U.S. Judges Cite Wikipedia

More evidence that social media has gone completely mainstream and developed respect and credibility:

"Wikipedia is frequently cited by judges around the country, involving serious issues and the bizarre — such as a 2005 tax case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals concerning the definition of “beverage” that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, just this week, a case in Federal District Court in Florida that involved the term “booty music” as played during a wet T-shirt contest.

More than 100 judicial rulings have relied on Wikipedia, beginning in 2004, including 13 from circuit courts of appeal, one step below the Supreme Court. (The Supreme Court thus far has never cited Wikipedia.)"

What's the most depressing day of the year?

Dr. Cliff Arnall, a U.K. Professor, has stated that January 22nd is the most depressing day of the year, for reasons such as:

- the realization that you really won't fulfill your new year goals

- it's cold and dark and farthest from warm weather

- the holiday/vacation season is over

They all seem like valid points. However, Hitwise, a web analytics company, has plotted the number of searches for "depression" over the last few years, and found a different story. Depression actually PEAKS in the holidays and spring time, and depression overall is on the decline. This is all based on people searching for the term, which is only directional at best, but interesting none the less.


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Running the New York Idiotarod 2007

This Saturday, we ran the New York Idiotarod 2007. If you don't remember this from my experience two years ago, the basic premise is this: In a counter-culture spin off from the Iditarod, the Alaskan snow-dog race, the underground city scene has created an alternative version. Teams of 5 have to acquire a shopping cart through whatever means, and race through the city, four attached by rope and one pushing. Teams dress up in crazy costumes, deck out their cart, and it ends up being more of a halloween parade than a race. In the last few years its gained such a following, that this year became a big spectacle. There were probably two hundred teams (or a thousand people) in costume, mixed with hundreds of people just there to take pictures, and a swarm of NYPD police to make sure nothing got too out of hand. There were even NYPD helicopters flying overhead. The race changed start locations at the last minute to throw off the media and the police, which as you can imagine was barely effective, as both followed us through Brooklyn, over the Pulaski bridge, and into Queens, ultimately ending in Long Island City.

All in all, the whole thing was extremely entertaining, but the race itself has gotten kind of lost through all of the craziness that surrounds the event. In 2005 it was still about the event itself, and not about creating a scene, but with the popularity it would attract over time i guess that transition is to be expected. I'll be putting up videos later, but in the mean time here is my photo set from this year and last year. Within 24 hours after the race, there were 2000 Idiotarod pictures from this year alone posted from various racers and photographers.

Running the Idiotarod 2007

Running the Idiotarod 2005

Search for songs by singing or even humming with midomi

This is pretty impressive. There's a new search engine called midomi that allows you to sing some of a song, or even just hum the tune, and it will find the song you're looking for. It then lets you hear a sample of the track, clips of other people who recorded themselves in searching for the song, and purchase the track for download. I gave it a try by singing "wonderwall" by oasis, which it found no problem. Then Ari gave it a shot by humming "buddy holly" by weezer, and even without words it was the first result the search engine came up with. Considering how bad we are at reproducing anything we hear, that speaks well for midomi.

So will it be successful? There are a lot of ways audio search could have a huge impact in the next few years. Google is rumored to be working on an audio based search tool that gives you live search results based on what it hears you listening to or talking about. There is always audio search within podcasts, but that's more transcribing the content and allowing it to be searchable via normal means. The road midomi is going down right now, song search, probably has its limitations - after all, if you know the words to a song, you can find it much more easily using Google. However, if you just have a tune stuck in your head, that's a nagging thing that we all desperately deal with every once in a while, and a solution to that is welcome. Now the question is what more they can do with it?

Another angle - it may end up being more of a karaoke style social network. Once you sign up, you can record your versions of the songs you find. It's fun to listen to audio clips of from other people and hear how the engine paired what you recorded yourself with what they had in their database. Singing yourself and testing the engine is ammusing. And the voyeurism that comes with listening to the singing attempts of others always has its place. If search technology alone isn't in midomi's future, a variety of a social network might be.


Pirate Bay considering artificial island to escape legal responsibility

Engadget is reporting that The Pirate Bay, a predominant bittorrent p2p sharing site, is considering moving its operations to a man made island in the water, where legal responsibility is shady. Read more here.

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What would stop you from buying the Apple iPhone?

This graph represents a survey of people who have already stated that they would buy an Apple iPhone. That said, what factors weigh in on the quickness of executing that decision? 60% say that switching carriers isn't an issue; 6% say they would pay over $400. So it will take some time, and it will take a price drop, for Cingular to capture the approximately 20% of iPod shoppers that said they'd buy an Apple iPhone.

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TV networks offer a lot of free content online

Here's a quick list of the online episode hubs for the four major networks - all at this point offer at least a handful of full episodes from their hit television shows online. In some cases you can watch the entire season, in others you can only catch the most recent episode. I have a list of links to these and other free video content hubs via my del.icio.us documents:


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Flickr needs dynamic albums of your network's photos

So I have this network of friends with pictures that I really like; with all of the social design of Flickr, why can't I make smart sets of photos that are mine, as well as my friends/family's? Why can't I search for "kevin" and create an album of pictures my parents, my brother, and I all tagged that have me in it? Why can't I take a picture that my friend gave me rights to, and add it to one of my collections?

I'm sure other services are offering this - even shutterfly has the option to take your friends photo albums and add them to your collections. Does Flickr offer this and I'm missing it?

(My flickr albums)

Trade cell phone mobile plans with someone else


If you're dying to get out of your cellphone contract because you'd rather have another carrier, but you don't want to incur the fees, now there are two separate companies that have popped up that let you trade your mobile plan with someone else - for a small fee of course.

Perfect for people who want to trade their better Verizon network for a Cingular plan that might drop calls but allows you to have the Apple iPhone when it comes out in June.


Top 10 Wikipedia Articles in 2006

Wikipedia had a banner 2006 as its audience more than doubled, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

Adage is listing the top 10 most cited Wikipedia articles from 2006. On the list are complicated internet terms like Web 2.0 and meme, but then to put it in perspective there's also "snakes on a plane". Everything is relatively timely with the exception of "World War II".

First 4 Episodes of 24 Season 6 Leaked

Exclusive 24 Season 6 Snapshot

The news is that the first 4 episodes of the 2007 season of 24 have leaked to bittorrent, over a week before they are about to air on TV. They all come from a Season 6 Premiere DVD that will be released after the shows air on TV, two episodes each on January 14th and 15th, 2007.

I have no intention of watching this, half because I don't support the idea of things being stolen before they make it to market (although i'm in little position to have moral high ground in this arena), and half because it would then mean weeks until the next episodes of 24. Still, it may not hurt the show, and some are saying it was a marketing ploy by Fox to build up excitement. I doubt it, they could have just released teaser episodes on their own site, but who knows.

Either way, I can't wait for the season to start.

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RIAA sues AllofMP3 for $1.65 Trillion Dollars

For those of you following the fight between the RIAA in the U.S. and abroad for music copyright infringement, Gizmodo this morning has a note covering off on AllofMP3, which sells non-DRM US music tracks for less than $0.20 a pop. U.S. credit card companies have already stopped supporting the site, and Russia has agreed to put a stop to AllofMP3's infringement, but since nothing has really happened, the RIAA has formally filed suit, claiming $1.65 trillion dollars in infringement.

Gizmodo: "Bloodsucking record labels and their lapdog the RIAA have filed suit in New York federal court against Russian music downloading site Allof MP3.com, seeking $1.65 trillion. That's $150,000 for each song that was downloaded from the site between June and October of last year. The undaunted AllofMP3.com responds, pretty much saying, "Tough shit, you're filing a suit in New York and we're in Russia. Nya nya nya nya nya nya." Meanwhile, the site is still up and running, gleefully noting that iTunes revenues have decreased by 65% and wishing all a Happy New Year. Beatles songs, DRM-free, for $.17 each? Sounds like a good deal."

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