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January 2009 Archives

January 28, 2009

There goes Plan B...

So now comes word that Starbucks will close 200 more U.S. stores (in addition to the 600 already slated), putting another 6,700 people out of work. I guess all my friends in publishing will now need a new "last-resort" job option.

One wonders if the severance benefits include a high-value Starbucks card and free Wi-Fi. And it this is related to yesterday's counter-intuitive decision to stop brewing decaf in the afternoons....

Is a fresh start in the White House such a good idea?

OK, now that I've got your attention...

At 12:01pm on January 20, the whitehouse.gov Web site got turned over to the Obama administration. The old site was swept away into the loving care of the National Archives, along with the rest of the Bush/Cheney documents -- with the possible exception of the torture docs that I suspect VP Cheney threw his back out moving a few days earlier.

After every inauguration, White House operations start afresh. This is why the W-less keyboard meme from 2000 was so powerful; it was, in fact, possible -- even if it isn't true. But all files, all computers, all phone programming -- all of it -- gets zero-ed out at noon on January 20th. That may be one reason that the White House has been having such terrible trouble with e-mail this week.

But even though an inauguration is a transfer of power, it isn't The Great American Reboot. Government continues. People continue to need services. It's not like a new company taking over vacant office space. It's more like getting a new CEO. The new boss may eventually want his own equipment in there -- and some it may be open source -- but it's wasteful and bad IT practice to crash an upgrade on your way in the door.

January 29, 2009

Chasing Deuces

Did you know the Federal Reserve issues a $2 bill? Of course you did. (Steve Wozniak sure does.) That puts you one up on the guy I just talked to at local WaMu branch.

I need to buy a bunch of dueces; never mind why. First stop was a Citibank branch, where I was told they didn't have any. But if I wanted to order some, I'd need to get a "brick" of them, costing $2000. Umm, no.

So I went across the street to WaMu. I told the guy that I wanted to buy some $2 bills. He told me they only sold them in rolls of 25. No no no. Two. Dollar. Bills. Not a roll of dollar coins (although that would be interesting on another day). Bills. Currency. Two Dollars.

Continue reading "Chasing Deuces" »

January 30, 2009

A distinct lack of cumulative learning

Note update after the jump...

A bunch of Big Thinkers got together recently to chew about the intersection of Big Media and Social Media,and concluded the following:


The overwhelming flow of information, crap, or junk cannot be stemmed, [NYU Journalism professor Jay] Rosen noted. "The way to make yourself valuable on the Web is: you edit the fucking Web," he emphasized, sending smiles across the crowd's faces. Journalists should serve as intelligent filters and middlemen if they hope to keep their jobs, Rosen added.

Now, I love Jay Rosen, but this makes me nuts. The idea of editors as filters of new media is not, like, new. That last link dates from 1995, and includes this:

Continue reading "A distinct lack of cumulative learning" »

January 31, 2009

Facebook and the 419 scam

Note to Amazon, Google, eBay, Facebook, and everyone else whose business is in The Cloud: a Customer Service link (and muscle behind it) becomes more important as your user base scales. Here's why (from MSNBC):

In Rutberg's case, criminals managed to steal his Facebook login password, steal his Facebook identity, and change his page to make it appear he was in trouble. Next, the criminals sent e-mails to dozens of friends, begging them for help....
One of his friends, Beny Rubinstein -- a fellow Microsoft employee -- fell for the story. At 10:30 p.m. that Wednesday night, he sent $600 via Western Union using an online service. The following morning, Rubenstein received a phone message from the imposter, asking for more money. So he went to a local retail store and wired another $600.

You do use different passwords for different services, right?

Do URL shorterners pass page authority?

This is something I've got to experiment with: do URL shorteners like TinyURL and bit.ly hurt a targeted page's authority? And if they do intercept the authority, is the added traffic they drive worth the loss?

Services like TinyURL are extremely useful for sending pages with long URLs to people over e-mail or Twitter, where you only have 140 characters. But bloggers use them, too -- because shorter URLs are just easier to deal with.

But how do those services redirect the traffic? When search engines find TinyURL and bit.ly URLs on the Web, where do they assign the authority: to the TinyURL URL or the underlying page? Because I don't recall seeing bit.lys or TinyURLs in search results -- and I look at a lot of search results -- I suspect that they pass the authority just fine. But it would be a big deal if they didn't; a few good backlinks can be difference between a non-existent search position and an excellent one.

About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Over the Edge in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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