Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"To my surprise," Media Dragon sang, "I continually experienced a strange, yet pervasive, lack of optimism for the future of the new brave world and a lack of confidence in business and the economy. For lack of a better term, it might be called '2000+ Odessey Blues'.
Overheard - Buying high-capacity PC storage is like owning a 20-bedroom mansion. It's great having all that extra space, but at the end of the day someone has to do the vacuuming. The vacuuming challenge in data-storage is how do you manage and organise the ever-increasing amount of information?

Victim of a consumer Rip-off? Want justice? Rip-off Report™ is a worldwide consumer reporting Website & Publication, by consumers, for consumers, to file & document complaints about companies or individuals who ripoff consumers.
Victim of a Rip-off Artiste?
No matter how much time passes, I still can't get over the incredible story that came out this summer about AOL's customer retention call center. For those not following it, here is a short summary of the key events (compiled by my colleague Harry Sheff and reported on our blog): Your Call Is Not Particularly Important To Us

Sample Of Nobember and Movember Things: Constant Change Is The Only Certainty: You're ugly, Sydney: echo of Keating
AGE has not softened Paul Keating's acid tongue. Sydney's vanishing future. As John Hatton noted in Jervis Bay last week: There's an old saying in Australian politics: What do you do when the electorate feels betrayed? Betray them again …

Everyone is re-reading the story of ugliness as the Blue Mountains burn. Mayor Harry and Trees are another topic at dinner tables. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now. The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response. Change is the only certainty in this world and choice- the only power we have over it, whatsoever. Nevertheless, choice can become overwhelming, too.

• Country spirit remains unbroken - just like the drought You're ugly, Sydney: feisty Keating tells; If change is the only certainty in the universe, it is inevitable that things will sometimes grow, and sometimes decay. Some men will grow more gifted
YOU'RE in your mid-twenties and the world is at your feet. You have big dreams and ambitions but things don't go according to plan. Rites of passage
• · Political correctness, as much as fundamentalism, is responsible for our state of absurdity, writes Umberto Eco. Silence is a decree all should fear ; Overhead on radio: "Thank God my daughter finally has a role model who isn'ta princess or a prostitute!" Chris Master on ABC: as told to ABC-TV's Kerry O'Brien this week Chris was compelled to out Jones because "it was impossible to avoid the elephant in the room" Freedom of information is a controversial area. Media organisations in particular take strident viewpoints in favour of full access to governmental documentation. Witness the editorial in The Australian on 7 September 2006 following the High Court's dismissal of that paper's appeal of the Federal Treasurer's refusal to disclose Treasury working papers on bracket creep and the first homeowners' scheme. The Australian's editorial criticised the decision's: "emasculation of the FOI Act" and the Treasurer's "legal trickery and up to $1.5 million of taxpayer money to fight against the public's right to know just how little they truly get back when taxes are cut". The irony of the ABC case of course is that it was a media organisation resisting an FOI request, as opposed to being aggrieved by having a request of its own rejected. Media Dragon & Google Involved In Digital Democracy
• · · Sam seeks sunny side of men; Sweden has a reputation as a nanny state, so it shouldn't be any surprise that it has joined the ranks of countries buffeted by nannies. The fault is not of the nannies themselves, but of politicians who try to pull a fast one when paying for their children's care. Hey nanny no

Monday, November 13, 2006

Internet stocks stage comeback. By Emma Connors, 18/11/2006, The Australian Financial Review, Page 38. Australia's internet and new media companies are attracting strong interest from investors. Their prospects are increasing daily as the number of broadband connections in the nation exceeds 3.5 million. Outstanding performers include online accommodation booking service Wotif.com, job site Seek.com.au and domain-name registry Melbourne IT. Highly regarded companies planning to list soon include Hitwise and RP Data. The online advertising market in Australia is worth $A1bn and growing rapidly. However there are no guarantees - iiNet shares have declined 64 per cent in the year to November 2006. It's a sign of good IT leadership when a CIO takes a different path from his competitors. The Road Less Traveled

Brave Blogging World SEARCHER'S VOICE Hard Times
No one can deny that these are difficult times for traditional publishers and information services.

Competing with voluminous, universally available search services pouring data upon a waiting world at no visible cost — in other words, living in the “Google Age” — leaves services which have to charge to survive struggling. At the same time, trying to charge for content with an end-user market that, in large part, never experienced online before the Web puts the pressure on the content provider to come up with product that consistently and noticeably beats the freebie content every time. That’s a tall, tall order. To satisfy it fully, traditional content providers would probably have to restructure their whole systems, incurring significant, if not massive, cost burdens, and all at a time when their current market hold is decreasing, probably along with their ability to raise capital. In the grip of this challenge and, possibly, clinging to the subconscious, psychological support of the self-inflated ego, many traditionals seem more inclined to simply declare anything they produce, anything bearing their brand, as ipso facto top quality and worth whatever they charge. And, following the internal logic of this semidelusional position, they choose to prove it to those amazingly unobservant end users, unaware of the glory before them, by the most logical approach, to wit, denying them the content until they can learn to show it a proper respect.

When carried to extremes, the whole process can begin to look like a curriculum designed for Lemmings U. In an era when the one universal, first-and-foremost complaint of all information consumers is the issue of overload, an era when people reject the idea of a vacation lasting longer than 7 days because of nightmare visions of digging out from under an avalanche of e-mail messages, an era when not even need or greed can drive people to search one more search engine or even go further than two (three max) pages into Google search results — in this era of answers, answers everywhere drowning questions and questioners, someone wants to hide their data and wait until searchers clamber over hill and dale until they find it. Puh-leez!

And it gets worse. Some producers waver between a pro-Web and anti-Web strategy and come up with a composite business strategy. I’m looking for an analogy here. Zoological ones come to mind. How about “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”? No, that won’t work. After all, despite a somewhat nasty disposition and a distinctly uncomfortable riding surface, a camel can survive in hard places. A camel works. What about a mule? But a mule works too. In fact, it is stronger than the horse, its maternal parent, but no matter how well the hybrid works out, a mule is sterile. It can’t increase its numbers on its own. Sooner or later you’re back working with jackasses.

One classic example of a failure-bound composite business strategy — the me-first one — offers a whole range of mistakes. It wrongly identifies the true competition, attacks allies, diminishes both product quality and brand awareness, and sticks it to end users — all in one fell swoop. For example, this month the Financial Times (FT) will — once again — alter its information flow to its outside carriers. Factiva and LexisNexis, which once operated under a 4-hour embargo delay for Financial Times content — a delay expanded to 12 hours late last year — have to suffer a 24-hour delay.

FT apparently hopes that despondent Factiva and LexisNexis users will migrate to its site, FT.com, where you can get some current content for free and paying can get you more. For example, you can access an FT archive — a rolling 5 years — plus other services for $119 per year or $9.92 a month, while $300 per year or $25 a month will buy all that plus access to 500 World Press Monitor and Archive sources and more. Going to FT’s partner in digitization, ProQuest, may even get you a rolling 10-year FT archive.

Whoopee! Meanwhile, Factiva and LexisNexis offer FT archives reaching back almost a quarter-century (26 for Factiva, 24 for LexisNexis) with full-text collections of other sources numbering over 8,000 (Factiva Publications Library) and 34,000 in LexisNexis. Both Factiva and LexisNexis are busy finding new current business and financial sources to supplement their collections — now more than ever.

So what happens to the user? Both Factiva and LexisNexis have a policy of merging masses of sources into large groupings. It’s highly unlikely that most users will even notice the absence of the most-current FT information. Many times that won’t matter, as some other source will have supplied sufficient information. Sometimes it will matter, because FT will have met time-related user needs before other sources or because FT will have stronger, more informed and informative coverage. Most likely users simply won’t notice. They will think that they have searched FT because they see older FT references in the results. Over time, the breaking-news enthusiasts will simply come to think that FT isn’t a reliable source for the latest information, even in its own areas of focus. (For those not in the business field who don’t know the Financial Times, it amounts to the U.K. equivalent of TheWall Street Journal.)

Whether the marketing strategy works or not, whether the number of subscribers increases on FT.com, the devisers of this strategy have apparently ignored one key factor — a factor, by the way, that the real enemies of all traditionals (Google et al.) hardly ever forget — namely, the interests of the user. This kind of strategy decreases the quality of the content, depriving it of the benefit of full currency. People who use the established outlets for FT will simply not be getting the best FT has to offer, and, depending on which service they are using and which pricing plan, they may not even be getting their money’s worth. Imagine someone having to go back into LexisNexis to check FT a day later under a price-per-search-statement package. But, in any case, it means searchers have to waste their time doing second searches, either a day later on services they know or clicking over to another Web site (FT.com).

Maybe the benefit of gathering more registered users and opening up more advertising revenue opportunities makes the business strategy appealing to FT managers, as it has to other traditional content providers. But I don’t believe that any strategy that disregards the full interests of customers can truly serve the long-term interests of vendors.

Winners think like winners. And, as one big winner is so fond of repeating, “First, do no evil.” ; Calling all moguls: a new haven for mega rich
• · This rocks: Search Engines ; Packer goes public on his desire to go private
• · · With Members back home and no floor and committee activity in October, it can be challenging to keep congressional Web sites fresh and interesting. But election years are exactly when constituents are looking for information from you, so your site needs to remain relevant to their needs The October Challenge: Stagnant Web Sites ; The government is likely to introduce its media reform legislation into parliament this week, but what's not in the Bills might be as important as what is, writes Jock Given Should we rely on the regulators?
• · · · Newspaper magnate Lord Northcliffe famously said 'news is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising'. And when it comes to government in Australia a culture of suppression of information is endemic among politicians and civil servants. - Strike a blow for media and cultural diversity German Labour Rebecca Kaiser and Cuban Liberal Luis m Garcia Waging a cultural revolutionary war

Monday, November 06, 2006

Media Dragon blogs less, but it reads more. Gems like this caome from one and only David aka Barista: A community doesn’t recover its arts community quickly. Once it dissipates, you can’t just fire up a few kids with some guest lecturers and get it going again. It is an intergenerational ecology, a habit of affection between artist and audience. You can pump money into it, but it goes to imported talent, unrooted in the local world. Federal Square doing its hub stuff, inducing thousands to have fun on its slopey bits

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How To Finance a Hollywood BlockbusterStart with a German tax shelter. Behind them dust billows up from trucks that crisscross a giant, uninhabited new town where dozens of ugly, high-rise blocks are hurriedly emerging. This, Spain's biggest single housing project, will soon be home to up to 40,000 people. Raiding Germany's coffers

Sample Of Nobember and Movember Things: Conquering 'Everests of Data' - Anyone can sue anyone at any time

• Tax evasion is like pornography, says Julie Segedin, tax manager at Beattie Rickman. “You may not be able to define it very easily, but you know when you see it.”
And just like pornography, it’s almost impossible to find people who will talk openly about using it. But the wealthy, who are under suspicion of doing their utmost to pay as little tax as they can, are not finding things as easy as they once did, tax experts say. Virtual world: tax man cometh ; Taxman muscles up in hunt for rich tax-dodgers • · > Hungary Commemorates Anniversary of 1956 Revolution Hungary remembers 1956 uprising; Another measure of how inequality has widened since Ronald Reagan was elected shows in the ratio of CEO pay to the average working person. It rose from 42 times in 1980 to 85 times in 1990 and 431 times in 2004. The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class; The next time you submit a Freedom of Information request to a NSW Government department and feel cheated when the pages come back all blacked out, try clicking on the NSW Crown Solicitor's website to better understand what's happened. Trust us, we're government
• · · Library Research ; Wired & Scary moments


1. Take into account that great love and great achievements
involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:
Respect for self,
Respect for others and
Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a
wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate
steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for
your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the
current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your
love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order
to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.