- Brown Cloud Marketing — advertorial “interviewing” GM of a company offering “DNS in the cloud”. This might be a worthwhile service, but the way he markets it (by saying open source is “freeware” and the market leader is “legacy”) reveals a rich vein of bozo. Freeware legacy DNS is the internet’s dirty little secret (actually, it’s the reason we have a functioning DNS), Nominum software was written 100 percent from the ground up, and by having software with source code that is not open for everybody to look at, it is inherently more secure. (security through obscurity is equating clothing with being naked yet blind). The Internet kindly did the poor man’s homework: screenshot of a cross-site scripting vulnerability in their customer portal, a Nominum security advisory from 2008, and the Nominum web server is running Linux, Apache, and PHP (all legacy freeware yet apparently not the Internet’s dirty little secret). (via Bert Hubert and Securosis)
- Public Annotations on Healthcare Bill — using technology from SharedBook, Congressman Culberson hoped to get citizens marking up the healthcare bill. They’re using the software but many are just commenting on page 1–turning the hosted annotation platform into a forum with an odd user interface. It’s a UI challenge: designing a way to let focused people comment on specific things, while also permitting impatient unfocused people to comment on the general topic. It’s like asking for a SmartCar that seats 80. See also OpenCongress and their annotation system which also has hundreds of comments on the first few lines of the bill (including 39 on the one line “111th Congress”–apparently more contentious than you’d think!).
- MyConnPy — pure-Python MySQL client library, useful because it requires no C compilation to install (and thus can work on systems without C compilers installed, e.g. mobile). (via Simon Willison)
- The Infinite Book — design concept for an ebook reader (not a product you can buy yet). Sexy. (via Gizmodo)
How Quirk Books puts book trailers to use and measures their success.
The literati may despise them, but book trailers can be effective marketing tools when done right. Brett Cohen, vice president of Quirk Books, discusses the production and tracking efforts behind his company's trailers.
For a few weeks, I’ve been testing a tool called Posterous, and I’ve come to like it a lot. You can post blogs simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or a similar address – you don’t even need an “account” or a “login” or a “password.” Even in the private sector, this is considered a cool feature. But for government employees, it could be a breath of life in an otherwise locked-down state of cybersecurity affairs.
One of the big risk factors publishers think about when it comes to digital books is that they will cannibalize print sales. Factor in the lower prices we're seeing for ebooks, and it's a quite reasonable concern. Looking at data on sales from our website, at first glance that would appear to be exactly what's happening. But that's not the full story. If there really was cannibalization happening, you'd expect to see our print sales underperforming the overall computer book market, but that's not what's happening.
Youth, Government, Tween Arduino Hackers, and Table Slurpage
- Ypulse Conference — conference on marketing to youth with technology, from the very savvy Anastasia Goodstein who runs the interesting Ypulse blog on youth culture that I’ve raved about before. Register with the code RADAR for a 10% discount (thanks, Anastasia!).
- Government in the Global Village — departing post by the NZ CIO (and Kiwi Foo Camper) Laurence Millar. The principles here are applicable to almost every nation. We need to recognise the network effects of opening up government data in a form that means others can access it. Economic value is created by businesses building innovative new services using government data. Public value is created by enabling a richer and deeper understanding and dialogue among interested individuals about what the data tells us about our lives.[…] The legal, policy, and moral position is clear – New Zealanders own the data, having paid for its collection through taxes. These “problems” will all be solved by the community, and our role as government is to give priority to this. These efforts are stuff that matters. See also Google adds search to public data.
- Children’s Arduino Workshop (Makezine) — video of three eleven-year old girls working on an Arduino project, and should be inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to work on hardware projects with kids. Whoever did it succeeded in making it fun! (via followr on Twitter)
Over on Dear Author, Jane Litte suggests current ebook device marketers aren't effectively targeting what is likely the most influential segment of their market — women: The idea is to get women thinking that the vehicle fits into their lives, rather than the woman fitting her life around the vehicle. The most recent Kindle 2.0 ad shows a business man…