RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech EP 37

RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 37 – download nowsubscribe nowiTunes subscribe

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This was a PACKED episode… FULL of news. Art Lindsey is still on Medical Leave. See www.artlindsey.com for more information. On Monday, Bill Grady from You Are The Guest Podcast will be joining as co-host, and Derrick Vann, longtime personal friend, will be joining us on Tuesday. Do not fail to miss these shows, if you can. Hopefully, Art will be re-joining us next week soon.

But now, the news! The big talks today center around re-opening of merger talks between Microsoft and Yahoo!:

Massive: Microsoft, Yahoo Talk Merger
By Nicholas Carlson

Microsoft and Yahoo are talking at the merger table. And this time, Microsoft is said to be willing to pay the heavy price it would cost to acquire Silicon Valley’s most successful Web portal. Some wonder whether that’s wise.

According to unnamed sources cited by the New York Post, Microsoft broached the merger topic months ago and Yahoo quickly rejected the deal. A Yahoo spokeswoman told internetnews.com the company refused to comment on “rumors or speculation.” Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.

But since, a series of Google successes — its launch of Web-based applications for small businesses, its outbidding of Microsoft for advertising firm DoubleClick and another quarter of spectacular financial results — has Microsoft hot for Yahoo’s Web presence once more.

ahoo’s current market capitalization is $44.75 billion. In morning trading, Yahoo’s share price rose five points, or 17 percent, to a near 52-week high of $33.23 per share.

Apparently, merger talks are just the cure for Yahoo after weak first-quarter financial results caused investors to bail on the company in mid-April. The problem then was that Yahoo did not exceed expectations for its new advertising platform, code-named Panama.

When reporting Yahoo’s 2006 financial results, CFO Susan Decker said Yahoo did not expect Panama to positively impact its profits until the second quarter of 2007. But early reports of the advertising platform’s success raised investor expectations. Despite positive reviews from Yahoo advertiser customers, however, those expectations were not met and the stock tanked. Until today’s merger talks.

In other Yahoo! related news:

Yahoo Photos going dark as Flickr shines on (USA Today)

LOS ANGELES — At Yahoo, Web 2.0 has won one battle with stodgy old Web 1.0. — Yahoo is shutting down Yahoo Photos — for years, the No. 1 or No. 2 most-visited photo site on the Web. Its users will be directed to move their pictures to Yahoo’s hot upstart, Flickr.

And on the flipside, two interesting Google-related stories:

Google Scholar Added to Google’s Homepage
There’s a new link to Google Scholar in the list of services from the “more” box. Google’s search engines for scholarly papers was available on the homepage only if you visited Google from your school.

Google Scholar includes a big list of scientific publications and some of them aren’t available in Google’s main index. “Google Scholar covers peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research. You’ll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers and professional societies, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.”

And the other:

YouTube Users Get Paid. Tomorrow.

On Friday, YouTube will begin revenue sharing with top users including LisaNova, renetto, HappySlip, smosh, and valsartdiary using the same system they’ve used for TV networks. They’ll also be sharing revenue with thousands of medium-sized content content creators like small production houses and universities.

These “top users” have been picked from the “most subscribed” list, and YouTube is spinning this as a way to put ordinary users on a par with professional cont

ent. I’m going to guess that this is partially related to the Viacom lawsuit, which alleges that YouTube is almost totally reliant on copyrighted professional content: just like the bizarrely late YouTube Video Awards 2006 (held in March 2007), this may be an attempt to highlight the importance of user generated content. (”Look, we make so much money from Renetto that we can pay him!”).

The top users were plucked from the “most subscribed” list, which may be a little worrying based on the fact that YouTube doesn’t really regulate these numbers. Even more worrying: they still haven’t fixed the bug that allows you to get more views by refreshing the page: when there’s money involved, that trick will be even more enticing (look at all the crappy videos on the Most Viewed list with very low ratings). Nonetheless, we now know that the YouTube rev share program is being tested on many more accounts that just the Afterworld trial we mentioned earlier.

More on the YT blog.

Embedded below: LisaNova, whose good looks almost make up for a lack of talent.

In more reasons to hate the RIAA news:

RIAA Drops Yet Another Case
Given just how many cases the RIAA has had to drop after it was pointed out that it’s sued the wrong person, why isn’t anyone questioning why the RIAA is allowed to file thousands of cases in a single shot when it’s clearly not very careful about the process? The latest is that the RIAA has dropped a case after it was pointed out to the RIAA that the person being sued wasn’t actually a subscriber to the ISP in question at the time of the observed file sharing. Oops. At some point, you would think that someone would point out that the RIAA appears to be abusing the legal system as its personal plaything in suing whoever it wants whenever it wants on whatever flimsy evidence it can find.

In EVEN CHEAPER laptop news:

India Hopes to Make $10 Laptops a Reality
sas-dot writes “We all know Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 OLPC. India, which was a potential market, rejected it. India’s Human Resources Development ministry’s idea to make laptops at $10 is firmly taking shape with two designs already in and public sector undertaking Semiconductor Complex evincing interest to be a part of the project. So far, the cost of one laptop, after factoring in labor charges, is coming to $47 but the ministry feels the price will come down dramatically considering the fact that the demand would be for one million laptops.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

This is quite a big deal… lots of big deals in the news today:

AOL Slips to No. 3 on Internet
After more than a decade connecting more Americans to the Internet than any other company, AOL has given up its title as the leading Internet service provider, a reflection of changing consumer habits and its own strategic shift.

I’m interested to hear what Todd Cochrane will say about this:

THE END OF MILITARY BLOGGING
The most excellent Noah Shachtman of Wired’s Danger Room has a great article with lots of milblogger reaction to the new OPSEC regulations that will end military blogging as we know it. Yes, that’s right – the end of soldier blogging from the war zones.

In purely political news:

Bush vetoes troop withdrawal bill
WASHINGTON – President Bush vetoed legislation to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq Tuesday night in a historic showdown with Congress over whether the unpopular and costly war should end or escalate. — In only the second veto of his presidency …

Condi, and why it’s legal for her, and not Pelosi:

Rice to Meet With Syrian Foreign Minister
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to meet with Syria’s foreign minister here later today, United States officials said. The meeting would be the first diplomatic contact at such a high level between the two countries in years.

This story set me off:

Is Virtual Rape a Crime?
cyberianpan writes “Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen’s allegations of rape in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we’d like to confine criminal law to physical offenses rather than thought crimes but already threats, menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend?”

Read mor of this story at Slashdot.

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