Archive for February, 2009

Following is an outline for the business model of the fictitious Societies Media Co.

Societies Media Company is a leader in the social news media category. This award winning company has cracked the code on bringing popular news and local events to consumers. Societies Media combines the convenience of local city guides with breaking news and local news. With the rapidly evolving (declining) news media and new focus on personalized digital services, Societies Media is listening to and meeting the needs of consumers.

A. Target Demographic


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The article “Archivists Struggle to Preserve Crucial Records as Paper Gives Way to Pixels” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Florence Olsen, addresses the concerns over maintaining records of online information. The article focuses on important university documentation.

Several questions came to mind regarding the article:

1) If the information discussed is so crucial, why wasn’t it’s archival discussed before it was only documented online-only? (more…)

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The document “Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0” by W3C provides basic guidelines for improving mobile Web site usability. This is a useful reference document for mobile site creators. From an academic perspective, the paper provides useful insights as to why certain features are or are not acceptable on the mobile platform.


For example, W3C’s regulatory suggestions include limiting the content on WAP pages and keeping externally linked resources to a minimum. The paper makes it clear that the overarching problem on mobile sites is that they are improperly designed for mobile use, and not properly transferred from PC formats.  “Many Web sites and pages make for a poor user experience when they are viewed on a mobile device” and “Many Web pages are laid out for presentation on desktop size displays, and exploit capabilities of desktop browsing software.”


Several questions came to mind, and the answers would provide a relevant context for digesting the “Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0” document:


1.       How much of a problem is created due to developers failing to follow these best practices? It seems as though the only loss or detriment is to the developer himself – in having an unusable site.

2.       As version 1.0, was there not a previous document of this type? Were former developers simply expected to filter through numerous other documents (such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Device Independent Working Group concepts) to obtain this information? It is surprising that this agregated paper was just released in July 2008.

3.       Similarly, is W3C the only organization of its type? Meaning, are these Best Practices supported by the rest of the industry and streamlined/agreed upon by all factions of the mobile industry?




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“The Tragedy of the Commons” is a famous work by Garret Hardin. Published in 1968 by Science magazine, it offers concepts that are often referenced today without acknowledgement of where the philosophical credit is due. The article’s message is inherently relevant to modern life, and often referenced by academics and professionals.

Hardin is extolled for his concise analysis of what he calls the “tragedy of the commons”, the namesake of the article. When reading this work, it is important to keep in mind that is was written forty years ago. While the examples Hardin provides may be outdated, they are still surprisingly germane.

Hardin explains that “no technical solution” to a problem is, in fact, an acceptable solution. As people are faced with diminishing resources and a growing population, the race will be forced to make decisions as to what is truly finite. He argues that man needs to explicitly realize the difference between commeasurable wants versus needs. Sometimes this process relies on solutions that are solved by changing thinking processes rather than cyclically looking for practical solutions. (more…)

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Key issue: Who is responsible for e-waste management?

Following is a review of the most salient information from Chapter 5 of the book Displacing Place, edited by Sharon Kleinman. It is written by Julie Newman and titled “Displacing Place with Obsolete Information and Communication Technologies.” The focus is on e-waste management.


 Author’s Main Point: Waste-management needs to be considered as part of the life-cycle of a product. When e-waste gets thrown away, the “away” should be considered.

“Until waste production is recognized as a cultural component of a system, the current trend of consumption will continue to displace the center of responsibility from the producer to the disposer. .. [Therefore,] We need to develop a consumer model that favors environmental and human health in all places.” (p. 87) (more…)

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The television conglomerate NBC has created a strong mobile media campaign for its hit show, The Office. The mobile campaign is broad in scope. It includes mobile content ranging from games to specially developed Mobisodes. Riding on the coattails of the show’s success, even mobile ringtones based on The Office can be found online from vendors such as AOL. Following is a review of NBC’s mobile campaign for its popular television series.


The mobile campaign for The Office uses several types of mobile content: • SMS (short message service) is used to deliver program alerts via text message to fans’ cell phones. • WAP (wireless application protocol) is used to allow fans to access the show’s mobile Internet site from their cellular devices. • Web content is used to encourage users to try out the mobile services offered by The Office and directs them to the mobile site for the show. (more…)

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According to the About.com posting, “Jamster Slammed for Mobile Selling Practices,” by Stephen Lawson, the ringtone company Jamster/VeriSign was in a business of ill-repute in 2005.

Some questions come to mind while reading Lawson’s article:

1) Did Cingular acquire AT&T or vice versa?  Lawson states “Cingular, which now owns AT&T Wireless…”

2) Analyst Eddie Hold metions “confused subscribers” and says, “There’s no such thing as an easy-to-read wireless bill.”  Why do you think this is the case? Is confuse-a-consumer an intentional tactic employeed by the carriers? (more…)

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