Posner: Conventional News Media Are Embattled

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.

Innovation, Burt Rutan and EAA’s Airventure: “We bought the engines on ebay”

20MB Quicktime Video

SpaceshipOne/White Knight, making it’s way east to the Smithsonian, flew during Saturday’s EAA Airventure Air Show. I captured a 20MB video clip of several passes along with SpaceshipOne’s landing. You’ll hear designer Burt Rutan address the crowd during the aircraft’s flight, using “Military Power”. Enjoy! Rutan also mentioned that the aircraft would make one more stop at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio before reaching it’s final destination; the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. the video is a bit jerky at the beginning, but my handheld technique improves after a few seconds 🙂
Earlier this week, Rutan and Richard Branson announced a joint venture to form a new aerospace production company to build a fleet of commercial sub-orbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

I’ll post more photos and videos over the next few days. John Robb has been pushing for the government to support, in a big way, competitive private space initiatives ala the X-Prize rather than spending $3.2B annually on 1970’s technology – the shuttle. Robb also mentions how “big buck programs are a source of power in the Pentagon“. Robb has more ideas on the Government’s role in all of this and makes a rather startling but true statement:

Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time (short) before the shuttle program is done in due to a failure (hopefully, not on this mission’s recovery). After that happens, this is all we have.

More Videos: Marine AV8-B Harrier VSTOL | B-17 Takeoff. My father took a number of photos earlier this week.

More photos here (click to view larger versions):

Television & The Internet: War of The Wires

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.”

Life is Customer Service

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.

Garrison Keillor: A Voice for the Movies

Lynn Neary:

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.

EAA: HondaJet Makes First Appearance

James Wynbrandt:

“American people love airplanes,” Michimasa Fujino, HondaJet project leader and VP of Honda R&D America Inc., told the crowd at a welcoming ceremony at Aeroshell Square. “Look at Oshkoshthere are so many airplanes and so many people who love airplanes. That’s why I was convinced that Oshkosh AirVenture is the most appropriate place to introduce this Honda jet.”
Though talk of the HondaJet, based at Piedmont Triad Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, has swirled in aviation circles for several years, it was only in December 2003 that Honda announced the aircraft’s existence. The involvement of a major automobile manufacturer in producing an aircraft—particularly a light jet—has fired the interest of the general aviation community. But Honda has said little about its long-range plans for the program, a position it maintained at AirVenture.

Third Party Cookies

David Kesmodel:

The controversy over the 2o7.net cookies highlights the tension that exists between marketing companies like Omniture and Web users who are increasingly aware of, and adverse to, files that are automatically placed on their computers when they surf the Internet. At a time when PCs are under assault by viruses and other nefarious software like never before, users are employing a range of software tools and tactics to protect themselves. Many users don’t distinguish between cookies, which are small bits of text commonly used by Web sites to identify users, and malicious software that can steal personal information or change PC settings. That has put marketers on the defensive, as they try to get users to spare cookies when wiping computers clean of potential threats.