Virginia Tech Collegiate Times on Today’s Shooting

virginia tech shootingsUPDATED with audio & multimedia links.

On this tragic and upsetting day in which at least 25 33 are dead and dozens more injured in shootings on the VTU campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, a shout-out to the staff of the campus newspaper, the Collegiate Times.

The student paper originally broke the story and continues releasing updates:

Monday, April 16th 2007 9:47AM
Shots were fired on campus in West Ambler Johnson Hall in the early morning hours.

The Collegiate Times is currently investigating the story. More information will be posted as it is made available.

The Virginia Tech Web site is overloaded (try their IP directly) but the Collegiate Times is now being hosted by their parent host, CollegeMedia and continues reporting with primarily text-only entries and the bandwidth is being handled fine. Wikipedia is on this as well, just as fast, if not faster, than the AP/CNN, etc. A screenshot of the VT Website is available here at flickr – latest photos are here.

Student-run college radio station WUVT remains on the air and can be streamed (when not overloaded) here. The screenshot above is via ABC News Now, being streamed live on the AT&T Yahoo! today portal (also available here and here). Apparently, this video by VT grad student Jamal Albarghouti has been viewed over 900,000 on CNN’s Web site as of 3 p.m. EDT (per Jarvis).

With the death count expected to rise, today’s massacre is already the deadliest school shooting rampage in U.S. history (more than double that of Columbine).

Several groups and postings on facebook, a common question being: why was Norris Hall open and classes in session at 9:30 (when the majority of killings took place in a classroom) after one student was murdered in the dorm two hours earlier and the killer remained on the loose?

Thoughts and prayers to all the victims, friends and family. And please, media, take it easy on them — anyone who wants to upload video/photos knows how to do it, it’s just insensitive to be begging for citizen-generated content under such terrifying headlines.

ADDED: The audio of VTU President Charles W. Steger’s statement, hosted below.

Google Buys DoubleClick: More Context, Less Banners?

One could only hope.

Everyone wondered if they’d ever really pull the trigger on this, or stick to their adsense guns while DoubleClick ambled along — and the day has come. $3.1B later, Google is now the king of all Internet advertising (although Yahoo! remains no slouch, most recently expanding it’s one-stop online news ad shop to include McClatchy).

Sergey Brin once hinted at DoubleClick being the “life preserver” as John Battelle mentions in The Search (and as Biz2.0 reminds today), but the metaphor was baswed on Adwords going under. While Adsense is doing fine, Google apparently seized on this opportunity to box out Microsoft and go large.

Rafat at PaidContent reports that the $3.1 billion cash offer is “much more than the rumored $2 billion that Microsoft was intending to pay.” It’s also 10 times DCLK (private since 2005)’s revenue.

How will this work out? Here’s Google’s Presser. Battelle’s analysis forthcoming at his blog.

Google Maps Over-Easy

There have been other, better, web apps for making maps out there, notably Platial, Mapbuilder, and more recently Atlas.

But they all rely on geotagging databases and map interfaces acquired via Google and Yahoo APIs, so — why not go straight to the source? My Maps is so easy, Google insists, that even a caveman could do it. I love the fact that Google is marketing itself as the Web app creator for the Internet caveman, and I’m sure their stockholders do too.

This is pretty cool — now when I post video — I can really place it. On the map below I pinpoint exactly where Barack Obama stood when he spoke at a rally in February in Los Angeles. Click on the placemark and you can watch the video I shot, in which many attendees spoke up. And it even allowed me to embed the Revver script Actually, on second look, it appears to be blocking the Revver video, even though it originally worked, as evidenced by the screenshot below. I will place a second placemark with the video via (much lower quality) YouTube next to the first.

Google Earth was never a very user-friendly app until now — now that anyone can incorporate their own data, mark up their own maps, photos, etc and fly around it in Earth. Dan Gillmor says the maps are about to go “super-mainstream,” to which I’ll emphatically add — bring it on. The use of maps in mashup web sites and applications like flickr and upcoming are growing in popularity and functionality… but Google’s move with My Maps opens the door to more community based content and mashups — like Yahoo has with upcoming and flickr — and hopefully this will lead to more collaboration and the opening of APIs — enabling greater depth to visual storytelling and data, with increased drag ‘n’ drop simplicity.

For now, Google thrusts ahead with one key feature — all publicly shared MyMaps are geo-indexed via the associated KML file for Google’s local search engine and for use on GEarth. And it goes both ways — now all KML files created in Earth can be searched on GMaps. As Brady Forrest points out, no other mapping app does this.

Here’s the user guide. Or go play by visiting maps.google.com and clicking MyMaps. But, while you can export your map directly into Google Earth and save the KML — essentially reverse engineering the geodata to addresses — there doesn’t seem to be a simple module for uploading batch data, such as census data, or a list of addresses and even geocodes of the nearest grocery stores. Would that be too infringing on Google’s so called metadata and search product?

Mathew Ingram fears that this indeed may be a lock-in tactic by the great GOOG. Andy Beal also cautions that this may be another example of Google reigning in their API and kicking the others in the gut.

As Jason Calacanis posted this morning, Google is almost threatening in their language banning metasearching, in spite of the fact that it has rarely gone to court. Google deserves all the credit they get, but as they are kings of search, I mean, do you have to get picked up by Google Labs to legitimately experiment with the data? Ah, but I digress…