? (Probably. They're worse than useless to readers with Treos and Blackberries.) Alternatively, should I have a special feed just for Webphones?

Whatever the answers, I'm not thinking about my blog, or what it does, as a "site". Meanwhile, that's how most big publishers think about what they do on the Web. That's why their sites are often so chock full of... stuff. They're all about being sticky and holding your eyeballs inside the sitewalls.

That might be fine on a computer screen, which is big and placelike in the sense that it usually isn't moving around when you're using it. But a Blackberry or a Treo or a Nokia 770 is different. It's mobile. It's going somewhere. You use it in a much different way.

Mobile feeds and systems for looking at them on phones may not be new. But getting publishing in alignment with the needs of Web users with cell phones is new. That's why River of News is a business hack. It's not a social hack, because the users are already there. The River of News idea calls attention to an opportunity opening up for everybody who produces news. Not just for those who consume it.

Here's another thing. River of News is one more way that the Live Web is branching off of the Static Web. I've written and spoken about this before.

If you read or heard that stuff, you'll understand why I see River of News as a Live Web development.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are you WEIRD enough to succeed?

You think I've lost it for sure this time? Telling you to be weird to succeed? Guess again. It's not me. I have to tone down my mentors, gurus, and advisors. They are far more "out there" than I could ever hope to be. I'm tame compared to, well, Tom Peters for example.

Is Tom Peters, the leading business management and marketing consultant, a radical? An extremist? Or just a forward leaning visionary? He knows this: to survive, all businesses must become more creative, experimental, and innovative.

All with one focus: lavish customer loyalty based on superior personal relationships.

The cutting edge is where all the chewing satisfaction occurs. The biggest appetite always eats first, and gets full the fastest.

Tom Peters, from Talent: develop it, sell it, be it (DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2005), pg. 155.

Here we encounter a plea for Abnormal Workers, those who are...well, unhappy, disgruntled, rebellious, anti-traditional.

Tom has a [WEIRD] Top 10 To Do List that consists of Sell Weird, Compete Weird, hire Weird, Buy Weird, Acquire Weird, Govern Weird, Measure Weird, Meet Weird, Think Weird, and Work Weird.

The goal is not weirdness per se, but astonishing products that revolutionize the way customer needs are ascertained and met.

"Sell weird," he says. "Cultivate customers whose weird demands will propel you into the Freaky Future of your industry."

"Hire weird. Fill your ranks with people who are too teed off to toe the line. In other words: hire angry."

"Meet weird. Schedule (today!) three lunch dates with people who strike you as strange...who embarrass you...who scare you."

Heavy medicine?

Not your typical business book advice?

Tom has barely begun. Or rather, I have barely begun to expose you to the wild and highly respected proclamations of this thought leader. Let's look at a few other inflammatory remarks by Peters, shall we?

"Encourage people to ignore and defy superiors as well as peers." (p. 152)

"Find some happy people and get them to fight." (p. 152)

"Distinct or Extinct! Truly distinct talent reveals itself through work. Through weird, wild projects that add incomparable value and effect profound transformation." (p. 48)

"To survive the White Collar Wipe-out, you need to be Very Damn Special at something of specific economic value." (p. 39)

"Your customer is buying not so much a widget as a Widget Provision and Support Experience." (p. 111)

"Ask yourself: Does my list of customers and prospects have a high enough Weird Quotient to provide me with a genuine bead on the (inevitably) Weird Future?" (p. 123)

"Thinking Weird is the only surefire strategy for continual personal renewal and radical organizational innovation." (p. 139)

Quit worrying about being misunderstood, underappreciated, misfit.

Odd is marketable. We all love weird movies, weird commercials, weird music, weird art, weird people, as long as they aren't stinky and perverse. We love what's imaginative, unusual, different, exotic.

We all shun the trite, overly familiar, same old thing.

Want to worry? Then worry about being Too Normal, for that characteristic lives in the same neighborhood as Mediocre, Fearful, Lazy, and Boring.

End of Stardom, Rise of Everyone

Ancient rock music celebrity Phil Spector:

Ragga jungle DJ free mp3-sharer Aaron Spectre (Air Inspector):

Modern self celebrity vlogger Cutiemish:

A friend of mine, who has recently turned against me, made a clever statement a while back. When I asked him where all this computer technology is headed, in reference specifically to internet radio, podcasts, videocasting, and blogs, Chillroom said: "It's the End of Stardom".

That's it: The Death of Celebrity Status.

Why? Why no more hero worship in the entertainment arena? Why no more throwing our souls to the lions of manipulation and media hysteria? Because we can make our own entertainment and information now.

EXAMPLE: Post Secret, the blog that became a book. He let the users create ALL the content. These are not actors or rock stars. These are the secret confessions of average, typical, everyday people. Before the blog revolution, this type of product could not exist, aside from something like Art Linkletter's Kids Say the Darnedest Things.

Consumers, customers, users now have the tools and networks to create, edit, publish, netcast, archive, promote, and distribute content. It's the Technological Do It Yourself Generation biting at your ankles, soon to appear in your face. We don't need the old media and its bloated empty hero worship circus.

User-Generated Content: not just for tavern bathroom walls anymore!

For Users, By Users, Through Users, To Users.

Users are now having massive input into the design, functionality, usability, deliverabililty, frequency, and content of all products. Customized, tailor-made, individually accommodated. Now the "command-and-control" menu is in our hands. We rule over anarchy and tyranny. We the People...Forever.

Christina Kerley
reminded me that somewhere in this blog, I spoke of Self as Star.

"Self as Star" was in reference to how the new multi hyper media revolution, and the universal content utopia, are causing the End of Stardom as dominated by rock stars, authors, actors, actresses, celebrities prancing around vaingloriously, tepidly manufactured for our bitter consumption.

Now we the people either make our own or get it from other ordinary people. We don't need no more stinking celebrities. An A List in the blogosphere is like a Rule Book in an anarchy. We celebrate and glamorize the Individual, you and me, as Independent Entities of Power and Presige.

One blog is just as valid as any other blog. Each voice on a level communications playing field. No hierarchy. No elevated status.

No more "we do it and you buy it and consume it".

Now it's "I do it and I share it freely with others."

Technology has become so simple, easy, pervasive and inexpensive, we can now make our own electronic music, films, radio shows, television stations, books, etc. via blogs, podcasts, videocasts, etc.

Universal Content Utopia: Any Content. Any Format. Any Amount. Any Time. Any Where.

So the Self supplants the Celebrity, who was always already worthless and bloated anyway.

Death of Celebrity Status due to the democratization of web content. The rise of individual voice against the MSM info hegemony. As the commercialized, over-hyped Star System declines, we witness the Rise of Everyone.

Behold the Anti-Star, Enter the Self!

Cutie Mish
"Just a Message" [You Suck!] (1:29)

Save the Internet response VIDEO

Photo of my office at night:

Let's loosen up a bit with some infotaining video, shall we? A music video on Net Neutrality, keeping the internet a level communications and file sharing playing field. Vote for Network Neutrality: Yes.

Start A Fight Club (aka Leslie Hall at: We are the Web):
"Save the Internet!" (2:38)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CompuMusik passing through rubber mirrors VIDEO

I continue to release computer music for jejune ears. This video features my Flower Violence style.

CompuMusik aka S. E. Streight
"passing through rubber mirrors" (5:31)

cyber bullies: 10 signs of the player hater

Could a cyber bully hurt your child? Your company? Your person? Your reputation?

Do you know how to detect, deflect, defend against, and defeat an online lunatic attack?

Cyber bullies and player haters have much in common. They...hate. And hurt.

They seek victims. Masochists are mysteriously magnetized and limping toward them, with fragile psyches, approval addiction scars, and unsettled methodology as their seductive lure. The digital demonic destroyer denizens. A commonly encountered criminal cancer of the blogosphere.

Parents, teachers, single young ladies, and school children are observing and personally encountering various forms of malicious targeted or randomized digital attack. This is one reason why I make such an issue out of "blogocombat".

Children are threatened with much cyber cruelty, not to mention online sexual predators and con artists. Cyber sadism is the pure enjoyment of inflicting pain, fear, and suffering on other people.

The multi-payload
hyper-media assault

a "bully bang", "uvv (ultra violent video) sweep", "happy slapping", or "fast slapping" is when a thug sneaks up on a victim, beats them quickly, captures it all on a cell phone camera, and then posts the humiliating punishment on the web to shame and terrify the victim. Others view the video, pass it along to their friends via email or blog posting, and the damage widens.

You must be aware of how brutal the online world can be.

If you think you can just be nice, post nice articles, get nice comments, treat everyone nice, and have everything nice, you're in for a rude awakening.

Sooner or later, a cyber bully will show up at your blog. He will troll, or post comments just to try to stir up trouble, offend a reader or yourself, and you will need to know how to deal with it.

I can teach you how to spot such cyber bullying, or what I often call "player hate". A player hater is a special type of cyber bully who attacks you, not because you are a random victim in their radar screen, but because they personally despise you for your attempts to achieve creative excellance.

The player hater cyber bully is generally an unstable, insecure, frustrated failure, "unappreciated genius", who feels somehow threatened (by their Superego, in Freudian terms) when they see you out there taking photos, writing poems, publishing a blog, doing podcasts, making videos, mentioning clients, thanking others for linking to you...all this makes them furious.

You learn nothing from a Player Hater but how mean spirited an envious person can be. But even the most petty, vugar, and sadistic criticism can provoke us to be more introspective, to seek out the tiniest grain of truth to what they claim, to flash a brightly shining light at our work.

Just don't let them win. NEVER accommodate or attempt to appease any bully. Either fight back ferociously, ignore them entirely, or report them to the proper authorities.

10 Signs of the Player Hater
Type of Cyber Bully:

(1) Bitterly critical, with seething hostility toward you, not as a random victim, but an unseemly rage against you as a business person, consultant, entrepreneur, artist, video maker, blogger, photographer, poet, singer, musician, whatever talent you are expressing.

(2) Inconsiderate of your feelings, insensitive to anything but their "need" to "correct" and, if possible, guilt trip you. Misery loves miserable company. Misery hates cheerful company.

(3) Engages in strident posting of hateful slams and slurs against you on public internet forums, like comments at your video upload page at YouTube. Compares you unfavorably with others, just to gain the support of others, hoping they will agree and join in the campaign against you.

(4) Ignores your requests to "put up or shut up", i.e., they trash what you're doing, but they aren't even trying to do their own version as an example of "how you should do it". Too lazy, insecure, or untalented to attempt to outdo you and gain accolades for their own work.

(5) Demands that you must agree with their negative assessment of your hard work -- crybaby bullies who feel like forcing others to accept their supposed superiority.

NEVER budge a single inch.

NEVER wimp out by saying, "Well, maybe I am a bit overboard. Perhaps I need to tone it down. I'll look into my inner motivations and public reactions. You may have a point."

That is cyber suicide, setting yourself up for more bullying.

(6) Calls you filthy names if you defend yourself and try to explain why you are experimenting or producing so much, or whatever you're doing that they've decided they don't like.

(7) Threatens to do more, to speak to your boss or spouse or mom about their lunatic point of view about what you're doing.

You may have to get an Order of Protection against them, a Restraining Order, if you think they will actually do physical violence, or will be so outrageous as to call your boss or spouse to stir up trouble.

(8) Is not "happy" unless he can intimidate you, make you cower or cry. The sadistic delight in making others unhappy, confused, uncertain, despairing, and eventually give up. Their only goal is to hurt you and make you stop doing what they disapprove of and dislike, when really: it's none of their business.

(9) Acts like a typical physically violent, alcoholic, yoni-phobic, skirt-squashing, mysoginist girl-abuser: claims they are your "friend" who "knows you" and is the only one who really "cares" about you.

The cyber bully player hater wants you to seriously think...

The anthem of masochism:

"If I don't bend the knee to worship his destructively judgmental and unsober assessment of my talents and activities, I'll be somehow hurting this poor sincere philanthropist and dismissing the perfectly justified irrational ravings of my friendly first-blood attacker.

My personal dignity as a free agent individual, with a right to do anything I want and the value of never harming another autonomous individual or group, these are not issues worthy of the heated emotional consideration of my opponent who is simultaneoulsy somehow a sincere friend.

To defend myself or explain my own opinion will only be seen as my being an asshat. His hot tempered ferocity is easily incited. I mustn't confront him on the battle zone as an equal (how dare I?) -- I must simply lie down and die, subject my soul to his fiery furious whippings.

His anger issues frighten me. He might send me a tele-bomb or another foul and vile email. I must submit to his superiority and get back to the soothing arms of feeling good and full of grave glum companionship of my attacker-benefactor."

Your Defense is Their
Narcissistic Collapse!

Their brazen posing, their wont to imposture maliciously as a

Not To Be Lightly Dismissed Personal Benefactor

"sincerely worried friend", "loyal fanatic confidante", or "concerned family interventionist"
-- is a sure sign that you've got player hate happening here.

You must listen to him--you are not permitted to explain or clarify anything. We have had, he's decided, enough of you and your tiny world. We, he's decided, must now move on to bigger and better things: him, for example.

All Him, All the Time is the slogan you must memorize and adhere to.

Here Comes the Boiling Digital
Violent Temper Tantrum
Rant and Rave Upsurgence...

When you list those professionals, peers, and others who quote you, compliment you, subscribe to your blog, video, or podcasts, or buy your products, they claim that those fans "don't really know you" and therefore cannot judge your motivations and mentally health.

(10) Is obviously a self-loathing failure who is merely deflecting their own voice of conscience. By turning their self-condemnation into an attack on an external target (you), they thereby reduce the load of painful accusations their Superego is pouring upon their own Ego.

player hate (revised) VIDEO

Player hate is jealous attack by a bitter critic who feels guilty when thinking about your efforts and accomplishments. They failed at what you're doing, and they resent your zeal and productivity. "Why do you take so many photos?" they nag. "Blogs and podcasts aren't important!" they sneer. "Your videos prove you're mentally ill!" they scold. "I don't understand what you're talking about" they whine.

Vaspers the Grate
"player hate" [revised] (1:43)

A powerful surveillance & field-insertion UFO that I constructed with spare parts from my DreamRider dream record and playback unit, soon to be available at Circuit City, flying around in our backyard:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

O'Reilly tech products for videocasters

O'Reilly tech network ad

O'Reilly computer tech publisher search results page for "video": O'Reilly + video

digital video hacks book cover

Check out The Random Show film,
a Web 2.0 Google Maps video entitled "Wonderful World" at:

MySpace Unraveled helps parents understand

Peachpit has a new book on MySpace available:

MySpace Unraveled
: what it is & how to use it safely.

A Parent's Guide to Teen Social Networking.

192 pages, list price $14.99, copyright 2007.

Check out the very informative MySpace Unraveled review at CNET.

Dangers and opportunities are explained, including how the blogging disciplines (writing, editing, publishing, promoting, networking, etc.) can boost a teen's self esteem, provide practice in marketable business skills, and help to develop online socializing proficiency.

Blogs really can improve a person, and not necessarily lead to perversity and predators. Parents, teens, and business people need to understand all the many facets of blogging and the divergent blog platforms.

Social networking blogs are rising in the same blogosphere as the more isolationist, less social blogs of professionals, CEOs, and consultants. Thus, both blogosectors can benefit and learn from each other.

Personal bloggers can gain sophistication, ecommerce ideas, and promotional savvy from business blogs. Business bloggers can gain personalization, candor, and transparency inspiration from personal bloggers. As we support, challenge, monitor, and encourage each other, the blogosphere increases in value, power, and prestige.

Altruism, helping others, is the pure and primal heart of the blogosphere.


CNET TV Beta is videocasting star

I'm very pleased with the CNET TV Beta.

You can build your own customized, auto-refreshing video channels, rate videos via 5 star system, send feedback, edit preferences, create playlist, and be exposed to non-annoying, infotaining commercials within the video presentations.

"Coming Soon: video player embeds [to post their videos on your own blog], video sharing, and more."

#1 Online Video Marketing Reality:

Users expect to find tons of FREE, downloadable, or "Get the Code" items that they can take back to their site for prestige, coolness, new functions (like custom search engine sidebar embeds), and other benefits.

Users do NOT want to have to always go to your videocasting site to watch videos. If your site is infotaining and blends stability with frequent updates, it may have a bit of stickiness to it. But users are NOT looking for Venus flytraps, they are looking for fast food joints, metaphorically.

They want to copy your videos, and put them into emails, blog posts, blog comments, web forums, and other online locations.

Universal Infotainment Utopia:
Any Content. Any Time. Any Amount. Any Format. Any Where.

Video player embeds are mandatory. Obviously, this is how users wish to use video sites. They want to take the infotainment modules with them, back to their own site. This is the fundamental marketing reality of ecommerce and online advertising.


They should also have a "Get Code" function to enable users to copy some html code, then paste it into their blogs and sites, a link button for CNET TV Beta, that their users can click on.

I watched "Today at CNET", the default entry orientation video, "Alienware Area 51 7500 PC" product review demonstration, and "Basic HTML Tags" newbie tutorial. All three were brief, fast-paced, informative, clear, funny, entertaining, helpful, interesting, and fun to watch.

I can only sit back in satisfaction and admiration.

In fact, the "Basic HTML Tags" tutorial was so pleasant and effective for beginner education, I am now inspired to try doing my own Vaspers the Grate tutorials.

I might treat such topics as "blog residue analysis", "blog template tweaking", "home page credibility analysis", "adding items to blog sidebars", "digital image uploading to blogs", "special effects for non-effects web cams", "advanced blog design tricks", "user observation testing", "blogocombat live demonstration at a real blog comment field", and so on.

BUR (basic usability review)
of CNET TV Beta:

* Visual Impression: immediate sense of professionalism, clarity, ease of use.

* Header/tagline: "CNET TV Beta. Explore thousands of CNET tech videos, or sit back and enjoy your favoite video channel."

* User Orientation: insta-start welcome video. Clearly and normatively labeled controls. Site identification upfront.

* Content: on target, well organized, easy navigation, fast skim-scan.

* Text: well written, relevant, easily understood, professional.

* Video Screen: large display panel, intuitive, normative controls.

* Credibility: CNET logos, sponsors Geek Squad and Sony.

* Monetization: two small sponsor logo link buttons.

* Interactivity: unregistered users can access site and view videos, but users must register to rate videos, access feedback form, etc.

ERROR: Functions are not optimized visually. The important interactive functions would be more visible, compelling, and usable by making them big radio buttons, instead of tiny text links. Encourage interaction, sense of user input and community, by drawing attention to functionalities you want users to notice and use.

* Feedback: on-site form works and is easy to use, but in addition to name and email address, there could be user URL and feedback topic data capture on the form.

* Channels:

New on CNET

Gadgets & Gear

Tips & Tricks


Car Tech


Movies & Music

Tech News

ERROR: These categories, or channels, are not readily understandable. Relevance and content are not clear in some cases.

"Shows" tells me only "something to see and probably hear, video in other words". What kind of shows? You mean Hollywood films or computer tutorials or YouTube type silly amateur flop drops?

"Tips & Tricks"? Magic circus tricks?

Sure, we're supposed to assume it's TECH or COMPUTER tips and tricks, but many users will be unsure, and since I did not click on it, I cannot prove either interpretation. Never make users play guessing games or assume they are all insiders.

"Movies & Music" means you must not have enough of both to warrant separate channels. Movie viewers and music listeners are not necessarily the same psychodemographics.

Up Next on CNET TV

is a list of shows, with mouse-over cursor hovers that launch pop-up boxes containing tool tip thumbnail, video title, create date, run time length, and a one sentence descriptor.

Check it out.

That "Alienware Area 51 7500" PC must be seen to be believed. Now you can be afraid of your computer.

"Basic HTML Tags" will show new bloggers how to post digital art and photo images to blog posts, sidebars, and on comments at other blogs, plus text bolding, and other simplicities.