RizWords – News of Note
Episode 19 – yes, we skipped an episode! – download here

I’ll edit this down later today to the normal blog format, I’ve got to take my son to the doctor.

Still posting on Rizzn.com – I’m looking at new server options and until then, not sure where I’m going to host the new Rizzn Podcast. We’re finalizing plans for the TalkGirls program, hosted by Iris Hopkins, my wife! Stay tuned throughout the week for more details.

Also, coming up this week: Interviews with KipTronic, PodZinger and TalkShoe representatives about how to make money with your podcast!

Remember – if you like the show, give me a rating!

Art wasn’t able to join me this episode, so I went it alone. So now, the news. This story from Iran coupled with the percieved PR move of releasing the British soldiers on Iranian terms showed me that the former was meant to cover for the latter:

Iran to aid search for missing American from the Los Angeles Times
From AP. Iran said today that it would look into the disappearance of a former FBI agent, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

Iran replied to a U.S. request for information or help and asked for additional details about the missing man’s travel itinerary, Casey said.

The United States and Iran have no diplomatic relations, but the governments do exchange information through neutral Swiss diplomats in Tehran.

“We’ll see if they come up with anything, but they certainly didn’t have any specific information” about the man, Casey said.

The retired agent has been identified as Robert Levinson, 59, of Coral Springs, Fla.

“There isn’t, in our mind and I don’t think in anyone else’s, any connection between an individual, private American citizen whose whereabouts are unknown, and who went missing in early March, and any of the rest of this stuff,” Casey said.

The thing they’re covering up for:

Iran Says It’s Able to Make Nuclear Fuel
‘NATANZ, Iran — Iran announced Monday that it has begun enriching uranium with 3,000 centrifuges, a dramatic expansion of a nuclear program that has drawn U.N. sanctions and condemnation from the West.

‘President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony at the enrichment facility at Natanz that Iran was now capable of enriching nuclear fuel “on an industrial scale.”

‘Asked if Iran has begun injecting uranium gas into 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani replied, “Yes.” He did not elaborate, but it was the first confirmation that Iran had installed the larger set of centrifuges after months of saying it intends to do so. Until now, Iran was only known to have 328 centrifuges operating.’

(Washington Post article).

Some analysts reports theorized that this was enough to make 30 nuclear weapons a year. Iran doesn’t really require a single nuke to create an international incident, as we’ve seen this month. Imagine the fun they’ll have once they get some nukes!

I didn’t know that they were on hunger strikes… even though the story makes the incredulous claim that they’ve been striking for two years now. Me thinks someone’s sneaking some food in.

Guantanamo hunger strikers force-fed from The Australian
THIRTEEN detainees are on hunger strike at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and are being force-fed through tubes, the US Navy said overnight.

Turning to news of the Blogosphere, this from TechDirt:

How A Bungled Attempt At Promoting Tourism Leads To Malaysian Bloggers Needing To Register With The Gov’t
Mark & Tiara write in with a bunch of links outlining the bizarre story of how Malaysia may end up requiring bloggers to register with the government. It apparently started earlier this year when Malaysia tried to increase tourism with a campaign called “Visit Malaysia Year 07,” which included inviting a bunch of foreign journalists to come check out Malaysia. An Indonesian TV crew that was invited as part of this found that the trip was not at all what they expected, and one of the women on the trip blogged about her poor experience, basically highlighting how difficult the tourism board made it for the journalists to actually do anything (including film parts of the trip). Malaysia’s Tourism Minister wasn’t particular pleased and made disparaging remarks about bloggers in general and women bloggers specifically (saying they were liars). That made some bloggers angry (surprise, that) and he was forced to clarify his remarks, and he didn’t think all women bloggers were liars — he was just referring to the particular Indonesian journalist woman blogger — which again set off a bunch of bloggers. Next step? Go to the press and tell them not to quote blogs or use them as sources of information. He claimed that anyone who quoted a blogger would be disgracing themselves. This certainly seems like someone not knowing when to stop digging his own grave. Honestly, the only person disgracing himself has been this particular minister… but the end result loops all the way back around and the Malaysian government wants bloggers to register themselves. It’s not clear how this stops foreign journalists (and bloggers) from mocking bad tourism attempts and dumb statements. Luckily, it sounds like other politicians in Malaysia recognize how idiotic this whole series of events is, and don’t seem willing to support the attempts to force bloggers to register. In the meantime, a bunch of bloggers have now formed their own group to help protect bloggers in Malaysia.

And this from Boing Boing, the emerging story of the Blogger Code of Conduct:

Cory Doctorow:
Tim O’Reilly’s well-intentioned Blogger Code of Conduct is an attempt to come up with a voluntary set of behavioural norms that will keep blogs civil and honest. However, I was very uncomfortable with Tim’s draft, as it seemed to preclude real anonymity and invite censorship. Journalist Tristan Louis has posted a very good “dissection” of Tim’s draft in which he thinks through a lot of the objections I had, setting them down better than I could. This is a very good paper on the tension between “civility” and “freedom.”

“- [We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:] is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,”

Libelous is a word with a lot of legal weight to it. This opens up a whole set of legal issues around how people talk online. The appearance of falseness can be enough to trigger a lawsuit (but not enough to win) and this portion seems to also fly in the face of a lot of established law (Zeran v American Online, for example). Another question about this section is “knowingly false”: to whom? to the owner of the blog? to the writer of the comment? to the person the comment is made about? to other parties?

“- infringes upon a copyright or trademark”

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, O’Reilly, AOL, etc… are all trademarks. I have not put a TM after every single one of those trademarks in posts I write on TNL.net, which technically makes me in violation of this effort, from a trademark standpoint.

For the purpose of this post, I am quoting the substantial majority of the post by tim O’Reilly, which would technically put me in violation of his copyright. However, Tim has a Creative Commons License so he’s granting me some rights. Unfortunately, the rights granted by the CC license also say that you can’t reuse the content for commercial purpose: I run adsense ads on this site, which could be considered a commercial effort so, as such, I would technically be in violation of Tim’s copyright AND CC license. Under the terms of this, quoting substantial portion of copyrighted content would be a violation of the code. This means that blogs now have a choice: write only original content without extensive quoting or don’t run ads. It’s a tough choice for many bloggers.

Link (via Smart Mobs)

Turning to Tech and Gadget news….

Finally a new service at Google Labs: some people were really worried that Google’s innovation went down the stairs.

Google Voice Local Search lets you search for local businesses from any phone and for free. If you’re in the US, call 1-800-GOOG-411 and say what you want to find. Here are some of the features:

* You can find a business listing by category. Just say “pizza,” for example.
* You can send the listing details to your mobile phone via SMS.
* The service is fully automated, so it doesn’t rely on human operators.
* It connects you directly to the business, free of charge.

In the US, 411 is the phone number for local directory assistance, but it’s pretty expensive (more than $1). 1-800-FREE-411 is a free service that uses speech recognition to process your request and ads to monetize it.

Google tested several years ago Google Voice Search, a service that let you search Google by voice, but it’s not available anymore. There’s also Google SMS: send an SMS to 466453 with your query and get business listings.

If you’re in the US, which one is better: 1-800-FREE-411 or 1-800-GOOG-411?

And in We’re-in-the-right-business news…

It took just over five years, but Apple has sold its 100 millionth iPod. iTunes is keeping up its share of the bargain, too. 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies have been purchased through the service.

Other interesting statistics: 4,000 iPod accessories have been created, and more than 70 percent of 2007-model US automobiles offer iPod connectivity.


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