Will Digital Audio Kill the CD - as the CD Killed Vinyl?

Thread Title: Digital Audio Aims for the Mass Market Thread Url: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/01/ap/ap_4010705.asp?trk=top Thread Description:

A short but interesting look at digital audio devices and formats in the context of the huge amount of coverage at CES 2005. The techreview article threadlinked above is part one of two and although brief, does raise (for me) the question of when, not if, the CD will die:

Though the first portable MP3 player debuted in 1999, most personal music libraries still consist of piles of CDs, and relatively few people listen to digitally recorded radio talk shows and books.

The consumer electronics industry is doing its best to change that, there being serious lucre in prodding people to join the digital audio revolution as long as it's convenient.

At this week's International Consumer Electronics Show, it was impossible to walk more than a few feet in the 1.5-million-square feet of exhibition space without stumbling over a digital audio equipment display

Personally i cant wait till the CD finally snuffs it. I never really liked them and i require my music to be infinately more portable - even though my mp3 player is ancient...

Vonage Launch VoIP Service in UK

Thread Title: Vonage launches VoIP in the UK Thread Url: http://www.dmeurope.com/default.asp?ArticleID=5278 Thread Description:

Good news (perhaps..) for the UK'ers...

Vonage provides a phone adapter/router, which converts analogue signals to digital signals which then plugs into a broadband connection. A standard telephone can then be plugged into the adapter so that when a call is made or received the signal is converted to digital and routed through a high-speed DSL or cable modem across the internet and back through a traditional phone network to the receiver’s phone.

Im working on a Skype setup personally but cheap calls are cheap calls right?

Solutions to Comment Spam - Again...

Thread Title: Comment Spam? How About An Ignore Tag? How About An Indexing Summit! Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050105-055807 Thread Description:

Danny Sullivan posts some proposed solutions to comment spam and links to a number of other proposals and discussions including the one we had on solving comment spam a few weeks back.

Danny suggests that it's the search engines responsibility (or at least implies) and proposes a exclusion tag that would tell a search engine not to index certain portions of a page:

To me, the solution seems simple. Why not give designers a tag telling search engines to ignore portions of a web page? Or better yet, how about a coordinated summit among search engines and webmasters to advance the state of site indexing overall?

To me, this is the wrong way to go about it, for several reasons:

Why should genuine comments be ignored by search engines? This is what would happen if you roped off portions of the page and told search engines not to include the links - firstly, the people commenting and adding value to the page should get all the benefit of a link to their website IMO - this is what the internet is all about and what the various link algos are partly about: Accrediting value where due. You could argue that maybe just the links wouldn't count but the content of the comments would be indexed but it still leaves that problem accreditation which i think is important. Search Engine Adoption: It just aint that simple! I cant imagine all of the search engines either agreeing to such a solution or implementing it any time soon, can you? It just doesn't work like that so for a start we have a potentially huge delay in implementation assuming that all parties agreed anyway. If only one of the major players did not agree, comment spam would still be an excellent, cheap method of gaining traffic rendering the solution useless. Blog Vendor Adoption: It just ain't that simple! Pretty much the same as above for this reason against such an idea. You would have to get all of the major vendors to agree on a standard, and these things take time. Then you would have to implement it on new releases of the software, provide patches for older versions and set up support channels for all of that. To be fair though, some of the things i proposed in the above linked post have exactly the same problems at this point - there really isn't a simple, quick, killer answer on the table or anywhere near it. Information flows too slowly There are people that call themselves search engine optimizers that are out there on forums right now talking about optimizing their META tags - with me? It would just take far too long for this information to filter down to the lowers tiers of the SEO knowledge base. The Solution Lies with Blog Software Vendors

For the above reasons i think that the solution to blog spam rests with the software guys, there's going to be just too much collateral damage if the search engines start excluding comments, or devaluing links from comments and it simply is not a viable solution in the real world.

Answers.com from Guru.net is Now Available for Free

Thread Title: GuruNet Becomes Answers.com and Is Now Available Free! Thread Url: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050103-145213 Thread Description:

Gary Price reports in the threadlink above that Guru.net has become Answers.com and is available for FREE

Apparently this is a big thing, but i've never used Guru.net so i couldn't say :-) Would anyone care to fill those of us not familiar in with the details?

Preparing for the First Working Week of 2005

There's still almost nothing marketing/tech wise going on out there at the moment so I thought i'd share a few thoughts with you on the weeks ahead - please feel free to tell us what you're up to aswell...

Over the first couple of days i'll probably just be linking to and commenting on whatever is of interest but i've been slowly bookmarking some stuff to write some longer pieces on things that interest me right now. They include but not limited to:

Grass roots journalism Mobile vs iPod Blog marketing - hehe.. Open Source marketing Viral marketing Social Networks Permission based marketing

so i hope to be knocking those out when i've got my head up to full speed again (im having a nice glass of red now but it's back on the wagon for me next week heh..)

I also have some plans to monetize this beast - im thinking hard (read - im pretty much there..) about showing ads to non members - that doesnt mean it costs anyone anything, just that SE traffic et al will get some adsense or whatever and the registered non-paying members will not, if they choose. There will be much more detail put onto that when i have my thoughts ordered and have some more interesting stuff done first.

There is also (and partly because of the above) a redesign in the works. grnidone was kind enough to give me a usability report, much of which i will be implememting and, quite frankly - I can DO BETTER... so im going to try :-)


I dont really have that many resolutions for this year other than the following:

Get the subscriber section working and operational Get the public side monetized in a way that doesnt piss off members Stop fretting about some of the pettiness that goes on out there Conclude a bunch of biz stuff that started to take shape last year and lost momentum over xmas

For the most part - much of the same but with a little more focus now TW is really up and running.

SEO Book Sales go to help Tsunami Victims

Thread Title: Please Help... Thread Url: http://www.seobook.com/archives/000610.shtml Thread Description:

Aaron Wall of SEOBook.com is donating all proceeds from the sale of his SEO Book to the Tsunami effort:

To try my best to help out, for the month of January I am going to send all my SEO Book sales income to help out with relief from the storm. I think Paypal eats about $2 out of each order, but other than that the remainder will go to help out Sarvodaya.

On that note, i think we should follow Aarons fine example and have some kind of button or link here at Threadwatch eh?

Can anyone suggest a good way to do this?

Tsunami of Spam

Thread Title: Tsunami of Spam Thread Url: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=20464 Thread Description:

I didn't think that people could sink any lower, not after Dougie and glengara's mutual wank fest over the current challenges faced by WebAtlas, I was wrong.

It seems that already spam emails are being sent asking people to make "donations", as Mr Mackin would say sick and wrong.

"So far, we've seen two different examples of these, designed to capitalise on the misery of hundreds of thousands of people affected by the tsunami that swept the coasts of the Indian Ocean early this week."

Coping with Information Overload

Thread Title: Life Interrupted Thread Url: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2004/1128/cover.html Thread Description:

The typical Threadwatch reader probably fits the description of a PC based multitasker given in the threadlinked Seattle Times article above very well. We have constant interruption during our working hours and for some (most..?) during our playtime aswell.

Email IM RSS notifications Cell phones Land lines and all manner of derivatives

The article points out that it's been shown that although multi-tasking is encouraged and expected, it's often counter-productive and sometimes harmful:

We're shooting through technological rapids that have opened doors and changed the dynamic of work, how we communicate and live, and sometimes even think. All these tools have made our lives easier in many ways. But they're also stirring deep unease. Some are concerned that the need for speed is shrinking our attention spans, prompting our search for answers to take the mile-wide-but-inch-deep route and settling us into a rhythm of constant interruption in which deadlines are relentless and tasks are never quite finished.

Scientists call this phenomenon "cognitive overload," and say it encompasses the modern-day angst of stress, multitasking, distraction and data flurries.

In fact, multitasking — a computing term that involves doing, or trying to do, more than one thing at once — has cemented itself into our daily lives and is intensely studied. Research has shown it to be consistently counterproductive, often foolish, unhealthy in the long run, and in the case of gabbing on the cell phone while driving, relatively dangerous. Yet it is also expected, encouraged and basically essential.

For me, im still bearing up under the strain, and loving every moment. Im wired in so many ways to so many news sources and communication mediums that when i think about it hard, it really is quite insane. However, im still enjoying it though the point the article makes about my information intake being a mile wide but inch deep is well taken.

An Epic Vision of Media in 2014

Thread Title: Epic 2014 Thread Url: http://www.broom.org/epic/ Thread Description:

Threadlinked above is an 8min flash presentation on the future of media. The Museum of Media History takes us from the present, when citizen journalism, blogging, TiVo and social networking have taken firm hold, to a halfway realistic furture where the "Evolving Personalized Information Construct" is born.

EPIC, as it would be known involoves the merger of Google and Amazon to form Googlezon, the death of the NYT and the personalization of every conceivable aspect of media and product consumption.

It's an awesome vision, and well worth the 8mins it takes to watch.

link via cnet

Full House

Well, i have my mum, sister, her baby and Ivana's dad and girlfriend round - it's full house in the W residence - just checked the search related news and i guess we're not back to full speed yet but im only around when i get the chance for the next 48hrs.

Normal operations will resume shortly :-)

Thai / Phuket Tsunami - Largest Earthquake since 1900

At least one of our members is in the Phuket Tsunami region - I hope they're alright, but fear the worst as news reports and blogs are saying thousands have died during the biggest earthquake since 1900.

thanks to scoble for the technorati link - G News Y! News Blog Reports

Marketing Discoveries 2004 - What have you learnt?

So, come on, what did you learn or discover this year?

Allow me to start, im bored out of my nuts as things wind down for xmas, sheesh! What is everyone doing? it SUCKS out there...

Nick's Discoveries for 2004

The Power of RSS for SEO Syndication marketing in all it's forms was one of the biggies for me. I knew about RSS almost from the get-go but it wasn't untill early 2004 that i first really started to use it with promotion in mind.

Bloglines In theme with the discovery of the beautiful mix of RSS and SEO comes the discovery of Bloglines - I've found im quite the information junkie and seem to have an insatiable appetite for new feeds on topics of interest both for Threadwatch and other projects - yummy!

How to Break Sandbox - In so many ways... Some of them still not proved to my 100% satisfaction but at least one, that i've seen demo'd again and again but not had the chance to use. Luvveryly (no pm's im not tellin! :-)

Not all White hats are Wankers Now that was a shocker! It's true though, honest guv..

To Learn about Search Marketing - You need to look outside of SEM Media Forget (well almost) SEO/SEM docs and dig deep into other areas - you can learn an awful lot about marketing in general by reading the right blogs/sites and apply those principles to your sites - it's gold..

It's not what you know... it's who you know. I've made a lot of good friends this year, and those seemingly random, without alterior motive meetings have turned up trumps on a number of occasions - im none to sociable by nature but i forced myself to be nicer this year and feel much the richer for it.

Your Enemies can provide the Strongest Marketing for You Thanks doug, i owe you a bomb mate..

Come on, post yours....

I know you're out there, i know you're lurking, so bloody well sign in and tell us all about your year :-)


Malcom Gladwell - Tipping Point author discussed at FC

Thread Title: The Accidental Guru Thread Url: http://www.fastcompany.com/subscr/90/open_gladwell.html Thread Description:

A pretty facinating read at FC threadlinked above detailing Malcom Gladwell's past present and future - Gladwell is author of "The Tipping Point" - i've not read it but you'd have to have had your head in a bucket since 2000 not to have heard of it right?

But nowhere is Gladwell's influence being felt more than in business. Starbucks' Howard Schultz publicly attributed his company's success to the tipping-point phenomenon. The public- relations agency Ketchum created what it infelicitously named an "Influencer Relationship Management" database that emulates Gladwell's model of connectors, mavens, and salesmen. One tech company even named itself TippingPoint Technologies Inc. The mere mention of his name to creative directors or product developers results in nouns not typically associated with business thinkers: He's a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud.

This story really makes me want to go out and buy his books (inc. the new one "Blick"), for those that have read him, are they really that good?

Movable Type Should Listen to Comment Spammers

Thread Title: Movable Type 3.14 released Thread Url: http://www.sixapart.com/log/2004/12/movable_type_3.shtml Thread Description:

SixApart have just released MT 3.14 which addresses some of the server load issues relating to comment spam.

They appear to have made no progress toward solving the root problem though. Over the weekend I wrote about The Solution to Blog Spam where a number of folks talked about how to actually deal with the problem head on.

Some of the folks in that thread (but certainly not all!) have experience with comment spamming from the spammers end. Although i didn't go much past the testing phase, i cobbled together a relatively sophisticated bot myself for just that purpose. Many issues conspired to stop me from embarking on a blog bothering mission of awesome proportion but the point is, many spammers would be quite happy to talk about ways to solve the problem.

Are SixApart listening? Are they bollocks...

Will you go Linux in 2005?

Thread Title: Wal-Mart debuts $498 Linux laptop Thread Url: http://news.com.com/Wal-Mart+debuts+498+Linux+laptop/2100-1044_3-5498006.html?tag=nefd.top Thread Description:

I've been using linux exclusively for 3 or more years now, for web development and all that that entails it rocks - there are many benefits but rather than spend 3 days listing them i wanted to draw your attention to the threadlink above - a cnet story detailing how Wal-Mart have teamed up with Linspire to produce a Sub $500 Laptop.

Now, even if you cant/wont try to install Linux a deal like that, for less than a good night out (ok, a very good one..) has got to be tempting right?

Personally I'd sooner stick my hand in a mincer than use something like linspire, im a die-hard power-using Gentoo enthusiast but, my wife uses RedHat Fedora and i've messed with a few other distros and can tell you that if you can just take a little time to get used to a new system, it's well worth the effort.

Mrs Nick W sneers at Windows users and she wouldnt know a command line from adam :-)

So, anyone planning on taking the plunge? Or have you already?

How Web Site Eyeball Studies Work & What You Can Learn From Them

Thread Title: How Web Site Eyeball Studies Work & What You Can Learn From Them Thread Url: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2877 Thread Description:

Fascinating article on how website eyeball studies work including usability tips from the folks who put the studies together.

Say you have 100,000 visitors in a day, and your analytics program tells you that 3% clicked on a specific link. You're still faced with a question: Given that people won't click on something they don’t see, what percentage of those 100,000 visitors even saw that link?

Very much worth a read.

The Solution to Blog Spamming

Thread Title: Comment Spammers Have Blogs of Thier Own Thread Url: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/003278.html Thread Description:

In the threadlink above, Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo is talking about solutions to the ever increasing blog spam problem. Recently SixApart, makers of MovableType have been experiencing server load problems due the voracious appetite spambots employed by hardcore search marketers (spammers) in an effort to get top ranking in competative areas.

Jeremy wont link to the spammers site, maybe he means DaveN's site?

Jeremy's solution is this: Assuming that 80% of bloggers use the same major blog software and that 80% dont change the default templates, just have search engine spiders look at the code and differentiate between the original post and the comments. Dont count comment links at all.

Why that isn't a great idea...

I think Jeremy's solution is a poor one for a few reasons:

It will kill a good many great links - Comments are used for discussion of the original post and as with here on Threadwatch the discussion that follows often produces some outstanding links to great resources that the original poster never knew about. I'd hate to see those sites not get the full benefit of a link from us. Computational overhead - Im not search engineer but im reasonably certain that comparing code on pages to look for MT (or other blogs) footprints and then weeding out the comment links would require a fair bit of extra computation and this may not be doable from an SE standpoint. Im not convinced that the search engines should be responsible for finding a solution - im not saying that it's sixapart fault, just that they are in a better position to find a solution to this. So, What's on the Table?

I think the solution lies with the software producers and that the company that comes up with the best solution and can demonstrate figures to prove that it works will have an excellent selling point for thier product. As it stands, MT's MT-Blacklist is crap: It's a constant "bucket and bail" effort that's reactive rather than pro-active and falls way short of being labeled a "solution". Other blogs, such as bBlog have implemented Captchas - where you have to enter the digits shown in a graphic to comment - this is better but, it's not unbreakable.

Creating Carols at Cre8asite

Thread Title: Make your own Christmas Carol cards Thread Url: http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?p=107220#107220 Thread Description:

A little happy, tipsy holiday cheer from some singing green moderators...


Google Scraping Reviews for Froogle

Thread Title: Froogle turns to Web for product reviews Thread Url: http://news.com.com/Froogle%20turns%20to%20Web%20for%20product%20reviews/2100-1038_3-5494131.html?tag=nefd.top Thread Description:

Apparently Google are scraping reviews on consumer electronics items from "around the web" according to the cnet story threadlinked above.

When i had a look, it appears that they show one review, but you get an option to "see all reviews by insert review site name" which leads to the review site itself..

The service, which is similar to the company's aggregated site for news around the Web, highlights Google's ambition to bring more content to its own site with the use of its "spidering" technology.

Company representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A couple of neat pdf's...

Via Gary comes this little list of free PDF's from IEEE

Is It Time for a Moratorium on Metadata? IEEE Intelligent Systems What's Next in Web Search?