Email and Forum Questions Timothy Brooks Westergren Internet Society At Odds With Government Consortium Web Tool of the Week: Google Books Search Tool Net Neutrality under Discussion Time’s Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg
Email from Maryland Woman: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz, I recently updated my Windows Media Player. After installation and reboot, my Internet home page was change to Bing and my browser had the Bing toolbar. I have mostly been a cheerleader for technology, the internet, etc. but this is just wrong. NO software firm should EVER inject into my computer their latest offering without my conscious approval. (AND, this applies to new Dell laptops that come preloaded with crapwear /software I did not agree to have installed on my brand new laptop!) How can I avoid this nonsense going forward? Microsoft is way out of line here. Thanks, MDwoman
Tech Talk Responds: When installing new software, always check uncheck the options. They try to get you to install their products. You always have a chance to opt out. Just don’t click continue too fast.
Email from Anthony: Dear Tech Talk, I’m purchasing a domain and I’ve been offered something called "whois protection". What is "whois" and why would I need protection from it? Thanks, Anthony
Tech Talk Responds: As the owner of an internet domain, there are certain requirements that information about you be published. Your name, address, email address and phone number published publicly. "Whois" is the name of the internet protocol that’s used to look up this public information. That information about the domain you own is often simply referred to as "whois information".
Whatever information you provide when you purchase a domain will, by default, be accessible to anyone who cares to look with any of several lookup tools on the web. There are two ways to keep your whois information private.
Purchase Whois Protection. This extra-cost option available from most registrars publishes their information as an intermediary. The public information associated with your domain leads to them, not you. They then forward legitimate contact to you without revealing your information.
Create Your Own Protection. Get a voicemail only phone number. Get a post office box. Get an email address for this purpose (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) Use your real name (no option here).
Email from Craig: Dear Tech Talk, I am looking for a new cell phone. My contract is up next month. What do your recommend? Thanks, Craig
Tech Talk Responds: I would wait until I could get a 4G phone. You will have two choices for smart phone: Android or iPhone. It is almost a religion. A third choice might be Blackberry if you are only interested in business. You will also have a choice between GSM and CDMA (carrier specific). Or you could get both with some phones (Blackberry or HTC Android). . You will have a choice of carriers: ATT and Verizon are the big ones. Check your data plan carefully.
Timothy Brooks Westergren
Timothy Brooks Westergren is founder of Pandora Radio and co-creator of the Music Genome Project.
Timothy Brooks Westergren was born December 21, 1965 in Minneapolis, MN.
Tim Westergren grew up in Minneapolis, MN and attended Stanford University, where he studied computer acoustics and recording technology.
Westergren received his B.A. in political science from Stanford University.
He has recorded with independent labels, managed artists, owned a commercial digital recording studio, scored feature films, produced albums, and performed.
He started out as a piano player—he later learned how to play drums, bassoon, and clarinet—then dabbled in recording production.
He is obsessed with helping talented emerging artists connect with the music fans most likely to appreciate their music.
In 1999 along with Will Glaser he jointly created and patented the Music Genome Project, a mathematical algorithm to organize music.
A given song is represented by a vector (a list of attributes) containing approximately 400 genes or traits.
Each gene corresponds to a characteristic of the music, for example, gender of lead vocalist, level of distortion on the electric guitar, type of background vocals, etc.
Rock and pop songs have 150 genes, rap songs have 350, and jazz songs have approximately 400.
Each song is analyzed by a musician in a process that takes 20 to 30 minutes.
A list of other similar songs is constructed using a distance function.
He started Pandora Media in 2000 to provide a song recommendation technology that could be licensed to other companies. In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman.
By mid-2004 he had built large music genome database, but was not making money.
He decided to repurpose it to a playlist engine and become a consumer-based Internet radio company.
In November 2005, the project launched as an online radio streaming service, which took off like a rocket.
However, he was almost put out of business by the RIAA over royalties until he warned his huge fan base who fans lobbied Capitol Hill for a settlement.
He got a reasonable offer from RIAA and took it (60% of revenues go for royalties).
Now the company is nearly profitable with over 15 million iPhone apps in use.
Last year he secured $35 million in VC funding.
As of March 2010, Pandora had 700,000 tracks in its library and 48 million users who listened for 11.6 hours per month on average.
In May 2010, Pandora was named in Lead411’s 2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies list.
In 2010 he was listed by the Time magazine as one among the 100 most influential people in the world.
Internet Society At Odds With Government Consortium
Governments are increasingly at odd with the Internet Society over governance issues. Most recently was the XXX domain name which is opposed by government entities. Other examples might be Wikeleaks.org, which cannot easily be stopped.
We need to maintain the independence of Internet government from government. It is essential to the free exchange of information.
In an open letter, John McNerney, COO, Internet Society said the following
In an extraordinary meeting on 6 December the United Nation’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) decided to create a Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) (http://www.intgovforum.org/) with a membership made up only of governments.
We believe this decision sets back the model of multistakeholder cooperation under which the IGF was established, and contradicts the instructions given to the CSTD for the establishment of the Working Group
The Internet Society has joined the International Chamber of Commerce – Business Action to Support the Information Society, the Internet Governance Caucus, and many other Internet, business, and civil society organizations in sending a letter to the CSTD, asking them to retract their previous decision and to establish an appropriately constituted Working Group that ensures the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries, involving relevant intergovernmental and international organizations and forums.
Like the Internet, a multistakeholder approach has been at the core of the Internet Governance Forum’s formation and success.
We hope that Internet Society Chapters and Members, as well as other organizations, will join us in signing the letter.
You may read the full letter, and see the growing list of signatories, and indicated your own support here: http://isoc.org/wp/newsletter/?p=2710
Sincerely, Jon McNerney, Chief Operating Officer, Internet Society
Find the frequency of word usage over time in cataloged books.
Great for social trending. For instance, compare Britannica and Wikipedia from 1800 to 2010.
Since 2004, Google has digitized more than 15 million books worldwide.
The datasets we’re making available today to further humanities research are based on a subset of that corpus, weighing in at 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often they occurred in each year.
These datasets were the basis of a research project led by Harvard University’s Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden published in Science and coauthored by several Googlers.
Their work provides several examples of how quantitative methods can provide insights into topics as diverse as the spread of innovations, the effects of youth and profession on fame, and trends in censorship.
The Ngram Viewer lets users graph and compare phrases from these datasets over time, showing how their usage has waxed and waned over the years.
One of the advantages of having data online is that it lowers the barrier to serendipity.
You can stumble across something in these 500 billion words and be the first person to make that discovery.
Net Neutrality under Discussion
More than a year after first announcing plans to develop binding rules aimed at protecting the free flow of services and applications over the Internet, the head of the Federal Communications Commission said he will bring a net neutrality order to a vote when the agency meets this month.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the rules would afford service providers sufficient flexibility to manage their networks and root out unlawful or malicious traffic, while barring them from blocking legitimate content.
The FCC’s five commissioners are deliberating draft rules proposed by Chairman Julius Genachowski that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking access to Web sites or favoring the access to some content over others.
The FCC is trying to keep the Internet open, while still allowing provided to tailor traffic in order to pay for expensive infrastructure and prevent user abuse (MP3 downloads via BitTorrent).
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) filed an amendment to an appropriations bill aimed at preventing the FCC from adopting the net neutrality regulation.
Hutchison’s amendment, co-signed by John Ensign (R-Nev.) and six other Republican lawmakers, would "prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards."
This debate is really over streaming video over the Internet and how it will be managed. The Internet is becoming the airways of the future.
Questions over what shows viewers will get online and how much they pay for them could soon be resolved by the FCC.
Over the next few weeks, the FCC will decide on Internet access regulation and a proposed merger by Comcast and NBC Universal that could chart a new course for the future of TV.
Those deliberations would create first-time rules affecting how television series and movies reach consumers with Internet connections and how much companies can charge for the service.
Time’s Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Time magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year.
Time cited Zuckerberg "for connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives."
He’s in good company, with a list that includes tech titans, a machine, and even a planet.