March 2006 Issue

News Features

Promising to free users from the bondage of PCs and clunky headsets, Skype is bringing its signature voice over IP (VoIP) services—which let individuals and companies make cheap or free phone calls over the Internet—to the mobile space. To this end, Skype has teamed up with Netgear, a provider of networking products, to develop a family of new products, including the world’s first Skype wireless mobile phone.
- Posted Mar 09, 2006
With each emerging content type comes the ever-present need to help users find it. While text-based search has continued to evolve, effective tools for rich media are still nascent. For the Web’s hot content-type du jour, podcasting, search tools have only just started to appear, though this search niche is poised to heat up: Forrester Research predicts that 12.3 million U.S. households will listen to podcasts by decade’s end; the Diffusion Group estimates the U.S. podcast audience will be at 56 million by 2010.
- Posted Mar 16, 2006
Long the bane of your inbox, spam has come to a blog near you. You may have already encountered a spam blog, though they often look exactly like the real thing: there’s an area at the end of each “post” for Comments, an Archived Blog section by month, a Recent Posts section, and some even include a BlogRoll so you can see who has viewed the blog. But that’s where the similarity to real blogs ends. The spam-esque content bears little resemblance to the insightful, edgy commentary associated with popular blogs. Spam blogs—or splogs—are comprised of the all-too-familiar content of spam email: porn links, mortgage offers, and drugs for sale.
- Posted Mar 03, 2006
Google co-founder Larry Page’s much ballyhooed unveiling of the Google Video Store made official the company’s plan to launch a video content marketplace. The announcement came in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas where über-geek Page’s keynote was punctuated by onstage banter with comedian Robin Williams and two-time NBA champion Kenny Smith. It wasn’t all fun and games though; Page’s announcement is big news for video content providers and consumers alike.
- Posted Mar 01, 2006

Featured Stories

Now that we’re more than a decade into the widespread use of email, the platform may not be in crisis so much as awash in mid-life ennui, suffering from middle-age spread and lacking the motivation to fix itself. The real answer may lie in learning to go with, rather than curtail, the flow.
- Posted Mar 01, 2006
In its earliest incarnation, elearning was viewed by businesses as a tool to provide basic education to employees, many of whom no longer occupied desks at the office. These days, however, executives expect elearning to do much more, including provide a potent way to help drive sales by leveraging it to educate every member of the value chain.
- Posted Mar 08, 2006
DAM has experienced slower-than-expected growth, in part because of the perception that DAM limits access, rather than the reality—that it expands access. Effective strategies for implementing and using DAM are emerging, particularly in various vertical markets. Within verticals—regardless of differing needs and challenges—the demand for simplified, universal access drives adoption.
- Posted Mar 15, 2006


Sometime before the big Web bubble burst, a men’s media brand splashed itself online with an enormously ambitious content-rich portal. Prescient of the au courant mantra of “content, commerce, and community,” it innocently invited its beer-sodden, breast-gazing readership to participate in online forums. Well, within days all hell broke loose. The message base became a mosh pit as the readers extended the smirking, bawdy spirit of the host brand to misogynist extremes, making way-inappropriate comments about ex-girlfriends, models on the site, and women, generally. The site editors retreated quickly and simply shut the message boards down entirely within a few weeks.
- Posted Mar 03, 2006
Vendors always compete for your computing desktop. Some competition takes a whimsical form, like “Flying Toaster” screen savers. Some competition is strategic: operating systems, browsers, Internet services, and more recently, desktop search. Another big battle is brewing for your desktop. This time, it is about content—specifically, office documents: word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet files. The titans this time are Microsoft and Google, with assistance primarily from Sun and OpenOffice, and with lots of lesser players also getting into the act. Office products account for a large portion of Microsoft’s profits, so I believe this will be a Battle Royale.
- Posted Mar 10, 2006
Very few organizations can answer that question with anything more than an emphatic “It’s fine!” If the question is instead, “How good is your intranet compared to other organizations like yours?” then the answer involves usually a more sheepish “We have no idea.” Much of my work is helping organizations assess the quality of their intranet, but even with the number of intranets I have seen, the analysis I can provide is relatively subjective. In most cases it would be valuable to provide some form of quantitative analysis of the intranet so that there is a comparison with good practice. However, I have to admit that until recently, I was very skeptical about the value of formal benchmarking, but glimmers of hope have begun to appear.
- Posted Mar 21, 2006
Google’s announcement that it was launching its very own Video Store dazzled a lot of folks. While the interface is anything but high-gloss (in fact, it is so understated—like all things Google—it’s almost silly), this “search engine’s” further push into media-mogul territory captured a whole lot of attention. Now that Google has not only taken on the biggies but joined their ranks, it isn’t surprising that it will counter Apple’s iTunes success with a stream mall of its own. Still, streaming video is hot, hot, hot, and a lot of ink (e- and otherwise) will be spilled analyzing this move and the populist approach Google has taken by putting “Joe’s home movies” on a virtual shelf right next to super-successful television series.
- Posted Feb 28, 2006
It’s been fascinating to both observe and participate in the debate about blogs and wikis in the enterprise. Just like the hand-wringing over personal computers entering the workplace in the 1980s and echoing the Web and email debates of the 1990s, enterprise IT executives and content professionals seem to be getting their collective knickers in a twist about blogs and wikis these days. Remember when executives believed email might “expose a corporation to its secrets being revealed to the outside world”? How about when information professionals worried about employees freely using the public Internet and all of its (gasp!) “unverified information”?
- Posted Mar 13, 2006

Faces of EContent

"It's so much easier to be a student now!"
- Posted Mar 08, 2006

Case Studies

The New Yorker was interested in providing a complete archive of its magazine to its readers, and was intent on also providing a disc-based product. Through a truly collaborative process with Bondi Digital Publishing and Lizard Tech, The New Yorker produced a beautifully packaged eight-DVD collection that includes a search database, abstracts, issue-by-issue tables of contents, and the cover art for each issue.
- Posted Mar 03, 2006