And I’m free, oh! free fallin’

by Cy Caine on August 11, 2010

The title notwithstanding, this post isn’t about a classic Tom Petty song.

According to the progress bar on my Kindle, I am about 19% of the way through Freefall: American, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz.  I started reading this just a few days ago after learning that Stiglitz would be giving a talk to the Columbia alumni community in NYC on October 12th.  (I’m planning to attend.)

I’ll reserve final judgement until I finish the book.  If you have been following news accounts related to the financial crash and the ensuing Great Recession, a lot of the ground Stiglitz covers won’t be new to you.  However, he lays out in a way is clear, compelling and sure to get your blood boiling at least just a little bit.  His narrative reinforces the conclusions that (a) the mess we are in wasn’t inevitable and (b) the sub-optimal policy repsonses of the Bush and Obama administrations took a bad situation and made it worse.

As  I noted above, I am only about one-fifth of the way through the book.  Thus far I have found most interesting Stiglitz’ seven principles for a well-designed stimulus program: [click to continue…]

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What is content?

by Cy Caine on April 14, 2010

Really interesting post by Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine.com.  Hat tip to bosacks.com for bringing this to my attention.  The post uses the often commented on question about  iPad is a content creation device, content consumption device or some blend of the two as a starting point to ask the bigger question – what is content?

As of this writing there were already 61 comments on the original post.  I read the first several and felt that most missed the point entirely. The interesting element of Jarvis’ comments are not about the iPad per se.  Rather, the key point is that we need to think differently (no pun intended) about what content is.  Every action we take that is logged somewhere is or has the potential to be “content.”  Jarvis writes:

When we email a link to a friend, that act creates content. When we comment on content, we create content. When we mention a movie in Twitter — that’s just useless chatter, right? — our tweets add up to valuable content: a predictor of movie box office that’s 97.3% accurate. When we take a picture and load it up to Flickr — 4 billion times — that’s content. When we say something about those photos — tagging them or captioning them or saying where they were taken — that’s content. When we do these things on Facebook, which can see our social graph, that creates a meta layer that adds more value to our content. On Foursquare, our actions become content (the fact that this bar is more popular than that bar is information worth having). When we file a health complaint about a restaurant, that’s content. Our movements on highways, tracked through our cellphones, creates content: traffic reports.

This is all something that most of us intuitively know and yet that we don’t spend time thinking about. It is worth thinking about.

I’m adding BuzzMachine.com to the list of sites I follow.

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How much more can I take?

April 6, 2010

I’m joking.  OK, I’m mostly joking.  Apple’s iPad has been released into the wild and I don’t have one.  Haven’t planned to buy one and almost certainly won’t anytime soon.  I don’t (absolutely) have to have the very latest gadget out there, right.  I’ve made peace with that.  But following so quickly on the 4/2 [...]

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MacUpdate – Highly Recommended for my Mac-using friends

April 2, 2010

If you pretty much stick to running a plain-vanilla Mac environment, using only the applications that came with your Mac plus maybe Microsoft Office, then this post isn’t for you.  However, if you like to tweak you Mac with lots of different software applications and extensions, read on. For a long time I’ve visited MacUpdate.com [...]

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Encouraging Economic News

March 24, 2010

Very encouraging to see a story on Forbes.com this week that magazine ad sales for April and May are heading higher.  Hearst Magazines’ chief marketing officer, Michael Clinton, reports that sales for April rose 12% compared to the same period last year. Now Clinton says May will be even better. Ad sales across 13 of [...]

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Reading Web Content on Your Kindle

March 4, 2010

Though the Kindle has a rudimentary web browser, I have found it to be so limited and so slow that I won’t use it.  However, I was looking for an easy way to read Web content on my Kindle.  I am using the following process to move content I find online to my Kindle for [...]

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Next time you go to Washington, D.C., leave your camera home (apparently)

February 27, 2010

An unbelievable decision was handed down on 2/25/10 which holds that a stamp issued by the U.S.P.S. based on a photograph of the Korean War memorial violates the copyright of the artist.  No, not the photographer.  It violates the copyright of the scuipter! I heard about this today and actually read the opinion of the [...]

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Google Buzz – Smart Move…

February 10, 2010

The rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social media services is surely of concern to the brains inside the Googleplex.  Google’s latest attempt to reclaim some of this social media territory and mindshare is Google Buzz.  I read about this for the first time yesterday and it was finally activated for my account today.  I’ll [...]

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Shelby to Obama: Hold On!

February 7, 2010

I’ve recently been following the absurdity that is the U.S. Senate with equal parts frustration and disbelief.  OK, I can get my head around how 40 Senators can bring things to a halt via a filibuster.  Understanding how one Senator can stop further action on 70+ executive branch nominees is harder to fathom. This is [...]

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Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

February 6, 2010

While driving home yesterday I caught the tail end of a story on NPR about the need for real debates in American politics. The piece discussed an area of agreement between two individuals from opposite ends of the political spectrum: Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation Grover Norquist, president of Americans for [...]

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