Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘internet

What’s in a Domain Name Server?

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Happy Monday.

The news you need to know about this fine Monday morning (that doesn’t involve impeachment inquiries): Google and Mozilla are looking to encrypt the Internet domain name system (better known as DNS), which could keep bad actors from snooping on websites and spoofing.

But which could also keep ISPs from gathering user data because the browser session data would become opaque to them.

As a report in The Wall Street Journal observed, Google indicated it is making this move to improve users’ security and privacy and will leave consumers more in charge of who shares their Internet data.

Though ISPs are logically concerned by the move, so are the Three Letter Agencies, for which the move could make it more difficult to monitor Internet traffic.

And with Google operating its own DNS service, the story cites that some “are concerned that the DNS upgrade could ultimately concentrate too much off the Internet’s traffic in the hands of Google.”

Engadget is reporting separately that this move is “raising hackles among American officials” and that the U.S. Department of Justice has received complaints and the House Judiciary Committee is investigating.

Turns out the answer to the question “What’s in a name?” is, quite a bit.

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

Missing the Wave

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If you’re here in the U.S., I hope you enjoyed the not-nearly-long-enough long holiday weekend.

I was just surfing through the headlines playing tech news catchup, and a story from Martin Bryant with TNW (The Next Web) caught my attention.

He reminded us that today was the 10th anniversary of Google Wave’s unveiling. The what, ye ask? Exactly.

At the time, it was a big deal, a first and real-time collaboration tool. Bryant suggests that Wave’s legacy lives on in Google Docs, but that the “blind, dumb enthusiasm we had back then” for technology does not.

Bryant continues, “It’s healthy to have a critical attitude to the technology that plays a much bigger part in our daily lives than it did 10 years ago, but I can’t help but feel we’ve lost a healthy level of enthusiasm for embracing new things, too. All too often, new technology is greeted with questions about how it might make the world worse, rather than better.”

I’m not sure what rock Bryant’s been holed up under, but I think I lost my somewhat naive optimism for tech long ago, reverting instead to a more grounded realization that any human-built technology has the potential for both good and bad (see nuclear power and weapons).

I think this past decade we’ve seen far more stories of the bad outweighing the good because of the outliers (Facebook and privacy, Stuxnet and other CIA/NSA tools released into the wild, mass surveillance vis a via Snowden revelations, the endless hacking incidents and data breaches).

But sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself of the good parts. Of the fact that you can work with people all over the planet without always having to get on a plane. That you can keep up, and in touch, with a lot more of your friends (even if it’s virtual…better than not keeping in touch, right [well, in most cases].

We were bound to get down on IP technology at some point because it was inevitable. The network effect kicked into gear, as did the bad behaviors. Are we really so shocked that people took a new technology and did bad shit with it?!

So you want to feel good about what’s coming down the pike in terms of new tech? Don’t believe the hyperbole without first giving it a test drive, and then decide for yourself.

Because there’s plenty to be both amped and excited about: AI, AR, VR, quantum, the list goes on.

But not unlike the first 25 years of commercial IP, a lot of stuff could also go very, very wrong.

Be prepared for both endpoints.

But also don’t ever give up the sense of wonderment, the sense that you’re living through a mesmerizing shift in human history. Because you are.

Louis CK reminded us of this sense of wonderment a few years ago when he would talk about people complaining about the tribulations of air travel.

“ ‘It was the worst day of my life. First of all, we didn’t board for twenty minutes, and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway.’ Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through air incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight you non-contributing zero?! You’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going: ‘Oh my God! Wow!’ You’re flying! You’re sitting in a chair, in the sky!’ “


Written by turbotodd

May 28, 2019 at 10:08 am

Posted in 2019

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The Green Monster

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I picked a heckuva week to travel up to Boston.  I arrived the same day as the Boston Marathon, and apparently, the weather this year for the run was “hellish.”  In fact, I met a guy on the rental car shuttle bus who had just run the marathon, and he explained all he wanted was a beer, he was SO sick of drinking Gatorade to stay hydrated during the race.

But also this week, we’re witnessing the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, one of the classic old baseball parks and home to the 7 time World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

No sooner do I arrive in Boston than I start reading that former Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is stirring up agita amidst the player ranks in Boston — ah, we miss you down in Texas, Bobby.

I’m expecting to attend the Rangers/Red Sox game this evening at Fenway, my first time there.  I’ll be the crazy Texan along the third base line wearing the cowboy hat (not really).

Since age-based segmentation schemes no longer suffice in the connected consumer era, IBM Media & Entertainment is finding that behavior-based segmentation is now essential. IBM's 2011 survey revealed four prominent types of digital personalities that are not age-based, but instead are based on the combination of degree of access to content and intensity of content interaction This type of analysis is now essential to delivering compelling consumer experiences.

Now, out in viva Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters show has kicked off.  As part of the festivities, IBM just released a new IBM study of the media and entertainment market, which reveals that as consumers adopt an increasing number of digital devices, four distinct new “digital personalities” are emerging.

Think Sybil for iPad users!

This shift, in turn, is compelling companies to adopt more innovative business models that deliver personalized experiences.

Here’s some details behind the study: First, not all these folks are college students, contrary to popular belief. Sixty-five percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 report surfing the Web and texting with friends while watching TV.  Take that, young whippersnappers.

Eighty-two percent of surveyed global consumers aged 18 to 64 embracing connected digital devices.  And more than 50 percent of consumers in China and the United States are moving away from traditional forms of media and using online sources for breaking news.

The New Personalities: Instant, Efficient, And Social

With the growth of digital devices, one-way communication and distribution of content is no longer enough. Connected consumers these days are demanding instant access to personalized content on their own terms.   These new “personalities” look as follows:

  • Efficiency Experts: With 41 percent in this category, these respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.
  • Content Kings: Are generally male consumers, who frequently play online games, download movies and music, and watch TV online. This audience represents 9 percent of the global sample.
  • Social Butterflies: Place emphasis on social interaction – they require instant access to friends, regardless of time or place. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed reported they frequently maintain and update social networking sites, add labels or tags to online photos, and view videos from other users.
  • Connected Maestros: 35 percent of those surveyed take a more advanced approach to media consumption by using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

“Media companies need to engage with consumers based on their digital personalities, if they are going to maintain a sustainable and connected relationship, said Saul Berman, Global Strategy Consulting Leader, IBM Global Business Services, and co-author of the study. “With the mass infiltration of digital devices, organizations can now enhance, extend or redefine the customer experience within minutes due to a steady stream of real-time data via social media. Future success is dependent upon successfully executing on insights based on this data, to reach the right consumer, at the right time and place, using the right tools.”

According to the IBM study, media and entertainment companies’ payment infrastructures need to be flexible and scalable to allow a variety of innovative pricing approaches to attract consumers with different preferences to their content.

The need for payment option flexibility, even for the same set of consumers, is apparent by looking at those most active in adopting new devices.

This group’s preferred mode of payment to watch a movie on a website is by viewing advertising that is included with the movie (39 percent of this segment chose this option), while they prefer to see movies on a tablet by purchasing a subscription (chosen by 36 percent). But to watch movies on a smart phone, they prefer to pay per use (the payment choice of 36 percent).

IBM surveyed 3,800 consumers in six countries – China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States for this study, and also met with global representatives in broadcasting, publishing, as well as media service agencies, and telecommunication providers, to evaluate digital consumption behaviors.

You can register to download the full report here. 

No Hiding

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After spending six and a half lovely hours at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, watching the miserable snow and misty rain falling out of the sky, my Air Canada flight was finally allowed off the ground and into the air, only to find myself soon in Times Square in NYC, standing amidst more nasty weather.

This is why I left NYC 11 years ago and moved back to Texas.

But, I must say, Pearson is a true business travelers’ airport.

I’m long unqualified for any of the airline lounge programs (unless I want to fork over $500 a year), but Pearson makes such havens unnecessary.  There were plenty of chairs freely available to the masses, nice restaurants and bars (where I enjoyed some insurance sushi and beer before my long-delayed flight), and most noticeably, free wi-fi throughout the airport.

Yes, I said it: Free wi-fi throughout the airport.  The kind of wi-fi you can suck oxygen freely through without gasping for bandwidth.  The kind where you can stream a Netflix show or get your actual file attachments without looking back and forth guiltily at all the the other normally weary, bandwidth-starved travelers.

Steve Lohr with The New York Times just penned a piece this morning about how the web is, by necessity, speeding up, but being nicknamed “Turbo,” I fear it could never get fast enough for me.  But I’ll appreciate every effort that Akamai and others are making to speed up the bits and bytes.

Of course, even as you’re speeding around the information superhighway, you need to keep a look out for who’s watching.  Google’s changed privacy policy went into effect today, and lots of folks are unhappy about it.

Me, I took charge of my own privacy with Google a number of years ago, shutting down their search history feature.  What I’m searching for and when is my own business, far as I’m concerned, but I’m happy to let them put little ads up against my queries if that’s what it takes to keep the service free.

As I explain to people, having that search history feature turned “on” is like having multiple people following you around the shopping mall, with nice HD cameras, capturing your every move.  If you don’t believe me, Google “Ghostery” and download the handy little app to see how many third-party cookies are watching YOUR every move.

Ghostery positions itself as “your window into the invisible web – tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons that are included on web pages in order to get an idea of your online behavior.”

Ghostery “tracks the trackers” and lets you know who all has invaded your machine.

So that if you decide to do a little hunting yourself, you’ll know precisely what you’re looking for.

Written by turbotodd

March 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

SXSW Interactive 2011: Russia Online

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One of the great opportunities that SXSW affords those attending is a powerful networking nexus from people around the globe.

At this year’s event, I serendipitously met a new friend from Moscow, Julia Neznanova, a client services director with the Moscow-based DigitalZm agency.

After Julia and I got to chatting, I realized our conversation was a podcast waiting to happen, so Scott Laningham and I arranged to capture her insights about the Russian Internet landscape on disk.

The resulting interview can be found here, and I think it would surprise many who aren’t familiar with the Russian online landscape just how vibrant the digital scene is in Moscow and beyond.

Thanks again to Julia for her insight.  Scott and I very much enjoyed and learned a lot from our conversation, and I hope you will, too.

Written by turbotodd

March 17, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Long Live SXSW Interactive 2011…Now Get Back To Work!

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BLOGGER’S NOTE: Did you miss SXSW Interactive in Austin?  Or did you go and just couldn’t get enough?You can find here several of the on-the-ground podcasts from developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and myself, and, soon, we’ll have a video interview we conducted with Dave Ferucci, the lead researcher for the recent IBM Watson initiative.  And no, sorry, I didn’t play Watson (although Watson v. Watson does have a nice ring to it, and I did joke with Ferucci that I had the name before the Jeopardy-playing computer.)

Okay, it’s official.

I’m South By Southwested out. It was great seeing all you digerati in the great state of Texas and the great city of Austin, but it’s time for you to gather up your iPhones, iPads (V. 1s and 2s), and MacBook Pros and go back to wherever the heck it was you came from.

I had a lot of fun, but the sleep neglect, lack of exercise, and constant digital brain food is more than one mere mortal should have to take. Especially when you consider I’m now considered one of the “old guys” (as people who were over 40 seemed to be constantly referred to throughout the event).

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun. But this year’s event was a little overwhelming in some ways, and a little underwhelming in others. Overwhelming in that there were way too many of us for that one little spot in and around downtown Austin. I don’t think I’ve ever had to fight so much to get into some of the sessions, never mind the fire drill that occurred during the PM major keynotes.

It was also overwhelming the amount of content and variety at this year’s event, and that’s a good thing. I know a lot of my out-of-town digerati friends weren’t so impressed, but I found that if you stuck out the sessions, or were willing to do a little on the fly migration, you could generally find some good stuff.

By the same token, there was some underwhelmingess as well. I find more and more that the panel sessions are a disappointment, primarily due to lack of prep and coordination among the moderators and the panelists.

No, in this crowdsourced, collabration-driven world of social media we live in, it was the individual presenters or two people Q&A who stood out, partially because they’re typically media-trained speakers, but also because they actually went out and did some homework and prep! C’mon, people, it’s not third grade show and tell…put some muscle into them.

I presented at SXSW last year on a Future 15 panel, and only had about 15 minutes to prepare. But I spent hours on the presentation: building, rehearsing, and making sure I could make my 15 minutes. I’m happy to say my session was standing room only on the last day of the event, when people are usually fleeing in droves. But I’d also like to think people stuck around ’cause I had something to say they wanted to hear and I worked hard at saying it well.

Putting all that aside, what did I learn this year, what are the big themes and memes coming out of the event?

Going Tikki “MoSoLo”

Well, there’s the obvious, including the confluence of mobile, social and local (I’m hereby coining a new acronym or catchphrase for this space, “MoSoLo”). This convergence is going to increasingly dominate the digital landscape, with everything from augmented reality to location-based services to on-the-fly ratings and reviews.

But that’s just about finding you, tracking you, and giving you something valuable (A new experience? A 20% off coupon? etc.) in the context of when and where you are. What happens when these devices and systems can start to make predictions based on implicit and explicit data.

Why shouldn’t my calendar talk to FourSquare and Gowalla and make sure I don’t miss that Silicon Valley Networking Meetup the next time I happen to be on a business trip?

Why can’t my own virtual agent go out and Tweet when I arrive in New York and find all my friends hanging near the Lower East Side for a quick catch-up cocktail?

And so on.

The Human Connection

This year’s conference also saw a move away from focusing primarily on the tools and technologies to centering more on the human interaction, experience, and connection. I mentioned this in one of our podcast recaps halfway through the event, and that theme continued throughout.

For so much of the past 10-15 years, we’ve been so enamored with the technology itself. But more recently, we’ve begun to take much more notice of what the technology can do to empower humanity and human relationships, in often profound and game-changing ways: The Green revolution in Iran, the Haiti earthquake, the Chilean mine, the recent quake/tsunami in Japan…I could go on.

Directly tied to this is the need for organizational transformation. Many organizations just aren’t simply organized in a way to take full advantage of networked communications. Most are organized in a command-and-control hierarchy, the effectiveness of which is dissipating day-by-day like a thousand Chinese cuts, and as we saw in north Africa earlier this year, that command-and-control hierarchy is often quickly outfoxed by the networked henhouse.

Yet as none other than NYU ITP professor and social transformation author Clay Shirky reminded us at SXSW in his keynote, it’s still not just the technology, stupid. Meaning, the network is more than just the infrastructure: It’s the people, the relationships, many of which predated the unrest in Tahir Square by years. The unrest in the square was simply the nodal culmination of YEARS of relationships and influence amongst frustrated Egyptian who shared a common goal: Ridding the country of Mubharak.

So, putting aside the once again disappearing oxygen in what appears to be another bubble, we can rest comfortable in the notion that change continues to be a constant, that relationships online and off continue to matter most, that the technology will continue to disrupt all aspects of business, government, society and our lives in general.

And I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Posted in conference, sxsw

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Live From SXSW Interactive: A Chat With Barry Diller

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IAC Chairman and CEO Barry Diller may have started out in the mailroom at the William Morris agency 50 years ago, but certainly no moss has grown on him since then.

In his keynote interview this morning, Diller outlined a utopian, if bumpy ride to get there, vision for the future of Internet infotainment, one that (hopefully) would be rid of too much government interference and would allow a million Internet entrepreneurs to blossom.

(Hey Barry, while you’re at it, could you talk to the staff over at Match.Com and get me an actual date instead of being chatted up by girls desperate to leave the Ukraine?)

Diller was funny, and the interviewer from CNN did a good job of staying out of his way. First, She chocked up Diller’s bona fides: Cheers, The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting, HSN, and now IAC, before diving into questions about the new Internet bubble.

Then, Diller explained that he chases good ideas, not valuations, but understands how “money chases things.” But he was still impressed by “the amount of sheer invention that’s going on.”

He explained some of the recent valuations are mathematically insane, but is still a believer and got into the Internet space very early on (1992-1993). The reason he likes this space? People follow their curiousity, and it’s more interesting “to start businesses on my own, ideas we can support, than to chase crowds.”

The Internet, he explained, is a miracle that allows everybody to participate.

Diller talked as well about his recent investment in Newsweek and its combination with Tina Brown’s “Daily Beast,” explaining this was “an original Internet vehicle based on its merit.”

Though he was more cautious about the business model of Apple for magazine and content publishers, Diller did explain he like’s the new iPad 2, explaining it’s “just a better product” and, like the Kindle, the second was better than the first.

Diller was also passionate about his defense of Net Neutrality, explaining that not having it “is the only thing threatening Internet freedom.” We are not where we need to be, he explained, and he finds the lack of screaming on the part of the people who are in various ways part of the vineyard, very surprising.

The logical evolution of Diller’s argument is that no net neutrality would allow the trolls to charge for additional capacity based on usage in a way that could lead to the economics that determined the shaping of broadcast news, where scarcity ruled and therefore the economics played tremendously in favor of the distributor.

As he explained, most cable producers now work for a “boss,” and the independent producer has largely gone the way of the dodo bird. The power resides at the top, but the Internet “miracle” has liberated us from that ogopoly…well, so far.

So, go ahead and run out onto the Information Superhighway and explain “I’m sick and tired and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”

Meanwhile, Diller seems to have suggested he’s about to start spreading out more investments, particularly in video online, and assumably with the idea that someone, somewhere will figure out this regulation thing.

In three years, he explained, you’re going to have Internet TV be out there, able to be accessed by everybody, navigated sensibly, and anybody with an idea and some backing can be a producer. All of this is now possible.

And yet, Google TV could hardly get out of the gate because the broadcast networks were scared of being “Apple-fied” and giving their content up to the Google black box.

Where will all this end up in the next several years? Will the victors be the Internet TV box, the mobile handset, some new device we’ve not even thought of yet?

Who knows? But one thing I’ll likely bank on, and that’s Barry Diller being right at the center of the action.

Now, if he could just get his Web service to get me a successful date.

Written by turbotodd

March 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm

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