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Thursday, December 29, 2005
 

Study: Men and Women Use Internet Differently

Men and women have different motivations for surfing on the Internet. According to a recent report from Pew Internet and American Life, women view the Internet as a place to extend, support, and nurture relationships and communities. Men tend to see it as an office, a library, or a playground, screw the community, this is about function not family. The report found that women are more enthusiastic communicators, using email in a more robust way. Not only sending and receiving more email than men, women are more likely to write to family and friends about a variety of topics, sharing news, joys and worries, planning events, and forwarding jokes and stories. While both sexes equally appreciate the efficiency and convenience of email, women are more likely than men to value the medium for its positive effects on improving relationships, expanding networks, and encouraging teamwork at the office. The report found that women are more likely to use the Internet for emailing, getting maps and directions, looking for health and medical information, seeking support for health and personal problems, and getting religious information. Men tend to be more intense Internet users than women, being more likely to go online daily and more likely to go online several times a day. Men also tend to go online in greater numbers than women but for a much broader variety of reasons. Men are more likely to use the Internet to check the weather, get news, find do-it-yourself information, acquire sports scores and information, look for political information, do job-related research, download software, listen to music, rate a product/person/service through an online reputation system, download music, use a webcam, and take a class. Women catching up with online activities - Web Study Reflects Gender Gap - Techtree.com - BBC News - Seattle Times - World Peace Herald
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Sunday, December 18, 2005
 

Why Was Google So Desperate for AOL?

Web search leader Google is in exclusive talks to buy a 5% stake in Time Warner's AOL Internet unit for $1 billion. A deal would shut out Microsoft, which was seeking its own arrangement. News of the deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, propelled Google shares to a record high. Under the terms of the proposed deal, which could close within days, Google would continue to provide AOL with its paid search advertising technology for five years. The deal would allow AOL to sell display and banner advertising to other Web sites using Google's ad serving technology. AOL accounts for from 2% to 4% of Google's revenue on net basis. Microsoft had been negotiating to get AOL to use its search technology instead, which would have almost immediately given the software giant a huge presence in its fledgling paid search business.
"AOL would have been a huge opportunity and a natural fit to jump start that business for Microsoft. If Google has boxed Microsoft out, it begs the question: How is Microsoft going to flourish online?"
Google, and to a lesser extent Yahoo!, have enjoyed dramatic growth in their search advertising businesses over the past year. The companies generate revenue each time a Web user clicks on text advertisements that run alongside Internet search results. A deal with AOL would set the stage for Google to expand into display advertising, taking dead aim at Yahoo, which is entrenched in both paid search and display advertising. Together the different types of advertising make up a market of roughly $12 billion annually. Early talks with Microsoft centered on putting its online network MSN and AOL together, but that was too complex and talks shifted to a joint venture that would include search advertising and display or branded advertising. Less than two weeks ago, Time Warner Chief Executive Dick Parsons said the joint venture was the way Time Warner wanted to go and terms of the deal changed little between then and its final offer. The source said, "What did change a lot was the pressure being applied to Time Warner in the course of that time frame," referring to corporate raider turned shareholder activist Carl Icahn, who is leading a group of shareholders advocating a breakup of Time Warner. Icahn's group, which has a 3.1% stake in Time Warner, says the company is worth more in pieces than as a conglomerate.
"It is my belief that, if the proper partner were allowed to have control of AOL, shareholder value would be much more greatly enhanced than through a half-hearted joint venture that might only serve the purpose of entrenching management"
AOL is seen is a critical swing factor on search technology traffic among Internet media rivals Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, just as it once was on online advertising, a category it practically invented in the early 1990s. AOL made surfing the Internet and chatting online a household phenomenon. Time Warner has acknowledged in the past that one of the key missing components of its Internet strategy was a paid search component. Google in $1bn link with AOL - AOL EXECS WIN ONE - Best Syndication - Seattle Post Intelligencer - SYS-CON Media - MSNBC
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Monday, December 12, 2005
 

There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility'

On Monday, in one of his now-weekly appearances on cable news defending the latest Wikipedia scandal, the project's figurehead Jimmy 'Jimbo' Wales expressed his desire to find the anonymous internet user who had libeled John Seigenthaler. It started as a joke and ended up as a shot heard round the Internet, with the joker losing his job and Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, suffering a blow to its credibility. A man in Nashville has admitted that, in trying to shock a colleague with a joke, he put false information into a Wikipedia entry about John Seigenthaler Sr., a former editor of The Tennessean in Nashville. Brian Chase, who until Friday was an operations manager at a small delivery company, told Mr. Seigenthaler on Friday that he had written the material suggesting that Mr. Seigenthaler had been involved in the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy. Wikipedia, a nonprofit venture that is the world's biggest encyclopedia, is written and edited by thousands of volunteers. Mr. Seigenthaler discovered the false entry only recently and wrote about it in an op-ed article in USA Today, saying he was especially annoyed that he could not track down the perpetrator because of Internet privacy laws. His plight touched off a debate about the reliability of information on Wikipedia - and by extension the entire Internet - and the difficulty in holding Web sites and their users accountable, even when someone is defamed. In a confessional letter to Mr. Seigenthaler, Mr. Chase said he thought Wikipedia was a "gag" Web site and that he had written the assassination tale to shock a co-worker, who knew of the Seigenthaler family and its illustrious history in Nashville. "It had the intended effect," Mr. Chase said of his prank in an interview. But Mr. Chase said that once he became aware last week through news accounts of the damage he had done to Mr. Seigenthaler, he was remorseful and also a little scared of what might happen to him. Mr. Chase also found that he was slowly being cornered in cyberspace, thanks to the sleuthing efforts of Daniel Brandt, 57, of San Antonio, who makes his living as a book indexer. Mr. Brandt has been a frequent critic of Wikipedia and started an anti-Wikipedia Web site (www.wikipedia-watch.org) in September after reading what he said was a false entry about himself. Using information in Mr. Seigenthaler's article and some online tools, Mr. Brandt traced the computer used to make the Wikipedia entry to the delivery company in Nashville. Mr. Brandt called the company and told employees there about the Wikipedia problem. Mr. Brandt also sent an e-mail message to the company, asking for information about its courier services. A response bore the same Internet Protocol address that was left by the creator of the Wikipedia entry, offering further evidence of a connection. A call by a New York Times reporter to the delivery company on Thursday made employees nervous. On Friday, Mr. Chase hand-delivered a letter to Mr. Seigenthaler's office, confessing what he had done, and later they talked at length. Mr. Chase told him that the Seigenthaler name had come up at work and that he had popped it into a search engine and was led to Wikipedia, where, he said, he was surprised that anyone could make an entry.
"I am truly sorry to have offended you, sir. Whatever fame comes to me from this will be ill-gotten indeed."
Mr. Seigenthaler said Mr. Brandt was a genius for tracking down Mr. Chase. He said he would not take Mr. Chase to court. Mr. Chase resigned from his job because he did not want to cause problems for his company. Mr. Siegenthaler urged Mr. Chase's boss to rehire him, but Mr. Chase said that this had not happened. Mr. Chase said that as Mr. Brandt and the news media were closing in and he realized how much he had hurt Mr. Seigenthaler, he decided that stepping forward was the right thing to do. Mr. Seigenthaler said that as a longtime advocate of free speech found it awkward to be tracking down someone who had exercised that right.
"I still believe in free expression. What I want is accountability."
Jimmy Walessaid that the site would make more information about users available to make it easier to lodge complaints. But he portrayed the error as something that fell through the cracks, not a sign of a systemic problem. Wikipedia "joker" apologizes for phoney online bio - Caught red handed - p2pnet.net - United Press International - BetaNews - Kashar News

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Friday, December 09, 2005
 

US still holds key to climate forum success

Delegates appear close to agreement on one of the last two major issues to be decided at the United Nations conference on climate change. Tony Blair has been warned not to allow the US to dictate the future of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by refusing to participate in discussions. The Prime Minister was accused by aid and environment groups of sending out confusing and ambiguous messages on the subject. The UK coalition - the first of its kind - aims to highlight the problems human development and ecosystems are facing as ministers discuss the issue in Montreal. It is calling for official recognition that the threat from climate change is so large that it threatens all the internationally-agreed targets for poverty reduction - the Millennium Development Goals. It is also lobbying that any deal to develop the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 should force countries to adopt greenhouse gas reduction targets which are adequate to stop dangerous climate change. Sufficient resources must be provided to enable developing countries to adapt to the degree warming already built into the earth's climate system, it urges. The groups are calling on Tony Blair to resist pressure to block progress in order to appease the current US administration. The coalition's report "Africa: Up in Smoke?" makes it clear that Mr Blair's efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa will ultimately fail unless urgent action is taken to halt dangerous climate change. Rich countries have failed to join the dots between climate change and development, particularly in Africa, it said. And unless addressed, this could condemn generations in the world's poorest nations. Africa is on the front line of global warming, with 70 per cent of the workforce relying on mostly rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change is already disrupting these vital rains, bringing more droughts and floods. The report, with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, details the impact that climate change is already having on Africa and the threat it poses to human development. John Magrath of Oxfam said: "The Kyoto Protocol must and will go forward. It is the only game in town." Similarly, Catherine Pearce, of Friends of the Earth, said: "Politicians gathered here in Montreal need to take on board that the public want action. Coalitions like ours are now emerging in other countries. Andrew Simms, of the New Economics Foundation, said: "The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir David King, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, and Sir John Houghton have all said that global warming is a bigger threat to society than terrorism. That means it needs a stronger international response." Trail goes cold in search for climate deal - US Execs Clamping Down on Environment - Winnipeg Sun - Sify - New York Times - Xinhua
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