RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 27 – download now subscribe now

During the start of the show, we talked a little about FreeIQ. No one had a real idea about the service, no one had checked it out, but I stated my analysis as such:

FreeIQ – Paul Colligan talked about it today on PodcastTools. I’ve searched and found all kinds of positive press about the site, but I don’t see the magic of what makes this site so special. Essentially, the best concise description of this site is YouTube for Affiliate Marketers, although it bills itself as a Marketplace for Ideas – which certainly sounds a whole lot more attractive. Anyone else have any info on this, and why I might be missing the boat?

This story made me go “huh?!?” as in “Don’t we live in a democracy/republic?”:

Arcane Senate Rule Helps Preserve Antiquated Senate Practice
Back in February, we pointed to a story about the absurd system that Senators use to disclose their campaign contributions. Unlike their counterparts in the House, Senators don’t have to file their contributions electronically, and instead file them using a tortuous process that involves needless photocopying and hand entry of the data. Not only is this time consuming, but it also costs taxpayers $250,000 per year. That’s not a whole lot by government standards, but since it’s a total waste it’s still depressing. It looked like the Senate was all set to scrap the old system, but just as it was set to come to a vote, another arcane Senate rule came into play as Senator Lamar Alexander stood up and announced that on behalf of an anonymous Senator he would block the vote. Yes, the Senate has a rule that allows an anonymous coward, as we’d call them around here, to block any vote. So at this point it’s not clear if or when electronic disclosure will be adopted in the Senate. It’s lovely how democracy works, isn’t it?

Also in competition with GoToMyPC!

Google Acquires Marratech; Gets Into WebEx Territory
After reporting a monster fiscal quarter (the company has close to $12 billion in cash sitting around now and has hired nearly 2,000 new employees this year), Google made a quiet announcement on its corporate blog tonight – they’ve acquired Swedish startup Marratech for an undisclosed price.

This is the first I’ve heard of Marratech, which is broadly in the e-meeting space and certainly competes with WebEx (recently acquired by Cisco for $3.2 billion). Users are able to communicate via text chat, VOIP and video, and share applications in a virtual meeting.

Their service requires a download, whereas most of the newly released e-meeting solutions are browser based (and therefore have less functionality). The Windows version of the software is 31 MB; the Mac version is just 9 MB. Google already has software on many computers with their GTalk, Desktop and Toolbar applications. Bundling this in isn’t unthinkable.

Google’s enterprise ambitions move forward another step.

And in other Google News (is it just me, or are they just dominating news lately?):

Google Spreadsheets Adds Charts
Google Spreadsheets finally added charts. This feature has been developed for many months and was one of the biggest lacks from Google’s spreadsheet application.

You can create more types of charts: columns, bars, lines, pie, scatter, add labels and a legend. Just select the columns you want to plot and click on the new chart icon. After inserting the chart in the spreadsheet, you can save it as a PNG image or edit it.

The charts are rendered as SVG in Firefox/Opera and VML in Internet Explorer, so they don’t require plug-ins. As usually, Opera is not officially supported, so you’ll find things that don’t work as expected.

Art really went off on this story:

Goodbye Alberto?

Today’s hearing was disastrous for the Attorney General. Senate Republicans were hinting that he should quit left and right.

Take Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for example:

“At this point, I think (Gonzales) should be given a chance to think it through and talk to the president about what his future should be,” Sessions said, adding that he was most troubled by Gonzales’ inability to recall attending a meeting at which the firings were discussed. Documents provided by the Justice Department show he was present at the Nov. 27, 2006, meeting.

Psst. Alberto…maybe you should (wink,wink) talk to the President about your future (nudge, nudge) and say no more, yes?

Then Tom Coburn (R-OK) just came right out and said it:

“The best way to put this behind us is your resignation,” Sen. Tom Coburn (news, bio, voting record) of Oklahoma bluntly told Gonzales, one conservative to another. Gonzales
disagreed, rejecting the id
ea that his departure would put the controversy to rest.

Alberto, your top aide is already gone. Another one is pleading the fifth. Nobody really cares about them except that they lead back to you. If you quit, this will put this controversy to rest. You got caught in a lie about something you didn’t even need to lie about, and now you have to pay the political penalty for losing your party’s trust.

But will he quit? I certainly have my doubts since he’s stuck in there this long. I thought for sure he was going to be gone a week ago.

But with this President’s numbers where they are, I think we’ll be seeing Alberto’s walking papers sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, we discussed the possible Death of Digg… is this going to keep them alive?:

Digg API, Digg Party, and Digg Dominance?

Just caught this on the Digg blog: they’re officially launching the public API and a Flash application toolkit.

Additionally, they’re launching a contest to find the best visualizations and applications built on the API and toolkit. I haven’t been privy to any projects built on Digg before, but as far as I’m aware, there was already the ability to build a few things on Digg.

Just like the Facebook API, this is likely to solidify Digg’s position at the top of the tech news food chain. Once you have an easy API, and hundreds of apps plugging in, there’s really no way for the competition to catch you. It also means, most likely, that getting on Digg becomes even more valuable, and the brokenness of that system is exacerbated.


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