Musings from George

John is in the house
February 24, 2006, 3:20 pm
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My friend John came for a visit, and I pontificated about webcasts, blogs and podcasts. His daughter blogs, and I wanted to give him an overview of both how easy and how temporal these things are. Here today, read today, gone tomorrow, forgotten tomorrow. Google doesn’t even have a chance to catch and index the millions of pages showing up MySpace… is this the history we are not writing?



Interested in podcasts?
February 23, 2006, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Watch a video introduction to
Podcast in a Box and PodASP:
A buddy founded this company and provides a very simple-to-use tool. Churches are in the lead in this field, reminding me of all the changes made in the world by missionaries. They brought our beliefs and tools and diseases to the corners of the world…


Gnomedex, when the online goes offline
February 23, 2006, 5:19 pm
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I’m beginning to hear a new level of interest in podcasts and video blogs, which reminds me of my history back at Real Networks (again, originally funded in part by Mitch Kapor and promising to let anyone become a radio station. “Give a voice to the poor and embattled in Kosovo with B92, let the Chinese dissident reach the world.” That gave way to broadcasting No Doubt concerts, and while I greatly enjoy Gwen Stefani I don’t think she is going to make the world a more democratic place).

When corporations begin to invest in podcasts and video blogs, they assume that people are willing to tag / index / name them appropriately. Unlike blogs, where you can search for “tuna melt” and find the folks in the world who care to type about them, these forums are much more personal (you can recognize voices, and most of us are uncomfortable in front of a video camera for a very good reason) and the odds that strangers can connect (find you) or empathize (identify with you) are much lower. This rush to the streaming world reminds me of the many crappy web sites built in the late 1990s, when everyone had to “be a portal” and “be online”.

Unrelated news — my mom is back home, and I’m pissed at the state of health care in the world today. If you are poor, you can’t get care; if you are ill but not dying, you can’t get help from Medicare; if you actually care what doctor you are going to see, you better be able to pay for it yourself. To add to the pain, the latest Medicare medication plan is so ridiculously complex that the only people who have joined are those who were forced to (government choice) and those who need very expensive drugs and can navigate the program. If you know anything about insurance, this is the formula for failure — where those with the greatest need take advantage of those with no choice, and we (the taxpayers) will bail them out for their losses. Insurers make money when those of us who are healthy pay for the OPTION of having care, and this program makes that incredibly unlikely. I realize it is hard to fix, but it’s pathetic that we aren’t even trying. Summary: my mom’s at home, my sister-in-law is an angel, and I have filed BBB complaints. Do NOT (and I mean DO NOT) ever consider hiring anyone from the Visiting Angels — they left my mom to die, and couldn’t be bothered to call the family to let them know. Lawyers, you can post your own comments here — it isn’t slander if it’s true, and I’d be happy to have the debate in public.

Now to my subject line — last night I attended an offline meeting of people in the Bay Area who share an interest in online communities. Five companies presented (informally) what they have been working on, and helped to expand our ideas about how communities help and what technology enables. One company is partnering with a number of higher education institutions, providing software worth thousands of dollars for free to students in relevant industries … and leveraging the universities’ affiliations, so that these students can connect with others that are in the exact same life stage / curiousity stage / work stage. Brilliant, I think.

Gnomedex is June in Seattle again. I learned much from the bright lights that were there, and would encourage anyone who has the energy and an interest in the online world to go. It’s history happening live.

George Jaquette