Google Tweaks Algorithm to Push Down Low-Quality Sites -

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 14:27


Another move in the SEO wars... and perhaps a knock against eHow and so forth.

Google has updated their algorithm (which they do all the time) - this time, coming out and saying that they're targeting low-quality content farms, splogs, etc.:

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites — sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other Web sites or sites that are just not very useful,” Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, and Matt Cutts, who leads Google’s spam-fighting team, wrote in a company blog post. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites — sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

NY Times

Website Magazine recommendation as to what to do next

Thuraya satellite telecom says jammed by Libya | Reuters

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 14:12

Logo reuters media africaObviously Gaddafi well understands the key role of communications in empowering resistance to despotism. Now he's moved to block satellite and mobile service, though the jamming isn't all that effective.

And as we know, there are lots of technical service providers and others looking for eays to help Libyans get around the information blockade.

DUBAI, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co's services are being jammed by Libya, the UAE-based firm's chief executive said on Thursday, as a revolt continued against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"Unfortunately there is deliberate jamming by Libya ... which is illegal," CEO Samer Halawi told Al Arabiya television.

"Jamming started on Feb. 17 and it continues today. Our equipment is reducing the effects of the jamming so that we have coverage in 70 percent of Libya," Halawi said.

Reuters post

Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 17:29

Jccentcom 0

Careful with that axe, Jeff...

An Indiana Deputy AG, Jeff Cox, has been fired for sending chilling messages via twitter and elsewhere, suggesting that riot police fire upon peaceful protesters at Wisconsin' state capitol building.

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn't end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: "Use live ammunition."

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

Cox obama joker 8 9 09

This isn't trivial - the union-busting effort against those who serve the public is spreading to other states.

The incident seems all the more troubling now that the public-sector union fight playing out in Wisconsin is now headed to other states—including Indiana, where GOP senators Tuesday passed a bill that would abolish collective bargaining for state teachers. (Indiana's Republican governor walked back his support of the measure Tuesday after taking stock of the opposition.)

Mother Jones article, with screen captures of Cox's blogs posts and tweets

Libyan city dubbed 'Free Benghazi' as anti-Gaddafi troops take control | World news |

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 11:40

Benghazi tank anti Gaddaf 007

Looks like Gaddafi's strategy of making war on his own people is beginning to backfire. There's very clear evidence that the Libyan military is rejecting his rule, based on his use of mercenaries and his commands to use heavy weapons on civilians.

Soldiers brought rockets and heavy weapons which had been used in an assault on citizens in central Benghazi on Saturday as Gaddafi tried to keep control of the city. Doctors in Benghazi said that at least 230 people were killed, with a further 30 critically injured.

There was also the clearest confirmation yet that Gaddafi's regime used outside mercenaries to try to suppress the rebellion. Adjoining the police station a large crowd gathered in another courtyard. Upstairs, the Guardian saw a number of mercenaries, allegedly flown in the previous week, being interrogated by lawyers and army officials.

An air force officer, Major Rajib Faytouni, said he personally witnessed up to 4,000 mercenaries arrive on Libyan transport planes over a period of three days starting from 14 February. He said: "That's why we turned against the government. That and the fact there was an order to use planes to attack the people."

Guardian piece on Benghazi

Guardian's live updates on the whole Libyan situation

Al Jazeera's coverage

Libya air force jets in Malta, pilots seek asylum - AP

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 02/22/2011 - 12:28


Apparently two Libyan Airforce Colonels have sought asylum in Malta after refusing to fire on their countrymen from their jets. From the AP story:

The two Mirage jets landed at Malta International Airport shortly after two civilian helicopters landed carrying seven people who said they were French. A military source familiar with the situation said the passengers had left in such a hurry that only one had a passport.
The source, who insisted he not be identified further, said the jet pilots — both Libyan air force colonels — had communicated from the air that they wanted political asylum. They had left from a base near Tripoli and had flown low over Libyan airspace to avoid detection, the source said.

New chron green Houston Chronicle's AP Stories page

Opération Lybie - Refuse

Submitted by Sam Moore on Tue, 02/22/2011 - 12:09

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 11 39 39 AMOpération Lybie has organized a bunch of dialup numbers for Lybian citizens to use in case the government cuts off their internet access (see the similar effort at using POTS lines for Tweeting in Egypt).

I'm relaying a message from a Libyan citizen, who came on IRC channel #FDN to talk about opération "Libya White Fax".
The idea is to send a PDF document to the Libyan population via FAX (using traditional FAX or SIP) to a given list of Libyan phone numbers.

The faxed document contains a list of international phone numbers for dialup users to access so they can get back on the Net. Obviously this will be expensive, but it'll get around the "Internet Kill Switch" strategy.

One dialup service donor is France's FDN. Here's their statement (they started offering dialup during the Egyptian crisis).

Now I kind of wish I hadn't trashed all my old modems... who knows when we'll need these again?

Opération Lybie (scroll down for English)

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 12 04 51 PM We Rebuild's Libya page has broader information on infrastructure and counter-censorship.

Middle East Protest Tweets Mapped

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sun, 02/20/2011 - 17:17

Screen shot 2011 02 20 at 5 19 37 PM

Virender Ajmani, who has a talent for Google maps mashups, has created a new one that lets you see Tweets in realtime from several countries in the Middle east that are experiencing popular unrest.

From the developer's blog:

Here’s a look at Middle East “Protests” on Twitter which are mapped out on Google Maps. This Google Maps Mashup shows the latest tweets from around Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Iran tagged with the respective country names. The map animates thru the latest protest tweets from the region. The tweets are displayed at geotagged location on the map at an interval of 5 seconds.

Mibazaar TweetMap page

Developer's blog

via BoingBoing

OReilly: Margaret Atwood at Tools of Change conference

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:15

OReilly's Facebook page (here) has this snippet from a Twitter chat, part of the run-up to their Tools of Change conference:

In a twitterchat hosted by Tools of Change last week, Atwood reiterated the food chain concept. She wrote:

  • author's role in publishing ecosystem: writers are the primary source for the foodchain. :) -2:08 PM
  • Have heard authors referred to as "content," as if transmission medium were primary. -2:09 PM
  • But w'out anything to transmit, transmission tools & networks would be dead. -2:10 PM

Conference starts Monday - would that I could go, but duty calls...

6 mobile campaigns that put the traditional site to shame -

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 02/02/2011 - 20:53

Screen shot 2011 02 02 at 8 36 32 PM

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend the other day about why a brand would write a mobile app, when there are such dynamic possibilities available for Facebook apps.

Aside from the desire to get your brand out of the Facebook sandbox, I thought of a few things you could do with an app that might be a little harder when working through Facebook, even Facebook mobile - geo-tagging and phone calls among them.

Fortuitously, here's a roundup of 6 mobile apps that stand well on their own, both for usability and branding.

Here are six companies that use the mobile web smartly, creating an altogether different experience than traditional online by using the strengths that the mobile device has to offer. They have been separated into two categories, one for advocating user purchases and the other for overall content and efficiency.

Starbucks card mobileDominoesJunaio ebay web 4

Category 1: Purchase intensive

These web pages make the buying experience extremely straightforward.

Starbucks Coffee. The Seattle-based company has been one of the industry leaders in using mobile to spread its messages and promote its brand. While using geolocation sites like Foursquare and Facebook Places to reward customers who buy Starbucks products, the company' recently expanded the value of its app by allowing customers to pay for their drinks by waving their mobile phones over an in-store reader. By providing added convenience and utility to its mobile experience, Starbucks' mobile efforts are leading the pack, while making the case for a wallet-less future.

Dominoes Pizza. Of course ordering a pizza through a mobile phone should be a no-brainer. But Dominoes has gone beyond the simple store locator feature to simplify the ordering process to a few finger taps. Not only can customers save all their credit card information and track the progress of their pizza through their mobile app, but they can also receive personal SMS texts that offer special deals and promotions based on previous orders.

eBay. The popular online auction website is trying its hand at augmented reality, a term that will likely become part of the digital vernacular in the next few years. While its mobile web page is more or less an abbreviated version of its traditional website, eBay has relied heavily on apps to help optimize its presence within the mobile realm. By downloading the Junaio app along with the eBay app, customers can monitor their favorite eBay auctions in real time through their mobile phones. If you don't think that's cool, you might need to get your cool meter fixed.

For the other three, see the
iMedia Connection post.