Yahoo! MapMixer is Cool

Just as it was becoming clear this week that Yahoo! Co-Founder Jerry Yang’s first “100 days” as CEO isn’t setting up to be all that, a stream of new toys, deals, and partnerships have been announced. MapMixer is a product of Yahoo! Hack Day, according to TechCrunch and Reuters, and as you can see above, it enables you to overlay graphics on Yahoo! Maps (above is the USC campus, zoom out for full effect). Of course, not everything scales so nicely (see the Chicago ‘L’ map).

Yahoo is seeking more applied ingenuity and is pronouncing it’s “openness.” (NOTE: Jeremy Zawodny posted a much-better-written rebuttal/addendum to the BizWeek article on his blog.)

Is this real or a back-against-the-wall reaction to the apparent leak of a Google in-house video purporting a confluence of Google apps in a streamlined Facebook platform sort-of-way? Was Page and Brin’s $1.3 million landing at NASA’s Moffett Field near the Google HQ merely a decoy to overshadow speculation on the video? Is it true that there’s a bubble keeping the fog and cold bay air out of Silicon Valley?

The real big deal for Yahoo! this week was the announcement of a hefty deal to serve ads for Bebo, one of the most popular social networking sites in the UK (and a oft-rumored acquisition interest of Yahoo).

Also, tonight marks the launch of a partnership with Woot.com in which one item per night is featured on Yahoo! Shopping for purchase at sellout.woot.com.

Continue reading “Yahoo! MapMixer is Cool”

Cartoon: ‘A Fair(y) Use Tale’

Found this excellent satire/mashup via WFMU blog Apparently it’s been up on Stanford CIS blog since March. In it, cartoon characters from Buzz Lightyear to the Little Mermaid explain copyright law.

Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University provides this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

LAPD Unleashes on ‘Peaceful’ MacArthur Park Rally

No time to elaborate, however, I can direct you to my immediate reaction to last night’s events posted here.

Also, LA Weekly reporter Daniel Hernandez blogs in detail about the scene at his blog.

Listen to voices of reporters, observers, and organizers describe the melee here.

KPCC on the scene reports here.

Why did the police in riot gear allegedly not have badges visible? Why did they push the few derelict anarchists throwing “missiles” into the peaceful, all-ages crowd in the park instead of isolating them? How are they possibly trained to believe they can get away with intimidating the press for filming and reporting on the scene by firing rubber bullets indiscriminately?

photo by Sarah Hayes, used with permission.

U.S. Broadband Ranking Drops 25%

photo by Scott Beale/Laughing SquidStressing how little has happened to bridge the broadband divide in the past year, FreePress admonished the gov’t regarding the OECD’s recently released (tho dated December 2006) data on global broadband penetration. According to the latest data, the U.S. — which was 12th in June ’06 — has been leapfrogged by the likes of Japan, France, and Luxembourg and is now 15 (out of the 30 OECD nations):

“We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations,” said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. “There is no justification for America’s declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it’s time for true national broadband policy that will put America’s digital future back on track.”

Scott will lay down the disappointing facts before the Senate Commerce Committee today, according to Katie @ GigaOm.

At SavetheInternet it’s time for action.

According to the OECD, less than 20 percent of the U.S. population has broadband access. It didn’t take this long for TV to gain such widespread usage and, in my opinion, broadband Internet access is paramount in importance in today’s world.

Nearly 400 cities and counties have developed or are planning muni wi-fi broadband. But in many cases — especially in larger cities such as Philly and SF — the task is insurmountable thanks to a lack of government initiative (or complacency w/ telecom duopoly and policy gridlock).

Congress MUST pass a bill in the vein of the McCain / Lautenberg 2005 Community Broadband Act and create and pass a new telecom bill as soon as possible.

Additionally, settle The Center for Public Integrity’s lawsuit (filed months ago) demanding data on broadband deployment from the FCC. What’s to hide?

UPDATE: Ben Scott’s testimony (.pdf).

photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Jailed Blogger Josh Wolf Uploads Video, is Free

After 226 days in federal prison, and nearly two weeks after his father began a “non-stopvigil, Josh Wolf is free.

Wolf was jailed for longer than any journalist in U.S. history for protecting source material requested by the feds. Wolf refused to turn over video he shot of a chaotic 2005 San Francisco street protest during the G-8 summit. The courts issued him a subpoena after parts of the video (originally posted at IndyBay) were picked up by the mainstream media.

After posting the full, unedited video on his Web site (also embedded below), the prosecution announced that Wolf had complied with the terms of the grand jury subpoena, and the judge approved his release.

“Journalists absolutely have to remain independent of law enforcement,’ he said as he left the prison. “Otherwise, people will never trust journalists.’

In his post accompanying the video (which he uploaded to Blip.tv), Wolf wrote:

During the course of this saga I have repeatedly offered to allow a judge to be the arbiter over whether or not my video material has any evidentiary value. Today, you the public have the opportunity to be the judge and I am confident you will see, as I do, that there is nothing of value in this unpublished footage.