Trust and News

Jeff Jarvis writes:

Trust is still important. In fact, in this new, distributed world of ours, it is even more important. Trust is our organizing principle. Trust is what makes weblogs, Technorati, eBay, Craigs List, RSS, chat, and email work: We pay attention to those we trust; we filter out the rest. We each decide whom to trust; it’s no longer decided for all of us.

We control trust. And so that is how we operate with news, too: We can get the source material on the web or via CSpan to judge the facts for ourselves; we can follow the track record of reporters and news organizations to see when they mess up and whether we should believe them; we follow the links of those who have not led us astray; we can see who is being transparent and who is not and judge accordingly; we decide what stories are important for us; we get to question those in power thanks to new media. We are in control.

It’s the top-down, one-way, one-size-fits-all news-extruding machine that’s ready for the mothballs. We’ve seen how this sausage is made and we’re not swallowing it anymore. It’s the old view of delivering the news that’s antiquated. We no longer wait for the news to come to us; now the news waits for us to go get it. We are in control.

Jeff also suggests a better way to do TV news with a four-point formula: Slice, Add, Link, Listen. Here’s Slice:

Cut up your shows into stories and put them all online.

After you air a story, it’s fishwrap. Nobody can see it. If they missed it, well, that’s tough for them. Is that any way to treat your public? Well, you don’t have to anymore.

You should put up every story you do — and not just as a stream but as files that the people can distribute on their own.

You can still make money on this — in fact, you’ll make new money: Put ads on the video; track those ads; and tack on a Creative Commons license that says people can distribute the video but cannnot muck with it. And you’ll find something magical will happen: Your audience will market your product for you and distribute it for you and it won’t cost you anything more. It’s free money, damnit. Tell that to your stockholders.

And while you’re at it, take your script for the segment and associate it with the video as meta data (that is, post it on a blog with a link to the video) so people can find your stories on search engines and then watch them.

This means that people who really want to see your stories and are interested in them can now do so. We’re no longer captive to your schedule and your selection; we can watch what interests us. We are in control.

The result: You will get a more interested and involved audience. You will get a bigger audience. You will get more people who will like what you do and start watching your old-fashioned shows. You will benefit. We will benefit.

Taipei’s WiFi Grid

Slashdot points to a Reuters report: ” The city-wide network will be built by Q-Ware Corp., a unit of the Uni-President (1216.TW) group, which also holds the 7-Eleven franchise in Taiwan. Q-Ware will deploy at least 20,000 access points throughout Taipei at a cost of US$70 million… Q-ware is aiming for a basic monthly fee of T$150-T$400 (US$4.5-US$12), far less than the T$800-T$1,000 (US$24-US$30) that fixed-line broadband providers demand in Taiwan. It expects to sign up a third of the city’s 3 million residents and break even within 5 years.”

Plug-and-Play Linux Office System

Newsforge has an article by roblimo. One of the points is about thin clients:

We were aware of Oracle’s and Sun’s attempts to sell thin-client networks, and in our opinion they went about it wrong. To begin with, their offerings were too expensive for the market we wanted to enter, and relied too much on custom, proprietary hardware. And that whole “network is the computer” thing was an obvious washout. We were not surprised that this concept never took off.

When you build a simple network for small businesses, the server is the computer. The printer goes next to the server, so it doesn’t need to be any kind of special, network-attached device. A smart business with a decent budget would want to have a backup server next to the main one. All other computers on the network would be the simplest, cheapest, most reliable units we could find, something like the low-cost white box computer Joe made for me in 1999 that is still used daily by my stepdaughter, Alicia. If new units designed specifically as thin-client desktops cost less than minimum-spec commodity boxes, we can use them instead. It doesn’t really matter, as long as they are all the same in any given installation.

LTSP (the Linux Terminal Server Project) has licked all the problems we ran into when we built our first proof-of-concept network, which ran Mandrake and flawlessly served as my home system for several years. Our biggest problem was getting sound working on the clients. The second-biggest was remote printing. Both sound and printing have gotten easier in Linux since 1999. Better yet, “packaged” systems built on a uniform hardware base will never have hardware incompatibility problems. You supply printers, scanners, and other peripherals as part of the system. That way you know they’ll work with Linux, and your client won’t need to think about them at all. He or she will just compute, scan, and print — trouble-free.

Steam

Om Malik writes: “Steam is an e-commerce platform for delivering paid games to consumers. Geeks+Broadband+Games+Instant Delivery=$$$$$$$ Finally broadband is replacing the nasty habit of lining-up outside the game stores and waiting for hours. This one is a winner from word go.”

India’s SME Market

Business Standard writes:

Access Market International (AMI), the US-based IT research agency, reckons that the size of the Indian SME market will rise sharply from $ 6.33 billion (Rs 28,504 crore) in 2003 to over $ 10.45 billion (Rs 47,056 crore) in 2005.

Dhawan points out that SMEs already account for over 45 per cent of the total IT revenues in the country. Whats more, the segment is growing faster than the overall IT industry by 20-25 per cent this year versus the average growth rate in the IT market of 17 per cent. More importantly, India has some 18 lakh SMEs and only the surface has been scratched.

An AMI study of SMEs shows that only three per cent of them in India have a local area network at their offices or factories, just 15 per cent have a internet connection, four per cent have broadband and a mere one per cent have their own website. Notes AMI analyst Deepinder Sahni: This clearly shows what a large untapped market is waiting for everyone to leverage.

Encouragingly for IT companies, Sahnis market research suggests that most SMEs are increasingly realising that investing in IT can improve bottomlines. The AMI study found that over the next 12 to 18 months, 17 per cent of the SMEs AMI contacted want a data back up and recovery system, 18 per cent want to interconnect their offices, and about 21 per cent want instant messaging systems to be installed in their offices.

To be sure, IT companies realise that catering to SMEs is an entirely different ball game. Unlike the big boys, they are extremely sensitive to price, demand quick implementation, want continuous support as they dont have IT departments and often are not located in metropolitan cities.

TECH TALK: Tomorrow’s World: New India Glimpses (Part 2)

Matrimonials and Jobs: The way people find lifemates and new employers is changing. Sites like Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony.com offer to connect prospective brides and grooms. Job portals like MonsterIndia.com (which also owns JobsAhead) and Naukri.com have increased liquidity and fluidity for people seeking new career opportunities.

Retailing: India is witnessing an unprecedented retail revolution as malls and chains proliferate. Investments in IT are helping them not only manage their supply-chain effectively but also build and maintain customer relationships. The malls and multiplexes are becoming new hangout places. With the boom in outsourced services, a growing youthful population has more to spend. Easier access to credit is also fueling an appliances and automobiles boom.

The Rs 500-a-month PC: Recently, HCL launched a computer on installment payments Rs 500 per month. This is a good start, even as computing by itself faces challenges of affordability, desirability, accessibility and manageability. The computing industry is not learning two important lessons from the telecom industry that of zero-management user devices and subscription plans (as opposed to installments).

Rural India: For a variety of reasons, rural India still remains frozen in time. As governments start believing that free electricity to farmers can be a passport for electoral success, investments in other areas are likely to get compromised. There are a few signs of hope ITCs eChoupals and n-Logues kiosks are providing a platform for trade and services. But rural India still has a long way to go.

India is arriving as a market for global companies. Virgin is considering investments in telecom and low-cost airlines. Cisco closed a $100 million deal with VSNL for metro Ethernet. Most luxury brands are already available or will be. India is a melting pot for many simultaneous revolutions across multiple industries. As urban incomes grow, a generation seeks to race ahead. With one of the most youthful populations in the world, aspirations are on the rise. The next few years are critical. If we can do things right, we can unlock the potential of millions. If notit will be yet another case of so near, yet so far. The race is not with China, it is against our own mindsets. Tomorrows world is happening. Our actions can hasten it or delay it. Hopefully, this time around, we can cross the chasm. For that, India needs to build its digital infrastructure right.

As HPs Carly Fiorina wrote in The World in 2005: Getting there is going to require the right blend of realism and optimism. We need to be realistic that none of this is going to be easy. But we also need to be optimistic, because if we get this right, digital technology will make more things more possible for more people in more places than at any time in history. That alone is worth the journey. The next Google will come out of the opportunities that technology is creating in the context of the next users. What can we do to build out tomorrows world first in India and then across other emerging markets?

Next Week: Tomorrows World (continued)

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