With A Name Like Hoovers, I’d Be Careful

When Outside the Loop, a Quicker Way to Get In

Hoover’s, a business research unit of Dun & Bradstreet, and Visible Path, a technology company in Foster City, Calif., hope to change that with the introduction of a free service called Hoover’s Connect. It is to offer visitors to Hoovers.com the ability to mine their networks to find helpful connections with prospective clients or business partners.

[…] The service, which is being previewed starting today on Hoovers.com, requires little effort, but it does take a little trust. Users who visit Hoovers.com are shown the site’s typical collection of information regarding businesses, including contact information, sales statistics and key executives.

But those who sign up for Connect can download software from Visible Path that makes note of whom a user messages via e-mail and how frequently (it does not monitor the content of the communications). The service tracks activities within Microsoft Outlook, the dominant business e-mail system, and will eventually include Web-based e-mail systems like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

From there, Connect builds a meta-network of sorts to determine how one is connected to other businesspeople across the country. […]

It’s All Computers These Days

An essay from Steve Lohr, responding to a National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Board symposium. Most notably, an assertion that pretty much everything is computing these days: Computing, 2016: What Won’t Be Possible?. For example:

“Algorithms are small but beautiful,” Dr. Karp observed. And algorithms are good at describing dynamic processes, while scientific formulas or equations are more suited to static phenomena. Increasingly, scientific research seeks to understand dynamic processes, and computer science, he said, is the systematic study of algorithms.

Biology, Dr. Karp said, is now understood as an information science. And scientists seek to describe biological processes, like protein production, as algorithms. “In other words, nature is computing,” he said.

Gracenote and MySpace Team Up On © Infringement

MySpace to block illegal use of copyrighted musicpdf

News Corp’s MySpace.com on Monday said it had licensed a new technology to stop users from posting unauthorized copyrighted music on the social networking Web site and oust frequent violators of its policy.

[…] MySpace, one of the most popular sites on the Internet, licensed technology from privately-held Gracenote allowing it to review music recordings uploaded by community members to their profiles.

The technology compares those filed with Gracenote’s database of copyrighted material and can block uploads without proper rights. Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

[…] But MySpace, increasingly seen as a destination to see and hear music and video, will soon begin selling songs from nearly 3 million unsigned bands. It aims to eventually offer copyright-protected songs from major record companies.

Once Gracenote’s technology is integrated into its service, users who repeatedly try to upload unauthorized music will have their accounts deleted, MySpace said.

Later: MySpace Music Move; MySpace to Use Audio Fingerprinting

Coping With Privacy In Public

One strategy: Private conversation is aim of new blog softwarepdf

On Thursday, Six Apart Ltd., a supplier of the software used to publish blogs, unveiled a widely anticipated blog-writing tool called Vox (http://www.vox.com).

The free service, which has been in test mode with 50,000 users for several months, encourages new categories of bloggers to publish personal text, photos, audio or videos to share with known acquaintances.

While Vox blogs may look like other blogs, they are distinguished by five levels of privacy settings that can be placed on each item a user publishes. Who comments and who reads comments are also under the publisher’s control.

“Not everything has to be published for public consumption,” said Mena Trott, who with her husband Ben co-founded Six Apart in 2002.

Sorta redefines what “publish” (“to make public”) means, doesn’t it?

Coping With Privacy In Public

One strategy: Private conversation is aim of new blog softwarepdf

On Thursday, Six Apart Ltd., a supplier of the software used to publish blogs, unveiled a widely anticipated blog-writing tool called Vox (http://www.vox.com).

The free service, which has been in test mode with 50,000 users for several months, encourages new categories of bloggers to publish personal text, photos, audio or videos to share with known acquaintances.

While Vox blogs may look like other blogs, they are distinguished by five levels of privacy settings that can be placed on each item a user publishes. Who comments and who reads comments are also under the publisher’s control.

“Not everything has to be published for public consumption,” said Mena Trott, who with her husband Ben co-founded Six Apart in 2002.

Sorta redefines what “publish” (“to make public”) means, doesn’t it?

Tim Wu Looks At YouTube Litigation Potential

A discussion of “tolerable infringement:” Does YouTube Really Have Legal Problems?

When Google bought YouTube, the conventional wisdom—expressed in op-eds, newspaper articles, and scary editorial cartoons—was that they’d also bought themselves a whole heap of copyright trouble. The New York Times used the phrase “litigation-laden landmine.” Part-time copyright theorist Mark Cuban warned that YouTube would face the same copyright fate as Napster.

There’s only one problem with these theories: the copyright law itself. Under the copyright code, YouTube is in much better legal shape than anyone seems to want to accept. The site enjoys a strong legal “safe harbor,” a law largely respected by the television and film industries for the choices it gives them.

But the most interesting thing is where all this legal armor protecting YouTube—and most of the Web 2.0 (user-generated content) industry—comes from. It’s the product of the Bell lobby—Google’s bitter opponent in the ongoing Net Neutrality debates. So, while YouTube may be the creative child of Silicon Valley, it is also, as much, the offspring of Bell lobbying power.

[…] Stated otherwise, much of the copyrighted material on YouTube is in a legal category that is new to our age. It’s not “fair use,” the famous right to use works despite technical infringement, for reasons of public policy. Instead, it’s in the growing category of “tolerated use”—use that is technically illegal, but tolerated by the owner because he wants the publicity. If that sounds as weird as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” you’re getting the idea. The industry is deeply conflicted about mild forms of piracy—trapped somewhere between its pathological hatred of “pirates” and its lust for the buzz piracy can build.

[…] The upshot is, as YouTube goes mainstream, copyright’s etiquette rules are becoming clearer. Yes, these sites can make it easier to infringe copyright. But so long as that’s not the principle aim of your company, you have more breathing room today than you once did. And under the emerging regime, if you do cause infringement, you have to be nice about it and make determined efforts to stop it. Apple has learned that dance well, even as its iPods make swapping music all the more part of being American. And YouTube has, in turn, learned from Apple the early lessons of Napster: You can act out in cyberspace. Just don’t be a copyright pimp.

Political Googlebombing

Another domain for gaming search: A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data

Fifty or so other Republican candidates have also been made targets in a sophisticated “Google bombing” campaign intended to game the search engine’s ranking algorithms. By flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, it is possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.

[…] An accompanying part of the project is intended to buy up Google Adwords, so that searches for the candidates’ names will bring up advertisements that point to the articles as well. But Mr. Bowers said his hopes for this were fading, because he was very busy.

The ability to manipulate the search engine’s results has been demonstrated in the past. Searching for “miserable failure,” for example, produces the official Web site of President Bush.

But it is far from clear whether this particular campaign will be successful. Much depends on the extent of political discussion already tied to a particular candidate’s name.

Marketing Your Band

Not really on-topic, but a great lede in the internet age: Brazilian Girls aren’t just as billed

One way to guarantee your fledgling band receives attention, at least on the Internet, is to choose a provocative name. New York’s Brazilian Girls wisely chose one that virtually guaranteed search engine-driven numbers. Composed of zero Brazilians, three men (one of whom is Argentine) and exactly one woman, the eclectic outfit now has plenty of actual fans to match the virtual fans who may have hit their website accidentally. Those who stumble across the quartet’s website are treated to samples of Brazilian Girls’ polyglot style — in French, Spanish, German, Italian and English — sometimes all in the same song.