IT News : I post general IT news from newsfeeds and services like Wired, CNN, etc. here
Updated: 6/4/2006; 2:20:23 PM.


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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Get Voicemail In Your Email Inbox: GotVoice.

It doesn’t have a fancy design or well throught through navigation. I can’t find a single use of Ajax or javascript on the site (although there is some use of Flash). And that’s ok, because GotVoice does something I love - it converts voicemails from my home and cell phone into MP3s and sends them to me by email.

This is something I’ve gotten quite used to with Vonage (voicemails are sent as MP3s to my email), but I don’t have the same option from my cell phone carrier. GotVoice solved the problem for me. Setup took a few minutes (you have to give GotVoice your voicemail credentials) and then it just worked. Voicemails are now sent to my inbox as MP3 files (and saved in my voicemail system).

The basic GotVoice service is free, and they announced two premium services last week. The Plus service, which is $5 per month, allows more scheduled voicemail checks per day. The Premium service, which is $10 per month, has yet more checks, and also provides you with a RSS feed with voicemails included as enclosures. While I love the idea of having a RSS feed for the voicemails, it doesn’t justify paying $10 per month. The basic free service is more than adequate for me.

If you want your voicemail in the same inbox with your email, GotVoice is an excellent choice. This isn’t as fancy as Spinvox, which converts voicemails to text, but it does save me the hassle of checking voicemail multiple times per day. Note that it only works in the U.S.

Note: There are a number of unanswered questions about the service which are either not discussed on the site or have conflicting FAQs. The comments below go into this somewhat. I’ll post clarifications once I hear from the company.

2:19:32 PM    

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Helping authors retain the rights needed for OA archiving. John Ober, Facilitating open access: Developing support for author control of copyright, College Crucially, an explicit place to exercise the retained rights and provide unfettered access to scholarship, i.e., an institutional repository (IR) (or, failing that, assistance in depositing work in disciplinary repositories, such as PubMed Central, arXiv, CogPrints, and the like). By (Peter Suber). [Open Access News]
10:49:49 AM    

Advertising the institutional repository. The University of Michigan libraries issued a kind of advertisement or press release last week to encourage faculty to deposit their research in Deep Blue, UM's OA institutional repository. Excerpt: Your work: cited more, safe forever. The University of Michigan has more than 150 years of experience and expertise in presenting and preserving the world's best research and creativity. With Deep By (Peter Suber). [Open Access News]
10:49:02 AM    

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Sultan's Elephant and the Giant Space Puppet. Pat Cadigan's remarkable Friday morning in London

[Beyond the Beyond]
12:58:36 PM    

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Threats to the scientific commons. Richard R. Nelson, The Market Economy, And The Scientific Commons, text of a talk given at the University of Michigan School of Law, January 26, 2006. (Thanks to John Wilbanks.) Nelson does not discuss OA to literature or data, but focuses on threats to the scientific commons from patents, exclusive licenses, and high licensing fees. Excerpt:
[I]t is widely recognized that the power of market stimulated and guided invention and innovation often is dependent on the strength of the science base from which they draw....This science base largely is the product of publicly funded research, and the knowledge produced by that research is largely open and available for potential innovators to use. That is, the market part of the Capitalist engine rests on a publicly supported scientific commons. The message of this essay is that the scientific commons is becoming privatized. While the privatization of the scientific commons up to now has been relatively limited, there are real dangers that unless halted soon important portions of future scientific knowledge will be private property and fall outside the public domain, and that could be bad news for both the future progress of science, and for technological progress. The erosion of the scientific commons will not be easy to stop. Here I want to call the alarm, and to suggest a strategy that has some promise....

An associated belief or ideal ["that until recently has served well to protect the scientific commons"] is that the results of scientific research are and should be published and otherwise laid open for all to use and evaluate. As Robert Merton (1973) argued, the spirit of science is ‘communitarian’ regarding access to the knowledge and technique it creates. All scientists are free to test the results of their fellows and to find them valid or not supported, and to build on these results in their own work. Because the results of scientific research are laid in the public domain for testing and further development, the bulk of scientific knowledge accepted by the community is reliable (as John Ziman (1978) has emphasized) and scientific knowledge is cumulative. These are basic reasons why the scientific enterprise has been so effective as an engine of discovery. And economists often have argued that keeping science open is the most effective policy for enabling the public to draw practical benefits from it. My argument in this essay is that the part of the theory about good science that stresses the value of open science is basically correct, but is in danger of being forgotten, or denied....The case for open scientific knowledge clearly needs to be reconstructed recognizing explicitly that much of scientific research in fact is oriented towards providing knowledge useful for the solution of practical problems, that the applications of new scientific findings often are broadly predictable, and that this is why control over scientific findings in some cases is financially valuable property. I think there is a case for keeping basic scientific knowledge open, even under these conditions. To privatize basic knowledge is a danger both for the advance of science, and for the advance of technology....In Section II, I discuss the rise and erosion of the idea that public support of open science is warranted because the expected returns are high but the areas of return are so uncertain that market mechanisms will not suffice....

I believe the key to assuring that a large portion of what comes out of future scientific research will be placed in the commons is staunch defense of the commons by universities. Universities almost certainly will continue to do the bulk of basic scientific research. If they have policies of laying their research results largely open, most of science will continue to be in the commons. However, universities are not in general supporting the idea of a scientific commons, except in terms of their own rights to do research. In the era since Bayh-Dole, universities have become a major part of the problem, avidly defending their rights to patent their research results, and license as they choose....The argument that if an exclusive license is not given, no one will try to advance, seems particularly dubious for research tools of wide application, or for findings that appear to open up possibilities for new research attacks on diseases where a successful remedy clearly would find a large market....Universities will not give up the right to earn as much as they can from the patents they hold unless public policy pushes them hard in that direction. I see the key as reforming Bayh-Dole. The objective here, it seems to me, is not to eliminate university patenting, but to establish a presumption that university research results, patented or not, should as a general rule be made available to all that want to use them at very low transaction costs, and reasonable financial costs. This would not be to foreclose exclusive or narrow licensing in those circumstances where this is necessary to gain effective technology transfer. Rather, it would be to establish the presumption that such cases are the exception rather than the rule.

By (Peter Suber). [Open Access News]
8:21:18 PM    

More on the webcasting treaty. James Boyle, More rights are wrong for webcasters, Financial Times, February 17, 2006. Excerpt:
I teach intellectual property law....Are we doing a good job of writing [IP] rules? The answer is no. Three tendencies stand out. First and most lamentably, intellectual property laws are created without any empirical evidence that they are necessary or that they will help rather than hurt. Second, the policymaking process has failed to keep track of the increasing importance of intellectual property rights to everything from freedom of expression and communications policy to economic development or access to educational materials. We still make law as though it were just a deal brokered between industry groups....The public interest in competition, access, free speech and vigorous technological markets takes a back seat. What matters is making the big boys happy. Finally, communications networks are increasingly built around intellectual property rules, as law regulates technology more and more directly; not always to good effect. The World Intellectual Property Organisation has now managed to combine all three lamentable tendencies at once. The Broadcasting and Webcasting Treaty, currently being debated in Geneva, is an IP hat trick.
By (Peter Suber). [Open Access News]
7:55:17 PM    

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Identity 2.0.

In giving some further thought to the anonymous online annoyance issue, I finally did some research on Identity 2.0.

If you've heard about it but not really understood what Identity 2.0 is all about it, be sure to watch this video. It's probably one of the most interesting presentations / presentation styles I've ever seen.

Dick Hardt, the founder and CEO of Sxip Identity really gives life to what Identity 2.0 is going to be all about - a scaleable, consumer centric approach to digital identity

[Corante Web Hub - Editorial Section]
8:52:45 PM    

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Newsvine Seeds Private Beta Invitations.

Contributor Emily Chang writes about two Web 2.0 applications that challenge the status quo - one of them is Newsvine, currently in private beta. Emily has some details on the new service:

"Newsvine highlights three key interactions with the site: reading, writing, and seeding. Readers are able to comment on articles and engage in discussions. Writers are able to create columns and blog posts, tag articles and have them appear in the relevant public Newsvine section to drive readership. Seeding Newsvine is the same as quick post or bookmarking using a Newsvine bookmarklet, although Newsvine emphasizes a comment beyond merely posting. What’s the incentive? “Newsvine users are financially rewarded in direct proportion to the value they add to the community by way of creating and submitting articles.�

For more on Newsvine - including a handful of screenshots - go check out Brian Benzinger's very detailed review.

update: Hypergene MediaBlog from the Corante Media Hub, also has great coverage on the Newsvine launch. So does Stowe Boyd.

[Corante Web Hub - Editorial Section]
3:51:22 PM    

Google Pack and new Google Video service.

Information Week has info on the Google Pack software. The bundle is to include:

"..Adobe Reader, Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, Symantec anti-virus software and instant messaging software from Trillian. The package will likely include Google's search software and its Picasa image management application, Google Talk IM, and Google mapping software."

The other major Google news is a new video download service. Peter O'Kelly links over to a Yahoo! News article:

"The [Wall Street Journal] said Google will announce its plans to allow consumers to buy television shows or other videos that can be downloaded onto their computers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday."

O'Kelly also points to some analysis by Nicholas Carr:

"Early last year, when Google launched Google Video, it announced that it would, at some point in the future, allow videos to be sold or rented through its service. According to the terms it posted, video owners would be able to set their own prices and Google would take a 30% commission on any revenue...

But how 'open' will this 'open digital content marketplace' really be? The FT says that 'access to the store will be through an iTunes-like interface that will require users to download a new Google 'player' onto their PCs.' According to the Wall Street Journal, 'Google has developed its own digital-rights-management software to protect downloaded videos from piracy.' If these reports pan out, then this sounds like yet another closed system and yet more headaches for consumers. So much for media convergence."

[Corante Web Hub - Editorial Section]
3:30:41 PM    

Thursday, January 05, 2006

In the material world

Next time you’re at the airport, scan the waiting area and see what people are doing. You’ll be shocked by the number who are doing absolutely nothing -- other than staring glassy-eyed at other people who are doing absolutely nothing. Naturally, these people had rushed in a mad frenzy an hour prior in order to get to the airport on time, only to sit and stare.

This observation is what spawned Google Space . We thought it would be useful to set up an area to give travellers unfettered Internet access so they might make use of that otherwise wasted time. Plus Googlers would get to talk to Google users, and hear what they like and don’t like about our products. Kind of like Google Labs , but with face to face feedback. Google Labs goes material.

We've been testing this concept for nearly a month at Heathrow Airport in London.

The response has thus far been enlightening and unexpected. Enlightening in that we’ve been learning tons about how to make our products more useful. Unexpected in the ways that people are using Google. One sales guy, David MacDonald, emailed this to the entire UK office:

“Yesterday whilst on the Google Space stand at Heathrow T1 I was approached by somebody who asked me if I worked for Google, as soon as I confirmed he smiled. He went on to explain that he had been in Pakistan as part of an International Disaster Response Team to help in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. They had been desperate to use what resources / maps they could find and that Google had been invaluable in helping. It turned out they had used Google Earth to trace the geography of the landscape, locate villages and roads.

He was so happy to see me and to show his appreciation, I really felt humbled and proud.”
This may be the best part of doing experimental projects. You think you’re onto a good idea, but then something unexpected like this makes it even better.

If people find Google Space useful, we might do this in other areas, or perhaps in other airports. Who knows? Let us know where you waste time – and you might see us there.
- A Googler [Official Google Blog]
8:10:10 PM    

Setting trends

As part of the personalization team, I'm pretty addicted to looking at my search history for interesting patterns. So I decided to go a step further and write a script to pull together some stats about how I was searching. We thought other people might like to see this sort of thing too, so today we launched a Trends feature that gives you a look at a list of your top searches and clicks and other info about your search activity.

To use it, you have to turn on Personalized Search and be signed in to your Google Account while you search. (If you don't have a Google Account, it's easy to create one for free.) Just click the "Trends" link on your Search History page, or go directly to your Trends. - A Googler [Official Google Blog]
8:08:39 PM    

© Copyright 2006 Anita S. Coleman.

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