Opinion

Anthony De Rosa

Is Google+ a Facebook killer or another Google Wave?

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 30, 2011 16:59 UTC

Google has had a series of embarrassing flops when it comes to new products. Google Wave was too complicated and didn’t solve a problem anyone had. Google Buzz never caught on with enough people to become useful. Now, they’ve set their sights directly on Facebook with Google+ and after spending a little less than a day with it, I have to admit I am intrigued.

There are a couple of things that make Google+ compelling. The first is that despite the fact it’s still in limited beta, with many folks begging for invites from friends, it feels active and alive. When you log in, it appears like the early days of Facebook, before they piled on app after app and feature after feature.

Being the new thing is an advantage, because you can focus on the features that people really want. Google+ focuses on a feed of updates, similar to the Facebook Wall, and forces people to place their contacts into “Circles” which is similar to Facebook’s “Groups” that seems to be utilized only by a small audience.

Circles allow you to focus on the things a subset of your contacts are interested in, helping to separate the signal from the noise. This is the biggest problem with not only Facebook but with Twitter as well. Power users on Twitter use “Lists” and this makes the experience of Twitter much better, especially for people who depend on Twitter for information and news.

For those who use social media to consume news, there’s a Google+ feature called “Sparks” that allows you to track Google News sources for any keyword you want and the stream can be accessed within the same space you’re following friend updates.

An interview with New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 22, 2011 14:46 UTC

Editor’s note: This article spurred quite a bit of discussion on Twitter. If you’d like to join the conversation, use the hashtag #smnets. Carl V. Lewis storified some of the discussion that took place.

Bill Keller has spent the last eight years as executive editor of the New York Times. He recently announced he will step down from his post in September and hand it over to Jill Abramson, who will become the first female executive editor in the history of the paper. I asked Bill about his transition and some of the controversy around his statements regarding aggregation and Twitter.

You’ve been doing more writing as of late. Do you miss having the time to devote your energies to that entirely?

“Page One” film breathes life into The New York Times

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 14, 2011 21:03 UTC

On the surface, the story of a newspaper company during an age of digital revolution does not seem like the best candidate for a gripping drama. In the hands of Andrew Rossi and through the eyes of David Carr, Brian Stelter, Bruce Headlam, and Tim Arango there lies something akin to The Social Network for the news business, a movie uniquely capturing this moment in time.

There’s a scene midway through Page One when David Carr goes to meet the guys who run Vice, a brash and unvarnished multimedia content company that CNN just partnered with in an effort to court a younger demographic. “I don’t do corporate portraiture,” Carr tells them as they attempt to give him their pitch. Vice co-founder Shane Smith tries to make a case for why Vice is doing the job that the New York Times failed to do. “Everyone talked to me about cannibalism! That’s fucking crazy! So the actual — our audience goes, “That’s fucking insane, like, that’s nuts!” And the New York Times, meanwhile, is writing about surfing, and I’m sitting there going like, “You know what? I’m not going to talk about surfing, I’m going to talk about cannibalism, because that fucks me up.” Carr interrupts Smith for a history lesson “Just a sec, time out. Before you ever went there, we’ve had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide. Just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop doesn’t give you the right to insult what we do. So continue.”

That moment sort of crystallizes the two worlds that Carr and the Times now live in. Countless outlets like Vice and others were born in an age where virtually anyone can cobble together a place on the media landscape, but often with little regard for those who came before them. Some are outright contemptuous of the Times and newspapers in general, as a few attendees at SXSW, the annual Austin gathering of digerati expressed by a show of hands that they would not miss the Times if it ceased to exist.

Apple’s event causes mass disruption

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 6, 2011 20:29 UTC

The biggest takeaway from today’s Apple announcements at their annual worldwide developers conference was how many companies they’ve just disrupted.

Hey Blackberry, you know that your BBM that many find to be the sole reason they stick by your side instead of bolting for a shiny new iPhone. Say hello to iMessage. Start a conversation on your iPhone and continue it on your iPad. If you still want to talk to your friends tied to their Blackberries, there’s always What’s App.

So Dropbox, you’ve been one of the most useful apps I’ve come across in quite some time. My files auto-synced in the cloud, I barely have to think about it. I move effortlessly from one machine to another and my stuff is right there, a click away. Welp, I’ve got some bad news for you. iCloud. 5 gigs of storage and get this, it’s free. Well, unless you’ve got some non-iTunes music you wanna sync. That’s gonna set you back $25 a year. Cmon, that’s a fraction of the money you’ve stolen from artists and those poor multi-millionaire music executives (if any of them still exist anymore.)

How Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account could have been hacked

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 2, 2011 14:56 UTC

Anthony Weiner is about as uncensored online as he is offline. But is he really bold enough to post a photo of himself sans pants over a Twitter account?

I’m less interested in the politics of the matter than the technical evidence that could show whether the congressman sent the photo himself or if it was sent by someone else. Over the weekend, I posted my analysis on the authenticity of the photo behind the scandal. Weiner’s friend and former “freeloading” roommate, Jon Stewart, used my post from the other day on The Daily Show to illustrate some of the methods for how the congressman could have had his account hacked. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Every photo tells a story

Within just about every digital photo, there are clues left behind called “metadata” that identify the make and model of the camera used, the time the photo was taken and sometimes even the location the photo was taken at. I ran one of the earlier photos that Anthony Weiner had taken through several tools (here is one you can try yourself) that look at the “exif data” within the photo. Here was the result from this photo:

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