August 5, 2009

MediaCloud Profiled [8:48 am]

Tracking News Life Cycles With Systems Like Media Cloud

Anecdotes favoring one side or another were as plentiful as pop-ups, but a comprehensive and reliable database that could track the daily rhythm of the news cycle over time and was available for public use didn’t exist. So Mr. Zuckerman and others at Berkman decided to create one.

The result is Media Cloud, a system that tracks hundreds of newspapers and thousands of Web sites and blogs, and archives the information in a searchable form. [...]

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August 4, 2009

Apparently Nancy Sinatra Wants More [8:18 am]

Of course, without radio, one might wonder if we’d ever have heard of her father — and certainly I doubt we would ever have heard of her - “Boots” doesn’t quite fit the definition of “great American standard,” I fear: Radio Free America (pdf)

WHEN I hear great American standards on the radio, I think of all the songwriters, artists and musicians whom my father, brother and I have worked with over the years. It reminds me that every recording has two parts, the composition and the performance. It also reminds me how many wonderful artists and musicians have not been paid fairly for their work.

Songwriters and publishers are paid when their tunes are played on the radio, but none of the artists or musicians who bring the music to life receive even a penny. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on legislation that will right this wrong, which dates back to the early days of sound recordings.

“Not been paid fairly”? Hmmm — says who? Somehow, the notion that ALL RENTS derived from the use of content should flow to the “creator” doesn’t quite seem like a workable plan, but I guess I’m not in Nancy Sinatra’s league when it comes to this.

And, I know that both sides cherry pick examples, but it’s the egregious abuses of the recording industry contracts, not the “free ride” that radio gets, that should be getting Judiciary Committee scrutiny.

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OT: Alex Beam Got The Title Right [7:21 am]

But this may be the funniest fallout of our local town/gown contretemps that I’ve read yet (albeit a little *too* localized for those not familiar with Cambridge): A tale told by an idiot (pdf)

BARACK: Who is the man, and what is his crime?

AXELROD: ’Tis the Most Exalted University tutor Gates. Back has he spoken to the Sheriff, unbidden.

BARACK: Gates? I know this man. We have supped together on the enchanted Isle of Martha’s Vineland. I have seen him with Lady Oprah, prating about his ancestry.

AXELROD: Perhaps a photo op, my lord? We invite Gates and the Sheriff here, quaff ale in the summer heat, and proclaim peace and brotherhood among all men.

BARACK: And savor tobacco from the Duke of Marlboro?

AXELROD: Not with the people watching, sire. (Turns to page) Summon them here!

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August 3, 2009

A New Google Metric In The Making [7:25 pm]

Mind - Finding Clues to National Well-Being in Songs and Blogs (pdf)

In a new paper, a pair of statisticians at the University of Vermont argue that linguistic analysis — not just of song lyrics but of blogs and speeches — could add a new and valuable dimension to a growing area of mass psychology: the determination of national well-being.

“We argue that you can use this data as a kind of remote sensor of well-being,” said Peter Sheridan Dodds, a co-author of the new paper, with Christopher M. Danforth; both are in the department of mathematics and statistics.

“It’s information people are volunteering; they’re not being surveyed in the usual way,” Dr. Dodds went on. “You mess with people when you ask them questions about happiness. You’re not sure if they’re trying to make you happy, or have no idea whether they’re happy. It’s reactive.”

The paper is “Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents;” Peter Sheridan Dodds and Christopher M. Danforth; Journal of Happiness Studies; doi: 10.1007/s10902-009-9150-9.

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August 1, 2009

This Should Be Fun [4:51 pm]

If nothing else, we’ll get to see what Apple’s contract with AT&T looks like: F.C.C. Looking Into Rejection of Google App for iPhone (pdf)

In opening the investigation, the F.C.C. cited an article in The New York Times this week describing Google’s frustration in winning approval from Apple to distribute its iPhone applications through Apple’s App Store. Apple recently rejected Google’s effort to bring a service called Google Voice to the iPhone, and the company also rescinded its earlier approval of several applications created by third-party developers that worked with Google Voice.

In its letter to Apple, the F.C.C. asked the company to explain why it rejected the application and removed the related applications from its App Store. A spokesman for Apple declined to comment, saying the company does not typically discuss regulatory issues.

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