June 2013

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The world

Surveillance

Marketing, VRM, related topics

  • Disrupting Retail 2013, by FirstRetail. Four videos compress a full day of excellent conversation. More about this shortly at ProjectVRM.
  • Are you being creepy? By Mark Cameron.
  • Escaping advertising’s uncanny valley. By T.Rob.
  • United’s new bad deal for frequent fliers. The small print: Starting in January 2014, Premier qualification requirements will include a minimum annual spending level. We will track this qualifying spending with Premier qualifying dollars (PQD): dollars spent on most United® tickets, including partner flights, and Economy Plus® purchases. These changes do not affect Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or Premier qualifying segments (PQS). For 2014, the PQD requirement for Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum qualification will be waived for members whose address with MileagePlus® is within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and who spend at least $25,000 in Net Purchases in 2014 on a MileagePlus co-branded credit card issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A. There is no PQD waiver for Premier 1K® qualification. You earn PQD for the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges on qualifying tickets. Certain specialty tickets, including but not limited to unpublished, consolidator, group/tour, and opaque fares do not earn PQD. Just as with Premier qualifying miles (PQM) and Premier qualifying segments (PQS), we will credit the account of the member who travels, not the member who purchases the ticket. Great strategy: Take your most loyal customers and make life harder for them. I’m a million-plus mile flier with United, and a lifetime member of the United Club. I am not happy. And I’m not alone. If any other airline wants my business, I’m available.

Radio, music

Other interesting stuff

I love watching basketball. Loved playing it too, back in the Millennium. I grew up a Knicks fan. In my North Carolina years (’65-’85) I was a fan first of Guilford College (my alma mater), then of the ACC’s Big Four (Carolina, Duke, State and Wake). I have many family connections to Wake, lived in Chapel Hill, worked at Duke, and loved the way Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano coached State. When I moved to California in ’85 I became a Golden State Warriors fan, and for several years had shares of season tickets. They were good years too. (e.g. Run TMC.) After moving to Santa Barbara I got into the Clippers a bit, but mostly followed the game itself. Then, when I got the Berkman gig in ’06, I became a Celtics fan. More about that after the next paragraph.

I’m no better a judge of teams and their management than the next fan, and possibly worse. Like, when Mike Krzyzewski replaced the much-loved Bill Foster at Duke, I said “there’s nothing about that guy that a blow-dry and a sense of humor wouldn’t cure.” (For that to make any sense, you had to be there.) Anyway, it became something of a meme, which was mean and unfair, as well as wrong. Coach K’s job at that time was re-building a team that wasn’t playing much better than .500 ball. He never smiled and seemed to spend whole games doing nothing but snapping at officials. Who knew he was building the most solid and productive program in all of college basketball? Or that he would become the winningest college coach of all time? Not me.

The Celtics under Doc Rivers were easy to like, especially after they put together the Big Three: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They won a championship in ’08 and came close twice after that. Garnett and Pierce were, respectively, the heart and soul of the team. It was a bummer to lose Ray Allen to the Heat in ’11, but the team stayed strong, and got another solid outside shooter with Jason Terry. If they hadn’t lost Rajon Rondo to an injury this season, they might have made a run at the championship. But it was clear, after getting wiped out by the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs this year, that the Celtics had to re-build. The only question was how. The answer came a few days ago, when GM Danny Ainge traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a first-round draft pick, and then sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets for three more first round picks and a collection of second-string players. Now the Celtics have nothing but promise, and the Clippers and Nets are richer by far. How does this make sense?

In sports media the decision by Celtics GM Danny Ainge gets a lot of bad reviews, because he seems to have given up a lot of something (including their heart and soul) for a literal nothing — at least until they draft well, in future years. But Danny had no choice. He had to rebuild with what he had, which was trade bait. If he continued to ride his old horses into the ground, he would have had nothing to deal with. So he got the most he could while they were still valuable. As for Doc Rivers, who can blame him for not wanting to coach a losing team through the rest of his contract? I don’t envy whoever gets the Celtics coaching job; but I do like Danny’s chances of building a good new team, especially if Rajon Rando is a capable leader. Remember this: basketball players keep getting better and better. There will be no bad players among Danny’s draft picks.

The Nets look good for now. With Pierce, Garnett, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams they have the best starting five in the game. Yes, Pierce and Garnett are both old and bound to run out of gas, but they’re still all-stars, and make the Nets a solid franchise. Jason Kidd as a coach is an unknown, but I suspect he’ll mix well with the new talent, who are guys he knows well and respects. You can bet Jason Kidd counseled Brooklyn GM Billy King on trading for the three Celtics players. Billy clearly wants to make the boldest possible moves for at least the next year. Which won’t be easy. Not only are the Heat still the best team in the league (and champs the last two seasons), but — with the Bulls, Pacers and Knicks — the East is still the strongest division in the game. And Brooklyn is now a marquee franchise, up there with the Knicks in New York and the Lakers and Clippers in Los Angeles. Great players from lesser cities will want to play there. This will help after Garnett and Pierce are gone in a year or two.

So, hanging as much as I do in New York and Boston, I expect watching basketball in both will be plenty of fun this next year.

As for the Clippers, they got a great coach. I’ll miss Doc, but I wish him luck.

Bonus link.

 

West Fork Fire

On my way back to New York from Sydney on Wednesday, while flying east over the San Juan National Forest and the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado, I shot what at first I though was a controlled burn, but later realized was the West Fork Fire. I knew it was a big one when I watched the smoke fan out to the east, starting with the San Luis Valley, where some of it pooled over the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and against the Sagre de Cristo Mountains. (Here are pictures of those in clearer conditions.)

But it went far beyond there, coloring the skies over Kansas and beyond. (More when I put up the rest of the photos from the trip.) Here is a story on the fire’s visibility from space. And here’s a link to a search for “West Fork Fire”.

3 lessons for newsrooms from UsVsTh3m and The Guardian’s Firestorm project. By Craig Silverman in Poynter.

FCC Announces Application Window for New Low PowerFM Stations. By Cody Duncan in Future of Music Coalition. Fact sheet.

What’s the ‘Internet of Everything’ worth? $613 billion, Cisco reckons: In 2013, Cisco calculates that companies could produce $613 billion of mostly incremental profit by harnessing the growing networked world of people and things. By Dan Farber in CNet

Tech companies fret over loss of consumers’ trust after NSA revelations, byJennifer Martinez in The Hill‘s Hillicon Valley blog.

Data models for the Internet of Things. By Michael Koster.

Why Pandora bought an FM radio station. By Deborah Newman in The Hill.

On the surveillance thing

On advertising and marketing

Watch air traffic vs. weather via FlightAware at:

flightawaremapYesterday we were in Melbourne. Then we flew to Sydney, got some sleep, and caught flights to Auckland, Los Angeles and Newark.

Except, we’re not in Newark. A storm there delayed things, and we’re on the ground getting re-fueled at Dulles, near D.C. This kind of thing happens with aviation and weather. That planes fly at all is a kind of miracle. That flying has become as mundane as bus travel — and far safer — would also be miraculous if it weren’t so routine. Except for times like this.

See the line of red dots over there on the right? Those are the airports with delays caused by storms that were beautiful to watch as our eastbound United 757 flew past them to the south. I got some pictures, but they aren’t very good.

Now, here on the ground, I’m watching Flightaware and Intellicast to see what’s up with aviation and weather. Flightaware is an amazing site. If you have any interest in aviation, or just need to know what’s currently screwed up with air travel, it’s the best of its breed. Intellicast has great maps, which project into the future while also running through the recent past. Right now I see by Flightaware’s map below that flights are getting in and out of Newark as the current storm (the green blotch) passes.

I also see by Intellicast that the line of storms I observed south of the Great Lakes and across Pennsylvania will arrive in New York in a few hours. So our window of opportunity isn’t large there.

It would be nice if Intellicast has links to maps, but they don’t, or I’d link to the one for New York. The good thing about Intellicast is that it is somewhat less crufty with promotional jive than Weather.com and some other weather sites.

Another passenger is grumbling about United’s flight operations. “Worst in the business,” he says. I don’t agree. After well over a million miles with United, I have no evidence that their flight operations is anything other than fine. And, given the size of the fleet they manage, that’s a compliment.

And hey, while I’d love to be in New York now, I’d rather be safe than any of the many kinds of sorry I can imagine.

Postscript: We got to Newark eventually, and then took another few hours to await a bus and a delayed subway before arriving at our place around 7:30am. This was close to 40 hours after departing Sydney. Got a little sleep, and now we’re ready to go again. :-)

Just discovered by Antipodr that Bermuda and Perth are antipodes: located at the exact other ends of the Earth from each other.

I’m in Melbourne, Australia, which is the antipode of a spot on the h of North Atlantic Ocean on Antipodr’s map. By the end of tomorrow I’ll be back in New York, a couple thousand miles west of there, after flying most of the way around the world on four different planes and three different airlines. New York’s antipode is a spot not far southwest of Australia — maybe about as far from the coast as Brisbane is from Sydney, as you can see from the upside-down image of North America on the amazing map around which this text wraps.

The map is from Wikimedia Commons, and illustrates perfectly how little land is antipodal from other land. The sum, in fact, is just 4%. As Wikipedia currently puts it, “The largest antipodal land masses are the Malay Archipelago, antipodal to the Amazon Basin and adjoining Andean ranges; east China and Mongolia, antipodal to Chile and Argentina; and Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, antipodal to East Antarctica.”

Click on the map three times and you’ll find yourself at a large version of the map that lets you discover these other antipodes:

Those last three are the sum of U.S. antipodes, at least for the lower forty-eight. Most of Hawaii is antipodal to Botswana, while the northern edge of Alaska is antipodal to an edge of Antarctica. Same with the most northern parts of Canada.

So that’s a little fun in the early hours before my last day of meetings here. It’s been a fun trip.

A question on parting: Have the link piles been useful or interesting? They’ve been all I’ve posted on this trip, because it’s easy and I sometimes feel like sharing what I’m reading. But I’ve had just one piece of feedback so far, and it was negative. So, if you care, lemme know.

The Deteriorata, which parodies The Desiderata, much as The Gluetrain Manifesto parodied The Cluetrain Manifesto. My fave line from another parody, perhaps by the same guy, of the “Markets are conversations” line: “Markets are money.”

QR codes aren’t dead yet. By yours truly in Harvard Business Review.

I’ll also be keynoting an upcoming iAB thing, on 15 July in New York.

Enjoying listening to 2MCR here in North Sydney.

Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders, by James Risen and Nick Wingfield in The New York Times.

Most online users don’t care about privacy – Aussies even more so, by Graeme Phillipson in ITWire.

Amdocs Survey: Consumers Will Share Personal Data… at a Price. Source: Amdocs press release.

It’s over: All private data is public: Enough about the NSA — any hacker worthy of the name can snatch your ‘private’ data. Either stop entrusting it to anyone or chill out. By Roger A. Grimes in InfoWorld.

Associated Press: Sources Won’t Talk Anymore. By DSWright in Firedog Lake.

Now anyone can buy the NSA’s database tech. By Derek Harris in Gigaom. Stars Sqrrl.

Wireless Internet 101 Fact Sheet. By Lisa Gonzalez of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Quote of the Day: There is no way to build a mirror world without a network of decentralized cooperating agents. – Phil Windley

My keynote talk at KuppingerCole‘s EIC conference in May. (Registration required.)

American Customer Satisfaction Index

Google’s Loon Project Puts Balloon Technology in Spotlight: Future stratospheric systems could change how the world goes online, by Brian Handwerk in National Geographic.

Gartner trends for 2013. Lots of VRooMy and Personal Cloud related stuff in there.

Why the FISA Court Is Not What It Used To Be, by Nina Totenberg on NPR.

Bank robbery suspect wants NSA phone records for his defense, by Paula McMahon in the Sun Sentinel

The influence of spies has become too much. It’s time politicians said no, by John le Carré in The Guardian

I fear the chilling effect of NSA surveillance on the open internet, by Jeff Jarvis in The Guardian

Why The Tech Industry Should Be Furious About NSA’s Over Surveillance, in TechDirt. Also Rep. Grayson: Let Me Tell The NSA: There Is No Threat To Our Nation When I Call My Mother and Former NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney: The NSA Is Making Itself Dysfunctional With Too Much Data.

Biden in 2006 schools Obama in 2013 over NSA spying program, by the EFF.

President Obama orders government spectrum to be opened for wireless broadband, by Carl Franzen in The Verge

The Internet’s Fractured Foundations, by Martin Geddes.

The NSA Versus the Global Internet: How Online Surveillance Could Impact Internet Governance, by Allan Friedman of Brookings

Edward Snowden Q&A with readers at The Guardian. An amazing and historic moment happening, right now.

Surveillance blowback, by Bruce Schneier

Body scanner ruling could squelch NSA domestic spying: Electronic Privacy Information Center organizes request by leading technologists to halt National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance. They’re trying a novel argument from a 2011 lawsuit. By Declan McCullagh

New Zealand weather radar. Watching this currently, in fear or hope for snow in Queenstown later this week.

Internet interruption, in XKCD. Roll over the fourth frame.

The Two Centers of Unaccountable Power in America, and Their Consequences, by Robert Reich

“Let it be Done” An Alternative Narrative for Building what America Needs, by Devin Smith in New Economic Perspectives.

An NSA big graph experiment (.pdf), by Paul Burkhardt, Chris Waring, U.S. National Security Agency

Moyers & Company: Big Brother’s Prying Eyes. Bill interviews Larry Lessig.

Police are now using driver’s license photos in the US to identify suspects in criminal cases, by Nick Summers in The Next Web

Google’s Internet balloons, in Wired.

NYT Introspects on Snowden, by Dave Winer. Also by Dave: The Quiet War in Tech.

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