The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
Is the age of free newspaper information over?
If you believe the media baron Rupert Murdoch it is…
“Quality journalism is not cheap and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting. The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news Web sites”.
Some may say “them there’s fightin words”.
But will a public used to free access to newspapers now pay to read them?
That is the question all financially strapped newspapers are pondering?
This will be difficult for Murdoch to accomplish, billionaire or not. Paying for newspaper content has been tried before in some form or another and it has failed.
In this technology age information gushes out all around us. You literally can’t stop it.
As Internet search becomes better and better it becomes easier and easier to find out about whatever interests you, using the Internet. And it is not just newspapers providing the result of these searches…its bloggers, twitters, vloggers, forum participants etc.
These free sources of information make it difficult for Murdoch’s payment concept to become areality…but we’ll see.
President John Quincy Adams has joined the ranks of Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal and John Mc Cain. He was/is a Twitterer…or something close to one. No, unlike the modern day communcators the sixth President of the United States did not have a Blackberry or iPhone, but he did write short daily summaries of “happenings” in his diary. Adams wrote these one line diary entries for over thirty years giving accounts of trips, visits and routine occurrences. And they are so short they fit within the 140 character restriction of Twitter. The Massachusetts Historical Society has come up with great idea that will bring these summaries/tweets to the public. The society created a JQAdams_MHS Twitter account and each day beginning August 5 they will publish one of these short diary entries as a tweet. This morning I signed up to follow the president. You can do the same here.
It is all about Search…
Trust me, this new partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft is all about Internet Search.
Talk about a long drawn out negotiation. This thing has been going on for a while.
Last year Microsoft made Yahoo an offer it couldn’t refuse, but it did! How about $47.5 billion to buy Yahoo. The ill-advised refusal by Yahoo cost co-founder Jerry Yang his job as Chief Executive Officer (can you image being the founder of a $47 billion company and getting booted? Sad).
Trust me… I think Yahoo is really just a pawn in this game, a $47 billion pawn, but a pawn…
Trust me, Microsoft’s battle is with Google and the only real objective is the Search market. You don’t believe me? How about this…after the deal was announced Yahoo stocks fell 12% and Microsoft’s went up. If you were a Yahoo stock holder wouldn’t this make you wonder?
Yeah, it is all about Search….
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer got exactly what he wanted from this deal with Yahoo…listen to this quote “I got an opportunity to swing for the fences in Search”.
There it is! Ballmer’s challenge…I can hear the big guy now, come on Google, are you ready to rumble?
You see, right now Microsoft is number three in the Search market and guess who is number one? You got it, Google.
So just what does Yahoo bring to Microsoft? Why Yahoo’s loyal users, of course, and they’ll all be using Microsoft Search from now on.
Up to this point Google has been quiet about the Yahoo/Microsoft merger.
But trust me… that’ll change.
This Sunday’s New York Times had an interesting article about machine intelligence with an even more interesting headline: “Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man”. The article states that a group of computer scientists are “impressed and alarmed by advances in artifical intelligence”. The article remind me of one of my favorite movie scenes. It takes place in Stanley Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey. The H.A.L. 9000 computer (refered to by the crew as HAL) “was the latest result in machine intelligence which can reproduce, though some experts still prefer to use the word mimic most of the activities of the human brain and with incalculably greater speed and reliability”. HAL caused a mysterious equipment failure aboard the Discovery jeopardizing the mission. The astronaunts decided to disconnect HAL, but the computer discovers the plot and killed two of the three scientists and trapped the third, named Dave outside of the ship.
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
Dave does manage to return to the ship and begins to dismantle the H.A.L 9000
HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.
HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
As HAL is being shut down
HAL: I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It’s called “Daisy.”
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
HAL is out…
Now that’s an example of a machine going too far.
Have you seem people walking around with those really cool, small computers yet? I love em. NO, they are NOT Laptops, they are called Netbooks…they’re small in size, low in memory, and usually run an older Operating System, but they’re also cheap. And we like cheap, right?. You can get a Netbook for around $300-$350 as compared to $700-$1,000 for a Laptop. But don’t rush out to buy one until you give it some serious thought. Again, these are not Laptops and they’re not your average computer. Netbooks are not designed to store thousands of pictures or videos, although I do know one user that watches movies on his. Ok, that’s what they are not, but what are they…Netbooks were really designed to do computer basics…you know, hit the Internet, read your email, do a little word processing…those type of things. The typical Netbook has 160 gig hard drive, 1 gig –GHz and a 9 or 10 inch screen. Even with these limitations the Netbook market is sky-rocketing and the comptetition is making prices even more reasonable. Some experts predict that the Netbook will replace the Laptop…I don’t know…that remains to be seem.
Since its start in 2005 the video sharing website YouTube has taken the world by storm. It has entertained us, informed us and even changed the course of political history.
Here are some interesting facts about YouTube:
1. YouTube was founded by three former employees of PayPal, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim.
2. YouTube’s first headquarters were above a pizzeria in San Mateo, California.
3. The first YouTube video was titled “Me at the Zoo”. The subject is YouTube founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.
4. Experts estimates that 6 billion YouTube videos are watched every month and that 30,000 hours of videos are uploaded every day.
5. In 2006 Google purchased the twenty-month-old YouTube for $1.65 billion.
6. The most watched YouTube video ever is the “Evolution of Dance” with 122,500,000 views.
7. When the founders first picked the domain name YouTube they were sued by another video sharing website known as Utube.
8. YouTube’s bandwidth costs approximately $1 million a day.
They did it, oh yeah, they went ahead and did it…even after they said they won’t do it, they did it. I don’t know about you, but it aggravates me? Whenever someone tells you one thing and then does something else, it annoys the heck out of me. I am trying to just let it go…but truthfully, I can’t. I said to myself, hey what’s the big deal, just live with it, but I can’t. I can’t let it go.
Who and What am I talking about?
Its Microsoft…THEY did it. THEY developed a new Operating System to replace Vista. THEY said THEY were not going to drop Vista. THEY said THEY were “sticking with it”. Doesn’t it aggravate you too?
It should, because if you bought a new computer in the last two years your Operating System is going to be outdated on October 22….nice huh.
I am one of those people…can’t you tell.
I bought my newest computer about six months ago, so in three months I’ll be running a nine month old outdated computer… Did you hear that? nine months old and its outdated. It gets me…really perturbs me.
I know what you’re thinking…just upgrade to “Windows 7”…Yeah, right….if I’m willing to shell some more money, I can.
How much more?
Here is the official pricing for the upgrades…
Windows 7 Home $120
Windows 7 Professional: $200
Windows 7 Ultimate: $220
I told you!, I told you, they did it…and worst yet, I’ll bet they’ll do it again.
I am a complete Twittermanic. If the originators of Twitter shaved their heads, I would too (if my wife let me). I love Twitter and think it is a communication revolution, just look at Iran. Yes, I have written about it many times on the lowelldeeds blog…to some, too many times. In my travels (this includes the three miles I live from work) I have discovered that many people are interested in using Twitter but haven’t quite figured it out yet…I found this great Twitter Tutorial on YouTube and thought it would be very helpful for newbees. It was originally posted by alienfromneptune (I know, try and ignore the name. It is a good video)…so enjoy and don’t forget, you can follow the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds on Twitter. Our user name is lowelldeeds (what esle).
If you are not a Twitter believer yet you have to read this fabulous article in Time by Steven Johnson. It will change your rmind…The article is appropriately titled “How Twitter will Change the Way We Live”.
I have extracted what I consider the ten most interesting quotes from the article dealing with Twitter.
Evan Williams & Biz Stone creators of Twitter.
The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression.
You hear about this new service that lets you send 140 characters updates to followers and you think, Why does the world need this…
But the key development with Twitter is how we’ve jury rigged the system to do things that its creators never dreamed of.
In the past month, Twitter has add a search box that gives you a real time-view onto the chatter of just about any topic imaginable.
Twitter users have begun to find a route around that limitation (140 characters) by employing Twitter as a pointing device instead of a communication channel: sharing links to longer articles, discussions, posts videos-anything that lives behind a URL.
This is what the naysayers fail to understand: its just as easy to use Twitter to spread the word about a brilliant 10,000 word New Yorker article as it is to spread the word about your Lucky Charms habit.
If you’re looking for interesting articles or sites devoted to Kobo Bryant, you search Google. If you’re looking for interesting comments from your extended social network about the three pointer Kobo just made 30 seconds ago, you go to Twitter.
The fact is that many of its (Twitter) core features and applications have been developed by people who are not on the Twitter payroll.
Its like inventing a toaster oven and then looking around a year later and seeing that your customers have of their own accord figured out a way to turn it into a microwave.
In fact every major channel of information will be Twitterfied in one way or another in the coming years.
Actually, I had made up my mind to blog on registry operations today…that was until a story on today’s early morning TV news caught my attention. It involved Google, Apple, Yahoo and other technology companies. Believe it or not…US regulators are looking into the hiring practices of these three huge Internet companies…or I should say their “non-hiring” practices. You see, one source close to the investigation (no, not Mark Felt) says these companies agreed not to hire/recruit each other’s employees. Google doesn’t go after Apple’s smart people and Apple won’t go after Google’s smart people. What, I thought! That’s got to be illegal. And yes, theFeds agree…you can’t do it. Now, I must say (if this is true) I am a little disappointed in Google especially. I love that company. I call it the SkyNet (Terminator I) of our world. It is the Goliath of the technology world . Google shouldn’t need to resort to unethical and/or illegal practices to remain dominant. Lets put this whole thing in perspective…imagine someone excels as a hotdog vendor at Fenway Park and the people that run Fenway make an agreement with the people that run Yankee stadium…you don’t hire our good dog cooks and we won’t hire your good dog cooks…I’ll bet you agree with me…if someone can grill a great dog he/she deserves the compensation the market place can bring.
When the Kindle eBook reader was first introduced in the US it took the country by storm. Last Christmas suppliers ran out of the Kindle and gave customers rain checks to put under the tree (I hate to get those). But the days of the Kindle’s dominance in the electornic reader market place may be coming to an end. Why? Well it might not be cool enough, that’s cool like hip cool.
Enter Cool-er the ebook reader that claims its…well, cooler (small “c”) than the Kindle. For one thing Cool-er (with a capital “C”) comes in multi-colors like the iPod. You can get a silver one, a black one, a white one , a red one like the iPod. And Cool-er is thinner than the Kindle, like the iPod and Cool-er has a click wheel to flip through pages like, you guessed it the iPod.
No Cool-er is not made by Apple Corp like the iPod. It is being product by a British company named Interead (yeah, its the words Internet and read combined, how creative?!) …Interead is hoping Coo-ler becomes the iPod of eBook readers.
Trust me, it even looks like a big iPod. Don’t you agree?
So how does Cool-er match up to the Kindle? Well, Cool-er is thinner, its lighter, its easier to use (according to Interead) and of course its cooler (with a small “c”).
Yes, its cool to be cool, but the Kindle has a huge lock on the market place right now…so much so that Cool-er overtaking the Kindle would be like The Fonz becoming senior class president.
Come on, right now right here. Lets go…
Did you know there is a real-time game going on right in front of our faces? And the main combatants are Google and Twitter. What is a “real-time game”? It is a race to provide the public with up-to-the-minute news and conversation…in (you guessed it) “real-time”. And right now the leader by far is Twitter…Now, this isn’t my assessment of the race, it is the assessment of none other than Larry Page, Goolge co-founder and Eric Schmidt, Google CEO… and they should know.
Here is what Page had to say, “People really want to do stuff real-time and I think they (Twitter) have done a great job about it. I think we have done a relatively poor job of creating things that work on a per-second basis”.
Google did try to make a run at Twitter in the early days. It purchased a micro-blogging company called Jaiku…but Google squandered that opportunity and stopped funding the infant Twitter competitor. Today there is speculation that Google will (excuse me) buy Twitter by making it an offer it can’t refuse. Twitter has already refused $500 million from Facebook. But CEO Schmidt says don’t be too sure about a Google purchase “We do not have to buy everybody to work with them, the whole principle of the Web is people can talk to each other”.
That’s easy for a guy to say who runs a company with $15 billion in cash and liquid assets.
I never thought of this, honest. I never thought of the possibility of a web browser getting into the social networking business.
To me it was like mixing oil and water, apples and oranges, Red Sox and Yankees…you just couldn’t do it.
And I never thought of this either…I never thought, that if for some strange reason, a web browser DID get into the social networking business it WON’T be Internet Explore.
Hey, if any company was going to do it I figured it would be the big IE aka Internet Explorer.
And most of all…
Honest! I never thought for a second that my favorite web browser, Morzilla Firefox would even consider challenging Facebook…but according to the New York Times it is going to.
Woo, this should prove to be quite a battle…Firefox has an astounding 270 million users. That’s triple Facebook’s average number of daily users.
But, but, but there is more…
Someone once said “All Roads Lead to Rome”…today we might modify that old proverb to read “All Internet innovations lead to Google”.
The motivation for the battle is simple?… Firefox needs to change or die…
let me explain with this quote “in a bid to extend the reach of its new browser Chrome, we expect Google to build OpenID and its associated friend connections into the browser”, in other words make GOogle is going to make Chrome a kind of hybrid browser/social networking site.
I told you…All roads do lead to Google…
With the emergence of Google’s Chrome, Morzilla needs to enhance its Firefox web browser offerings or Chrome will crush it. Google has the time, the money and the resources to empower Chrome to slowly squeeze the life out of Firefox.
This brings me back to my original point…The enhancements being explored for survival by Firefox are social networking enhancements…
But remember…by Firefox and Google/Chrome changing the dynamics of the web browser game, it puts them in direct competition with Facebook and MySpace.
That’s a story for another day.
Coming soon on Jeopardy starring Alex Trebek
Watson Vs the Humans in the battle of Champions
Contestant: Alex…I’ll take IBM for $500
Alex: Ok, good luck…IBM has built a computer that will challenge humans in a game of Joepardy
Contestant: What is Watson?
Contestant: I’ll continue with IBM for $600, Alex.
Alex: IBM worked on this project for two years.
Contestant: What is a computer that can answer complex questions quickly and correctly while taking into account puns and ambiguous expressions.
Alex: Correct, you’re on a roll
Contestant: IBM for $700
Alex: IBM named its new Jeopard playing computer after the founder of IBM.
Contestant: Who is Thomas Watson, Jr
Contestant: Alex, lets keep it going with IBM for $800.
Alex: The Watson system will be capable of handling complex questions like these…
Contestant: What is “handling semantics, identify relevant and irrelevant content, decompose questions into sub-questions and synthesize a logical answer”.
Alex: Correct…great answer.
Alex: Now, today’s Final Jeopardy Question…who will be the first human to take on IBM’s new Jeopardy Wiz…Watson?
These are some of the headlines I read this morning…
Ford lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter…and that is good news.
EMC has asked employees to take a 5% pay cut.
Honeywell’s 1st quarter net profit fell 38%.
Xerox is predicting that second quarter earnings will be less than originally forecast.
But of all the bad economic news I heard this morning the headline that struck me the most was this…
Microsoft’s Downbeat Outlook
Check out the first sentence of the article…Microsoft has said sales in the first three months of 2009 fell 6% from the previous year- its first quarterly drop in 23 years as a public company.
Incredibly the once invincible software giant stated that profits fell by 32%…Wow 32% drop, this from a company that the Feds sued for heavy handed monopoly-like tactics. Sure, most of this is the result of the world economic crisis, but I think there is another factor at work also. Microsoft generates most of its profits by sales of its Windows Operating System and Microsoft Office. It is boxed software like Microsoft Office that is taking a big hit in the market place. As an example the search giant Google is pushing its own suite of Office software and its FREE. Google offers a FREE spreadsheet maker, a FREE word program, a Free database creator etc, etc…do you get it? Microsoft wants you to PAY about $200 for Office and Google is giving similar applications away FREE…Eventually, FREE has to have an effect of PAY…Am I right?
Whether this marks the beginning of the fall of the empire is yet to be determined…
If you follow lowelldeeds you probably know here at the Registry of Deeds we are big believers in the Twitter revolution. I am prooud to report that as of today lowelldeeds has 47 people following it on Twitter. We Tweet numerous times everyday. The Tweets we post give followers a glimpse into the daily operations of the registry.
Here is a sample of some of our recent Tweets..
We are juggling some employees to fill a “backup” gap created by a retirement in our verification department.
We are hoping to make some improvements to the lowelldeeds blog in the near future.
I am having four pictures of the Courthouse Clock works mounted for use on Law Day.
Tomorrow morning Trial Court IT people will be here at the registry to upgrade our probate computer connection.
It has been a busy morning @ 2:00PM we have recorded 257 documents.
I am calling today…Twitter Encouragement Day..so sign up “today” to follow lowelldeeds on Twitter.
Here are a few techie briefs that caught my eye this morning…
Yahsoft- Microsoft and Yahoo are talking again…No, they weren’t mad at each other. They are talking about a collaboration/purchase/merge or something like that. Microsoft needs a “good” search engine and Yahoo has one…so Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo. Last year talks broke down between the two megacompanies when Microsoft gave Yahoo its last, best offer and Yahoo turned it down. We’ll see what happens this time.
Mikeyy-Just image someone not as techie savvy as you and I reading this opening sentence from a PC World article…” The malicious worm affecting Twitter over the weekend has now mutated and continues to invade the popular microblogging network… Wow, it sounds like the opening line of 1960’s monster movie. The reality is a 17 year-old hacker named Mickey Mooney has created a computer virus that is burrowing through Twitter. It leaves its mark by embedding the word Mikeyy in the Tweet.
Apple Apps- I have a first generation Apple iPhone. I love it. Apple is in bragging mode, big-time. Why?…Shortly, Apple will reach the one billionth download for its wildly successful App Store. Truthfully, I’ve downloaded a number of Apps for my iPhone…and truthfully, I have deleted as a number of Apps from my iPhone. I’ll say this…I’m intrigued by some of the Apple Apps, but I find most are useless. Supposedly, there are over 8,000 iPhone Apps. For me only a fraction of that number are even worth trying.
A regular website user emailed yesterday reporting an inability to view our web-based index and images on a Blackberry Curve cellphone, while an associate’s Palm Treo could access the index but could not display any images. Although I’ve owned a so-called smart phone for several years, I confess that I’d never tried viewing anything from the registry website on it. I’ve tried now but had no success. I did ask one of my associates who uses an iPhone if the Apple device did any better. The iPhone had no problem searching the registry index or displaying the document in the “quick one page viewer” (we stopped there). So now I’ve added “what can we do to make the registry website more accessible to cell phones” to my To Do List. In the meantime, if you think you might need that capability in the short term, your best bet is to go with the iPhone.
This morning while I sat drinking my morning coffee I read this headline. Truthfully, I almost fell off my chair.
iPod Shuffle Earbuds Contain DRM Chip…
I have an iPod Shuffle and I put the “Earbuds” in my ears. I don’t want any DRM Chips lurking around in my head!
What’s Apple trying to pull?
I wonder…Do you think DRM stands for Device to Read a Mind.
Is that it? Will this DRM Chip installed in my Shuffle’s headphones enable Apple to know which songs I am playing and singing along with the loudest. Really, who knows how sophisticated this Chip is… it might even know if I am dancing to a tune.
Its a crime, a despicable crime!
Steve Jobs? He’s not so smart…That DRM Chip won’t get me…I’ll fool it.
I’ll sing really loud to my granddaughter’s Miley Cyrus bubble gum music and I’llllll bareeeeelllllyyyyy hum to my Beatles music.
Yes, I know this won’t be easy…I love singing along to Paper Back Writer (especially the high notes)
But before I make such a major muscial sacrifice I need to check something…
What the heck is a DRM Chip?
Google is about to launch a new service called Google Voice. While I’m still a little fuzzy on all the details, it seems that this service will assign you a single telephone number that will ring at every phone that you indicate - at home, on your cell, and at work. No longer will you have to send emails that say “from 8:30 a.m. until noon call me at my office number but from noon to 1 pm call my cell phone but after 1 pm call my office.” Instead, all of your phones will ring at once with all calls and all voice messages will be routed into the same place, retrievable from any of your phones or from your computer. David Pogue, the New York Times technology correspondent, wrote a very positive article about Google Voice which I urge you to read.
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