43 Gigabytes of Mobile Data per Day

Here’s a nifty infographic, created by Online Education with several striking statistics about “an average day on the Internet” and the volume of data involved in mobile talk and data, Twitter, blogs, wikis, email, news sites and the like. The numbers are staggering! Continue reading

Web Security and New Media in Politics

FACT: The Obama presidential campaign has been lauded for innovative uses of the Web and social media, particularly for fundraising and volunteer recruitment.  But as PC World has just reported, “Two months after their Web site was hacked, the organizers of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign are looking for a network security expert to help lock down their Web site…. Security experts said this is the first time they can remember seeing a Web security job advertised for a political campaign.”

ANALYSIS:  I wrote before about my experience in 1994-95 helping build one of the Internet’s first political campaign websites – I designed the content and wrote much of it, for Mayor Frank Jordan of San Francisco.  (The pages were literally built and posted by mayoral son Thomas Jordan, by the way, who was then a college student at UC-Berkeley; he went on to great things at Pixar.)   At the time, with such a simple site, we didn’t have to worry much about security – or so we thought, and luckily the worst scandal in those early years involved domain-squatting by certain rival campaigns.

As PC World points out, though, “Obama’s Web site, built by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, has been the model of Web 2.0 campaigning, using social-networking techniques to raise funds and build a broad base of active, Internet-savvy supporters. But security experts have long warned that powerful Web site features also open new avenues for attack.”

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Required Reading on Innovation and Patents

FACT:  If you’re a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s tremendous books (“The Tipping Point” and “Blink“), then you probably read the New Yorker magazine just to get his articles.  He has a new piece this week, “In the Air: Who Says Big Ideas are Rare?” in which he describes the phenomenally appealing work of the legendary Nathan Myhrvold and his current gig running “Intellectual Ventures,” often mistaken for a VC firm.  Gladwell recounts the facts that Myhrvold “graduated from high school at fourteen. He started Microsoft’s research division, leaving, in 1999, with hundreds of millions.”  It is what he’s done since then that grabs the mind, particularly if you’re interested in invention and innovation:

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Update on Facebook-in-Egypt

FACT: According to a Sunday Washington Post front-page story today recounting the events leading up to May 4, a “day of strike” called for by social-networkers as a protest against government policies, “By late afternoon, of the 74,000 people who had registered on the Facebook protest page, only 15 – three men and 12 women – were still eager to gather for a protest.”  [Note: the Facebook page had only been launched in late March.]

ANALYSIS: Last week I wrote about media coverage of Egypt’s Facebook affair, and noted that the Post and others had only covered it on media blogs, not in the actual newspaper.

This morning I picked up my Sunday-morning Post and saw the story, “Fledgling Rebellion on Facebook Is Struck Down by Force in Egypt,” right on the front page, which means that across Washington this morning, and other capital cities through clipping services, many in the foreign policy elite and punditocracy may be reading for the first time about the Web 2.0 facet of these events. 

Reporter Ellen Knickmeyer also posted today a related online “Field Notes” column about the challenges of covering the Facebook activists.

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Social Networking in Egypt Takes a Political Turn

FACT: In the past two days, reporters for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post have each written accounts of the ongoing confrontation in Egypt between the government and online activists – the “Facebook Revolution” as the Post reporter terms it, hyperbolically. One interesting aspect: the two accounts are not carried as actual news stories in the “newspaper” (real or virtual), but as blog posts by the reporters on dedicated foreign-correspondent blogs. The Washington Post account is on the “PostGlobal” uber-blogsite, under Jack Fairweather’s “Islam’s Advance” blog, while the L.A. Times account is on the “Babylon & Beyond” blog, which carries a sub-head of “Observations from Iraq, Iran, Israel, the Arab World and Beyond.”

ANALYSIS: Up to now there’s been little coverage in traditional American media outlets of the emerging political tenor of some social networks in Egypt over the past several months. Major newspapers and the cable-news channels have not explored the topic, but I just returned from some time in Egypt and I learned that of course it is a widely covered and discussed topic there.  One young woman in her 30s, an urban professional, told me “I’m on Facebook all day long!”

Every morning outside my hotel room I would find an English-language newspaper, and for many days in a row it was a different paper – often because they were weekly editions.  That gave me the opportunity to read a variety of opinions from a somewhat broad band, as measured in “distance to/from the government position.”  

Helpfully, on May 6 2008 the Egyptian Mail included a summary of the raging controversy over Facebook, noting that “In Egypt, Facebook is the stage for the latest twist in the generation gap, playing host to politically hungry young Egyptians eager to take on their ageing leader.”  Only at the end of the article did I notice that it was reprinted from a New-York-based Egyptian blogger, the respected Mona Eltahawwy.

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Microsoft May Have a Killer Cloud App – Live Mesh

Microsoft Mesh LogoGot a technical briefing on Live Mesh today in Redmond, and I’m impressed – particularly by the demonstrated commitment to interoperability through adhering to web standards - and the very cool Live Desktop giving you remote access to all your files and folders from any device (work computer, home laptop, mobile phone) with  the new Microsoft Device Connectivity Service.

This is what will bring Cloud Computing down to earth.

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