Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #101
March 12th, 2006

Here is my weekly selection of articles that were not mentioned here — except if I missed them.

Wal-Mart enlists bloggers in P.R. campaign

Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. “All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills,” he wrote.
It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.
Source: Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, via CNET, MArch 6, 2006

You Are What You Type

BioPassword can tell who you are by the way you type.
Source: Red Herring, February 27, 2006 Print Issue

New site has it all: music and social networks

A Palo Alto start-up is launching a service that is a mix of social networking, Internet swap meet and music store.
It’s meets eBay meets iTunes.
The company,, is open for business now on a limited basis.
Source: John Boudreau, Mercury News, March 6, 2006

Beyond Google: Collective Searching

A new kind of “social” search engine could make surfing the Web more communal.
At the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego this week, a new software application was introduced, called Boxxet (pronounced “box set”), which allows online interest groups to form by aggregating content from users, instead of the more traditional way of networking around a person or event.
Source: Michael Fitzgerald, Technology Review, March 7, 2006

New US transit machines could detect explosives

Hoping to thwart a potential attack on American subways similar to the London public transit bombings last July, the U.S government is testing ticketing machines that would detect traces of explosives on the fingers of someone buying a subway ticket.
Source: Reuters, March 9, 2006

As Internet TV Aims at Niche Audiences, the Slivercast Is Born

In the last six months, major media companies have received much attention for starting to move their own programming online, whether downloads for video iPods or streaming programs that can be watched over high-speed Internet connections.
Perhaps more interesting — and, arguably, more important — are the thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences. It’s a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting.
Source: Saul Hansell, The New York Times, March 12, 2006 (Free registration, permanent link)

Mixing music and SMS to get out the vote

Young-voter advocates plan to combine two teen passions–music and cell phones–for a one-two punch aimed at getting the vote out in 2008.
Music for America, a nonprofit advocacy for young-voter registration, will kick off a text-messaging campaign this June at concerts around the country, according to Molly Moon, the organization’s 27-year-old director.
Source: Stefanie Olsen, CNET, March 10, 2006

Anonymous source is not the same as open source

Wikipedia is learning that a list of numbers is not as authoritative as a Nobel laureate.
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, currently serves up the following: Five billion pages a month. More than 120 languages. In excess of one million English-language articles. And a single nagging epistemological question: Can an article be judged as credible without knowing its author?
Source: Randall Stross, for The New York Times, via CNET, March 11, 2006

See you next week…

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