Archive for the ‘off topic’ Category

Jaxtr - Beware the Dark Side

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Jaxtr logoMuch hype has surfaced around a new Valley start-up named Jaxtr. The buzz began after LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke jumped shipped to become CEO of Jaxtr. Why all the hype? Why all the fuss? Well, if Jaxtr were a cake, then we’d need to mix a little bit of VOIP with a little bit of widget to achieve this delicate offering. Think of it as Jajah meets embedding.

Jaxtr allows you to receive incoming phone calls by embedding a widget within your profile on a given social network (MySpace, hi5, Friendster, and so on). The process works as follows:

  1. Joe visits your profile.
  2. He enters his phone number.
  3. He then receives a call.
  4. After Joe picks up, you receive a call.
  5. You pick up.
  6. You chat with Joe about your love for poetry and gardening for hours.

It does sound strikingly similar to Jajah, doesn’t it?

A couple of points to note:

  • Jaxtr provides the ability to receive voicemail if you are not present for a call.
  • You are able to block unwanted callers and/or provide the ability for only certain friends to call.
  • Caller phone numbers are never revealed.
  • A link in an e-mail signature can be used in place of the widget.

Revenues will be generated via enhanced features and advertising.

I definitely think that this company has a good thing going. However, I often enjoy stepping over the fence and playing devil’s advocate. In this case, I think that a lot of bloggers and PR juggernauts have overlooked a crucial element. Let me present my case, your Honour…

A Jaxtr call is essentially an anonymous call from anyone viewing a social network profile to the profiled user. Now, if I’m not mistaken, a majority of social networks are tailored around the teenage demographic. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now all of a sudden, you get a small percentage of sick, perverted individuals calling up 15 year old girls with ill intentions. Albeit this is definitely a minority crowd, the predicament is still present at all times. The only prevailing force is parental intervention (this is assuming that prevention was absent in the first place; hence the teenager roaming the social network). However, if the teenager is home alone, who knows where this simple, innocent conversation may lead and what kind of details the caller may be able to extract.

This level of voice communication is really the first of its kind to expand the social networking horizon. If parents thought they had problems with their children posting personal information and contact details before, Jaxtr is going to provide a whole new world of challenges.

I’m not trying to bash this offering, but simply provide an analysis from an alternative point-of-view. I will be the first to praise the company if it is able to implement preventative measures to overcome this hurdle, although I’m not convinced it can be done without hampering the user experience. I’m afraid that for some, Jaxtr will equal jail.

All it takes is one malevolent call for this to turn into a PR nightmare.

I nervously await the public launch…

The Million Dollar Blog Post

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

What happens when you combine web 2.0 with social giving? Answer: The Million Dollar Blog Post.

This feel-good project sprung from the minds of some ambitious, Eastern Canadian entrepreneurs. The idea is this:

  1. Post a wish for the world (comment) on the Million Dollar Blog Post.
  2. A ‘wish’ sponsor will then donate $1 to a chosen charity for every wish posted.

Anyone is able to sponsor a wish or series of wishes, so please be sure to do so. If your financial situation is unfavourable, please post a wish at the very least - it is free. It is the time of year when making a small contribution and supporting a charitable cause can go a long, long way.

Readers may also help by blogging about the cause or providing a back-link. If you would like to Digg this initiative and provide much needed exposure, visit the Digg submission.

What did I wish for? Something that is dear to me:

“My wish is that everyone cherishes every waking moment of every day. The beauty of life is a privilege and may you never take anything or anyone for granted - ever.”

May we use the Internet and technology to provide hope for the less fortunate and make the world a better place for all.

Jeff Pulver Really Blew It

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

An interesting story has emerged from the vlog community. An informed source has brought to my attention the recent uncustomary antics of well-known VOIP pioneer Jeff Pulver. Apparently he really shit the bed this time.

Though I am not a vlog enthusiast, I felt that such a story deserved a second look. Upon further in-depth analysis and scrutiny of blog conversations and forum discussions, it became apparent that Pulver had committed three fatal sins. These rookie mistakes should never have been committed by a seasoned veteran. Forgiveness should not be granted.

So what exactly did he do to deserve this tongue-lashing?

  1. His new venture, Network2, pulls vlogger RSS feeds without publisher consent. In other words, Pulver is assuming an ‘opt out’ basis (stealing) as opposed to the standard, industry-accepted ‘opt in’ basis (promoting). Need I really say more?
  2. Pulver started the ‘5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ meme as a self-promotional tool to garner publicity for himself and his company. Starting what seemed like a fun, interesting meme, but with self-fulfilling intentions, is just plain selfish and narrow-minded. To cap it off, he even added this meme to his Wikipedia page in a self-glorified series of events. Nevertheless, the Jeff Pulver Wikipedia entry has now been deleted by moderators (Pulver may have done it himself in a weak attempt to preserve some level of credibility).
  3. His crew has spammed forums and message boards in a blatant attempt to gain exposure and drive traffic.

Now, I know these sins are committed on a daily basis and are seemingly widespread on the net. But I wouldn’t expect these sleazy marketing tactics from such an authority figure. It never ceases to amaze me the level people sink in order to achieve fame and seek financial prosperity. Selling out is a weak move for the cowardly.

I think Pulver needs to go back to the drawing board.

UPDATE: There may be a happy ending to this debauchery. My source tells me that today Network2 has switched from an ‘opt out’ basis to an ‘opt in’ model. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, his antics of forum spam and self-indulgent memes cannot be forsaken.

Excerpts and information for this article have been pulled from various sources including the Yahoo videblogging group, Jeff Pulver’s blog, and TheGayExpat’s blog.

Web 2.0 All-Star Team

Monday, December 18th, 2006

I thought this would be an interesting exercise…

So without further ado, here is a list of web 2.0 apps that I just couldn’t live without (in no particular order):

I’m sure I missed one or two, but this is where I spend most of my time. Add your list if you’d like…

PS. I don’t consider 9rules an app ;)

Web 2.0 Company of the Year

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Well, the year is nearly over. It’s time to down the rum and egg nog and tidy up our CSS. Not in that order, mind you.

The end of the year brings a time of reflection. It’s a time to ponder the good and the bad. Having said that, I am looking for reader feedback as to who should be named the “Web 2.0 Company of the Year”. I am not going to provide suggestions, as this might create a bias.

Provide a comment with the name of the company and the reason why you think it should be considered for the honour.

Let the games begin…