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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mike at TechDirt (which I’m growing to like more and more on the time, and you’ll learn why below) addresses issues raised by Om Malik on his blog material being lifted and reprinted on other blogs. Bottom line says Mike, “fuggettaboutit.” As a person who writes for a living I have a strong feeling about copyright misuse, but blogs are to me anyway a new world. In fact, an entire post of mine was reprinted yesterday and I really didn’t care.

What Mike brought out for me was that blogs that reprint or consolidate blog enties (like SlashGeo) are a different animal than those that find/create/add value to content. He explains in response to the argument that those who do reprint are “taking money” from the original sites: “The people who would find such content interesting almost definitely are reading the original sources, and will know immediately that the site in question is ripping people off. ” I’d perhaps say it this way: those who are seriously into a topic read the top blogs in that industry. Those who have cursory interest read aggregated ones. (That’s likely true of in depth analytical writing and headline sites, too.) Only the “good” aggregators stay in business, because they add value as good filters (I got my start in Web writing at such a site, tenlinks.com). Core blogs (that “find/create/add value to content”) get most of their traffic/best comments/most referals from the hard core readers.

Let me use myself as an example. I’m a GIS weenie. I read lots of GIS blogs. I don’t spend much time reading the aggregators (SlashGeo/Planet Geospatial) because I’ve already culled out the best blogs for me and don’t need their help. I’m not a general technology weenie so I read but two tech blogs - Slashdot and TechDirt. I count on them to fish out the stuff I need to know and if they miss something, I’m ok with that. I have to believe there are those only vaguely interested in GIS who read the geo aggregators and might eventually get to APB that way.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/28 at 07:20 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Stefan at Ogle Earth notes some juicy educational lessons using Google Earth.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/28 at 07:13 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hey, I’m a fan of Slashdot; I’ve read it for years, but guys noting Galileo as a new idea here in 2005/6? You are a bit behind! As usual, the discussion has some valid comments, but many get off track rather quickly.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 01:34 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Mike at TechDirt noticed a New York Times article (may require registration) on the transportation strike that noted that many hearty New Yorkers who could telecommute chose not to do so. He cites the reasons from the article: the need for face time and separation of home and work. He also notes that the choice may be generational.

I suspect there’s a good deal of truth in that statement. When I graduated from college (1986, if you are counting) my favorite geography professor explained that soon the geography of work would be completely different; we’d all live in really cool places and work from there. That’s certainly happening, but more for my generation and below, not for his. Part of the shift, I’ll offer is that today’s generation lives in a “bring me” world, whereas many before lived in a “go to” world. That’s simplification, but today’s generation gets pizza delivered, carries iPods everywhere, and has movies piped into their houses. In my house growing up either my grandmother made pizza (yep Eastern European woman made pizza!) or Dad drove the Bellinos to get it. Movies were an excursion (and a big deal).

Why should work be any different from our day to day lives in this respect?

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/27 at 08:11 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Rocky Mountain News gets a lot of coverage due to its strong online presence. Some 42 “hubs” cover local news and encourage citizen journalism. So, it was quite interesting to read editor, publisher and president John Temple’s discussion of attempting an interactive map of Christmas lights in his editorial from December 24 higlighting the paper’s accomplishments.

I hope you feel it in this newspaper and on our Web site every day. A passion. A passion for trying new things to serve you better. A passion for telling stories.

Take our new mapping service for Christmas light tours. This year, instead of just printing maps in the paper, we’re offering personalized maps on our Web site.

In the newspaper, we have to give everybody the same map. On the Web, you can create the map that best suits your needs.

Go to com and click on “Holiday Lights” and you’ll find an offer to “Get directions to light displays in your area.”

It will take you to a page where you can enter the address where you want to start your tour. Click on “Find Nearest” and you’ll get a listing of the best nearby displays. In my case, there were 16 within three miles. Choose the ones you want to visit and click on “Find Route” and you’ll get step-by-step directions and a map of the entire route. Print it and you’ll have a guide for a fun excursion.

We developed this service as an experiment with ESRI, a Boulder company that specializes in Web mapping. We wanted to see what was possible.

It wasn’t as easy as we had hoped. For example, I’d love - yes, love - for people to be able to post their own pictures of their lights on our Web site and to have them show up with the addresses when others call up a map. I’d like for you to be able to e-mail the light show creators. And, of course, you should be able to get our maps and photos on your cell phone while you’re driving, maybe even with a soundtrack to make your journey more fun. And how about coupons or special offers from coffee shops or gas stations for participating? But those ideas will have to wait for future years.

This mapping effort, believe it or not, is linked to our plans to help you decide how to vote in the 2006 election. We’re going to build our deepest election Web site ever, where just by punching in your address you’ll be able to find links to all our stories and data, such as campaign finance reports and information about the candidates and issues you’ll find on your ballot.

We hope you’ll walk into your polling place next November with a printout from RockyMountainNews.com as your sample ballot.

Of course ESRI is based in Redlands, California. I’m sure that the local office worked their butts off in developing the app. Still, he’s right - the hodgepodge of voting for lights displays (which linked to PDF maps???), routing by RouteMap IMS, and a grid to find local displays were quite challenging to navigate.

Perhaps I need to reconsider my criticism of the Microsoft’s Live Local-based offering and the Google Maps one. Both offered a similar sort of mapping of holiday lights.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/26 at 07:48 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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