Another paywall

YouTube Is Said to Plan a Subscription Option

Newspapers have digital subscriptions. Record labels have iTunes and Spotify. And YouTube is about to have special programming for paying customers.

This week YouTube, the world’s largest video Web site, will announce a plan to let some video makers charge a monthly subscription to their channels. There will be paid channels for children’s programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been asked by YouTube not to comment publicly yet. Some of the channels — there will be several dozen at the outset — will cost as little as $1.99 a month.

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Next-Generation Search: Software Bots Will Anticipate Your Needs

Now things have changed. First, and most obviously, mobile devices are everywhere. Second, there are now legions of interesting Web services to automate. The final ingredient is the most important: With the rise of Big Data, there is now enough information available for a software agent to actually use to perform anticipatory actions. In that context, the challenges of applying software agents and artificial intelligence to business solutions is nothing compared to the potential payoff to users.
The combination of automated agents, contextual search and a sea of data from our devices, services and the Internet of Things, search is poised to become vastly more useful and efficient than it already is. The pieces are getting there with agents like Siri and contextual search like Google Now. If it all works as promised, information we need will be delivered to us just when we need it, without our having to invest time and effort looking for it."

Happy 20th Birthday To The WWW!

Is this the first ever web page? If not, CERN would like to know
Boffinry nerve-centre CERN has attempted to recreate the very first website to mark 20 years since the official launch of the World Wide Web.

It is feared the first ever web page is lost to the sands of time as it was changed daily and any backups are few and far between. However the team has pulled up a snapshot of the very first website dating from November 1992, which the eggheads say "may be the earliest copy we can find". The CERN bods are still hunting around for earlier versions.


When Your Data Wanders to Places You’ve Never Been

A FEW weeks ago, a friend received a flier in the mail inviting her to an event in Manhattan for patients with multiple sclerosis.

“What’s in it for you?” said the flier from MS LifeLines, a support network for patients and their families that is financed by two drug makers, Pfizer and EMD Serono. “Strategies for managing and understanding your symptoms. Information about available treatments for relapsing M.S.”

The thing is that my friend, who requested that I keep her name out of this column, does not have multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.

But last year, she did search online for information about various diseases, including M.S., on a number of consumer health sites. She also subscribed to an online recommendation engine where she looked up consumer reviews of local physicians.

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LISTen: An Program -- Episode #241

As aggravated circumstances have continued longer than expected, the engineer also took on duty as acting producer this week since we continue to be short-handed.

What Does Amazon Mean to You?

When you see the word "Amazon", what's the first thing that springs to mind – the world's biggest forest, the longest river or the largest internet retailer – and which do you consider most important?

From Guardian UK:

These questions have risen to the fore in an arcane, but hugely important, debate about how to redraw the boundaries of the internet. Brazil and Peru have lodged objections to a bid made by the US e-commerce giant for a prime new piece of cyberspace: ".amazon".

The Seattle-based company has applied for its brand to be a top-level domain name (currently .com), but the South American governments argue this would prevent the use of this internet address for environmental protection, the promotion of indigenous rights and other public interest uses.

A quick look at the National Digital Library Endowment Plan from

Note: For more details, see a longer FAQ at David Rothman's email is [email protected].

Q. Why a national digital library endowment?

A. U.S. public libraries now spend roughly $1.3 billion a year on books and other content in all formats, around 12 percent of operating expenditures. The figure in the 2010 fiscal year was $1.42 per capita in Mississippi and nationally just $4.22. As reported by the Economist, library sales are approximately 5 percent of those of U.S. book publishers (no wonder the ALA can get only so far in talks with the big publishing conglomerates).

Q. Why should the endowment focus on e-books and other digital content?

A. Costs and greater ease of sharing resources at a national level--while still compensating publishers fairly. Not to mention other possibilities such as reliable interbook links and extensive annotations. Librarians should curate annotations and other user content. The Amazon buyout of Goodreads is an example of the perils of libraries NOT updating their mission.

E-books can efficiently help libraries honor S. R. Ranganathan’s classic Five Laws of Library Science--such as “Books are for use” and “Every reader his book” (or her book). Even academic libraries at well-off universities have limited resources. As for the typical U.S. public library branch, it carries just 4,350 books, a fraction of Amazon's more than 1.7 million, according to the Economist.

The endowment would at least indirectly free up a bit more money for possible spending on paper books at the local level while still responding to readers’ burgeoning interest in e-books.

Q. How would the plan work?

Cut Off From Opportunity Without Equal Access to Internet

Internet use is now so ubiquitous in the U.S. that not having access or online literacy can create major hurdles. As part of the NewsHour's series on broadband technology and its effect on society, Hari Sreenivasan explores the so-called digital divide with Vicky Rideout of VJR Consulting and former FCC official Karen Kornbluh.

Full piece here.


LISTen: An Program -- Episode #236

This week's program starts off with a bite-sized edition of Tech for Techies led by the owner & engineer of Erie Looking Productions, Mike Kellat. News is also highlighted relative to Google Reader and its impending demise. The new comment line is mentioned as being 1-206-299-2120, extension 1580. For those willing to risk using a SIP client, sip:[email protected] is also usable addressing.

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