Category Archives: Technology

Local Data Mining: Where No Georgia Press Dare Go

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Investigative tech reporting in Georgia is non-existent. Other than cheerleading, Chamber-type stuff from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. There are startups incubated at Georgia Tech in the for-profit business of scraping data from social media sites, and then selling it back to organizations and business people, particularly folk in law enforcement. What’s commonly called “enterprise data mining.”

I know this because one company tried to sell me their lovely dashboard thingee. To which I replied, in a business-like manner of course at the meeting, “No thanks, I roll my own.”

Georgia law enforcement stores (years of) data scraped and mined from the general (presumed innocent) public, via such technology as license tag scanning. Lord knows what they then do with such data, and where (NSA?) they then feed that data, and the associated metadata, on to.

The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Vernon Keenan, announced that factoid, rather proudly, to a room full of journalists at the Atlanta Press Club this summer. Not a single follow-up story on that matter, at least any I’m aware of. Not one.

Hasn’t the data-mining dilemma revealed by Glenn Greenwald piqued the slightest bit of interest on local angles to the dilemma just a little bit amongst Georgia press leadership? Seems not.

Come on MSM in Georgia. Do better.

A Piece Of One’s Own Action

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You know what’s a little scary? This is:

While visiting my bank today (and I’m not going to link to them because I truly don’t want to get my “personal” banker in trouble; he’s a good guy) I was surprised to see just how much our bank(s) know about us. And how much data they’re storing. And likely selling to whomever. Or heck, giving away too, to the Justice Department, just like Facebook, Google, AT&T, etc. And those are just a few of the server farms I “contribute” to.

During our sit-down today, my “personal” banker quietly turned his computer screen towards me, so that I could see everything on the screen too, as we went along with a seemingly innocuous bit of business.

Wow! That bank is keeping all kinds of information on me/us. They know a scary amount of stuff about my life over the time they’ve had me as a customer.

And they had a very nice, er, “content management system” for it all too. It’s all just one click away. For anyone with access to that “content management system.”

Dammit! I want a piece of my own action back.

Google Glass — Can I Get A Witness?

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Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand gardening. But the first thing that came to mind when I put on Google Glass was my mother’s organic garden.

You won’t catch me outside in broiling 98-degree southern humidity struggling to hack through a dense, painfully stinging row of okra, or pulling nasty, squirming wormy things off dozens of tomato bushes. No siree! But you will catch my mother doing that crazy stuff. For hours on end, day after day, week after week, throughout the south’s high summer months.

That said, if you can get past the oppressive heat and humidity there really is no more verdant and glorious vision of bounty, robust health and natural beauty than a southern organic garden at its summer harvesting peak.

Thus the thought of me strolling, beatifically wired, through rows of an organic garden in full, wearing a pair of Glass with my mother narrating the purvey and provenance of every lush plant and vegetable, set my pan-media-tuned mind into high and sunny gear.

Who wouldn’t want to document and share that kind of rich media in our connected world? To be fresh content-enabled, breezily so, by merely putting on glasses, something I’ve done every day since I was 7-years old anyway.

One of the great things about living near the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, of course) is participating in some of the innovations and events churned from there. Whether beta testing products in development, networking, attending concerts or lectures, there’s a wealth of experience and knowledge available to the university’s surrounding community, so last night (July 11) I hopped over to nearby startup nurturer, Flashpoint on West Peachtree Street.

There, Randy J. Mitchell, the founder and CEO of Plisten, along with Google and Hypepotamus, hosted a meetup for Google Glass developers and designers. My friend/mentor and sometime colleague, veteran political reporter Tom Baxter, who’s always up for some new media-creation adventures, tagged along too.

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Upcoming State of Media Forum In Atlanta

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On Sept. 15, 2011 I will be speaking on a panel hosted by the marketing division of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). This is titled: The State of the Media: Traditional, New Media, and Analyst Panel.

Registration for that panel discussion/breakfast is here. More deets are not yet available. Hope to see  you there!

And I’ll add more deets about the rest of the panel when TAG adds more to their page on this particular panel. They crank through about 5 panels a day, so it seems, at TAG, so updating each one could take a little time. Be patient.

Internet Access as a Civil Right

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Do you think of Internet access as a civil right? That’s the new buzz term being tossed around by Comcast. Seriously.

Comcast has been mandated by the feds to reduce the price of Internet access for low-income households… as a term of the Comcast/NBC mega-merger.

Please… let me know what you think about Internet access as a civil right. My opinion is just that – only my opinion. I want to hear others’.

To find out more about the Comcast Internet Essentials program, and how it will be applied to metro Atlanta, which has its own severe digital divide, please watch the video.

Top Three Demands For What Websites Should Do. Easily.

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I’m at the Atlanta Business of WordPress Conference.  Twitter hashtag is: #thebizofwp. Francine Hardaway, neat lady, is the keynoter. She says the Top Three Things People Want From Their Business Website are these:

  1. Content Management. “I want to get into my site easily and change it!”
  2. “I want people/customers to get to my site from Facebook.”
  3. “I want mobile access for my site.”
There you have it. And WordPress sites can do all the above. Easily. So you can too.

Less Snakes, More Interactive Whiteboards In Atlanta Public Schools

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Help E. Rivers Elementary have less snakes and more interactive whiteboards! These whiteboards are terrific teaching tools. I’ve had the chance to see how kids react to them and use them in several APS schools, and they really are remarkable.

Teachers love using ’em too. More info about the white board tools are at the link… and how you could help the PTA at E. Rivers in their fundraising drive to get more boards into all E. Rivers Elementary classrooms. Every little bit of donation helps.

And yeah, who wouldn’t want to own a company (Promethean World) where PTAs and school systems everywhere were clamoring to raise money to buy your product? They’re that good.

Watch a video about the interactive whiteboards here.