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Looking forward to MIXing in Las Vegas

This Saturday I’m flying to Las Vegas to attend Mix conference. Microsoft Austria invited me (all these years of iResistance are finally paying off!) to visit the world’s capital of gambling – of course I’ll report my trip on this very blog and via Twitter. After my return from the US you and me hopefully know anything there is to know about one-armed bandits, striptease clubs with high moral standards, new Microsoft web publishing techniques and the status quo of the cloud.

Mix Konferenz in Las Vegas

Plus I expect to do a couple of video interviews – I’m not sure why Microsoft called this place “The Commons”, but there is definitely a hang-out and socializing place, which I will take full advantage of since some sessions are quite code-related. Read more

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a built-in 24 hours of delay, as the author was extremely busy during the last weekend launching the Austrian Internet Council [site in German]. This was an amazing proof of the power of social media: within the short time span of 5 days we our project was the cover story on ORF FutureZone, Austria’s biggest Tech News site. Crowdsourcing is great, but it can be quite time-consuming, especially when there’s a lot of interest and involvement. So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into this week’s hot social media topics!

Ignore everybody!

breas! Hugh Macleod of Gapingvoid published his first book titled Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity. Just ordered my copy – I’m looking forward to some inspiring quotes and cartoons:

The first rule of business, is never sell something you love. Otherwise you may as well be selling your children.

The Real Pip-Boy Deal

The Pip Boy saved me various time – while I was strolling through the post-nuclear wastelands of Fallout 3. But the nifty little arm-computer might soon enter real life: Engadget shows pictures of an impressive flexible OLED-Display:

The 4-inch organic electroluminescent display sports up to 1.67 million colors, QVGA (320 x 240) 100ppi resolution, and can be bent to a curvature radius of about 2 inches. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a must-have fashion accessory any time soon: while it’s perfectly appropriate attire for post-apocalyptic wastelands, we don’t know how well it’ll fly at the sorts of high society social events we normally frequent.

Seesmic Desktop: no Air required

TechCrunch interviewed Seismic founder Loic LeMeur – and the most charming Leena Rao managed to make the man talk:

According to Le Meur, Seesmic will soon be offering a browser based client. This offering is actually appealing, considering that Adobes AIR platform has some strange UI bugs and quirks and tends to use a good amount of resources on computers. And Seesmic will also launch an iPhone app, which is currently under wraps along with the web-based product.

Jeremy’s own Affiliate-Network

Jeremy Shoemaker has been writing about affiliate marketing for quite some time; but recently he launched his own affiliate-network and published a post about his experiences. I’m really curious about his plans:

Sure I hear you your thinking “Why the hell would you pay people to sign up for a free course?” It’s a great question and I think when the dust settles around the shoemoneyx.com program I will write all about it, why I did what, and what exact effect it had. I do have a method to my madness but it’s not as many have guessed. We will see if it works but that is for another post

Twitter is becoming infrastructure

Regular Geek posted an interview view on twitter – his main point: Twitter is shifting from an online service to a basic infrastructure upon which early adopters are constructing an eco-system:

So, why is marketing and economy so important to Twitter becoming infrastructure? Without an economy building on top of Twitter data and functionality, Twitter would just be a toy. With people researching the data that is generated from Twitter, it becomes much more important. In order to monetize the system, they can sell the data, but monetization becomes much easier when you become ubiquitous.

Can’t argue with that – with all the various mash-ups and the growing interest in real-time search, it seems that Twitter is here to stay. At least for now.

Bing beats Yahoo

Microsoft’s new search engine hat a great start: TechCrunch reports that Bing overtook Yahoo – now the question is: will this trend last or will the wearer of the ancient headband #2 leap for a comeback?

The companys analysis for Thursday finds that in the U.S. Bing overtook Yahoo to take second place on 16.28%, with Yahoo Search currently at 10.22%. For the sake of comparison: Googles U.S. market share is pegged at 71.47%, and its worldwide share at a whopping 87.62% (vs. 5.62% for Bing and 5.13% for Yahoo).

Content ain’t king

“The idea that ‘content is king’ in blogging is total bullshit” says Viral Garden:

Every day I read hundreds of blog posts. And every day, I see dozens of truly GREAT posts that get no comments. Every day I see dozens of pretty good posts that get dozens of comments and have vibrant conversations.
The difference? Most of the bloggers that write those pretty good posts are also pretty good about leaving their blog and interacting with people on OTHER sites. They comment on their reader’s blogs. They tweet their links on Twitter. They are ACTIVELY social with social media.

Interesting thesis… I’d say that both factors come into play. Social media spamming will just piss people off unless you got some stories that are actually worth watching your moves.

Pic of the week

I admit: I just couldn’t decide between these two beautiful shots. A direct path was taken by eyesplash Mikul, it’s a free-handed shot. The seconded picture portrays a female lying wolf in the zoo of Zrich and was taken by Tambako the Jaguar:

picweekbird

picweekwolf

Video of the week

Boats are only people – pretty unreliable ones, to be exact. These love boat passenger are in for a wet treat – feel the pain of these great sailors:

This is the end – of this week’s round-up. Thanks for stopping by and offering me some of your Whuffies. Let’s do it like this: I’ll keep posting and you’ll keep coming back and drop a dime from time to time :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Contenture – Support the sites you love

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new ad networks – but since Contenture has been developed by the team behind Clicky, I’m quite sure that this service deserves a closer look. The idea is simple: by paying a monthly flat fee to Contenture, users help webmaster make their sites sustainable. Via a JavaScript-Snippet, the Contenture networks measures users’ visits to participating sites and spreads the money accordingly.

Basically, Contenture is reversing the classic ad model: instead of generating indirect revenue streams via AdSense and affiliate banners, webmasters profit from their regular users. I think that Contenture enters the stage at a quite early time, but basically the financial sustainability will become one of the key questions of the future web. There are some caveats involved though: such a network can only bring benefit to its webmaster if enough users are willing to pay – since most surfers are even reluctant to pay for online-services, I doubt that the big rush will take place instantly.

contenture anti-ad network

But the team has obviously kept that challenge in mind and came up with a *very* tempting idea:

Contenture is a new way to monetize your web site. Ad revenues are poor, unless you’re a big name – and even then, they’re still not that great. With Contenture, you make money for every visit to your site from a Contenture user. Furthermore, Contenture makes it dead simple to add premium level features to your web site with very little work. Think of it as a way to take your site Freemium. For example, you could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to your archives, an ad-free experience, and more. These features are built right into Contenture, but you can do even more with a little work on your end.

Now what’s so special about that? Think about it this way: during the last weeks, a number of big affiliate networks – especially Clickbank – have got into a struggle with several kinds of malware-clean-up software: once those programs start deleting CB-cookies, the fun part is over. Contenture offers a much more stable system and establishes a monetization system which doesn’t require any ongoing user actions. Once a couple of popular bloggers start posting mini-tutorials or premium contents (Twitter reports are still pretty hot), Contenture will experience a massive grow:

Contenture offers web sites the ability to (optionally) add premium level features to their web site. One of these features is to remove ads, but that’s just one of many. For example, a site could give paying users priority access to new articles, exclusive access to their archives, special commenting abilities, and more. These types of features are built right in to Contenture. In other words, we’re bringing the Freemium business model to the masses.
Here’s another way to look at it. Contenture is the first that lets content providers create premium “micro services” throughout their sites. This is a crucial variable that other micropayment services have failed to implement.

And this is just the beginning – there are more features to come, like pay-per-article, tools for subscription-based models and much more. In this respect, Contenture not only is the first “anti-ad-network” but at the same time a valuable toolkit for developing micro-payment models.

The pricing seems rather reasonable to me – the minimum fee is $6,99. Users can pay more on an optional basis. Contenture keeps 20% of the revenues, which is very low compared to the standard 50% of most ad networks. Contenture works with all types of sites, but there are plugins for WordPress and Drupal – the integration is one in two minutes. There is no approval system, but Contenture reserves the right to delete accounts.

Conclusion: Contenture arrived a little early, but the idea is great and from my two years of Clicky experience, I definitely know that these guys understand how micro-traffic analysis works. There are no downturns involved – I activated the Contenture plugin on datadirt today and I’m not expecting a massive income stream yet, but I expect this to grow quite big. So it’s probably a good idea to jump on the band-wagon as soon as you can.

More reviews:

Stefan Jacobasch on Contenture [in German]
Micropayment-Based Freemium Models For All. (If People Use It.) on TechCrunch
The anti-ad network
Monetize content without ads?

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 23/2009

Step in, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the weekly Blogistan-round-up! It’s my duty to entertain you (and sometimes maybe even piss you off), but who cares – it’s all in the blog, st00pid! From Google Wave to the sluttiest brides in 2008, the blogosphere is here to cover your every information need.

Google announces Wave

The buzz is on – Google has announced the release of their newest project called “Wave” later this year. The stakes are high, as Wave claims to redefine the way we communicate and collaborate on the web. E-Mail, contacts social networks – Wave will tear down the boundaries between documents and dialogue:

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Google posted a couple of screenshots, future beta testers can sign up here. This in-depth presentation from Google I/O waters my mouth; and btw: Wave will be completely Open Source.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ[/youtube]

So much for Twitter’s trending topics

“But all good things, they say, never last”, sang prince. And now TechCrunch is saying the same about Twitter’s trending topics:

Up until recently, Twitters trending topics – which are prominently displayed on their Search homepage and now also in the sidebar when youre using the Twitter website – were an awesome way to get a feel of what was buzzing on the Web, in a way that virtually no other web service was able to do.

+

But then came the pirates and Michael is really pissed!

Today, when you look at Twitters trending topics, youll notice that the large majority of trends are memes started by a single user or a group of users, with the main goal offering entertainment rather than spreading information. Thats all fine and dandy – no harm in having fun – and I realize well that Twitters trending topics are not necessarily required to be giving you and me an overview of stuff that really matters, but I cant help but think its a pity that that list is starting to turn into the top 10 of chain letters people used to circulate through e-mail messages in the late nineties.

Oh dear gosh, I wish more people would recognize that manipulating social media platforms is so much more fun than obeying their “laws”…

The real name problem

Many native Indians have names like “Robin kills the Enemy”. Their name is in their passport, the same applies to people with exotic names like Lisa Strawberry. But if your name sounds like made up (but actually isn’t), you might have trouble keeping your Facebook account. An article on Spiegel Online [in German] reports that a couple of users got deleted without any previous notice. Facebook’s policy requires you to use your real name, and with the ongoing success of the platform a lot of users are running multiple fake profiles with strange names. Removing these might be a good idea for FB in terms of scalability and reliability, but the collateral damage has become so big that the group Facebook: don’t discriminate against Native surnames!!! already has more than 4.000 members, among them the likes of Linnie Birdchief, Carl Fourstar jr. and Sandy White Hawk. Facebook speaks person Barry Schmidt admitted mistakes, and the said accounts have been reactived, but the waiting period is quite long as only 850 people are on the payroll of the world’s largest social network.

Russian investors buy a share of Facebook

New York Times reports that Russian internet investment company Digital Sky Technologies acquired 1.96% of Facebook for the sum of $200 million:

Digital Sky won because its founders Yuri Milner and Gregory Finger have strong experience running Internet properties in Eastern Europe and Russia, and “a deep, advanced understanding” of social networking technology, Zuckerberg said.

We all know that FB is burning money at an amazing rate, but Zuckerberg still plays it cool – after all, he is running the largest social network in the world. Yet still numbers have gone down: when Microsoft purchased 1.6% in 2007 they had to pay $240 million – during the last two years, the overall value of the platform has decreased from $15 to $10 billion despite the growth in user accounts.

Happy B-Day, Mr. Shoemoney!

Jeremy Shoemaker turned 35 this week – congrats, man! I love your blog and there you’re the person who taught me the most valuable lessons about online marketing and blogging – thx for your excellent posts and keep up the great work! You definitely got a fan in Vienna :mrgreen:

This week’s href=”http://www.shoemoney.com/2009/05/29/friendshirtme-free-shirt-friday/”>T-Shirt of the week is also definitely worth a look: it was printed by Friendshirt.me. And the comments say it all… when I saw this app I instantly had to order mine!

What is a Micro-Scobble?

Robert Scobble is a tech evangelist and twitter legend. Disqus blog published and interesting interview with man responsible for the tweet-frequency-unit “Micro-Scobble”:

I grew up in silicon valley, I had no choice. My Dad was an engineer and I grew up in Cupertino about a mile from Apple Computers. I had an Apple Computer in 1977, in my junior high I was in the first computer club , and I got a tour of Apple when they were one little building. So yeah, Ive always been around tech.

My bride is not a slut. She just looks like one.

Judith sent me this great article – thx! Take a look at the Top 5 Sluttiest Wedding Dresses Spotted In 2009! Even though is nearly breaks my heart that Miss Carey is no longer single, I have to admit that with this elaborate sense of taste she’d get a job in any brothel in the whole world:

The Mariah Carrey slutty wedding dress certainly doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. Fully equipped with garter belt, stockings, and a main fashion piece better off worn under the dress or on the wedding night, this dress starts us off with its moderately tame slutty fashion.

Video of the week

This one goes out to the Open Source Community – I usually don’t publish ads as the video of the week, but in this case Redhead has done a fantastic job – and with over 3 minutes, in these short-clip times this is almost an online feature movie. Congrats to Peter Novak on this fantastic job!

Pic of the week

New to my weekly round-up: starting this week, I will publish a “pic of the week” – no special topics whatsoever. Since I started digi-SLR myself my appreciation for those perfect shots has grown immensely. Choosing the proper pic wasn’t easy at all, but this Manasquan Reservoir by Joisey Showaa is one fantastic shot:

manasquan

And that’s about it for this week – thx for visiting my blog, see you again next week!

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 21/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a free day of delay, as I was pretty business last night taking pictures of the sunset from Braunsberg. Riding my bike home I had to be very careful since a nightly meeting of a rabbit and a motorcycle is usually a very unpleasant experience for both sides. I haven’t digi developped all pics yet, but this one turned out quite nicely:

braunsberg-sunset

So back to blogging business – what a week! We now finally know that there actually *are* differences when it comes to the two sexes using social media. Read more

How to… use 1 widget in various WordPress Sidebars

Widget-enabled themes are a good thing, Martha Stewart would probably say – and rightfully so. Configuring one’s sidebar directly via CMS and drag-and-drop is doubtlessly a nifty feature we bloggers don’t want to miss. To kick things up a notch, WordPress allows for an infinite number of different Sidebars. This comes in very handy for putting different sidebar contents on the blog homepage, the single postings and the static pages. But most bloggers who start experimenting with multiple sidebars experience a major draw-back: most plugins can only be used in one sidebar exclusively.

This means that if you have different sidebars for your homepage and your single posts, you cannot for example include the tag cloud widget in both sidebars. (more info: How set up multiple sidebars) But worry not, of course there is a very handy plug-in which solves this problem: Duplicate Sidebar Widgets does what its name implies: it enables you to make up to 25 copies of any widgets, therefore being able to use the same one in up to 25 sidebars. (You probably won’t need that many, though.) btw: just in case anything goes badly wrong, you can always delete your widget-copies later. This solution works for most widgets, but some complex scripts simply refuse this treatment. (Top Commentators is one of those.)

But luckily, there’s Samsarin PHP Widget. While the standard text-widget may only contain HTML but no php, the Samsarin Widget will gladly accept php input. So basically the first step is to copy the php-widget using the aforementioned Duplicate Widget Plugin, and in the second step you have to enter the desired php-function-call manually. This does not just sound like a bit of work and readme-digging, it actually is – but using this method gives you total flexibility in designing your widgetized sidebars.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 02/2009

tweetbacksNothing like listening to old-school dubstep mixes and surfing the net on a lazy Sunday afternoon – even though I have to admit that turning up the music is kind of my only option right now, since the new Samsung LCD screen I bought yesterday experiences some kind of identity crisis, confusing itself with some kind of alien sound-device by producing a constant annoying noise. But enough complaining, let’s turn our heads and look back on the 7 deadly sins of online-marketing compiled by Shoemoney.

Include the twitter juice!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to include tweets about your postings directly into the comment thread? tweetbacks by Smashing Magazine does just that:

This plug-in imports tweets about your posts as comments. You can display them in between the other comments on your blog, or display them separately.

The implementation requires a bit of template-fiddling, but the explanations outlines the necessary changes very well.

One for the Lohas

“My paper shredder cuts 100 sheets per minute!” “Mine only cuts 0,02 sheets per minute, but it’s hamster powered!” This fictional dialogue could soon become office reality, as London design consultant Tom Ballhatchet invented the prototype of a “Hamster Powered Paper Shredder”: it takes the little fellow about three quarters of an hour to tear one DIN A4 sheet to pieces, which then become his bedding – the Lauging Squid knows more.

Mind the Tweet?

In the last week, Twitter’s security loopholes have been discussed everywhere: tweeters are used to performance problems (“fail-whale”), but the recent hacks of popular accounts, among them Britney Spears and Barack Obama, created awareness for the basic problem: there is no Twitter API, most 3rd party mash-ups require you to gladly hand over your login to some total stranger. Nick O’Neill posted some interesting thoughts on allfacebook.com:

Why would developers build for a platform that has only a few million users when they can build identical tools for over 140 or 150 million users? Yes, Facebook can keep the statuses private, and all comment replies as well and they

Guest post by Kim de Vries: Your Friend has just tackled you

Kim de VriesBite, lick, or tackle them back, or click here to theorize about what this all means. I’m very happy to publish the first guest posting here on datadirt. Kim De Vries, who I met via Facebook, wrote a very interesting paper about the symbolic kind of communication we all know so well from social networks like Facebook. “He who never superpoked shall throw the first rock” – enjoy the reading! Dr. Kim De Vries is working at the California State University Stanislaus, you can reach her at kdevries [at] csustan.edu

Introduction

Though Facebook was initially the province of college students, it has become popular with a broad range of users since opening its door to anyone with an email address in September 2006. However, until very recently, most research on Facebook has focused on the student demographic rather than exploring how Facebook is growing into a massive online society that is inhabited by many different groups using Facebook in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. The academics studying Facebook generally join it and use it in order to observe students; now that more faculty are using Facebook outside the classroom, to organize events and to socialize, turning the focus to our own use of Facebook reveals that our own communities are being affected as well.

As of August 2008, Facebook is one of the most rapidly growing social networks, boasting 100 million active users, translated into twelve European and a growing number of Asian and African languages. The extent to which groups of people connected on Facebook can be defined as communities is highly debatable and a useful alternative has been suggested by Rieder and Sch

Do you need a new coffee table?

This one ain’t exactly cheap, but it will definitely impress any visitor, from casual mobile-user to alpha-geek: Microsoft built the “Surface” Hardware, an innovative touchscreen (which actually isn’t a touchscreen but uses five cameras to track visual input) that allows for a unique user interface experience. But hardware is pretty boring with proper applications, and that’s what this video is all about:

Read more