Monday, October 31, 2005

USA Today via Yahoo: Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term

The President is going through Helloween and this article within USA Today looks like a low blow if it was not true.

I find it not strange that two presidential elections could be stolen and declared legitimate until the recent unwinding has begun to bring the house down.

The greater tragedy are the 2000-plus deaths in Iraq and the willful selling out and treason done for the love of money.

There is no recovery to the ignorant bliss of the campaigns current administration within the hearts and minds of people who are not self-medicating themselves on a regular basis.

Every pillar and sector of support given to the current administration is getting its nose pushed into the intentional mess day-by-day.

I am now regularly praying for President Bush's safety because out of all that has happened and could happen, thank God that we do not yet have a Judas VP named Cheney becoming President.

Do not turn your back on him Mr. President because he is clearly looking at your chair now more than ever literally and figuratively.

Friday, October 28, 2005

One Indicted, More to Come: Libby Indicted

Cheney aide Libby charged in leak probe

This tipping point is going to send ripples through the bureaucracy of government for a very long time.

Libby was a primary architect for the War in Iraq.

Census Bureau Report States Internet Use Up, but So Is User Concern

The report released by the Census Bureau includes some interesting information on the lowest internet usage Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana and the highest usage rates within Alaska, New Hampshire and Colorado.

I can see that the warmer states have a low internet usage and colder climate states have a higher usage.

But the education, income, and poverty rates clearly play into the statistics as well.

In terms of the role that sex plays in using the internet, women are slightly more likely than men to use a computer at home and this is a reverse of a historical trend.

Internet use is still primarily done at work (56% of working adults) versus the home which is keeping an artificial ceiling on what is truly possible.

Then 42% of workplaces incorporate the internet into their daily activities.

For more information, read the article and use the links below.

On The Net:

U.S. Census Bureau:

Consumer Reports Webwatch:

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Music and Media Companies Are Freefalling

A lot of companies are having a hard time dealing with change.  Here are two articles that have caught my attention since I have participated in both industries:

Music industry still singing the blues

Sorrell sees media industry 'panic' over Internet

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We Are Witnessing The Perfect Storm versus W

So this is what shooting fish in a barrel looks like even without the leak within the White House:

Possible fraud seen in Iraq contracts: US report

Coverage of Americans wounded in Iraq war leaves US media hurting

Ex-Democratic presidential candidate Kerry blasts Bush over Iraq 'misadventure'

Roney Smith Podcast Episode # 1 October 25, 2005

Here are the show notes for the first Roney Smith podcast episode # 1.  To receive the podcast within your podcasting software, just use the regular feed address to subscribe.

Opening comments
New Podcast for Ministry
Podcast will cover technology and anything that ignites my passion
Equipment used and connections required
Software used Audacity
Free storage for MP3 file:  Geocities, MSN, etc.
Hope to make contact with others
Childhood and teenage years of pretend radio station:  WEFUNK with song "P. Funk" by Parliament played in place of the national anthem
High school broadcasting club
Our own jingles, commercials, announcements, news, playlist, and chart
Fondest memories during summer vacations
24 hour broadcast
Mr. Microphone with built-in FM transmitter took us to another level
Mixtapes on school trips
History repeats itself
Idea is now reality with podcasting
Goal is to keep the podcast under 12 to 15 minutes at an extreme maximum
Idea received from US Senator Barack Obama's podcast
Future conversations via Skype, Gizmo, etc.
Initial episode is the roughest and will improve
Correction:  Podcast was recorded on October 25, 2005 and not October 18th as stated within podcast.
Feedback and comments wanted
Send E-mail and questions
Share the web address to podcast desired for listeners

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The VP Is The Point Man and Lightning Rod

Newsview is reporting that Vice-President Cheney is becoming a more central figure in the exposure of an intelligence agent after her husband criticized the Bush administration's claims of Iraq trying to obtain materials for "weapons of mass destruction".

Cheney has been one not to bite his tongue and his track record is going to become a greater liability for the White House through 2008.

One funny impact of the latest reports is how the media is now including their credentials, expertise, and other documentation to avoid any improprieties in reporting anything relating to the White House.

Everyone is definitely within CYA mode when it comes to handling the White House these days and Cheney and others will have to play hard ball on another level than they have played before.

Character assassinations are going to be the tip of the iceberg within this controversy that clearly will never go away as long as Cheney is VP.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Republican Sucker Punches!!!

Yahoo has a page featuring a Reuters story that VP Cheney told his chief of staff Libby that the wife of a Bush administration critic was a CIA operative.

Who could have imagined such a twist?

Then Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is on NBC's "Meet The Press" saying that potential indictments surrounding the case would be "technicalities".

If it gets any deeper, then reality tv won't be needed;)

Everyone close to me in age remembers the Watergate hearings that kept cartoons and afternoon shows off the air.

This is going to get so deep that nothing less than a resignation within the Cabinet meeting room and/or prison time of White House staff will be required.

Slavery Redux via Prisons

On Yahoo! appears a Reuters article on how the prison population grew even though crime rates were down.

I know that there are violent criminals who would rather kill and cause bodily harm than get a job, but slavery has been allowed to continue under the disguise of protecting public safety and harsher punishments for those who would threaten our American way of life.

The Southern states have been leading the way within incarceration rates and undoubtedly these same states were the ones below the Mason-Dixon line in the opinions and operations of slavery.  States above the Mason-Dixon line have the lowest rates of incarceration.

It seems that the way for No Child to be left behind is for the child to commit a crime since prisons are the places receiving the taxpayer funds that schools should receive.

But if the prisons are indeed the new schools, then their graduates are more likely to return to attend graduate school.

Maybe looking at the country with the second-highest rate of incarceration should tell something even more interesting.  Ranked number two is China and its government is based on communism with a population of 1.3 billion people.  Our democracy has only 296 million people and we're number one in putting people behind bars.

So sad:(

Near-Deviant Fixation Turns Hunter Into Prey

The Los Angeles Times is reporting how Vice-President Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby became obsessed with former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his criticism of the Bush administration to the extent of putting a full-court press to find and counter any information, opinions, and appearances within the American media. 

The online cyberstalking and offline stalking evidently formed the environment in which Wilson's wife was exposed as being an undercover CIA officer.

The meticulous nature of Libby is well known and admirable by his colleagues and ironically this same attention to detail gives more credibility that he was involved in the leaking of the agent's name.

The amazing part of this to me is the totally consuming loyalty which is beginning to appear as the ticket of admission for a relationship within the Bush administration.  Forget your personal ethics, code of honor, and sense of right and wrong in order to join the team.  Leave common sense at the door it appears.  What initiation ceremonies are a part of getting an appointment or selection are unknown at this point.  But it is clear that "drinking the Kool-Aid" is absolutely a major requirement.

Libby evidently drank the Kool-Aid offered to him and as a demonstration of his role as a Cheney lap dog, Libby became a mongrel of a full-bred bloodhound and pit bull guard dog.

Cheney more than likely relished in his subject's adoration and his refusal to give an order to stand down to Libby is going to spread like wildfire through the Bush administration as a result.

Overpursuit on the wrong issues and topics is deadly and when ulterior motives are thrown within the mix, the house of cards should not play with matches while occupying the master bedroom.

One sure sign of the fruit going bad is the growing comments of others on the staff who are looking to achieve some degree of separation from the guilty.

The political body count is about to be filled with the fanatics who would answer any call at any hour "for the good of the country" even though the strategies and tactics would be dead wrong.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Has Natalee Holloway Been Discovered or Pushed To The Backburner?

The political news is funny in the way that it can evaporate anything on a micro, individual level.

There is virtually no news about the missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway anymore.

I just checked a page that Yahoo had created to follow the story and the last article was dated in August while a very interesting article was dated in late September 2005.

The moment I heard about Holloway's disappearance I felt that she became a victim of human traffickers and forced into an international prostitution ring after watching HBO's "The Wire" for the past several seasons.

I still feel this way and after reading
"Natalee Holloway is Not Aruba's Only Crime Problem" within the National Ledger , I wonder if this is the news that everyone knows but has yet to tell the family.

The article is dated August 10th and practically gives a roadmap while leaving the final destination off the map.  You simply cannot beat around the bushes better than the writer
Jim Kouri did.

Amazingly and with undeniable clarity, the article contains a footnote that references two governmental agencies and a think-tank that seem as credible as one would want to find.

I believe that Holloway is still alive until her discovery becomes a greater threat to the system that wiped her off the face of the traceable earth.

The Iraqgate Engine Is Really Beginning To Rev Up Along with The 21st Century Sale of America to the Highest Bidder Disclosure

The magazine "The Nation" has a blog saying that The Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the CIA leak must be expanded to determine whether there was a conspiracy to deceive Congress into thinking that there was justification for authorizing the war in Iraq.

My question is why is Congress among the last to think that there was never a conspiracy to begin with?

I know that many Republicans especially in 1998 and 2000 were elected to office on the premise that they were not like President Clinton with an improper interest with an intern, but you cannot throw out all logic with the emotions of being disappointed at a political leader.

Then the entire religious reform of evangelical Christians became a political movement while still being able to justify the exclusion or ignoring of anyone (the poor and minorities) who was not a regular attendee within their worship services.

Now the entire system seems to be in the process of being crushed under its own weight and the disillusionment is going to escalate.

Yes Virginia, you were played like a badly tuned fiddle and you really wanted to believe that the current administration was upright, decent, and full of integrity.

It never took a rocket scientist to see the opportunistic nature of Vice-President Dick Cheney who is leading my personal race for being one of the most unAmericans ever elected to political office. 

Who can afford to risk their children's lives in trick-or-treating at Cheney's house?

With Cheney's well-documented connections to the military industrial complex both as a former secretary of defense and other political roles relating to national security and foreign policy, how could anyone think that the well-meaning and religious President Bush was nothing less than a figurehead while others such as Cheney who had more experience at the highest levels of government were "on the team" to endorse W's run for president in 2000 and to give it an air of credibility?

Looking back, it is as if someone put out the belief that "well you know that he really cannot do much damage with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell being on the team and the belief was bought in bulk quantities by anyone who wanted to live as a winner vicariously through the cowboy, rough and tumble, and call-it-as-I-see-it president from Texas.

We now see that Powell was an insurance policy that was allowed to lapse as he was lied to in order to lie to everyone else within America.

The rest of us who could never vote Republican without the personal self-inflicted threat of mental problems could only stand by and see former presidential candidates Gore and Kerry fold at the most inopportune time when everyone knew that both elections were being stolen with Democratic consent in order to maintain the "fabric of the Constitution" and prevent mass anarchy from requiring martial law from coast to coast.

The stock market started falling in March 2000 when the appearance of a potential Bush victory began to surface and Republican business owners and investors started dumping manpower and cutting costs as if the playbook was already distributed and practiced from the 80s when Reagan was president.

Anyone who does not see the connected dots does not want to.  Keep living the fantasy to think that we truly live within a democracy.  It is a myth just like minimum wage.

Now with mothers who drive SUVs losing sons during the theft of America finally getting a wake up call, career intelligence officials being strategically exposed to punish and induce silence from others, and religious leaders both black and white trying to increase their influence and prestige by getting invited to White House parties, photo opportunities, and faith-based initiatives without clearly any regard to the potential downside and personal risk of influence if the deals go bad.

As a Christian and pastor, my greatest concern is about the unsaved who will now use President Bush and other political players and wannabes as reasons to not get saved.

Now we will begin to see the lifeboats and rafts being prepared and staffed as if the Titanic was discovered to really be the official name of the Queen Mary II and other luxury cruise ships.

It is about to get even more ugly before 2008 gets here just on the political front.

The cynicism of baby boomers of the previous decades is about to get transferred to their children via in-vitro fertilization and with this new younger generation that was already pessimistic of authority, I wonder if there will ever be a chance for democracy without buying the country on a wholesale manner via the lack of campaign reform versus buying individual votes and intentional-but-accidental ("oops") voter fraud within strategic states.

Forget buying the individual votes, just buy enough congresspersons like DeLay and change the rules of the game itself versus buying the power at the micro level.

Enough said, change is here and maybe the reality of mankind and government will strengthen us if it does not kill us all.

Just one more question, does anyone want to revisit Senator Kerry's meant-to-be private statement during the 2004 presidential campaign "they are all crooks"?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Behind the Veil: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson on US foreign policy

The Financial Times of London and multiple media outlets are reporting a partial transcript of Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson's speech to a Washington, D.C. think-tank called the New America Foundation that is going create havoc domestically and internationally for some time to come.

Col. Wilkerson is the former right-hand man of 16 years to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  As a result, he has seen more relating to foreign and domestic policy up close, and face-to-face than most others could only fantasize about.

Colonel Wilkerson's words are the kind of words that only come from brave Americans and are usually followed by multiple attempts by blindly loyal followers to totally discredit him if not worse.

I know that the Republican pundits will throw every piece of possible dirt his way beginning this coming Sunday morning on the political talk shows.

I also know that the in-fighting among the Republican Party will increase as well since Col. Wilkerson's words puts the military industrial complex into scramble mode.

Read the transcript for yourself and you will see that his words are made of the material that starts a string of ironic deaths from supposed natural causes, car accidents, muggings, suicides, homocides, and a whole lot of freak accidents that there are not enough
people who are into conspiracy theories and tv shows like CSI to get a handle on.

One definitely has to keep their eyes and ears open in order to connect the random dots that are going to virtually appear overnight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sticky, Did You Leave Your Gun On Purpose?

The New York Daily News reports that rapper-turned actor Kirk "Sticky (formerly Sticky Fingaz)" Jones was arrested and charged with a weapons violation after checking out of a New York hotel.

I heard years ago that the State of New York has some of the most stringent gun laws and as a New York native, I find it hard to imagine that Kirk somehow forgot the gun.

Kirk appears within FX's "Over There" and I have not missed an episode yet.

I wonder if this news is one of the planted situations where "there is no such thing as bad press";)

It sounds like something from the movie "Fear of A Black Hat" that was more accurate about hip hop and my fellow rappers than most would want to admit.

Invent or Reinvent The Wheel With Ning!

Not too long ago on either Digg or, I heard of a new website named Ning that has several social application websites available for use. 

What I mean by "social application websites" is that you have the ability to freely use the concept or programming used by well known websites like, Flickr, and others that have a social community established and maintained by simply using the websites.

The kicker of this concept is that you can actually create your own social networking website or clone the framework and infrastructure from an existing application found on the website if you have obtained a free developer's account status.  Cloning an existing application means that you do not have to know any programming basically and can simply change the colors and name of the existing application website to be off and running with your own idea.

I registered to obtain the developer's status and although there was an initial backlog, my status was upgraded yesterday.  I believe that Ning will be granting new requests for developer status at a faster pace.

A ton of ideas flowed through my head immediately upon discovering Ning and although I made the mistake of not writing them all down, there are more than enough ideas posted and in use on the website to discover new ways to improve the communities that I have created and/or will create.

Last night I logged in and saw that the developer status was immediately built into my free account and I proceeded to create an application entitled "Spit The Next Line" by cloning an existing one. 

Spit The Next Line is a simple idea where the users will create an ongoing hip hop rap by adding one or two lines or even another verse to a new or existing rap.  It was the first idea that came to mind with the shortest time to create it to actually create even though I had other ideas.

I changed the settings and near the end of the process, I noticed that the new word I was using (line) was an actual part of the programming within the application.  It was getting pretty late as well.  As a result, I knew that I had created a bug to be found throughout the entire application and it probably would not work as planned.

Being that my skills in programming are decent but not sufficient enough to know the critical difference on how to debug the application with such a simple-but-complex-error like this, I discovered that you can actually delete an application.  So I did and started all over again.  Now I think that it probably would have worked still, but hey why spend too much time on it when it did not take a lot of time in the first place?

Check Ning out for yourself, create or clone an application, and let me know.  I know many communities that would greatly benefit from such an idea.

This time around I am going to leave the terminology alone on this first experiment and hopefully the users will get the idea and use it anyway.

With a website like Ning, you can save a ton of money in programming hours and dollars, and create a new concept website or reinvent the wheel without spending a lot of time, energy, and effort, and dollars to do it.  This is Web 2.0 if I ever heard of it;)

Only 11% of African-Americans Disapprove of Slavery Reparations

A recent survey conducted within Atlanta, Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Columbia, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla. indicates that the vast majority of African-Americans believe that the federal government should compensate blacks for slavery.

Until the reparations are distinctly paid in some form of compensation, the issue remains a drag on the progress of America as a country and an international power.

Many around the world have the sentiment that the USA is very hypocritical in foreign policy when its own domestic policy exists within direct opposition of any arguments put forth to foreign governments to change their ways to emulate America.

Rep. Major R. Owens: Follow Black Voters to National Salvation

U.S. Rep. Major R. Owens has written the best blog entry that I believe for the rest of the year and it appears on Yahoo regarding the highest disapproval rating given to an American President by African-American voters.

It simply does not get any better than his words regarding politics!

Sentiments expressed within the book "The Wisdom of Crowds" are mentioned also in terms of African-American voters being perhaps the best indicator of whether a President is likely to do a good job while in office.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pot Calling The Kettle Black: Africa worst offender on world corruption list

Reuters is reporting today that Africa ranks as the most corrupt continent within a recent survey.

I wonder how the nationality of the surveyed business people, politicians, and other opinion provider play into the poll results.

Africa clearly has been savagely plundered for centuries both externally and within.

If the cradle of mankind had been allowed to keep and capitalize upon its own wealth versus being the continual victim, I wonder what difference would have been made.

Probably Africa would be declared the most brutal or worst offender for managing its own affairs.

Regardless, the survey and opinions both reflect a lack of historical reflection.

In the meantime, I will not be accepting any e-mail offers from any princes, kings, or exiled governmental officials either;)

Google Offers Glimpse at Data Collection

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting how Google is disclosing how it collects personal information from users of its various services.

Last week I realized that Google is becoming more of an utility company than anything else and would be eventually regulated by the federal government as a result.

There are tons of information being willingly handed over to Google since they are effectively reducing the need for having lots of hard drive space.

Google will keep all of your information and all you then need is internet access.

On one hand I like the freedom from hard drive space, but the privacy issues and security of the servers being used by Google (the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment) tells me that governmental oversight is cleared needed at some point in time.

Feds Want Banks to Strengthen Web Log-Ons

The Associate Press (AP) is reporting that "federal regulators will require banks to strengthen security for Internet customers through authentication that goes beyond mere user names and passwords, which have become too easy for criminals to exploit".

If this is not a case where Big Brother is seeking greater access into the lives of individuals, I do not know what is.

It sounds as if the growing trend of identity theft is actually being used as a smokescreen to supposedly protect people.

Whenever "biometrics or "smart" cards that would be inserted into designated readers on a user's computer" are being thrown about within the media, you should know that the propaganda machine is already in motion to program millions drip by drip.

The situation is dangerous because the reality still remains that the likelihood of theft is mcuh lower than the absolute guarantee of the monitoring (within times good and bad) if such federal requirements are implemented.

Red Cross in critics' cross hairs

USA Today is reporting that the Red Cross is catching some heat over its operations in light of the recent natural disasters.

Shortly after Katrina hit, I heard a minister say that donating to the Red Cross would not be a good idea and it threw me off balance to hear such a criticism.

Then the words became true as there were reports in metro Atlanta of the Red Cross' inability to properly deliver aid to hurricane survivors that were seeking help.

Although I heard that the Red Cross may be a part of the Department of Homeland Security, I do not believe that it is true.  But I know that the Red Cross was pushed to the front of the line of the places people should donate to more and more lately.

So the risk of potential abuse had no choice but to be increased.

After seeing reports of how churches were overlooked and ignored by FEMA and the Red Cross while knowing where the aid was needed and being the central location of some areas, I now believe that any further problems of the Red Cross are more than likely self-inflicted.

The Real Benefit of the Apple Video iPod

MSNBC has a great article on the new Apple Video iPod and a couple of other cool electronic devices.

After hearing the official news that was already being talked and written about online, I agree with MSNBC's writer Gary Krakow that Apple's new ability to offer the video on both the individual computer monitors is just as important if not more so than the Video iPod itself.

Most people will not stand in line to buy a Video iPod at midnight when it goes on sale, but many will already be fully hooked and addicted to looking at tv shows, music videos, and other video on their computer screens by the time they finally buy one.  So Apple deserves more credit for generating demand for video (as they have done for podcasts) than anything else.

Plus, I'd rather wait and allow the early adopters to find the bugs for Apple to workout before buying one anyway.  Being the last of the early adopters is a good position to be in.

After reading the article, the Archos device did pique my curiosity:)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thriller Threshold within the Smith Household

This afternoon our oldest daughter Rachel asked me if I knew any Halloween songs.  My first reaction and answer was no.

But just as quick as the first answer came to me, the only song that had a creepy theme popped in my head even though it was not intended to be a Halloween song.

I tried to sing a few bars of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" only to find myself in the wrong musical key and not quite remembering the lyrics other than the chorus.

So I told Rachel that I would find it and play it for her once we arrived home from Pre-K.

I knew that the song should be located on MJ's "History" album CD and after searching high and low for the travel pak of CDs (which happened to be located beneath my computer keyboard sliding drawer), I popped the album into the CD player and we were off to the races.

Our youngest daughter Hailey did not like the way "Thriller" started and immediately left the room.  She is only 2 and immediately knows whether something is supposedly scary without waiting for a second opinion:)

Rachel sat down in my chair at the computer and listened.  I think that she expected something scarier and was rather surprised at how upbeat the song is.

Then as any good father would do, I did my best "Thriller" choreography for Rachel and she hooted and howled while shaking her head;)  She simply didn't quite get it and I will look for the video to show her at some point.

But my statement about the video was "you will see how they dance like Daddy".  This is the stretch of the day;))

After the song went off and other songs started playing, we noticed that Hailey started rocking while playing some blocks to "The Way You Make Me Feel" quite rhythmically and naturally.

Both Rachel and Hailey stopped playing for a moment and glued their eyes to the television screen.

I then realized that they were expecting the video more than anything else at this point.  So I know that they will get a kick within the coming years to find out what else their parents enjoyed while growing up.

Thank you Michael Jackson for making music that families immediately love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Desperate Times Make Strange Bedfellows!

Reuters is reporting tonight a breaking news story that Microsoft and Yahoo will allow users of their instant messaging services to contact each other.

This news reminds of when companies stopped charging their customers to send e-mail outside of their network.

Microsoft's MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are both great tools and now I believe that it will signal the end of online companies belief that protecting their own turf is the most critical position even though the online business models that are generating the most profits and capturing the most market share are built upon sharing and the open source philosophy.

The amount of collaboration between former to-the-death competitors will only increase to include more companies and additional services by default.

I have been using the Trillian service which allows instant messaging services to be used from multiple service providers (MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and AIM are bundled for use within Trillian) simultaneously.  Trillian will have to incorporate some new aspect or feature or benefit to maintain its unique selling benefit while the industry's innovations will further allow new ideas to bubble to the surface.

Developments such as this one can only benefit the consumer in the long run.

The only downside to such news will occur to the shareholders of eBay since it will further prove that eBay spent too much money to acquire Skype.  The costs all around are dropping while the amount of money spent for sheer creativity, inclusion, and opening of closed doors will have to be increased.

Yahoo Strikes Back with Blogs and Podcasts

This morning I have read two news stories about Yahoo and experimented with the two websites referenced within the articles.

It seems that Yahoo is getting back into the game of internet portal business in a very big way.  One article referenced how Yahoo rather "lost its way" when Google surpassed them as the most visited search engine and now that the entire internet industry is focusing on enabling individual people to create and publish content online via blogs and podcasts.

Since Apple released the iPod, everyone on the cutting edge has been focused on podcasts.  A company like Apple can take an obscure technology and make it more digestible for the mainstream society to accept it.  Apple initially reduced the risk for a lot of people with podcasts and today's news about Yahoo is going to reduce the learning curve even more.

Let's take a look at how Yahoo is going to add to the world of blogging and blogs.

The AP reported this morning that Yahoo Adds Blogs to Its News Section and the addition is one that flies in the face of Google's logic in eliminating blogs from its regular search results as much as it possibly can and to create a separate search page if you want to search for a topic within unknown blogs in particular.

Yahoo is allowing people to look for topics and information within blogs on its NEWS PAGE within its search results.  This means that for any topic or keywords imaginable, you can find out what individual people are blogging about that very same topic or using those keywords within their blogs.

This distinction is extremely notable for Yahoo essentially recognizes anyone who blogs about a topic as credible as professional journalists .

The same discussions that have taken place over the history of mankind will clearly resurface.  The issue fundamentally boils down to asking the question of who is more credible:  the supposed professional who went to school to study a subject and completed some type of formal apprenticeship process; or someone else more than likely highly fascinated by a topic, potentially self-taught, very more than likely an early adopter within the industry surrounding the topic, and extremely possible first on the scene or quickly rushed to the scene (online or offline) based upon their intimate knowledge of the subject being discussed at hand.

But I have been on both sides of the table to know that whenever people are eating good food that they do not always ask where the cook went to college but rather how good the food really is.

The challenge for those who went through formal training and education programs is to know that their importance to the industry has not been diminished and their significance has actually increased through more people talking and sharing knowledge and information about the topic.

But the costs to participate or be recognized as an expert within any topic have gone down tremendously.  Only those endeavors which require significant amounts of capital may potentially exclude some people from participating but not from sharing their opinions and research on the matter.  One critical role that does not distinguish the professional from the amateur is one photography plays.

No one really is concerned whether a photo of a news story is a paid professional or not as long as the photo is true, accurate, and not staged.  The same applies to the reporting of other news events as well.

Yahoo also offers bloggers a way to submit their blog to be potentially included within the search results and this is nothing short of being noted as worthwhile to any blogger or searcher for information on a topic.

The other news being reported today is that Yahoo is offering resources regarding podcastsThe fastest benefit recognized is that people will know where to look even if they have not downloaded or listened to a podcast yet.  This clearly helps anyone who has already created a podcast or simply has only blogged in the past or thinking about doing either one (since the same information can be found through searching for the topic or keyword).

Yahoo's work involving podcasts is simply following within Apple's efforts and more people will be exposed to the existence of podcasts as a result.  The same podcasts that are most popular via Apple iTune's directory appear to be topping the list of podcasts on Yahoo but only for the short-term it appears.  This difference appears to be in the way that people have already subscribed to an existing podcast.

As more people start subscribing to podcasts, there is going to be a need for some type of Nielsen-reporting company to certify the number of actual subscribers and their frequency of listening especially if the podcast involves any type of paid-advertising.  Podcasters in many cases will want the ability to state that they have the most active subscribers as well.

Since a lot of the existing podcasts have been subscribed to in mutually exclusively ways and unless there is a company aggregating the subscriber numbers, the podcasts being listed as the most popular only means that users of that particular website have been subscribing to the podcast and have made it most popular as a result.

I just realized that this need for subscriber data raises the value of a company such as Feedburner since they already know how many subscribers each blog or podcast will have if their tools are used.  Podcasts subscribed through Apple's iTunes are only known to Apple and the podcasters who have configured their podcast to work via iTunes currently.

Such news events from Yahoo signal the growing importance of an individual in producing multimedia for worldwide consumption.  It is already easy to see how video will be incorporated more and the potential 500 channels of television previously talked about will be even larger.  The key to success is to go deeper into the endeavor's past, present, and future and more intimately than others since no single channel or podcast or video blog will have a monopoly as in previous years.

I just hope to be a part of the process in some way and grow both as an individual and with my company.  Therefore, I tip my hat off to Yahoo on both fronts for making the future potential easier to reach.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Doubt Accompanies Lame & Crippled Ducks No Matter Where They Turn

Yahoo linked to an interesting blog today and with the delays that were encountered in the Gulf States, increasing the military's power and role domestically will not be seen as a potential solution in the hands of the current administration.

It seems that anything and everything that could be a threat is being raised as justification for more power, more corruption, and more cronyism.

Great article!!

Bull-Headed Bennett Simply Refuses To Get It

Yahoo has an online article that former Education Secretary William Bennett still does not understand the problem with his recent comments.

He is currently blaming the media for blowing his words out of context.  I still believe that his words were not taken out of context.

The article includes the following:

Bennett's comment on his show, "Morning in America," came in response to a caller's question regarding a recent book that suggested an increase in the abortion rate has helped reduce the crime rate.

Bennett said: "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Bennett, who is an abortion opponent, went on to say that such abortions would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

Basically, Bennett is failing to empathize with people who were offended with his remarks in spite of his supposedly well-intentioned meaning and radio show.

He really needs to fall on his own sword and apologize not for his meaning, but how the words were received.  This is what has been reported.

There is still no way that he can claim his words should be interpreted differently when he included the phrase "but your crime rate would go down" within his comments.

This phrase fully removed the benefit of the doubt regardless of what he meant to say or be understood as saying.

Since his line of thinking and discourse is often repeated through his political party, the patriarchal thinking of "we know what is best for you" will not sudden end or diminish anytime soon.

This is why short-term appointments, pork, and other attempts to gain minority votes continually fail when it is clear to generations that our feelings, sentiments, and words continually fall upon deaf ears.

Apologize for the reception of your words Mr. Bennett or remain in the corner for the rest of American history.

Rediscovering the Usenet via Google Groups

Earlier this morning, I saw a blog entry that mentioned Google is now offering RSS feeds for Google Groups.  I immediately wondered if there was anything worthwhile to subscribe to since I believed that most people had already joined various mailing lists years ago for information related to hobbies, interests, and special products and services.

I had already joined a couple of different Google Groups several months or a couple of years ago and discovered that there was very little traffic or a reason to pay a return visit often.

The most interesting part of Google Groups is the fact that Google had acquired's archive of Usenet News postings in February 2001.

For those who may not know or remember this piece of internet history, Usenet News existed to a certain degree before mailing lists rose in popularity and were somewhat reserved for those who knew how to access the messages and threads through Usenet reader programs. 

The learning curve was not really that high, but you had to be really interested in learning the steps necessary to actually use the Usenet on a daily basis. 

Google Groups with RSS feeds makes it possible to incorporate the Usenet into your daily life or to have immediate access whenever you remember that you have another tool and resource available to find information that interests you.

Microsoft had included an usenet reader program built into the free program Outlook Express (included within Windows) many years ago and it is still available within Outlook.  I believe that Outlook Express is still the main component to access Usenet groups within Outlook though.

Most people years ago had and probably still have no clue of how to find, read, and gain access Usenet groups even though the ability is still on their desktop computers everyday.  Google Groups simply made it easier to use the Usenet groups.

Mailing lists increased so much in popularity that it was the old die-hards that would not give up using the Usenet and probably have been the same people who have continued to use Google Groups.

Usenet groups were the places where one of the earliest forms of spam was found.  I know that I contributed my share back in the days when I was still experimenting to discover what would really work online in terms of e-commerce.  The Usenet is probably the greatest reason that I receive the large amount of spam that I do (until I started using Gmail as a spam filter and my primary e-mail program).

So to avoid spam, use
Google Groups instead.

Google's acquisition of the Usenet archives also really provides a better timeline of the internet in my opinion than any other archive since it predates the world wide web as a browser and user interface for accessing information within a more graphical form.

I also read this morning that the first Usenet message was posted in 1979 while Google's archive and timeline goes back to May 11, 1981.  Check out the timeline and you will some interesting moments of history shown.  My earliest message (that is still able to be located) ever sent via the Usenet was on November 25, 1995 shortly after I founded TNL Internet Solutions on November 1, 1995.

Google started taking Deja's archive of the Usenet to another level shortly after acquiring the company.  When Google Groups was incorporated into a Google Account, it virtually eliminated any storage space requirements that would eventually tax your local computer.  In a way, keeping your favorite Usenet messages was just as important back in the day as keeping your e-mail for those of us who are digital pack-rats.

Google's way of easing the local computer's storage space requirements have been nothing short of amazing and such strategies have changed the way business is now conducted online. 

Google is essentially cataloguing the entire internet on a micro and macro level and their advertisements which appear on each page justify the costs in providing the services for free as well as for the individual in giving up the personal right or desire to have to buy more hard drive space to keep all of your data (regardless of how relevant it actually maybe).  This is why you will see more services being offered for free when you would have had to pay an individual price to stay current or keep your data in the past.

The reason that Google Groups is now important is that you can continue to find more information in a growing variety of ways than you ever could before.  Now you can even go to Google Groups and search places that you probably did not know existed before.

If the Usenet groups had successfully crossed over to join Google Groups or still exist, these groups represent some of the best places to obtain information by some of the most in-depth, knowledgeable, and fanatical users imaginable.  The people that you will find there really know their stuff!!!

I simply wish that I had a list of the Usenet groups that I had subscribed to years ago although I have found many of them where I had either posted a message to them through the search capability built into Google Groups.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

How To Easily Blog For People With Really Something Worthwhile To Say

I am writing this blog entry especially for several of my friends, online acquaintances, and others to strongly encourage them to start blogging as soon as possible.  This is not the first time that I have mentioned this to you either;)

It is one thing to send messages for the limited audience that subscribes to the same mailing list that we are both subscribers of versus making your thoughts, opinions, and expertise available for the entire world. 

Even when you probably sent past messages to people you thought would benefit from the message, you probably forgot someone accidentally.

Your thoughts and expertise are so passionate on the topic that I have read most of your messages on that I know that you have an audience that is ready, willing, and able to turn to you for advice, counsel, and guidance just like the audience that sits in front of Oprah on tv and around the world.

I recently composed a blog entry regarding my Fraternity that could easily apply to other people within the African-American community or mankind period.  There is too much wisdom that could really make a critical difference not being recorded and made available for other people worldwide.  Blogging makes this process very simple to create an archive for you and your family to have permanent access to and you can even restrict access if you desire.  You will always be in complete and full control of how your wisdom and information is used and received.

You might say that you are not releasing the cure for cancer anytime soon, but believe me there is somebody who is going to say "I knew that I did not feel this way alone" or "I am not the only one am I?" or "I am not alone in feeling this way" or "thank God that somebody finally said it".

So here are the most simple steps to start your blog.  You will have to wait until a chip is in your hand or forehead for it to get any easier:))

I use Blogger and it is owned by Google.  I do not consider myself an early user of Blogger but each month that I have been blogging, the free service has gotten easier to use.

I am not sure but one potential reason that everything has gotten easier is that I use another Google free service called Gmail.  I have invitations available if you want to try out the Gmail service yourself, but you can indeed continue to use the same e-mail program that you are currently using.

Gmail just allows me to use any computer connected to the internet versus being tied down to a single computer.  I truly feel mobile:)

Once you sign up and register for a free service like Blogger or another similar one, here is what you want to do.

1.  Go immediately to the control panel or management area where you can change the settings for the blog.  Within Blogger, the icon looks like a gear wheel like a bicycle chain would fit around on a bicycle.

2.  Then click on the E-mail link at the top of the page.  You should look for the Mail-to-Blogger Address.  Enter at least 4 characters (numbers or letters combination that you will remember) into the field, click the Publish box, and then click the Save Settings iconRemember this newly created e-mail address (the whole thing and not just the 4 characters entered).

Just FYI, the BlogSend Address that appears above is the email address that will receive any new blog entries created by yourself whenever you create a new blog entry or better yet, when anyone leaves a comment on your blog. 

I basically use it as a quality control check just to make sure that the new blog entry was indeed created.  It really comes in helpful when others leave comments that I would probably miss otherwise.  I have entered the e-mail address associated with my cell phone in the field so I will be notified via a SMS text message.

3.  Then click on the Site Feed link that appears right beside the Email link near the top of the page.  This change will allow your blog to be received by other people via e-mail, a RSS reader such as Google Reader, My Yahoo, or My MSN or received and used within a variety of ways.

4.  Change the Publish Site Feed setting to Yes.

5.  Change the Descriptions setting to Full.

6.  Change your Site Feed URL (file name) to end with atom.xml.  I am not sure whether the URL can end with anything other than atom.xml, but I have seen other pages use other names.

7.  Click the Save settings button at the bottom of the page.

You can now start blogging directly from e-mail and you would send your blog entries just like you have sent past e-mails to the e-mail address you created earlier within Step 2.

I know this is going to blow your mind but with the number of e-mails that you already have created and sent in the past, you probably have already written a book that would be well received by the same people who will subscribe to your blog.

The only potential tragedy in this is whether you were using an e-mail program that actually kept a copy of your sent messages.

Go back and locate your past sent e-mails and just post them to your blog.  You can even use the same date and time that the messages were sent to quickly create new blog entries without having to spend a lot of time wondering what to blog about next.

There is another free service called Feedburner that will help you create the icons that other people will use to subscribe to your blog.  I will not go into the details here, but know that the process has just gotten easier and you have no excuse not to blog.

One word of caution:  do not release or publicize the e-mail address that you will send blog entries to.  Use the Bcc function (blind carbon copy which does not not allow other recipients to see your special blog e-mail address) and enter the e-mail address there if you want to really write once and publish the message everywhere.

If you release or publicize the e-mail address that automatically creates your blogs, then you will have left the barn door open.  It is suggested that other people are allowed to leave reasonable comments or you can add others to write blog entries on the same blog.  But adding new contributors to your blog should be intentional versus accidental.

Here is one page where I am now creating content with others and it is being read as a mailing list, website, and within RSS reader websites and software.  Once the process is set up, it is seamless and automatic.

I intentionally chose to blog via e-mail after recently losing a very nice blog entry that was being created but lost at the point of hitting the publish button.  Although I basically remember the bulk of what was written, I have not found the energy to labor over it again. Gmail now has an automatic save feature to prevent the message from being accidently lost.  It also has a lot of nice formatting features that I was feeling limited from using directly on the Blogger website.

You can also blog from your cell phone by sending a SMS text message to your blog e-mail address or from your Blackberry, PDA, or Pocket PC device.  The number of ways of creating a blog entry is then limited to your imagination.

The next time you are in line at the DMV, post office, or anywhere where the line queue or delay is killing you, create a blog about it.

When you do not want to spend a lot of time away from your current activity, just send a title or one or two sentences and complete the blog entry later.  The key is not to lose the energy within the moment.

For anyone who has written a song, poem, or other creative work, just ask them how it feels to not write the lyric or content when the inspiration initially hit.  I know that I have lost multi-platinum songs this way already;)

Let people know that your blog is available both at the URL that Blogger gives as well as the Site Feed URL from Step 6. Feedburner lets you see how many people have subscribed to your blog and a host of other good things I will share later unless you find out first directly from them. 

Do not worry about having a ton of subscribers initially because if you write it, they will come:)

Definitely let me know the URL where I can subscribe to your blog.

32% of Americans do not use Internet

ZDNet Research reports that a recent survey has discovered that 32% of Americans do not use the internet and not always by choice.

The survey was conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. This organization always has great research and discoveries on how the internet is integrated into lives or not.

The survey further indicated that 26% of Americans age 65 and older go online, compared with 67% of those age 50-64, 80% of those age 30-49, and 84% of those age 18-29. 57% of African-Americans go online, compared with 70% of whites. 29% of those who have not graduated from high school have access, compared with 61% of high school graduates and 89% of college graduates.

60% of American adults who do not have a child living at home go online, compared with 83% of parents of minor children.

RSS Users Make More Money!

The title of this blog entry sounds like something that would appear for a business opportunity, but ZDNet Research is reporting that RSS is creating and extending the digital divide and monetary compensation reflects it.

So if you want to make more money right away, either start using RSS more often or share the news with others that RSS is hotter than the latest electronic gadget.

Let me know when you move into your new corner office as a result too:)

RSS Knowledge & Usage Is Currently Low But Increasing

ZDNet Research is reporting only 27% Internet users consume RSS syndicated content on personalized start pages (e.g., My Yahoo!, My MSN) without knowing that RSS is the enabling technology.

I see this situation as a crystal-clear opportunity versus being a technology that will never take off. 

From my own personal research and work, the tipping point actually occurs between 17-21% and RSS technology has already surpassed the tipping point milestone.

Yahoo has integrated RSS technology into its offerings and has done the most to promote subscribing to RSS feeds.  The personalized page offered within My Yahoo! permits users to easily add new content into the page via RSS feeds.  Microsoft is probably running a close second since MSN users are able to subscribe to RSS feeds as well within My MSN.

It seems that personalized pages are going to be the online vehicle that enables most people to make RSS feeds a part of their daily lives.  Otherwise, they will probably see the technology in use without realizing what it is and how it works.

As technology and innovation authors have already recorded, it is only when a technology becomes invisible does it really warrant continued usage and integration into our lives.

This is one of the reasons that owners of VCRs have not reached the level of fanaticism that TiVo owners have.  There is too much work and you constantly have to think about what you are doing.  You cannot set a VCR and forget about it as you can with a TiVo and now it appears that you can with RSS feeds.

This is a good thing and it is still the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Google Has Done It Again With Google Reader

Today I read an article about Google Reader which allows you to read RSS and XML feeds, so I have been trying it out for the past couple of hours and it is great.

Google always seems to take a service or feature of the internet and take it to another level and Google Reader is no exception.

As a matter of fact and personal opinion, I am almost of the opinion that in order to avoid a learning curve or a relearning curve, you may want to wait until Google releases their version of whatever feature or service you have been accustomed to using with anything involving the internet.

Previously I have blogged about various RSS readers and now Google Reader has gone way beyond what was currently available.

Google Reader basically allows you to have access to RSS feeds on any computer that has internet access.  Although Pluck does the same thing, Google Reader has taken a few of the features found within Gmail and applied them to Google Reader.

Using Google Reader as an experienced user and reader of RSS feeds requires that you look at your feeds from either a time-based reader across all of the feeds that you have versus looking at an individual RSS feed.  You can look at feeds either way however:  time-based according to when the articles, news, blogs, and other content was originally published; or within the available content within a single RSS feed.

It took a little while to realize that these options were available and as a result, I was able to catch up on RSS feeds that I had not really read in a while.

One feature that basically has to be considered a given and not an option for any RSS reader is the capability to import RSS feeds.  Google Reader does this (while using your exported file with an OPML file extension) without any problems, but I did not see anything to inform me that the importing was complete.  I had to go to the home page of Google Reader and go back into the various feeds to see them all.

I had another OPML file (that contains all of the feeds I had previously subscribed to) that I wanted to import that had feeds the first OPML file did not have, but I did not see whether they were ever imported after several attempts.  Pluck and most other RSS readers would have imported them while creating unwanted duplicates RSS feeds.  I have created folders and given the folders dated names within Pluck to avoid this however.

Pluck includes any images within the brief synopis of the news and content and then you can click on a link to go to the original article.  Since I use Firefox, I was able to do go to the original webpage of the article within another tab versus another window which saves monitor screen space.

There was a nice feature that I know will help anyone who uses a growing range of services offered by Google.  You can immediately blog about any article that is located and the HTML code is automatically placed within the blog for you.  You must be using Blogger for your blog however.

Overall, I give Google Reader a big thumbs up (5 thumbs up actually).  There are already a few features that I would like to see added however.

The panel on the left which lists the subject of each article needs to be able to be enlarged to see the full subject title.

The same panel needs to be able to display all of the subject titles at one time as well or there should be something that labels the view of the entire page as either a time-based view of all feeds or within a single feed.  Scrolling the subject titles versus using the top, up, down,  refresh links or keystroke options would be a nice plus as well.

I just switched over to a tab where Google Reader is still open and just saw that it does indeed indicate that the subject titles are found within a single feed.  I just clicked something (although I do not remember what it was--oh, it is called a reading list) that provides the time-based list of subject titles across all RSS feeds.  So one requested feature is already there although, changing the color of the text may help or calling it a view of either the time-based or single feed.

I know that there are more features to be discovered when looking at the tutorial for Google Reader.  But you know that most men do not look at the manual until the new tool or toy does not work by any means.

Google Reader basically is going to make a lot easier for new people to get turned to readding  RSS feeds versus having news sent to their e-mail inboxes or going to multiple websites hoping to find something of interest.  This is the biggest benefit of Google Reader.  If I discover something that is going to improve the process with Google Reader , I will let you know.

Another thing that I would like to seee not only from Google but most other portal mega-services companies (Yahoo is the other one that immediately comes to mind) is a better way to avoid having to log in multiple times when using a service that the parent company offers.

I know that with new acquisitions there will be a delay in allowing for a single log in, but when various services have been under the same umbrella for 90 days there should be no excuse.  Every service that uses a basic Google Account requires multiple log ins to my knowledge.

I know that I will enjoy the day when this is no longer the case.  But if you have been wondering what the hype is about regarding RSS and XML feeds, read any of the blog articles mentioned above and definitely include Google Reader when choosing a RSS reader.  Until someone improves the RSS reading mousetrap, Google Reader is the clearly best one on the block.