Archive | December, 2008

Wikipedia founder makes personal appeal for support

29 Dec

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If you use wikipedia as much as I do you no doubt have seen their fund raising efforts in action.  Now the sites founder Jimmy Wales has penned a letter personally appealling to the huge number of people who use the site.  I am a  big fan of what Jimmy is doing and encourage everyone to give what they can. 

An appeal from Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales Dear Reader,

Today I am going to ask you to support Wikipedia with a donation. This might sound unusual: Why does one of the world’s five most popular web properties ask for financial support from its users?

Wikipedia is built differently from almost every other top 50 website. We have a small number of paid staff, just twenty-three. Wikipedia content is free to use by anyone for any purpose. Our annual expenses are less than six million dollars. Wikipedia is run by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which I founded in 2003.

At its core, Wikipedia is driven by a global community of more than 150,000 volunteers – all dedicated to sharing knowledge freely. Over almost eight years, these volunteers have contributed more than 11 million articles in 265 languages. More than 275 million people come to our website every month to access information, free of charge and free of advertising.

But Wikipedia is more than a website. We share a common cause: Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s our commitment.

Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet. Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia — making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for. We are committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning.

Wikipedia is different. It’s the largest encyclopedia in history, written by volunteers. Like a national park or a school, we don’t believe advertising should have a place in Wikipedia. We want to keep it free and strong, but we need the support of thousands of people like you.

I invite you to join us: Your donation will help keep Wikipedia free for the whole world.

Thank you,

Jimmy Wales

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2008: The year the Internet beat Newspapers As News Source

23 Dec

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Praise for NowPublic from Canadian Tech Community

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In the official history of the news business 2008 will be noted as the year that online news surpassed newspapers as a news source:

The internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as a main source for national and international news.

Currently, 40% say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%.

And with young people the net is even more competitive with television news.

Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television.

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Gm’S Bust Turns Detroit Into Urban Farming Mecca

15 Dec

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From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers


David Byrn

For some time now I have been advocating or writing about the need to re-think the role of food production in the context of the new, emerging economic realities.  It seems that we have an early indication of where this all may go by looking at the center of the old economic model, Detroit.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC are fighting for their lives. Large stretches of Detroit are already dead.

With enough abandoned lots to fill the city of San Francisco, Motown is 138 square miles divided between expanses of decay and emptiness and tracts of still-functioning communities and commercial areas. Close to six barren acres of an estimated 17,000 have already been turned into 500 “mini- farms,” demonstrating the lengths to which planners will go to make land productive.

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Vancouver Real Estate Group Hits Blogger With Legal Demands

13 Dec

Here’s an example of how not to handle a blogger.

Being in the right is not what always counts when it comes to public relations; what matters is what the public comes to understand. From a PR strategy perspective, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver exercised poor judgment in its minor dispute with Vancouver Condo Info.

Inherent in public relations is the notion of relationship. This implies a respectful engagement with your audience. Hence, when contacting a blogger, spam is not good PR, hate mail is not good PR, but maybe a short email with a fact sheet attachment is.

In the matter of the REBGV v. Vancouver Condo Info, the blogger posted a graph with a potentially confusing title — one that the board thought infringed on its trademark. But rather than have a staffer send a quick email suggesting a correction, the REBGV calls on lawyers to make demands of the blogger with the intent of issuing a cease-and-desist.

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Vancouver City Manager Rogers Dismissed

12 Dec

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Judy Rogers, the city manager is no longer at City Hall.  This is probably good for the city’s new leadership as it lets them bring in new people and usher in new ideas.

VANCOUVER – Less than a week after Gregor Robertson took over as mayor, Vancouver city manager Judy Rogers has been dismissed and Dr. Penny Ballem has been hired in her place.

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Why Not Writing a Story Is Innovation

11 Dec

Some good advice for the news business.

Newsrooms have to rethink the kind of stories they cover and the way they tell those stories, or all the new technologies could be wasted on news that readers don’t find relevant or interesting.

To do this, they have to practice innovation-by-omission. That is, they need to stop writing stories that don’t deserve to be written.

Newsrooms no longer have the luxury of wasting resources on non-stories — on “the journalism of filling space and time,” as Jeff Jarvis put it. They no longer have the luxury, in an information-overload world, of wasting readers’ time with non-stories or information readers already know. Readers will simply go somewhere else.

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Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.


Mason Cooley

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Nasa Has Become a Transition Problem for Obama

11 Dec

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If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood.


NASA administrator Mike Griffin

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They can send a man to the moon but they can’t get along with the new boss.

CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

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