Richard A. Posner (Federal Judge and blogger):
The charge by mainstream journalists that blogging lacks checks and balances is obtuse. The blogosphere has more checks and balances than the conventional media; only they are different. The model is Friedrich Hayek’s classic analysis of how the economic market pools enormous quantities of information efficiently despite its decentralized character, its lack of a master coordinator or regulator, and the very limited knowledge possessed by each of its participants.
In effect, the blogosphere is a collective enterprise – not 12 million separate enterprises, but one enterprise with 12 million reporters, feature writers and editorialists, yet with almost no costs. It’s as if The Associated Press or Reuters had millions of reporters, many of them experts, all working with no salary for free newspapers that carried no advertising
Great stuff. More on Richard Posner.
The Economist takes a look at the incumbent telco’s ill advised expensive IPTV plans (turning 2 way broadband internet into a one way TV dump) and the possible, subtle methods used to derail competitors:
Stoyan Kenderov, an IPTV expert at Amdocs, a firm that makes back-office software for telecoms companies, says that the telecoms firms are building into their residential gateways new technology that will inspect the packets of zeros and ones passing through. This will let them identify traffic from third-party rivals, which might then end up at the back of the queue and thus be slow and patchy. The only hint that users might have of that going on, says Mr Kenderov, would be some very fine print on their bills explaining, in turgid legalese, that the provider guarantees the quality of its own services only.
The telecoms firms counter such suggestions with well-rehearsed indignation. In a hearing before the judiciary committee of America’s Senate in March, Edward Whitacre, SBC’s chairman, said in emphatic Texan that “SBC would not block any Vonage traffic or anybody else’s and has never done that, would not do that. That’s not the way we do business, and it’s just not going to happen.”
And Madison’s Central Park, being developed on former railroad land, would get $3.5 million.
Interesting use of new transportation funds. I get the former railroad yard approach, but it does seem, at least to me, sort of strange that we’re funding a local park in the new Federal transportation bill.
Jeff Jarvis continues his ongoing “Dell Hell” saga with links to Craig Newmark’s customer service philosophy, which is right on:
In Technology Review, Craig Newmark writes about his list and his view of customer service. As I think I’ve said here before, I’ve heard Craig introduce himself at more than one event as the guy who does customer service and that always gets a laugh but it is no joke. Customer service is the highest ethic of his venture. It is the highest ethic of open source. It is the highest ethic of a true community. If newspapers… and Dell… and AOL… and government remembered that customer service is their job, they’d be a lot more successful than they are.
I, too, have had problems with a recent Dell purchase. I now have an unusable Dell laser printer, thanks to a failed firmware upgrade. On hold to Dell support in India for 90+ minutes (pleasant person, but what a waste of time), I was advised to try it again, which I knew would not work as the printer is evidently in an infinite loop. After several go rounds, I called Dell and asked them to take it back. Unfortunately, my request was 29 days after the purchase date and Dell evidently only accepts returns 21 days after the purchase date. I’ve turned it over to my credit card company….
My Father emphasized great customer service throughout his career. Dell is simply being cheap and it will cost them.
The cast and crew of the latest Robert Altman film wrapped up their work and headed home this week. For the past month they’d taken over the Fitizgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minn., home to the popular public radio show A Prairie Home Companion, which also happens to be the subject of the film.
The show’s creator Garrison Keillor wrote the screenplay, a fictional account of life on the show. Keillor plays himself, acting with a host of Hollywood stars including Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline and the young star Lindsay Lohan.
NPR has posted an extended audio interview. Check it out.
Steve Fossett and Richard Branson announced that the Virgin GlobalFlyer won’t retire, but will attempt a 29,900 mile non-stop flight in February.
Interesting thread on Edward Tufte’s website about the Columbia explosion evidence. Useful timing, given the ongoing space shuttle challenges.