Thursday, January 25, 2007

Moyers' PBS documentary on "The Net at Risk"

Bill Moyers' PBS documentary The Net at Risk is now free to view online. The program covers topics including the growing connectivity gap between the US and other developed nations, net neutrality, municipal networks, and media concentration. The site has ancillary material like viewer discussion and commentary.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Telephone regulation

Confused by the comings and goings of AT&T and telephone regulation in the United States? Stephen Colbert explains it in this video. Still confused? Check out our short history teaching note.

QEDWiki -- develop mashups in the browser

IBM's QEDWiki is a powerful development system for building Web mashup applications.

Dion Hinchcliffe has prepared an eye-opening screencast demo of QEDWiki in which he builds a mashup of an address file and Google Maps in just a couple of minutes.

The impressive drag and drop development system runs in a single browser window. It provides an example of the power of AJAX in a browser, and makes one wonder how far AJAX can go in duplicating the functionality of local applications.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Business risk:, a terrific service, is in trouble. illustrates the attraction and risk of mashups. is a text-to-speech service for blogs. It allows users to click to listen to particular posts or to subscribe to an RSS feed of the spoken version of the blog -- it automatically turns the blog into a podcast.

The audio version is valuable in at least two ways -- it makes the blog accessible to blind people and you can listen to it while away from your desk -- while driving, exercising, etc.

Adding audio to this blog took only a few minutes -- the power of mashups!

That is all good news. Now the bad news. is up for sale because they are not generating enough revenue.

This is another illustration of the business risks we talked about in an earlier post.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Outsourcing applications -- a university example

The Economist published an article on corporate use of consumer and other services. One example they cite is Arizona State University, which is using Google Mail and plans to use other Google services.

I create list servers for the students in my classes. Last semester, 3 out of 60 students used their CSUDH email addresses. This suggests that we are spending a lot to offer a service that only a few students value.

But, should CSUDH outsource our email and other applications? We cannot run servers as efficiently as folks like Google or Amazon, but, even if a service provider is cheaper and more reliable, can we depend upon them? This is a business and contractual decision as much as a technical and cost decision. I listed a few pros and cons in this teaching note.

Podcasting inside the organization

For examples of podcast applications inside corporations and other organizations and discussion of implementation and buy-in strategy, check this podcast by Michael Geohagen.

Geohagen's presentation was recorded at the Podcast Academy, a good source for podcasting information -- technology, applications, business -- in general.

Podcasting in higher education

For a discussion of the use of podcasting in teaching at Duke and Harvard, listen to this podcast from the Podcast Academy, a good source for podcasting information -- technology, applications, business -- in general.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

An excellent example of open access publishing

The University of Michigan Press has a new Digital Culture imprint which will publish books free online while charging for the printed version. The first book is an anthology of The Best of Technology Writing 2006, a thoughtfully edited, eclectic collection of articles from publications like the New Yorker, Wired,The New York Times, and New Republic.

The publishing model worked for me. I was able to read enough to convince myself to purchase the book -- many of the articles seem interesting and relevant. I will also have students read selected chapters on line, and expect a couple of them will also end up buying the book.

If you are interested in open access publication, you will like Peter Suber's blog.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Best Google research presentations of 2006

Here are the "top 20" presentations at Google research. I've not looked at them yet, but some must have relevance to IS teaching and research.

Thursday, January 04, 2007, a text-to-spech service

In our introduction to audio processing, we spoke of various audio applications, including text-to-speech. offers a text to speech service for blogs. Using this service, you can now listen to any of the posts on this blog. You can also establish an RSS feed for an automatically generated podcast of the blog entries. Setting this up took only a few minutes -- one line of HTML sends the permalink for the blog entry to the server which generates the audio file from the text.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What are employers looking for?

Students often ask what employers are looking for in hiring new grads. Information Week columnist Stephanie Stahl says successful job seekers will have business sense along with IT knowledge, and Jason Fried of 37 Signals describes his hiring criteria in an audio presentation.