Overheard: Word of the Day

A Whatis.com blog


January 9, 2008  3:26 PM

Overheard: FBI gets confused by their phone bill just like the rest of us



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Technology, Telecom
ryan-singel.jpg The FBI routinely failed to pay telecom companies promptly for providing phone and internet lines to the FBI’s impressive domestic surveillance architecture — resulting in at least one phone company cutting off a foreign intelligence wiretap until the FBI paid its bill,

Ryan Singel, FBI Wiretap Cut Off After Feds Fail To Pay Telecom Spying Bills

Ironically, it seems that some of the problems stemmed from the FBI’s inability to decipher and keep track of the charges on their phone bills. Welcome to the real world.

January 9, 2008  1:35 AM

Overheard: John Jilly becomes Mozilla CEO – no plans to go public



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Firefox, Open source, Technology
john_lilly.jpg As in a relay race, the key to a successful enterprise is often the hand-off, a change in leadership at the top.When it’s messy the whole company can suffer. It can die or be taken over. When it’s done right the chief operating officer slides into the chief executive’s chair, the old CEO waves buh-bye, and there’s not much to see.

Dana Blankenhorn, A clean hand-off at Mozilla

Dana is right. This does seem to be one of the smoother hand-offs.  John Lilly is now the CEO at Mozilla, the developer of the open-source browser Firefox. The New York Times did a good job covering the politics of the hand-off, although the photo they ran makes him look ridiculously young. The announcement was made on John’s blog.


January 8, 2008  10:27 PM

Overheard: Inattentive blindness



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Technology, Video

The last few days I ‘ve been looking at how to improve the whatis.com definition pages on the search sites so visitors who are interested in diving deeper into a topic can do so without having to search around.

There is related content located on the right-hand side of each definition page, but I find myself ignoring that side of the page and the clickthrough numbers are telling me that lots of visitors are probably not seeing the information that’s there.

I came across two interesting videos explaining why I fail to notice the right-hand side of the page and thought I’d share them with you. The concept the videos examine is called inattentive blindness or perceptual blindness. It’s not only why we’re able to block out banner ads on web pages, its also why we miss things that could be useful too.

Do you have a suggestion for how to improve our definition pages — besides getting rid of the ads? :-)   I’d love to hear your ideas. Email me at mrouse@techtarget.com  or drop a comment at the end of this post. Thanks!

Video #1: Count how many times the lunch box gets passed.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/LBL2SbRj5CA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Video #2: Students participate in an experiment. View video by clicking here.


January 8, 2008  5:22 PM

Overheard: Why do we need Search Wikia?



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Technology, Wiki
saumil-mehta.gif Search Wikia’s primary innovation will be to tie a user’s social network – that is, information about the user and their friends – into search results. The idea is that a user and their friends share a common set of preferences and that using that information makes search results more personalized as well as more relevant.

Saumil Mehta, Search Wikia launches: Will it threaten Google?

Saumil wrote earlier: We’ve tested Grub, the service’s way of crawling the Internet’s web sites to collect data. Grub is a “distributed search crawler,” so named because it lets people download a software to do the crawling from their own computers, thereby letting thousands of people contribute to the process. It is intuitive and easy to use. However, large questions remain about the ability of Search Wikia’s approach to scale to the entire Web.

I spent some time last night poking around Search Wikia. I’ve read a lot of articles. Saumil did a good job of connecting the dots about how it’s supposed to work — but I still don’t see why we need it. Can someone explain what I’m missing? The part I really don’t understand is why they’re asking visitors to contribute a mini-article or definition for the search results page when they could just pull in the first paragraph from a Wikipedia entry.


January 8, 2008  3:05 PM

Overheard: Who should the PMO report to?



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Project management, Technology
bob_turek.jpg Where should the PMO exist and report to? Since most companies have a lot of projects located in the information technology (IT) area, this becomes a natural place to locate the PMO.

Bob Turek, Choosing the Right PMO Vision Series

The line that stuck in my head from Bob’s post was: Usually something painful drives the creation, or reevaluation, of a PMO.

Amen.


January 7, 2008  10:15 PM

Overheard: ValleyWag explains why Robert Scoble got banned from Facebook



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
data portability, Social networking, Technology

ValleyWag: Why Robert Scoble got banned from Facebook

Illustrious egoblogger Robert Scoble, the Paris Hilton of Silicon Valley, has committed the geek equivalent of a DUI. He has, by his own admission, violated Facebook’s terms of service, and had his account suspended — 5,000 friends and all. Scoble’s sin? He used a script to export his Facebook address-book information to Plaxo, which runs a competing social network.

Since Robert Scoble was banned from Facebook, there’s been a lot written about the need for data portability in social networking. If social network data was portable, that would mean that if you had a MySpace account for several years but then decided Facebook was “the cool place to be” you could migrate all your stuff over to Facebook without much, if any, effort. Other than people who’ve climbed aboard the social networking bandwagon big time, does anyone really care?

Steve O’Hear’s been thinking about this for quite awhile. He asked four leading developers in the social networking space about how important data portability was to the future of social networking. The best answer IMHO?

Marc Canter (CEO of Broadband Mechanics): “Users do care [about portability] if for no other reason than they’re lazy and they don’t want to have to create all those relationships and upload their photos all over again.”


January 7, 2008  9:49 PM

Overheard: Goodbye set-top box, hello Tru2way



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Cabling, Technology
set-top_box.gif January 7, 2008 — Today marks the beginning of the end for that terminally ugly device in the living room: the TV set-top box.

Peter Lauria, Cable TV enters new era with ‘open platform’

More news from the Consumer Electronics Show. We’re one step closer to getting rid of set-top boxes.

An industry initiative, to be renamed “tru2way” after a decade in the works, is expected to allow electronics manufacturers to make TVs and other gear that will work regardless of cable provider. By making devices compatible, the standard also could encourage the development of new services and features that rely on two-way communication over the cable network.

Tru2way used to be called OCAP (Open Cable Platform).


January 7, 2008  8:08 PM

Overheard: Bill Gates’ retirement video



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Microsoft, Video

The video Bill Gates shared at his last CES keynote was a very sweet mockumentary about what his last full day at Microsoft will be like — and his attempts to figure out what to do next.

I’m not sure which I enjoyed most, the cameo guest spots — or the last scene where he comes out of the office with a box full of office supplies. Very nicely done. I can picture him as a goofy Dad now.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/HEWMC4usElM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


January 7, 2008  5:19 PM

Overheard: Analog TV is already dying, goodbye rabbit ears



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Technology, Telecom
rabbit_ears.jpg On Jan. 24, the FCC will begin auctioning off the spectrum currently used for analog television. That portion of the airwaves will be sold to wireless providers and is expected to bring in as much as $15 billion.

David Sharos, Customers, companies prepare for digital TV switch coming in ’09

Aaron Kutzner, a sales associate for Sounds Deluxe, said customers have already reported they are losing channels. “I have customers who watch television in their bedroom with an analog tuner, and they tell me things like the Hallmark channel (isn’t) working anymore,” Kutzner said. “I’m sure it’s going to happen to some of the bigger stations before much longer – you could say that the revolution has begun.”


January 7, 2008  2:55 PM

Overheard: Blu-ray wins high-definition video battle



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Blu-ray, Technology, Video
robin_harris.gif Warner Brothers decision to abandon HD DVD is the confirmation – for those who needed it – that Blu-ray has indeed won the battle for dominant high-def video format.

Robin Harris, Blu-ray vs HD DVD: final bonus round


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