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February 2008

links for 2008-02-28

sceince as art - the video that made Scoble cry

This Worldwide Telescope truly is beautiful.  As a child I used to absorb every peice of available media around outer space and scientific discovery.  Somewhere along the line, I became a jaded adult.  I stopped dreaming.  This presentation has reinvigorated the enthusiasm and wonder I once enjoyed. 

Please enjoy the video below (after the jump).

Why couldn't NASA have produced this? 

Why couldn't the government have aggregated this data in this manner, putting a friendlier face on the billions of tax dollars we're spending on what appears to be a funding vacuum?

Here's to hoping this is just the first, of many more such remarkable tools.

embracing the silence of disconnectivity

Serenity Yesterday I had a solid meeting with a great company, Zannel.  When you think Zannel, think rich media capability meets Twitter with true cross-platform interactivity.  Great people, compelling conversation, really nice product.

And this got me thinking.   What ever happened to just sitting on a park bench without a cell phone, laptop, mp3 player or other connected device in site?  What ever happened to silence?

I really enjoy silence.  But I can't stop running after commotion.  I find my self checking email constantly, and between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog reading, commenting and writing - not to mention family - there is rarely a moment of silence in my life (other than on Saturdays when I don't use digital media for religious reasons).

As our lives become increasingly more connected, we will find ourselves with fewer and fewer moments of silence and reflection.  Connectivity is great, but when will be learn to draw the line?  When will we learn to shut it all off and just enjoy the wonder of nothing, the beauty of silence?

When will we see the rise of Connectivity Disconnect Therapy?  When will we see hotels and results advertising that their rooms DON'T have internet connectivity?  When will we see the first batch of Disconnecting for Dummies style self-help books?  When will we learn to stop over-achieving, to hold off from pursuing and just live?  

Isn't life a pursuit?  Can a person truly live without pursuing?  Now that we've tasted digital social media, now that the doors of pursuit are always open, can we stop?  Can we learn to shut if off?  When does this platform cease being a pursuit and become an addiction?

In the words of the venerable Valeria Maltoni, "it's not about applications, or process, it's about choices we make : )"

For some more discussion around silence, check out some fantastic posts here and here.

links for 2008-02-26

Hasbro's big mistake

Hasbro shouldn't be playing politics. Period.Monopoly

For the of you who are unfamiliar with the story, here's the three line summary: Hasbro is creating a World version of Monopoly.  In a 2.0 move, they opened up voting for the world's most popular cities to the public.  Then they alienated their voting community.

The public voted for strongly for Jerusalem, Israel.  They voted so strongly, that they drove Jerusalem, Israel, into the top 5 cities in this contest. 

Then politics kicked in.  Under local pressure, a Hasbro employee in London, on his own, pulled Israel from the map, leaving Jerusalem owner-less.  Rather than correct the error, Hasbro rejected their enthusiast voting community and stood by this errant employee.  The Jewish and Christian communities erupted with a fervor.  Every city in the world had a host country, except for Jerusalem.  In response, Hasbro pulled all country titles from cities, leaving all cities owner-less. 

But the damage was already done.  I have already come across scores of email streams and blog posts calling on the Jewish and Christian communities to boycott all Hasbro products.   

Hasbro took a stand: they alienated their voters, their activists, their brand enthusiasts.  If voters felt that strongly about Jerusalem, if Hasbro as a US based company has moral ground to stand by (the US recognizes Jerusalem as the unilateral capital of Israel), why would they pull Israel from the title?  Were they unaware of the tension regarding Jerusalem before they built out the product and campaign?  And given that this dismissal of Israel was done without corporate approval, why would they then stand by a single employee and desert their vocal customers?  Why would a company alienate the consumers behind a country that (at one point) ranked 4th most popular in their own online poll?  Hasbro has worked themselves into a winless situation.

In the minds of many, by pulling the names of ALL countries in response to the strife, they conceded that Jerusalem is not part of Israel.  They took a stand.  They stood by the voice of singular employee, and alienated their fans.

What a mess. 

Personal feelings aside, what a disgrace towards the social media community.  What an embarrassment for the company.  Let's hope Hasbro learns something from this. 

Never play with matches if you aren't interested in starting a fire.

Personal feelings: I grew up on Monopoly.  I still enjoy playing the game with nieces and nephews.  But this is an issue that is very close to me.  As someone who lived in Jerusalem for two years, as someone who witnessed first-hand the bravery of a country in the face of terror and the courage of individuals in the face of true trial by fire, I cannot forget what has happened.  I cannot ignore some of the hardest chapters of my lifeYes, this is just a board game.  But Jerusalem, to me, is more than just a city. 

Monopoly was a game that stood for innocence, youth, and family gatherings.  Hasbro was part of my childhood, they were part of my family.  But Monopoly can no longer be a family game in my household.  This is no longer a game that I feel comfortable inviting into my home.  What a shame.

should parents post pics and vids of kids?

Imagine the embarrassment of being 15 years old and having a friend "dig up" a cutesy YouTube video of your childhood.  This is the 2.0 version of your parents whipping out the naked baby pictures.  It's just not cool.

Just last night I was speaking with a number of young, new parents (all of us fairly web savvy) and most of us have generally refrained from publicly posting too much about our kids.  What's cute today could easily become dangerous tomorrow.

For example:

A little while back, a co-worker posted a video of his infant son in the bath.  This video was posted for family around the world to view.  Within a couple of days it had accumulated a startling number of hits (in the thousands).  He pulled the video.

Where do you draw the line between sharing your kids with a trusted and familiar circle, and creating publicly available media that can be shared in a dangerous or hauntingly freakish forum?

And now... some very cute videos of kids.
3 Year Old Explaining Star Wars

Charlie Bit Me

Buhlud! (this is funny)

Hey Jude (as performed by a 3 yr old)

Laughing Quadruplets

Evil Look

Best Baby Laugh Ever