There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.
On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.
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- Free public domain classical music on the way
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- Microsoft and political repression in Russia
09/15/10 06:00 AM
- Your car and your concentration are at issue in Washington
09/14/10 06:00 AM
- What if you could declare online reputation bankruptcy?
09/13/10 06:00 AM
- Machine translates brain waves into words.
09/10/10 08:06 AM
- Judge makes it harder for feds to see your cell phone records
09/ 9/10 09:31 AM
- Craigslist censors self, decries censorship
09/ 8/10 08:38 AM
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by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 06:12 PM
Hi everyone. John Moe here. Starting Monday, September 20th, Future Tense will be going by the name Marketplace Tech Report.
Producer Larissa Anderson and I have been working closely with the folks at Marketplace ever since we took over Future Tense in May. It’s worked out great. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and together we’ll find more stories you’ll want to hear. Basically, we loved Marketplace so much we married them. And kind of took their name too. Is it creepy to compare two radio shows to a married couple? Sorry about that.
As part of the Marketplace portfolio of programs (along with Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money), Marketplace Tech Report will keep bringing you stories that explain news and trends and technology and what it all means to you. We’ll be moving to a new simpler URL: marketplacetech.org, which will go live over the weekend. We’ll be bringing our entire archive of past shows and blog posts with us but in the meantime, we’re leaving futuretense.publicradio.org up so you can access the show archives from there as well.
By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 09/17/10 02:40 PM
On Thursday, a House subcommittee heard testimony about Google and the issues of competition and dominance in the digital marketplace.
One witness, Scott Cleland - a noted Google critic - said “Google is a vastly more serious antitrust threat than Microsoft ever was.”
But it doesn’t sound like the folks in Congress are convinced. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said at the hearing “Just because competitors complain about a practice does not mean it is anti-competitive.”
For an in-depth look at competition in the Internet age, check out this podcast by the good people at the Berkman Center. It’s a conversation between Jonathan Zittrain, law professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Lawrence Lessig, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and law professor at Harvard Law School.
The two talk about the 12-year old battle between Microsoft and the Department of Justice as well as Google, Facebook and other tech giants.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 12:53 PM
There was some heavy weather in Brooklyn yesterday. A tornado? A funnel cloud?
Regardless, these Dudes, capture all the excitement with a video camera, swear words, and much brohammer commentary. From there it was off to the Vampire Weekend concert.
Will it rise to Double Rainbow level in our cultural zeitgeist? Time will tell.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 12:02 PM
Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal as the holiday shopping season approaches. People are leaning toward buying smaller stuff. They’re less likely to replace a TV and more likely to try something they don’t already have like a smart phone or an iPad.
Best Buy (CEO Brian Dunn) said smartphone sales continued to rise compared with a year ago, as did portable computer totals, buoyed by the iPad.
However, television sales fell despite the rollout of new 3D models, with both average prices and total volumes notching “low-double digit” declines compared with last year. Mr. Dunn also said internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50%.
50%! So the combination of a slowly recovering (?) economy and lots of innovation in the small device market explain why Best Buy is pushing iPads and started selling the Kindle. Staples says they plan to start selling Kindles in time for holiday as well.
by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 11:16 AM
McDonald’s increased foot traffic in its stores by 33% in one day by using FourSquare. This according to the company’s head of social media Rick Wion, talking at a conference yesterday. It was a pretty simple trick, really. They placed 100 gift cards for $5 or $10 on FourSquare as check in bait. So if you checked in at McDonald’s, you have a chance to eat for free. And if you don’t win the gift card, hey, might as well grab something to eat. Check in McNuggets! You were also eligible for the cards if you followed/fanned the company on social media sites, which 600,000 people did. Total cost of the operation? $1000. Wion said that several people in the company’s marketing department had never heard of FourSquare. They have now.
Update: Read Write Web says that, contrary to the Mashable report linked to above, it was a 33% increase in FourSquare check ins, not in feet at the restaurants.
But then there’s the case of Posie’s Café in Portland, Oregon. The proprietor, Jessie Burke, wanted to drive a little traffic to her place by using a Groupon discount. She offered a $13 credit for $6, intending to keep the $6. But Groupon wanted a big cut, 50%, so she was left with the $3, which didn’t allow her to break even. The Groupon was a hit but that just made things worse as she would lose money on each sale until she was $8000 in the hole, unable to make payroll or rent, and dipping into personal savings.
Over the six months that the Groupon is valid, we met many, many wonderful new customers, and were so happy to have them join the Posies family. At the same time we met many, many terrible Groupon customers… customers that didn’t follow the Groupon rules and used multiple Groupons for single transactions, and argued with you about it with disgusted looks on their faces or who tipped based on what they owed.
Most of the customers never came back once they had their discount.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying that the success of the McDonald’s campaign is good for society. I’m merely saying that in terms of people accomplishing a goal in a given area, in this case marketing, they were very successful.
About John Moe
John Moe's radio work has been featured on public radio programs such as Marketplace, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and more. He is also the former host of Weekend America. He hosted a long-running technology and business program at KUOW in Seattle. He is the author of the Conservatize Me (2006) and his writing has appeared in numerous humor anthologies. Before entering public radio, he served as a Senior Editor at e-commerce pioneer Amazon.com.