Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Freedom of Speech

I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/21371/uncensor

“███████ Of ██████ and █████████ are ██████ at the hip. You can’t ████ one ███████ the █████. But ██████████ not all of our ███████ █████████ (██████ I say ██████ ███████ █████████) ██████████ ████. ██████ ███████ █████ ████ who is now ████ of the ████ ████ the █████████ ████ ████: ████ the ███████ ████ ██████ ████ ████ had to █████ █████ or ████ ██████’t do [████████] in █████ ███████, ████ ███████ to ██████ out how to █████ █████. He ████ ████ in ███████ of the ████’s ███████ ████ ████████ █████ the “████████ of █████” as a way to ██████ ██████. ████ I’m ████ to ████ you ████ ████████ of █████ is in ██████ ████████ to the ██████ of ████ ██████. It is ██████████. You’d █████ a ██████ ███████ █████ ████ ████.”

Uncensor This

Free the Times!

The New York Times has gone retro.  They’re creating an online paywall.  The first 20 articles are free.  After that it’s $15 a month.  It didn’t work the first time a few years ago.  But like the McRib they keep bringing it back.

Now I don’t expect the Times to get Net religion. But it should charge a reasonable fee.   $15 is excessive pre-Internet thinking. It’s like record companies charging $10-15 for an online album with protected files, often more than the price of a physical CD.   How well did that work out?

At some point I hope the Times will do the math, accept real-world economics, and grok that it’s better to land 1 million subscribers at $5/month than 100,000 at $15.

If you are an anarchist, pirate, renegade, digital rights activist, or are cheap, vote with your wallet, have little better to do with your time, or are just not in the mood to be old school, you can just say No … just like it was easy for consumers to get around the music industry’s stone age practices with mp3′s and p2p file sharing.

Here are a few ways to free the Times.

  • NYTClean Bookmarklet.  An elegant solution.
  • Go to the address book, delete the text after .html, and reload
  • Twitter feed of Times articles – FreeNYTimes, Free Unnamed News
    , and The Times direct.
  • Use a different browser
  • Use Firefox with Cool Previews add-on, which happens to show the whole article.
  • Paywall Smasher extension for Google Chrome.
  • Launch a new  “incognito” window in Chrome.
  • User Script. Requires manager like Grease Monkey for Firefox or  Greasekit for Safari and scrip like this.
  • BugMeNot. There already is a cottage industry in sites with free passwords.
  • Aggregators.  Links from blogs will be free.  An army of sites will spring up virtually mimicking the Times now that there is a need.
  • Use Google to read 5 free articles a day.
  • Erase all your cookies or just that of nytimes.com
  • Use a different computer or device, or IP address proxy like dtunnel

If the Times cracks down on some of these practices, fear not!  There will be plenty of new cracks, tools, and techniques to take their place.

Note:  The following techniques appear to no longer work.

Tech venture insight

Choice takeaways from VC Fred Wilson on tech and Internet ventures when he spoke at HBS from Seeing Both Sides.

  • “Early on in a start-up, entrepreneurs should be hunch-driven more than data-driven.  If you are only data-driven, the risk is that you will move too slowly.  It’s more important to have a hypothesis about what might work and what might not work and then see what happens in the marketplace to prove or disprove that hypothesis.
  • Lean start-up as a methodology or approach is very useful, but isn’t a guarantee for success by any stretch.  Think of the methodology as a machine.  If you have garbage inputs, you will still have garbage outputs.  There’s no substitute for good strategy, great entrepreneurs and a very large market opportunity.
  • When considering when to monetize your new product/service, think carefully about whether the monetization strategy actually improves the service or is a distraction.  Banner ads on Facebook are a distraction (as Zuckerburg supposedly said in the movie Social Network, “No ads. Ads aren’t cool.”)  But, for example, on Etsy if someone pays for a product, it inspires producers to create more products.  Thus, the monetization is harmonious with building the service.
  • If you are going to fail, and certainly with more start-ups being created and seeded we will see more failure, be sure to fail gracefully.  How you handle yourself as you unwind / seek a soft landing will reflect heavily on you and will cement your reputation.
  • Don’t worry about whether you are building a feature, a product or a company.  Build something great, have huge passion for it, engender affection with a large customer base, and let the rest follow.
  • If you get traction, transform your company into a platform.  The most valuable companies are those where third parties help you grow by plugging into your services like a utility.
  • VCs don’t make companies successful.  They can believe in and support a company, but ultimately the entrepreneurs make or break the company’s success and don’t let anyone (particularly an egotistical VC!) imply otherwise.”

Power developing

As the Web grows, so does its infrastructure.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or single signon.  Just find someone else who already built it  so you can focus on the pure chocolatey goodness of your own app.

APIs are the glue that gives developers direct access to the  services of others, from big guys like Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn to new startups.  It’s especially critical in a disaggregated web-based world of cloud and mobile computing.

GigaOm has an excellent article on 5 Predictions for APIs in 2011.  The ProgrammableWeb directory lists and rates over 2,600 APIs.

Free US long distance for more people

I was one of the beta users of Grand Central (now Google Voice) 5 years ago.  I extolled the service’s innovations in Unified Communications.

What makes it a breakthrough is the innovative integration of telephony, Internet, and usability (similar to what Apple did with digital music). I use Grand Central for long distance calling to any phone from my office that is faster, cheaper (currently free for long distance), more convenient (I’m already at my computer), and more powerful (integrated with online address book, automatically adds phone numbers from previous calls) than picking up the phone to dial. Plus I can put their widget on my web site for free so that visitors can call me for free (they just enter their number and it dials us both, calling all my phones).

Google Voice has spread its tentacles to mobile and now email spheres. Any Gmail account can now initiate free US long distance phone calls.

You no longer need a Google Voice account.  But you might as well get one.   Google finally opened the free service to all visitors after its eternal “beta”.

The only surprise  is that this expansion has taken so long. Innovation has virtually been at a standstill as Google has slowly assimilated Grand Central over the past three years.

SAASy Dallas: Win marketing report, conference discount

I have a special offer if you’re involved with (or even just interested in) SAAS (Software as a service), on demand and Cloud services, or web-based services in general.  Softletter is the leader in SAAS research and education. I was thrilled to learn their conference is coming to Dallas January 26-28. I’ve worked with them to provide two exciting promotions.

First, we’re giving away one complimentary copy of the Softletter SAAS Marketing Report, a $500 value. Enter here by January 15. Include “WinSAASMarketingReport” in the Comments field.

Second, I’m going to be at the conference and invite you to join me. I have arranged a $100 discount for our readers. This brings the two day conference price down to only $695 if you sign up by January 4. You can also use the coupon to save on their combined conference/workshop sessions. To snasg the $100 discount, enter coupon code BLUESAVE100 in the promo code field at the bottom of the initial signup form. Get more info or  Register now!

Dallas Banner


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