Nail in the coffin?

Make no mistake about it: AOL is about to commit suicide. Their risky plan to make senders pay for email delivery is a bone-headed idea if there ever was one. Though in the grand scheme of things it is not unexpected. AOL has long held on to its naive view that it can own people's connection to information. For the longest time they tried to ignore and then later awkwardly accepted the presence of the Internet.

Indeed at one time the company's services were popular enough to have their trademark new-mail phrase associated with a mass market movie. But then along came the internet. AOL reacted and put a little "view" of the internet into their product but seemed to keep digging the hole that was their online service. Now with strong opposition to their latest scheme their spokesperson refers to the broad coalition of opponents without respect.


Reading Jeremy Zawodny's post tonight about reducing distractions at work reminded me of a few things. Jeremy mentions that after having given up watching television the next most intrusive thing was Instant Messenger(IM). I'd probably agree if I could manage to get people to use IM. At about the same time I stopped watching television I stopped using IM, not intentionally but because I am rarely on and at least at home the price of keeping one additional TCP/IP connection open isn't worth it.

It occurs to me, however, that I might actually benefit from getting more traffic moved to Instant Messenger... If it makes the phone stop ringing with calls that are not related to work and most importantly not related to what I'm working on at the moment it could be a good thing. The important part would be to make it more of a messenger and not focus on the instant portion of the title. In this way it could be a "more urgent than email" but something I can respond to as time permits.

I do, about four times a year, watch TV. The occasions are usually special events like the Tour De France and National Finals Rodeo or every couple of years the Olympics. What is notable, however, is how differently I view TV now. In the days when I was watching too much TV I thought I got a great deal of work done while watching. It is the multi-tasking myth. The idea that like a computer the human brain can successfully switch back and forth, moment to moment, from one task to another. As I said, it's a myth.

Another take on outsourcing

This weekend brings the news that San Jose City College will be outsourcing student email accounts. It is a model that I've discussed with colleagues for many months. When institutions have antiquated email systems the pressure will be great to move towards a new model. Details haven't been released so it is unknown if Google is using the same revenue model (advertising) or a customer paid model.

Earlier this year CCSN outsourced its technology department.

Getting the most bang for the buck

Once again this year GoDaddy will be a Super Bowl advertiser. After last year's controversial ad GoDaddy has figured out how to get the most from their advertising buck. Several attempts along the way failed with the network but they finally got one approved. Even more brilliant is their posting of all the "denied" ads with a survey asking whether those that choose to go to the site, and choose to watch the ads find them offensive. It is easy to guess that the folks who would complain about them will stay away from the website while GoDaddy will get many of the folks who like their commercials to spend time on their site watching more than the one they paid to air during the Super Bowl.

The business limiting information on health care

Last fall the October 2005 issue of Seventeen was pulled from the shelves of 2500 Albertsons stores across 12 states. The complaint centered around an educational health article written by Jennifer Howze entitled Vagina 101. According to Associated Press articles on the magazine story it "shows a drawing of a woman's genitalia with arrows pointing out the clitoris, the labia majora, the labia minora, the hymen and the anus. It provides a one-paragraph description of each part of the anatomy, under the headline "Owner's Manual." On the second page, the author addresses what's normal and what's not — from the color and consistency of female discharge to how to detect a urinary tract infection."


I've had fewer posts of late thanks to the assistance of DirecWay.

It seems each time I get on a roll, get working and ready to do some uploads their web proxy server heads south and won't resolve any names. Perhaps, one might wonder, it is a problem with my setup. Alas, no, it is the DNS on the proxy server that seems to head south with alarming frequency. All-and-all I'm about to make the leap to dial-up, a bit slower but far more reliable service.


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