Heads up everyone: the government is at it again. Remember SOPA and PIPA? Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) has proposed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) and if it, coupled with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s SECURE IT Act, pass a vote later this month, there will be “almost no restrictions on what information can be spied upon and how it can be used”, according to the EFF. That link will take you to a succinct description of exactly what the problem is with CISPA. Techdirt has a more expanded explanation, and includes this awesome nugget:
…in an attempt to address some of the key concerns, the bill’s authors, representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, hosted a conference call specifically geared at digital reporters. The invitation was for “Cyber Media and Cyber Bloggers” (seriously) and took place at 7am Silicon Valley time—thus demonstrating that they are totally in touch with the tech community.
Much like SOPA, it’s not the things that are spelled out directly in the act that scare people, it’s the doors that something like this could open, taking advantage of the broadness of the proposal.
Through a comment from Michael Vagnetti on the TNW article, I found popvox, a tool constituents to learn about and weigh in on bills on the floor of Congress, and to learn how their representatives view the bills. You can also check the bill out on OpenCongress, which is a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation (one of my favorite organizations).
This is a law our government is interested in passing that will dramatically, and negatively, affect our daily lives and the way we conduct business over the internet. This isn’t even about privacy, really; it’s about making sure your Constitutional rights are protected even online. Tell your Representatives (and Senators) what you think.
Anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows how much of a The Next Web (TNW) junkie I am. It’s absolutely my favorite place for online industry news for many reasons, not the least of which is it’s coverage of international and political online industry news as well. I am a political news junkie too, you see, which is why I follow a few pet news stories, like how the Chinese government is negotiating the fine line between economy-stimulating online innovation and communist top-down control. One of my pet new storylines is the explosion of online innovation in Africa. The the middle class is growing rapidly and that is creating a huge new population of consumers that love their mobile phones.
So clearly, this story from TNW this morning about the launch of Kenya’s first mobile apps development lab caught me eye. The new m-lab is designed as the next level for web innovators who incubated their ideas at Nairobi’s iHub.
It’s incredible how developing nations can skip the steps that today’s developed world took to reach its current level of economic development and the way populations of those developing nations grapple with the implications of such leap-frogging, and navigate uncharted territory, is fascinating. But aside from being and interesting news item, this is crucial information for every smart online professional.
There are still huge opportunities online for anyone in the US alone, in addition to developed Europe and Asia. There was a hullabaloo in early June about the Pew Internet and American Life Project report that said 13% of Americans use Twitter, up from 8% one year previously. That’s a fantastic increase, but folks—that’s still a tiny number of Americans. So when I tell you that smart online professionals are thinking about how to take advantage of opportunities in Nairobi, don’t think I don’t realize just how much untapped potential exists closer to home.
But the fact remains: the long-term future of the internet and web-based business lies in tapping the growth of developing nations like Kenya. Smart online professionals are thinking about that, and that’s why you’re here.
On Monday, Econsultancy released its latest UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report which surveyed more than 600 client-side digital marketers and agencies and found out lots of them are focusing, or planning to focus, on locally targeted paid search and mobile search for their marketing plans. The highlights are here, and you should read them. It doesn’t matter if you’re what kind of business you are or how national, or global, your reach is. Local marketing is going to be important to you.
There are some types of businesses who should take advantage of this technology as a matter of course: retailers, entertainment venues like restaurants or clubs, and real estate are some examples. But what about something like an investment firm?
Think this one out: someone is sitting in a restaurant talking and thinking about switching investment firms. She takes out her iPad while she waits for her food to come and searches for investment companies. The search engine already ranks her results based on her preferences, including her location, so when it delivers a list of firms, it also delivers a map of her city with the locations of offices that have paid to be highlighted. Maybe one of those locations is two blocks from where she’s sitting, and she realizes it would be on her way home from work every day. Now that firm has a huge advantage.
The internet has already pushed everything down to the local level, but that pressure is only going to increase. That pressure has already, and will continue, to also wreak havoc in an industry near and dear to my heart: news. Last week, Google launched News Near You, that ReadWriteWeb said could potentially wipe out the exploding hyperlocal news segment (think Patch from AOL). SearchEngineLand reported that Google wasn’t the first to break into this segment – and might not even have the best product (yet) – but I’m confident that the most widely used search engine will become one of the most widely used resources for local news in the near future.
And perhaps the most widely used resource by consumers looking for places to spend their money.
This is a painful thing to do for me for two reasons. The first is that I love the books I own, many of which I’ve owned for many years. I’ve pared down my book collection more than once in the last few years so the books remaining are in fact the cream of the crop.
The second reason this is a painful task for me is that having shelves stuffed with books makes me feel smart. I think that’s true for everyone – we’d rather welcome people into a home with shevles full of books that say “Look how well read I am. I bet you’ve never even heard of this book.” Or maybe that’s just bibliophiles like me. People who love film or music probably have the same urge to display their movies and vinyl.
But the fact is I live in a small apartment and don’t have a lot of space for books. So only the sweetest cream can remain. Besides, it’d be much more efficient and organized to store books (as many books as I wanted!) on an e-reader. Eventually, people will only own physical books that are one of two things: beautiful or exceptionally meaningful.
Those were my requirements as I sat down to purge my bookshelf yesterday afternoon.
Of course, this purge will go in phases to make it a little less painful. I designated one shelf as my move-it-or-lose it collection of books. If I don’t read all 14 books in the next 14 weeks, they will be donated. I got the idea from Unclutterer. Each week I will start a new book. If I can’t get through it in that week, it’s purged. If I continue to choose to do or read other things rather than read that book that week, it gets purged. I don’t necessarily have to finish the book (things happen and I get busy) but if I make a valiant effort and every intention to finish the book, it can stay in my collection.
I will report back and let you know how things are going. I have a feeling that forcing my self to re-read some of these books, that I’ve been keeping on my shelf to make myself feel smart, is going to dampen the pain of purging quickly.