Blogging EconSM

I’m blogging today at the inaugural EconSM conference, produced by Rafat Ali’s ContentNext Media Network (parent of PaidContent).

This conference sold out to 500 + weeksk ago and features a day of panels featuring industry heavies (see list). Currently a panel including Jimmy Guterman and John Battelle are discussing branding, marketing and Web content, involking that marketing is meant to be a conversation which is why it’s a natural for social media.

My reports will be posted at LAist. I’ll be interviewing Mike Davidson, CEO of Newsvine (which re-launched this week) momentarily. Live flickr photostream from the event below.

UPDATE: several videos at LAist via Revver.

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…

EFF Pioneer Awards

cory doctorow at eff pioneer awards etech san diego 2007I’m at ETech and have posted audio of a heated debate last night at the EFF Pioneer Awards between Fred von Lohmann and Mark Cuban here at LAist.

Cory Doctorow was draped in a cape and goggles to accept his Pioneer Award. Below is his intro and acceptance speech. More photos after jump.

above photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via flickr.

Continue reading “EFF Pioneer Awards”

Villaraigosa Pledges CityWide Wi-Fi in 2 Years

villaraigosa wireless municipal los angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today declared “the start of Los Angeles version 2.0,” announcing a plan to roll out what would be the largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the country.

Bidding for the project may begin as soon as this fall with a target of mid-late 2008 construction and early 2009 completion. It could cost up to $60 million to cover Los Angeles’ 470 square miles, city IT assistant general manager Mark Wolf told the Times, which, by my calculation, amounts to around $15 or so per capita (few, if any, tax dollars will likely be involved).

Municipal WiFi is a no-brainer for Los Angeles, with an economy bolstered by a tech and entertainment industry that will no doubt be gratefully attracted to such a system, while bridging the digital divide. “On a practical level, this means providing integral, high-speed solution for entertainment companies to juggle simultaneous projects in real-time at lower cost with reliable teleconferencing, for example,” said Villaraigosa.

Philadelphia’s mu-fi project appears to be going well after a slow start ($21.95/mo or $9.95 and Houston today became the largest city to sign on a carrier (Earthlink).

SF announced their wifi ambitions in 2004 and its still not certain when it will be fully operational — perhaps the way will have been paved for LA by ’09.

Read the full presser at MuniWireless. More at LAist.

Other LA metro wifi spots live and/or in development include:

* Culver City (the first in the LA metro)
* 17 wireless access points along the promenade, at city hall and by the end of May, Santa Monica Pier and the civic auditorium.
* 1 square mile +/- of wifi in Downtown Burbank (via Qwest DSL and access points aimed at a large hillside satellite)
* West Hollywood Public Wifi — along Santa Monica Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea.
* Anaheim (right now at $21.95/mo. – similar to PHilly except not sure if it has the lower-rate plans)
* Newport and Laguna Beach Harbors (up to a few miles out at sea)

Further reading:

* Ars Technica on the pros and cons of muni wifi.
* Worldchanging on the politics of municipal wireless.
* Muni Wifi notes and legislation.
*
Free Press — Community Internet.

photo by Eric Richardson via flickr.