Thursday, November 24, 2011

Google is over.

Google is over. I'm telling you now, but neither you or Google will be willing to deal with this for years.

I should be clear: by "over", I mean the Google that brought us a new internet - a Google that reinvented email, browsing, security, commerce.....

THAT Google is gone. Dead. Never to return.

In its place a pale imitation having taken the form of a marketing company.

Google will continue to make money for those who demand it, but as with all modern corporate parasites, it will be done via bookkeeping shenanigans and public lies. Google has stopped making things - in fact, they're killing things that don't make them enough money.

I still can't figure out why Google thinks there's so much money in Plus - did Facebook really eat their lunch?

Google and Facebook believe in "The Now." But they're going to be surprised at how quickly that evaporates. There's only so much novelty to go around.

The next couple of years are going to see an explosion of mobile apps who's purpose it is to motivate commerce. Google and Facebook want nothing more than to be on the back of every dollar that leaves your wallet. Buying  a coffee? Googlebook wants to be there.

They want to tell Starbucks that you just bought a Peet's, and for a few extra bucks, Googlebook will let Starbucks market to you right on your phone. It's a wet dream for every half-capable sales-douche who continue to fail into higher paying jobs.

But its not long - I'm telling you. Used to be the tech companies led the world - that's inverting. The world is taking the reigns again - only the smartest are going to come out of this unscathed. And Google isn't one of the smart ones, anymore.

Sooner or later, the degree to which Google's technology is being used (and by whom) to shape our day-to-day reality will be revealed. It will make Wall St. fraud look like The Amateur Hour.

But it's still years away. Long enough to forget.

And you will forget. Googlebook will be damned if they'll let you remember. This blog post? Ironically, on a Google service, and there's no way in Hell Google wants you reading my blog. What does Google get from me sitting here typing words that will never be read? Just some geographic biometric data?

----to be continued----

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » These Bands Have No Fans

From Lefsetz a couple weeks ago. Worth a read.
Related: When bands fall of cliffs.

Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » These Bands Have No Fans:
If you want to last, head straight for the wilderness. Leave the big machine behind. Work neither radio nor television. Concoct a ten year plan instead of a ten minute plan. It’s probably gonna take you that long to get noticed and build. But once you’ve made it, you’ll have a fan base that supports you. You may starve until you’re thirty and not even be comfortable until you’re forty. And it’s not your fault, it’s hard to reach people and they’re conditioned to believe everything is evanescent and close to worthless, why should you be different?

The machine lauds new music and movies, which flow over the audience like a tsunami. You didn’t like last week’s flick? Don’t worry, we’ve got ten more for you this weekend! Many people tune out. They believe there’s nothing good out there. But you know this is not true. But it’s hard to convince those who believe otherwise. That’s your mission, convincing people who think everything’s crap you’re not.

And as soon as they see you dancing, in fashion shoots, hear your song on Top Forty radio, they put you in that category, of here today, gone tomorrow. We used to look up to those trumpeted in the media. Now they’re fodder for ridicule. That’s what TMZ and Radar are all about. Everyone knows your name, but they’re laughing at you.

Stayin' Alive In The Wall (Pink Floyd vs Bee Gees Mashup) by Wax Audio

Stayin' Alive In The Wall (Pink Floyd vs Bee Gees Mashup) by Wax Audio:
I liked a YouTube video: Stayin' Alive In The Wall (Pink Floyd vs Bee Gees Mashup) by Wax Audio
MP3 available at

The Bee Gees: Stayin' Alive
Pink Floyd: Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II

Mashup & Video by Wax Audio


Farewell Google Reader – We’ll Miss You

Farewell Google Reader – We’ll Miss You:

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

Word on the street is Google Reader’s social functions, its funky community of shares and comments, and the archives of these interactions, will all be flushed down the memory hole tomorrow.

I check my Reader every day and it’s always a minute or two before I realize that these people I’m following, these comment threads I’ve become accustomed to, these excellent finds – will all be gone.

In Iran this may have real repercussions. “Gooder” as the Iranians call it, has been an under-the-radar social networking tool for young Iranians and activists in that country, and soon it will no longer be available to them:

In a country which all social website like twitter, facebook, friendfeed, and video or image sharing websites like youtube, tumblr, flickr, picassa and many more are banned, Google reader acts like a social websites and in lack of any independent news website (it should be mentioned that all international news channels like BBC, CNN, VOA, and all other non-governmental news website are banned,) Google Reader acts like a news spreading website. Easy access to Google reader made it suitable for Iranian community and through all these years, specially after June 2009 election, developed an strong community for spreading the news.

So that’s a pretty big deal, if you ask me, and Google is scrapping it anyways.

Francis Cleary has one of the best rants out there posted, of all places, on Google Plus. The whole thing is worth a read because it illustrates, at least to me, how so many different people can use Reader and never interact with one another and still have the exact same feelings about its value and its demise.

“Google Reader is was the best asynchronous social network ever made,” writes Francis. “It’s the closest thing to a party that 25 people, all on totally different schedules, can swing.”

Even if every Reader feature made it to Plus — and shit no they haven’t, and it doesn’t look like they will — the entire concept, culture and process is completely different. You can’t remotely replicate the closed, tight, context- and content-first communities of Reader in Plus. You can’t efficiently or effectively share, excerpt, annotate or discuss a 3,500-word longform news article on Plus alone without opening at least two other tabs.

You can’t sit back with a drink and catch up on discussions that don’t have to be carried on right fucking now or they’re gone forever in Plus. […]

Somebody else can swing in here and grab this niche now that Google’s flushed it. Not rolled it into Plus, but flushed it gone.

But can they? Can some bright young entrepreneur rush in to create a new Gooder for the Iranians? Can they draw us all back like moths to flame or will the Reader Diaspora simply melt into the great wide empty of the internet proper?

Somehow I don’t think so. This is the end, beautiful friend. Too bad Google couldn’t just ignore you forever. Your neglect, it turns out, was the very thing that preserved you.

Oh, and one more thing: I had never heard the term ‘sharebros’ until now. I assume that each various niche within the Reader community had its own self-identification. Hivemind or Horde or what-have-you.

Sign the petition to save Google Reader.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

Tutorial: How to make Hip Hop Hits

Tutorial: How to make Hip Hop Hits:
I liked a YouTube video: - head over to my website to see the lyrics... uh... I mean the text version of the tutorial, grab some samples and check out my other blogs and t...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Casting Call for 'Sound Vs. Sound' Reality TV Series

Casting Call for 'Sound Vs. Sound' Reality TV Series: Sound Vs. Sound, a new reality competition TV series that follows musicians, composers, arrangers and producers as they face musical challenges across different genres, announces an electronic casting call for producer/musicians who would like to participate in the show as contestants. The Sound Vs. Sound series will be filmed on February 5-18, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2011.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Protesting Reality

"Schwetz stood Thursday in front of the Federal Reserve building on San Francisco’s Market Street, holding a plain white piece of cardboard with a handwritten plea: ‘Return our homes.’ A few months after Schwetz purchased a home in Petaluma in 2004, his subprime mortgage payments doubled. For five years, he poured almost all of his earning as a FedEx driver into his house payments, until he couldn’t afford it any longer. He rented rooms to friends, but ‘it didn’t help much,’ he said.”

Schwetz’s lender refused to renegotiate the borrowing terms. Two years ago, he sold his house, which had lost about half its original value of $400,000, for less than he owed on the mortgage - a practice known as a short sale. ‘I’m angry and I’m frustrated, and it’s really unfair what’s been done,’ said Schwetz,”"

Let's examine a few things - he took out a subprime loan to buy a $400k house, and a few *months* later, he's dedicating almost "all his earnings as a FedEx driver."

Assuming he's making $46k a year, and assuming a non-zombie underwriter informed him as a matter of practice no more than 1/3 of one's income should be dedicated to housing, he's deep on the wrong end of that ratio. So, either he lied on his loan apps (probable), or got suckered into a loan that he "qualified" for due to someone else massaging the numbers elsewhere in the process (highly probable.) So a guy with a $46k-ish income is servicing a mortgage payment up in the $30k/yr range ($3k/mo??) - so his principle is up around $500k??

*THIS* is a person who thinks The Fed is responsible for his financial problems??

$46k gross means he's taking home $38-ish, which means his monthly rent/mortgage is going to be in the $900-$1400 range, $1500 tops (per the rent calculator recommendations). There's a name for this in realtor parlance: renter.

I know he's eating it on the equity side - upside down on a liar-loan and no way out that doesn't involve a decade of damage. Welcome to the downside of gambling.

There's no doubt the system is rigged against him/us - it's like trying to negotiate with an avalanche. I understand the psychic pain created when the absurdity of one's expectations comes into sharp relief, and I especially empathize with the need to identify a source - a singularity - who's destruction needs to serve both a re-stabilized future and a sense of justice/vengeance.

This is something bigger than a colorful social anachronism and convenient news fodder. There are deeper assumptions being challenged by physical reality. At best, this is a lurch towards establishing a new language in which to discuss a transition to new expectations. And that's giving this OWS movement waaay more credit than I usually do.

On the death of Google Reader

The joke was on me.

I made the upfront investment.... on faith alone... in countless hours scouring and curating the web. My last stats were something along the lines of reading 10k+ articles monthly, sharing almost 1k/week. How many people can keep up with that?

Before Google killed their Reader yesterday, I'd amassed a pile of curated and - most importantly - searchable links. The "Shared Items" search was massively utilitarian (in one instance, shaving thousands of dollars off an auto-repair bill due to my searching having eliminated a previous information-asymmetry between myself and a retailer), making it easy to search a body of stuff I'd already qualified. Spammers can't game that.

But more importantly, apparently Google can't monetize it. So it's history.

Familiar story - a few smart heads wrap around a problem, solve it, and change the world. Then "The Money" moves in.....

Right now, money rules. We're in a new gilded age - a resurgence of social bivalence: you're either in, or out. No more middle ground.

And "The Money" thinks the future is all about "right here, right now." Google grew up as a "search" company, but now, it's looking more like they're a biometric inventory company - vacuuming up enormous amounts of identifiable behavioral data and selling it.

The most valuable data is, of course, timely. "What can we sell you RIGHT NOW!?" is all Google wants to know anymore, because that's what "The Money" wants to know. That's why the new GUI looks the way it does - everything is coming back to WAVE, except with more ads, and more people employed in real-time to sell you stuff. Got a pretty face? You've got a future on Google +....

But Reader users don't want to buy anything - that's why we enable AdBlock. RSS (mostly) doesn't carry ads. Reader was the anti-web for the internet. Reader WAS the internet - just not the abstraction most people think of.

Most people visit "websites" - not Sharebr@s. We'd click through once in a while, but we wanted the content - and only the content.

It was the future of everything but that future couldn't be monetized: so it had to die.