Tethering Apps on Android and iPhone

Most of you should be familiar with Prof. Zittrain, a legal scholar, cult-worthy for his wit and ability to resolve lurking conflicts by going meta.  He tries through a book and a blog to prevent the Internet from being reduced to closed platforms, controlled by central institutions who only let certain innovations flourish.  Legos, PCs, the Web, Open Source are example of generative technologies that have brought far more diverse ideas — while ready-to-assemble toys, AOL, Apple & Mac, iTunes & iPod/iPhone have been fantastic product, but with little room for radically new ideas from outside.  Please note his theories are not about good vs. bad as much as long vs. short term.

His latest trick is Herdict, a browser extension to let people around the world compare what sites are unavailable, and sort technical hiccups from political censorship — but the obvious initial object of his lust and his wrath is the iPhone and its open-source twin, the Google-inspired Android.  I just forwarded him my opinion on the latest event in that galaxy, and I thought you too might be interested in my say about that recent development of the War in our Pockets.

Tethering apps are applications on your OS-based mobile (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Palm Pre) that let you connect your laptop through your cellphone, and use your presumably unlimited mobile plan — abuse according to cellular-ISPs and the contracts that they have established with Google and Apple (who pulled all tethering apps from the iTunes App Store).  Google still controls Android Market with a licence that is binding enough to have to have them banned from the market.  As pointed out by Android Community, the openness of the platform allows users to get the tethering apps directly from the developers (and the ruckus around it will only make those apps better known).

However, I’d argue that tethering is hardly new: you might have some interesting way to make it work but large companies with a megalomaniac leader have a better track record at designing well such obvious features. Tethering is an known, identified service, and there is nothing generative per se in going against what must be the only legible paragraph in the user agreement.

Of course, Apple hasn’t done tethering specifically, but the service could, should exist: a little pressure on the cell-ISP would
help.  Being European, I’d even be in favor of a mandatory offer at a reasonable cost-based price — but anyone reasonable (and familiar with how saturated mobile Internet antennas could be) might agree that the added service should be billed on top.  I’d love to believe that executives at cell-ISP are, if not reasonable, interested in more revenue, and would agree with me — but the lack of offer leaves me worried.

Having two-tiered price helps the ISP to lower its monthly rate for the tethering-protected option — and more affordable, unlimited mobile internet for the masses is far more generative then free tethering against €5 or €15/month.  That’s mostly true because of the spectacular effects of combined congestion & price-sensitive demand: similar configuration have been studied for multiple-way roads (bridges, tunnel) where artificial price distinction ended up being beneficial for everyone.

Once intermediate solution appear, there might be a debate on what to consider tethering if they are ambiguous cases — but innovation would benefit from having a ISP-controlled app on both the iPhone and Android.

Posted in Academic, Blogroll, business model | Leave a comment

Google hasn’t closed Jaiku: they opened it — as in OpenSource

Many commenters have so much to say about how Google should have bought Twitter. The thing is, Twitter, or micro-blogging in general, is like macro-blogging, or RSS: it’s better opened, like a publicly available format for everyone to hack — as in, letting users refer to posts or users from a different service.  Imagine WordPress blog could not cite, comment, quotes posts from Blogger.  You might have needed a distinct account to comment until OpenID, but you still could include your blog URL in your signature.  The character limit is interesting, but the success of Twitter over Jaiku is simply a decision by Biz and Ev not to let Google’s Jaiku milk from their success.  Too bad, because, like for blog readers, micro-blogging clients have loads of features one should tweak.  Can you do what you want so far? With a rich variety of Twitter clients, you pretty much can so far — but don’t be fooled, while a Twitter monopoly makes sense, there is still another situation that we might reach soon, and from where you can’t get away: open-source and distributed micro-blogging.  More then paying through the nose for both an easy-to-replicate code base and a hard-to-get-away-from crowd, Google went for the longer term solution and both gives away hosting and opened source the code for any wanabee micro-blogging mogul.

I don’t understand why nobody noticed how important that move could have been: any disgrunted Twitter user can now get on the list of alternatives to Twitter. ‘Could,’ because like all things social, it will only makes sense if enough significant people do. ‘Could’ because unless someone finds anything missing from Twitter, why not use the free, nice, well-known, now-working solution? Any feature request (and I know plenty, from combined user-list and keyword- based filtering, to semantic understanding).

Google didn’t buy Twitter for the same reason that they haven’t bought the Web or Netscape: because neither it is for sale, nor it is cheap, nor it is necessary to make a decent business model out of it, nor should it be kept proprietary, nor Google’s interest is to have anything but vibrant competition in associated sectors.

Next up: my class, some news about my career, and maybe some explanation on how to define “associated sectors”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More on SNS monopoly

Is Facebook a natural monopoly? In my previous post, I argue quite vehemently that, unless DiSo is implemented and massively used, it could become one — and I’d like to tamper that opinion with a distinction notion in competition economics: chalengeability.

The SNS market offers grounds a natural monopoly: everyone wants to use the same service as their friends, and because everyone is connected to everybody else (presumably by a chain of less then six steps) all want to be on the same SNS — the reality is more complex then that, but the latest opinions converge to say that, by considering the importance of weak links and availability of celebrities, you end up with having any decently put SNS a possible candidate for an imperial market share. And that’s the catch, a notion introduced by Microsoft: market share doesn’t necessarily mean control.  Some markets let any small, independent, innovative player with little means take control quite easily. The idea applies to SNS far more then OS, Office software or Flight Simulation, so it’s ironic Microsoft paid for its development, but it is a very relevant idea for SNS.  We saw many flips in recent history; LiveJournal was a step to Friendster; Friendster paved way to MySpace, whose issues made Facebook possible. And protests against Facebook’s features, so easily visible thanks to the NewsFeed could make a fifth generation service, like Twitter, gain traction overnight.  The question is: would that next SNS have to be better? i.e.: Does being a incumbent help ou or handicap you?

A great framework to start from is the one laid in that great article from RRW.  I particularly like that Bernard Lunn makes crystal clear the argument that I’ve been hammering for the past years:

In a social network, the value for existing users of a new user joining the network plateaus once users have most of their own contacts in that network.

but I would like to extend the analysis. Users are sensitive to change: the expression “same old” is often used in IT and caries well the meaning that reproducing existing winning features is easy.  Testing is hard, and Melissa Chang rightfully say that public complains against Facebook feaures is their main asset: they know what to change, in detail; it’s also their competitors main asset — so it’s both important, but doesn’t differientiate them, just like Nick Carr argued that IT was, some years ago.

The real catch is that people adopt not the service that is the best, but those that they expect will be used by their friends soon. The most impressive is relevant only through what you think of your friend’s eyes.  Because you anticipate they are blasé about all those old tech, you look forward to the newest, different kid — and behind early adopters, you have people who know the trade well and over-estimate how much their relatives know about technology.  With increase public scrutiny on SNS, and semi-decent coverage by mainstream outlet, one might expect that Facebook is not only diging it’s grave by publicly sharing it’s issues, but also by going mainstream and letting the next cool kid surf on their wave.  Making your service the center of attention is not changing who your users are, but how well they understand your business, and would value alternatives.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“Open” is vague

Many people are now trying to surf the wave of ‘open’ and that seems to annoy Chris Messina.  The idea is abused, no doubt about it — however, the argument that ‘Open’ is clearly defined, or fully beneficial isn’t true either.  Social networks are not a simple product: they are composed on many elements, and opening always focuses on a limited set of those features.  More generally, the proper angle to adress ‘opening’ is either from an CS point of view: what is feasible; or, rather from an economic point of view: what is made easier, cheaper to do?

Communication studies have described more interactions between platforms through three types of efforts: switching (changing provider) multi-homing (having several provider) and roaming (reaching someone on a different provider).  DataPortability encourages switching; most projects, especially OpenSocial, multi-homing; DiSo is the only effort that adressses most features of a social network and offers cheaper roaming. Facebook Connect still demands that you have an account and abide by Facebook TOS — and so should your friends who want to communicate with you.  I still have no way to share my Facebook-generated feeds with people who refuse to subscribe to the site.

I’m not saying the site doesn’t offer amazing features, on the contrary: they offer a great service — the only way to reach a monopoly with a free service.  I’m saying that, by making it easier to go from another SNS to Facebook (or any other monopoly) one is not helping struggling sites, but giving arguments to consider the largest site, the one likely to end up being the only one around, rather then the on with the features that match the niche needs or you and a few of your friends.  Same for multi-homing: language studies have repeatedy proven how by having everybody speak two languages: English and another, native one, you end up having all the conversation in English, and loose the useless one; similarly, if everyone is on Facebook and another SNS, say a professionally-oriented one, rapidly, the relevance of the other one fades — and, from apparently evenly shares, the market clicks into a monopoly.

Roaming — ie. befriending people outside of the walled-garden of a given SNS, without having to subscribe to each, and give both rights over your data — allow you to test your own version of any given open SNS, tweak it and innovate.  Without that feature, any open code for SNS will be useless: who’d subscribe to a SNS without friends? Who’d contribute code to a project with no rational users?

More importanly, being open, as in ‘letting do what you want’ neglects that my friends might want something else.  I don’t want an openness that let’s me in the dark around those disagreements: I want to know what I’m encouraged to do, I want to have socially-sharable authorisation rules.  And that openness, that Facebook has clearly identified, has nothing to do with other forms of Open.

I don’t want calls to Openness, I want clarity — and so far, I haven’t read anyone who was unambiguous about it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Am I too critical?

Since I started this blog, I’ve been having issues with how to manage audience: most of what I want to say is reactions to someone else’s remarks; there is far less readers of this blog then people reading the comments thread of O’Reilly, Batelle or Carr’s blog — so I have always been tempted to comment and let this blog wait for my original inputs; but by leaving them custody, the consistency of my remarks might only appear to the empty over-lapping set or readers of all.  I could (and have) link-bait but it doesn’t work, anymore at least — and thank God for that.  There is no way for me to organise, value and use my comments the same way that blog can be used as a draft, a note pad.  For one, there is hardly any feed back to my remark — and whenever their is they are too hard to track.  Some blogs offer comment threads, but those a not convenient.

The inconsistency might come from a disonnance among the early or professional bloggers: all mention “conversation” but it’s never clear if it is done through comments or reply blog posts — most likely both, of course.  That however does allow them to neglect a detail: some do not have a blog well-known enough to come and comment with the strong identity needed to make constructive arguments.  I’m glad that people are judged by what they say, not where they are saying it — but this actually devalues commenters.

Companies like Disqus are trying to adress that by integrating all comments — but short of a compatible technologies, or even whort of showing a structured portrait of each commenter, neglecting who is behind corrections won’t turn out of habits.

I might get a larger audience by writing in French (even have a twin-blog for that): many more have reactions by translating ideas — but I still beleive not enough people make the effort to show to the world that some good internet research in done outside of the iLabs, in spite of meager means, if only to tell apart what results from there is true among American, Western or English-speaking users.  You can see a theme there: I’m not confortable with the room left for critics when publishing is made so easy; neither am I with an bling-folded enthusiasm about how opening a blog will make you famous, when attention is so concentrated.  There is a merit in sorting insights from intuition, and this work should be valued and made visible.

Don’t tell me that I’m wrong to be pickish and crave for validation from amazingly brillant people with an excessive number of followers: the largest audience of this blog by far (several orders of magnitude beyond what I’m used to if you want to ask) was not when I corrected one of the afore-mentionned pundit, but when he acknowledged it.

I make a parallel between posts and comments and papers and remarks made during a seminar: there are two levels, and the lower is not valued.

Spending some time in Oxford, I could access some papers that I’ve wanted to check for a long time: having though about the summary made the papers that referred to them, I gave those enough though-cycles to find significant concern — in peer-review articles, that is.  The net results is that I don’t know what to do about a (now dead) senior academic being a bit bold in one remark in a paper published in a second-rate paper (now disappeared) before I was born.  I’m really bothered by this general attitude that science has to be built, brick by brick, rather then carved with Okham’s razor, cut like a jewel into something where —to paraphrase St-Exupéry— not nothing more needs to be added, but nothing more need to be removed.

Do bloggers need to write posts, academics article — and I am arguing to reduce that? Yes. How will this could be as vivid, with less? By including the remarks and comments in the count, by encouraging people to specifically reply to what you do, and let third parties vote up the relevance of one comment; by letting readers decide if something is worth mentionning dynamically, not put an instituonal self-selected frontier.  Collaboration is not fostered if repect for an orinigal idea is at the price of not openly offering improvement.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Walls in the invisible College

I talked last night with friends about Oxford’s colleges — the basic life-unit here: those are not strictly academic discipline, most host under-grads, grads, fellows and seniors; all have an active cultural life and take part in frequent symbolic competition.  More importantly, there are the central area of scholarly discussion; as an homage, the set of scientists working on the same field without living in the same country, quoting each other, often meeting only at conference, is often labeled an ‘invisible college’ — and since the early academic Internet, we have countless amazing ‘virtual’ colleges.

Last night, the most knowledgeable of us mentioned the ancient city wall, and its still standing parts that one can see around town — he mentioned that a large chunk was still barring the way, in the middle of one of the most recent colleges, and it seemed a very inconvenient architectural feature.

Although most of my references are either from the invisible college around my adviser, or too early to be more hen pre-prints accessible on arXiv, but some are behind pay-walls too expensive, diverse and inconvenient for my university to trample them all.  I’ve been able to grab most of the references that I needed thanks to the far more comprehensive Library service here in Oxford — and I would like to thank the Web Science Research Initiative and the Oxford Internet Institute for inviting me if only for that — but to the many dwellers of the inspiring spires who, like ghosts, can cross those paywalls, I would like to point out how annoying those become when you realise that they are there.

Those limitations are not wrong because they prevent ‘anyone’ to read your work: they are wrong because they prevent your friends and critics, the few people who you know, or would like to hear from, the handful of those with whom you can actually talk shop, goof, be yourself and not just have to dumb down your hesitations. These walls are not and the edge of the academic city to protect it from hordes of ignorants—they are in your invisible college: they bar the corridor between your office and the invisible common room.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I would love a hash-tag filtering client for Twitter

Compared to Facebook (that could improve this too) Twitter has little context: according to most client, either you enjoy going through everything someone posts or you don’t see any of their contribution coming your way; this is great with dedicated individuals or with friends close enough to make their inner questioning, restaurant reviews and issues with insurance claims relevant — but most of the time, I have to chose between having no more wide-eyed news from the Silicon Valley or going through @loic’s “Should I run or sort my desk?” moments. Of course it’s easy to over-look those — but I’d rather have a computer do it, rather then me. Loïc himself had to go through that, and decided an energetic cleaning. Hashtags and search are trying to resolve that, but mostly are good for events or breaking news — and don’t even let you opt out of an event, at least not intuitively: you can always ‘mute’ someone, but you wouldn’t know when they are back to their usual meanderings. I can’t prevent @chrismessina from sharing his interests for great bargains (I don’t live in the US, so I can’t use any of these), but I need his insights on the OpenStack.

Twitter can’t really give a pre-set list of contexts, because to some, family is work, or work is their passion; to some, music is their job, or their job is to find restaurants. However, people seem to be quite good at setting up a list of contexts that they step in: hashtags have been meant for that, and the aforementioned twitters and many others have rightfully added a #deals or a #weightloss to their blurbs. What I haven’t seen is a client able to take those away. It would then be up to followers to enforce a clear and systematic code from those seeking attention. This could be done either at the general level, or by followee; although with poster-specific hash-tags, these might not be very different.

Why negative filtering only? Because it would help greatly to balance the two positive way to get content: subscription and keyword search, and be symetric to the negative “-user:johndoe” option in search.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook Proposed Rights and Responsibilities

Facebook is going through an upheaval of their legal principles: a praise-worthy initiative, but by opening the sausage factory, they let us see how horrible the whole thing is. I already vehemently criticised the Principles; let me point at the contradiction between that rosy, fluffy document and the real lawyer thing: “We are the World, we love the children” and “You are allowed to do anything between consenting adults” turned into Nothing objectionable in any way, you comply with DMCA (even if you live in a country that hasn’t signed this madness). Let’s dive:

This text “Proposed Statement of Rights & Responsibilities” (please open next to this window: I’ll refer to it all the time) is actually a translation in English of the usual legalese that no one reads and that is generally as binding as what its own contradiction and common sense let go through a judge’s mind.

1. Privacy. Not sure why that document has to be separate. No big deal.

2. Sharing: I still hate that idea that we are ‘owner’ of content, and not its ‘authors’, but I guess this is because ‘content’ includes logs, involuntary traces of our activity.  This might explain the surprising “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights-”, although re-using our traces might need a licence too.

3. “You will not send or otherwise post unauthorized commercial communications” Authorized by whom? Isn’t there high principles in favour of ‘freedom of communication’ in the neighbouring document (that are about to be trampled)? The list includes impossible to enforce elements and broad considerations, and neglects the possibility of consensual communication. Symmetrically, the Principles ignore the need for Policing the exchange of information that is not pre-approved communication.

4. Registration: nothing to say, except that I like the: “You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook/You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date.” that might have some Orwellian overtones but actually challenges truth in identity; oh, and that 4.3 is surprisingly stern compared to the Principle 10 — a little bit like the poster saying: “Welcome to NY! I<3NY!” in the airport, next to the TSA agent that looks you right in the eye and announces you just won a cavity search.

5 to 8 are actually quite boilerplate. (Well, 8.2 should clarify that some links are not to be shared, and explain why and how — but once again: they do a decent job at bridging the contradictions between something legible and a court-enforceable text; although I’d always prefer the comic-book version.)

9 is fun. I’m not sure I understand 9.2.1 but it sounds like it’s in contradiction with the way all the application connecting Facebook with another site are infringing. 9.2.2 is ironic coming from Mr. Face “Black box” Book. 9.2.5 will be fun to implement for a SNS that started as a Fb application and decides to fly away: e.g. If things go sour with Fb, can Twitter erase the twits that came in from their Fb app? 9.2.7 would like to be more specific — he told me so.  The rest is understandable, but might need to lighten up the rhetoric of the principles, or at least add one element: ‘US laws apply; sorry y’all foreigners’.

10.3 must go. And ‘sponsored’ is not understood by most, so if you want to be clear and transparent, etc. use the word: “ad” and “paid by. . .”

11 sounds limiting the promise of all parties being equal. I guess I misunderstood the point of having that statement in the Principles.

14.2 needs to be there, because it’s the common ‘hosting’/safe harbor clause of the DMCA — but it needs to be made cristal clear, and probably be promoted to the Principles section: Facebook will comply with the local authorities.

14.3 CapsLock is annoying. If you want us to read something, make it short, or draw it.

As far as I can tell, the rest seems acceptable/common/obvious/boring.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facebook Proposed Principles are pandering

Facebook asks its users to discuss its Proposed Principles. I’m unhappy with the way those are expressed, and here is a more complete reply then the one I left on the over-crowded comments thread.

Data cannot be owned: it has an author, and this author has inalienable rights; re-affirming that is useless without specifying who is the author of each aspect of a collective work; an author can license of cede his rights to copy his work — but once again, those century old principles demand a consensus on what to do in case of a disagreement, or when one author\’s opinion cannot be found.

For instance, Facebook hasn’t clearly stated in there the most frequent source of problem: who owns a photo, and who owns the information that Dave is on the photo? The owner of the camera, the person who took the picture (indistinguishable, I agree) or the person on the photos, or the person tagging it? Because, as far as I can tell, by “owner”, Facebook doesn’t mean the person being photographed — and that isn’t made clear at all by their wording. Actually, article 9.3 of the Statement of Rights seems to demand an explicit authorisation — but nothing about what to do when the two disagree; a blog post has, however, and it didn’t match those drapes.

The real issue is actually that last one: the author’s opinion. “Works” produced on Facebook are usually crumbles, impossible to rate outside of the peer-produced context and in general uninteresting and utterly exhausting to sort; more then the big principles, the implementation of tools to sort them, from “phatic and empty praises of yet another uninteresting photo” to “cryptic acronym, meant as an inside joke”. With that, one can expect to have a little more feed-back from disgruntled users, and a easier management of the process surrounding the departure of a user. Without it, those are not only worthless, they are unmanageable, tedious, scary in their size and diversity. Far more then actual consequences of the misuse of those sets, users fear the sets themselves, and have less ideas about what those can look like then whether they can be actually be misused (Hint: No one is going to refuse you an interview because you wrote “You Go Grrl!” below the photos of your high school best friend a few years back.)

Any ‘reappropriation’ is toothless without control, and there is no effective control if the options are: keep them all, erase them all, remove those one by one (but try to find them first). I do not want rights to erase those over effective, intelligent control and information, no more then I want the right to vote over proper information about the candidates and the ability to publicly question them on matters that I care, and keep them on the record. What was obvious to the wall-paper readers of the French and the American Revolution is closed and controlled by Facebook. I want to be able to go to the contents at any day of my NewsFeed faster then anyone can access old photo with my comments on them; nowadays, I’ll have to click until I collapse to reach anything six month old and I can’t even search my recommended links.

At no point Facebook seems to encourage the export of all the contribution of one user (at least, those that make sense decontextualised, and have been produced by a unique user: status, posted notes & shared links, photos as uploaded, list of applications installed) to another similar service that he himself chooses to use, with the information that he encoded in Facebook. This would appear to be the minimum, basic feature for an “Open Web”, and has no legal implications, no other consequence then allowing competitive innovation to foster Facebook into better products.

In the second article, Facebook encourages any communication between consenting parties: “any” raises many now common issues; in the current order of inappropriateness: discrimination, hate-speech (incl. racism & anti-semitism), encouragement to violent or terrorist action, methods and tools for such action, pornographic content involving minor; one might want to add blasphemy and sedition, for good measure. Facebook cannot state it protects this under any circumstances because some of this would be illegal in all countries where the service operates. It might want to re-affirm under what principles it would give way to an investigation, and what measures are acceptable to be taken, but protecting anything, facing any suspicion, is not what a majority of the population would agree. It is arguable that —for the worst aspects— if a judge has enough evidence to investigate, this should be enough to prosecute, and the proof of communication doesn’t had much to the file; I personally wouldn’t go that far. But the best part is in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities article 3 & 5, that basically can be read to exclude all forms of communications.

In the first and third one, Facebook claims for the right to connect, and the free flow; as far as I can tell, most of the issues raised where not “How can I click on that obvious button [You are too annoying to be my friend anymore]?” but: Your photo or your writings are offending me. Truth be told, many actually wonder about whether their unfriending should be visible, and we agree that it should not.

The fourth article legitimize the presence of commercial entity: I agree, but I know people who vehemently disagree with that, who didn’t object to that wording, because it apparently wasn’t clear enough. Without controversial examples of what each article implies, this set of value cannot be criticized. What is really surprising is that I can’t read this: “Every Person (. . .) should have representation and access to distribution and information within the Facebook Service,” without noticing that the “within” is ambiguous; should the Person too be within? Does someone has to be a member for his interest to be respected? Do you have to subscribe to control the photos associated to you?

“[. . .] programmatic interfaces for sharing and accessing the information available to them.”

No: I want programmatic interfaces to control the information related to me — that right doesn’t allow me to manage the NewsFeed as I deem fit, and that is far more important problem to be opened then any other.

Most of the articles that I don’t mention are corny, toothless and pandering in the sense that they acknowledge previous mistakes, and state the obvious: that Facebook blew it, and the users had to right to be upset — but they don’t correspond to an actual decision.

Finally, the last article completely neglects that to be available, you need to offer a service that is acceptable abroad: ethnocentric much? Well, does that mean no breast-feeding, no ‘sedition’, no blasphemy? What happens if A is an American with strong opinions about his civil liberty, B is his friend, living abroad, and C is a friend of B, that would not stand one of the above: should A’s photos showing her breasts (resp. a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, or the tank on June 10th on Tian An Men) be invisible to C? Once again, contradictions with the Rights and Responsibilities, 4.3 specifically, is amusing.

I’m happy to have principles, I’d prefer to have clear, explicit, sour consequence of what each of those rights imply; I want ‘morally unlucky’ situations. “Vote for everyone” includes murderers, mentally ill people and fascists: that’s where the debate should be, not in Rosyfluffyland.

PS: I guess a post on the contradictions and ‘ellipses’ in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is coming, too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A great interview with Bernie Hogan

I’ve been in Oxford for three weeks now, and I am surronded with great people; walking around the town every morning is great too — but it’s even better while listening to what really made this town proud: lectures.  Understanding what someone has to contribute while passing in front of his or her College is a nice combination, and a great victory of technology over academic busy schedule.

If you too want to enjoy the soft-spoken, and brilliantly articulate tone I came to appreciate, listen to Oxford Internet Institute podcast (iTunes link).

  • The first show is an introduction by Pr. Bill Dutton, the head of the OII; I beleive I’ve already mentioned it on this blog (or at least I should): it covers the importance of Internet for society for scholars to whom time taught to down-play the hype and understand the long term.
  • The second was a real discovery for me: Dr. Bernard Hogan, a recent addition to the OII, explains the mechanism at play around social networks. Most of my research is based on those results, and I could not explain them better then Bernie himself.

Looking forward to far more recordings of this quality and insight,

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment