Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Who loves the Internet more: Obama or the Pope?

It seems that the Internet is catching on with the most powerful men in the world. Both the Pope and the new US president Barack Obama have this week announced new web strategies and told anyone that would listen how much they love this Internet.

The conversion is hardly surprising – both men derive most of their enormous power from being able to communicate directly to millions. And if there’s one thing the Internet does well, it is mass communication. Here the question though: who loves the Internet more – Obama or the Pope?

Let’s find out in a head-to-head competition…

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Nominet Board fight rolls on

Yet another extraordinary statement has come out of Nominet – the .uk registry owner – today. This time, the chairman Bob Gilbert lambasts a “number of false allegations” made in a resignation letter from former director Jim Davies.

The letter was posted on the Nominet members’ private mailing list, nom-steer, and contains “sensitive and confidential board and HR matters”.

In it, Davies provides details of an executive compensation package through which he accuses the CEO of unfairly profiting from the non-profit organization, and also alleges that the previous head of IT was kicked out the company for raising a concern about the CEO’s behaviour.

This is just the latest broadside in a war that has been raging at the heart of Nominet for almost a year.

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Jennifer Lopez fights cybersquatting case

Singer Jennifer Lopez has filed papers against the owner of jenniferlopez.org and jenniferlopez.net, accusing him of cybersquatting.

The two sites are owned by one Jeremiah Tieman who lives in Arizona and uses the sites to display news, pictures and videos of and about the singer and includes a disclaimer at the bottom stating that the sites are fan sites and are not endorsed by Lopez. However, both sites also include prominent ads and links through to affiliate sites.

Case D2009-0057 was filed last week with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by Lopez’s charitable foundation – which support women and children on low incomes – rather than her hard-hitting IP lawyers Fross, Zelnick, Lehrman and Zissu who are the registered owners of Lopez’s dotcom website.

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Net marvels: the Obama Inauguration

There’s nothing like a big event to get people thinking, particularly when that event is the inauguration of a president who brings with him the hopes and dreams of a generation.

Barack Obama will be sworn in as 44th President of the United States in nine days on Tuesday 20th January. There are also a range of events in the weekend leading up to it and on the Monday before – Martin Luther King Day – and all that has got people’s online minds whirring.

Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots on the Net about the inauguration and inspired by the inauguration:

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The Internet Governance Forum – third time lucky

I was at the United Nations in Geneva last week to watch what was happening to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as it prepares for its third outing, this December in Hyderabad, India.

Actually I was there for a different reason – an ICANN consultative meeting on the future of the organization the morning before the UN meeting – but it seemed daft to fly all that way and not check out the day of open discussions about the IGF. Plus I have a real soft spot for the IGF and the people that have worked extremely hard to make it a success.

I was a witness to the IGF’s creation, on paper, at the World Summit on the Information Society back in 2005, and then followed it all the way through various preparatory sessions as a reporter.

At the inaugural IGF in Athens, I was asked to be the conference’s “blogger-in-chief” – a position that, ironically enough, my current employer tried to veto. As a semi-official part of the IGF, I also got to see behind the scenes, and was impressed with the hard work, dedication and calm handling of what was an enormous and risky experiment. A lot of people at the time confessed to turning up just to see what would happen – spectators to what could have been the biggest diplomatic car crash for a decade. In the end, despite the odds, it shone through.

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Domainpulse in Vienna

I am going to have to make a determined effort to update this blog more often. I always feel better when I am writing. Anyway, just as an update: I am currently in New Delhi in the Maurya Hotel following a busy conference week. I’ll be heading to the airport soon to go to Paris, where I hope to meet up with various folk that are integral to the next two conferences coming up both in June: the OECD ministerial in Seoul, followed immediately afterwards by the next ICANN meeting in Paris.

But in between, and for Thursday and Friday this week, I will be at Domainpulse in Vienna giving a talk partly about my book, Sex.com, and partly about the history of making money from domain names. You can see the full programme here. It should be interesting: Wolfgang Kleinwachter, Peter van Roste, Sabine Dolderer, Patrik Faltström, Daniel Karrenberg plus a number of people I have yet to meet and look forward to doing so. If you’re going, see you there.

Hey, ho, Delhi here we go

I’m writing this in that neverworld of an airport waiting for a slightly delayed plane.

And, of course, as it always is, that airport is Heathrow. I hate Heathrow. I’ve always hated Heathrow. Even as a kid, I remember the sensation of life ebbing away from you as you sit in uncomfortable chairs next to grumpy people, eat dreadful food and get annoyed with snooty staff. It’s Heathrow, it’s British Airways, it’s delayed, and I’m flying economy, seat 49J, which means no sleep, cramped legs, and an incredibly frustrating effort trying to do work on my laptop for the next nine hours.

Still, I’m on my way to the ICANN meeting in Delhi which should prove to be the usual mix of fun, exhaustion, confusion and interesting events. Plus I’ve never been to India before. What’s happening at the ICANN meeting? Well, plenty. Discussions on front-running, on domain tasting, on new gTLDs and IDNs. And the JPA. And the translation programme – which I have been working very hard on and should really help ICANN become an international organisation. And, you know, all the other sorts of issues that underpin the future evolution of the Internet and which I now concern myself with every day.

I have to say though that I felt an itch as a journalist to get stuck into the US elections yesterday. Shame I wasn’t in the country for Super Tuesday. Ah well, new gTLDs and IDNs are going to have a bigger impact on the world than the next US president. And I mean that too.

Too much bloody work

It’s been six weeks since I last posted here. That can’t be good. And I have a ton of stuff to get out of my mind through my fingers. The one-day trivia brain of Los Angelenos; the US presidential election process; the insane bureaucracy and mind-control of this peculiar and remarkable country. Plus, lots of pics – some with world famous stars of the screen. And the tale of trying to get hold of my possessions after 16 weeks now.

Why is this material still in my brain and not on the page? Because of work. Too much work. Far too much work. This job is a constant invitation to burn-out. I think it is the three international meetings a year that is what really makes the workload impossible: there is never more than a week in which you can get on with all those things that need quiet periods to get done. I thank god that the cycle ride home (along the beach – it’s nice, even in crap weather) is 35 minutes. It’s the one conscious hour of the day I can’t be at my laptop. Although I did take two phonecalls on my way in this morning. How long before I’m balancing the Dell on my handlebars, trying to pick up WiFi signals from the beach houses?

Still, I’m going to Delhi in a week’s time. It’ll mean 37 hours in economy there and back (I’ll be in London, Paris and Vienna briefly if anyone desperately wants to meet up), but I should have time to go see the Taj Mahal at some point. And I’ve always fancy seeing that and India. The urge to take off a month and travel the sub-continent is pretty intense, I have to say. Anyway, more work, then sleep, then more work…

Can someone please get to the ebook reader before Apple

Amazon's KindleI’m quite excited about the fact that Amazon has brought out a new ebook reader that it calls the Kindle. I haven’t seen one in the real world but I am assuming with the effort they’ve put behind it that the screen technology is what it claims to be – easy to read without straining your eyes.

I believe ebooks are the inevitable future. It’s just another step along the digital revolution. But – and what a but – have you seen the state of the “Kindle”? It looks like a prototype. A prototype designed by 18-year-old students back in the 1980s. Here is good technology and big demand with crappy design – i.e. the perfect opportunity for Apple.

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Now playing: Radiohead’s In Rainbows

This morning I received an email from downloadinrainbows@waste.uk.com providing a link to a 48.3MB zipped file. Three minutes later I was listening to Radiohead’s new album In Rainbows. I am listening to it now as I write this.

What is particularly interesting about this is that Radiohead was entirely in charge of the whole transaction. They even extracted five pounds 45 pence from me simply by asking. I could easily have downloaded the album for free this afternoon.

Radiohead - In RainbowsAside from being one of my favourite bands (no, I don’t find them remotely depressing, which makes me wonder about my base state of mind), Radiohead are an interesting and smart bunch. They are currently outside music industry contracts and so have control of their product. And so they decided on a unique project – they would let people decide how much to pay for their next album. Literally.

Aside from a 45p admin fee, you could type in exactly how much you wanted to pay for the album. It’s a fascinating experiment and I hope Radiohead releases the results so we can see just how people’s behaviour breaks down.

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