Thursday, December 23, 2010

PR blogosphere

I miss the sense of ocmmunity we used to have in PR blogosphere. When I first started blogging there were only a handful of PR blogs and it was possible to read all of them. As our numbers swelled, Constantin Bastura created a Blogdigger Group of all the PR blogs that he knew of. It was great, the most recent entries floated to the top, so you had a sense of the PR zeigeist. You could so a search on a topic so you could see what your fellow PR bloggers were saying about it.

There was also a PubSub listing of top PR blogs, which created a lot of competition in both good and bad ways.

Now there is the Advertising Age list of Marketing Communications blogs. It is useful for research purposes, but does not build community the way the old Bloggdigger list did. The closest thing we have to community nowadays is the For Immediate Release FriendFeed Room. Pleasant, informative, but not the same.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Well done Microsoft

Deirdre Blake reports that Microsoft's IE9 will offer a Do Not Track feature. (More from IE blog). There is some talk that this is a response to the FTC's recent report on consumer privacy.

There is an interesting discussion at Slashdot, with a sly comment as to why we may not see a similar move by Firefox.

It is great to see a company innovating in response to customer need rather than game the system to see if they can simply find another way to add on a fee for the same product.

Well done Microsoft. I have always said there was a fortune to be made by the compnay who enables us to use the Internet in a way that preserves our privacy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Vigilante virtual riot

Hackers Target WikiLeaks Foes

"The reason is amazingly simple," said Anonymous member Gregg Housh. "We all believe information should be free, and the Internet should be free," said Housh, in an interview with The New York Times published Monday.

You are attacking sites in the name of an open Internet? Isn't that a little like destroying the village to save it?

Edit -
It seems the anonymous group has decided on much smarter tactics.

The future of communications is mobile

Federal Computer Week has an article on the mobile revolution, pointing out that, "Annual shipments of smart phones matched desktop PCs two years ago and are on their way to doubling to about 250 million units by the end of this year, according to market researcher IDC."

Communicators are going to have to adopt our messages to the small screen and speed up our response times.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Politics on Twitter

Twitter is a wonderful tool for political campaings. But one thing that greatly troubled me during the last campaign was the way that some candidates for office encouraged their supporters in destructive online behavior. It is so obvious when something is coming from a campaign, when you see the exact same phrase over and over again. I had to ask myself, would the candidate in question hire anyone who posted such sentiments online? Why would you egg your supporters on in conduct that you yourself would never tolerate in your own employees? And if you do prevail in the election, are you going to use your power to uphold online free speech? I just don't care for the spectacle of candidates manipulating their supporters into doing things that might have bad consequences for the individual supporter's life to say nothing of poisoning our national discourse.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Today in Fedsphere

Temin likes Droid, but he needs a phone that works with a Mac.

Information Week gives us the to 20 government cloud service providers.

Mark Amtower informs us that Deltek bought Input.

ComputerWorld gives us a round up of IT compliance news.

All from Fedsphere, courtesy of Netspective.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It pays to advertise

Managing Warren Mosler's Senate campaign was my first experience with buying advertising for a client. Because of budget limitations, we confined ourselves mostly to online advertising. Mosler ran for office as a way of promoting his message of jobs and prosperity and driving traffic to his website seemed like the best way to do that.

Traditionally, online advertising links to your home page, but as ours was a campaign of ideas, I decided to link our advertising to the issues page. So far as I know, nobody else has done this. It was my view that as an Independent candidate, Mosler would not have the immediate "brand" identity that a Democrat or Republican would have. Therefore it was necessary that voters have the opportunity to learn about his proposals.

At first we advertised with four media companies, the Hartford Courant, Journal Inquirer, Waterbury Republican American and the Connecticut Media Group. Monitoring our site statistics, I was surprised by the results. Most of our money was spent on the Connecticut Media Group, which owns several newspapers in southwest Connecticut. This gave us the worst results, fewer readers clicking on our ads, and not spending much time on our site when they did click through. Why was this? Was it because of the placement? Or was it because southwest Connecticut has never been receptive to Independent candidates? In 2008 Nader got his best votes in the first, second, and fifth congressional districts. Voters in the third and fourth voted overwhelmingly for Obama, with McCain at a very distant second, and Nader hardly visible. So maybe readers of the Connecticut Media Group were not clicking on our ads simply because they are not interested in Independent candidates. We later bought ads on just two blogs from the Connecticut Media Group, Ken Dixon's Blogorama and Brian Lockhart's Political Capitol. We spent $128 for our placement on these blogs and got almost as many hits as buying 150,000 impressions across the entire newspaper group.

We bought a space on the homepage on the Waterbury Republican American. This also preformed very poorly for us, which stunned me (Mosler would get his highest vote in Waterbury). Waterbury is the home of the Independent Party of Connecticut, they have several elected local officials. I expected this to be our best placement, but we got fewer hits than our other venues. Why? Was it because Independent voters are not online?

My experience with Independent activists is that they are not interested in blogs. Some are active on facebook; but otherwise they do not seem interested in social media. They were more interested in talk radio and public access cable television. There are several Independent public access cable TV talk shows, they have been very active in taking advantage of this medium. But they have not been active online. Indeed, it was only at my suggestion that they put up an Independent Party web site.

We did do two advertising inserts in the print edition of the Waterbury Republican American, in a Saturday edition and another on the Sunday before the election. This was possible because of the donated labor of Connecticut's celebrated graphic artist and Photoshop genius, Carmine Capobianco. Judging by our site statistics, it was a success, generating a nice spike coming in on organic search.

We also puchased 100,000 impressions on the Journal Inquirer site, a group of newspapers located mostly in towns across central and northern Connecticut. The Journal Inquirer did very well for us, bringing in a steady flow of clicks by readers who stayed on our site a minute or more. We also did better in towns where the Journal Inquirer has newspapers than other towns. Whether this is because their readers were online looking at our ad, or whether it was from our phone banking effort into these towns I could not say. Our phone banking effort was directed to reinforce our advertising.

Our best results came from our advertisements on two of the Hartford Courant's blogs, Capitol Watch and CT Confidential. Not only did we receive a steady stream of hits, readers from the Courant blogs stayed two and even three minutes and looked at several pages. However, for a fraction of the cost of the Courant blogs, CorrenteWire supplied a stream of clicks of readers who also stayed two or three minutes. On a per-click basis this works out to $6.47 per click for the Courant blogs compared to $1.48 for CorrenteWire. Obviously the blog represented better value, except that CorrenteWire's readers are spread out across the country, whereas almost all the Courant's readers are in Connecticut.

Is this because blogs are a better venue for political advertising, or because CorrenteWire is a blog that supports emergent party candidates?

We also bought print advertising in Connecticut Cruise News. This was an excellent fit for us as Warren Mosler makes the world's coolest car. Connecticut has a vibrant cruise culture and Mosler went to many of their events, reaching out to a very non-political group and recieving a warm reception.

We did some radio advertising on a Carribbean station in Bridport. If I had it to do again I would skip advertsing in the Connecticut Media Group and put the money into advertising on talk radio, where the Independent base is to be found.

Normally I would not discuss the details of a client's advertising campaign, but all the details have been filed with the Federal Election Commission. Political budgets are not confidential.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today in federal IT

Federal Times reports on an Executive Order establishing "controlled unclassified information."

Computer World reports that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has fastracked 115MHz of spectrum for commercial use.

Microsoft's Bright Side of Government blog announces the winners of the Azure Application Development Contest.

Federal Computer Week's Circuit blog reports that Gary Bass is leaving OMB Watch and that Soraya Correa is moving up at the Department of Homeland Security.

Enterprise 2.0 blog
is reporting that Infomation Week Analytics are conducting a survey on Enterprise 2.0 applications.

Via Netspective's Fedsphere.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The problem with site analytics

If, like me, your blog uses eXTReMe Tracking, Site Meter, and Google Analytics, you already know what the problem with site analytics is; the three different services give you three different sets of numbers. Clearly site analytics is as much of an art as a science.

This was brought home to me as manager of Warren Mosler's US Senate campaign. My duties included analyzing our web site statistics to, in addition to other things, judge the effectiveness of our online advertising campaign. Where was our traffic coming from? Which advertisements sent us the readers with the highest level of engagement? And how to account for the discrepancy between the reports sent to us by our advertising venue, and our own site statistics?

We need more information by the providers of site statistics and analytics as to how they detect hits and referrals and measure engagement.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What is a Statement of Work?

Why Clients should take a closer look at SOWs
One very important aspect of successful project management is the creation of a Statement of Work (SOW). A Statement of Work can be defined as a narrative description of the products and services to be provided to a client under contract. Basically the SOW tells “what” needs to be accomplished rather than “how” it is to be accomplished, and clearly defines the scope of the project. Getting everyone to agree on the scope of a project at the very outset is important because it helps in minimizing scope creep. Scope creep occurs when new functionalities or requirements not envisaged in the SOW are introduced into the project plan.

I remember a presentation on software process improvement wherein the presenter said that he wanted to write a play wherein the contract officer slew the dreaded feater creep.

It is so easy in technology to become so absorbed with how that you forget what and why.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Warren Mosler

Although this is not a political blog, I would like to talk about what I have been doing for the past four months. Last spring I attended the Fiscal Sustainability Conference and saw Warren Mosler speak about Modern Monetary Theory.

Mosler points out that, as a fiat currency, the United States can never go broke. That is not a case for unlimited spending, merely that the whole debate about the deficit is based on a fallacy. Unlike countries in the Euro zone, the US controls its own currency and we cannot go broke. The federal budget is a spread sheet.

When I learned that he was running for US Senate from Connecticut, I offered my services and found myself running his campaign. I learned a great deal and plan to blog about some of it. I saw online advertising from an entirely new angle and looked at social media in an entirely different way.

As campaign manager for an Independent candidate, I saw our two party system in a new and not very flattering way. The cards are truly stacked against Independents. (I capitalize Independent because Mosler was the nominee of the Independent Party of Connecticut.) Independents are not included in political polls, editors ignore your events, and when the League of Women Voters included us in their debate, the Democratic and Republican candidates refused to come. As far as the press is concerned, I really don't think I can improve upon what Ken Dixon wrote about the gubernatorial debate.

I encourage everyone to check out Warren Mosler's blog, Center of the Universe. You will find it as informative as it is entertaining. I also encourage everyone, especially members of Congress, to read his short but brilliant book, Seven Deadly Frauds of Economic Policy.

Recently President Obama has talked about the possibility of enacting one of Mosler's economic proposals, a full payroll tax holiday. Just doing that alone would pour trillions of dollars into the economy and give everyones sales a much needed boost. I hope that our President and members of Congress will take this much needed step to jump start our deeply distressed economy.

As for everyone else, if the Democrats and Republicans fail to nominate anyone to your liking, check out the other candidates, you might be pleasantly surprised.

To the people of Connecticut, thank you, I had a great time in your state.

Monday, July 05, 2010

On leave

This blog will be on break while the author takes a leave of absence to work on the Warren Mosler for Senate campaign.

Back in November with all the news about IT standards and governance, information sharing, PR, social media, and all things tech, PR, and government marketing.

See you in November.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

In observance of the Glorious Fourth

Click here to see picture

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What everyone in the software industry needs to understand

George V. Hulme:
Grow up. Business doesn't exist for IT, it's the other way around.

This cannot be said often enough.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Starbucks bows to market pressure

Rob Pegoraro reports that Starbucks has bowed to market pressure and will be offering free wifi. Since all its competitors were doing so, I could not imagine how Starbucks could continue to insist we buy those cards which are good for purchases.

Not only will Starbucks offer free wifi, it seems they have decided to sweeten the deal:
Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz also said the company's U.S. locations will begin offering "a new online customer experience," the Starbucks Digital Network, this fall. Set up with Yahoo, this will provide free or expanded access to such news and entertainment sites as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Apple's iTunes and AOL's Patch.

My favorite place remains the Luce Center, and failing that, Au Bon Pain in the morning, when they play classical music.

Monday, June 07, 2010

What PR can and cannot do

It seems that Arizona has discovered that its papers please approach to immigration has given it a black eye. So they have decided to spend a bundle on a public relations campaign for the state.

I think so many clients have this idea that our profession can develop some sort of combination of advertising, favorable press, and social media that can magically transform their image without regard to what they are doing.

I suspect that Arizona will discover that their PR program, whatever it turns out to be, will be a giant waste of money. The boycotts will not only continue but even multiply until the law is changed.

There is a limit to what even the most comprehensive PR campaign can do for you.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The digital mob

Shel Israel is calling for Mark Zuckerberg to step down. I have heard this sentiment expressed elsewhere and I don't understand it. Sure, Zuckerberg failed to appreciate the privacy controversy until it had reached the firestorm stage, but in terms of CEO misconduct others have done so much worse.

For example, why do any of the CEO's who were TARP recipients still have their jobs, never mind their bonuses. Why does the head of BP still have his job?

It is difficult to understand why one CEO becomes the focus of digital anger and not others.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Why I founded Presto Vivace PR

I started Presto Vivace PR for editors like Dan Beyers:
Someday someone will explain why so many businesses in the area want to make it so hard for regular folk like -- say, me -- to figure out what they do.

I've also sat through endless briefings about enterprise solutions and information assurance support environments, server virtualizations and system integrators and ... well, you name it.

And that's the problem, we need to rename it.

Clients so often see tech speak in industry publications and their competitors' press releases that they just assume that all those buzzwords serve a purpose. You have to work very hard to get clients to understand that jargon filled press releases, even if you can kid an editor into printing them, will never attract readers because no one can understand what you are talking about.

I think industry analysts are partly to blame. Coining terms and buzzwords that only they understand is a way for them to look like experts. It is also a status thing, understanding buzzwords is an indication that you are a member of the tech priesthood. Except it just gets in the way of customers understanding how your software could help them.

I use a copy editor who does not have a tech background. If my copy editor cannot understand what I am talking about, I start again from scratch. Even the most technical of concepts can be written in plain English.

Stratfor on the Israeli attack on the relief flotilla

George Friedman writing for Stratfor:
Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In terms of new product launches for independent software developers, this does not have much relevance. But it lies at the heart of most public affairs PR and lobbying.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Federal acquisition wiki

Alice Lipowicz reports that GSA is testing a Better Buy wiki.

I knew that once the civil service was given the chance they would enthusiastically adopt social media. Collaboration is what government service is all about, so it is just too useful not to be used.

Friday, May 28, 2010

DC Hackathon

RHoK #1.0 – RHoK’s First Global Hackathon
Random Hacks of Kindness is going global! On June 4th through 6th, 2010 RHoK, in collaboration with the Crisis Commons, is hosting its second hackathon. This event is going to be a global gathering of hackers in many locations around the world, coming together in real time for a marathon weekend of coding around problems relating to natural disaster risk and response.

The Main Stage for RHoK #1.0 will be in Washington D.C., where events will kick off with a June 4, 2010 reception at the Department of State, followed by forty-eight hours of hacking madness at the Microsoft offices in Chevy Chase, MD. Simultaneously, hackers will be coming together on every continent for five global satellite RHoK events in Sydney, Australia; Nairobi, Kenya; London, England; Jakarta, Indonesia and Sao Paolo; Brazil.

This international group of hackers will be working on problem definitions contributed by Crisis Commons, The World Bank, the State Department and teams on the ground in Haiti. Don’t miss RHoK’s inaugural global hackathon. Register below for one of RHoK #1.0’s six global locations.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Facebook more trouble than it is worth?

I am beginning to think so. Everyday brings more stories about Facebook's ever changing privacy policies and the ever more complicated steps users must take to opt out of Facebook anti-privacy default settings.

The most annoying thing is that you have to keep an eye on this and continually adjust your settings to maintain the level of privacy you want. It is very difficult to do business with a company that continually alters their policies.

And that doesn't even include Facebook's continuing problem with security vulnerabilities.

In my industry I am more or less expected to maintain a Facebook account in the event that a client wants my company to build a Facebook site. Otherwise I would probably pull my account. As it is I have taken to posting every Facebook privacy breach story that I see on my facebook account. It is just my little way of telling Facebook that they have a problem.

Note - has better privacy settings. If it catches on I am moving my material there.

Edit -
Richi Jennings has an excellent run down of the controversy.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders' meeting

Dan Gillmor makes a good point:

Is there another big public company whose top people sit and take questions like this? #brk2010

My congratulations to their investor relations team who must have spent weeks preparing for this.

Also, some seriously good reporting by Gillmor with pithy comments at 140 characters at a time. Not so easily done.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ethical organizations do not traffic in stolen property

I am with Jeff Bercovici, Apple has grounds for suing Gizmodo.

It seems that one of Apple's engineers accidentally left his new iPhone at a restaurant and the person who found it rather than than return it decided to sell it to Gizmodo. This is not the relationship of a news organization and a source, it is the relationship of a fence and a thief.

We have seen this over and over again. News organizations would seem to think themselves above the law. Truly shameful.

Edit -
It seems that the Superior Court of San Mateo shares my view that news organizations are not above the law.

Scott Adams comments as only he can.

Uh-oh, San Mateo law enforcement may have overplayed its hand.

Oh my goodness, it appears law enforcement might have had a conflict of interest.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New to me local tech blogs

The DLT Blog

Managing Experience
, John Whalen's ideas on User Experience, Social Media, and Persuasive Design from Washington, DC

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Everybody is managing editor

John Byrne has a post about how those of us who read news online do not have a favorite news organization. That is certainly true of your humble servant. I have favorite reporters. I even have favorite sections of certain news publications. But I don't have a favorite publication.

I have an RSS reader with feeds from all my favorite reporters, bloggers, etc. I suspect others are the same way.

Every time I go anywhere, I always ask people what their favorite source of technology news is. I am struck by how often they tell me that they simply have a handful of Google News Alerts on the topics that interest them the most and read whatever comes up that day. Press releases are considered very reliable, readers are interested in what companies say about themselves.

Readers have been empowered by the Internet and news organizations have yet to come up with the right business model to profit in the new environment. Those of us in public relations must hope they find a profitable model soon.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

My unvarnished opinion

From Thursday's For Immediate Release we learn about Unvarnished, a social media site that lets anyone say anything about anybody. Create an account, create a profile on any acquaintance, and say what you want.

Did someone create a profile about you that was derogatory? Well, just create an account and refute what was said. Persuade your friends to create accounts so that they can defend you. What a terrific business model, what a terrific way to build site traffic.

It would be nice to think that this would be a way for Dilbert, Wally, and Alice to tell the unvarnished truth about their pointy haired boss. It is just as likely as to give the pointy haired boss a chance to trash the reputations of Dilbert, Wally, and Alice so that they can't get jobs at better companies.

Let me bring my very Washington, DC perspective on this; this will quickly degenerate into a cesspool of partisan smear jobs which will go much further down the food chain than is presently the case. I mean if you can damage the careers of every precinct captain of the rival party, or at least the ward chairs, you can go a long way to destroying most of your prospective opposition candidates before they even think about running for office.

The possibilities of dirty tricks are endless. Are you a company who has been attacked in the press? Just create a profile of the reporter and allege that he is the office boor. Is your company being threatened with a product liability suit? Don't just smear the lawyer and the plaintiff, smear all the potential witnesses in the case.

Are you an oil company? Is there an assistant professor at some community college somewhere getting locals all riled up about global warming? Create a negative profile and prevent him from getting tenure.

Are you a hostile intelligence agency? Is there an engineer who is working on a breakthrough weapon that your country is not ready to counter yet? Create a smear profile on Unvarnished and see if you can get his security clearance yanked.

Did someone create a negative profile on you? Presto Vivace's advice would be to create an account and use the facts to refute the negative remarks that were made. Then ask your online friends to write something nice about you, on their blogs, relevant Ning communities, any online community that would be visible to your professional milieu and ignore Unvarnished. Don't give it more online visibility, don't build its site traffic. With any luck the site will fade away as one of those Web 2.0 projects that just did not work out.

Edit -

Todd Defren has a somewhat different perspective, but takes a very similar view of Unvarnished.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

18 marketing agencies who should hang their heads in shame

YouTube's response to Viacom's lawsuit:
For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

I am just going to assume that Google would not make such a claim unless it could prove it six ways to Sunday.

In which case we have 18 marketing agencies from the sock puppet school of marketing. Sigh.

Surely all of Viacom's shows have fan clubs; most likely Facebook pages. That is what fan clubs and Facebook pages are for. Before a show you send out Tivo alerts; after a show you send out the links to online video on your own site. You put social tagging on your site, and then you just let nature take its course.

Edit -
It seems that Viacom has unearthed some incriminating internal Google emails.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feds launch Smart Grid blog

EETimes reports that NIST has decided to launch a blog to give the public a chance to comment on standards for home-to-smart-grid interface. I trust people will look at it, because now is the time to comment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today in content management

Rutrell Yasin reporting for Government Computer News:
The Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information is looking to deploy cloud-based customer relationship and project management software over the next six weeks to its Regional Extension Centers.

The Labor Department is making similar moves.

How to migrate your blog to SharePoint.

Lora Bentley of IT Business Edge
interviews Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for information management solutions at HP.

Welcome to the Real Story Group; also on Twitter.

All from Presto Vivace's Google News: Content Management Systems.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Kneber botnet and the day's Gov IT news

Jaikumar Vijayan reporting for ComputerWorld:
Security researchers at Herndon, Va.-based NetWitness Corp. have unearthed a massive botnet affecting at least 75,000 computers at 2,500 companies and government agencies worldwide.

The Kneber botnet, named for the username linking the affected machines worldwide, has been used to gather login credentials to online financial systems, social networking sites and e-mail systems for the past 18 months, according to NetWitness.

Congratulations NetWitness for a job well done.

John Foley of Information Week interviews Casey Coleman, CIO of the Government Services Administration.

William Welsh for Washington Technology: GSA, DISA launch commercial satellite solicitation

WFED's Max Cacas reports on AFFIRM's meeting on cyber security.

William Jackson for Government Computerter News: Second draft of Smart Grid security architecture released for public comment
If you have an opinion about this, now is the time to comment.

All the day's government technology news on the Presto Vivace's Google News Government IT section.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New to me local tech blogs

On Queue, from agencyQ
Bethbeck's Blog
Alliance Interactive
Community IT Innovators
Aptify CEO Blog
Spider Bytes, from Spider Systems: an informal mix of whatever is on our minds. We write about all kinds of things, ranging from new product features for our customers to technical tips for other software developers.
QSM, The Intelligence Before Successful Software Projects
Inventory & AIDC Software Blog
Attensity Company Blog
Inside Intellectual Property, from Legal Advantage
Enterprise Content Management - the Indigo Arc Viewpoint: Discussion about Content Management strategies, tools and issues; the overlap between Enterprise Architecture and Content Management.
CYNCZ, your contacts anytime anydevice

Sunday, January 10, 2010

There is a limit to what PR can do for you

Banks Prepare for Bigger Bonuses, and Public’s Wrath
Those worries aside, few banks are taking immediate steps to reduce bonuses substantially. Instead, Wall Street is confronting a dilemma of riches: How to wrap its eye-popping paychecks in a mantle of moderation. Because of the potential blowback, some major banks are adjusting their pay practices, paring or even eliminating some cash bonuses in favor of stock awards and reducing the portion of their revenue earmarked for pay.

Some bank executives contend that financial institutions are beginning to recognize that they must recalibrate pay for a post-bailout world.

Of course we are not really in a post bail out world, otherwise Congress would not have prepared the ground for an additional $4 trillion bail out.

Angry citizens are already moving their money. Things can only get worse if banks continue to award outrageous bonuses to management so out of control that they require multiple trillion dollar bail outs.