Sunday, December 26, 2010

Newsday (LI) Drops Paywall Temporarily

On occasion, I think we all check on the news in a place we used to live.

For many years, Long Island's Newsday was, in large part, the primary newspaper for those who lived in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

I grew up reading it .... as did my parents and grandparents.

Newsday has changed hands a few times over the years and some time ago became one of the first major newspapers in the nation to put up a paywall. (IE: If you wanted to read it online, you had to subscribe).

Those of you that have read my stuff know how I feel about monetization via paywalls (except in certain circumstances).  Newsday (and their advertisers) lost this guy's business when the paywall went up a while back ... and it wasn't too difficult to find alternate sources.  In fact, a few entrepreneurs found opportunity and started brand new websites.

This evening, I was curious about how Long Island was doing with the first major snowstorm in a while.  I was also curious if Newsday would drop the paywall during an emergency (for visitors and others?!).

I wandered over to to find the site wide open.

The photos were good.  The copy was (very) current.   Overall the paper looked great ... online.

The official explanation had nothing to do with a pending emergency:

"Enjoy open access to the new until January 7, 2011, courtesy of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular".

Cablevision's News 12 (which still has it's paywall in place) can also be viewed live (and open) via a link at the bottom of the Newsday main page.

I'm writing this piece not only for those that might be interested in the weather (and airport) coverage .... but also because if enough people point to this (Tweet it?), maybe, just maybe, the Cablevision / Newsday Interactive oligopoly might just realize how many pageviews the site is capable of ... without the paywall.

I'm not hopeful considering the past, but for now, if you're stuck on Long Island (all the major New York area airports are closed at this hour) or you're just curious, Newsday and the live feed from News 12 Long Island can be found here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas (and Changing Times)

I just took a look at the site analytics for this blog, that I started back when 'early adopter' was a relatively new phrase.

Given the fact that I haven't had time to update it as often as I used to, I was surprised to find that over 90 per cent of you (recently) have been new visitors.  (So much for 'sticky' ? :)

That's a long road from when it was the complete opposite and SEO and Tech Daily had a 'regular following'.

First .... welcome!  I hope you'll find something here occasionally that you find interesting (or just makes you smile :)

2010 was a year of hyper change on the Internet and all industries effected directly or indirectly by the web.  Governments, Social structures and Businesses everything literally ran to adapt and ...

..... There are more websites and blogs (and others) trying to get your pageviews than ever before.

That has never been a real mission here.

Originally the blog was started to re-brand my own name after having spent over 5 years very quietly doing in-house SEO.

Then came Friendfeed (now owned by Facebook) and a community that I truly believe has yet to be rivaled in it's intimate networking by like minding people.  Friendfeed has changed since it's acquisition but suffice to say I met more of you (electronically or in person) there than on any other Web 2.0 start-up, rivaling only going personally to a conference or meeting.

Two years ago, I made a career switch (Think that's easy at 54 ?? :), but I continued to self-educate myself on the rapid changes on the Internet and tech in general ... something I've done my whole life.

If I write something here now, it's either some sort of experiment, or because the fact is, that I simply enjoy doing it, and, over the years, so many of you have dropped e-mails that just make me feel good.

I continue to prognosticate occasionally, or report unreported news.  I also still maintain a few legacy accounts ... people or companies that I just LOVE helping out.

So there's a very brief update.  No Year in Review (yet?!) ... No Negative or title-blazing stuff.

Just Thanks ...

.. to the many of you ... way to many to count ... that have been part of my tech life one way or another or contributed to this blog in some way since it's launch.

From my family to yours ..

Happy Holidays .... and many years of health and happiness!

Your friend,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paid (Promoted) Tweets Move to More Clients

Twitter's first attempt at monetization is called 'promoted Tweets'.

Paid trends that usually appear in the top ten with a defining label.

It started with the Twitter home page (both new and old versions) and the popular Twitter client Hootsuite.

It appears the Adobe Air version of Tweetdeck has joined the fray this morning, automatically turning on Worldwide Trends for some users including promoted Tweets.

A screenshot from earlier this morning appears below.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Google Sends Mass Thank You E-Mail and 20 Million for Charity

Checking my Gmail tonight, I came across this:

Well, you're welcome Google, and even though my wife is going through the same thing that Kristine Gray is going through, we're very happy to be part of your success ... and certainly grateful that you were able to give $20 million to various charities in 2010.

It's an exciting (and challenging) time for the web.  It's been a fun ride, and I, for one, can't wait for the next chapter.  I don't ever remember technology and communications changing at this pace, and the success and failure stories that have come along with that change.

I should point out that the link in the e-mail goes here.

Enjoy .....

.... and the Happiest of Holidays to readers of this blog and the occasional others I contribute to ....

Together, we ALL can make a difference.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Significant Windows Update Later Today

Users of Microsoft operating systems and software will be receiving some significant security updates later today.

Most users with Windows Update (or Microsoft Update) set to auto-update will likely be prompted to re-boot sometime Tuesday (as some of these updates effect core OS components).

17 bulletins, addressing a variety of security issues, will be patched on current and some supported legacy operating systems.  The December version of the 'Malicious Software Removal Tool' will also be part of this package.

Office and SharePoint products are on the complete list, which can be found in the Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for December here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Microsoft Montage Takes a Direct Shot at

Microsoft's latest from Fuse Labs was introduced at LeWeb.

It's a personal aggregator that you can set up and publish to the web dubbed Montage.

Personal web-based aggregators are nothing new but they've have been maturing.

In the right column of this blog you can click through to my own 'personal collection' at, created just after the service was introduced. (Admittedly, it hasn't been refined in months but still serves a purpose for me).

The most talked about personal aggregator in past months and weeks has been  LOTS have already been set up an are posting updates to Twitter.

It's notable that Guy Kawasaki maintains an interest in both Alltop and  Kawaski has shown a keen interest in 'online magazines'.

I wandered though the Montage Gallery this morning.  The tech crowd, as can be expected, have already created more than anyone else.  It's a interesting journey and can be found here.

Take the ride.  See what you think.

Great Weekend All

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Firefox Updates to Version 3.6.13

Firefox users should check their latest version number if they haven't been auto-updated.

Earlier today, Mozilla released the latest stable version of Firefox, now version 3.6.12 .

This latest version fixes a variety (over 50) of security and stability issues.

Simply tap 'Help' at the top of the browser then 'Check for Updates' in Windows.

Linux and Mac users can find the latest version of Firefox here.

The Year in Review - According to Google (Updated)

A short time ago, Google posted a new video to YouTube.
As of this writing, it's only had about 300 views so it's pretty 'fresh'.

Sort of Google - ized Year in Review 2010 ... (so far).

I found it interesting, disturbing, thought provoking ... and actually pretty good considering it's short length.

Thought you might too.

The first of many I'm sure. Google's version of 2010 is here:

Update: Apparently this post was a touch premature.

More on Google's Zeitgeist 2010 video has now been posted to the Official Google Blog here.

Update 2: Google apparently changed the 'embed code' earlier today.  The video is now back above.

The NY Times Best Seller List and The Best of the FREE

Earlier in the week, I noted the opening of the new web-based Google Book Store.

Since then, Google has hit the web with a barrage of announcements.

The difference, this time, is that Google is delivering stuff you can use right now.
Some fun ... some productive ... and some simply mind-boggling.

I'm the first to admit I stayed up late (very late) last night with Canary messing with various apps in the new Google Chrome WebStore.

Previous to that, I had been dual-booting the closest thing to an easy, out-of-the-box simplified Linux (Ubuntu) based product, Jolicloud (who notably, yesterday, released their much improved Version 1.1).

Jolicloud is probably the closest thing you can find right now to the upcoming Google Chrome OS but Google has chosen (for now) to stay hardware specific, which should, after some testing, make it MUCH faster.

I'm pretty much thinking the 'cloud' is coming home in 2011 (and NOT liking the way Microsoft appears to be attempting to brand the term "to the cloud" in it's TV commercials).

But I digress?

Back to the title.

Unlike my late Grandfather, my Mom ... and my daughter, I've never been much of a book reader.  No doubt I've missed a lot .... but with the attention span of a hamster, it's always put me off.

Revisiting the Google Book Store this evening, I noticed two cool changes on the greeting page.

The NY Times Best Seller List is there.  It was kind of sad to see Elizabeth Edward's book being discounted.

The next section was the 'Best of the Free'.

I paged through and one notable title was Moby Dick.  There were others, most in their original typeface (cool stuff).

It's never too late for a little catching up.

A vision that others have tried and ailed in the past is here.

I might just curl up later ... with my laptop ... and a good book.

If you missed the first post, be sure and checkout the Book Store here (as well as the online reader).

Kudos to Mountainview this time around.

Just great stuff.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Google Chrome Canary 10 - Designed To Mess With

There are numerous versions of Google's Chrome web browser that have been released for different audiences.  Most often mentioned here have been the 'Stable', 'Beta', and 'Dev' versions.

Earlier this year, Google released a separate version of Chrome (for early, early adopters) they call Canary.

The difference between Chrome Canary and the others is that it can be run along side any of the other versions ... without changing them.

That's where today's barrage of announcements from Google comes in, and how you can try them out without effecting your current settings in Chrome.

If you missed any of this press from Mountainview, there's a whos who of coverage at Techmeme.

An update on the development of the much anticipated Chrome OS (along with a 'test notebook'), a re-launch of the Chrome App Web Store, and Chrome itself with a new 'Crankshaft' V8 compiler, taking the browser to yet another speed benchmark.

(The Official Google post can be found here and a great rundown from Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Land is here).

Back to Chrome Canary.  Earlier today, I tapped the Canary 'wrench' (at the riht top of the browser), then 'about' and the browser updated to version 10.0.603.3.  Significant or not, this is the first time we've seen a 'Ten' in any release of Chrome.

Crankshaft, a new compliation infrastructure for V8 is already onboard for testing.

More importantly, you can test out the apps in the Chrome Web Store while leaving your existing Chrome install just the way it is.  Canary will run separately and even, in most cases, simultaneously with other versions of Chrome.

I had a lot of fun trying out various apps this afternoon using Canary.  Printing from anywhere to your home and office printer has been made easier. Tweetdeck has a new web app and much more is in store at Google's App Store.

In the past two days, Google has just gone from 'throwing stuff at the wall' to see what sticks (or what users like) .... to taking on just about every competitor in some way while embracing a slew of new 'partners' ...... not the least of which is Verizon who was chosen to deliver 3G to the test laptops in the US.

This launch event was 'Preview 2011' andit looks like an exciting year for developers ..... and all of us!

Edited 1:15 ET 12/8/2010 for content, links

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Google Opens eBook Store Just In Time For The Holidays

Amazon found the market in late 2007 with the introduction of the first Kindle.

Many doubted it's success.  Others touted it as the next big thing.

Other companies had tried in this space for over a decade but Amazon's Kindle was destined to change the way people read books.

The competition came quickly with Barnes and Noble introducing the Nook and many others including Sony entered the market with numerous devices.

Apple's iPad added to the market disruption and upcoming Android-based tablet computers are destined to do the same thing.

This past year, even die-hard paper book readers have become fans of e-readers, as the latest generation of devices improved features, contrast, connectivity .... and cost A LOT less.

There's a good chance that you may get one of these from someone for the holidays.  A very good chance.

Enter Google.  Their new Google eBookstore is now live on the web.

All of those devices you see lined up in Borders now have a home and a source of millions of books, both current and out-of-print.

Over 3 million.

An excellent take on the publishing 'deals' and more has been posted by Matthew Ingram at GigaOM here.

The official announcement from Google to the Official Google Blog is here ... or ... you can head on over and check out the eBookstore here ... It's live ... for now ... just in the US.

Google Continues Local Advertising Push

Google is serious about local advertising and all indications are the company is just beginning to integrate their 'local' initiatives.

Local advertising online is becoming more and more important.  With a host of local products in the marketplace having success in attracting users over the past few years, Google isn't about to be left out.

Foursquare is on the move to San Francisco from New York with their expansion.  Numerous other location based products, mostly for mobile, are growing.

Geo-location is now the norm for both home and mobile users, and it's a target market that's hot .... very hot.

One sign, an important one, was the job description shift of veteran and highly respected Googler Marissa Mayer to the position of Vice President of Geographic and Local Services recently.  Mayer was Google's first female engineer and is largely credited with many of the innovations and growth of Google Search as well as the 'look' of various Google products (and more) in her previous role as Vice President of Search Products and User Experience.

Earlier today, Google announced integration of Google Places with the Enterprise (paid) version of Google apps.

Google Places needs current information and users to be relevant.

In an increasingly connected mobile society and with businesses both opening and closing, user input is imperative in keeping Google Places a viable, relevant and growing product.

Introducing Google Places to the existing Google Enterprise audience, a place where you can list your local business for free (and/or multiple locations, etc.) is a solid step in that direction.

Keeping it current may prove to be difficult as has been demonstrated recently as questions begin to crop up about occasional glitches with the main Google indexes and pure algorithmic search. Google responded directly to the issue raised last month by the NY Times on the (main) Official Google Blog. (Google's webspam team, no doubt, with have their hands full in the coming years).

In the meantime, one step at a time, Google continues to do everything they can to keep you searching ...

.. and to use Google to do it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

AVG Releases Fix for Windows 7 Nightmare

Users of Windows 7 64-bit version that use AVG Anti Virus may have encountered more than a little problem with the most recent security update.

The update is crashing computers.

Apparently, AVG has gone into stealth mode to rectify the problem and has begun to address the issue on both Twitter and Facebook as well.  They have also posted information on their blog and website including a 'fix' (which may be a little challenging for some).

Update nr. 3292 is the culprit and so far has effected only 64-bit versions of Windows 7.

If you are using the product and don't have it set to auto-update, AVG is advising that the coast is now clear (with the file removed from their servers), and the most recent update works fine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another New Toy for Gmail Users

If there's one thing that Google's Gmail users can count on, it's not only ongoing development, but coders 'playing with new toys' within the product .... for you to try first .... in 'Labs'.

(Note: Labs add-ons are available on numerous Google products)

A hodgepodge of experimental features (and just some fun stuff) that Googlers try out first in Labs. Turn them on or off.  It's up to you.

Some even make it as permanent features, or as Google calls it ... "graduate" :)

Clicking Labs in Gmail greets you with the title "Gmail Labs : Some Crazy Experimental Stuff".

Productivity, fun ... and a little tongue-in-cheek like the lab feature that lets you return Gmail to Beta (in case you miss it).

Each time the team launches a new one, it usually makes it quickly to the Gmail Blog, and this evening is no exception with the announcement of Smart Mute, which can be read about in the actual blog post here.

For me, it's another opportunity (or reminder) to re-visit 'Labs' and tweak my own settings.

This latest visit was eye opening.

Be sure and check out 'Labs' at the top of your Gmail screen ... there's some neat stuff waiting ....