Mobile Internet in Japan

Digital World Tokyo writes:

The number of Internet users in Japan accessing from cellphones exceeded those using it from personal computers in 2005, according to a government report published Tuesday.

At the end of the year there were 69.2 million people using the Internet from mobile devices, compared to 66 million conventional PC users, the Ministry of Information and Communications’ annual “Information and Communications in Japan” white paper said. Of these two user groups, 48.6 million use both a mobile device and a conventional PC, it said, giving Japan a total Internet population of 85.3 million users. That’s equivalent to two in every three people in the country.

Japan’s merchants are keen to cash in on the popularity of mobile Internet services like NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode. The number of mobile e-commerce sites is increasing and consumers appear to be taking to shopping by cellphone.

Educating Young Scientists

The New York Times writes in an editorial:

The emerging consensus among educators is that students need early, engaging experiences in the lab — and much more mentoring than most of them receive now — to maintain their interest and inspire them to take up careers in the sciences.

Some universities have already realized the need for better ways of teaching. But this means revising an incentive system that has historically rewarded scientists for making discoveries and publishing academic papers, not for nurturing the next generation of great minds.

News Corp and MySpace

Business 2.0 has a story by Om Malik: “Ross Levinsohn’s wheeling and dealing to get News Corp. back in the Web game has been ridiculed by many as profligate and late. But he may yet prove them all wrong.”

Wired has a cover feature on Murdoch and MySpace. “He made his fortune on TV stations, newspapers, and film studios. Now Rupert Murdoch is betting half a billion dollars that he can turn MySpace into a colossal marketing machine.”

Podcasting

Robert Scoble addresses criticism that podcasting is not as efficient as reading text:

Peter Davis says: “In the time I can listen to an average podcast, I could have caught up on my 50 favorite blogs, or read a chapter in a book, or read the latest issue of Red Herring magazine.”

You might be shocked to hear me say this, but Peter is right.

So, why am I joining a podcasting company if Peter is right? Cause I’d love Peter to explain to me how he reads RSS when he’s driving. Or, as someone told me recently, while walking in the Scottish Highlands.

Or, try exercising while reading a Tablet PC. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work for me.

Walking around town with my SmartPhone out and reading it gets me branded a freak.

See, what you’re missing is podcasting opens up a new usage model that text can’t serve.

Peer Production Era

Chris Anderson writes: “Now we have armies of amateurs, happy to work for free. Call it the Age of Peer Production. From Amazon.com to MySpace to craigslist, the most successful Web companies are building business models based on user-generated content. This is perhaps the most dramatic manifestation of the second-generation Web. The tools of production, from blogging to video-sharing, are fully democratized, and the engine for growth is the spare cycles, talent, and capacity of regular folks, who are, in aggregate, creating a distributed labor force of unprecedented scale.”

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: YouTube

YouTube is to video what Flickr has been to photos. The Economist wrote about its evolution in April:

In December people were uploading 8,000 clips a day, and watching 3m a day. This month they were uploading 35,000 a day and watching 40m a day. With such amazing growth — almost all by word of mouth, e-mail and hyperlink — YouTube already has four times the traffic of Google Video, the online video market of the world’s largest search-engine firm, and the nearest thing to a rival.

The success of YouTube points to another development. People are spending an average of 15 minutes on the site during each visit, enough to view several short, funny clips. This is because they are using YouTube for little breaks during a dull workday. And it is a lean-forward experience, as people sit in front of computer screens. This clip culture, as Mr Hurley calls it, is quite different from the lean-back experience of enjoying a half-hour show while reclining on the sofa.

About 80% come from rank amateurs, and another 10% from dedicated amateurs, such as young comedians hoping to use internet celebrity as a way into a career. Unlike the big media companies looking to recycle their film libraries, Google Video and YouTube are simply giving ordinary people a way to share clips.

Hollywood Reporter captured the early days of YouTube in a March article:

In just a few months, YouTube has generated an inordinate amount of attention for a company with only 20 employees squeezed into a loft above a pizza parlor in San Mateo, Calif. Hurley founded the company in February 2005 with fellow twentysomething Steve Chen; both are former employees at online payment service PayPal.

YouTube is not a peer-to-peer service like Napster, but its video-hosting capabilities allow Internet surfers to stream videos easily from a Web page. Also unlike Napster, most of the video available is not entire TV episodes or movies but short clips no longer than three minutes.

That makes YouTube and its ilk ideal for showcasing homemade video of everything from baby’s first steps to frat-house pranks. But many of these sites are positively teeming with copyright-infringing footage snipped from current and past television shows and movies. There is no barrier to entry for illegal videos; users can upload whatever they want in less than a half-hour.

YouTube has become an online juggernaut seemingly overnight. Not long after its soft launch in May, viewers were watching 30 videos a day; by the time the company officially launched in December, it was 3 million. Today, YouTube has twice the traffic of Yahoo! Video and more than three times that of Google Video and AOL Video.

Tomorrow: Tomorrows TV

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